Every young boy had an answer to this question, anywhere from Fireman to Superman. There was a time in my childhood that my answer was simply to be a truck driver.
I first came to the belief that truck driving was the life for me because of the musical selection that was available to me. My parents were members of some sort of music club, where they would get record albums mailed to the house and they had so many days to keep them or send them back. Looking back, I think they mostly just kept them.
The “Truck Driving Songs” fascinated me. Artists like Red Sovine, Dave Dudley, and my personal favorite C.W. McCall.
I still have the record, C.W. McCall’s Greatest Hits. My kids and UnNi make fun of me on occasion because I know every word to every song on the album. Sometimes out of nowhere I just start singing these songs that have long been stuck in my head…..
“I’s thumbing through the want ads in the ShelbyCounty Tribune when this classified advertisement caught my eye.”
Classified Advertisement/ CW McCall
“Wolf Creek Pass, way up on the Great Divide Truckin’ on down the other side”
Wolf Creek Pass/ CW McCall
My love for these songs rubbed off on my little brother. He used to play the record on occasion during his college days at Texas Tech. His frat brothers would tell him C.W.’s songs sounded like they belonged in some sort of Broadway Musical Production. In reflection I can picture this. C.W. would start out singing the story and next thing you knew the whole stage was singing and dancing through the chorus.
About musicals. How does everyone in the scene happen to know the words to the song anyway?
I recently learned, that these songs were intended to be that way. C.W. McCall is not a real person, He was an ad campaign by the Omaha advertising firm of Bozell & Jacobs. In 1972 while working for the firm, Bill Fries created television commercials for the Old Home bread brand of the Metz baking company. These ads told the story of truck driver C.W. McCall, his old dog Sloan, and the truck stop that they frequented, The Old Home Café.
While Bill provided the lyrics, Chip Davis would provide the musical content. Davis a singer, songwriter, and composer would later become famous for his musical group Mannheim Steamroller.
The songs originated from real characters and Bill Fries upbringing in western Iowa. From those commercials came the first of the C.W. McCall songs, “Old Home Fill-er Up An’ Keep On A Truckin’ Café”.
C.W. McCall’s first album Wolf Creek Pass was released by MGM Records in 1975. That year the title song about a misadventure of two truck drivers hauling chickens, charted in Billboard on both the country and pop charts.
I have been fascinated with this music my entire life. The McCall songs all tell a story. They paint such a vivid picture, that I get to know the characters and feel like I might just be there. Whether it’s sitting at the Conoco Station or camped high above in the Rocky Mountains laying on my sleeping bag and watching the Aurora Borealis, the northern lights. His songs did such a great job of advertising that they made me want to be a truck driver when I grew up.
Fries, under the C.W. McCall moniker would record the song “Convoy”. The “Rubber Duck”, the main character of this song, was the truck drivers C.B. handle.
The Duck was portrayed on the big screen by singer turned actor Kris Kristofferson in the 1978 film “Convoy”. This movie directed by Sam Peckinpah also starred Ali Macgraw, Ernest Borgnine, Bert Young, Madge Sinclair, and Franklyn Ajaye.
Convoy was filmed when the CB radio/ trucking craze was at its peak in the United States, it was followed by similar films like White Line Fever and Smokey and the Bandit.
I must have watched the movie Convoy 9000 times growing up and I still listen to the song often. As a kid we would go to video rental stores and I would always pick this one.
I did become a truck driver, if only for a short time in my life. I will never forget the thrill of my own Wolf Creek Pass, while hauling sand for a block company out of Strawn, Texas. I would barrel an old Mack truck down “Ranger Hill” on Interstate 20. It would get pretty hairy at times when I would reach the bottom and have to shut er down just in time to make a quick exit onto Highway 16.
Truck driving music is still one of my favorite genres.
I’m thankful I never bashed into the side of a feed store in downtown Pagosa Springs.
On March fourth of this year, I married my soul mate in Lincoln County, New Mexico. We like to say we got married March forth as it was on that day that we marched forth to new beginnings. Prior to this journey, which was approximately a 4 hour car ride from our home, I created a playlist. On my Itunes account it lives. The playlist simply called “Wedding”. This playlist consists of 15 songs and lasts 55 minutes.
Every time that I get to hear one of these songs it reminds me of her, my best friend, the love of my life, my UnNi.
#1- Blessings by Florida Georgia Line.
“ First time I met you, knew I never could forget you, girl you always saw the blue skies past the rain clouds in my eyes.“
The very first line in the song says so much. We first met at a conference I attended for Alcoholics Anonymous in the Spring of 2010. I had spent some time away as a ward of the State of Texas and had only been out of a halfway house for a month.
I was learning to live sober. UnNi was going to school to become a substance abuse counselor. She worked in a treatment center. She was so beautiful. I had feelings for her from the very first time I saw her.
#2- Millionaire by Chris Stapleton.
“They say love is more precious thangold Can’t be bought and it can’t be sold.”
I used to think that I was measured by the possessions that I had. Money and Power were status symbols that I thought would either make or break me. UnNi showed me that love was the “ultimate gift”. I know that she loves me and I love her. I would lay down my life for her. I will do anything in my power to give her everything I have. She also showed me how to reconnect with my Higher Power, my faith and find the never ending love of the Holy Spirit and of Jesus Christ the Son of Man.
#3- Prayed For You by Matt Stell. UnNi and I first saw this guy at a concert we attended with our friends Matthew and Sondra. Matt Stell was the opening act for Clay Walker. This song really touched me and UnNi too.
“Cause every single day, before Iknew your name I couldn’t seeyour face, but I prayedfor you.”
These lyrics really touched me deep down. I had been in other relationships. I had been married before. I thought I had been in love once or twice, but I had never considered praying for what God wanted for me.
Up to this point I had lived most all of my life on impulse. It was a roller coaster of highs and lows, only considering what was good for me and what made me happy for the moment.
I had met UnNi years before we ever dated. We hung out some and talked. I considered her a good friend. She had been there for me through some rough patches in my life. She had seen me go through some things as I had also seen her life change in many ways.
I was going through a pretty rough patch. I was ending another relationship, had lost control of my children and was only seconds away from throwing in the towel on my sobriety. When one day I sat down to truly seek God for some sort of direction.
It was conference time again and I knew that every time I would make the trek to Ft Davis I would see her face. I hoped this time it would be the same. So I messaged her on Facebook and she said she would go. We made plans to hang out.
We reconnected our friendship and soon began to date. I know God put her in my life. I know she was my answered prayer. I am forever grateful that UnNi is in my life. I still can’t believe that she’s my wife!
#4- Your Smile Takes MyBreath Away– by Ryan Kirkland. Just before we planned to marry, My second cousin Ryan Kirkland recorded his first song. The song is available on Itunes and Amazon.
“You can bringme to myknees, with just one wink, your smile takes my breath away.”
I feel that way every time I look at my UnNi. She takes my breath away every single day. I feel like the luckiest guy on earth just being able to wear her wedding band on my finger.
I heard from an old timer in AA just the other day, that he would never leave his “Honey Bunny”. Not only had he made a commitment to her that day in that church, He had a made a commitment to God.
I shall never forget that commitment I made that day in early March of 2020. The start of a new beginning and the start of a long and happy life with the person who God intended for me.
#5 Stealing Electricity by Tom Russell. This is the strangest love song you ever heard. UnNi thinks my music is strange.
This song starts out with a guy who dies while trying to steal electricity and how the voltage running through him made his heart go “d-da”.
“Hey baby, ain’t that just likeyou and me? Loveis like stealing electricity, Two hearts goD-da, d-da, d-da, da.”
Our hearts beat to the same music. We made our commitment. We became one. The bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:12 A cord of threestrands isnot easily broken.
The three strands represent UnNi and I. Our hearts only beat because God, The Third Strand gives us the “electricity”. He is our power and our light. He holds us together.
#6 Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison.
“Slipping and sliding All along the waterfall with you My brown-eyed girl.”
My wife has these big brown eyes. I could look into them all day long. It’s in those big round eyes that I can see her thoughts. They sparkle when she’s happy. They fade when she’s angry. They are wet when she’s sad.
I hope I make her brown eyes sparkle more often than not. I love my brown eyed girl. She makes my heart smile. We have a lot of laughs together and we enjoy many of the same things. She is my rock. My brown eyed girl.
#7 In Spite of Ourselves by John Prine. UnNi and I both enjoy singing karaoke. One year for Christmas, we bought each other a karaoke machine. Valentines Day of 2017 we recorded ourselves singing this song, in the style of John Prine and Iris Dement. It will forever be our song.
“In spite of ourselves, We’llend upsittin’ on arainbow, Against all odds,Honey, we’re the big door prize.”
John Prine / Iris Dement
I often have to remember to look beyond the end of my nose. I can be selfish and self centered. That causes a lot of trouble in my relationship. This song reminds me of the prize and to play the tape to the end. I have to pause and think before I act or react.
UnNi has done more than she knows to teach me these things about myself and to show me to treat others in the way that I want to be treated. She has taught me to stand up for what I believe in. Yet, she also shows me how to do it tactfully and respectfully. Sometimes I still fall short on this concept, but I am certainly a better man than I was and I owe that all to her.
#8 Loving Her Was Easier by Kris Kristofferson. I have always believed this was one of the prettiest songs ever written.
Last October, UnNi and I got to see Kris Kristofferson live at the Wagner Noel. This was one of those concerts I got to scratch off of my bucket list.
I can’t pick a favorite line in this song. Every line is perfect poetry. Every line reminds me of her. She is perfect and hearing this perfect song with such a perfect partner is one of the highlights of my life.
“Talking of tomorrow and the money, love and time we had to spend.”
If I die tomorrow, this is one of those songs I would want played at my funeral. I hope UnNi knows how special she made each day of my life.
#9 Just Breathe by Willie and Lukas Nelson.
“Did I say that I needyou? Did I say that Iwant you? Ohif Ididn’tI’m a fool yousee, no one knows this more than me.”
Willie Nelson/ Lukas Nelson
This is a song that relaxes me even on the worst of days. UnNi and I have tried to sing it a few times. We can’t seem to hit those high notes. We discovered this song together. It means so much to us both.
We both have our own struggles and issues and we are both seeking solution rather than creating more drama and chaos. When we are together we are much stronger than when we are apart. When we remember to just breathe and not let the things we do not have control of overwhelm us, our life is better.
UnNi makes me a better man.
I hope that I bring that breath of fresh air into her life as well.
#10 Love Abides by Tom Russell and Iris Dement.
“Hey look how far we’ve come, do we knowwho weare?Stranded on a mountain top trying to catch a falling star.”
This is another song we do together in karaoke. This is another song that reminds me that we are stronger together. It reminds me of the perfect love that we have for each other. Remembering where I came from and the direction that I want my life to go.
UnNi is a planner.
I am a dreamer.
Most of the time when I have a dream, she plans on how to make that dream become a reality.
Like for example, this blog.
I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. She set forth a plan to make this dream become a reality. She set up this website and teaches me as she learns how to operate it.
Now, You as our reader, gets to experience this side of our life.
I hope you enjoy what you are reading, as much as we enjoy writing to you.
#11 Love me Anyway and #12 True Love both by Pink. These songs are pretty brutal but it’s an honest description of how our life can be.
“Even if I see your scars Even if Ibreak your heartIf we’re a million milesapart Do you thinkyou’d walk away?”
“Sometimes I hate every single stupid wordyou saySometimes I wanna slapyou in your whole face.”
We have had some big fights. Have gone through some pretty big stuff over the years. I choose to stay. She chooses to let me.
We get closer every day. We are learning to communicate and to express our feelings.
In my mind there is absolutely nothing that could keep me away from her. I feel feelings that I have never felt when I upset her. I can see my part today, and admit when I am wrong. She can do that too.
I have never had a love like this.
Once again as an old timer in AA often tells me, “ 9 out of 10 times she’s Honey Bunny, 1 out of 10 times she’s Huffy Bunny and when she is Huffy Bunny, there’s only one person in that situation that can shut the hell up, and that person is me.”
Learning our strengths and weaknesses and learning to put our differences aside has made a huge impact on my relationship.
Pause when agitated.
Sometimes one of us just has to walk away.
I am grateful that we can work through the rough times. We agree that divorce isn’t the option today.
When we are good, we are great.
That is the way it is most days.
#13 Gringo Honeymoon by Robert Earl Keen. Last Christmas mom gave us concert tickets to see Robert Earl Keen.
I personally have seen him play live more times than any other artist. This show was different. Besides being in the front row, I was there with UnNi, My Wife.
“We were so close I could see his tongue moving while he sang.”
That’s what she likes to say when I brag about how great the seats were.
She had never heard of REK until she met me. I have showed her a world of music that she still thinks is strange, but I think that it is growing on her.
The day that we walked out of that courthouse in Carrizozo I was the happiest I had ever been. We found a Museum where we stopped to take some pictures. I have a picture of her in her wedding dress, next to a big cactus. She was the sexiest woman I had ever seen. She still is today.
“ We were standin’ ona mountaintop Wherethe cactus flowersgrow, I waswishin’ that the world would stop.When you said we’d better go.”
Robert Earl Keen
Did I mention she was a planner?
#14 Leather and Lace Don by Stevie Nicks and DonHenley. For a guy who never liked female artists, after meeting UnNi I found a whole bunch I really love.
This song was one I fell in love with around the same time I really started falling for UnNi.
Her brother J and sister in law Heather do a great cover of this song with their band Cowboy Drive. Their video features shots from Ft Davis, one of our favorite places to be. The place we first met, the conference I will never forget.
UnNi likes a section of the mountainous terrain where the natural out cropping of rocks took shapes of almost human form. She calls these “the ancestors.”
I hope and pray that the ancestors will always protect her and guide our lives through happiness and harmony.
“I search for somethingI can’t see.”
The other night we were sitting in our hot tub. It was windy out and UnNi told me “I like the wind. It reminds me of God. Even though I can’t see Him, I Know He is there”
#15 What a difference you’ve made in my Life by Ronnie Milsap.
“What a difference you’ve made inmylife.”
UnNi, there’s nothing else I need to say about this song. It is pretty self Explanatory.
Sometime in the nineteen eighties I discovered country music. My little brother and I would drag out the parents record albums and pretend to be radio deejays. We would introduce each singer and their song. Sometimes we would record this on cassette tape. Sometimes this taping would go on for days.
Sometimes it went somewhere like this.. “All the way from Lubbock Texas here’s one by Mac Davis”
Other times it went more like this
songwriters Mac Davis/Shel Silverstein
I feel like old’ Pancho Villa, Sheila
I need a fast horse and a friend.
So pour me another tequila, Sheila
And I’ll ride for the border again
However it went, most every radio show we ever did included Mac Davis. I still have the Album today.
Mac’s manager confirmed today, that he died in Nashville following a heart surgery late yesterday. Mac Davis was 78 years old.
Mac had a music career that spanned decades. He enjoyed crossover success in that he wrote and performed in both country and pop genres and did well in both areas. During his career he released 19 studio albums and 38 singles. Of his singles,30 charted in Billboard between 1970-1986.
Mac grew up in Lubbock Texas. He moved to Atlanta Georgia soon after graduating high school. By his twenties he was writing music and performing music.
Davis worked for a radio station by day and played his music at night. Through the station he made it out to L.A. There he met Nancy Sinatra and went to work for her and her company.
Davis songwriting peaked in the 1970 he was recorded by dozens of artists – Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, and Dolly were a few of the country musicians who covered his stuff. In the Pop circuit, he had Blaine Larson, Liza Minnelli, and even Elvis Presley.
Although he had achieved some success in the song writing world, Mac Davis scored big when Elvis recorded his songs “In the Ghetto”, “Memories”, “Don’t Cry Daddy”, and “A Little Less Conversation”.
Priscilla Presley tweeted earlier today, “Thank you for your beautiful songs which will keep your spirit in our hearts, my dear friend.”
Mac reached his peak as a performing artist in the eighties with songs like “Hard to be Humble:” , and “Baby don’t get Hooked on Me”
Mac once told a reporter that he wrote the song “Baby don’t get hooked on me” in 1972 after a record company had asked him for a tune with a “hook”.
The song reached #1 in Billboardtop 100 in September of 1972. Some hook if you ask me.
Davis was an inductee in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame as well as the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
Mac Davis once wrote “And when I die, You can bury me in Lubbock Texas in my Jeans”
Austin City Limits is the longest running music series in television history. ACL features artists from every musical genre in a live concert setting. The first episode was aired on PBS on January 3rd 1976.
The show helped define Austin, Texas as the “Live Music Capital of the World”
John Prine made eight appearances on the show during his career span of over forty years. His ACL debut was during Season 3 in 1978. John’s final ACL performance was during Season 44 in 2018.
During the Season 44 episode, John played a setlist of his career spanning songs. The episode also included a guest appearance from long time Prine disciple Tyler Childers.
ACL executive producer, Terry Lickona, stated “John Prine was so integral to the essence of Austin City Limits, and few artists graced the ACL stage over the years and decades more than he did.”
John wrote country-folk songs with an unpretentious, aw- heck demeanor
John would sing magical lyrics like – “That’s the way that the goes round. You’re up one day and the next your down. It’s half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown. That’s the way that the world goes round.”
In 1998 Prine had surgery to remove squamous cell cancer from his neck. In 2013 he had part of his lung removed as treatment to lung cancer. The operations altered his vocals and gave him a gravelly voice but six months later he was touring again.
“that’s the way that the world goes round”
During his career, Prine received six awards from the Americana Music Honors Awards: The Lifetime Acheivement Award for songwriting(2003) Artist of the Year(2005,2017,2018), Song of the year for “Summers End”(2019) and Album of the Year for “Tree of Forgiveness”(2019).
In 2019 Prine was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2005 John Prine became the first songwriter to read and perform at the Library of Congress.
Prine’s lyrics are simple yet phenomenal. He goes places other song writers only dare to go, and he goes there with his own style.
John felt that his success was created only out of dumb luck. Luck like that day Kris Kristofferson walked into an empty club in Chicago and heard him play.
I think his success was out of his wide imagination and the ability to paint a picture through his song. The Prine song “Lake Marie” is a perfect example of this ability.
John Prine passed away last April due to complications from the corona virus. He leaves a void in the music industry that no one else can fill.
One of John’s final recordings was a song called “When I get to Heaven”. I am most certain that he lives there now.
“When I get to heaven, I’m gonna shake Gods hand
Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand
Then I’m gonna get a guitar and start a rock-n-roll band
Check into a swell hotel, ain’t the afterlife grand”
John Prine, you certainly had a grand career. Thanks for the music and the memories.
Today at Noon Central time I was able to tune into Tom Russell’s First International Folk Festival. This Facebook Live event was just one of many live shows that Tom has done in this season of social distancing.
Tom opened the show with a version of “Railroad Bill” and went into a medley of hits by other remarkable folk musicians. He covered Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty” along with Guy’s “L.A. Freeway“
I felt that the show was successful with 2.6K viewers watching with me and Facebook comments streaming into my feed from around the globe. Tom has been a light in the darkness by finding new and innovative ways of promoting his music and that of others in this uncertain time.
Tom wore his signature bandanna around his neck a purple one on this day.. one commenter weighed in that Tom Russell was wearing masks before wearing a mask was cool. The masks have been the new normal as this global pandemic continues to spread worldwide. I’m so over it already and I hope these wonderful musicians who spend their lives out on the road making music for us to enjoy will have the freedom to do so in the very near future.
Tom Russell’s wife Nadine helped him in making this project possible she filmed him from the beautiful back drops of Switzerland as he told his tales and sung his music for the world to enjoy.Tom told of his song “U.S. Steel” a one armed gas station attendant in Pittsburgh inspired him to write this song.. An end of an era, the man Tom met at the gas station that day had lost his arm in the mill and later would lose his job when the local steel mill had shut down.
The first guest on the show was David Massengill who sang about growing up in an orphanage. The stunning video shot in the beautiful green forest of the United Kingdom.
Tom introduced Australian songwriter Eric Vogel. His rosy cheeks and bubbly smile along with Vogel’s Soprano voice belting out lyrics “Sing while he has a voice/ sing while he has a choice- sing/ sing/ sing” The Vogel song made me smile It seemed I was floating out of my chair in time with the harmonies.
Austin musician, Eliza Gilkyson , daughter of the songwriter and folk singer Terry Gilkyson joined the festival and sang “Take off your old Coat” . This song is a tale of life traveled on a rough path but being able to still expect the gifts and blessings we will receive in the after life.
Three Hat Trio did a great performance from the Zion National Park in the picturesque state of Utah.
“Their musical style is a taste of Africa with a Cowboy Banjo”, Tom described.
I felt that it was the kind of bluegrass string music that would make the late great Bill Monroe want to tap his feet in time.
Songwriter Bernie Taupin , who has spent much of his career writing for Elton John, spoke of his own musical inspirations. Bernie said that he still listened to The Marty Robbins Album “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs” at least once every other week.
“El Paso, had me at Hello” , Taupin explained “ it was the song that made me want to write songs”.
Taupin said that the song “El Paso” took him from the cold in the North of England to the hot deserts of Texas.
Tom reflected from his personal studio in Switzerland. I love Tom’s space. The studio walls are adorned by Tom’s art work. He paints the most wonderful abstracts of musicians like Townes Van Zandt. His paintings of Indian Teepees, and one of a lone white rooster caught my eye today.
Rosie Flores joined in live from her own space in Austin, Texas. She was wearing a Dylan T-shirt and red diamond studded glasses that would make Elton John drool with envy. Rosie did a fantastic cover of the Joan Baez song “Love is just a four letter word”.
Rosie has a new album out now. “Simple Case of the Blues”. You can support her and her music at rosieflores.com
From a front porch in the green hills of Switzerland, Florian Schneider swaps songs with Tom. Tom’s song the “Rose of Roscrae” was recorded in Swiss German by Florian.
“And a time to cut the wild dogs loose“, echoed across lush greenery in the background.
Joe Ely joined the festival from Texas to promote his new album “Love in the Midst of Meyhem”
Ely performed his song “Indian Cowboy” .
Joe Ely stated that the song came to him “via Guy Clark and the Wringling Brothers Circus“.
He sang, “When the white horses leap the ring of fire”
Tom Russell introduced instrumentalist Fats Kaplan. The introduction showed Tom under an umbrella on a rainy afternoon In a cow pasture near his Swiss home. A red cow could be seen in the video feed grazing away, unaware or unbothered by Tom’s presence.
Tom relayed what Rambling Jack would say about “buskers”. The word comes from the Spanish word “Buscar” which means to seek.
Fats harmoniously played from his accordion a Tex mex sound.
Bill Hearne joined into the festival from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hearne has a new cd coming out called “A very short time”.
Hearne did a wonderful job performing the Tom Russell/Ian Tyson tune “Navajo Rug”.
This section of the festival was a tribute to the late Dave Van Ronk. Van Ronk is known as The Godfather of 60s Folk.
Tom told of his time spent touring Europe along with Van Ronk and vocalist Nanci Griffin.
A street in New York was renamed Van Ronk in his memory.
Dave Van Ronk played the outcast role on Tom’s album “Man From GodKnows Where”
Tom Russell calls Dave “The mayor of folk heaven“.
The festival featured Ralph McTell from the UK. although I am not familiar with this artist , I decided that he looked like somewhat of a pirate as he had a large hooped earring. He strummed a great tune, and i enjoyed heraring him sing with British accent “ it’s a long way from Claire to here”.
I’ll plan to visit RalphMcTell.co.ukin the near future to learn more about this songwriter.
The online folk festival ended with a live feed from Caffe Lena. This coffee house in Saratoga Springs, New York has proudly hosted Folk Music since 1960.
Steve Gillette , who used to open for Ian and Sylvia Tyson , and his partner Cindy Mangsen picked the classic folk song “Darcy Farrow” to end the show.
Growing up in a record store in Ft Worth, Texas owned by his jazz drumming father was just the beginning for a singer- songwriter and actor Stephen Bruton.
Stephen’s father, Sumter Bruton was a highly regarded jazz musician from New Jersey. He would often tell Stephen, “If you are going to listen to music, listen to the best music.”
In my own personal reflection, this statement by Bruton’s father is a reminder of what my own Dad is always telling me.
“As long as you are dreaming, dream big“
Jerry Wayne “Fathead” Watson
Bruton would spend his teen years recording tracks in a makeshift home studio with musician T- Bone Burnett. He and pals like Lubbock musician Delbert McClinton would pick bluegrass by day and then soak up those soul grinding blues rifts by night on the “other side of town”.
The local clubs in Ft Worth at that time were highlighting guys like Freddie King . King’s power house voice along with a distinct guitar style soon inspired many musicians.
Stephen would soon set his sails East to Woodstock. By chance , while on his way to a gig in Manhattan he’d run into old friend Kris Kristofferson. He was offered the guitar gig in the rising stars band , launching two decades of roadwork with Kris.
Stephen would also tour with Bonnie Raitt, Christine McVie, and others.
As a studio artist, He would record with Raitt, Delbert McClinton, the Wallflowers, Ray Wiley Hubbard and too many more to list.
Stephen Bruton was inducted into the Texas Heritage song writers Hall of Fame.
Through Bruton’s long association with Kris Kristofferson, he took up acting. Appearing in films “A star is born”, “Heaven’s Gate”, and “Miss Congeniality”. He appeared alongside Kris in the movie “Convoy”. Stephen would appear on TV in a mini series titled “Amerika” and on the series, “Matlock.”
Stephen Bruton co-wrote many of the songs from the soundtrack of the movie “Crazy Heart”. He consulted Jeff Bridges and was a guitar teacher to him on the set.
Sadly , Stephen Bruton lost his battle to cancer shortly after the movie was made. “Crazy Heart”, was dedicated to this Ft Worth artists life and influential music.
My little brother turned me onto the song “Fallin’ & Flyin’ ” , not long after I sobered up. I believe the song paints a perfect picture of the insanity my life had become because of my addictions.
It’s funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’ For a little while Funny how fallin’ feels like flyin’ For a little while
Song by Colin Farrell and Jeff Brides Songwriters:Gary Nicholson / Stephen Bruton
Ian Tyson was born September 25, 1933 to immigrants in Victoria B.C. Canada. Ian’s impeccable career has earned him numerous awards and recognitions.
This Canadian Singer Song-Writer was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the Mariposa Hall of Music. His song “Four Strong Winds” was deemed one of the most influential songs in Canadian history. CBC radio named it the greatest song of all time. On American soil , the song was recorded by Johnny Cash and Neil Young.
The Western Writers of America placed two songs penned by Ian among the top 100 western songs of all time. “Summer Wages” and “Navajo Rug” “Navajo Rug” has been recorded by Outlaw Country singer Jerry Jeff Walker, and Singer Songwriter Tom Russell does my personal favorite version of the song.
Tom Russell describes Ian’s Music as Nova Beat.
Nova Beat : characterized by “different beat” that altered the harmonies with the introduction of unconventional chords and an innovative syncopation of traditional samba from a single rhythmic division. Therefore, the “bossa nova beat“, then, is characteristic of a samba style and not of an autonomous genre.
Per Wikipedia, Ian’s genre is classified as Country Folk Western or Americana , but as I listen to his music and yodel , He is most definitely Nova Beat.
A real life rodeo cowboy and ranch hand. Ian learned to play the guitar in his late twenties while recovering from a fall. His songs are soulful cowboy ballads and true confessions of the Wild West and the cowboys way of life.
Bob Dylan and the Band released a version of his song “One Single River” in Woodstock NY in 1967
From 1970 to 1975 Ian and his partner Sylvia hosted the Ian Tyson Show. A public broadcast in Canada. The show earned the nickname of Nashville North as it helped spread music from Nashville and Beyond across Canadian Soil.
Even into his 80s Ian is still a writer and producer of western music. He has written several works of literature and poetry on the subject as well. Most recently he published “La Primera” and has a song of the same title about the origins of the Wild Mustang.
I was trying to wake myself this morning and going through my normal blah of scrolling through endless Facebook posts and came across a video on Facebook Watch.
Those who know, know that I am not a fan of the modern country on today’s radio. I caught a video this morning however, that I will endorse. “Starting Over” a new song by Chris Stapleton. The official video release was just this week, September 19, 2020.
This video directed by Becky Fluke gives viewers a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to make music in RCA’s historical Studio A in Nashville.
The video features the song “Starting Over” another masterpiece written by Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson. The duo is previously known for songs like “Broken Halo” , and “Midnight Train to Memphis”.
The video also features Stapleton’s wife Morgane Stapleton on backup vocals. Morgane, a song writer herself, made her own space on Music Row writing songs like “Talk is Cheap” for Alan Jackson, “You Ain’t Right” for LeAnn Rimes, and Reba’s, “Ain’t Got Nothin’ On My Pain”.
Don’t go looking for the song anywhere soon. “Starting Over” isn’t set to release yet. Chris Stapleton tweeted that he is releasing 14 new tracks on his 4th Studio Album on November 13th.
I appreciate the way Chris writes and performs his music. His music is a reminder of the outlaw country that I grew up on.
Stapleton is an amazing performer. His ability to jump across Multiple genres of music is a bonus. He can be a Rockstar, a blues man, and a rockabilly all in one set.
Looking forward to hearing the new stuff. Maybe it will help promote today’s country radio into “Starting Over”.
Let’s get back to real old fashioned country music. If I wanted to hear rap rhymes, I would just read poetry.
After Some drunk guy yelled “spooky wagons” during a night of drinking and picking around a campfire during the Old Settlers Music Festival in 2007, a friend had the idea to give each other Native American Guide names. Alejandro Rose-Garcia will forever be Known as Shakey Graves.
Shakey Graves is an Austin based up and comer in the Americana Genre . His groove consists of his unique voice coupled with country, folk, and bluegrass roots. He has already received an award for Best Emerging Artist at the Americana Music Awards in 2015. I see him growing into something greater than he already is.
Shakey can be a bit unpredictable at times, but his music is refreshing to the soul in this age of poor tastes. He is known for his one man band set up. A refurbished suit case becomes a kick drum and tambourine stand. A tap of his foot keeps the time while he belts out powerful poetic lyrics and plays amazing tones on his Gibson ES guitar. He has performed on the Conanshow, Late Show with David Letterman and on May 6, 2015 he performed on an episode of Austin City Limits.
Shake’s 2011 self released album Roll the Bones , features him most entirely performing solo. He is a singer, lead guitarist, bassist and rhythm section packed all in to one vinyl case. Shakey said he got the idea for the set up because he got tired of asking to borrow kick drums and high hats.
Multiple labels have hoped to work with him, however he has contracted with Dualtone Records. Since working with them he has added other musicians to his recordings and on stage.
On June 30, 2017 the band released “The Donor Blues “ and “Nobody’s Fool” as a collection titled The Horse He Rode in On. In 2018 Shakey Graves released the album Can’t Wake Up. This year, he is proud to have released Look Alive EP.
All these Albums are worth a spin and I am definitely adding them to my ever growing collection. I am personally looking forward to a light at the end of the tunnel when the Earth returns to some form of normalcy and great musicians like Shakey Graves will be back in the saddle, touring in a city near you.