Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, October 1-15

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; DJ=Country Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; WS=Western Swing; RR=country performer also in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)

October 1:

Kelly Willis born in Lawton, Oklahoma, 1968 (now 47)

Skeets McDonald born in Greenway, Arkansas, 1915 (died 1968)
Bonnie Owens (WS 87) born in Blanchard, Oklahoma, 1932 (died 2006)

October 2:

Leon Rausch (WS 87) born in Billings, Missouri, 1927 (now 88)

Jo-El Sonnier born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1946 (now 69)
Tammy Sullivan born in Wagarville, Alabama, 1964 (now 51)
Gillian Welch born in Manhattan, New York, 1967 (now 48)
Chris LeDoux born in Biloxi, Mississippi, 1948 (died 2005)
Chubby Wise (BG 98) born in Lake City, Florida, 1915 (died 1996)
Gene Autry (CM 69, WS 89) died in Studio City, California (lymphoma), 1998 (was 91). The "Singing Cowboy" also owned the California/Anaheim Angels, who dedicated their 2002 World Series victory to his memory.
Elvis Presley played the Grand Ole Opry, 1954. Opry manager Jim Denny critiqued his performance by telling him that he was going nowhere and to "go back to driving trucks."

October 3:

Joe Allison (NS 78; DJ 76) born in McKinney, Texas, 1924 (died 2002)

Woody Guthrie (NS 77) died in Queens, New York (Huntington's disease), 1967 (was 55)
Del Wood died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1989 (was 69)

October 4:

Leroy Van Dyke born in Spring Fork, Missouri, 1929 (now 86)

Lloyd Green (StG 88) born in Leaf, Mississippi, 1937 (now 78)
Larry Collins of the Collins Kids born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1944 (now 71)
Greg Hubbard of Sawyer Brown born in Orlando, Florida, 1960 (now 55)
Jerry Rivers died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1996 (was 69)
A.L. "Doodle" Owens (NS 99) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1999 (was 69)
Tammy Wynette's kidnapped ordeal began, 1978

October 5:

Radio station WSM born in Nashville at 650 on the AM dial, 1925 (now 90)

Margie Singleton born in Coushatta, Louisiana, 1935 (now 80)
Johnny Duncan born in Dublin, Texas, 1938 (died 2006)
Johnny Vincent, founder of the Sally Mountain Bluegrass Festival and father of Darrin and Rhonda Vincent, died in Queen City, Missouri (long illness), 2014 (was 73)

October 6:

Tim Rushlow of Little Texas born in Arlington, Texas, 1966 (now 49)

Kendall Hayes born in Perryville, Kentucky, 1935 (died 1995)
Ted Daffan (NS 70, WS 94) died in Houston, Texas (cancer), 1996 (was 84)

October 7:

Jim Halsey born in Independence, Kansas, 1930 (now 85)

Kieran Kane born in Queens, New York, 1949 (now 66)
Dale Watson born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1962 (now 53)
Uncle Dave Macon (CM 66) born in Warren County, Tennessee, 1870 (died 1952)
Gordon Terry born in Decatur, Alabama, 1931 (died 2006)
Hugh Cherry born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1922 (died 1998)
Buddy Lee born in Brooklyn, New York, 1932 (died 1998)
Johnny Darrell died in Kennesaw, Georgia (diabetes complications), 1997 (was 57)
Jimmie Logsdon died in Louisville, Kentucky (unknown cause), 2001 (was 79)
Shelby Singleton died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2009 (was 77)
Jimmie Rodgers' first recording, "The Soldier's Sweetheart" / "Sleep Baby Sleep," released, 1927

October 8:

Susan Raye Wiggins born in Eugene, Oregon, 1944 (now 71)

Lynn Morris born in Lamesa, Texas, 1948 (now 67)
Jackie Frantz of Dave & Sugar born in Sidney, Ohio, 1950 (now 65)
Pete Drake (StG 87) born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1932 (died 1988)

October 9:

Curtis McPeake born in Scotts Hill, Tennessee, 1927 (now 88)

Goebel Reeves born in Sherman, Texas, 1899 (died 1969)
The Renfro Valley Barn Dance debuted on WLW, 1937

October 10:

John Prine (NS 03) born in Maywood, Illinois, 1946 (now 69)

Tony Arata (NS 12) born in Savannah, Georgia, 1957 (now 58)
Tanya Tucker born in Seminole, Texas, 1958 (now 57)
Don Pierce, founder of Starday Records, born in Ballard, Washington, 1915 (died 2005)
Cal Smith died in Branson, Missouri (unknown cause), 2013 (was 81)

October 11:

Gene Watson born in Palestine, Texas, 1943 (now 72)

Paulette Carlson of Highway 101 born in Northfield, Minnesota, 1952 (now 63)
Leigh Gibson of the Gibson Brothers born in Clinton, New York, 1971 (now 44)
Dottie West born in McMinnville, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1991)
Rex Griffin (NS 70) died in New Orleans, Louisiana (tuberculosis), 1958 (was 46)
Jack Rhodes (NS 72) died in Mineola, Texas (heart attack), 1968 (was 61)
Tex Williams (WS 85) died in Newhall, California (pancreatic cancer), 1985 (was 68)
T. Tommy Cutrer (DJ 80) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1998 (was 74)

October 12:

Shane McAnally born in Mineral Wells, Texas, 1974 (now 41)

John Denver died in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Pacific Grove, California (plane crash), 1997 (was 53)

October 13:

Anita Kerr born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1927 (now 88)

Lacy J. Dalton born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, 1946 (now 69)
John Wiggins born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1962 (now 53)
Rhett Akins born in Valdosta, Georgia, 1969 (now 46)
Hoarce Lee Logan died in Victoria, Texas (respiratory disease), 2002. The founder of the Louisiana Hayride also coined one of the most oft-repeated phrases in American popular culture: trying to calm down an audience after one Louisiana Hayride performer wowed the crowd, Logan announced, "Elvis has left the building."
Acuff-Rose Publishing Company founded, 1942
While presenting the CMA "Entertainer of the Year" award Charlie Rich set fire to the envelope after announcing that John Denver had won the award, 1975

October 14:

Melba Montgomery born in Iron City, Tennessee, 1938 (now 77)

Kenny Roberts born in Lenoir City, Tennessee, 1926 (died 2012)
Bing Crosby died in Madrid, Spain (heart attack), 1977. The legendary pop crooner has the distinction of being the first artist to have a #1 single on Billboard magazine's Country and Western charts, with his rendition of Al Dexter's "Pistol Packin' Mama," January 8, 1944.
Little Jimmy Sizemore died in Appleton, Wisconsin (natural causes), 2014 (was 87)

October 15:

Dean Miller born in Los Angeles, California, 1965 (now 50)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sick Call: Bonnie Brown

Category:  News

For the second time, the new Hall of Fame inductees the Browns have to deal with cancer.

Bonnie Brown announced yesterday (9/28) during a media luncheon featuring the new Country Music Hall of Fame inductees that she has been diagnosed with stage 4 right lung adenocarcinoma.  Eddie Stubbs reported this on his Facebook page, and the Tennesseean has also run the story.

The Browns were announced as one of the new Hall of Famers in March.  In June Jim Ed Brown lost his battle with small cell carcinoma, days after Bill Anderson presented him his Hall of Fame medallion.  

Please keep Bonnie in your thoughts and prayers.  

The Tennessean article

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Like The Ramones (Only Countrier, Of Course)

Category:  Concert Review 

Junior Brown has been around since the neo-traditional days, and his early 90's hit "My Wife Thinks You're Dead" was one of the last bastions of holding on to country sounds before pop and rock completely took over.  Despite that, and his cult following for decades thanks to his quirky humor in songs and blistering guitar playing, I had never seen him live until his appearance at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky on Thursday (9/24).

Big mistake on my part.

Junior Brown going to town on the steel portion
of his guit-steel at Southgate House.
c. 2015 K.F. Raizor
Brown turned the old church building on its steeple with a powerhouse set of country and rockabilly music that showcased highlights from his career and his exceptional work on his "guit-steel" double-neck guitar that is half standard six string and half lap steel.

Brown's performance reminded me of seeing the legendary punk band the Ramones (only countrier, of course):  from the moment he walked on stage until he left, Brown was playing music, going from one song to the next as if the management told him he only had 90 minutes to be onstage and he was going to take advantage of every second.  (When I saw the Ramones, they did 22 songs in one hour.  That's time management!)

Running through highlights from his career, Brown barely stopped to say "hi" to the crowd.  He didn't even stop actually playing when he introduced his wife, rhythm guitar player Tanya Rae Brown, who sang Norma Jean's hit "I Wouldn't Buy a Used Car From Him."

Aside from his marvelous baritone (which he showed off by dropping into a bass range that would make Richard Sterban sweat bullets) and lyrics that tickle your funny bone and country soul (such as the great "Phantom of the Opry," with its reference to Scooby Doo Where Are You! in the line "I said, 'if it wasn't for those meddling kids and their dogs'"), the primary reason to go see this man is his guitar playing.  It's indescribable.  While the albums and the You Tube videos might give you some indication of just how good Brown is, standing there watching him effortlessly move from guitar to steel and back again, throwing in a Jimi Hendrix lick or two along the way, is stunning.  Brown played a medley of "surf-rock" classics (including "Walk, Don't Run" and "Secret Agent Man," the latter of which the audience happily sang for him), "Yakety Axe," and "Sugarfoot Rag" between his songs such as "My Wife Thinks You're Dead," "Highway Patrol," "The Better Half," and "Broke Down South of Dallas."  He began his 20-minute long encore by singing the Connie Smith hit "Cincinnati, Ohio" in honor of the city right across the river from Newport.

The lyrics kept people smiling ("I've gotta get up early every morning just to say goodnight to you") and the guitar work kept them amazed.  After the show Brown signed autographs and posed for pictures, crowning the night with the polite Texas gentleman element.

Thanks for stopping by, Junior.  I'll definitely be seeing you again.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bob Wills Meets the Boswell Sisters

Category:  Concert Review 

Country music historian and WSM DJ Eddie Stubbs once told me that there are only three acts that he unequivocally endorses, and one of them is the Quebe Sisters.  It's certainly an oversimplification to describe the Texas trio as "Bob Wills meets the Boswell Sisters."  It's apt:  the three siblings' flawless fiddle work augment harmonies that are a throwback to the famed 1930's trio.  The comparison, however, might lead one to think that the Quebe Sisters are mimicking either (or both) acts, and nothing is further from the truth.  Their show at the Indiana University Southeast Ogle Center in New Albany on Friday (9/18) proved that they are one of a kind, leaving a packed audience delighted.

Simon Stipp on guitar backs the Quebe Sisters.
c.2015 K.F. Raizor

The three sisters -- Grace, Sophia, and Hulda -- all play fiddles.  Their three-fiddle attack was augmented only by the very capable rhythm section of Simon Stipp on guitar and Daniel Parr on upright bass.  They played two sets of extraordinary music, with the only complaint being it wasn't long enough.  They could have played for two days instead of two hours and it still would have been too short.

From their opening fiddle strains to the close of the encore ("San Antonio Rose") the Quebe Sisters had the audience in the palm of their collective hand.  Their performance meandered through American music classics, including Les Paul & Mary Ford's "How High the Moon" (which sounded as amazing with three-part harmonies as one might imagine), Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia on My Mind," Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart," and Connie Smith's debut hit, the Bill Anderson-penned "Once a Day."  Many of the songs in the two sets came from their most recent album, 2014's Every Which-a-Way, but they also included tunes from their other two albums.

The Quebe Sisters are dedicated to preserving the history of western swing and Texas-based music with their three-part harmonies and three-part fiddle work.  Do not miss this talented trio.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, September 16-30

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; RR=country performer also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

September 16:

David Bellamy of the Bellamy Brothers born in Darby, Florida, 1950 (now 65)
Bobby Randall of Sawyer Brown born in Midland, Michigan, 1952 (now 63)
Terry McBride of McBride & the Ride born in Austin, Texas, 1958 (now 57)
Ralph Mooney (StG 83) born in Duncan, Oklahoma, 1928 (died 2011)
Sheb Wooley died in Nashville, Tennessee (leukemia), 2003 (was 82)

September 17:

Hank Williams (CM 61, NS 70, RR 87) born in Mount Olive, Alabama, 1923 (died 1953)
Jimmie Crawford (StG00) born in Obetz, Ohio, 1935 (died 2005)
John Ritter, son of Tex Ritter, born in Burbank, California, 1948 (died 2003)
Steve Sanders (William Lee Golden's one-time replacement in the Oak Ridge Boys) born in Richland, Georgia, 1952 (died 1998)
Bill Black born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1926 (died 1965)
RCA's 33 1/3 RPM "long-playing" (LP) record first appeared, 1931

September 18:

Carl Jackson born in Louisville, Mississippi, 1953 (now 62)
Lydia Rogers of the Secret Sisters born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 1988 (now 27)
Ervin T. Rouse born in Craven County, North Carolina, 1917 (died 1981)
Priscilla Mitchell born in Marietta, Georgia, 1941 (died 2014)
Michael "Bea" Lilly (BG 02) died in Plymouth, Massachusetts (Alzheimer's disease), 2005 (was 83)

September 19:

Trisha Yearwood born in Monticello, Georgia, 1964 (now 51)
Clyde Moody born in Cherokee, North Carolina, 1915 (died 1989)
Danny Dill (NS 75) born in Carroll County, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2008)
Carlton Haney (BG 98) born in Rockingham County, North Carolina, 1928 (died 2011)
Clyde "Sonny" Burns born in Lufkin, Texas, 1930 (died 1992)
Red Foley (CM 67) died in Fort Wayne, Indiana (heart attack), 1968 (was 58)
Gram Parsons died in Joshua Tree, California (drug overdose), 1973 (was 26)
Skeeter Davis died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2004 (was 72)
Slim Dusty (ne David Kirkpatrick, the "Australian King of Country Music") died in St. Ives, New South Wales (cancer), 2003 (was 76)
Carl Smith married singer Goldie Hill, 1957

September 20:

Bob Miller (NS 70) born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1895 (died 1955)
Pearl Butler born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 1988)
Karl Farr (CM 80) died in West Springfield, Massachusetts (heart attack), 1961 (was 52)
Jim Croce died in Natchitoches, Louisiana (plane crash), 1973 (was 30). The folk singer/songwriter's pop hit "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" made the country charts a year after his death.
Steve Goodman died in Seattle, Washington (liver and kidney failure/leukemia), 1984 (was 36)
Hank Williams re-joined the Louisiana Hayride after being fired from the Grand Ole Opry, 1952

September 21:

Dickey Lee (NS 95) born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1936 (now 79)
Don Felder, former guitarist/steel guitarist for the Eagles, born in Gainesville, Florida, 1947 (now 68)
Kenny Starr born in Topeka, Kansas, 1952 (now 63)
Daryl Mosley of New Tradition born in Waverly, Tennessee, 1964 (now 51)
Ronna Reeves born in Big Spring, Texas, 1966 (now 49)
Ted Daffan (NS 70) born in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, 1912 (died 1996)
Walter Brennan died in Oxnard, California (emphysema), 1974 (was 80). Among the actor's charted hits were "Old Rivers" and a version of Bill Anderson's "Mama Sang a Song."

September 22:

June Forester of the Forester Sisters born in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, 1952 (now 63)
Debby Boone born in Hackensack, New Jersey, 1956 (now 59). The "You Light Up My Life" singer is Red Foley's granddaughter.
James Roy "Pop" Lewis Sr. of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Pickens, South Carolina, 1905 (died 2004)

September 23:

Pat Alger (NS 10) born in Long Island City, New York, 1947 (now 68)
Don Herron Jr. of BR5-49 born in Steubenville, Ohio, 1962 (now 53)
Roy Drusky died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2004 (was 74)
Bradley Kincaid (NS 71) died in Springfield, Ohio (natural causes), 1989 (was 94)
O.B. McClinton died in Nashville, Tennessee (abdominal cancer), 1987 (was 45)
Jimmy Wakely (NS 71) died in Mission Hills, California (emphysema), 1982 (was 68)
Roy Horton (CM 82) died in Nashville, Tennessee (diabetes/congestive heart failure), 2003 (was 88)
First recording session for Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, 1935

September 24:

Rosalie Allen died in Palmdale, California (congestive heart failure), 2003 (was 79)
Priscilla Mitchell died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2014 (was 73)
Jim Denny fired as Opry manager, 1956

September 25:

Ian Tyson born in Victoria, British Columbia, 1933 (now 82)
Larry Sparks (BG 15) born in Lebanon, Ohio, 1947 (now 68).  Larry is one of the new inductees into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
Shel Silverstein (NS 02) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1930 (died 1999)
Royce Kendall born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1934 (died 1998)
Little Jimmy Dickens became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, 1948

September 26:

David Frizzell born in El Dorado, Arkansas, 1941 (now 74)
Carlene Carter born in Madison, Tennessee, 1955 (now 60)
Doug Supernaw born in Bryan, Texas, 1960 (now 55)
Marty Robbins (CM 82, NS 75) born in Glendale, Arizona, 1925 (died 1982)
Lynn Anderson born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1947 (died 2015)
The Beverly Hillbillies debuted on CBS, 1962. The program featured appearances by Roy Clark as Cousin Roy and Flatt and Scruggs as friends of the Clampetts, and the show was frequently sponsored by Kellogg's Corn Flakes with ads featuring Homer and Jethro.

September 27:

Beasley Smith (NS 83) born in McEwen, Tennessee, 1902 (died 1968)
Uncle Josh Graves (BG 97) born in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2006)
Charlie Monroe died in Reidsville, North Carolina (cancer), 1975 (was 72)
Johnnie Wright died in Madison, Tennessee (natural causes), 2011 (was 97)
Johnny Mathis died in Cornersville, Tennessee (pneumonia), 2011 (was 80)

September 28:

Ronnie Reno born in Buffalo, South Carolina, 1947 (now 68)
Laurie Lewis born in Long Beach, California, 1950 (now 65)
Mandy Barnett born in Crossville, Tennessee, 1975 (now 40)
Joseph Falcon born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1900 (died 1965). Falcon is credited with the first Cajun recording, "Allons a Lafayette," in 1928.
Jim Boyd (of Bill Boyd and the Cowboy Ramblers) born in Fannin County, Texas, 1914 (died 1993)
Jerry Clower born in Liberty, Mississippi, 1926 (died 1998)
Tommy Collins (ne Leonard Sipes) (NS 99) born in Bethany, Oklahoma, 1930 (died 2000)
Johnny Mathis born in Maud, Texas, 1930 (died 2011). Because of the rise of a pop singer by the same name in the mid 1950's, Mathis became known as "Country Johnny Mathis."
Glenn Sutton (NS 99) born in Hodge, Louisiana, 1937 (died 2007)
Johnny Horton married Billie Jean Williams (widow of Hank Williams), 1953

September 29:

Jerry Lee Lewis (RR 86) born in Ferriday, Louisiana, 1935 (now 80)
Gene Autry (CM 69, NS 70) born in Tioga Springs, Texas, 1907 (died 1998)
Bill Boyd born in Fannin County, Texas, 1910 (died 1977)
Tillman Franks born in Stamps, Arkansas, 1920 (died 2006)
Wesley Tuttle died in San Fernando, California (natural causes), 2003 (was 85)
Mickey Newbury (NS 80) died in Springfield, Oregon (emphysema), 2002 (was 62)

September 30:

Richard Bowden born in Linden, Texas, 1945 (now 70)
Johnny Burns born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1948 (now 67).  The son of Jethro Burns is a singer/songwriter/guitarist on his own, and worked for many years with country-folk icon John Prine.
Deborah Allen born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1953 (now 62)
Marty Stuart born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, 1958 (now 57)
Mary Ford died in Arcadia, California (diabetes complications), 1977 (was 53)
Uncle Josh Graves (BG 97) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lengthy illness), 2006 (was 81)
Ruby Wright died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart disease), 2009 (was 69)
Billboard magazine changed the name of the "Hillbilly and Western" chart to the "Folk Country and Western" chart, 1950. Ernest Tubb is considered by many to be one of the people responsible for this, as he claimed that "hillbilly" was a derogatory term.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Firing on All Cylinders

Category:  Concert Review 

There's good news, bad news, and great news about Robbie Fulks.

The good news is he has a new album in the can, titled Upland Stories.  The bad news is that it won't be released until the first quarter of 2016.

The great news, however, is that Fulks has been playing a few new songs on sporadic tour stops.  One of those stops was Friday (8/28) at Nashville's legendary Station Inn, where he and his band fired on all cylinders for nearly two hours of hot music, superb picking, and -- as is usually the case with Robbie Fulks -- good humor. 

Sharing the stage with Fulks were seven-time IBMA bassist of the year Missy Raines, her Helen Highwater String Band partner Shad Cobb on fiddle, and legendary (as in, played with Jethro Burns) wizard Don Stiernberg on mandolin.  As he usually does, Fulks made certain to highlight each band member.  Cobb sang lead on a song he wrote, "Fiddle and Bow," and Stiernberg sang lead on "Roving Gambler" and "I'm Head Over Heels in Love."  Raines provided background vocals for "Never Could," Fulks' song from his "much maligned" (his description) Couples in Trouble album.  

Shad Cobb (l) waiting to play behind
Robbie Fulks at the Station Inn.
c. 2015 K.F. Raizor

Fulks' songs are the stars of the show, however.  Granted, it's hard to concentrate on brilliant lyrics such as his comical "they say the Norfolk girls are fair and they all sing right on key, but I went down and I never found one who sang as good as me" (from "Long I Ride") while Cobb is sawing his fiddle in half, but the music-sensitive audience (including mandolin legend Roland White) caught the jokes in songs such as "I Just Want to Meet the Man" and laughed heartily.  

The three new songs that Fulks previewed from Upland Stories give every indication that the album will be a superb follow-up to his widely acclaimed 2013 Gone Away Backward.  Two of the songs were lighthearted in nature.  "Aunt Peg's New Old Man" is about his sole meeting (in the 70's) with his banjo-playing great-great aunt, who, after years of being a widow, remarried.  Her new husband was a fiddler, and the two (as Robbie detailed in the introduction to the song) "ganged up" on him as a 10-year-old aspiring banjo player to tell him his Scruggs-style playing was horrible.  "The Old Times Have Made a Wreck of Our Lives" was inspired by a jam session that Fulks sat in on before writing the song.  He said the musicians in the jam session seemed to be taking things far too seriously, so he skewered the notion of competition in something that should be fun in this song.  Lines such as "the fiddler just stares in the distance marking time till his liver explodes" indicate in a comical way the negativity he felt in this experience.

The best of the three, however, is "Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals."  This stands a chance of being the new album's centerpiece.  It combines the not-so-wistful reminiscing of youth of "That's Where I'm From" with the caustic attitude of the protagonist of "I'll Trade You Money for Wine" (both from the last album).  The song, Fulks said, was inspired by attending his 35th year high school reunion ("big mistake" he quipped).  The lyrics meander through teenage years ("I made a medium to poor boyfriend and pretty good house painter") and first sexual experience ("that was lovemaking and it made me shout") and end in the present, with the narrator taking John Osborne's play title Look Back in Anger to heart, promising to "sell the farm after mama dies, get a Cadillac and just ride till the Pacific meets the bumper" but realizing "I'd be lucky to get a clunker."  There aren't sufficient words to describe the cinematic and literary beauty of this song, and it's not a stretch to say that Fulks has outdone himself with this gem.

And that's saying something, considering this is the man who gave us "She Took a Lot of Pills (and Died)," "Where There's a Road," "Long I Ride," "The Buck Starts Here," and "Let's Kill Saturday Night," all of which he performed in the show.

Fulks' tour dates throughout the remainder of the month will primarily focus on a two-man show with Merle Haggard guitarist Redd Volkaert, with a few bluegrass (or, as he puts it on his web site, "b***grass") shows thrown in.  If you need to whet your appetite for his forthcoming album, or just need to watch a great guitarist, singer, and songwriter, go see him.