The 33rd annual International Country Music Conference begins today (5/26) at Belmont University in Nashville. It will run through Saturday afternoon.
It started 33 years ago today, the anniversary of the death of Jimmie Rodgers. From there it's become a gathering place for scholars, historians, authors, and geeks like me who cannot get enough of the history and knowledge of country music.
Presentations this year cover the usual wide variety of topics, from a pre-World War II Japanese-American country singer to Felice & Boudleaux Bryant to Josh Graves to Hoagy Carmichael! My presentation (they keep letting me do them!) this year is on the Whitstein Brothers, a grossly under-appreciated country/bluegrass close harmony duo from the 80s and 90s.
Books are also available, including the great new work from Caroline Gnagy, Texas Jailhouse Music, about female country music bands formed in prisons around Texas.
This is where the people who truly love country music -- so much so that they sacrifice good money by writing about Bill Clifton instead of something "trendy" (as I frequently tell people, "You don't get rich writing books about hillbillies, you get rich writing Harry Potter books") -- gather to share knowledge, fellowship, and a deep and passionate love for all things country music.
I'm so thankful to be part of this incredible fraternity!