Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Just When I Thought Things Couldn’t Get Worse…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 14, 2009 by takecountryback

… I see that Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana)  is holding the number spot for a country album. Geesh. How bad is the state of country music when the Shania Twain Era looks like the Good Ol’ Days?

Thankfully though — there is still hope (although I have to admit that the bright spots are harder to find in the midst of this current surge of teenage spirit…sigh…

All I have to say is thank goodness for Todd Snider!

ESPN’s Chat with Todd Snider

2009 Hall of Fame Inductees

Posted in Uncategorized on February 6, 2009 by takecountryback

Barbara Mandrell

Roy Clark

Charlie McCoy

Merle Haggard: Legendary Performances on DVD

Posted in Uncategorized on November 13, 2008 by takecountryback

Shout! Factory and the Country Music Hall Of Fame® and Museum Archive Series are proud to present Merle Haggard: Legendary Performances on DVD.


Merle Haggard: Legendary Performances trailer video stream:

“Mama Tried” video stream:

“Okie From Muskogee” video stream:

From the vaults of the Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum, this collection features nearly two decades of Merle Haggard performances in his prime not seen since their original broadcast. Now, for the first time on DVD, experience the hits through a chronology of vintage live performances such as “Branded Man” (Country Music Holiday,1968), “Mama Tried” (Billy Walker’s Country Carnival, 1968) and “Okie From Muskogee” (The Porter Wagoner Show, 1970).When Merle Haggard left prison in 1960, he went on to achieve 38 #1 hits (to date) and establish himself as one of the greats in country music. But getting out of prison didn’t quite mean leaving his rebel ways behind. His songwriting depicted the truths of a rough-and-tumble life which he fused with a musical style derived from hardcore country, jazz, blues and folk to create a sound no one had ever heard, with lyrics many could relate to.From the walls of San Quentin to his free-spirited life as an irreverent and unique voice outside the Nashville establishment to his induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame, Merle Haggard has never left a doubt that he is country’s original outlaw.

LA Times – Chris Gaffney

Posted in Uncategorized on April 18, 2008 by takecountryback
Chris Gaffney

By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 18, 2008
Chris Gaffney, a roots-music omnivore whose earthy aplomb and offhand mastery of many styles made him a quintessential Southern California bar musician — but who also earned international regard for his heartfelt and witty songwriting — has died. He was 57.

Gaffney had been getting treatment for liver cancer that was diagnosed in February. His brother Greg said he died Thursday morning at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, where family members rushed him after a fall in his Costa Mesa home.

Gaffney toured extensively over the last nine years as a member of Dave Alvin’s backing band, the Guilty Men, playing accordion and guitar and adding vocals, and as lead singer of the Hacienda Brothers, in which he teamed with veteran San Diego guitarist Dave Gonzalez.

But Gaffney had been a presence on the regional bar scene since the 1970s, playing multiple sets each night in small clubs such as the Upbeat in Garden Grove and the Swallows Inn in San Juan Capistrano. It was a hard-won musician’s existence that he and Alvin captured in their easygoing honky-tonk number “Six Nights a Week.”

“One of the things that may have hindered him commercially was that he couldn’t turn it on; he was a hundred percent honest,” recalled Alvin, who considered Gaffney his best friend. “If Chris is in a good mood, you get an amazing show; if he was in a bad mood, he wouldn’t hide it.”

As a songwriter, Gaffney was a peer of Alvin, Los Lobos, X and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in chronicling the life of Southern California. In “Artesia,” from the 1990 “Chris Gaffney and the Cold Hard Facts” album, he evoked memories of his teenage years cruising through the San Gabriel Valley — remembrances stirred by the scent of cow manure carried on the wind from inland dairy farms.

“The Gardens,” from the same album, and later recorded by Freddy Fender with the Texas Tornados, was an aching assessment of the void that gang violence leaves in a community’s heart — in this case, Hawaiian Gardens.

But many Gaffney songs reflect the dry, sometimes absurdist, sense of humor that stayed with him in his day-to-day life: “They made a mistake and they called it me,” he sang in one jaunty tune; in another lyrical self-description he pegs himself as “a dancing cretin with faraway eyes.”

Gaffney sang in a tuneful yet conversational voice that was both sandpapery and sweet. He had no pretentiousness about his music. In a 1992 Times interview, he described taking part in a songwriters panel at a folk festival: “The kids were asking, ‘How do you write songs?’ I said, ‘I’m sitting in front of the TV, having a beer, and something comes to my mind, and I go ‘what the hell’ and write it down.”

Born in 1950 in Vienna, Austria, he grew up mainly in Cypress, the son of a telephone company executive. Tall and solidly built, Gaffney excelled at track and cross country at Western High School in Anaheim and took his licks as a Golden Gloves boxer.

“I always ascribed his cockeyed view of the world to being beat around the head a few too many times,” Alvin said.

As he built a critically acclaimed recorded repertoire during the 1990s with three studio albums, including “Mi Vida Loca” and “Loser’s Paradise” for Hightone Records, Gaffney was unable to capitalize on it with touring — tied instead to his bar hero regimen on top of days spent scraping hulls at a Newport Beach boatyard.

Gaffney accepted the bar-musician’s lot with equanimity: “I was a working guy before becoming an unheralded roots-music recording eminence, and I continue to do that. If they don’t want to put out an album, I’ll go and do my day job,” he told The Times in 1999. What sustained him, he said, was “the music, and I love the people. You surround yourself with good friends, and you’re good to go.”

Starting in 1999, though, Gaffney got to live the life of a musical road warrior, with Alvin and then the Hacienda Brothers, touring extensively through the United States and Europe. Alvin said he soon learned not to give Gaffney a weekly advance on his meal money: “He’d give it to some homeless guy or a guy standing at a rest stop begging for change.”

With the Hacienda Brothers, who blended classic country and rhythm and blues styles, Gaffney recorded two studio albums and a live release. In December, he and Alvin recorded the song “Two Lucky Bums,” a mellow duet to friendship:

Let’s make a toast to the times we’ve had

The good, the crazy, the rough and the bad.

We’ve survived every one, a couple of losers who won,

And when it’s all said and done, we’re two lucky bums.

“He might have gone out early, but he did everything he wanted to do,” said Greg Gaffney, who played bass beside his brother through many of the bar years. “He loved being on the road, happy in a van with a bunch of buffoons.”

In addition to his brother Greg of Costa Mesa, survivors include his wife, Julie, of Costa Mesa; daughter Erika of Houston; sister Helen of Oakland; and brother Robert of Vancouver, Canada.

Services are pending.

TCB Weekly Newsletter – Feb 11 2008

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 12, 2008 by takecountryback


Hello Readers,

Welcome to our newsletter! We hope you find a little bit of information and a whole lot of entertainment here each week. If you have anything you’d like to include or suggest email us and feel free to start a discussion within the blog about anything you’ve read. Posts have to be approved to avoid spammers but we welcome your participation. Starting off this newsletter with some important notes to remember:

Mailing addresses for CD submissions:

PO Box 768
Wimberley Texas
We have a new page: and will be deleting the old one eventually. Please add the new one to your list. It will be THE place to read the weekly newsletters, get breaking news and hear the best of independent roots music!
Each week on our player we’ll be showcasing 6 songs. If you’d like your music considered please send a press kit to the above address or an mp3 to our email address.
This week on the player:

Doug Lang – Troubadour Prairie born, Vancouver Canada resident singer/songwriter Doug Lang is indeed a rare gem that needs to be heard by the masses. TCB’s been impressed with every single song to come from this artist – such wealth of songwriting riches is rare.

Mike Runnels – Just Kiss Me Again A perinneal favorite of TCB, Austin honkytonker Mike Runnels consistently charts in the overseas market where it can be safely argued that the politics of the music business are less likely to get in the way of good music.

Gareth Rowan – Black Candle Gareth takes a slight turn from his usual honkytonkin’ fare of his UK based band “Too Country” to explore the breadth of his talent with this self penned tune. Mesmerizing.

Jack and the Jillted – Round and Round Jacque Judy, formally of the Hoyle Brothers, has set up shop in Austin, Texas but his music hasn’t missed a beat. It’s still quality, still entertaining and always well worth the time to listen. Catch this band live if you get the chance in and around A-Town.

Lauren Adams – Smart Girl I was hooked on “Smart Girl” the first time I heard it and it hasn’t worn thin. Lauren Adams writes real songs for real people wrapped in melodies that promise to capture, inspire and pull the listener in again and again.

Donna Beasley – No One Here By That Name - Donna’s paying her hard earned dues in the dance halls in and around the Nashville area. Life isn’t easy for a woman in this business and life on the road adds to the burden. Donna’s perservence is our gain. While you’re visiting her myspace at be sure to check our her blog about the state of touring. It’s an eye opener.

We have two contests running until March 7th. Readers may enter once a day by submitting an entry to with the appropriate subject line included. Reviews of these astounding new releases to come in next week’s newsletter.
Shelby Lynne – Just A Little Lovin’ (autographed) (contest subject line: SHELBY)
Tift Merritt – Another Country (contest subject line: TIFT)

Malcolm Holcombe – Gamblin’ House: Gritty, real and barely contained. Malcolm is an original with no apologies.

Andrew Eversole – Creature: Roots influenced acoustic Americana of the memorable kind. Unpredictable, eclectic and vibrant.


Lauren Adams – Secret Heart: One listen and I was hooked. Superb, intelligent, thought-provoking songs written from the heart and soul of someone’s who’s been there and survived to write songs about it. Real songs for real people wrapped in melodies that , promise to capture, inspire and pull the listener in again and again. Songwriters of Lauren Adams’ level are few and far between. “Secret Heart” not only begs to be heard, it deserves it!


Justin Townes Earle – Good Life

I predict that just as his father, Steve did when he first happened on the country music scene, Justin Townes Earle has the ability to set this industry on its ear – on his own terms. His upcoming release The Good Life on Bloodshot Records to be released March 25th already promises to be on the Best of 2008 lists at year end.  Don’t be expecting Copperhead Road deja vu moments – Justin’s his own man/artist. His sound is distinctly twangier in a non-hillbilly way. Solid country with soulful southern inflections. A must have. Check out his myspace at


* Logan Rogers, a former member of the Compadre Records team started his own label with James McMurtry as the lone artist. McMurtry’s new album is slated for release in mid-April.
* This year’s Kentucky Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Thursday, February 21, 2008 in Lexington, Kentucky.  The 2008 inductees are Dwight Yoakam, Florence Henderson, Crystal Gayle, Les McCann and Norro Wilson. Loretta Lynn will be in attendance to induct her sister, Crystal Gayle.  Tom T. Hall and Ralph Emery will also act as presenters. 
* Congratulations to Adam Hood on his FOUR nominations from the Gruene with Envy Awards 2008. The ceremony will take place at Hill’s Cafe on April 6th in Austin. TCB had the pleasure of catching Adam’s live show at Gruene Hall a few weeks back. He’s a dynamic performer and his current release, Different Groove, on Little Dog Records is worth seeking out.  You can find Adam online at
* Willie Nelson will be performing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, Feb. 20. We’ll review Willie’s new album Moment of Forever next week!
* Congratualtions to Rhonda Vincent and her band for the collective acknowledgements from the SPBGMA held recently.
* Billy Joe Shaver was the subject of a substantive piece of journalism recently. We’re passing it on here for your enjoyment. Link

View the entire webcast of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering at the Western Folk Life Center here: Of particularly impressive note is the Tom Russell broadcast. Enjoy!
MP3s of the Week

If A Song Could Be President – Over the Rhine

Keep You Happy – Tift Merritt


Justin Townes Earle – South Georgia Sugar Babe

The good folks at Sundown Songs pointed me in the direction of this video of Delbert McClinton’s Lone Star Blues

Howlin’ Wolf

Until next week,


good folks at Sundown Songs pointed me in the direct of this video of Delbert McClinton’s Lone Star Blues

We got Tunes! (and a new myspace page!)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2008 by takecountryback

We’ve started a new myspace page (add us: to help showcase great indie music we happen across every time we turn around. Please check out our newest additions:

Doug Lang – Troubadour

Mike Runnels – Just Kiss Me Again

Gareth Rowan – Black Candle

Jack and the Jillted – Round and Round 

We’ll be sharing more about these fine folks and their music in our next newsletter! Sign up here The next edition will be going out on Sunday!

 We’ve got 2 spots left on the player for this edition. Contact us at if you’re interested in showcasing your music for our readers!

Artist Profile – Angela Easterling

Posted in Uncategorized on December 7, 2007 by takecountryback

Angela’s one of my personal new favorites. Her debut album is amazing from the opening track othe last.

Love and War hosts benefit for Wier

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 25, 2007 by takecountryback


Even with chilly winter weather all around local country music artists came together in an outdoor benefit concert to warm the heart of a Texas music icon.

Tye Phelps and Travis Shull co-owners of Love and War in Texas, a Texas style restaurant with two locations in Plano and Grapevine, put on a benefit concert for Rusty Wier on Nov. 23 in Plano. They also took the time to honor Wier with the first Love and War Lifetime Achievement Award.

Phelps said the Love and War Lifetime Achievement Award was created to honor a prominent Texan every year, whether it is a singer/songwriter, Texas Ranger, politician or teacher. It is for anyone who spends their life time contributing positively to Texas.

“It is very fitting that Rusty gets the first one,” Phelps said. And in honor of the Texas musician he said they would even call the award itself the “Rusty”, much like the Academy Awards call their award the “Oscar”.

The night was not only about honoring Wier’s contribution to music, but it was a time for a close nit community of musicians and fans to come together and support someone who many consider family.

“Rusty is apart of our family. Whether playing or not, he always comes by,” Phelps said. Wier was recently diagnosed with colon cancer that has spread to his liver. He has already gone under one treatment of chemotherapy. Treatment for the cancer is why the benefit concert was organized, to help Wier raise money to pay for his rising medical costs.

Phelps said he was saddened when he found out about Rusty’s illness because “He is one of the greatest guys you will ever meet.”

Michael Martin Murphey, a cowboy music singer, echoed those sentiments in a letter he wrote for the benefit. He said, “Knowing Rusty Wier has been like one long sunny day.”

Setting up the benefit concert has been a real grass roots effort, Phelps said. Once the community found out about the benefit, they called him up to see what they could do to get involved.

Many donated items for auction or sales. Others came to sing a song or two. The few who could not make it sent along messages of memories and gratitude for Wier, which were read to the audience.

Items up for auction included a guitar signed by Wier and all of the musicians that came that night. It sold for $1,200, and all proceeds from at the door donations to the auction items went to Wier’s medical funds.

In between auctioning off items different musicians would get on stage to sing and reminisce about first meeting Wier and what he means to Texas music. Darryl Lee Rush, lead singer of the Darryl Lee Rush band, said, “The thing about Rusty is he has been around for a long time. He is just an institution in Texas country music.”

Not that Wier would allow himself to be pegged as any style of music. He plays a Texas-country-rockin-folkin-blues-gospel. “Which pretty much leaves me open for pretty much everything,” Wier said.

Wier’s exposure to different types of music growing up in Austin contributed to the eclectic style he has created. “Well, I started with spoons on pots and pans, according to what my mom and dad would say,” he said. And by 10 years old he received his first drum set and has been playing ever since.

He did not grow up poor, but he said once he moved out and started pursuing music that all changed quickly. Not that being poor ever bothered Wier. He was never one to search out the fame and fortune that went to his outlaw country counterparts in Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Wier said he was more of an entertainer than player. “I want to make people smile, and if you smiled once while I was up there than I did my job.”

Many of Wier’s fellow musicians commented on his ability to put smiles on people’s faces. The laid back friendly demeanor endeared him to many of the local musicians playing at the concert. Andie Kay, lead singer for the blacktopGYPSY said, “He is a great entertainer and an icon on everything that is Texas music.”

Singer/songwriter Mark David Manders said that he remembers Wier as one of the first big names to he opened for. He said he was shocked when he heard about Rusty’s illness.

“I still think of Rusty as being 21,” Manders said. “He taught me how to drink tequila.”

But sitting there looking out into the audience of fans, friends and family, Wier said that it is a truly humbling experience for him

“I have never been so famous in my entire life,” he said.

Wier has a long road ahead of him with treatments for his cancer. He said the first week of chemo was exceptionally hard on him. But, he is always looking forward and plans on continuing to play music and entertain his fans.

“Going to try as long as I can,” Wier said.

Those who want to contribute to Wier’s medical expenses can donate a

The lights are back on!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2007 by takecountryback

 Well we’re still not sure why the lights temporarily went out — but we’re glad we’re back.

Thanks to all who alerted us to the downtime.

Let’s roll!

Lyle Lovett to perform and recieve special award at AMA’s

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 2, 2007 by takecountryback

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Also to Sponsor Conference
Interview with Lovett

NASHVILLE, October 1, 2007 – Artist Lyle Lovett will receive the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award and perform at the organization’s 2007 Honors and Awards show, slated for November 1 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. To further delve into all things Lyle, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will also sponsor a keynote interview with Lovett the following day, Friday, November 2, during the Americana Music Association’s annual conference.

Dr. Warren Zanes, Education Advisor to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, will moderate the in-depth discussion with Lovett. Scheduled for 11am at the Nashville Convention center, this rare glimpse into the creative process of one of contemporary music’s most fructuous minds is open to conference registrants only.

Established to recognize true musical pioneers, the Americana Trailblazer Award seeks to honor those emboldened artists who create timeless musical capsules of individualistic style and purpose. A connoisseur and catalyst of fine music, Lyle Lovett embodies the term genre-bending. Three decades of the Texas native’s sui generis gospel-roots-jazz-swing concoction have been well-documented by eleven albums, four Grammy’s and a distinct voice both as a songwriter and vocal stylist. Lovett’s newest offering, It’s Not Big It’s Large, offers more literary song gumbo.

“It’s an honor to be part of the Americana Honors & Awards tribute to Lyle Lovett,” said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “The social soundtrack that Lyle continues to create makes us proud to be working with the Americana Music Association in our shared mission of celebrating modern music and the great artists who create it.”

“Lyle Lovett’s designation as the first recipient of the Trailblazer Award really sets the tone for the honor itself,” said Americana Music Association Executive Director Jed Hilly. “We at the AMA are consistently thrilled by the caliber of artist we represent and applaud. Lyle Lovett naturally falls into that elite fold.”

Lovett rounds out the nonpareil lineup of artists scheduled to perform during the 8th annual Americana Awards and Honors ceremony. Emmylou Harris, Guy Clark, Darrell Scott, Joe Ely, Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby, Todd Snider, Gurf Morlix, The Avett Brothers, Sunny Sweeney, Old Crow Medicine Show, Hacienda Brothers and Elizabeth Cook will all take the stage. Hosted by Jim Lauderdale and featuring a band led by Buddy Miller, the event will also toast winners in six member-voted categories: Album, Artist, Instrumentalist, New and Emerging Artist, Song and Duo/Group of the Year. The AMA will also recognize beloved beatnik Joe Ely with the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performance category. Venerable scribe Guy Clark will accept the AMA President’s award on behalf of his friend, Townes Van Zandt. Clark’s performance will pay tribute to the late Van Zandt, whose unparalleled influence touches the upper echelon of song.

Slated for Wednesday, October 31 through Saturday, November 3, the 8th Annual Americana Festival and Conference will offer daily seminars, panels and networking opportunities at the Nashville Convention Center. Each evening brings stacked Americana showcases to key venues throughout Nashville.

One ticket to the Americana Honors and Awards is included in each conference registration packet. The general public may now also purchase tickets for the ceremony through the Ryman and Ticketmaster outlets for $35 each. $30 wristbands granting admission to all evening showcases are also available to non members of the Association. To learn more about becoming a member of the Americana Music Association, access detailed conference schedules and buy tickets, please visit


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