Archive for October, 2007

Words of Wisdom – Porter Wagoner, 79, Nashville, TN

Posted in Artists, RIP with tags on October 31, 2007 by takecountryback

By A. D. Amorosi

From the cornball to the cutting; from the recitation to the rockabilly-ish; from the honky tonk-y to the heavenly: Porter Wagoner was there. Still is. Since signing with RCA in the ’50s, Wagoner’s been the Wagonmaster, the thin man and one of country music’s most recognizable figures—visually, with his foot-high hair and Nudie suits, and musically, after having maintained a long career of frank lyricism and a dizzyingly diverse sound. Even as an entrepreneur, he was an innovator. Along with mentoring one-time duet partner Dolly Parton (she wrote “I Will Always Love You” about him), Wagoner owned the publishing rights to his songs and created his own syndicated music-television show long before MTV (or Hee Haw). Wagoner hasn’t slowed much, even though he’s just recovered from abdominal aneurysm surgery. After several years of making gospel records, the soft-spoken Wagoner has returned to the gentlemanly country fold with the lean, mean, rich sounds of yore, courtesy Anti-Records, on the Marty Stuart-produced Wagonmaster.

Despite my honky-tonk country past, jailhouse concept records included, I am not a bad man. That is not my secret. No sir. It is not. I’m a Christian man now.

I really didn’t know I’d make another country album. I’ve been making gospel albums the last few years. But deep down in my soul, I guess country was still in me. It’s in my blood; part of my being. Blame Marty Stuart for pulling this out of me.

The guitar? It was a way of life. I was born and raised on a farm without the luxury of television. I was just a country boy when my mama ordered me one out of a catalog; a Sears & Roebuck one, I believe. There I was, 12 years old, and I really learned to play that sucker.

The first song I ever wrote was called “Look What Followed Me Home Tonight.” The rest of that line was “Mama, can I keep it?” “It” happened to be a girl. Everybody thought it might be a dog. But it was not. [laughs] And yes, I was 10.

I had my own look? I suppose I did. When Nudie [Cohn, famed country clothier] made me that first rhinestone sequin-covered suit I knew it was a work of art. I decided to wear those forevermore throughout my career. I still wear them today. I have like 55 of them. Oh yes. I even designed a few.

The pompadour! It grew on me, I suppose. I really felt it looked good on me.

There used to be this myth that if you were on television, you wouldn’t draw people to your next auditorium appearance. Why would they pay to see you when they could stay at home and get you for free is how that logic went. But I knew that couldn’t be right. If they saw me on TV they’d want to see me in person. If they like you. And I was right.

I was good on television because I came across as an honest person. If I told you Dove soap was wonderful I could sell you on that. That’s a long suit that a lot of people don’t have: believability. For instance, I had this one sponsor for 11 years, Black Draft Laxative. If you tell a person that works, it had better work.

Johnny [Cash] sent “Committed to Parkview” to me because we had shared that experience. I was admitted there years ago. My doctor felt like I needed to be there because I went off the beaten path for a bit. I was doing strange things. So I spent a week or so in that hospital. It don’t mean I had to be crazy to be admitted; just to make it that I didn’t go crazy; get my mind leveled out. And I never had that problem again.

If you’re talking about mortality, “The Late Love of Mine” might be my favorite song on the album. I did some really deep thinking on that, more than any other on the album. It’s about a guy who drank a lot. I never drank in my whole life. I had a brother who was an alcoholic and I seen so much of the embarrassment he caused my mother when he came home drunk. It just made me ashamed. That’s how I came to “strong drink is made for the weak ones/I’m trying to bury the memories.” That’s my brother.

My brother was my true inspiration. A good guitar player, he was. Died when he was 15 years old—it was an enlargement of the heart. Glenn Lee Wagoner.

Contest: Josh Turner

Posted in Artists, contest, Upcoming Release with tags , on October 31, 2007 by takecountryback

“This has been an incredible journey and there is still a lot of music left in me.” – Josh Turner

Josh Turner is continuing to make waves in Country music since his debut with LONG BLACK TRAIN in 2003.  In just a few short years, Josh has already tallied career sales of over 3 million albums (LONG BLACK TRAIN – certified Platinum, YOUR MAN – certified double Platinum), has had multiple #1 singles and videos, has been honored with multiple Grammy Award nominations (including Best Country Album nomination for YOUR MAN) and was recently named a 2007 Country Music Association nominee for Top Male Vocalist.  Furthermore, he has performed at our Nation’s Capitol and has made appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America and MARTHA – all while he and his wife welcomed their his first child into the world. 

For Josh’s third album, EVERYTHING IS FINE, he again teamed up with producer Frank Rogers (Brad Paisley).  The album features the title-track “Everything Is Fine” and the first single “Firecracker” (Josh’s fastest moving single to date – Top 30 at Country radio in only 3 weeks).  Josh blends his baritone voice on a collaboration with acclaimed R&B artist Anthony Hamilton and a collaboration with Trisha Yearwood on the soaring ballad “Another Try.”  EVERYTHING IS FINE demonstrates just how FINE everything is for Josh right now.


Here’s a chance for five lucky winners to take home a Josh Turner prize pack!

To Enter Click Here

* Entries limited to one per day/per household

Each Prize Package will include:


  • T-Shirt

  • Magnet picture frame

  • Set of 4 coasters

Jesse Dayton and Brennen Leigh set to release “Holdin’ Our Own”

Posted in Artists, Upcoming Release, Video, YouTube with tags , on October 30, 2007 by takecountryback

Austin’s Jesse Dayton and Brennen Leigh are set to release “Holdin’ Our Own” & other COUNTRY GOLD Duets! Go diggin’ for this one on November 27th! TCB review to come shortly and watch for a chance to win your very own copy!

Jesse Dayton’s “turbo country” style is a nod to his past with his early rockabilly outfit the Road Kings and the countrified Alamo Jets. Since then, he’s done live and studio work for the aforementioned folks as well as Willie Nelson and legendary songwriter Johnny Bush. In 2001, he formed his own label, STAG RECORDS, which debuted with Hey Nashvegas, a set of classic country tunes that included Floyd Domino, Jim Lauderdale and the Dixie Chicks. He’s also been tapped by Rob Zombie to become the fictional band Banjo and Sullivan from Zombie’s film Devil’s Rejects, resulting in a “faux” greatest hits collection: Banjo and Sullivan: the Ultimate Collection 1972-1978 (Universal Records) which includes soon-to-be hillbilly classics like “Dick Soup” and “I’m Home Getting Hammered While She’s Out Getting Nailed.”  

After 10-plus years of rockin’ the international honky-tonk circuit with his bands, as a solo artist and as lead guitar player for the likes of Waylon Jennings, Ray Price and The Supersuckers,  Dayton made the decision to pay homage to the classic country duet recordings that he grew up with in the ‘70s. He found the Tammy to his George in the up-and-coming Austin singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brennen Leigh and the result is Holdin’ Our Own and other COUNTRY GOLD Duets.   23-year-old Brennen Leigh has been singing and playing bluegrass music (she plays fiddle, mandolin and guitar) with her brother, Seth Hulbert, since she was 12 years old.

Leigh’s pure, raw, bittersweet way with a song and lyric adapted itself perfectly to Dayton’s pure country style and the chemistry is tangible. Opening with the skies-the-limit optimism of “Let’s Run Away,” a Doug Sahm-flavored, Tex-Mex rocker, the album plunges into the lovin’ and fightin’ relationship painted in “Holdin’ Our Own,” where the protagonists have their share of troubles but are “scared to death of winding up alone.” 

While Holdin Our Own … consists mainly of Dayton & Leigh originals, the album include a few classics (“Brand New Heartache”) to drive the vintage sound on home. These are old-school, real life country songs about lovin’, troubles, rehab, two-steppin’, revenge and heartache. Dayton & Leigh’s characters feast on “butter beans and lunchmeat” in “Something to Brag About with You,” and in “Two Step Program,” you  find the dueling couple “dancing with every stranger in sight to get you off my mind … getting’ back at you steppin’ out on me.”  

With this kind of chemistry, Dayton and Leigh are set to take the show on the road, kicking off in Nashville at Americana Music convention on Fri., Nov. 2nd @ Midnight at the Mercy Lounge.

XM to pay tribute to Porter Wagoner beginning October 30th

Posted in Artists with tags , on October 30, 2007 by takecountryback

Beginning on October 30th  XM Radio will air special tribute programming to commemorate the late Country Music Hall of Famer Porter Wagoner.  

* The Porter Wagoner episode of “Bill Anderson Visits with the Legends” will air all day tomorrow (October 30) on XMX (XM 2). 

* A special Porter Wagoner memorial show will air on October 30th on XM’s classic country channel “America” (XM 10) at 6am and 8pm ET, featuring a retrospective of his songs, as well as interview and performance highlights from Wagoner’s prolific career in country music. 

* A special encore of Bob Edwards’ conversation with Porter Wagoner, originally broadcast in June, will air on Friday, November 2 at 7am ET on “America” (XM 10).  Fans will hear Wagoner discuss his life in country music as well as his final project, “Wagonmaster,” which was produced by country artist and XM host Marty Stuart and earned Wagoner some of the best reviews of his 50-plus year career.

The Concertgoer’s Guide to Appropriate Behavior

Posted in Just for Fun on October 29, 2007 by takecountryback

Written by Eric Whelchel
Published October 29, 2007

The timid finger gently taps the back of the dancing concertgoer, currently engaged in a grotesque pelvic thrust that is part Macarena, part Electric Slide, and all horror.

The concertgoer spins around as if shook from a dream, to hear a kind request to sit down so that the face of the timid finger can see the performer on the stage. The dancer answers by gruffly threatening future physical abnormalities and by telling the person to do something to herself that is physically impossible.

The dancer spins back around and continues his boogie-woogie-woogie. The woman sits in her seat dejectedly. Her seat happens to be a wheelchair.

This, of course, makes the dancing man the world’s biggest asshole.

I witnessed this at the recent Elvis Costello/Bob Dylan October 2007 show in St. Louis.

Only the intervention of a security guard convinced the dancer to at least move to the aisle, so that he could continue his gyrations without blocking the woman’s view. It also led to me to ponder the question of what qualifies as appropriate behavior for a music concert, since I have seen too many cases where norms of human decency have been scuttled in favor of behavior that would rival that of our knuckle-dragging ancestors.

The fact that this type of thuggish behavior has mostly happened at concerts by “established” acts (Dylan, Costello, R.E.M), and not at shows by less-known indie acts (The National, Silver Jews) is a topic probably best left for another day.

What follows is my humble attempt to create a modern day Hammurabi Code for Concertgoers. Minus the punishment by dismemberment and disembowelment.

Reserved Seating

You’ve just thrown down hundreds of dollars and donated several pints of blood in order to afford a couple Neil Young tickets, yet you aren’t exactly thrilled to be sitting at the top of the mountain:

  • Your reserved seat number is not a suggestion or a general approximation of where to sit. If your ticket says Nosebleed Balcony Seat 236, your posterior should be drawn like a magnet to the confines of that seat’s dimensions.
  • If you are occupying someone else’s seat and you get called out on it, don’t feign surprise and act like you were unaware you parked it in the wrong spot. Your hangdog expression and slow ascent into the wilds of less cozy environs within the venue gives you away every time.
  • People occasionally leave their seats to get a drink or buy $50 tour sweatshirts. When they come back to their seat, you shouldn’t be sitting there like a rock-n-roll Goldilocks.

General Admission

General admission is always a dicey proposition. You have a great chance to get in the pit and get close to the musician you’ve been stalking for years. Yet as your fellow concertgoers jockey for prime real estate before the show begins, violent elbows to your spleen are a real concern. Here’s how to handle this situation:

  • If you are a male under 5’9’’, forget about it. You will be muscled out of your spot in the pit; it is a Darwinian certainty.
  • Sitting on the floor of the pit until the show begins is not a good strategy. Some concertgoers equate sitting heads with steps. And like a turtle hiding inside its shell, eventually you must come out. When you do, that winged predator with sharp teeth you were hiding from will still be there.
  • Tables with either chairs or stools at a general admission show are the equivalent of water from a cactus for a man starving in the desert. Do not hesitate, do not look around for a better spot, and do not be fooled by the mirage of a near-empty orchestra pit. Grab the table and bunker down. Do not leave it unguarded under any circumstances.

 Bodies in Motion (Dancing and Standing vs. Sitting)

You’ve impressed your date with third-row center seats, but she’s not yet aware of your Travolta-like tendency to treat the venue as part of your personal discotheque. What’s a guy to do?

  • Consider the performer:
    • If you are seeing Johnny’s Disco Explosion, go gonzo. There are no laws, rules, or regulation. It’s Thunderdome.
    • If you are seeing Johnny Q. Folkie, part your butt in your seat, hold hands with your neighbors, and join in when he sings “We Shall Overcome.”
    • If you are seeing something in between, commit hard in one direction. Either remain rigidly seated even though the other 19,999 people in the arena are shake-shake-shaking all over like frustrated wannabe go-go dancers, or, while everyone else is moping and staring at their shoes, perform your own rhythmic gyrations from the time the show starts until the performer walks off stage. Or until Security throws you out. Whichever comes first.
  • Those around you should not need to drive a flag into the ground to claim their space as part of their familial birthright. Likewise, your raised arms, flailing legs, and shaking ass should not intrude upon any concertgoer with whom you are not intimately familiar.

Nicotine Consumption and Beyond

Your reformed smoker friends constantly tell you to drop the habit. Yet you cannot get the full concert experience without a few puff-puffs. Although your lungs are crying on the inside of you, you need a few lung darts to have a truly enjoyable time. With public smokers becoming pariahs, what’s a dedicated Marlboro man to do?

  • If it’s a smoking venue, puff away until you can’t puff any more. For extra spite, blow your smoke in the direction of the 6’3’’ jerk that muscled you out off your spot near the pit’s railing (see above).
  • If it’s a non-smoking venue, you will likely be relegated to an inconspicuous, dimly-lit, and borderline-dangerous alley near a side door to the venue. As you shorten your lifespan along with your fellow cigarette cronies, take this opportunity to remember the old days when non-smokers didn’t complain about minor things like secondhand smoke, their personal comfort, or their desire to not smell like Joe Camel.
  • A popular alternative to smoking in the great wide open at non-smoking venues is the classic play of smoking in the bathroom. Not only does this say that you won’t be relegated to an alley, it also shows that you are a true worshipper at the altar of God Nicotine. A word of warning though: this approach is the equivalent of running the gauntlet .Those pesky male pissers tend to be uncompromising with anything that keeps them from reaching the porcelain goddess, especially in dire situations.
  • If your chemical proclivities extend to, technically speaking, illegal substances, follow these simple guidelines to maximize your illicit enjoyment and to avoid an awkward 2 am call to your parents from a holding cell:
    • You are not hanging out in your basement room with your friends Slappy and Jimmy C-Nuts after your parents have gone to sleep. Be discreet about it.
    • If you are holding and Security approaches you, do not panic and throw your stash in the lap of the stranger sitting next to you.

 Liquid Consumption

You’re a hard-working white collar dude, but sometimes you want to cut loose with half a dozen strawberry-almond flavored microbrews, to show your fellow concertgoers that you’re not a total suit. Before you or your significant other get blitzed at the Police reunion show on drinks that all end in “tini” and drunkenly croak out “Roxanne” in your own key, observe these rules:

  • Remember that beautiful duet of “I Shall Be Released” that Dylan and Costello sang at Tramps in 1999? How you couldn’t believe your luck to be in the front row to witness such a moment? How the crowd was pin-drop silent and just knew they were witnessing something amazing that would defy later description? No? Then you drank too much.
  • Remember hitting on the blonde bartender, challenging the bouncer to a mixed martial arts fight, and screaming hysterically for Kelly Clarkson to sing “that one song from the radio?” Yes? Then you didn’t drink enough.
  • Performances come and go, bands come and go, but the memory of an unplanned concert vomit on someone’s Chuck Taylors lasts forever.

 Waiting in Line

You’ve got general admission tickets to see your favorite musician for the 47th time tonight. To ensure you get close enough to him to see the wrinkles in his catcher’s mitt-like face, you’ve lined up outside the venue six hours before the doors open. You’ve got no one for company except the voices in your own head. You’ve got some time on your hands, so remember these rules:

  • Eventually people will line up behind you. Do not snarl, bark, or constantly look over your shoulder in paranoia at them. They mean you no harm. Besides, they are piss-fear afraid of you.
  • Sometimes people will need to walk past you. They are not trying to steal your spot. Some of them aren’t even going to the show. There is no need to eye f-blankety-blankety-blank them.
  • Sometimes security moves the line to a new starting point, for no reason other than their sadistic pleasure. Shake your fist at the sky, blame cruel fate, whatever gets you through, but the bottom line is that you’d better run like hell. Your previous position as king has been suddenly usurped.

 Talking During Shows/Other Random Noises

For some reason, we Americans love to spend large sums of money on concerts and then talk through the buggers. You’ve done this in the past but want to repent; you still have a sneaking suspicion that your constant gum-bumping precipitated the riot at the Guns-N-Roses concert in St. Louis years ago. Follow these simple rules and you shall be granted forgiveness:

  • If someone smaller than you tells you to quit talking, ignore him. If someone bigger than you tell you to quit talking, listen to him.
  • Opening acts are people too. Give them a chance before continuing your conversation about how opening acts aren’t people and almost always stink.
  • Your brand new, super-shiny Motorola V-1,000,000,000 is pretty cool. It’s Web-enabled, is smaller than your pinky finger, washes your car, feeds your children, and when you’re feeling frisky, its vibrate function packs a decent punch. But no one wants to hear your Bette Midler ringtone as Springsteen and Max Weinberg’s Semi-Retired Superstars play “Rosalita” for the 700th time.
  • Remember that shows are taped with increasing frequency nowadays. Unless you want your conversation about your asshole boss recorded for posterity, keep your voice down.
  • You’ve followed Dylan across the country since 1963, screaming at every show for him to play “Let Me Die In My Footsteps.” Give it up. It’s not gonna happen.

 Behavior in Outdoor Venues

These shows aren’t for the uninitiated. And if you have a heart condition, be warned. Like scaling Mount Everest, surviving outdoor concerts and festivals requires a certain kind of mental fortitude, along with a blatant disregard for sanity, hygiene, flushable toilets, and other key pieces needed for human life to flourish. So before brazenly heading off to that White Snake/Poison double bill under the stars, observe the following:

  • Urinating in a port-a-potty is gross. Urinating on the lawn where people sit is grosser. Use the port-a-potty.
  • Not everyone shares your affinity for mud. The mud people are not hard to find. Find them and fling away.
  • That early 20s-something girl who sported four-inch bangs and flashed Bret Michaels at the Poison concert in 1987 still lives inside you. Please warn everyone around you before your now-undersized shirt is tossed into the ether.
  • It’s July in Chicago. It’s Hades hot. You’re hungry and tired. The “chill tent” looks like a sick room. You’re surrounded by thousands of people who all resemble Will Oldham and smell like an unholy mixture of sunscreen, weed, and corn dogs. This is the true festival experience. Enjoy it.

Common human decency should dictate how to behave at a concert. And everyone should drive the speed limit. When that decency deteriorates into a mixture of chaos, anarchy, and baby boomers broking out “Heart of Gold” in a drunken frenzy, the guidelines above could help out in a pinch.  Then again, the 300-pound guy in the Metallica Kill ‘Em All shirt who’s now sitting in your seat hasn’t ever really cared much for rules.

Hillbilly Haiku Presents – James Talley

Posted in Interviews with tags , , on October 29, 2007 by takecountryback

It’s the stuff dreams are made of and now its a growing phenomenon. The growing trend towards house concert performances seems to be a win/win situation. Artists and music lovers in an intimate setting where all that matters is the music.

Denise Williams of Hillbilly Haiku in Lebanon, Tennessee recently began opening her home and shares her personal experiences with TCB. She certainly will clarify from the onset that she’s no expert, but her insight is indicative of the passion and vision that is driving this revolutionary/evolutionary performance and listening alternative.

Denise will be hosting one of TCB’s favorite singer/songwriters, James Talley on November 10th 2007.Watch TCB for an interview coming up with James in the very near future but in the meantime, we present our conversation with Denise and her thoughts on the house concert phenomenon and the happenings at Hillbilly Haiku.

TCB: What is the philosophy/origin behind house concerts?

HH: If there is an official history of how house concerts have evolved, I’m not aware of it. There may well be, but to the best of my knowledge, it just evolved from people gathering at house parties to socialize and share music. It seems to me in more recent times, it is involving into a valid alternative for musicians who are not fond of the club scene where often patrons are not there for the music, or those that have tired of dealing with less than professional club owners, etc. My personal philosophy is that its the most fun a true music lover can imagine! Its a total win-win situation. The artist gets to play a room where everyone is attentive and appreciative. The audience gets to listen in an environment that puts the music first and to meet and speak with the musicians. The hosts get to share their favorite music with friends, and most importantly give back to the artists whose music so enriches our lives. In our case, we have two bedrooms and a bath we can offer to musicians wanting to stay with us and avoid lodging expenses. For those who take us up on it, that can mean real personal time and friendships established. And it is a legitimate way for the musicians to supplement their income. More than one has told me the pay is better than at many club dates they do.

TCB: How’d you get started?

HH: We developed an online friendship with Dana and Andy Jones of Cuervo Acres in Texas through a Billy Joe Shaver Yahoo group. They were hosting house concerts and introduced us to the concept. I was totally amazed at the level of talent they were telling me would come and play in their living room. Not just Trixie and Butch with their family spoon band from down the road, but actual professional recording artists. Imagine! We eventually made our way to Cuervo Acres to meet the Jones’s and take in our first house concert. One other Shaver-friend couple, Jay and Tammy from Ohio were there for their first house concert also. It was two Canadian musicians, Romi Mayes and Dan Walsh. At some point during the evening I looked over at Jay and he had the same incredulous look on his face, and we pretty much knew we were gonna have to get in on this fun too. Jay and Tammy started Honky Tonk House Concerts outside of Cleveland in June of 2006. It took us another year to gather the required courage but we hosted our first in June of 2007.

TCB: Are house concert venues supportive of each other? Is there an organized network?

HH: My experience with house concert venues is limited to my friends so supportive is a given, but I have not heard anything to the contrary. We are meeting Jay and Tammy to check out Pine Ridge House Concerts in Clinton, TN this weekend, to further our knowledge, network with other presenters, and most importantly to enjoy Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack! There are some online networks, a Yahoo group called HouseConcert for the discussion of hosting and one called HouseConcertAnnounce for the purpose of advertising upcoming shows. The most organized website I’ve found is where hosts and artists alike can join and be listed and network. is another website I’m aware of that serves as a forum for discussion and news. I’m sure there are others that I’m not aware of.

TCB: Explain me ‘why’ people might prefer house concerts to regular venues?

HH: Several reasons, first being the emphasis is on the music. We have fun, but first and foremost its about listening. One of our house rules is ‘if you’re talkin’, you’re walkin’. I know I’m not the only one who has had an evening of live music ruined because some inconsiderate and quite probably inebriated half-wit nearby insisted on talking loudly throughout the entire show. That won’t happen at a house concert. Secondly, the intimate atmosphere of a house concert means you can meet and talk to the artist. And they tend to share stories during their performances also, so you get to see some of the person behind the musician. If smoky bars bother you, the non-smoking house concert is a great alternative. It is generally an earlier evening than if you went to see live music in a club. And there’s just a kind of magic that happens when a group of music lovers gather and get transported by some great music. It is a sharing that reinforces friendships and raises spirits. If you are our kind of music fanatic, and we get you to come once, we know you’ll be back for more.

TCB: If someone else wanted to start their own house concert series what advise would you give them?

HH: If music is as important a factor to their quality of life as it is to ours, I’d highly encourage them. If you eat, sleep, and breath music, if you wear your friends out dragging them to live music shows, if you’ve got enough space in your home, if you are prepared to be totally addicted to the fun of live music in your home, go for it! If you think it might be a fun way to make some extra cash, this is not for you. I’m told some presenters do keep a portion of proceeds to cover their various expenses, but no one I know does this. We all spend our money in order to have this experience in our lives. But we do it with joy, the way you’d spend money on any hobby you choose. And it involves work and disrupts your household to some extent. You have to provide chairs for your audience, and move furniture sufficiently to do so. You have to have room for folks to park. Some artists require sound systems, though a fairly simple PA is usually sufficient. We are very fortunate to have a friend with some good sound equipment and the skill to man it for us. But we load and unload and set and tear down all that equipment each time also. We have a small stage, although its not required. Lighting needs some consideration, its been our toughest challenge but we’re installing some track lighting. You are opening your home to strangers unless you have a large enough group of friends and family to fill out every show. Although strangers is a relative term. Folks who love our kind of music are not strangers for long, more often just friends we haven’t met yet. If you have pets, their routines are somewhat disrupted. So there is a price that goes along with this avocation, and you should be prepared to pay it before you jump on the train.

TCB: You’ve had some memorable shows in the past year. Can you share some of your favorite memories with us?

HH: Gove Scrivenor was our first, he held our hand and was very gracious with our beginner’s shortfalls. Our lighting was especially lacking for that first one. It was, shall we say, an intimate mood…ha! But Gove is a wonderfully entertaining soul and first rate musician so everyone was wowed and we got off to a great start. Our second show was Steve Young with two opening acts, his son Jubal Lee and Doug Lang from Vancouver, BC. Steve Young is a perfect example of the level of artist I was just floored would play a house concert. But he was so warm and friendly and gave a performance that was beyond my greatest expectations. I can’t recommend him highly enough. Jubal Lee is following in some mighty big footsteps, but he’s up to it. He shared many songs from his latest CD and had the crowd loving it. Doug Lang, an online find that turned into a dear friend, was in the States for the annual Mickey Newbury Gathering in TX and agreed to come to TN and open for the Youngs. Doug is one of a limited number of songwriters who has material worthy of opening for a writer like Steve Young. Steve’s complimentary comments on Doug’s songs testified to that. Then Bob Sima and Rob Thorworth from Maryland rocked our stage in August. Bob was another online discovery, and came to us fresh off an Emerging Artist Showcase at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in New York. Bob’s songs along with Rob’s support and their fun rapport made for another memorable evening of music and fun. September brought Joey Allcorn’s Honky Tonk History Tour. We explored his extensive knowledge of Hank Williams and other early Honkytonkers, not to mention his own authentic songs in this vein. October we hosted our first female artists with Tanya Savory and Cindy Finkle doing a guitar-pull format where they took turns and supported each other’s songs. The highlights for me on this evening included Tanya’s excellent songwriting and Cindy’s picking and humor. Both sing like birds and have been friends for some years, so their chemistry was fun and warm. We have enjoyed every artist we’ve been fortunate to host.

TCB: Who have you got lined up?

HH: Our next concert will be James Talley. I’m rather embarrassed to admit I hadn’t been aware of James before his booking agent approached us. It only took one listen to know I wanted this artist’s music in my life. James is another like Steve Young with a substantial catalog of wonderful songs that deserve an audience. Their CDs aren’t widely available in the most mainstream of music outlets, their music is rarely heard on commercial radio, they aren’t touring extensively. To get to experience James’s music in our home is such an honor. We plan on taking December off because folks are busy with family activities during the holidays making it more difficult than ever to gather an adequate number of attendees. But we’re looking forward to 2008 with much excitement, hoping for a January date with Krista Detor. February will bring an opportunity to host Kim Beggs, down from the Yukon to attend Folk Alliance. Malcolm Holcombe is confirmed for March. We are talking with another Canadian artist, David Celia, about April. So you can see why we look to the New Year with anticipation. And I still have a wish list as long as my arm. Some of the names we’ll be hoping to bring to our stage include David Olney, Greg Trooper, Justin Townes Earle, Tommy Womack, Peter Case, Diana Jones, Heather Waters, and on and on. Just today I heard a new-to-me female singer songwriter that blew me away, Valorie Miller.

TCB: How do people get set up to attend a concert that interests them?

HH: We do require reservations so we know how many to expect and can prepare accordingly with adequate chairs and refreshments. We provide sodas, water, coffee, and ask folks to b.y.o.b. and bring a simple dish or snack to share. It becomes a potluck of goodies that further lends to the social atmosphere of the evening. We have been using evites as a way for attendees to RSVP and it works quite well. We can also be reached by email at or messaged through our myspace:

TCB: How much do you charge? How much goes to the artist?

HH: We generally have asked for a donation of $15 per person. It is not set in stone and we take the artist’s opinion into consideration on this also. We don’t want to charge too much and discourage anyone from coming, or from purchasing the artist’s CDs. And with gas prices as they are, folks are already spending some of their entertainment budget on driving out to our home which is roughly 20 minutes East of the Nashville airport.

TCB: How do you select the artists that perform at HH?

HH: Many of them select me! They find my myspace page or my listing on I also have the advantage of having friends who’ve been hosting for awhile, so I draw on their knowledge and connections. And music is what I get out of bed for most mornings so I’m always listening, reading, surfing, going to hear live music. The artists I choose to host are simply the ones I enjoy the most, particularly the ones who I feel deserve a wider audience. And I receive an extra measure of personal satisfaction if our artists have material that speaks to social issues, as well as matters of the heart. I wish to support those that my friend Doug Lang would describe as Artists of Conscience.

TCB: Dream house concert would be?

HH: I have so many, but Tom Russell, Iris DeMent, and Willie P. Bennett are all near the top of my dream wishlist.

TCB: And lastly — if someone wanted to be in your living room to experience the magic of James Talley up close and personal how would they go about contacting you?

HH: Preferably by email at Or by message at If they do not have email or computer access, then by phone at 615-500-8717.

New Opry Theme Song

Posted in News with tags , on October 29, 2007 by takecountryback

The Opry Live television intro, featuring the new theme song by Brad Paisley.