- 2009, Toby Keith’s “American Ride” video debuts on CMT.com
- 2002, The Dixie Chicks give a private show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, playing their album “Home” in its entirety in sequential order. In the audience: Marty Stuart, Ty Herndon, Little Big Town and Tim O’Brien
- 1988, Keith Whitley collects his first #1 country single in Billboard with “Don’t Close Your Eyes”
- 1988, Willie Nelson becomes the first artist ever to have an album spend 10 years on the Billboard country chart as “Stardust” logs its 520th week
- 2006, Rodney Atkins earns his first #1 single in Billboard: “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows)”
- 1989, Patty Loveless notches her first #1 country single with “Timber, I’m Falling In Love”
- 1929, Buck Owens is born in Sherman, Texas. Raised in California, he adds a rock ‘n’ roll spirit to country music, becoming a major part of the Bakersfield Sound. He co-hosts “Hee Haw” for more than 15 years on his way into the Country Music Hall of Fame
Blake Shelton, Hunter Hayes and Toby Keith are among the country artists who recorded with the classic rock band for the upcoming project for Arista Nashville.
The full track listing has also been revealed:
“Black Water” (Zac Brown Band)
“China Grove” (Chris Young)
“Jesus Is Just Alright” (Casey James)
“Listen to the Music” (Blake Shelton with Hunter Hayes on guitar)
“Long Train Runnin’” (Toby Keith)
“Nobody” (Charlie Worsham)
“Rockin’ Down the Highway” (Brad Paisley)
“South City Midnight Lady” (Jerrod Niemann)
“Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)” (Tyler Farr)
“Takin’ It to the Streets” (Love and Theft)
“What a Fool Believes” (Sara Evans)
“You Belong to Me” (Johnnyswim’s Amanda Sudano Ramirez with Vince Gill on guitar)
In choosing the album title, the Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston said, “Southbound seemed like the perfect name of this collaboration project with all these dynamic country artists. The band has a lot of roots, both musically and lyrically, from the South such as blues, country, R&B and folk. To us, it was a natural fit that it be called Southbound.”
Johnston and Patrick Simmons continue to front the Doobie Brothers, while multi-instrumentalist John McFee’s history with the band dates back to 1978. Michael McDonald returned to the studio with the Doobie Brothers for the new album.
- 2005, Steve Earle and Allison Moorer are married at the Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville. It’s his seventh wedding, her second
- 1998, MCA releases Vince Gill’s “The Key” album
- 1984, Gary Morris makes his Grand Ole Opry debut, singing “Velvet Chains,” “Wind Beneath My Wings” and–following an encore–”The Love She Found In Me”
- 1972, Elvis Presley files for divorce from Priscilla in Santa Monica, California
- 2009, “It’s time to call it a day”: Brooks & Dunn announce in a five-sentence note to their fans that they’re ending their run as a duo after one last tour
- 2001, The Dixie Chicks’ Martie Seidel marries Gareth Maguire in Kailua, Hawaii
- 1973, Jennifer Hanson is born in Whittier, California. Blending influences such as Dolly Parton and Sheryl Crow, she earns a hit in 2002 with “Beautiful Goodbye.” She also writes The Wreckers’ “Leave The Pieces” and Bucky Covington’s “A Different World”
- 1928, Jimmy Dean is born in Olton, Texas. A network TV host and sausage-company owner, he sells a million copies of the 1961 single “Big Bad John.” He joins the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010
- 2010, Atlantic releases “As She’s Walking Away,” by The Zac Brown Band Featuring Alan Jackson, to radio
- 2003, Rascal Flatts bass player Jay DeMarcus gets engaged to Allison Alderson in New York. The couple met when she appeared in the band’s “These Days” video
- 1990, Diamond Rio mandolin player Gene Johnson slices his left thumb in a saw accident while doing cabinetry work in Little Rock, Arkansas
- 1986, The Judds’ “Rockin’ With The Rhythm Of The Rain” goes to #1 on the Billboard country chart
If you’re willing to pay what we can assume will be a hefty price, you can make that dream come true this fall.
Jennings’ wife Jessi Colter is at the helm of an auction of some of his most prized possessions to benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Many of the 2,000-plus items up for grabs are nothing short of mind-blowing. The singer counted Buddy Holly, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash among his famous friends, and the items up for auction underscore the closeness of those relationships.
At the center of this massive collection is a British-made Ariel Cyclone motorcycle Holly bought in 1958. Jennings gave up his seat to Holly on a private plane that crashed following a 1959 concert. Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper were all killed in the accident in Iowa. Jennings later acquired the motorcycle.
Other items confirmed in the auction are the original signed contract signaling the beginning of the Highwaymen, the supergroup of Jennings, Nelson, Cash and Kristofferson, along with Nelson’s hair braids which — so the story goes — Nelson himself cut off in 1983 to support Jennings’ road to sobriety journey. There’s also Hank Williams Sr.’s cowboy boots created by Nudie Cohn, the famous tailor to the stars, and a handwritten letter to Jennings from John Lennon.
Just reading the descriptions of these items makes you wonder what it would’ve been like to be present in those moments, doesn’t it? I probably would have screamed the moment Nelson took scissors to his braids. Have mercy!
Photos, stage wear and awards will also be up for grabs when the auction takes place Oct. 5 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. The auction is being organized by Guernsey’s, a New York city-based auction house.
- 1998, Bryan White proposes to “One Life To Live” actress Erika Page while on tour in New Jersey. She says yes, but the couple agrees to keep the engagement private for the next four months
- 1975, Hank Williams Jr. has a near-fatal accident while climbing Ajax Mountain in Montana. His head hits several jutting rocks as he falls 500 feet. It takes six hours for medics to reach him and deliver him to Missoula Community Hospital
- 1939, Phil Balsley is born in Staunton, Virginia. He becomes a founding member of The Statler Brothers, whose southern gospel harmonies lead the group to two decades of hits and membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame
- 1932, Mel Tillis is born in Pahokee, Florida. After finding success by writing Bobby Bare’s “Detroit City,” Patsy Cline’s “So Wrong” and Webb Pierce’s “I Ain’t Never,” among others, he turns his stutter into a comedic twist and develops a successful career as an artist, earning a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame
How do they afford it? You hear all these songs today about guys tooling around in gas-guzzling, tricked-out trucks, swilling beer by the case and whiskey by the bottle and partying till the sun comes up. But do they ever work? If so, you don’t hear much about it.
Work used to be a core theme of country music because it was a huge part of everyday life. Take these 12-plus songs for example.
“Sixteen Tons,” Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955)
Grim and throbbing like a sore muscle, this song is a glimpse into the day-in-day-out life of an underground coal miner: “You load 16 tons and what do you get/Another day older and deeper in debt.” Nothing but misery to report.
Also recommended for students of the subterranean stress, Merle Travis‘ other (and even more depressing) coal classic, “Dark as a Dungeon,” which warns, “Come listen you fellows, so young and so fine/And seek not your fortune in the dark, dreary mine/It will form as a habit and seep in your soul/Till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal.”
“Six Days on the Road,” Dave Dudley (1963)
Reveling in the “freedom of the road” while simultaneously being confined to the cage of his cab, the long-haul truck driver has been and remains country music’s favorite working class hero. Dudley, Dick Curless, Red Simpson and C.W. McCall all built their musical careers around this mobile mystique. In “Six Days,” Dudley deals with the trucker’s constant companion — homesickness and the temptations it arouses. “Well, it seems like a month since I kissed my baby goodbye/I could have a lot of women, but I’m not like some other guys.”
Also recommended for interstate impresarios, Jerry Reed‘s sunny odyssey, “East Bound and Down” (1977), and Curless’ clench-jawed “A Tombstone Every Mile” (1965).
“Detroit City,” Bobby Bare (1963)
Before Detroit became a symbol of industrial decay, it was a magnet for people in the South who sought high-paying assembly-line jobs. Homesickness is rampant here, too. “I want to go home,” Bare moans in his opening line. “I want to go home/Lord, how I want to go home.” That’s the reality — as is the dreary sameness of his life: “Home folks think I’m big in Detroit city/From the letters that I write they think I’m fine/But by day I make the cars, by night I make the bars/If only they could read between the lines.”
“Wichita Lineman,” Glen Campbell (1968)
There can be poetry in work, as well, even when it’s seemingly monotonous work. Songwriter Jimmy Webb found it in this virtual watercolor painting of a man whose job it is to “drive the main roads” and keep an eye out for trouble on the telephone lines. The very sameness of his job causes his mind to wander and imagine messages flashing through the system: “I hear you singing in the wire/I can hear you through the whine/And the Wichita lineman is still on the line.”
“Sheriff of Boone County,” Kenny Price (1970)
County cops are seldom towering figures of justice, and this one is downright cartoonish. But don’t cross him, son. “Yeah, I don’t take no lip with this cannon on my hip.” Don’t try to get around him either. He’s everywhere: “I run the grocery store down there/And I pump the gas and I’m the dogcatcher, too, yeah/The judge — that’s me.”
“Monday Morning Secretary,” the Statler Brothers (1973)
Before there were automated phone-answering systems and talk-to-text apps, every company had at least one secretary who held the whole business or department together. That’s the kind of worker the Statlers sing about here. Overworked and underloved, “She leaves home at 8, a little bit late/A little bit tired of it all/She unlocks the doors and does so much more/Than what she gets credit for.” After a day of doing for others and listening to the “latest dirty joke” from salesmen, “At 5 she goes home to her cat and two rooms/And cries cause she’s lonely as hell.”
“That Girl Who Waits on Tables,” Ronnie Milsap (1973)
This loser had his chance and blew it. So he now sits in a bar and watches other men put the moves on the woman who used to be his alone. “I watch her picking up their tips off the tables/And see them smile as she brings another round/That dress she’s wearing shows that she’s all woman/And reminds me I once had what they want now. … That girl who waits on tables/Used to wait for me at home/And she waited till all her love was gone.” Guess he finally got the tip.
“Bartender’s Blues,” George Jones (1978)
Bartenders are secular priests who hear confessions and erase past sins with more alcohol. “Well, I’m just a bartender,” this one sings, “and I don’t like my work/But I don’t mind the money at all.” And there are other compensations: “I need four walls around me to hold my life/To keep me from going astray/And a honky-tonk angel to hold me tight/To keep me from slipping away.” James Taylor wrote the words, and George Jones lived the life.
“The Reverend Mr. Black,” Johnny Cash (1982)
This was a pop hit for the Kingston Trio in 1963. Cash’s version was pretty much a chart bust, topping out at No. 71, but it did introduce a country audience to the preacher who was tough as teak and gentle as gauze — a man who bravely turned the other cheek when a lumberjack belted him and then calmed his assailant down with words from a hymn. “The Reverend Mr. Black” was co-written by Billy Edd Wheeler, who also co-penned the Johnny and June barnburner, “Jackson.”
“Rodeo,” Garth Brooks (1991)
With its ominous intro and relentlessly driving chorus, you know without even attending to the lyrics that this song is about obsession. Then the images come driving at you like hail: “Well, it’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and mud, it’s the roar of a Sunday crowd/It’s the white in his knuckles, the gold in the buckle, he’ll win the next go ’round/It’s boots and chaps, it’s cowboy hats, it’s spurs and latigo/It’s the ropes and the reins and the joy and the pain, and they call the thing rodeo.” As portrayed here by songwriter Larry Bastian, it’s not just a job, it’s an addiction.
Also recommended for rodeophiles, Brooks’ “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” (1989) and “The Beaches of Cheyenne” (1995), Moe Bandy‘s “Bandy the Rodeo Clown” (1975) and Dan Seals‘ “Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold)” (1986).
“Fancy,” Reba McEntire (1991)
“She said be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy/And they’ll be nice to you.” Has any career advice from a mother ever been more cogent — or chilling — than this? Let’s just say that Fancy succeeds in the hospitality business: “I charmed a king, a Congressman and an occasional aristocrat/Then I got me a Georgia mansion/And an elegant New York townhouse flat.”
Also recommended for epidermal entrepreneurs is Johnny Darrell’s “The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp” (1967). “Fancy” and “Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp” also achieved pop success — “Fancy” for its writer, Bobby Gentry, in 1969 and “Son” for O.C. Smith in 1968.
“American Soldier,” Toby Keith (2003)
Now that we have an all-volunteer army, soldiering is as much a job as it is a manifestation of national duty. But the soldier Keith gives voice to sees himself principally as a patriot: “I don’t do it for the money, there’s bills that I can’t pay/I don’t do it for the glory, I just do it anyway.”
OK, back to work. Break’s over.
- 2004, Reba McEntire escorts “Somebody” to #1 in Billboard
- 1996, Trace Adkins’ “Every Light In The House” video first appears on television via CMT
- 1961, Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces” reaches #1 on the Billboard country singles chart
- 1942, B.J. Thomas is born in Hugo, Oklahoma. Primarily a pop artist, he succeeds in country with 1975′s “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” and four more Top 10 singles in 1983-1984