Essays & Articles:

Celebrating Keith Whitley 

Keith Whitley stands among the luminaries who ignited the New Traditionalist revival of the 1980s, a movement that rekindled the classic country sound amid the dominance of pop and rock influences. Alongside artists like Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, Randy Travis, and Dwight Yoakam, Whitley reconnected the genre to its roots. Unlike many of his peers, Whitley's solo career was tragically brief, spanning less than five years. However, his remarkable body of recorded work has left a lasting mark on the country…

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Connie Smith: Love, Prison, Wisdom and Heartaches 

Since her recording debut in 1964, Connie Smith has been widely acclaimed as one of the Country Music’s premier vocalists. Yet, her occasional reluctance to embrace celebrity marks her career almost as much as her inimitable talents. Launching her career with a debut #1 single, Smith often viewed stardom with ambivalence. Unlike many artists of her generation, she didn’t focus on scaling the heights of the entertainment industry with single-minded tenacity. The demands of professional entertaining,… Read more

Bill Phillips, Dolly Parton and Put It Off Until Tomorrow 

Bill Phillips started out singing on a jamboree style radio show with a variety of artists on WMIL in Miami, Florida.


 Two duets with Mel Tillis broke through on the Billboard charts in 1959 and 1960, but it was in 1966 that Bill Phillips experienced major success after recording a song written by a then-unknown Dolly Parton. 

Parton says she was living in poverty when Bill Phillips heard her demo of “Put It Off Until Tomorrow”, which she wrote with her uncle Bill Owens. Phillips was so impressed by the…

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Ameripolitan Spotlight: The Country Side of Harmonica Sam 

The Country Side of Harmonica Sam represents a rare and unique branch of contemporary country music. This is country music like it sounded in the late 50s and early 60s; more modern sounding than the 40s Hillbilly style sometimes seen on the rockabilly scene around Europe. At the same time, it’s far from the contemporary Nashville sound of country music. With steady 4/4 shuffles, steel guitar, and tic tac bass, the band performs their own original songs right alongside classics from Faron Young, Skeets…

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Remembering Ralph Stanley 


Despite little musical influence as a child, Ralph Stanley took up banjo playing as a teen. His mother bought his first banjo and began teaching him how to play “clawhammer” style when he was around fifteen years old. 

Ralph Stanley’s musical career didn’t kick into full swing until after he returned from a brief stint in the US Army in 1945. After considering a career as a veterinarian, he decided to join his guitar-playing older brother, Carter Stanley, and start a band called Clinch Mountain Boys. The…

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Celebrating June Carter 

It seems like there has always been a June Carter. Her legendary life and storied career spans the length and breadth of country music. She was an acclaimed singer, actor, comedienne, author, musician, evangelist, philanthropist, mother and wife.  In between all of that, she also composed one of the most important songs in country music history and was half of an epic love story that resounds and inspires to this very day.

June was born in the foothills of Appalachian southwest Virginia in 1929, the middle…

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From Soldier to Songwriter: The Remarkable Journey of Kris Kristofferson  

Few stories are as compelling as that of Kris Kristofferson. A man who seemed destined for a career in the military or academia instead found his true calling as a songwriter and recording artist.

Born into a military family, Kristofferson was the son of an Air Force Major General. He served as a Captain and helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army, and his academic prowess earned him a Rhodes Scholarship to study literature at Oxford University after completing his undergraduate degree at Pomona College in…

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George Strait: Releasing and Setting Records 

In a career already brimming with milestones, country music legend George Strait has just added another record to his impressive tally. On a historic Saturday night, George Strait and the Ace in The Hole Band played to a staggering crowd of 110,905 fans at Texas A&M's Kyle Field in College Station, setting the record for the largest ticketed concert in U.S. history. He holds more than 20 attendance records at various music venues across the United States, including largest indoor concert in North America…

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Stoney Edwards: The Real Thing 

Stoney Edwards emerged from humble beginnings to become one of the most authentic voices in country music. The youngest of seven children born to Rescue & Ollie Edwards, a farming family from North Carolina. Stoney's early life was steeped in the hard-scrabble reality of rural America. These formative years planted the seeds of his dream: performing on the Grand Ole Opry stage. 

After moving to the San Francisco area and raising a family there, Edwards would play music in his spare time. However, in 1968, a…

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Wynn Stewart Should Be In The Hall Of Fame 

Wynn Stewart was born in Morrisville, Missouri on June 7, 1934. He would become influential in the Bakersfield scene, inspiring Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam among others. 

Wynn's early life was steeped in the humble roots of a sharecropping family. He taught himself to play the guitar at the age of eight and by the time he was a teenager had already appeared on KWTO in Springfield. 

The family moved to California during World War II, where Wynn’s father worked at a submarine base. They returned…

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