Archive for the Johnny Cash Category

Random Weekend Post: Happy Belated Birthday Johnny Cash

Posted in Johnny Cash on February 27, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Friday would have been Johnny Cash’s 78th birthday. We celebrate here with a YouTube birthday feast.

We’ll start with a classic clip of Johnny performing “Big River” from 1962…

An even older clip here from 1959 of Johnny singing “Guess Things Happen That Way.” Earlier this week, this song became the 10-billionth song ever downloaded from iTunes.

Happy birthday, Johnny.

Random Weekend Post: Holiday YouTube

Posted in Bing Crosby, Dar Williams, David Bowie, Hayes Carll, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash on December 25, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

This post usually comes on a Saturday, but I wanted to go ahead and get this out today. I hope everyone has a happy holiday season.

Americana Music Awards: Past Album of the Year Winners

Posted in Americana Music Awards, Buddy and Julie Miller, Buddy Miller, James McMurtry, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Patty Griffin on September 17, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

If you’ve been reading this blog at all, then you know that the Americana Music Honors and Awards Show will be held tomorrow night in Nashville and will be broadcast live on XM Radio’s X-Country channel beginning at 8:oo Eastern Time. This is just one more post celebrating the event and its past winners. I’ve written about most of this year’s nominees over the past month or so. You can read those posts here… a few of the songs have expired, but most of them are still there.

Anyway… today we’ll take a look at the recordings that have been honored as Album of the Year at past awards shows.

2002:
Buddy & Julie Miller from Buddy & Julie Miler
Buddy & Julie Miller: The River’s Gonna Run (Buy Album)

Buddy Miller is the most nominated artist in the history of the awards, and this was his first win. This album is a fine collection of duets with his wife Julie Miller. In fact, it was Julie’s unique voices (both her singing and songwriting voices) that initially drew me in to this album, and it has become one of my favorites. The song I’m sharing here is the first song I heard from the album, and the first time I heard Julie’s voice.

2003:
American IV: The Man Comes Around from Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash: Give My Love to Rose (Buy Album)

Johnny Cash swept all the major awards this year, winning Artist, Album, and Song of the Year. Johnny’s late career collaborations with producer Rick Rubin are among some of my favorite Cash recordings, and he was well deserving of winning at the 2003 awards. This is a re-recording one of Cash’s classic songs.

2004:
Van Lear Rose from Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn: Portland, Oregon (Buy Album)

2004 was my first Americana Music Conference and the first time I got to attend the Awards Show. I was so excited because Loretta Lynn was nominated for three awards, and I just knew that she would be there and I would have the chance to meet her. She is from my hometown, but I’ve never had the chance to see her in person. Lynn won for Artist and Album of the Year, but accepted her awards via videotape… she was out on the road. Nevertheless… Van Lear Rose is an amazing album, that despite some new-school production from Jack White, is purely classic Loretta Lynn.

2005:
Universal United House of Prayer from Buddy Miller
Buddy Miller: With God on Our Side (Buy Album)

Buddy was the big winner in 2005… taking Album and Song of the Year honors. Universal United House of Prayer is a country-soul study on faith and religion that spoke directly to the souls of award voters. The album was released just as the 2004 Americana Conference was being held, and the highlight of the entire 2004 conference was Buddy’s performance of Bob Dylan’s “With God on Our Side” at The Mercy Lounge. More than a few people were moved to tears listening to this thirty-year-old song that sounded as though it had been ripped from the headlines of the day.

2006:
Childish Things from James McMurtry
James McMurtry: Childish Things (Buy Album)

I still remember listening to this album for the first time and falling in love with it immediately. Above all else, James McMurtry is a storyteller… likely a trait he gets from his father, novelist Larry McMurtry. The stories on this album are about family vacations, young men preparing for war, a country losing its way, and just general tales about coming of age. The title track is one of those coming of age stories about the things we keep with us as we grow older, and the things we must leave behind. By the way, I think we all know someone like Aunt Clara from this song… I know I do.

2007:
Children Running Through from Patty Griffin
Patty Griffin: Heavenly Day (Buy Album)

I have seen it written that this album is Patty Griffin’s masterpiece. While I love each and every one of her albums and recommend each of them as “must own” records… it is hard to disagree with the previous statement. Children Running Through finds Patty equally at ease with the wisful folk ballad “Trapeze” as she is with the acoustic rocker “No Bad News.” There are even some hints of jazz and R&B in “Stay on the Ride.” The song I’ve offered up here, “Heavenly Day,” was nominated for Song of the Year. Patty says it’s a love song written to her dog.

Americana Music Awards: Past Song of the Year winners

Posted in Americana Music Awards, Buddy Miller, Darrell Scott, James McMurtry, Jim Lauderdale, Johnny Cash, Ralph Stanley, Rodney Crowell on September 15, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

The Americana Music Honors and Awards show is this Thursday night in Nashville at the historic Ryman Auditorium. I have gone through most of the nominees and honorees at this year’s event in this space over the last month or so. As we lead up to the event this week, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the previous winners.

Today… song of the year.

2002:

Jim Lauderdale & Ralph Stanley: She’s Looking at Me (Buy Album)

For the first year of the award, voters chose a perfect blend of old and new. Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley joins songwriter Jim Lauderdale, an artist known for preserving old-time sounds while updating them for new audiences, on a fun little bluegrass romp, “She’s Looking at Me.” The album, Lost in the Lonesome Pines, won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2002.

2003:

Johnny Cash: Hurt (Buy Album)

Last week’s theme at Star Maker Machine was “Johns,” and poster, Autopsy IV, put up this track for a Johnny Cash post. As he says in his post, I really believe history will remember this as a Johnny Cash song… not a Nine Inch Nails song. Watching the video makes this song that much more heartbreaking.

2004:

Rodney Crowell: Fate’s Right Hand (Buy Album)

I’ve posted this song before, and it is one of my favorites. Rodney takes us through a stream of consciousness rant against several of society’s ills. Sex, drugs, disasters, murder, Ken Star, womanizing, government excess, global warming, and war are all covered in just over five minutes.

2005:

Buddy Miller: Worry too Much (Buy Album)

Written by the late Mark Heard, this is the leadoff track to Buddy’s gospel-soul flavored album, Universal United House of Prayer. The Steeldrivers’ Tammy Rogers plays fiddle on the track with sisters Ann and Regina McCrary providing backing vocals straight out of a Sunday morning service.

2006:

James McMurtry: We Can’t Make it Here (Buy Album)

Here’s another one I’ve posted before. This song just becomes more and more true every time I hear it. From the factory workers who’ve seen their jobs sent overseas, to the veterans living on the streets, to the pregnant teen cast aside by society… We can’t make it here anymore.

2007:

Darrell Scott: Hank Williams’ Ghost (Buy Album)

I first heard this song at the 2005 Americana Music Conference as part of a panel where new music was played for DJ’s and radio programmers as a sort of focus group. We all immediately fell in love with the song, and it received the highest ratings of anything we heard that day. No surprise it picked up this award two years later.

The Players: Brad Rice

Posted in Brad Rice, Johnny Cash, Ryan Adams, Son Volt, The Backsliders, Tift Merritt, Whiskeytown on August 13, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

Here at A Fifty Cent Lighter & a Whiskey Buzz, I talk about a lot of different artists, but usually the posts are geared toward the artist whose name appears on the CD or the front man for the band. That is to say a post about Alejandro Escovedo will deal mostly with Alejandro Escovedo while a post on the Jayhawks will focus mainly on Marc Olson & Gary Louris.

But what about the players behind the front man? The ones who make the music but stay out of the spotlight?

For every Johnny Cash… there is a Luther Perkins. Perkins’ guitar is just as important to the sound of the early Johnny Cash records as the voice of the Man in Black himself, but Perkins doesn’t get nearly as much recognition. The records don’t say Cash & Perkins… they just say Cash. There are moments, however, where Luther Perkins got a chance to shine.

Johnny Cash: Luther Played the Boogie (Buy Album)

It is in the spirit of Luther Perkins that I introduce what I hope will become a semi-regular feature here at AFCLAAWB. “The Players” will take a look at the musicians behind the music… the ones who don’t quite get as much attention as men and women with the microphones. With that in mind… I present guitarist Brad Rice.

In the mid-nineties, Brad Rice and his guitar joined a band out of North Carolina called The Backsliders, a roots-rock outfit that blended a nice bit of country twang with their guitar fueled rock. Their debut album, 1997’s Throwing Rocks at the Moon, was produced by Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam) and drew favorable reviews. Rice shines on several songs, including the title track and “Paper Doll World.”

The Backsliders: Throwing Rocks at the Moon (Buy Album)
The Backsliders: Paper Doll World (Buy Album)

After leaving the Backsliders, Rice hooked up with fellow North Carolinian Ryan Adams and worked on a few projects with him. He was featured on Whiskeytown’s 2001 release Pneumonia and stayed with Adams after that band’s demise. He was a part of Adams’ band for the second Pink Heart sessions in July 2001 (not to be confused with the first Pink Heart sessions that took place in December 2000 with John Paul Keith). Those sessions were never fully released, but one of the tracks, “Nuclear,” showed up on Adams’ odds and ends collection Demolition.

Whiskeytown: Crazy About You (Buy Album)
Whiskeytown: Don’t Wanna Know Why (Buy Album)
Ryan Adams: Nuclear (Buy Album)

(Payton over at This Mornin’ I am Born Again has more info about “Crazy About You” here and more about the first Pink Heart sessions with John Paul Keith here.)

As everyone does… Rice eventually left Ryan Adams’ band as well. This time he hooked up with Tift Merritt and joined her touring band shortly after the release of 2004’s Tambourine. This was my first real introduction to Rice as I saw him play with Merritt several times at The Mercy Lounge in Nashville and the Mountain Stage in Charleston, WV. While he never showed up on any of Merritt’s studio recordings, Rice was a vital part of her band for a couple of years and appeared on two live recordings. A DVD released by Austin City Limits in 2007, and a hard to find 2005 release called Home is Loud. Here’s Brad Rice rocking live with Tift Merritt.

Tift Merritt: Neighborhood (Live) (Buy Album)
Tift Merritt: I am Your Tambourine (Live) (Buy Album)

When Jay Farrar assembled his new Son Volt line-up before recording 2005’s Okemah and the Melody of Riot, he came calling on Rice to provide some muscle on guitar. Most of the songs on the album are guitar heavy, and this is probably the best chance Rice has had to truly flex his muscles since his days with The Backsliders. That is no more evident than on the songs “Afterglow 61” and “Who.” Rice also appeared on Son Volt’s 2007 release The Search, but nowhere on that album does he get the same workout he did on Okemah.

Son Volt: Afterglow 61 (Buy Album)
Son Volt: Who (Buy Album)

These days, Brad Rice is making the big bucks on tour with Keith Urban, but hopefully one day he’ll return to the world of Americana. Until then, you can find out more about Rice at his website http://www.bradrice.net/.