James Burton at Hall of Fame

James Burton, the legendary guitarist who wrote the lick for Dale Hawkins’ “Suzy Q,” played lead guitar for Ricky Nelson throughout his television years and played in Elvis Presley’s band from 1969 on, was saluted at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville today. Part of the Nashville Cats series hosted by Bill Lloyd of Foster and Lloyd, the…

Updated Cayamo line-up: Lucinda Williams on board

Lucinda Williams  has been added to the roster of the 2012 Cayamo cruise, a music festival on the ocean set for Feb. 5-12. Williams, whose most recent album is Blessed, joins a roster that includes Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Keb’ Mo’, John Hiatt, Buddy Miller, Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III, Greg Brown, the Civil Wars, Sara Watkins, James McMurtry, Iris Dement, Shawn Mullins, Edwin McCain, Maia Sharp, The…

Allman, Plant and Jayhawks set for Americana Music Festival

The Jayhawks, Gregg Allman, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy, Foster and Lloyd. Justin Townes Earle, North Mississippi Allstars and The Civil Wars are among the first artists announced for the 12th Annual Americana Music Festival and Conference, scheduled for Oct. 12-15, 2011 in Nashville. It’s always an extraordinary festival, and the Americana Awards show is always a highlight.…

Rock and Roll Joe

There are songwriters with more melodic voices and some with more chart success, but few are as consistently interesting as Chip Taylor. Best known as the writer of “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” and more recently as an Americana artist, Taylor is never complacent. His 7 Days in May told of his complicated romance with a young French…

John Hiatt album, Ryman concert scheduled

John Hiatt’s new album Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns is due for release on August 2. Details from Hiatt’s website: “As an added bonus, a deluxe version of the album will be made available, which will include a special behind-the-scenes DVD, The Making of Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns and 24/96 High Resolution audio mix of the entire album… Dirty…

James Burton at the Country Music Hall of Fame

The legendary James Burton will be Bill Lloyd’s guest on the July 23 installment of “Nashville Cats” at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Burton drove Ricky Nelson’s early recordings and later was a pivotal member of Elvis Presley’s band. He also played on Dale Hawkins’ classic “Suzy Q” and Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried.” That’s as good a resume as…

Sarah Jarosz: Follow Me Down

Sarah Jarosz knows no bounds. Building on her promising debut “Song Up In Her Head,” the new “Follow Me Down” is both a genre-bridging and compelling recording. Jarosz is a talented mandolinist and banjo player with an inviting voice and an education at the New England Conservatory. She taps all of those resources on “Follow Me Down,” while also drawing…

New live set from Guy Clark

Peter Cooper of the Tennessean reports that Guy Clark will release a live CD recorded at Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre. Songs and Stories is scheduled for Aug. 16. Two other Guy Clark live CDs are currently available:Together at the Bluebird Cafe with Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt, and an Austin City Limits performance (also on DVD.)

Presley, Armstrong and Foster among most influential Americans

In the spirit of the holiday, a friend posted a link to a 2006 Atlantic Magazine article listing the top 100 influential Americans. I went through the list and was glad to see that three musicians made the cut. The list, compiled by a panel of historians, identified Elvis Presley (#66), Louis Armstrong, (#79), and Stephen Foster (#97) as the…

U2 salutes Johnny Cash at Nashville show

U2 surprised its Nashville audience last night with a performance of “The Wanderer,” a Zooropa song featuring Johnny Cash that had never before appeared in the band’s setlists. Bono spoke of his admiration for Johnny and June, promised to visit their hometown of Hendersonville on his next visit and did a pretty fair job of channeling Cash’s voice on the…

Philip Gibbs: Petroleum Age

Philip Gibbs is a topical singer-songwriter, although his topics come from past and present. He clearly loves his Texas heritage, as evidenced by songs like “Stephen F. Austin’s Blues” and “Sam Houston’s Blues.” But the highlight of his new album is the title song, “The Petroleum Age,” a jaunty protest song about the era of oil dependency. It’s written in…

Keep Austin Weird

Sun209 is based in Nashville, so we’re taking Austin’s claim of being the “”Live Music Capital of the World” with a grain of salt. That said, the line-up at the Keep Austin Weird Festival was truly impressive, particularly the bands that hit the stage in the late afternoon and early evening. There’s some of the Band in Deadman and Motown/Stax…

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame announces nominees

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced its 2011 nominees, and the roster is extraordinary. (Full disclosure: I’m a member of the Hall’s board.) Here’s the announcement that was released today: Five highly successful artists and ten songwriters whose work has been recorded by some of the biggest names in popular and country music have been nominated for one…

Buffalo Springfield returns

Nostalgia suits Neil Young. During his last show at the Ryman, Young barely acknowledged the audience, performing an impressive set of songs with a stage presence somewhere between oblivious and sullen. Contrast that with Young, the exuberant frontman for Buffalo Springfield, the legendary (and for once, the adjective is apt) sixties band that has just reunited after four decades on…

Loretta Lynn at Bonnaroo

Loretta Lynn charmed a largely young audience at Bonnaroo this afternoon, bridging the decades with her biggest hits and a disarming presence. At one point, she invited requests, and said if the band didn’t know the song, “you can come up and sing it yourself.” At 79, Lynn is still a first-rate performer. Songs like “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and…

The Longing-Jason White

Jason White’s new album “The Longing” offers impeccable songwriting with a personal perspective. That much it shares with White’s first two albums, “Shades of Gray” and “Tonight’s Top Story.” But the departure on the new CD is a shift from guitar to keyboards, and an even more intimate sound. The title telegraphs the theme of the album, and yearning, hopes…

“I Love:” Tom T. Hall at the Hall

Tom T. Hall really knows how to celebrate his 75th birthday. He was joined by a stellar group of musicians at the Country Music Hall of Fame tonight to celebrate the release of “I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow.” The new album features a remarkable array of artists revisiting Hall’s “Songs of Fox Hollow,” a 1974 children’s…

Shawn Mullins lights up Portland

By Lou Brancaccio — Folk rock singer Shawn Mullins played to a sold out crowd Saturday night at Portland’s historic Aladdin Theater on Milwaukie Avenue. He then headed to Seattle for what he thought would be the end of his West Coast tour swing. Not so fast. Mullins opted to come back to Portland on Monday night to the cheers…

Robert Plant, Elizabeth Cook lead Americana music awards nominations

Robert Plant and Elizabeth Cook led the 2011 Americana Music Association Award nominations with three each. Other nominees, including Mumford and Sons and the Decemberists, illustrate the range of music that comes under the Americana umbrella. The nominations were announced in New York today by Rosanne Cash, following a webcast concert featuring The Civil Wars, Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Cash…