Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pete Mitchell - Texas Troubadour Passes

Pete Mitchell passed away last Saturday (7/23) at the age of 74 due to cancer. Originally born in Canada as Peter Michaud, he came to the US, after playing the scene in Toronto where the Hawks (who later became The Band) played the same clubs in the early 60s.

Immigrating to the States, he Americanized his name to Mitchell, played with Wynn Stewart, Cal Smith, Ray Price and Waylon Jennings, who later adopted the leather-casing for his electrical guitar.

In the mid 70's while living in the Fort Worth area, he got picked up by Ernest Tubb and so became a Texas Troubadour. Mitchell or the "little man from Canada" as E.T. called him played with Tubb until his death in 1984. Pete wasn't just a touring musician, but also appeared on E.T.'s recordings - sometimes with his given name, Michaud. You will also find him on other recordings, e.g. John Anderson's "EYE OF THE HURRICANCE."

 After Tubb's passing Pete stayed in Nashville as a session player and toured with several artists. Some times he would sit in with his former Texas Troubadour, steel guitarist Lynn Owsley. In the video below the two share the stage with one of the fathers of the modern Steel Guitar, Jimmy Day.

Jimmy Day & Lynn Owsley - Steel Guitar; Pete Mitchell - Guitar

When Jimmy Day passed away in 1999, Pete came to Austin to pay his respect and was re-introduced to Jimmy's sister-in-law, Paula. It was love at first sight, and a little time later, Pete moved from Nashville to Buda (outskirts of Austin) got married and settled down in Texas. As a sideman he would play with local people like the Troubadillos, James Hand, James White and Alvin Crow's Hardcore Country band as wel as with Lost John Casner. He played his last gig during Christmas week (2015) with Glen Collins at Watterson Hall in Red Rock. During the music fair SXSW he would was often a hired gun for musicians passing through Austin, needing a solid picker to make them shine.

As producer and steel guitarist Tommy Detamore put it: "Pete was such a treasure. I feel so lucky I got to make record with him. Only problem was I kept halting the progress to ask him to show me how he did something! His approach to guitar was so cool and innovative. Some of those bends he string bends....index finger fluid."

And Pete did it with a lot of charm and always a smile on his face.

Sources: YouTube,, converstations with Pete

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Willie Nelson To Release Ray Price Tribute

In 2013 as Ray Price knew he was dying, he went back into the studio to record his last album "BEAUTY IS..." hiring producer and this year's"Country Music Hall of Fame"-inductee, Fred Foster as well as string arranger/conductor Bergen D. White. 

Foster was quoted about Ray and the recordings: "He called me in 2012 and said, 'I think I have one album left in me; I’m not well, you know. I want to do one last one, and I want you to do it with me.’" Foster was influential in Ray Price's early career and got him to sing in his own style instead of trying to imitate Hank Williams. Shortly thereafter Ray came up with his own signature song, the country 4/4 shuffle. Vince Gill was asked by Ray to sing harmony on two of the tracks. The album, which was released by AmeriMonte Records four months after Ray's passing, also contained a track written by Ray's old pal, Willie Nelson. The whole project was recorded in a converted church, at Ocean Way Nashville Recording.

Ray Price with Willie Nelson on bass and Jimmy Day on steel guitar
Fast-forward to today, not only is today Fred Foster's 85th Birthday (7/26) but it was also announced that Willie will release "FOR THE GOOD TIMES: A TRIBUTE TO RAY PRICE" on September, 16.  And yes, Willie went into the same studio, got Fred and Bergen as producer and arranger and invited Vince Gill and his traditional Country/Western Swing Outfit "The Time Jumpers" to be the backing band on the more country-heavy half  of the dozen tracks. The whole project doesn't come as a big surprise, Willie as an aspiring songwriter used to work for Ray Price's publishing company and for a short time in 1961 was even playing bass behind Price as a Cherokee Cowboy. Ray also recorded several songs written by Willie, 'Night Life", "I'm Still Not Over You" and "It Always Will Be" are included here. Besides Willie's songs, there are two by Hank Cochran, one by Bill Anderson, Roger Miller, Harlan Howard, the Bob Wills classic "Faded Love," the Ralph Mooney/Charles Seals classic "Crazy Arms," Kristofferson's "For The Good Times" and the Ray Price/Rusty Gabbard shuffle "I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)."

Over the years Willie and Ray recorded several projects together, as examples Willie's "SAN ANTONIO ROSE" or the concept album "LAST OF THE BREED" which was also produced by Foster and featured Merle Haggard. This is a great album showcasing the deep friendship between Willie and his former boss.

Balanced by honky tonk heavy fiddles (Kenny Sears) and pedal steel (Paul Franklin) to the string arrangements for the countrypolitan sound that Ray also created, the tribute covers a wide variety. Also worth mentioning is the art work of the album - basically it looks like Ray's "NIGHT LIFE" album from 1963.

Tracklist for Willie Nelson's For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price: 

"Title" (Songwriters) and chart placing

1. "Heartaches by the Number" (featuring the Time Jumpers) (Harlan Howard) #2 1959

2. "I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)" (featuring the Time Jumpers) (Rusty Gabbard; Ray Price) #2 1954

3. "Faded Love" (Bob Wills; John Wills; Billy Jack Wills) #3 1980

4. "It Always Will Be" (Willie Nelson)

5. "City Lights" (featuring the Time Jumpers) (Bill Anderson) 1958 #1

6. "Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me" (featuring the Time Jumpers) (Hank Cochran) #11 1965

7. "Make the World Go Away" (Hank Cochran) #2 1963

8. "I’m Still Not Over You" (Willie Nelson) #6 1967

9. "Night Life" (Walt Breeland, Paul Buskirk, Willie Nelson) #28 1963

10. "Crazy Arms" (featuring the Time Jumpers) (Ralph Mooney; Charles Seals) #1 1956

11. "Invitation to the Blues" (featuring the Time Jumpers) (Roger Miller) #3 1958

12. "For the Good Times" (Kris Kristofferson) #1 1970

Sources:, BMI, Billboard, YouTube, Rolling Stone, Bear Family Ray Price Box Set

Monday, July 25, 2016

Simpler Times - Toby Keith Wishes There Would Be A Few More Cowboys

What a nice surprise - Toby Keith just entered the Country Charts this last weekend at #51 with his new single "A Few More Cowboys," a song which became recently a staple during his life shows on his 2016 Interstates & Tailgates Tour. 

A surprise as he haven't had a Number-One-Hit in five years since "Made In America," and he wasn't able to crack the Top-30 of the Hot Country Songs charts since his 2013 title track "Drinks After Work."

What's really nice, is that besides some raunchy guitar, the tune is actually quite country and reminds me of some of his stuff he did in the late 90's early 00's. The message of the song is quite laudable too - with "A Few More Cowboys" - gallantry would still be around and with more "Yes Ma'am" and less boot licking "Yes Men" the world would be a better place.

Keith wrote the song and it is actually an old-time full story-song, with monster songwriters Dean Dillon, who was recognized by the ACM with the "Poet's Award - Living" for songs recorded by George Jones, Keith Whitley, Toby and most of all George Strait and the almost two decades younger Bobby Pinson, who is a regular contributor with Keith. The duo actually wrote eight out of eleven songs on Keith's "THAT DON'T MAKE ME A BAD GUY."

Government (with a White House in Texas), legalization of marijuana, crime but also job-outsourcing are topics mentioned - in somehow a humorous way - in the song, basically it also ask to go back to a simpler time. In the video below - Toby told IHeart Radio, what "A Few More Cowboys" is all about

"I think people can apply this song to their life because it just kind of sums it up . Everything in the world right now is looked at under a microscope and everything is critiqued. The little stuff becomes the biggest stuff, and the biggest stuff gets forgotten about. Maybe the cowboys had a simpler way of life and dealing with things that needed to be dealt with."

If the White House was in Texas, man, we'd get a straighter answer

If they'd let us smoke what we want, we'd have a lot less cancer

There'd be a bunch more daddies, sons could be proud of

We'd have half the crime, we'd have twice the fun

With a few more cowboys, be a lot less outlaws

With a few more amens, be a lot less bad calls

With a few more yes ma'ams and a lot less yes man

This world would be a better place to live in

With a few more cowboys

If we did it with a handshake, we'd save a lot of paper

That'd save a lot of trees we're shippin' overseas to make her

If we stood by our word, took care of our own

Bought it made in the USA, we'd keep it here at home

With a few more cowboys, be a lot less outlaws

With a few more amens, be a lot less bad calls

With a few more yes ma'ams and a lot less yes man

This world would be a better place to live in

With a few more cowboys

If we had a little more grit, less politics, and more fist fights

Met 'em at high noon, hell, it's about high time

We looked 'em in the eye, got our head out of the sand

Hit 'em with a big John Wayne, by God they'd understand

With a few more cowboys, be a lot less outlaws

With a few more amens, be a lot less bad calls

With a few more yes ma'ams and a lot less yes man

This world would be a better place to live in

With a few more cowboys

All in all we'd have a better world

With a few more cowboys

We'd have a few more cowgirls

With a few more cowboys

If the White House was in Texas, man

We'd get a straighter answer

They'd let us smoke what we want

Be a lot less cancer

★★★★/★★★★★ (4/5)

Sources: Vevo, IHeart Radio,, Billboard

Friday, July 22, 2016

Yikes - Brantley - You Just Screwed The Weekend

Oh Lord, please let me work with no pay through this weekend. , so I don't have to listen to Brantley Gilbert's new single "The Weekend" which he released today (7/22) through the IHeart country radio stations. The song immediately climbed into the Top-10 of downloader itunes.


The song is so stupid that if we take one IQ point away from each writer - Brantley himself and Andrew DeRobert - a guy he never met, according to the video below - they would both function with photo-synthesis as daisies in the room.

Don't believe me how stupid the song is - read for yourself:

Tick tock, I'm on the clock and I'm feeling like

This job's just 9 to 5'in my life away

Really the tough guy with all the tatts is working a desk job from 9 to 5, whatever happened to country boys working from sunrise to sunset. There must be some pussy willows growing in Georgia.

It's like I'm back in school and I'm in the last class

And I'm passing time until the bell ring, 

That's the line for your teenie fans, who haven't gravitated, sorry graduated from school. Next he's gonna put a line in about some kinder gardeners about not finding their pacifiers. But hold on it's all getting better...

Having visions of summertime

Wait a minute now, that's just later tonight

Tan legs and tailgating, it's all up in the moonlight

And by the way,

There it is, the tailgate - darn I missed that line, haven't heard it before. And oh well, the female partner just got reduced to tan legs, no personality, brains whatsoever. Just tan legs - wow man. I fucked her because she had tanned legs. You are such a macho Brantley. Well let's see what the chorus brings - I'm sure there must be a hook in there somewhere:

Live it up for the weekend

Pour it up, have the time of your life

Take a shot for the regrets

Double up and it's bound to get buck wild

Hey ladies, let your hair down

We know ain't nobody scared now, hell nah

Just do your thing like it's spring break

Wake and bake and we're at it again

We live it up for the weekend

I wonder if I should even comment on this - pretty much says it all. Pubescent fantasies or in other words; masturbating to a "Girls Gone Wild" video tape and to be the "big gangsta" (that's what BG stands for, I think) we wake and bake one and appeal to the fraternity of stupidity. It doesn't get any better in the second verse either, if we even can call it a verse with its four lines of master poetry. The fact that you don't drink, bake and drive is the only laudable line in that whole mess of a song. Love the Yeti product placement, I'm sure that's gonna help them with their IPO.

Backwoods looking like Panama City

A bunch of jacked up trucks and bikinis

Got a Yeti full of good ideas

Like I ain't worried 'bout driving, I'mma stay right here

And after that mini verse we go to another chorus and then the bridge; there must have been some geniuses at work here, coming up with a reality check about church on Sunday and then going back to work on Monday, but oh no we don't wanna talk about that.

Somebody said something 'bout church on Sunday, amen

Somebody said something 'bout work on Monday

Shhh, don't say it again

The chorus and the outro finally finish the song and let us catch our breath again until the next weekend rolls around. Musically the song doesn't offer anything either from it's "wah-wah" Intro to the metal guitar soli. It's not even good rock music - it's simply bad, an immature waste of time. Oh and I'm sure, that that piece of crap will top the charts. And oh by the way, if you're gonna come up with a video for this opus, I already filmed it. Boys with drinks, girls in bikinis, a radio blaring, pick-up trucks and prominent Yeti coolers everywhere - am I a genius or what?

Yes "The Weekend" is in the running, in the running for one of the worst songs of the year.

(★)/★★★★★ (½/5)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Drinking With Dolly - Stephanie Quayle's New Video Empowers Female Singers

Is the party finally on? "Drinking With Dolly," the new single from Stephanie Quayle not only laments the classier past, but also the missing role of female country artists in today's bro-country environment.

Lament may be the wrong word, the song, written by singer/songwriters Victoria Banks and Rachel Proctor - as a team they also wrote Jessica Simpson's "Come On Over" and others - is actually more of a celebration of strong womanhood. While mentioning Jeannic C. Riley's take on Tom T. Hall's "Harper Valley PTA," Dolly (Parton), Tammy (Wynette), and Loretta (Lynn) are mentioned by name in the song. All three recorded several songs in the sixties and seventies about new roles for women - for instance, "Just Because I'm A Woman" by Dolly, "I Don't Wanna Play House" by Tammy, and "The Pill" by Loretta.

"Drinking with Dolly

After the Opry

Pour one for Tammy too

Put on my rhinestones

Paint up my nails

Kick up my dancing shoes

Hey there Loretta

Put a quarter in the jukebox

We'll sing along with you

We'll raise up a glass

Wish Patsy could be here too

To talk about men

Cuz that's what women do"

The song is not only a delight for strong women characters but also for fans of traditional country music. Producer Matt McClure did an excellent job of keeping it down and simple with an organic feel to it. There is actually some fiddle here and some pedabro (or is it just dobro) there. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the accurate musician's credits for this great recording.

In the five years since Stephanie Quayle moved to Nashville, she had several singles and videos released before, but none actually cracked the radio charts. But if you would like to hear that on your radio station, call your programmers up and tell them, you want to go "Drinking With Dolly."

★★★★(★)/★★★★★ (4½/5)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Stars Behind The Stars Line-Up At Billy Bob's

Tanya Tucker

A star-studded group of country music superstars will come together on Wednesday, July 27 at the world's largest Honky Tonk, Billy Bob's in Fort Worth, for a special benefit "Stars Behind The Stars" to raise money for the "Assist The Officer Foundation." As of now the lineup is very impressive: Tanya Tucker, The Oak Ridge Boys, Mark Wills, Collin Raye, Janie Fricke, T.G. Sheppard and his wife Kelly Lang, The Bellamy Brothers, T. Graham Brown, Johnny 

John Conlee

Lee, Gene Watson, John Conlee, Ronnie McDowell, Mickey Gilley and Moe Bandy.

Randy Travis is scheduled to make a special appearance.

T.G. Sheppard will serve as host and performer and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Band will provide their talent to back all of the artists. Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Band members currently include Mitchell Smithey, Wes Taylor, Charlie Shearer, Scott Moody, Curtis Randall, John Martinez, Angie McWhirter, Kyle Harris and Shawnda Rains.

Oak Ridge Boys

All of all the proceeds will go to the Dallas Police Association's "Assist The Officer Foundation." The foundation provides immediate financial assistance to an officer's family in the event of injury or death of an active officer. None of the country music superstars hesitated to come and help out for "Stars Behind The Stars" to support the families of the slain Dallas police officers. For more information on the foundation, please visit their website:

Randy Travis

The event is organised and produced by Kirt Webster and Scott Adkins of Nashville-based Webster Public Relations in association with Concho Minick of Billy Bob's Texas, who is donating the facility and providing staffing and marketing for the event. Cumulus DFW will promote the event on all their local radio station, with KPLX-FM (The Wolf) 99.5 leading the pack. Advanced Aviation Team provides the necessary charter airfares for all the artists to come to Fort Worth.

Tickets ($10 General Admission, $20 Reserve) are on sale here. Doors will open at 5 p.m. 

Sources: Webster PR

Monday, July 18, 2016

SR: "Angels In This Town" Lift Eric Paslay Out Of "High Class" Misery

Coming off his terrible first single "High Class" of his sophomore album "DRESSED IN BLACK," Eric Paslay just released his follow up single "Angels In This Town."

The good news: it's not as bad as the stupid "High Class" which stalled in April of this year at #32 of the Hot Country Songs Charts. And even though co-written by Eric with Corey Crowder and DJ Telemitry (aka Jesse Frasure) and having an urban dance club feel to it and mentioning Justin Timberlake, it failed to crack the Hot 100 Pop Charts.

It also destroyed my hope of maybe an artist that has musical integrity. After seeing him about three years ago unannounced at the Saxon Pub in Austin - see my blog "Eric Paslay - Emerging Artist - Proven Songwriter" - I was all hyped up, that there may actually be an artist with integrity. Damn was I way off the mark. Actually things weren't that bad at first, his debut release "ERIC PASLAY" was half decent, contained "Country Side of Heaven" as well as the quite amazing "She Don't Love You" which reached #15 in April of '15.

So Eric got from his snotty white trash "High Class" to a more down home style, replaced the black suit with jeans and ball cap again and on the way down, actually found some form of spirituality, albeit only in concept and lyrical content. Crowder is again a co-writer, third one in the round this time was relative newcomer Eric Dylan, who just released "Pink Flamingos."

The music production by Marshall Altman is with it's R&B loops still way over the top and Paslay's strength, his actually fine voice, is stretched way to far into arena-rock over-sung screeches.

Too bad, because the story line of the song is very promising, although (too) simple - scoring the winning touchdown in highschool football game, evading a deadly car-crash and still being alive. Yes miracles happen and angels are among us. With a more subtler instrumentation and maybe even a church choir behind it, to actually invoke the karma musically as well - this could have been a better song and maybe using the angels to help somebody more unfortunate instead of winning a football game would have shown real compassion for the angels out there.

★(★)/★★★★★ (1½/5)

Angels In This Town (Audio) - Eric Paslay

Watch Angels In This Town (Audio) by Eric Paslay online at Discover the latest music videos by Eric Paslay on Vevo.

Sources: Vevo,, Billboard

Country Music Hall of Fame member - Bonnie Brown passes

Bonnie Brown Ring, one-third of one of Country Music’s most enduring family groups as a member of The Browns, passed away on Saturday (July 16) at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas following complications from lung cancer. She was 77 years old.

Born July 31, 1938 in Sparkman, Arkansas, Brown became enamored with music at an early age – thanks to the exposure she had to it from watching her older siblings, Maxine and James Edward. The two performed together, earning a hit in 1954 with “Looking Back To See.” Upon her graduation from high school, Bonnie joined her siblings, expanding their duet into a trio.

They began performing together on The Louisiana Hayride on KWKH in Shreveport, which led to appearances on ABC-TV’s Ozark Jubilee. Chet Atkins and RCA came calling soon after, and the Browns found themselves on the chart with hits such as “I Take The Chance” and “I Heard The Bluebirds Sing.” James Edward (now known as Jim Ed) was drafted in 1957, but the trio still managed to find time to record when he was on leave.

By 1959, the group recorded what would turn out to be one of the biggest hits of the era “The Three Bells.” The song topped the Billboard Country charts – their first, and also crossed over to the apex of the Hot 100. The exposure of that hit led to appearances on every major variety series of the day, such as The Ed Sullivan Show. The song, based and translated from "Les Trois Cloches" penned in 1939 by Swiss poet, comedian, actor & chansonnier Jean Villard Gilles was a huge success for Edith Piaf.

With her southern charm and stunning looks, Brown attracted the attention of many of the hottest male artists of the day, including Elvis Presley. The hits continued, with “Scarlet Ribbons,” “The Old Lamplighter,” and “Then I’ll Stop Loving You” all being showcases for their rich harmonies, where Bonnie sang the high harmony parts. The Grand Ole Opry came calling in 1963, inviting The Browns to become members.

Still a touring and recording favorite, Bonnie and Maxine decided to leave the trio in 1967 – citing a desire to spend more time with their growing families. Jim Ed continued on as a performer, with hits to his credit such as “Pop A Top.” He also remained a member of the Opry, where his sisters would join him from time to time.

In 1978, Tom T. Hall contacted the Brown sisters, Maxine and Bonnie to lend their vocal talents to his debut RCA LP "New Train, Same Rider". The sisters were featured on five of the ten songs, including on the Hall penned "Come On Back To Nashville (Ode To The Outlaws)".

In March of 2015, it was announced that The Browns would be among the new inductees for the new class of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Jim Ed passed away following his own battle with cancer prior to the official Medallion Ceremony that fall, though he was presented with his medallion a few days prior to his passing. Not too long after the Hall of Fame announcement, Bonnie announced that she too had been diagnosed with cancer, but was in attendance at the Hall for the induction ceremony in October.

The music of the Browns was known and loved all over the world, prompting the Country Music Hall of Fame CEO Kyle Young to say “When Bonnie Brown joined her brother, Jim Ed, and her sister, Maxine, in song, the siblings created an incomparable harmony: the smoothest and most elegant blend in country music. Bonnie offered harmony offstage as well. She brought people together with regal grace and kindness. She lived a remarkable life, singing on grand stages, raising a beloved family, entering the Country Music Hall of Fame, and breaking up with young Elvis Presley because he was, she said, a lousy kisser. Today, she is reunited with Jim Ed, and with her husband of 56 years, Brownie Ring.”

Bonnie Brown is survived by two daughters, Kelly (Ed) Bulleit, and Robin (Rob) Shaver, Kelly’s children, Clark, Kendall, and Raleigh, as well as Robin’s offspring, Skylar and Stone, and of course, by her sister, Maxine.

"Whispering" Bill Anderson (un-credited) and John Conlee remembering Bonnie Brown.

Sources: Webster PR, News Channel 5 Nashville, YouTube

Friday, July 15, 2016

Racket County - Wanna-Be Criminals for Frat-Boys

Racket County - photo: website

Georgia duo Clay "Uncle Snap" Sharpe and Brian "Rooster" King actually had quite some success as the LACS, the Loud Ass Crackers, taking two albums "KEEP IT REDNECK" (2013) and "OUTLAW IN ME" (2015) into the Billboard Top Country Album Charts and doing the same in the Rap Album Charts. But their mixture of Rock, Country, Hick Hop (their self-named version of Rap), and Southern Rock didn't fare too well with radio programmers, not giving them one single worth of airplay. But they kept touring, mostly attracting millennial frat-boys and wanna-be gangsters, basically appealing to an even lower common denominator as Nash-Trash country does to suburban middle-aged soccer moms and acne-ridden Teenie Boppers.

Probably to avoid disappearing in the sweet nothingness after their 15 minutes of half-ass fame, they now bonded together with Floridians trio Hard Target and came up with the equivalent of Hick Hop's Florida Georgia Line and the real scary name Racket County. A new label, Barn Burner Records was formed to accommodate the new outfit, while they are still relying on Average Joe's Entertainment distribution.

A debut album of the fat as in overweight (their own description) quintet, with the cliched title "WELCOME TO DODGE CITY" and brandishing whiskey and bullets, is scheduled to be released on August, 5th.

A first single "Sunday" with a sham tropical island groove and to add insult to injury a fake Jamaican accent over the infantile rapping style was released with a video more alluring to bro-country than to real gangsta rap. The guy who came up with the "fishin' and hookin' up" line must be a real genius.

Watch at your own discretion.

(★)/★★★★★ (½/5)