Apr
1

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goodbye is all we have…

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On March 7, 2012, I started yet another blog that I thought for sure would be doomed to the same negligence and obscurity that befell the others. Instead, it totally and completely changed my life. I will be forever grateful.

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Sep
27

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Lydia Loveless’ Postcards From The Road

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Back in the day, it was kind of fun when you’d go to a live show and hear the band announce that you were going to be on a live album recorded that night. The thought crossed my mind watching Lydia Loveless, when she stepped on Mountainstage in Charlestown for a taping of a forthcoming West Virginia Public Broadcasting radio program.

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Sep
24

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The Ostrich Flies Away: A Tribute To Devarati Ghosh

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Credit: Billboard Country Update

Tuesday felt like a bad dream. I woke up earlier than usual, glancing at my phone to check my notifications. I logged onto Twitter, and found myself tagged in a thread that suggested one of my friends, and a wonderful human being, had mysteriously passed away.

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Sep
23

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At Farm Aid, The Seeds of Revolution

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Let it be said here that this was the day when we may look back on when the revolution was declared. Or as Neil Young said on the morning of Saturday, September 17, “The Better Food Revolution.”

Young appeared at his 31st Farm Aid like he was Mayor of the Earth, the planet’s five letters all in uppercase emblazoned EARTH on his black t-shirt. Young was decrying big agriculture for selling food that’s been degraded, taking a shot at Barack Obama. “Even your president supports it.”

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Sep
6

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Margo Price’s Surreal Year

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When news came out this week that Margo Price and Sturgill Simpson did not receive any CMA nominations, fans of country music were left scratching their heads—again.

“Maybe I’d be smarter if I just played dumb,” Price posted on her Facebook page, a sarcastic reference pulled from her song “This Town Gets Around,” a stinging indictment of Music Row.

It was just another chapter in the surreal year of 2016. The singer went from selling nearly every last possession in order to fund and release a stunning debut Midwest Farmer’s Daughter. It debuted in the top ten of Billboard’s country albums chart and landed her on Saturday Night Live. By the time she got to the Newport Folk Festival, Price realized the musical highlight of her career, singing “Me and Bobby McGee” alongside its legendary writer Kris Kristofferson. Price will finish her summer appearing with Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Sturgill Simpson during Farm Aid.  A week later she will attend the Americana Music Association Awards in Nashville, where she is nominated for Best New Artist.

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Aug
30

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Shane McAnally, This Is Your Life

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Shane McAnally motions up to the stage where Josh Osborne, one of his writing partners, is sitting. It’s a Saturday afternoon at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville where McAnally is the featured honoree of the museum’s ongoing Poets & Prophets series. They were going to sing “Merry-Go-Round” when McAnally said it must seem odd that Kacey Musgraves, who was sitting in the audience, wasn’t onstage. He hadn’t given her a heads up he’d be calling on her but then asked her to come up and sing harmony. The elegant Musgraves obliged. Just as she sat down, McAnally disappeared to leave Musgraves and Osborne to sing the song together.

“Welcome to what it’s like with Shane,” Osborne said, deadpan.

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Aug
20

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Lydia Loveless ‘Real’ – Album Review

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The first time I heard “Bilbao” from Lydia Loveless’ new album ‘Real,’ it was like I was hearing a voice repeating inside my head. As I felt the emotions swelling, I could hear the whispered line from 10cc’s great pop song “I’m Not In Love” repeating “Big boys don’t cry… big boys don’t cry.” The reverie puts you in a trance and when things come to a climactic bridge, her voice soars to majestic heights, wrapped around a wall of sound that feels like she’s reaching the pinnacle of her career. And when she comes back with a killer one-lite fade out, it just about does you in, in a few spectacular minutes that sum up all the attributes of the great expansiveness of ‘Real.’ I just cried inside – I admit it.

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Aug
20

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Dolly Parton @ Verizon Arena, Little Rock, AR | August 13, 2016 – Review

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Dolly Parton at the Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas on August 13th, 2016. Photo courtesy of Tracy Dardenne.

Written by Michelle Ivey

The first time I saw Dolly Parton in concert was 11 years ago at Dollywood. It was, in fact, my first concert ever. So when Dolly announced she was coming back to Arkansas (a place she hasn’t been since 2008), I immediately knew I wanted to be there.

I arrived and settled into my seat in the lower bowl of the arena, with a decent view of the stage. After a few minutes of making sure I had everything I needed, I ran to the front row before the show started, to ask some of the people who met Dolly some questions.

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Aug
16

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Dolly Parton ‘Pure and Simple’ – Album Review

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Reviewing your all-time favorite artist can sometimes produce a crisis of confidence. On the one hand, you know you are biased to love everything that artist produces, while on the other, you know you have incredibly high standards for anything new that arrives. It can therefore be nerve-wracking when new music is released, leading to disappointment as often as automatic adoration. No artist can continue on an upward trend of quality because no artist is perfect, and such contemplation can also leave the reviewer tangled up in judging the validity of their own reactions.

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