R.S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Tag: Country Music (page 1 of 2)

Friday Photo: 9/28/18

Ann and Doyle and Debbie
The Station Inn
Nashville, Tennessee – 2018

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 9/3/18

“Self Portrait with Guitar and White Shirt”
LaGrange, Georgia – 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 8/13/18

“Brocade, Velvet, Patent Leather”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 7/6/18

“Bass Fiddle, at Rest”
Nashville, Tennessee – 2015

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Friday Photo: 6/8/18

“Traveling Shoes, Part 4”
Nashville, Tennessee – May 2018

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Wednesday Photo: 6/6/18

 

“A Quiet Moment in KC”
Kansas City, Missouri – 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

In Which Jason Isbell’s Twitter Account Makes My Entire Week

True story: Our landscape guy used to play in Webb Pierce’s band and I can’t get him to rename his company “There Stands the Grass” #Nashville

In 13 years of country music scholarship, I’ve had to accept that the average person doesn’t know who Webb Pierce is, and has never heard any of his classic country songs. So when I see someone like Jason Isbell not just tweet-mention Pierce but also make a pun on his best-known song, “There Stands the Glass,” it makes my entire week.

See the actual 17 May 2018 tweet for yourself right here. If you aren’t familiar with Jason Isbell, here’s the Wikipedia entry on him. If you like strong, original songwriting, you’ll love Isbell’s work.

 

Wednesday Photo: 4/11/18

“Mother Church Windows”
Ryman Auditorium
Nashville, Tennessee – 16 September 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 3/23/18

“Downtown Nashville, Tuesday, 6:00 PM”
Nashville, Tennessee – 2 August 2016

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Caturday: 12/2/17

“Black Cat with J.P.”
LaGrange, Georgia – 3 November 2017
Model: Miller (with a copy of John Prine: In Spite of Himself by Eddie Huffman)

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 11/27/17

“Traveling Shoes, Part 4”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 21 August 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

If Blake Shelton Is the Sexiest Man Alive, Then I Am the Jolly Green Giant

So People Magazine has declared country singer [sic] Blake Shelton their 2017 Sexiest Man Alive. And this country music scholar HAS SOME STRONG OPINIONS.

Sexiest Man Alive? In what universe? Have we just stopped trying, as a society? (Wait, no, don’t answer that.) Y’all, I can go to any bar in any town on a Friday night and find half a dozen middle-aged white dudes who look just like this. Standing on any street in downtown Nashville, I can throw a rock with my eyes closed and hit 20 Shelton look-alikes. It’s a goddamn travesty.

Hell, I could browse my Facebook friends list and easily find a couple hundred men who are sexier than Blake Shelton, plus none of them have cheesy-ass redneck stereotype tattoos. Nor do any of them look like everybody’s ne’er-do-well uncle who’s 48 and still lives at home but dresses like he’s 18 and just stepped out of an Ed Hardy photo shoot. (Don’t act like you don’t know which uncle I’m talking about.) Mmmmmmmm, smell that entire can of Axe body spray he fumigated himself with put on before exiting his room.

Jesus, Mary, and Johnny Cash help us.

People Magazine really needs to rethink this whole Sexiest Man Alive deal. Or at least NOT make it so cheap that any middling country star with a regular role on a TV “talent” show can buy the title for $25,000. Means about as much as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which costs about the same—and there are upwards of 5,000 of those damn things making Tinseltown sidewalks that much uglier.

Since you asked (and I know you didn’t, but too bad, because I’m telling you anyway) here’s my definitive list of things that are sexier than Blake Shelton:

Bronchitis
A dirty litter box
2 gallons of mayonnaise
The rear view mirror on a ’92 Oldsmobile
Stewed tomatoes
The Pruitt-Igoe implosion
A colonoscopy
Merkins
Stale Coors Light
A partially demolished CMU wall
No. 10 envelopes
Dentures
An outboard motor
Partially-used roll of tracing paper
MRI room doors
Conjunctivitis
Tom Petty’s ghost
Mortgage insurance
Creepy church fans
Dental floss
Murphy’s Oil Soap
205R65 steel-belted radials
Store-brand maxi pads
Any K-Tel Kenny Rogers box set
A 22-ounce framing hammer
The Microsoft Excel formula for compound interest
Elevation drawings of any Frank Gehry building
The ladies’ restroom on Saturday night at the Flora-Bama Club

Seriously: If Blake Shelton is the Sexiest Man Alive, then my 5’2″ ass is the Jolly Green Giant. Now, if y’all will excuse me, I’m gonna sit over here in the corner and drink bourbon (neat) while I sing “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger.”

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 10/30/17

“Old Mic and Banjo”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 29 May 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 9/8/17

“Meditation Garden Window, Graceland”
Memphis, Tennessee – July 2013

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Hillside Monday: 8/14/17

“Brocade, Velvet, Patent Leather”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 8 July 2017

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 6/7/17

“The View from Cannery Row”
Nashville, Tennessee – 18 September 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 6/2/17

“Bass Fiddle at Rest”
Nashville, Tennessee – 21 May 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Friday Photo: 5/12/17

“There Stands the Glass”
Louisville, Kentucky – 12 June 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

 

Friday Photo: 3/10/17

“Mother Church Windows”
Ryman Auditorium
Nashville, Tennessee – 16 September 2015

© R.S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Waiting, with Graphic Patterns

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Nashville, Tennessee – 18 September 2015

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Wednesday Photo: 10/5/16

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“Downtown Nashville, Tuesday, 6:00 PM”
Nashville, Tennessee – 2 August 2016

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 9/21/16

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“Late Night, Lower Broadway”
Nashville, Tennessee – 19 September 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Bluegrass and Pabst

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David Peterson & 1946, at the legendary Station Inn
Nashville, Tennessee – 22 May 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Hillside Monday: 7/25/16

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“One Way to Get To Nashville”
Pure Life Studios
LaGrange, Georgia – 26 June 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

 

Join Us for a LIVE podcast: Sun 10 July at 4pm Eastern!

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Another reminder that I’ll be a guest on The Show video podcast tomorrow (Sunday 10 July) at 4pm Eastern time! W00t!

Brian Mallard, Timothy Childree, and I have a lot to squeeze into just one hour. I mean, there’s writing, photos, country music, pro wrestling, Southern food, and bizarre stories. Plenty of bizarre stories.

I’ll talk about my novel-in-progress, Songs My Father Barely Knew (links to an excerpt). I’ll also give a brief reading from my work. So far, nobody’s requested bad guitar playing or interpretive modern dance. So far. But, hey, anything could happen.

To join us:

  • Follow this link at 4pm on Sunday 10 July.
  • Program not streaming on the website? Just click here to follow along live on The Show’s official Facebook page.
  • Can’t join us live? No problem! It’ll be archived, so you can watch later.

See you then!

Text and photo © R. S. Williams
“Listen to Merle R. Haggard” shirt courtesy of Trailer Parkman

 

A Quiet Moment in Nashville

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Nashville, Tennessee – 16 September 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Bass Fiddle, at Rest

 

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Nashville, Tennessee – 21 May 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Tammy Wynette Sign, Tremont, Mississippi

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Alabama-Mississippi state line – 14 April 2016

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Ladies’ Room Floor, Mercy Lounge

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Nashville, Tennessee – 18 September 2014

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There’s More Than One King at Graceland

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Presley Family Grave Site
Graceland (Memphis, Tennessee) – 23 July 2013

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Now at Country Universe: My review of Buddy Miller’s latest!

I’m delighted to have my review of Buddy Miller’s new album, Buddy Miller & Friends: Cayamo Sessions at Sea, posted today at Country Universe. I’ve known the folks at CU for eight years—their reviews and artist interviews are independent, well-written, and always interesting.

Check out my guest post and subscribe to Country Universe. Oh, and don’t forget to check out Buddy’s new album. I recommend it highly.

 

Wednesday Photo: 10/7/15

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“The View from Next to the Ryman”
Nashville, Tennessee – 16 September 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 9/30/15

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“Honky-Tonkin’ Dizzy”
Nashville, Tennessee – 17 September 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Late Night, Lower Broadway

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Nashville, Tennessee – 19 September 2015

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Elvis’s Gold Piano

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Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
Nashville, Tennessee – 21 June 2013

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Thank You, Johnny

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In loving memory of John R. Cash
26 February 1932 – 12 September 2003

“Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash Graveside Bench”
Hendersonville, Tennessee – 5 June 2008

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Wednesday Photo: 12/10/14

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End-cut wood parquet floor, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Nashville, Tennessee – June 2008

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Worn to Perfection

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Ladies’ room floor at Mercy Lounge
Nashville, Tennessee – 18 September 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

The View from Cannery Row

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Nashville, Tennessee – 18 September 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

33 1/3 Kinds of Wrong

One bonus of country music research—and of teaching a survey course titled “Country Music and Southern Culture: Beyond Drinkin’, Fightin’, and Cheatin'”— is the material students find on their own for class.

Years ago, after a great discussion of how country music often ignores African-Americans’ contributions to the genre, one student brought me this 25¢ yard sale gem. “Since we talked about DeFord Bailey, Charlie Pride, and Ray Charles last week,” he said, “I thought this might be interesting.”

The next day, I showed it to the class. “Based on our discussion the other day, tell me what’s going on with this album cover.”

At the back of the room, one student raised a hand. “Well, Professor—how much time do you have?”

 

The Tender Side of Ray Charles (front cover)

 

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)
Album cover © 1978 Suffolk Marketing, Inc.

 

Damn good.

A few weeks ago, two musician friends stopped by for a visit, guitars in hand. I’ve known Tommy and Bubba for thirteen years, since my community theatre days. I’ve heard them play music, in private and in public, at least fifty times. At least forty of those fifty times, they’ve invited me to sing with them. I’ve always turned them down—too busy, too inexperienced, too self-conscious, too frightened.

The fifty-first time was the charm.

In four hours, we played country classics, folk standards, and a healthy serving of what some people call “Americana.” Tommy and Bubba switched lead vocal duties every few numbers, with my voice backing theirs. For the last song of the evening, Tommy and I duetted on John Prine’s “In Spite of Ourselves.”

The final notes of a delightful evening faded. Bubba, a man who speaks almost exclusively through song, turned to me as if to whisper juicy gossip. “I knew it!”

Tommy nodded. “That was good, Rach. Seriously. That was damn good.”

I can’t wait to sing again.

 

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Happy birthday, Elvis

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Today marks what would have been Elvis Presley’s 79th birthday. Although his death revived his career beyond even the farthest reaches of Colonel Tom Parker’s imagination, I wonder what Elvis would be up to today, had he lived. Part of me likes to think he’s still with us, enjoying his golden years in anonymity.

Perhaps he’s retired to a tiny little Arkansas town and runs the local vegetable stand in the summer. Perhaps he repairs lawnmowers and chain saws for grins and extra cash, and to keep up the illusion that he’s just another old man. Or, in what would be such masterfully delicious irony, perhaps Elvis is impersonating himself in Las Vegas.

Photographed at Graceland (Memphis, Tennessee) – 25 July 2013

 

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hank Williams: 1923-1953

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Today would have been Hank Williams’ 90th birthday.

Photo: Hank & Audrey Williams’ grave site, Oakwood Cemetery Annex, Montgomery, Alabama – Spring 2008

George Jones: 1931-2013

September 12, 1931 – April 26, 2013

Patsy Cline: 1932-1963

The legendary Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley this day in 1932.

Friday Photo: 8/16/13

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Memphis, Tennessee – 25 July 2013

Friday Photo: 7/19/13

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Elvis Presley’s gold-plated piano, on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Nashville, Tennessee – 21 June 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: 7/17/13

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Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Nashville, Tennessee – 21 June 2013

Friday Photo: 7/12/13

Johnny Cash Sticker (LaGrange, Georgia - June 2013)

LaGrange, Georgia – 9 June 2013

June Carter Cash: 1929-2003

Country music legend June Carter Cash was born this day in 1929. Here’s her famous duet, “Jackson,” with husband Johnny Cash.

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