Rockin’ West Coast country music legend Dwight Yoakam has a fresh new set of tracks ready to be offered to the listening public under the collective title of Second Hand Heart, scheduled to be released on April 14th.
The new album is said to hearken back to Yoakam’s early cowpunk days, when the caramel-voiced singer was coming up in the ranks touring with punk and rock bands as a throwback country music artist a little left of center from what commercial radio was looking for in those days. But with one of the best voices country has ever heard, and unmatched style and smootheness, and a sharp songwriter’s pen, Yoakam soon became a big star doing it his own way, eventually selling over 25 million records.
After spending a few years focused more on his acting pursuits, Yoakam released 3 Pears in 2012—his first album in seven years. Second Hand Heart will see Yoakam return to Reprise Records where he spent most of his early career, including releasing his 1986 classic Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. The new album was produced by Yoakam with Chris Lorde-Alge, and Yoakam wrote eight of the ten songs. One of the exceptions is the bluegrass standard “Man of Constant Sorrow.”
Also announced, Dwight Yoakam will be appearing on Sunday’s Grammy Awards in a duet with Grammy nominee Brandy Clark. Clark is up for two awards on the night. Both artists also share the common experience of opening for Eric Church on a recent tour.
As renewed interest continues to build around artists from an older era such as Dwight Yoakam, and infrastructue continues to build from outlets such as NASH Icon and the general splitting of the country music format, Yoakam could find fortunate surroundings to present his music to a new generation of country fans.
Below is Yoakam performing the title track from the new album. Pre-Order now and you get a free download of the new song.
You would think there would be much more important business to attend to in the lives of country music fans than to worry about what clothing accessories Marty Stuart chooses to adorn his wardrobe with, but you may not find a another topic of more intrigue or discussion amongst some country listeners than why Marty decides to indulge in neck finery as part of his public fashion.
No, I’ve not discussed the matter with Marty himself. In fact I would be fairly embarrassed to bring up the subject matter to him even if the opportunity presented itself. Why? Because despite all of the questions and consternation about Marty Stuart’s fluffy adornments, the answer to his scarf fetish should be quite obvious to all students of traditional country music, and Marty Stuart listeners especially.
Oh but that hasn’t stopped the questions, the concerns, and sometimes even the accusations concerning Marty’s scarves, and what they might be hiding, literally or figuratively. Did he injure his neck? Is he concealing some big scar? Perhaps he tried to hang himself and is trying to disguise the embarrassing evidence (one of the most ridiculous accusations I’ve seen). Or perhaps he’s a dandy, you know, one of those types of dandies, despite having married Johnny Cash’s daughter once, and currently being married to Country Music Hall of Famer Connie Smith.
One of the biggest misnomers about Marty’s neck wear is that his scarves are an essential accoutrement for him to be able to leave the house, when it reality you can find many recent promotional photos of Marty with a naked neck. And lo and behold, there’s no grotesque scars, embarrassing birthmarks, or big hairy moles. Some have said Marty Stuart wears scarves to conceal a a neckline that has aged faster than the rest of him, but this certainly doesn’t appear to be the case in his scarf-free pictures. If Marty was a man concerned with concealing his age, why doesn’t he dye his hair?
Furthermore, if you look at promotional photos of Marty from earlier in his career, before the sands of age started carving their cruel lines into his collar, he also wore shirts that many times concealed his neckline. It just sort of seems to be his thing.
Okay so now we know Marty has nothing to hide, then what is he trying to say with his scarves? This calls for a simple country music history lesson.
From the very beginning of country music, flashy fashion has been at the very heart of the presentation. From The Maddox Brothers & Rose in the late 30’s who were known as “The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band” from their flashy Western costumes, to legendary designers who became icons all their own through their country finery like Nudie Cohn and Manuel Couture, all the way up to today, the fashion of country music has been a way for performers to show off their personality on stage. Someone who is at the forefront of preserving all of this textile history in country music is Marty Stuart, who owns a huge collection of country music memorabilia, including Nudie suits and other such costumes from acts like The Maddox Brothers & Rose, Ray Price’s Cherokee Cowboys, Porter Wagoner, Johnny Cash, and many others.
As country music and Nashville was throwing these vintage styles away throughout the 80’s and 90’s, similar to how they were discarding the legacy of the music itself, Marty Stuart was dashing around town, saving these stylistic expressions from dumpsters and thrift shops, eventually making him one of the most forefront students of country music show clothing that’s still living.
Now, how does the scarf come in? It’s simple. The scarf was a very early standard of country & western fashion.
Marty Stuart started playing country music professionally at the ripe age of 14 in Lester Flatt’s bluegrass band. As can be seen in the picture below, he was wearing fluttery neck wear even then, like most everyone was in Flatt’s band.
One of the very earliest appearances of Marty Stuart was on The Porter Wagoner Show playing with Lester Flatt. Porter Wagoner regularly wore scarves, cocked to the side similar to how Marty sometimes does. Many country and western music artists from that era wore scarves, and the examples are endless.
But where did the scarf tradition in country music come from?
It was established as part of Western garb by Hollywood, including The Singing Cowboy Gene Autry, who helped establish country music as a commercial enterprise as much as anyone.
Another Hollywood cowboy was Roy Rogers, and lo and behold, it’s hard to find a picture of Roy without his scarf.
Okay, but where does this tradition come from? It’s simple, the actual cowboys who roamed the West through dusty plains and parched deserts, sometimes on long cattle drives where the cows would stir up incredible dust, all wore handkerchiefs and scarves to protect their necks from sunburn where the cowboy hat wouldn’t shade, and to pull over their mouths and noses to keep the dust out of their lungs. Here’s Billy the Kid wearing a scarf.
So that’s that. Marty Stuart wears scarves because it is a link to country music’s and America’s vibrant Western history that Marty has worked so hard in his life to both preserve and carry on. No conspiracy theories, no gruesome scars, nothing to hide or show, just Marty being Marty, finding ways to express his appreciation for the traditions of country music in his own colorful way.
‘Nashville’ stars Lennon and Maisy took a step away from country music with their most recent cover.
The adorable duo gave a big upbeat hit a stripped down acoustic remake, and it’s so beautiful, you may be moved to tears. ‘Boom Clap’ was a breakout hit for Charli XCX, a British musician, and it’s already looking like a viral success for Lennon and Maisy, too. In Charli XCX’s version, the beats are loud, the feelings are infectious and you can’t help but sing along. Lennon and Maisy flipped it on its head and made it something even more amazing and unexpected. In the clip, Lennon Stella kicks off the vocals while strumming her blue guitar in a simple white room. Younger sister Maisy joins in on the harmony, and we’re quickly reminded just how talented these two girls are. This is one worth sharing.
Kenny Chesney knew he wanted to take his music new places, explore different themes, but never lose sight of the people and places that shaped him. He spent 2014 focusing on his music – instead of staging one of his herculean stadium tours – and the result has already yielded the GRAMMY and triple Academy of Country Music nominated multiple week No. 1 “American Kids”and his 26th No. 1 “’Til It’s Gone,” as well as his 13th chart-topping Country Album The Big Revival.
With that ground broken, the songwriter/entertainer considers a woman’s place in country music today with the yearning Grace Potter duet “Wild Child.” Most added at country radio yesterday, Chesney thinks the song’s appeal is a very simple, but compelling reality.
“To me a girl who is so alive, so in the moment, so curious and hungry for life… there’s nothing like her,” Chesney says of the inspiration. “You can’t tie ’em down. So free… and so intense because of it. Nothing is more attractive. To me, that makes women really stand out. Whether they want to live in the mountains, become a doctor, play music in Hawaii or surf around the world, whatever their passion is, that’s what drives them – and man, it’s an amazing thing.”
Beyond shifting the way women are currently portrayed in country songs – never the motivation for the yearning ballad that again pairs the 8-time Entertainer of the Year with hippie rocker Grace Potter – “Wild Child” provided a creative pivot for Chesney as he was working on The Big Revival. It reflected his own quests, his own drive to see new things in the music.
“I was writing ‘Wild Child’ with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, and it just clicked,” Chesney explains. “Certain songs start a creative landslide, and that was it. The idea of writing about a girl who is so hungry to see the world, she’s scared she won’t taste it all before she’s done… who loves so hard, but can’t be tied down… that put everything into place.”
“When you think of my fans, they are passionate people… about life, music, their friends and how they dig in when it’s tough as much as how they have a good time. I knew during the last tour, they were hungry for more from this music. They wanted more of their life the way they live it, maybe some different things musically. And I spent a lot of time trying to do that.”
The subtle shift has earned some high praise. USA Today called The Big Revival “a coming-of-age tale full of life-changing memories,” while Esquire.com wrote it “feels completely organic” and New York’s Newsday proclaimed, “(Chesney) really builds his vision of America… a big-tent collection of future hits that celebrates regular folks who stand up for each other. In turn, even more folks will stand with Chesney after hearing it.” Notoriously tough Rolling Stone opined the album “continuously brings a sense of musical energy and emotional urgency… His strongest collection of songs since 2010’s career-defining Hemingway’s Whiskey,” The Miami Herald deemed it, “Chesney’s most infectious collection in a long time.”
With Chesney’s 2015 The Big Revival Tour set to kick-off with a double at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena March 26-27, the man The Wall Street Journal called “The King of the Road” is getting ready to get back what he lives to do: connect with people through the music night after night. As “Wild Child” arrives at country radio, there’s plenty of new music to draw from – and plenty of songs to fuel a long hot summer.
– Posted by Country Girl CMTT
I am taking care of you. I know how hard this is to believe when conditions that are troubling you get worse instead of better. It’s easy to feel as if I am letting you down-as if I really don’t care about what you’re going through. You know I could instantly change your circumstances, and you can’t understand why I seem to be so unresponsive to your prayers. But I repeat: I am taking care of you.
To become aware of My loving Presence, you need to relax and stop trying to control things. Give up your futile efforts to think your way through your problems. Fall back into My strong arms with a sigh of trust. Cease striving and simply enjoy being in My Presence. Though there are many things you don’t understand, you can rest in My unfailing Love. This Love is independent of all circumstances, and it will never be taken away from you.
Although My ways may be mysterious and unfathomable, My Love is perfect and everlasting. Watch in hope for Me, remembering that I am God your Savior.
Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. -1 Peter 5:6-7 nkjv
Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. -Psalm 46:10 nasb
And [the Lord] said, My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. -Exodus 33:14 nkjv
As for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. -Micah 7:7