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George Strait’s ‘Honky Tonk Time Machine’

George Strait’s ‘Honky Tonk Time Machine’

Another solid-gold reminder that George Strait is the kind of leader we desire but likely don’t deserve

In 2014, country music fans the world over wondered how much of George Strait we’d get to see and hear in the coming years once his epic Cowboy Rides Away tour was complete that summer. Any fears of Strait withdrawal were quickly relieved, of course. The Country Music Hall of Famer has been almost as present in the past couple of years as he ever was in his youthful prime. In what might be 2019’s least shocking development, Strait’s 30th studio album, the new Honky Tonk Time Machine, is another reminder of why we’ve rightfully come to know the iconic Texan as King George.

Following up on his 2015 Cold Beer Conversation LP, Strait sticks pretty close to that record’s winning formula, which is a similar horse he’s successfully ridden for many decades now. Eight of the album’s 13 tracks were co-written by Strait, who teamed with trusted sidekicks including his son, Bubba, and Dean Dillon, the man behind so many Strait gems including “The Chair,” and “Ocean From Property.”

Honky Tonk Time Machine Artwork

George Strait’s Honky Tonk Time Machine Artwork

Although there’s a range of slow, medium and quick tempo tunes here, the album excels when it’s either twisting and twirling in full-speed, or gently waltzing in a far lower gear. “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” is a revved-up fiddle-fiddle-intensive jam outfitted with soaring ribbons of pedal steel that would’ve dominated late-‘90s radio in the same way “Blue Clear Sky” did in 1996. The contemplative stunner “God and Country Music,” in just about anyone else’s hands would be a ham-fisted thwack to the head, but with Strait’s believable guidance, it’s a relatable, heart-gripping take on the classic “Saturday night sin, Sunday morning salvation” theme country music has long built its foundation upon.

Such successes make it easier to stomach the less-than-successful numbers here. “Código” is a frivolous commercial for the Tequila brand of which Strait is a co-owner, and “Blue Water” is more paint-by-numbers nursery rhyme—yes, motion, ocean and potion rhyme— than it is a Buffett-style beachy breeze.

But again, the energetic highs and brown liquor-sipping slows are where this record shines. The title track and its fully plugged-in, outlaw vibe defies any couple listening to stay seated and sober, while “Weight of the Badge,” an ode to the life and bravery of police officers, rings true and effectively tugs the heart.

The album concludes with the sort of 1-2 punch combo only a giant of Strait’s stature could land. “What Goes Up” is a tender nod to the power of prayer, followed by the album-closing “Sing With Willie,” a hell-raising sing-along that is–shockingly–Strait and Willie Nelson’s first-ever duet. Considering Strait has recorded with Sinatra and Willie has sung with just about everyone else on Earth, it’s nice to have this fitting tune to add to the canon.

All in all, Honky Tonk Time Machine is another solid-gold reminder that George Strait is the kind of leader we desire, but likely don’t deserve. Long live the King!

Garth Brooks’ Revolutionary Live Performances Part III

Garth Brooks’ Revolutionary Live Performances Chronicled In The Anthology: Part III

It’s somewhat of a dramatic statement, but nobody in country music has revolutionized the live performance quite like Garth Brooks. There were others before him – Hank Williams, Jr. and Ricky Skaggs come to mind – that brought high energy to their stage shows, and Keith Urban also is in a class of his own, but Garth Brooks was a game-changer in the way we think of Country stars on tour.

Garth BrooksHis new five-disc collection, The Anthology Part III Live, is a reminder of just what makes Brooks so unforgettable. First of all, there’s the music. He – and producer Allen Reynolds – were masterful in collecting a group of songs that people could identify with. That’s the first step. Without the fan interest, you would have nothing. But, hit singles such as “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “The Thunder Rolls” kindled a passion from listeners – who started coming out to see Brooks as he opened for artists such as The Judds, Kenny Rogers, and Ricky Van Shelton. Then, in the fall of 1990, a song called “Friends In Low Places” broke his career wide open. Before too much longer, the Oklahoma native was fronting his own shows – with an energy level that the genre had rarely seen before.

That adrenaline can be heard throughout this five disc set. The first two chapters are a commemorative edition of his landmark album Double Live – which stands as the biggest-selling concert album in Country Music – if not all formats – history. Celebrating its’ twentieth year of release, the album’s magical moments include such Brooks classics as “Two Of A Kind, Workin’ On A Full House,” “Longneck Bottle,” “Rodeo,” and “It’s Your Song.”

The final three discs contain footage that was compiled from Brooks’ landmark 2015-2017 comeback tour. The stint proved once again what a magical hold that Brooks has on an audience. Much of the output features crowd sing-a-longs on such fan favorites as “Friends In Low Places” (which comes ‘complete’ with the famed ‘third verse’ of the song), “Unanswered Prayers,” and “Two Pina Coladas.” There are also a few nuggets from that might surprise listeners, such as his takes on “Fishin’ In The Dark” and “The Fireman.” He also tips the hat to newcomer Ashley McBryde with a stirring version of her “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” by changing the title to “Guy Goin’ Nowhere,” and a duet performance on the underrated gem “Whiskey To Wine” with wife Trisha Yearwood that there aren’t enough superlatives to fully appreciate. Trust us, it’s simply that good.

Garth Brooks Trisha Yearwood

Along with the music there’s a gorgeous 256-page book that shows the growth Brooks has made as a recording artist and a live performer. The book begins with a nostalgic look back at his 1997 Central Park concert in New York City – a night that still stands as one of his benchmark achievements. From there, the reader is taken back in time to the beginnings of Brooks’ performing career. Garth talks about being hired by Opryland to perform at the former musical amusement park – complete with the 1981 contract that was sent to him – only have the job nixed by his parents in lieu of his going to college. As it turned out, Oklahoma State proved to be great for Brooks – in more ways than one. In addition to getting his education, he would meet Ty England and Brian Petree – who would help him sharpen his musical focus. There are many stories about his days playing in Santa Fe, a local band around town that made more people aware of Brooks and his budding talents.

From there, Brooks’ story heats up considerably. A meeting with future manager Bob Doyle led to Brooks’ playing at the heralded Nashville songwriters’ haven The Bluebird Café. Soon his star was on the rise, eventually landing a recording deal with Capitol Records. The book contains many of the highlights from Brooks’ first touring phase – his early stints opening for artists – such as The Judds’ historic 1991 “Farewell” concert to his seminal 1992 NBC TV-special filmed at Reunion Arena in Dallas. Suddenly, Brooks was selling tickets – and albums – at a breakneck pace, and the stages only got bigger for the singer. He returned to the city for another special for the Peacock network – this time at Texas Stadium. Brooks shares details of the accident that could have halted the show – but in the end, the night was another dose of electricity that only the singer could provide – including a performance of “Ain’t Goin’ Down Till’ The Sun Comes Up” that featured the singer rise into the stratosphere at the former home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Also detailed is his 1997 venture into foreign soil – again, a resounding success. The performer made stops in cities such as Dublin, Munich, and Glasgow seem just like playing for fans in Atlanta or Tulsa, proving that music can be a universal uniting factor.

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood on the Red Carpet at The 52nd Annual CMA Awards, on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 in Downtown Nashville. Photo courtesy of CMA

And, at the end of the day, that’s what sets Garth Brooks apart. Sure, there are stories of him selling out five shows in twenty minutes, the incredible sales numbers, all of which have added to sheer magnitude of the star he has become. But, it’s what he has managed to do with a pen and paper that has endeared him to fans around the world. The songs on this collection matter to people, and when he performs them live, that connection between artist and audience runs very deep – whether it’s a one-on-one meeting or a show in front of tens of thousands. Accessibility. That’s the magic of Garth Brooks, which is in full evidence on this collection!

George Strait Plots Release For 30th Studio Album

George Strait to Release 30th Album ‘Honky Tonk Time Machine’

Singer George Strait is ready to release a slew of new music on his 30th studio album

With nearly four decades of music under his belt, George Strait shows no signs of slowing down as the singer has announced a brand-new album. Comprised of 13 songs, Honky Tonk Time Machine marks the legendary singer’s 30th release.

The project is filled with original songs written by the Texas native himself, alongside his longtime collaborators Dean Dillon, Bubba Strait and Jeff Hyde. Honky Tonk Time Machine also holds two special collaborations: one with Strait and fellow icon Willie Nelson and another with Strait’s grandson Harvey.

Fans can get their hands on Honky Tonk Time Machine, featuring Strait’s latest single “Código,” beginning Friday, March 29. “I’m really excited to have some new music coming out,” shares Strait. “It’s been about two years since I’ve released a record.

It was great writing with Bubba and Dean again and creating such a beautiful song with Bubba and Jeff Hyde. Also, it was a very special thing for me to be able to write and sing one with the legend Willie Nelson. I hope everyone enjoys listening to Honky Tonk Time Machine as much as I enjoyed making it.”

Honky Tonk Time Machine track listing:

1. “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar”
Written by George Strait, Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon
2. “Two More Wishes”
Written by Jim Lauderdale and Odie Blackmon
3. “Some Nights”
Written by Bubba Strait, Brice Long and Phillip White
4. “God and Country Music” (with Harvey Strait)
Written by Luke Laird, Barry Dean and Lori McKenna
5. “Blue Water”
Written by George Strait, Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon
6. “Sometimes Love”
Written by George Strait, Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon
7. “Código”
Written by George Strait, Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon
8. “Old Violin”
Written by Johnny Paycheck
9. “Take Me Away”
Written by George Strait, Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon
10. “The Weight of the Badge”
Written by George Strait, Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon
11. “Honky Tonk Time Machine”
Written by Bubba Strait, Brice Long and Bart Butler
12. “What Goes Up”
Written by George Strait, Bubba Strait and Jeff Hyde
13. “Sing One with Willie” (featuring Willie Nelson)
Written by George Strait, Willie Nelson, Bubba Strait and Buddy Cannon

George Strait’s Bentley For Sale

George Strait’s Bentley For Sale

George Strait‘s Bentley is on the market for a coll $159,000.

George’s neighbor purchased the car from the singer for just under $200,000. The 2012 black Bentley Continental GTC convertible that’s been previously owned by the country music star, and also comes with an autographed car manual and features a 12 cylinder engine and only 13,000 miles.

– cmtt

George Strait to Make History with Next Chapter

George Strait to Make History with Next Chapter

Strait To Vegas shows played to a capacity crowd of more than 33,000 people

With a North American record-setting final tour stop sell-out at AT&T Stadium on his The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, 104,793 fans helped multiple ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year George Strait bring one chapter of his inimitable touring career to a close, but the book is far from over for the iconic artist who continues to rank among country music’s most-streamed artists, logging more than four billion audio streams and counting as of this week.

In 2015, Strait revealed he would perform a series of exclusive worldwide engagements at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas that commenced last April and continue through 2017, including his most recent sold-out dates with Kacey Musgraves. The two Texans closed the Strait To Vegas shows by playing for a capacity crowd of more than 33,000 people between Feb. 17 and 18.

During the closing weekend, Musgraves sat down with Strait to ask him fan-submitted questions via Facebook Live, where he shared things like his bucket list item of fishing in Cuba and his first memory of playing in Las Vegas. But the primary question on every fan’s mind was: “What is the future of his live concerts?”

Strait answered their question: the reputable country star revealed that his exclusive performances in Las Vegas will continue — with a twist. Strait has announced that he will shake things up with an unprecedented two nights of No. 1’s beginning with his April 7-8 shows. With an unmatched 60 singles hitting the top of the charts during the span of his career and more than 283,000 fans streaming Strait’s “60 #1 Hits” playlist on Spotify every month, the King of Country wanted to share these radio hits plus several fan-favorites such as “Amarillo By Morning” and “Troubadour” that, surprisingly to many, never reached No. 1. During Strait’s upcoming 2 Nights of Number 1’s, he will play 30 No. 1 hits Friday, April 7 and 30 No. 1 hits Saturday, April 8, in addition to those “can’t miss” classics.

“I think some fans would throw something at me if I didn’t play those,” Strait noted with his signature grin. “We’re going to try this out in April and change it up for those shows, then see how it goes. It’s important to me to hear what the fans think and take it from there.”

Strait elaborated,”We’re going to be rehearsing, I would say 25 songs that we haven’t played in years, so this should be fun!”

Speaking of hits, his Strait Out of the Box: Part 2 is available now. The impressive three-disc, 56-track collection features 36 hit singles – including 26 No. 1’s – plus two new songs co-written by Strait, along with 18 choice album cuts. Strait Out of the Box: Part 2 spans 20 years of Strait’s career from 1996 to 2016 and follows the highly successful, 8x Platinum-selling 1995 release, Strait Out of the Box.


Joey Feek’s Solo ‘If Not For You’ To Be Released

Joey Feek’s Solo Debut, ‘If Not For You’, To Be Released

The solo album debut from Joey Feek, one half of GRAMMY®-winning country music duo Joey+Rory, will finally be widely available. If Not For You will be released on April 7, 2017, through Gaither Music Group/Farmhouse Recordings, including a special edition that features a 48-page booklet of photos, memories and stories penned by Joey, her family and husband, Rory.

Recorded in 2005 and produced by her husband, Rory Feek, and Bill McDermott, the 12-song collection features her original rendition of “That’s Important to Me,” which would later be a charting single by Joey+Rory. Though recorded years before the duo would achieve widespread success, the songs and their lyrics speak volumes about the woman whose life touched the hearts of millions.

“[The album is] filled with songs that spoke to her and, even more, spoke volumes about her. About what’s most important to her. The lyrics of this record made it clear who she was and who she wanted to be,” Rory said in the album’s booklet. “Yes, her voice might have changed a bit in time, but her character was already rock-solid.”

The couple captured the hearts of many with their faith-filled approach to Joey’s cancer battle and preparation for her passing in March 2016, though they had just been married three years when this album was recorded. If Not For You features cameo appearances from her parents and their daughter Heidi Feek, as well as “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You,” the song that brought Joey and Rory together. It also includes a tribute to her late brother Justin — the song “See You There.” Originally titled Strong Enough to Cry in 2005, the album was released independently and made available at the duo’s shows and on their website.

In the past few years, countless people have followed the couple’s journey on Rory’s blog, This Life I Live, as they welcomed their daughter Indiana and Joey battled cancer. Gaining attention as finalists on CMT’s Can You Duet in 2008, the duo went on to release eight albums, winning a GRAMMY® Award for Best Roots Gospel Album for Hymns (Gaither Music Group/Farmhouse Recordings) last month. Recorded in hotel rooms as Joey received treatment, the album features songs of faith and was released in February 2016, a month before Joey passed away at age 40.

‘If Not For You’ Tracklisting
1. Intro (Have I Told You Lately That I Love You)
2. Strong Enough to Cry
3. That’s Important to Me
4. When the Needle Hit the Vinyl
5. Nothing to Remember
6. The Cowboy’s Mine
7. If Not for You
8. Southern Girl
9. Red
10. Like a Rodeo
11. See You There
12. Old Paint

If Not For You will be exclusively distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution and Universal Music. It will be available throughout general market stores and the Christian marketplace, and through online retailers including iTunes, Amazon, Target,, and The recording will also be available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®.

or further information regarding Joey+Rory visit


George Strait Sends Message to Country Radio


George Sends Message to Country Radio With Latest Release

George Strait is the King of Country, but he isn’t playing it safe when it comes to taking on Country radio with his latest single “Kicked Outta Country” from his Strait Out Of The Box Part 2 box set


Strait wrote the song with Jamey Johnson, and it was inspired by the singer-songwriter, who is critically acclaimed but has been getting the cold shoulder from Country radio lately.  Even though Strait has a record-breaking string of 60 No. 1 hits, his most recent album, 2015’s Cold Beer Conversation, got little attention from country radio, with no single from the project even making the Top 20.

Strait doesn’t pull any punches with the song that tells the story of an artist who doesn’t fit the Country radio format.

“I just got the news today, the record I sent them they threw it away / It don’t fit the format, don’t make the list / They said I’m too old, won’t even be missed,” Strait sings in the opening lines. He goes on to sing about a list of Country’s legendary artists that were ignored by radio even though they were still producing some of the best music around the genre. But as he sings…”That ain’t the end of the story.” “It don’t really matter, because I ain’t gonna change / ‘Cause getting kicked outta country didn’t hurt a thing,” Strait states at the end of the song.

The song “Kicked Outta Country” can be found on the Strait Out Of The Box Part 2 box set. The box set is a  56-track collection spanning 20 years (1996-2016) and includes 2 brand new songs, 18 choice album cuts, 36 hit singles including 26 #1 singles. Strait Out Of The Box Part 2 is available exclusively at Walmart. Long live the King!

– CountryChatterMagazine

Most Controversial Songs in Country Music History

country-stars-jan-201710 Most Controversial Songs in Country Music History

Controversy can be a double-edged sword in country music. On the one hand, some spirited conversation about a song or album can elevate an artist’s profile, particularly in our present on-demand world. On the other, there’s a real risk of being banished from radio. Here are 10 of country music’s most controversial tunes, in order of their release date.

10. “Girl Crush”
Little Big Town

The latest controversial tune, Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” entered public consciousness at a time when the discourse over culture and equality was particularly strident. Structured like a lost pop classic, the slow-burning ballad written by Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose begins with a reverb-heavy guitar arpeggio and Karen Fairchild emoting the line, I’ve got a girl crush. That was all some people needed to hear to infer that it was about a lesbian relationship. Truthfully, it’s a song about loss and envy, as the character embodied by Karen sees her ex with a new woman that apparently offers something she herself cannot. I want to drown myself in a bottle of her perfume, Karen sings, supported by the perfect harmonies of her bandmates. It’s a devastating, vivid portrait of a woman shattered and paralyzed by a breakup.

But the conversation dwelled more on the provocative aspects of the song—of which LBT was surely aware when they recorded it—and its spectral suggestion of same-sex love. Some listeners reportedly complained to radio but the song didn’t lose any steam on the charts and won two Grammys and two CMA Awards. And perhaps that’s because, in the larger scheme, it’s a great song no matter how you interpret it.

9. “Follow Your Arrow”
Kacey Musgraves

Cookie-cutter country music about dirt roads and tailgates? Keep driving because Kacey’s 2013 song “Follow Your Arrow,” which she wrote with Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, was aiming at another target. And it hit the bull’s-eye, bucking conservative country trends by alluding to sex, drugs and same sex relationships in a message that championed personal choices with lyrics like Make lots of noise / Kiss lots of boys / Or kiss lots of girls / If that’s something you’re into / When the straight and narrow / Gets a little too straight / Roll up a joint, or don’t / Just follow your arrow. Although ultra-right wingers got their undies twisted over it, the song received modest radio airplay, peaking at No. 43 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, but it reached No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, which factors in streaming and digital sales. The people had spoken. And CMA voters listened by naming “Follow Your Arrow” Song of the Year in 2014. The song was also featured on the record, Same Trailer, Different Park, which earned Kacey a Grammy for Country Album of the Year. How’s that for aim.

8. “Goodbye Earl”
The Dixie Chicks

When it came time to work on Fly, the follow-up to the Dixie Chicks’ multi-platinum release Wide Open Spaces, members Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison mixed things up with Dennis Linde’s song “Goodbye Earl.” The song’s upbeat lyrics feel like black comedy that Joel and Ethan Coen could have cooked up, as the female characters Wanda and Mary Ann plot the best way to get rid of an abusive ex-husband (Earl) who has walked right through that restraining order, putting Wanda in intensive care. They ultimately decide to dispatch Earl by poisoning his black-eyed peas. Even before its release, the song gained attention with unsolicited airplay in late 1999. After becoming the group’s official single, “Goodbye Earl” (along with the Chicks) was the topic of many headlines, but that didn’t entirely stop the song from getting airplay. While it peaked at No. 13 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, “Goodbye Earl” became one of the trio’s highest charting songs on the pop charts as well as one of the most popular tunes of their career.

7. “Indian Outlaw”
Tim McGraw

Political correctness? We don’t need no stinking political correctness in 1994. It may have seemed like a little hubbub over some cliched lyrics at first, but when radio stations stopped playing Tim McGraw’s “Indian Outlaw,” it was time to listen up. Riddled with references to wigwams, tomtoms, peace pipes and medicine men, the song was pulled from playlists for its offensive stereotyping of Native Americans. That gesture was enough to keep “Indian Outlaw” from becoming Tim’s first No. 1 hit in 1994, but it went on to achieve gold sales success.

 6. “The Thunder Rolls”
Garth Brooks

He’s driving home from somewhere that he never should have been. She sits at the house waiting, hoping that it’s only the stormy weather that’s delayed him. The story builds to a tempestuous climax, clearly explaining that the “thunder” in the title no longer refers to the weather conditions but instead the personal clash inside the home. “The Thunder Rolls,” written by Garth and Pat Alger, dared to address a domestic situation in graphic terms, particularly in the second verse when the woman smells the perfume on her cheating husband. But the added-on third verse, which fans can find on his Double Live album, got tongues wagging and controversy brewing like a literal tempest. The woman retrieves a pistol and vows that he’ll not wander on her again. ’Cause tonight will be the last night / She’ll wonder where he’s been, the song concludes. Citing issues of gratuitous violence, cable stations TNN and CMT ultimately pulled the video from their rotations. But Garth had the last word: the single hit No. 1 in 1991 and the video went on to win the Country Music Association award for Music Video of the Year.

5. “The Pill”
Loretta Lynn

In a different time in our country’s history, people were up in arms over women assuming authority over their reproductive ability by electing to use birth control. Loretta Lynn must have had a prophetic vision of how thorny things would be for women after her infamous single, “The Pill,” was released in 1975. In the song, which was penned by Lorene Allen, Don McHan and T.D. Bayless, the narrator comically admonishes her husband for having all the fun while she’s at home having baby after baby with no choice in the matter. But with the titular medication, they’re on equal footing and she’s considerably happier about her situation. Radio, however, was none too pleased with the subject matter and many stations dropped the song entirely, causing it to stall at No. 5. Nonetheless, the controversy also helped Loretta achieve more attention outside country music than ever before. And as a side effect, women from rural areas like Loretta’s Butcher Holler, Ky., became aware that they too could choose for themselves.

4. “You’ve Never Been This Far Before”
Conway Twitty

Country music has been talking about falling in love, being in love and, to some degree, making love pretty much since the beginning. But those oh-so clever songwriters have always found ways to dance around the specifics of sex to make it seem innocent. Maybe it was the tumultuous time in the late 1960s and early ’70s, but things began to change and country edged ever nearer the cultural mainstream. Whatever the case, Conway Twitty was compelled to push the envelope when he wrote “You’ve Never Been This Far Before.” Combined with his low rumbling baritone, Conway’s no-detail-spared lyrics took listeners step-by-step through a night of passionate lovemaking that proved to be a rapturous event even in commercial terms. The song enjoyed a sustained visit on top of the chart for three weeks in 1973.

3. “Sunday Morning Coming Down”
Johnny Cash

Rhodes Scholar. U.S. Army Ranger. Janitor. Aspiring singer/songwriter. That was Kris Kristofferson in a nutshell in 1969 when he wrote “Sunday Morning Coming Down” in his dilapidated apartment shortly after his wife had left him. So it’s no wonder he composed a tune about a downtrodden, hungover man drinking beer for breakfast and wandering aimlessly wishing, Lord, that I was stoned. Ray Stevens recorded the song in 1969 and it reached No. 55, but it wasn’t until Johnny Cash put his deep-bass baritone on it in 1970 that it went to No. 1. However, when Johnny was set to perform the song live on his 1971 television show, Johnny Cash and Friends, network suits demanded that Johnny change the lyrics to wishing, Lord, that I was home, in order not to offend family audiences. The Man in Black would not be bogarted, and he performed the song live without excising “stoned,” which helped brand Johnny as a player in country’s Outlaw movement, while earmarking Kris as a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

2.“Okie From Muskogee”
Merle Haggard

Merle got liberals and hippie-types riled up with this anthem told from the point of view of a small-town man who stood for good old American values. Written by Merle and his drummer Roy Edward Burris, the song looks at the activities one wouldn’t find folks in Muskogee [a city in Oklahoma] taking part in, such as smoking marijuana, burning their draft cards or challenging any sort of authority in general.

Against the tide of mounting protests against the Vietnam War and civil unrest of the 1960s, Merle’s 1969 single might have seemed archaic and out of step. But through “Okie,” Merle became a voice for Middle America, for those who couldn’t quite comprehend the sweeping societal changes in the country. The song surely reflected the cultural divide that separated young and old, liberal and conservative. Merle has often commented that the views expressed in “Okie” weren’t necessarily his. But whatever the aim, it worked. “Okie From Muskogee” hit No. 1 in 1969 and became one of Merle’s most popular tunes.

1. “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”
Kitty Wells

When Hank Thompson released “The Wild Side of Life” in 1952, singing about his bride-to-be leaving him for another man, one line in particular struck a chord: I didn’t know that God made honky tonk angels. Songwriter J.D. “Jay” Miller took that and ran with it, quickly writing the answer song “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” The lyrics blame unfaithful men for creating unfaithful women, saying too many times married men think they’re still single, that has caused many a good girl to go wrong. Kitty Wells took a stand for women by recording and releasing the song, a controversial move for a female artist at the time. Some radio stations banned the song and prohibited Kitty from performing it on the Grand Ole Opry. Still, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” launched Kitty’s career and became the first No. 1 country hit for a solo female artist. It also helped break down the walls for many female voices to follow, including Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette.


William Michael Morgan Goes Country With “Missing”

williammichaelmorgan001William Michael Morgan Goes “Missing” in New Music Video

William Michael Morgan is on a “mission to be ‘MISSING’” in his latest laid-back music video, which premiered via Rolling Stone Country this week.

william-michael-morgan-500x366The scenic visuals, directed by Jack Guy and shot in beautiful Palm Springs, California, show Morgan leaving his worries behind with the help of a ‘60 Ford truck, and enjoying life’s simple adventures. Written by Rhett Akins and Marv Green, “Missing” is the follow-up single to his No. 1 smash, “I Met A Girl,” the debut single from his current album VINYL, available everywhere now.

“My favorite part about shooting this music video was the location,” says Morgan.  “We were surrounded by a bunch of mountains and out in the desert. The sun was shining down on us. It was a lot of fun.”

Check out Taste of Country for an exclusive look behind the scenes of the music video.  The 23-year-old Vicksburg, MS native will be far from “Missing” as he continues on the road throughout the fall before kicking off 2017 by joining country music stars Lee Brice and Justin Moore on the “American Made” Tour.

william-michael-morgan-missingHis breakout mega-hit “I Met A Girl,” which topped Country Radio charts and SiriusXM’s “The Highway” Top 45 Countdown chart, has garnered over half a billion audience impressions, including 14 million streams and 5.3 million views of its official video.

His critically acclaimed album VINYL debuted in the Top 5 on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart.

– cmtt

People Dead at home of Country Singer Jean Shepard

jeanshepardmaritz2016Husband and Granddaughter of Late Country Singer

Jean Shepard Found Stabbed In Home, One Fatally

Two people have been found dead at the Tennessee home of the late country singer Jean Shepard, including her 18-year-old granddaughter. Icie Hawkins was reportedly stabbed multiple times while her boyfriend, 21-year-old Travis Sanders, died from a gunshot wound. Shepard’s husband Benny Birchfield, 79, also suffered multiple stab wounds but is reportedly expected to recover after undergoing surgery at the hospital. Police said they are not searching for a suspect in the attacks.

Hendersonville police said they were called to the home at about 3 a.m. Saturday and found Birchfield wounded in the front yard when they arrived. After interviewing Birchfield, who married Shepard 1968, officers were satisfied that “the situation was contained at the house, according to reports. Police also said they do not have a motive yet. Shepard, a Country Music Hall of Fame member, died of Parkinson’s disease in September at the age of 85.


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