Secret Sisters Concert Premieres Tonight on GAC

Alabama-reared siblings Laura and Lydia Rogers, a.k.a. The Secret Sisters, have come a long way in their short time in the spotlight. Their classic, old school sound and sister harmonies caught the attention of producer T Bone Burnett, who produced their self-titled debut album. If you haven’t seen them in concert yet — you’re in luck, because we [...] Read More

Ralph Stanley & Elton John: Country Is Rockin’

Jaw-dropping. There’s probably not a better phrase to describe an all-star band that’s being put together by producer T Bone Burnett. Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, who sung the Grammy-winning “O Death” on T Bone’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, will share the stage with keyboard players Elton John and Leon Russell, eclectic rocker Elvis Costello, Americana artist Neko Case and actor Jeff Bridges under the banner T Bone Burnett’s Speaking Clock Revue. They’ll be assembled Oct. 24 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., during the second day of Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit. The rock-and-country mix in T Bone’s ensemble is reflective of the multi-genre texture of the event’s larger lineup. Country-rock pioneers Buffalo Springfield will reunite for the weekend, and country’s Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson will play the same stage as Americana’s Lucinda Williams, classic-rockers Jackson Browne and Billy Idol, and modern-rock bands Pearl Jam and Modest Mouse. The link between country artists and their pop and rock peers is strong these days. And it’s in full force in a lot of ways. Among other notable examples: Read More

The Life and Legacy of Hank Cochran

Hank Cochran, a legendary songwriter who had hits in four decades, died Thursday after battling pancreatic cancer. A longtime member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, his words and melodies were significant in the careers of such signature artists as George Strait, Patsy Cline, Keith Whitley and Eddy Arnold. Hank was part of the first generation of Nashville’s full-time songwriters. Born in Mississippi, he was living and performing in California when he signed his first songwriting contract in 1959 with Pamper Music, a publishing company owned in part by Ray Price. In January 1960, he moved to Music City, where he became a regular at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a legendary music-business hangout. Tootsie’s provided an informal meeting room for country’s artists and writers, including Harlan Howard, Mel Tillis, Marty Robbins and Willie Nelson, who Hank first met there. He helped Willie get signed to Pamper and even gave up a raise to make sure the company could afford Willie. Hank’s legend was practically cemented when he and Harlan co-wrote “I Fall To Pieces,” a landmark Patsy Cline song with a nicely contoured melody and deftly direct lyrics. It was not just a great calling card. The National Endowment for the Arts named it one of 365 culturally significant recordings in a new-millennium list of the Songs of the Century. Read More

Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill Honor a Beatle

Country Music Hall of Fame member Emmylou Harris and superstar Faith Hill both paid a visit to the White House on Wednesday, performing in front of President Barack Obama as Paul McCartney was honored with the Library of Congress’ third annual Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Faith sang “The Long And Winding Road,” according to the Associated Press, while Emmylou turned in a version of “For No One,” a song that originally appeared on the Beatles’ Revolver album in 1966. Emmy recorded it for her 1975 release Pieces Of The Sky, her first album to appear on the country chart. Read More

Faith Hill, Trace Adkins: Country Stars’ Brush With Politics

Intentionally or not, a number of country’s bedrock performers — including Faith Hill, Diamond Rio, Trace Adkins and Tracy Lawrence — have all found themselves linked to politics or politicians this week. For two artists, those connections involve actual campaigning for gubernatorial candidates. The others are tied to honoring people’s lives or accomplishments: Faith and Emmylou Harris will be performing at the White House; Trace and Diamond Rio paid their respects to 11 workers whose deaths are part of the tragic oil spill that has become a political nightmare. The stories: Read More