Program Notes: ‘A Distant Country 2’

“Worried Man Blues” (Carter Family, 1930). I have a theory about this song.  I’m struck by the lines “I went across the river and laid me down to sleep.  When I woke up, I had shackles on my feet.”  Clearly the narrator has crossed a river and ended up in the wrong place, a place … Continue reading Program Notes: ‘A Distant Country 2’

‘That Isn’t How It Goes’

On the iconic country-revival album “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (1972), by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and a legion of friends, perhaps the most resonant song on an album full of resonant songs is the penultimate track, a live-in-the-studio all-star jam on the title song that features (among others) Maybelle Carter and Roy Acuff … Continue reading ‘That Isn’t How It Goes’

‘The Most Important Event in the History of Country Music’

On August 6, 1927, Ralph Peer left Bristol.  By Monday, August 8, there weren’t many people who even remembered that the Bristol Sessions had happened.  Most of the musicians who had auditioned for him were already back in their everyday lives, scrambling to get by.  Peer returned to New York, Bristol went about its business … Continue reading ‘The Most Important Event in the History of Country Music’