I Walk the Line

On August 4, 1927, Jimmie Rodgers—free of his entanglement with the Tenneva Ramblers—made his first recording as a solo act.  Commercial country music, which had been born, unheralded and unnoticed, on August 1, when the Carter Family made their first recordings, came into focus at that moment.  (The Tenneva Ramblers—free of their entanglement with Jimmie … Continue reading I Walk the Line

Is It Country? Is It Rock? 20 Ways to Tell

Watch the Grammy awards—it doesn’t matter what year—and you’re watching an exercise in nomenclature.  Americans love music, but they also love finding new words to categorize it.  Is this song country, folk or Southern rock? Folk-rock, alt country or Americana? Is it neo-folk, country-punk or folkabilly? Why does anybody care?  Well, it’s about money, of … Continue reading Is It Country? Is It Rock? 20 Ways to Tell

Getting On Up, Walking the Line and Seeing the Light: The World of Musical Biopics

Tom Hiddleston will be up early on January 17, 2017. So will Ethan Hawke. Don Cheadle too. That’s the day the next Oscar nominations will be announced, and Hiddleston, Hawke and Cheadle will be getting up before dawn to see whether they’ve been nominated as Best Actor for their performances as, respectively, country icon Hank … Continue reading Getting On Up, Walking the Line and Seeing the Light: The World of Musical Biopics