El Watson and the Ghost of Esley Riddle

By July 28, 1927, the Bristol Sessions were looking like a bit of a dud.  Ralph Peer had been recording for three days, and though he’d heard some good music—most of it from Ernest Stoneman and his friends and family in various combinations—he hadn’t heard anything that sounded like a game-changer for Peer or for … Continue reading El Watson and the Ghost of Esley Riddle

Why Bristol?

Today “the Bristol Sessions” is a portmanteau phrase in its own right, so much a given to country-music aficionados that it hardly seems necessary to ask questions such as “why were there sessions in Bristol?” or, more relevant to this discussion, “Why were the sessions in Bristol?” They didn’t have to be.  In the 1910s … Continue reading Why Bristol?

Broke, Hungry, Wet and Far from Home: Things Are Looking Up

Jimmie Rodgers was arguably the most popular singer of his era.  At the time of his death in 1933, he reportedly accounted for 10% of all records sold by RCA Victor, then the world’s largest record company.  His contract had, in fact, been a key asset in RCA’s acquisition of the Victor Talking Machine Company … Continue reading Broke, Hungry, Wet and Far from Home: Things Are Looking Up

Your Cheatin’ Heart: A Hank Williams We Never Knew

Having seen the new Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light recently and written a blog post about it, I thought that this would be a good occasion to revisit the most prominent of the previous tellings of Williams’ story, Gene Nelson’s Your Cheatin’ Heart (1964).  That’s the one which features George Hamilton as Williams, … Continue reading Your Cheatin’ Heart: A Hank Williams We Never Knew

I Saw the Light: Hank Williams on His Way Downhill

  If your interests are anything like mine—and if they aren’t, you’re reading the wrong blog—you wouldn’t dream of missing the new film I Saw the Light.  It’s a feature film about Hank Williams, with a big budget and some big-name actors.  Where do I get tickets? As to the movie itself, you’ve probably got … Continue reading I Saw the Light: Hank Williams on His Way Downhill