My Favorite Things

I did a great show last weekend in Deer Park—and I should emphasize that I did a show I’d done many times before, something like the 25th performance of Tennessee Walt’s The Other Great American Songbook, and did it neither better nor worse than usual; it was the audience that made it great, by being … Continue reading My Favorite Things

Love Is Blind, in 4/4 Time

It’s been nine years since I started listening to country music and, unwittingly, placed my feet on the path that led to the birth of Tennessee Walt.  (For further details of this story, check here.) The people who have known me longer than that are, for the most part, baffled by my new taste in … Continue reading Love Is Blind, in 4/4 Time

‘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’

The Jimmie Rodgers Entertainers

The most important event of the August 3, 1927, Bristol Sessions happened not on the second floor of the Taylor-Christian Hat Company building, where Ralph Peer had set up his portable Victor Talking Machine Company recording studio, but rather across town at Mrs. Pierce’s boarding house. Different parties involved had different recollections of what went … Continue reading The Jimmie Rodgers Entertainers

If You’ve Got the Money: The Economics of the Bristol Sessions

The Bristol Sessions looms large in history for artistic reasons:  They launched the careers of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, whose music would define the parameters of country music for generations to come. However, the Sessions were not primarily an artistic exercise, but rather an economic one.  Ralph Peer wasn’t in Bristol looking for … Continue reading If You’ve Got the Money: The Economics of the Bristol Sessions