10/02/2020 | 01:22:30
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Aloha! Here starts another edition of Grand Country, a 60-minute show where we bring you the best of your favorite music style: country music.
This is Domi, and I will be your host for today’s show.
Remember that you can listen to this podcast subscribing to the show through the mobile phone application iVoox. And if you’d wish to listen to any specific song, you can ask for it by email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or leaving comments in the same iVoox podcast platform.
In this 22nd edition, we’ll listen to the last album released by Oklahoma-born Vince Gill.
Tradition will continue as part of our show with the daughter of the Rolls Royce of country music: Goergette Jones, daughter of the late Tammy Wynette and George Jones. She has released a fantqstic album and we’ll revise it.
Right after that, a newcomer called Erin Enderlin will get her time in the show with a couple of songs. Another artist, Elena Ley, will let us listen to acou’le of songs from her second work, and we’ll finish the show with the new album of Michaela Anne.
So with the full intention of listening to some of he very best of the music of the American heartland, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride!
For MORE THAN four decades, singer, songsmith, and guitar player Vince Gill has achieved virtually every accomplishment a recording artist can, from selling millions of records and winning awards to being able to record exactly what he wants and who he wants to work with. His ambition is balanced by a conscientious work ethic, unbendable spiritual faith, and the goodwill to support other musicians. Born in the state of Oklahoma in 1957, now 62, it seems for him the perfect time to have released this autobiographical and laid-back collection of orginial songs. The album, released in august last year, is named simply “Okie”, a once-derogatory term identifying Oklahomans who escaped the Dust Bowl during the 1930s. For those not in the know of certain pieces of American history, the “Dust Bowl” was the name given to the Southern Plains region of the United States which suffered severe dust storms during a dry period inthe 1930s. As high winds and choking dust swept the region from Texas to Nebraska, people and livestock were killed and crops failed across the entire region. In 1932, 14 dust storms were recorded on the Plains, a year later there were 38, and by 1934 in was estimated that 100 million acres of farmland had lost all or most of the topsoil to the winds. About 7000 people, men, women and especially small children lost their lives to “dust pneumonia”, and at least 250,000 people migrated to California to escape the ruin of the Great Depression and the natural disaster, thus named “Okies”, poor rural people with crippled education background. In many states, the word “Okie” continues to be used to define bad quality, for example it is the definition of a calf of the lowest quality. Gill reclaims the term as a badge of pride, endurance, overcoming problems.
We’ve just listened to the song “An Honest Man”, with the fantastic Paul Franklin on the steel guitar, an autobiographical confession of Gill's male commonness and his need to be loved despite that. He is obviously dedicating the song to his significant other, Amy Grant, with whom he married in the year 2000. Vince Gill and Amy Grant's love story involves the end of two marriages, the beginning of one and a whole lot of heartache and joy along the way. Their story is incredibly inspiring, to say the least. We’ll listen to two more songs from this wonderful intimate album by Vince Gill. The first one, also dedicated to Amy Grant, called “When my Amy prays”, and “A World Without Haggard”, a twangy tribute to Merle Haggard, who also helped in the 60s to bring pride to the term “Okie”, born in California from an Oklahoman family.
Incredible performance by Paul Franklin again on the steel guitar, a commonly known as a “pedal steel weeper tune”. Tom Bukovac's and Jedd Hughes' performance on the guitars is exquisite, and provides a blueprint for each song. Perhaps some of the listeners expected Vince Gill to compose some rag tag version of country music tunes evoking the early sounds of Merle Haggard, but the experience of Okie is much more involved, spiritual, and important. This marks his 18th album published, the 15th under the same label, MCA Nashville, which has been his home for the last 20 years, since 1989. To say goodbye to Vince Gill, we’ll listen to one more song from this album, song named “That Old Man of Mine”, a story about alcohol and child abuse, and we’ll go back in time to 1989 to listen to his duet performance “Oklahoma Swing” with fellow Oklahoman and queen of modern country music Reba McEntire, from his album “When I call your name”.
If you thought it was tough for Hank Williams Jr. and Rosanne Cash to live in the shadow of famous fathers and have the world lump unrealistic expectations upon their careers, imagine doubling up on that burden. That is what Georgette Jones has dealt with for her entire life. Distinctive vocalist and daughter of country royalty George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Georgette Jones knows a thing or two about heartache, resilience and perseverance. With her new album, Skin, the 4th in her career, the songstress collaborates with Grammy® winning icon Vince Gill in this first song we’ve just listened to called “I Know What You Did Last Night.” Georgette Jones is the only child of Country Music Hall of Famers George Jones and Tammy Wynette. She’s been singing with one or both parents since the age of three until their passing. She recorded her first single with her Dad, “Daddy Come Home” when she was ten years old and performed it on an HBO special. Georgette is a songwriter and member of the CMA. Music has been a life-long passion for Georgette and she achieved a special personal goal in 2010 when she recorded a duet with her Dad titled, “You and Me and Time,” which Georgette co-wrote for her Dad and was released as the first single from “Burn Your Playhouse Down”. She is also an author. She released her book titled “The Three of Us” co-written by Patsi Bale-Cox in 2010, and is currently in the works to have her story turned into a major motion picture starring Josh Brolin as her father and Jessica Chastain as her mother.
Her talent for singing and finding songs that embody all that’s great about the country genre is on full display on her latest record, Skin. She’s put a really inspired work together here with one great song after another, some excellent performances by Georgette and all the players involved, and a few really excellent guest appearances, like the one we’ve just had the pleasure to find, Vince Gill, resulting in something begging to be paid more attention to, and considered one of the better titles released in all of 2019.
Possibly one of the best elements of Skin is the guest appearances. We’ll listen to two more songs from this fantastic album, focusing on two more collaborations. The first one, called “Cigarettes and You”, with the delicate croon voice of Dale Watson adding great texture in the well-written “Cigarettes and You”, written by Ashlee Hewitt, wife of Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan’s son, and a singer herself of the pop duo “Post Monroe”. The second song we’ll listen to is “Make a Little Love”, with Dean Miller, who not only penned three of the album’s best tracks, but also takes part in the singing himself. He is the son of Roger Miller, a country artist who had several hit singles from the 60s through the 80s. As both a producer and a songwriter, Dean Miller is really starting to emerge as a name you should keep tabs on if you want to be on top of some of country music’s best projects. So, first, Georgette Jones with Dale Watson, song “Cigarettes and You”, and then with Dean Miller in “Make a little Love”.
Skin really is a tour de force of songwriting, and underscores the importance of being patient and thorough in your hunt for compositions as opposed to taking what’s easy like so many performers unfortunately do. Bobby Braddock, who wrote many of those legendary songs for Georgette’s parents, lends another touching song to the album, one we will get to listen to in a moment, about not wanting to get hurt in a relationship, called “End It With Hello.” You dive in and are very pleasantly surprised by what the daughter of George and Tammy has turned in here. Add on top what a difficult relationship her two Country Music Hall of Fame parents had, and how both of their estates have been embroiled in battles of one sort or another over the years, and it’s a miracle she’s even survived in the world of music. And it’s a good reminder that no matter what her name is, Georgette Jones is her own woman. My own feeling is that what she illustrates on Skin is that you don’t know her, you only thought you did. That’s the theme of the title track, and it couldn’t be any more true about this record. Skin may be one of the best albums released in 2019, or it may not be. That’s up for the listener to decide. But it’s certainly one of the most surprising.
We’ll say goodbye to Georgette Jones listening to “End it with hello”, written by Bobby Braddock, and “Pretty Good Mistake”, an up-beat 90s country retro-style that so many country musicians try to acquire for their music nowadays.
Erin Enderlin, a composer and songwriter who has penned songs for great artists such as Reba McEntire in her last album that we played last year, or Terry Clark, a good friend of hers, in her 2018’s work named “Raising the bar” that we also played in Grand Country. The list is long: Alan Jackson, Roger Creager, Luke Bryant, Tara Thompson, etc.
Erin’s new album, “ Faulkner County “, released on 1st November is no exception to good country music. As with her previous two albums Erin offers up tales of heartbreak and feebleness and introduces us to some wonderful characters along the way, the attention to detail in her lyrics paint vivid pictures and draw the listener in. The emphasis throughout is definitely on tearjerking ballads, something she is the queen of as far as many critics are concerned. The instrumentation is heavy on pedal steel and fiddle, and vocally Erin is up there living and breathing every lyric. Of the fourteen tracks, twelve are taken from the series of EP’s Erin has released in recent months, and the majority have been co-produced by Jim Brown and Jamey Johnson who Erin also worked with on his previous album “Whiskeytown Crier”. We’ve just listened to the song “Old Flames (can’t hold a candle to you)”.
We’ll wrap this album up with a couple more songs from it: “These Boots” , an autobiographical track which among other things touches on some of Erin’s career highlights to date, such as her Opry debut and opening for Willie Nelson, which Erin released as a single last year, and the fantastic “Til it’s Gone”, where alcohol, motel rooms and heartbreak rear their heads again as a good ole country song should include in its lyrics. This song includes a great instrumental introduction, and it’s the play on words in this one that really puts the frosting on the cake, the recurring title being cleverly used in a variety of contexts throughout.
Not long ago Grand Country took advantage of a series of country artists who weren’t born within the borders of North America (as I am including the Canadian singers such as the previously mentioned Terri Clark, as part of the heritage of this genre), because we wanted to give proof of that feature not being the key one to produce good country music. Now, another artist, this time a singer and songwriter called Elena Ley has released an album called “And So On”. She is from Milan, in Italy, but lives in Barcelona. This is her second album, produced in Nashville, Tennessee, as She doesn’t really define herself a country musician per se, but she is definitely an Americana music performer, as throughout her album some Southern Rock and some blues can be heard. The first time she went to Nashville she was pursuing finessing her singing style and learning to play the fiddle. she was sponsored after being heard in a bar and was asked to participate in a campaign to raise money for the veteran soldiers, which she accepted, even though she never knew who her sponsor was in the two weeks she spent in Music City, USA. An ex-TV host from the Italian television and a writer herself, she’s writing a book about her own experiences. We’ve just listened to the song “...and So on”, written by Keith Follese, and Wade Kirby, this last one a very famous songwriter who has penned songs from artists such as George Strait or Trisha Yearwood, to name a couple from a really long list of mainstream artists.
We’ll say goodbye to her listening to another song from the album. This time it’s called “Someday”, wishing to see Elena reaching stardom just as other once unknown artists like Sunny Sweeney or Kacey Musgraves were aired here before they touched the ceiling of country music. Elena Ley, “Someday”.
With an incredibly similar voice to that on Alison Krauss, Michaela Anne has just sang the song “Run Away with Me”, included in her third album, called “Desert Dove”. Recorded in San Clemente, California where the desert meets the sea, Michaela Anne’s Desert Dove looks to capture the majesty and wonder many feel while in the midst of these arid landscapes, and instill it into songs about life and love. Produced by contemporary California country artist Sam Outlaw (now in Nashville), and Kelly Winrich of The Delta Spirit, they call upon a menagerie of sounds to see this expansive vision through, with textures of country, folk rock, classic pop, early psychedelia, and even Latin to extend Michaela’s sound beyond her original home of more defined country.
Michaela Anne has lived a life on the move. Growing up in a military family, and now living as a traveling musician, she’s undoubtedly experienced those moments of desert wonder in her travelogue, and captures her restless experiences and heartbreaks. Incredible care goes into the compositions of Desert Dove, from the writing, to the use of steel and strings and keys to create the ethereal and airy mindscape that allows you to float above mundanity and lose yourself in these songs. Long-time Michaela Anne collaborator Kristin Weber creates lush, spirited string arrangements, while the lead guitar parts include notions of Tom Petty and Mark Knopfler. Both delicate and confident, just the sound Desert Dove makes feels like a precious thing. But don’t think by the pink hues of the cover and Michaela’s petite build that she’s a pushover. Another beneficial attribute to Desert Dove is how producers Sam Outlaw and Kelly Winrich discovered what is possibly the best way to present Michaela Anne’s songs and voice in recorded form. She pulls off country very well, but doesn’t have a hard twang to her voice, and some of her songs don’t lend perfectly to the country aesthetic. The California-style of country where those folk rock influences can flow in is probably the preferable way to present her music in a more pleasing and flattering approach, even if as a country fan you kind of selfishly want a few more of those dancehall shuffles since she does those well too.
We will finish today’s program with three songs. The first one, the close dance song “Two Fools” about finding it hard to define boundaries between friends. The second one, the stern confidence of “If I Wanted You Opinion” marks in my opinion the record’s best tracks. And to finish, the frontier sound of “Tattered, torn and blue (and crazy)”, expanding as commented at the beginning, her skills.
So “Two fools”, “If I wanted your opinion”, and “Tattered, torn and blue (and crazy)”
Mahalo nui for listening, and have a good week!
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