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“Why do you love Country music?”


I get that a lot.  Family has asked me, friends have asked me.  Fans of the show I meet, when they find out I’m a Yankee from New York in my 30’s will ask me.  It’s a fair question.  Usually, I just answer that I love the juxtaposition of simple chords and deep, earnest lyrics.  Or, that the universal subject matter of love, loss, tragedy and joy is expressed so beautifully in classic Country songs, that it makes my hair stand on end.  Or, that I’m just a sucker for a steel guitar.  But, it has got me thinking about when these musical seeds were planted.  From when I started identifying music that I liked, or even further back when I just listened to what my parents played, what songs began to tilt my ear toward this obsession?  I touched on this a bit with this post on Johnny Cash’s birthday, but it’s an area that I’d like to explore further.


The summer before Middle School (I think I was 12), my friend from the neighborhood brought Violent Femmes self titled album up to Boy Scout camp.  I think we listened to it enough that week that the magnetic strip wore through on the cassette.  It’s still a great record, check it out.  This led me to seek out their other records, which led me to “Hallowed Ground”, their second record.  Track one is “Country Death Song”.  I was immediately struck but the simple, almost goofy jugband bassline paired with the dark, dark lyrics.  The music builds with rolling banjos, guitars and drums swirling louder and softer, as the story progresses.  Gordon Gano weaves the disturbing (and apparently true) story of a man’s insanity driving him to do the unspeakable.  It’s very affecting and I instantly loved the voyeuristic lyrical thrill of being witness to evil.

“Country Death Song” stayed with me through the years, finding it’s way onto mixtapes and DJ playlists, so that when I heard songs like “Folsom Prison Blues” or “Knoxville Girl” I felt an immediate attraction.  The subject matter of crime or death or evil, when not presented in a genre that is built around those topics alone (gangster rap or death metal), really titillates almost like watching like a slasher movie or reading a true-crime novel.  A great tune, and one of the many that laid the tracks for the slow train’s journey to the bountiful lands of Country Music.


Hope everyone had a good holiday season and are heading into the New Year with a Satisfied Mind.  We had a busy December at the homestead with the birth of our second daughter, Jane.  Schedules have been thrown out, sleep is hard to come by, but our home is overflowing with love.  Many thanks to all of you that sent good wishes, good vibes and prayers our way.  Mom and baby are doing fine, and Miss Molly LOVES her baby sister.

Of course, with the turn of the calendar comes the meat of the NC State Women’s Basketball season.  Looks like we will have one show, January 11th (if I can get a guest host, I’m out of town) and two shows in February, the 1st and the 2nd.  Regular shows start back on March 8th.  Then baseball season starts, but let’s take one step at a time shall we?

In 2015, I’m looking to possibly branch out the show.  What form this will take is still not clear, but I’m looking at a possible companion show that would broadcast online only or be downloadable.  My tech skills are rudimentary at best, but I would like to have more content available for you, the listener, especially when Wolfpack Sports conflict with the WKNC show.  Additionally, we are drawing closer to having two streams of WKNC available (via another server to broadcast HD) and this can draw even closer if you support the station.

One of the best (and most fun) ways to support WKNC is by attending the Double Barrel Benefit 12.  Great bands, playing unique sets at two of the Triangle’s best venues.  Hope to see you out there.

Finally, another heartfelt thank you to everyone who listens to this show.  I really get choked up hearing from y’all, and how much this music means to you.  It means a lot to me, too.  I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2015, and I’ll be back soon with a bunch of new songs (Christmas money = MUSIC).  So, if the good Lord willin’, and the creek don’t rise, we’ll see you next time on Both Kinds Radio!



Today, in 1956, Charley Pride tosses 4 shutout innings in route to the Negro League All-Stars topping the Major League All-Stars, 4-2.


David Bellamy is one half of the duo The Bellamy Brothers who had many hits over the years, crossing over to Pop music success, as well.


Smashed CD


It may have happened to you.  Maybe you are browsing the used CD bin at your local record store.  Maybe you stopped to fill up at a Flying J on your way to South of the Border.  Maybe it was a gift from your clueless Auntie.  But this is no gift.  What I’m talking about is the pervasive threat of re-recorded country music.  Sure, that Merle Haggard’s Greatest Hits LOOKS like a bargain, at $4.95, but when you slip that shiny disc into your Pioneer, as you accelerate onto Highway 17 South, something sounds…different.  It’s shiny-sounding, the vocals are too smooth and loud and just WRONG.  You skip to the next track, same thing.  What the hell is going on here?


What’s going on, is you have bought a collection of re-recorded songs.  Flip over the case and look at the liner notes (if there are any).  You’ll notice the copyright dates are way too recent to match up with when you know this music was recorded.  Why does this flat circle from the depths of hell even exist?  A couple reasons.  Some artists want to take another swing at the sound of their classic songs, the Perfectionist Theory.  Add a horn section here, turn the bass up, the guitars down, etc.  Some artists owe a lot of bread to Uncle Sam, so this is strictly about putting more content out there to bring in the needed dough, the Empty Pockets Theory.  And then there’s the “Up Yours Theory”, where the original masters of these classic songs are owned by a greedy, evil record company and the artist puts out these versions to flip them the proverbial bird.  Whatever the reasons, it is still a kick right in the ear, the three or four times I’ve been excited to listen to some music, only to be greeted by some oiled up, sanded down, re-recorded bull hockey.


So, fellow country music fans, be wary.  Check the dates like you were looking for spoiled milk.  Because taking the rough edges and scars out of a Country song is like plastic surgery on a pretty woman.  All your doing is ruining a beautiful thing.


Lester Flatt was born today in 1914, in the town of Duncan’s Chapel, Tennessee.  Starting out playing with Clyde Moody, Charlie Monroe and eventually Bill Monroe, Lester became a household name after partnering with Earl Scruggs to form the Foggy Mountain Boys.  A prolific songwriter, his two best known compositions are “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “The Ballad of Jed Clampett”, which went to number one on the country music charts in 1963.  Lester Flatt passed away in 1979.

001_Hank Williams

Today, in 1949, Hank Williams made his Grand Ole Opry debut.  He performed now classic songs, including, “Lovesick Blues” and “Mind Your Own Business”.  As the legend goes, the crowd demanded SIX encores.  Hank Williams passed away January 1, 1953.  He was 29 years old.



Memorial Day is important.  It’s important, because the opening of swimming pools, the grilling of animals of every species, the sipping of fine American beers and bourbons and the fellowship shared with friends and family is protected by the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters in the Armed Services.  This Monday, take some time to reflect on the history and weight of all those that have died fighting for The United States of America.  And, if you know a veteran or meet a veteran, tell them how much you appreciate their service.  Telling a veteran, “Thank You”, is like telling your spouse, “I Love You”.  It’s never said enough.


We will be off the air this Sunday, spending some quality time with my family and friends, but we’ll be back next Sunday.  Have a great holiday, everyone.









Today in 1975, Freddy Fender goes gold with his version of, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls”, written in the late 1960’s by Vivian Keith and Ben Peters.

…because any chance I get to post this, I will.