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He'p!

I'm on a quest for fiction that involves country music in some way - I already know about Kinky Friedman's mystery series, and the novels of Lee Smith  and Clyde Edgerton. If a short story or novel that uses country springs to mind, send me the title & the author so I can add it to my bookpile. Heck, throw in poems too. And essays or "creative nonfiction" -- if they use country music as background but aren't exactly about country music, if you know what I mean.


Twangfest, in conjunction with WDVX 89.9 FM (Knoxville, TN), is happy to announce that this year's festival will be carried live on the Web Thursday, June 6th, through Saturday, June 8th. WDVX is a grassroots, nonprofit, non-commercial radio station broadcasting from a fourteen-foot camper in the Fox Inn Campground in Clinton, TN. The station plays bluegrass, Americana, classic and alternative country, Western swing, blues, old time and traditional mountain music, Celtic, and folk mixed with a little world roots music and some good old rock and roll.

Twangfest joins WDVX in being a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of roots music. From Thursday, June 6th, through Saturday, June 8th, every performance from the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis, MO, will be carried live from 8 pm until 1 am, both on WDVX's broadcast signal at 89.9 FM in Knoxville, TN and on the Web at http://www.wdvx.com/webcast.htm.

For more information on WDVX, check out their home on the Web at http://www.wdvx.com (e-mail at mail@wdvx.com), and to find out more about Twangfest, visit the Web site at http://www.twangfest.com (e-mail at info@twangfest.com).


Cookbook File:

Kimmie Rhodes' recipe for enchiladas was recently featured in SAVEUR magazine. The recipe is reprinted from her wonderful book The Amazing Afterlife of jZimmerman Fees, which interweaves Rhodes' favorite recipes with a fantasy tale. The book is available from http://www.kimmierhodes.com. Check out her music while you're there, too.

Dolly Parton's sister Stella Parton has written three cookbooks; Country Cookin' and two volumes of Stella's Really Cookin' -- the second volume just out. It's been promoted with in-store appearances at the Ingles store chain as part of the Ingles All American Adventure tour. Proceeds of the cookbook sales go to one of the several causes she supports - victims of domestic violence. Meanwhile, Parton is writing a memoir, and has a new album of mountain music out, Blue Heart. Find out more about all this stuff at www.stellaparton.com.

Conference: Women of Appalachia

The fourth annual conference titled, The Women of Appalachia: Their Heritage and Accomplishments will be held at the Zanesville campus of Ohio University in Zanesville, Ohio on October 24, 25, 26, 2002. Featured sessions include Marilou Awiakta, the Cherokee/Appalachian author of Selu:Seeking the Corn-Mother's Wisdom; Lenore McComas Coberly, author of the recently published The Handywoman Stories; film director Anne Lewis from Appalshop; and The Reel World String Band. See their website at http://www.zanesville.ohiou.edu/ce/wac/appalwomen.htm for Call for Papers and registration information.


Links ~ Links ~ Links ~

Buddy Woodward and the Nitro Express have a new web address: http://www.buddywoodward.net. Note it's a dot NET address; www.buddywoodward.COM is already taken by a real estate agent in Shreveport.

Lonesome Bob has a very cool website: http://www.lonesomebob.com/

Fresh Dirt Magazine: http://www.topsoil.net/freshdirt
This webzine grew out of DJ Steve Gardner's monthly newsletter, which grew out of his splendidly annotated playlists for "Topsoil," a bluegrass/old-time/Americana radio show. He calls it a "Mafungazine," (we put the "fun" back in "magazine" and it's an apt description (and a typical eye-rolling joke). You can get Fresh Dirt in your inbox (wait a minute…) by sending a blank e-mail message to: freshdirt-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. More on his shows, "Topsoil" and "Haywire," can be found at http://www.topsoil.net.

If you're looking for recent articles on country music, try looking at Take Country Back at http://www.takecountryback.com. It provides links to recent articles on country music that have appeared in newspapers.


New (and Newish) Releases

Kelly Kessler, The Salt of Your Skin (Melungeon). Kessler was a member of the Texas Rubies, an early all-girl (remember those?) alternative country band. Kessler is joined  by Robbie Fulks, Lonesome Bob, Andon Davis, and Jane Baxter Miller. The CD opens with a heartbreaking version of "You Are My Sunshine," (who do people persist in thinking this is a happy-happy little tune?) and followed by a slew of originals. On her website, Kessler writes, "I subscribe to the "Radio In The Sky" theory: there's a big radio in the sky and it pumps out great country songs...So on certain days I'll slow down enough to hear these songs, or I'll suddenly remember: "Oh yeah, there's a big radio in the sky! Wonder what's playing on it right now? and I'll try to tune it in and cut out the background noise so I can hear the signal loud enough to pull a song in." The woman's got one hell of a receiver! My personal faves are the title track, "You are My Sunshine," and "Your Darling Ain't Done Shit Today," to which Lonesome Bob contributes "sympathetic yelling." Also on Melungeon: Kelly Kessler and The Wichita Shut-Ins featuring Lawrence Peters, Life Of Regret (EP). But wait! There's more! Both of these records are also available on friggin vinyl. For more information go to http://www.kellykessler.com.

Kimmie Rhodes' new CD, Love Me Like a Song  (Sunbird Records) includes duets written and performed with Emmylou Harris, Heartbreaker keyboardist Benmont Tench, Willie Nelson and Beth Nielsen Chapman. Rhodes has also created a series of original oil paintings for the CD artwork. To view the artwork or purchase limited edition signed and numbered prints, hear MP3 samples of the music or purchase a copy of the new CD inscribed to you or to the person of your choice, go to http://www.kimmierhodes.com

Cow Hear This is a Texas Music compilation featuring Pat Green, Eleven Hundred Springs, Kevin Fowler, Reckless Kelly, Cooder Graw, Jack Ingram, Asleep at the Wheel, Rodney Crowell, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Bruce Robison, Roger Creager and Kevin Welch. More info: http://www.cowhearthis.com/media.html

Eddy Raven has just released a new single and video, "New Orleans Is A Mighty Good Town," a duet with Buckwheat Zydeco. Check out the video at: http://www.americanmusicchannel.com/artists/eddy_raven.htm

Townes Van Zandt, Live at the Old Quarter. Reissue on Tomato Records. Taken from a week of shows performing alone and acoustic at the Blue Quarter, a blue-collar club in 1973. Released in 1977 as a two-LP set, it's considered a Van Zandt classic and one of the greatest folk live albums. Tomato Records' reissue includes re-mastered sound, new liner notes by Chet Flippo and complete lyrics. It's the third in their series of Van Zandt re-issues; the label will continuing issuing his catalog throughout the rest of the year.

Three June Releases from Rounder Records

Norman Blake, OLD TIES. (The Rounder Heritage Series)

Heather Myles, SWEET TALK & GOOD LIES (Features a duet with Dwight Yoakam).

Various Artists, SONGS AND BALLADS OF THE BITUMINOUS MINERS. Rounder: From the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture. "A companion to SONGS AND BALLADS OF THE ANTHRACITE MINERS (Rounder), this album of mining songs, documented in 1940 by "folklorist of the coal fields" George Korson, presents the performances of bituminous (soft coal) miners, from the time before automation drastically changed the way their work was done. These songs and ballads, recorded in remote and isolated places in Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, reflect occupational folkways that date back to the early nineteenth century, both in this country and abroad. It was originally released as "Recording Laboratory, Library of Congress AFS L60, 1965." (Bet the cover art on that one was hot!)


Pickin' on Critics

The Alt-Country Page (ACP) edited by John Brandon, has ported all of its alt-country content over to a site called In-Store Magazine, the release and review magazine. This includes alt-country reviews, interviews, concert coverage, and articles. You can check it out at: http://www.in-storemag.com/music/html_altc.shtml. I've never been a real fan of ACP because of its ultra-alt-centric viewpoint, but it has its moments -- passionate reviews of the usual suspects.

But it has it's other moments, too, which beg the musical question: can I listen to some fingernails on a chalkboard instead? Here's John Brandon on Dolly Parton's LITTLE SPARROW (Sugarhill)

"I’m not sure what to recommend more: Dolly’s exceptional songwriting or the finger-perfect picking on every track. But hang on a sec, I need to kick myself. I’m reviewing a Dolly Parton record. How did this happen? Is Jay Farrar even living in the same dimensional rift as Dolly, and what’s with the gee-golly image and big hair? More importantly, how do I even feel semi-qualified to comment on her big hair and other such things when this is someone who has recorded more albums than most artists will ever dream about? Either I’m going crazy or the world has entered some horrific time warp where Dolly Parton has become alt-country."

But hang on a sec -- got to crank up my theremin and practice my Evial Laugh.. Hahahah -- *coff coff" -- BWWWHAHAHAHA… AND YOUR LITTLE DOG, TOO! Seriously, Brandon does seem to be taking his own advice when he advises the reader that "Once you strip away all the biases you might have about her, you’ll be left with a pretty amazing record." But this is an example why the failed CMA slogan, "Country music: Admit it - You like it" isn't all that funny, actually.


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