Country music

October 19, 2016
 by Paul McGowan

There’s all kinds of country music. Most of what I hear on the radio isn’t worth listening to. But the real music, the weepy, heartfelt, jazzy riffs, the fiddles, pedal steel guitar, the talent—the music you hear so rarely—touches my soul like few other forms of music.

Especially if it’s live.

We decided to head to Nashville to see what its music scene is like. What an unexpected pleasure.

Instead of big and expensive venues, nasty bouncers, and restrictive prohibitions on behavior, folks down south like their music up front, accessible and friendly. We were fortunate to get tickets to a sold out show at a small bar and grille in downtown Nashville, called 3d and Lindley. $20 a ticket to see Vince Gill and the Time Jumpers, some of the best musicians I have had the pleasure of listening to, with a big plus added in. Good sound. Really good sound.


I took a not very good video from our upper deck vantage point and offer it here. Enjoy.

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44 comments on “Country music”

    1. Well tastes differ, but I think you have to be an American to like this “countryfolkslightlyjazzy” kind of music…
      But thanks for sharing the video. Always nice

      1. The first two songs Vince Gill sings are what are known as “Standards.” That is, they are 32 bar Tin Pan Alley commercial creations. I don’t recognize either but the second might be a show tune…….a Broadway show. About as far from “country” as you can get, Paul.

  1. How did you record this? If it was with a smartphone, the clarity of the video and the fullness of the audio are amazing. It must have been exceptional hearing it live. A few years ago I had the opportunity to see and hear Marcia Ball, an astounding blues pianist, on a river cruise in New York harbor . The small venue experience is so intimate and the sound so enveloping that big hall concerts just don’t come close to being as enjoyable.

  2. Vince Gill was a bluegrass musician originally. Used to hear him locally in California. Then he jumped to country , became a big star with that sappy sound and I lost interest.

    This isn’t my kind of music. Can’t tell what it is . But I bet the musicianship was superb.

    1. Whatever one may think of his style of music, the boy can PLAY, AND sing. I was indifferent to him until I saw him play his Telcaster, I think it was in one of the Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Fest shows.


        1. I ain’t got a problem – unless you’re disparaging stringed instruments. Then those’d be fightin’ words, and I’d have to ask you to step outside ‘o this here bar. 😀

          Symphony orchestras have “(lots of) fiddles” too…

          1. “I’d have to ask you to step outside ‘o this here bar”
            Okay cowboy, this has gone far enough !
            Pick your weapon of choice : dobro, fiddle or banjo.

                1. Yep, it sho’nuff is. Look in the DMP forum. If you want to hear my slide playing (not actually a Dobro guitar) click on the blue “badbeef” anywhere here, click on the audio tab and listen to the sample of “Call across the Valley of Not Knowing” 🙂

                  Haven’t touched the site in a couple of years, though.

                  1. I followed your instructions and…I’m impressed.
                    The slide guitar sounds wonderful. I also looked at some of the video’s. Nice.
                    So let’s cancel the shootout. Please. 🙂

      1. Jerry Douglas is a legendary dobro player. Also an original bluegrass muscician that branched into other genres. Wherever they go, they bring they’re outstanding playing with them.

          1. I have a recording of that Soundstage show I taped off the TV. My buddy Tim Powell of Metromobile Recording recorded the audio.

            They are one of those bands you can just put in front of a single mic, as they do toward the end of the show, and they can “mix” themselves live by leaning in and out of the mic, Grand Ole Opry style.

            They are the real deal.

          2. Saw one of their concerts too at Universal City in Burbank. She was awed having him perform in her group. He and Mike Auldridge are probably the top two dobro players in the country.
            Bluegrass is my thing.

  3. I grew up in the north and just became a teenager when R&R began dominating the Top20 charts. Needless to say I had only distain for C&W, even though my older brother retuning from a tour in the Navy had developed a taste for it.

    So for me it was Rock, then by HS I mixed in jazz, and by college began to develop an appreciation for some classical music. But it was many years before I began listening to Country. That was a function of liking Brit folk-rock and then hearing Willie Nelson. I expanded from there. However, like Paul I don’t care much for “modern Country”.

    The interesting thing is that string band/mountain music/Bluegrass, being so similar to C&W, evolved in America from Irish, Scottish, and English emigrants bringing their rural music with them.

    I consider it fortunate that today my musical tastes are quite broad.

      1. And actually, pondering it a bit more (it’s a long-a_ _ time ago now) – there was the Who’s cover of “Summertime Blues” and figuring out who Eddie Cochran was, that led me into American Rockabilly. When I started playing in bars solo, I would do “20 Flight Rock”.

        Here’s Eddie in the 1956 comedy “The Girl Can’t Help It”, which, if you haven’t seen it, is required viewing ; )

  4. There’s a couple of really good movies about the origins of bluegrass and country music that are wonderfully fun and informative. One is “Songcatcher” with a young Emmy Rossum. And the other is a documentary by guitar prodigy and blues aficionado Davy Knowles called Island Bound.

    I’ve seen Davy Knowles twice, once with Back Door Slam and recently as a solo artist. Both times he was excellent with a mix of older blues and rock and his own modern renditions.

    Here’s the bio of Davy from Amazon:
    Davy Knowles was born in the small town of Port St Mary on the Isle of Man — a tiny Celtic nation in the middle of the Irish Sea. Ever since he fell in love with music he has been chasing American sounds, from Mississippi Delta blues artists, to rock gods like Peter Frampton, Joe Satriani, Warren Hayes, Cream, The Grateful Dead and fellow Celt Rory Gallagher. Although he has shared a stage with many of those world famous names it was only after moving to Chicago that Davy realized he hadn’t paid any attention to the native music of his Island home, to the local musicians playing traditional songs. To his own folk music. Now he returns to ‘rediscover his roots,’ exploring the songs and music of the ‘Celtic’ nations, retracing the journeys of his ancestors. Joining talented local musicians, including Mec Lir and Barrule, Davy’s voyage of discovery also leads him back to some of his greatest musical heroes. Through meeting and talking to world-renowned artists like Martin Simpson and Richard Thompson Davy hears how his own folk music heritage has influenced them, and so many other musicians, for generations. Follow Davy on this exciting journey from the Isle of Man to the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, via Brittany in France, the North of England and his current home town Chicago – all places with vibrant folk music heritages.

  5. Country music was at it’s best in the fifties and sixties even seventies and then there was a gradual decline and it lost it’s personality as it became more rock oriented. Now compared to the past it is nondescript and unimpressive unless one has not been exposed to the great music of the fifties and the sixties.Remember the glorious baritone of the late Jim Reeves. Regards.

    1. One of these days I’m going to make one of those originals/covers playlists, and one of them will be Reeve’s “He’ll Have to Go” Followed by Ry Cooder’s cover. Both classics.

      I was not a big Eagles fan, but if you like high quality country, with stellar guest appearances, check out Don Henley’s album from last year, “Cass County”. There is also an Austin City Limits show. Just top notch (if’n ye like that kinda thing) 🙂

    2. Oliver, I want to also mention Vince Gill and Paul Franklin’s Album “Bakersfield”, which is all covers of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens tunes. You have to be fairly hardcore into the Bakersfield Sound to dig this, but it’s beautiful.

    3. You’d be happy to know 50’s and 60’s country, like that of Bob Wills, is enjoying a comeback in Nashville – and it’s embodied in this group, known (appropriately) as the Time Jumpers. If you liked that era of country, you’d love much of what’s going on down there now.

  6. What fun to hear that you’ve been getting a taste of Nashville (my stomping grounds) and, even better, in a terrific, non-touristy venue. 3rd and Lindsley, as well as the Station Inn (where you can also catch Vince Gill and some other blue chip bluegrass players regularly,) are the “real deal” for seeing and hearing some of the finest musicians in town. Did you maybe also get to hear some other venues? Love to know if you got to hear the Nashville Symphony in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The music scene in Nashville is so much broader and deeper than just “country & western!”

    1. Didn’t have time for any of that. Just stuck with country – and the old style country at that. Old style country, like what Vince Gill and the Time Jumpers are into (hence their name) – Bob Wills style – is enjoying a comeback and that makes me happy.

  7. Vince Gill can flat out play and sing. I realized that many years ago when I saw him in concert because my wife made me go. I’m glad she did, because he is very, very good. I’m not a country music fan per say, but I love a great musician and a band that’s in tune with each other. How can you not just sit there and smile when you have that quality of musicians playing at the top of their game and then have it sound as great as it obviously did. I would have loved to be sitting there with you Paul, I don’t care what kind of music it would have been. I don’t play an instrument (yet) and that’s why this is so great to hear and see.

  8. We don’t get a lot of that over here in the UK. The last I heard live was Gretchen Peters (and her husband, name forgotten + band), who comes from an outpost called Boulder, Colorado.
    It was an Americana Festival, the way people dressed it could have been a lumberjack festival.
    I think the reason for its rarity over here is the fact that it is socially unacceptable to wear a hat indoors.

    1. Funny thing is, after the concert, as we waited for the Uber to arrive, a very British sounding gent and his lady friend came out of the venue grinning from ear to ear. We got to chattin’ and it turns out he was from England and told me this was a treat of a lifetime for him. He’s a big Vince Gill fan and when someone of Gill’s stature plays in the UK, it’s to large expensive venues.

      The fact he paid $20, sat four feet from the musicians, and got Gill’s autograph and a handshake afterwards had him on cloud 9.

      1. The UK is full of Victorian and Edwardian theatres, lots of them on the seasides. So touring options are either stadiums 25,000 to 50,000 people ($100 or more), national theatre tours 1,000 to 1,500 ($40 to $50), often 50+ venues, but often artists do a European tour, a few nights in each country, as the distances are so short. Then there’s the pub and club scene ($15 or so). I think Country is way down the list in the UK, the few I’ve been to were arranged by the Americana Music Association ( I hear it is much bigger in Scandinavia. I did once hear a Pakistani Country band in Lahore, that was way over the top.
        I am full of credit for people who travel to hear good music. I don’t, it’s on my doorstep. My son went to Copenhagen last weekend to see The Cure. An audio dealer I know just went to hear Spingsteen in his home town (wherever that is).
        Listening to my son DJ’ing on student radio at the moment, he gigs all the time (lots of indie bands) and seems to do it on no budget at all. His best result was blagging his way into the Kasabian Launch Party of 48:13 at Abbey Road Studio 2 when he was 17. He met the band, heard the album live and got blotto on their champagne.

  9. Traditional country and alt-country [Lucinda Williams] for me, modern commercial country music does nothing for me. I remember a time when an “audiophile” could not admit to listening to country, you would have been insulted regularly, chastised for daring to listen to anything but classical, and maybe some jazz, but never Diana Krall. I am happy to see times have changed. No matter the genre, if it touches your soul, and pleases your ears, that is all that matters. We all have our favorites, and a few things we can’t enjoy. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it.

    I don’t how many of you are fans of “A Prairie Home Companion”, but Chris Thile just took over as the host. He’s no Garrison Keillor, but I was impressed by the first show. Over the years they have had first class guests, including Emmy Lou Harris. Chris had Jack White as one of his first guests. Lots of performances can be found on uTube.

    I applaud you Paul, for expanding horizons.

  10. I like very little in the country music genre but I’m sitting here listening to one of the few artists I do enjoy, Johnny Cash, he could bend a phrase and make it his own.

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