Thursday, June 28, 2007

Porter Wagoner: "Committed to Parkview"

I've just had a week of whiskey, women, and song in Nashville, and have to share some of its bounties. There is quality music blaring around every corner, and one such (large) corner was at the Grand Ole Opry, the live radio show that's been broadcasting since 1925. One of the main attractions this past Saturday was Porter Wagoner, the 79 year old country icon. He was the host of "The Porter Wagoner Show" from 1960 to 1979, and has been a member of the Opry since '57. He launched the career of Dolly Parton when he hired her as his "girl singer" for the show, and has had a slew of hits in a gospel vein.

On his new album, "Wagonmaster", he recorded a track that Johnny Cash wrote for him 25 years ago, when he discovered that both Wagoner and himself had spent time at the Nashville sanitorium. Produced by neo-traditionalist Marty Stuart, it seems to have the bare-bones aesthetic of the Cash/Rick Rubin American series. Wagoner's stage presence is marked by his goofy amiability (and his garishly wonderful Nudie suits), so this dark piece of Americana comes as a bracing surprise. Watch the video, enjoy the Nudie suit (it appears late!), and visit Nashville. I'd recommend checking out the Station Inn, the Bluebird Cafe, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Also: listen to John Loudermilk. Specifically, listen to "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye".


Post a Comment

<< Home