Monday, June 4, 2018

That Nashville Sound Monday Newsbytes: Willie Nelson, Krystal Keith, Rory Feek, Maggie Rose & More

Lots of new projects were unveiled over the weekend- many of which are new on the radar. So consider yourself first in on the know. It's like a little club. Except we don't have meetings and there are no dues.

- A special collection of Willie Nelson's earliest demos is going to be made available through Real Gone Music with a double album called Things To Remember: The Pamper Demos. The project is scheduled for release on CD and digital platforms on July 13th. Here's the scoop on the project:
For the series of sessions that laid the foundation for Willie Nelson’s career and thus changed the course of modern country music, these recordings have been treated pretty cavalierly over the years. But first, a little history…Willie Nelson was a struggling songwriter, hungry for work and maybe even just plain hungry, when he moved to Nashville in late 1960 with his wife and kids and met Hank Cochran, who was a writer for Pamper Music. Pamper, which was owned by country star Ray Price, fiddle player Hal Smith, and a baker (!) from Pico Rivera, California named Claude Caviness, was the hottest publishing company in town, thanks to writers like Cochran and Harlan Howard and songs like “Heartaches by the Number” and “I Fall to Pieces.”
At first, Willie wasn’t going to sign with Pamper because Hal Smith wouldn’t give Willie the draw he needed, but Cochran told Smith to front Willie fifty bucks a week from his own draw. So Willie, determined to reward Cochran’s trust, got to work. “I was writing to prove I could write,” he said. “To get the money and feel like I was earning it.” He would end most work days with a new song, and then he and Cochran would call a session with A-team musicians who didn’t have major label studio work that day. The result: a body of work that just may well represent the most fertile creative period ever to issue from a country songwriter. The songs Willie recorded for Pamper during the early ‘60s remain among his most famous, and include tunes he still performs to this day: “Crazy,” “Funny (How Time Slips Away),’ “Night Life,” “Pretty Paper,” “Half a Man,” “Hello Walls,” “Healing Hands of Time,” and more.
And these, the Pamper demos, are the first recordings of those legendary songs. In other words, this is what artists and label guys back in the day heard when Hal Smith or Hank Cochran handed over a little acetate, and said, “Hey, listen here to what our guy Willie Nelson just come up with.” It simply doesn’t get much more historic than that! But, for some reason, these demos have hitherto turned up in bits and pieces, mostly on budget packages with little documentation or care. Now, finally, these incredibly important recordings are getting the respect they deserve. Things to Remember—The Pamper Demos brings together these 28 performances for the first time (several of which have hitherto eluded compilation), all remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision to sound much better than they ever have, and annotated by Grammy-winning writer Colin Escott, with photos courtesy of Bear Family label founder Richard Weize.
 - Sonia Leigh, former songwriter and tour-mate of Zac Brown and Eric Church, has a new live album coming out on June 15 called Live in London - Studio 3 Sessions.

- Maggie Rose has been releasing digital 45's damn-near every single month and they've been terrific. Her voice is one of the best in Nashville and each dual-track release has had her soulful style front and center. Her next one is being released on June 15 and features "Long Way To Go" and "Do Right By My Love." 

- Krystal Keith, daughter of Toby Keith, has a new EP coming out on July 13 called Boulder. The five track Show Dog label release features a duet with Lance Carpenter. Track list:
1. Boulder
2. I Got You
3. Anyone Else
4. Then It Started Raining
5. Resting Beach Face
- Big-voiced newcomer Dillon Carmichael has set August 17th as the release date for his debut album, Hell on an Angel. He's quietly released some fantastic independent work and according to Rolling Stone Country, "mixes some hard-nosed Outlaw country with the melodic edge of Southern rock.  The album's 10 tracks were recorded in Nashville's historic RCA Studio A by Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton). Seven of the songs were written or co-written by the young Kentucky native – a nephew of John Michael Montgomery and Montgomery Gentry's Eddie Montgomery – including the gritty title track and the previously released "It's Simple." Fellow singer-songwriters such as Jon Pardi and Leroy Powell also show up in the credits of Hell on an Angel, along with Carmichael's mother Becky Montgomery on "Hard on a Hangover.""
- Rory Feek released a final version of his film trailer for Josephine, a movie filmed with he and his cousin Aaron Carnahan based loosely on a true story that inspired a Joey+Rory song by the same name.
- Classic country songs are alive and well. William Michael Morgan proves such as with one of our favorite tracks of the year and an incredible track titled "The Last Monday in May."  Check out this video of him performing it with some veterans via Operation Song on the historic Grand Ole Opry stage on May 25, 2018.

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