Linda Martell made history in August 1969 when she became the first African American woman to perform on the Grand Ole Opry. That long overdue change by the Mother Church is just one of many discussion points about an artist who, like so many others to grace the Ryman or Opry House stage, relished the opportunity to add her own voice to a genre she loved as a child.
The Leesville, South Carolina native's Opry debut coincided with her first two singles, "Color Him Father" and "Before the Next ...
Mike and the Moonpies' Surprise Album Fulfills Gary Stewart's Family and Friends' Dreams [Interview]
From a fan's perspective, Mike and the Moonpies' surprise May 28 release Touch of You: The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart came out of nowhere. The band announced it just five days prior during a livestream, with the new album hitting streaming services at midnight on the late "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)" singer's birthday.
For Stewart's daughter Shannon Stewart and longtime family friend Tommy Schwartz, the album ends a search that intensified when Gary Stewart died on Dec. 16, 20...
On May 1, 1989, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band updated its ode to country music’s early influencers, 1972’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken, with an addendum co-starring some of the best available singer-songwriters and neo-traditionalists.
Thirty years later, Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume 2 sounds ahead of its time because it looked beyond genre distinctions, gathering artists based on shared passions for gospel, country, and bluegrass classics instead of Billboard chart designations — an appr...
A mainstream songwriter and recording artist since the Fifties, Freddie Hart’s career had gotten so stagnant by the July 1971 release of “Easy Loving” that initial slow sales might have cost him his contract with Capitol Records. But it turned out that Hart, who died October 26th at the age of 91, played a winning hand right as the game was changing from the squeaky clean Nashville Sound to the sexually charged material of Charlie Rich and Conway Twitty.
Musical cross-pollination among bluegrass players, country singers, and rock and rollers dates back to at least the 1960s folk revival, with the chasms between each genre narrowed ever since by genre-defiant acts ranging from The Byrds and the Grateful Dead to Diamond Rio and Dierks Bentley. Still, long-running traditional bluegrass bands rarely leave their comfort zones without overshadowing their roots or alienating their core audience.
Modern participants in shape-note singing, an a capella form of worship music that dates back at least to the 1840s, typically discover the tradition though academic research interests or regional family ties.