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Decade of Difference : Marty Stuart

Five time Grammy winner Marty Stuart began playing mandolin as a child and by twelve had joined a bluegrass band.At fourteen he joined Lester Flatt’s band, playing with him for six years, and then worked with Vasser Clements and Doc Watson, Finally landing in Johnny Cash’s band. Maybe this background with classic bluegrass and country music artists cultivated Stuarts deep appreciation for the culture of classic country and bluegrass music.

Marty Stuart began his solo career with his first album in 1985 and charted his first song on the country charts in 1986. 1991 was a big year for Stuart with several songs from his “Tempted” album reaching the charts, and a collaboration with Travis Tritt winning a Grammy for the pair.

Marty Stuarts dedication to classic country extends to his collection of music memorabilia, which has been displayed at the Tennessee State Museum and later at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum . When the Country Music Hall of Fame needed exhibit materials, they turned to Stuart for help.

Marty Stuart also hosts a weekly radio show modelled after the old Porter Wagoner musical variety show with his band the Fabulous Superlatives. This love of classic country will culminate with a museum and performance hall in his planned for his Mississippi hometown to display his collection of 20,000 country music artifacts, including handwritten lyrics from Hank Williams.

2020-09-30T07:24:39-04:00September 30th, 2020|Decade of Difference|

Decade of Difference : Mandy Barnett

Mandy Barnett sang for the first time in public as a five year old at church. At eight her mother introduced her to the music of Patsy Cline which increased her interest in becoming a singer. As a ten year old, she entered a talent contest at Dollywood and won and by twelve a Nashville record label had signed her to a development contract.

On weekends her mother would drive her back and forth to Nashville from east Tennessee for voice lessons and to record demos. Finally at seventeen she moved to Nashville. Her love of Patsy Cline paid dividends when she was cast as Cline in “Always…Patsy Cline”  in which she has performed over 500 times.

Mandy Barnett is also a regular in the Grand Ole Opry where she has performed more than 400 times and she has taken her Nashville songbook, a collection of classic country songs into some unusual appearances including a New York cabaret and on tour with the Detroit Symphony.

On her most recent  release “Strange Conversation” Mandy Barnett has tapped into a different source for classic songs, choosing many pop and R&B composers including Neil Sedaka and Sonny & Cher. She says the album started falling in place after she chose the first song, a cover of an R&B classic from 1964.

2020-09-27T16:00:16-04:00September 28th, 2020|Decade of Difference|

Country Feedback Playlist for Sept 27, 2020

Country Feedback Playlist for      9/27/2020

Artist – Album – Title – Release Year

Junior Sisk – Heartaches and Dreams – A Black Hearse Following Me – 2010

Johnny Bush – Whiskey River – Drivin’ Nails In My Coffin – 1973


Alec Lytle & Them Rounders – The Remains of Sunday – The Mountain – 2020

John Prine – For Better or Worse – Mental Cruelty – 2016

Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material – Family Is Family – 2015

Charlie Crockett – Lonesome As A Shadow – I Wanna Cry – 2018


Reckless Kelly – American Jackpot / American Girls – Mona – 2020

The Gourds – Old Mad Joy – I Want It So Bad – 2011

Country Dick Montana – Viking Lullabys – Baby’s Liquored Up – 1989


Michael Reno Harrell – Southern Son – Southern Suggestions – 2002

Robert Earl Keen – Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions – Old Home Place – 2015

Buck Owens – Buck Owens Sings Harlan Howard – Foolin Around – 1961

Cracker – CountrySides – Reasons to Quit – 2003


Little Feat – Little Feat – Truck Stop Girl – 1971

Junior Brown – Semi Crazy – Freedom Machine – 1999


2020-09-25T22:50:25-04:00September 27th, 2020|Country Feedback|

Decade of Difference : Bruce Springsteen (Day 3)

For Bruce Springsteen, the 1990’s were a mixed bag. Moving to LA drew backlash from fans who felt he had abandoned his working class New Jersey roots. An MTV Unplugged appearance was poorly received and his second folk album “The Ghost of Tom Joad” was not as successful as “Nebraska” had been. Springsteen also won an Academy Award in 1994 for his work on the “Philadelphia” soundtrack, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

By the end of the 90’s Springsteen had returned to New Jersey and in 2002 released his first studio album with the full E Street Band in 18 years. Most of the songs were written in reaction to the September 11th attacks with Springsteen inspired by a stranger who stopped his car, rolled down his window and told Springsteen “we need you now”.

Bruce Springsteen will release his newest album next month. “Letter to You” was recorded last year over a five day session at Springsteens’ farm in New Jersey. The plan was for an early 2020 release followed by a summer tour, but the pandemic put a stop to that.

The songs on the new album were written over a ten day period after Springsteen had visited a bandmate from his first band in New Jersey who was in a losing fight with cancer. After his friend passed Springsteen realized that he was the only surviving member of that original band.

Credit: Bob DeMartin

2020-09-24T07:56:27-04:00September 25th, 2020|Decade of Difference|

Decade of Difference : Bruce Springsteen (Day 2)

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s first two albums were not big sellers although they spawned a hit for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band who released a chart topping version of “Blinded by the Light” in 1977.

It took Springsteen more than a year to complete “Born to Run” the band’s third album. Interest in the new album was stoked by two actions – Springsteen’s manager leaked early demos to several influential radio stations, and the band played a five night series of shows at New Yorks’ The Bottom Line premiering the album with a show broadcast live on radio.

When the album released a few days later, it was an immediate success. While the singles did not rank high on the charts, almost every track on the album saw heavy play on album oriented rock radio stations.

Springsteen returned after a three year recording gap in 1978 and by 1980 had his first number one hit with “Hungry Heart”.

1982’s “Nebraska” marked a big change in style for Springsteen. He recorded demos for the new album at home and after bringing the materia to the studio and the band, it was decided that much of the material was too personal to work for the band as a whole.

While much of the material for the hugely successful “Born in the USA” came from this material, the bulk of it went into Springsteen’s solo album “Nebraska”. The 1982 release would rank among the very best of the year and the decade, and spawn dozens of covers of the album’s tracks, from a diverse range of artists including Johnny Cash, The Band and The National.

2020-09-22T08:21:55-04:00September 24th, 2020|Decade of Difference|

Decade of Difference : Bruce Springsteen (Day 1)

Happy 71st birthday to Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen. The New Jersey native is one of the world’s best selling musicians with more that 150 million records sold.

Springsteen expressed his first interest in being a musician as a seven year old after seeing Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show. Nothing much came of it until he was in his first band in his teens, and then forming a band right out of high school that made it across the state line to play shows in New York clubs. Forming and then dissolving a series of bands on both coasts, Springsteen found the core of the band that would launch his career, the E Street Band.

It took dissolving that band and playing solo shows in New York to land a record contract, after which Springsteen rehired his band to record his first album, 1973’s “Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey”.

Bruce Springsteen’s first two albums were slow to sell, and the third album “Born to Run” represented a last chance with his record label. Springsteen delivered a classic, selling six million copies.

Success brought legal problems that prevented Bruce Springsteen from recording for two years and stalled his career. It was only a pause, as he would become the best selling artist of the 1980s and launch an entire genre – “heartland rock”.

1984’s “Born in the USA” represented the peak of this period. The album charted at number one and included seven top ten hits. The 80s also highlighted the powerful live draw of Springsteen and the band, peaking with a show in 1988 that attracted 300,000 spectators in East Germany. Some historians say that the show, organized by the Socialist Unity Party, contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

2020-09-23T08:14:43-04:00September 23rd, 2020|Decade of Difference|

Decade of Difference: Joan Jett

Happy Birthday Joan Jett who turns 62 today. Her four decade career began wit guitar lessons at 13 – she soon quit because the instructor only wanted to teach her folk songs. In 1975 she became one of the founding members of the Runaways, an all girl rock band that found their biggest success in Europe and Asia. That band ended in 1979 and Jett moved on to a solo career while also working as a producer.

In 1979 she was in the UK working on solo material, when she made an early recording of “I Love Rock and Roll” by the UK band Arrows with members of the Sex Pistols. Returning to the US, she reworked the song with her new band the Blackhearts and it went to number 1 in the US and five other countries.

Joan Jett’s continued success owes in part to the relationship with her manager, Kenny Laguna. Laguna had a long record with pop music, including playing keyboards on the 60’s pop hit “Mony, Mony”. The combination of Laguna’s pop sensibilities and Jett’s punk background made a powerful combination that got both of them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Joan Jett appears on the new collection  of Marc Bolan/ T. Rex covers called ‘Angelheaded Hipster’, where she performs ‘Jeepster’ . She says  Bolan – who was the lead singer of T. Rex and one of the pioneers of the glam rock movement of the 1970s – inspired her music and image.

“That’s his scream I’m letting flow through me, but it’s also intrinsic to what I do. I don’t even think about it – it’s part of me. Marc Bolan had a major impact on every aspect of my musician self, especially the look – the androgyny.”

2020-09-22T07:26:58-04:00September 22nd, 2020|Decade of Difference|

Decade of Difference : Oasis

Oasis, along with Blur helped return British guitar rock to the top of the charts worldwide. Beginning with 1994’s “Definitely Maybe”, Oasis had great success in Europe, and then the following album “What’s the Story Morning Glory” broke the band worldwide.

Oasis managed to combine some of the best elements of British rock over the years into a sound perfect for the 90s. The band went so far as to borrow some riffs from popular UK artists, reworked for their songs.

Noel Gallagher had been away from Manchester working with another band when he heard his brother Liam had started a band. He agreed to join if they agreed to give him full control. They did and Oasis was launched.

Tension between brothers Noel and Liam led to several interruptions for Oasis. The band cut short more than one tour when the brother’s relationship became unworkable. Despite this, the band was very successful through the 90’s and although they had a lull in the 2000’s, they recovered with strong selling albums towards the end of the decade.

In 2009, a final blowup between the brothers led to Noel’s leaving Oasis with no stated plans to reunite.


2020-09-20T21:39:18-04:00September 21st, 2020|Decade of Difference|

Country Feedback Playlist for Sept 20 2020

Artist – Album – Title – Release Year

Various – Pinecastle Records: New Reso Gathering – Buckaroo <Greg Booth> – 2020

Old Crow Medicine Show – Big Iron World – James River Blues – 2006


Rodney Rice – Same Shirt, Different Day – Pillage and Plunder – 2020

Victoria Bailey – Jesus, Red Wine and Patsy Cline – Honky Tonk Woman – 2020

Johnny Cash – Johnny Cash and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Ring of Fire – 2020

Jimmy Webb – Still Within the Sound of My Voice – Sleepin’ in the Daytime – 2013


Kelsey Waldon – The Goldmine – High In Heels – 2014

Old 97s – Blame It On Gravity – The Easy Way – 2008

Sunny Sweeney – Heartbreaker’s Hall Of Fame – Lavender Blue – 2006

Loretta Lynn – One’s On The Way – One’s On The Way – 1972


Waylon Payne – Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me – Sins of the Father – 2020

Western Centuries – Songs From The Deluge – The Long Game – 2018

Joshua Ray Walker – Glad You Made It – One Trick Pony – 2020

Ashley Ray – Pauline – Off the Wagon – 2020


New Riders Of The Purple Sage – The Adventures Of Panama Red – Panama Red – 1973


2020-09-18T08:02:30-04:00September 20th, 2020|Country Feedback|

Decade of Difference : The Ramones

The original members of the Ramones met in Queens where they played in local bands. They chose their pseudonym last name “Ramone” from the name used by Paul McCartney to hide his identity – Paul Ramon..

The band first performed in 1974, playing fast, short songs that were typically under two minutes. Dressed in black leather jackets and serving up a wall of sound, the Ramones soon became club regulars in New York, playing CBGBs more than 70 times in the second half of ‘74.

From ‘76 to ‘78 the band released four albums – all praised by critics but only achieving lukewarm sales. 38 years after it’s release their debut album was finally certified gold, meaning it had sold 500,000 copies.

Many people will know the Ramones for their appearance in and theme song for the Roger Corman movie “Rock and Roll High School”. Through the 80’s the band released another seven albums and continued to tour and play through 1996.

Although the Ramones are credited by many as the band that codified punk music, they paid a stiff price personally. The band never received much respect in the music industry and never had a legitimate hit – although many music fans know at least one of their songs. Years of strife within the band left some members not speaking to the others off stage for years. Finally, all four original band members died leaving none to appreciate the legacy of their music.

2020-09-17T07:41:41-04:00September 18th, 2020|Decade of Difference|