Jim Rooney and Tish Hinojosa Visit “Hillbilly Central” on May 15th, 1999


“Hillbilly Central.” That’s what Sinc called it, in Studio B with Tish Hinojosa, as Jim Rooney was waving goodbye, Tom Pittman of the Austin Lounge Lizards had dropped by to say hello (the Lizards were on their way to Albany for a show, appropriately, at a place called ‘The Egg’). John Lincoln Wright was in the house, with a recording of a live performance of ‘Same Old Wind’, all three parts; so was Gordy Brown, with some rare records, and of course here was the Tish Hinojosa Trio. It was that kind of morning, not uncommon in those days, when Hillbilly at Harvard was the local clearing house for country and bluegrass music in the area.

Jim Rooney at the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival, 2019

Faced with the current two-hour limit, I was planning to chop off a couple of hours, but found there was more here than I wanted to trim. So I’m presenting the whole four-hour show, in two parts, 9 AM Eastern on January 29th, and February 5th.

In Part One of Hillbilly Central, Rooney shows up at the beginning of the second hour, bearing a preview of a new John Prine album, which he produced, featuring famous female artists singing classic country duets with John. We are impressed with the cast, which Rooney describes nonchalantly as an easy record to make. Cousin Kate Walker phones in with a request for a song Jim Rooney recorded back in the ’70s.

In Part Two (next week), Tish and her accomplished bandmates, Marvin Dykhuis on guitar, and Chip Dolan on accordian, offer us an ample set of mostly original tunes in a variety of Tex and Mex flavors, while teaching us a little about the range of musical colors that make up her palette. It’s worth waiting a week for!

Remember, as I have to remind you, it was all happening over two decades ago. I’ve left much of the Country Calendar for color and for memories, but don’t go looking for the events. It’s amusing to hear Sinc review a new record from “A young guy called Brad Paisley,” and I introduce one from a new band called Big Country Bluegrass. It seems like only yesterday—and by golly, it was.

Rooney currently lives in Vermont, and I believe is still active in the music business. Back when we were live, he was in for a chat with his then-new autobiography, In It for the Long Run. I recommend it, though it is hard keeping track of all the names. Rooney knows everyone!

Tish Hinojosa’s Culture Swing album (1992) on Rounder was the standard in our library. She has gone on to record many more albums and is still touring. Check out her web site, HERE. /CL

This entry was posted in Administrivia, Archival Productions, Bluegrass, Country History, Hillbilly History, Hillbilly Journal, Program Notes, Radio Talk and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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