Category Archives: Songwriting

Lee Ann Womack—Beautiful Singing, Strange Production

(Hits and Misses 7) Lee Ann Womack (ATO Records, 2017) Back in 2014, Suzy Bogguss released an album of Merle Haggard songs, called Lucky. It was for the most part delightful, as Suzy’s crystalline voice always is, but to my … Continue reading

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No Particular Place to Go

Chuck Berry reportedly wrote that title in prison (for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines, violating the Mann Act).  The song devolves into an amusing anecdote when the the protagonist cannot get the young lady’s ‘safety belt’ unbuckled, but … Continue reading

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HA’ppenings: Del Resurrects Woody!

Woody Guthrie reportedly left some 3,000 manuscript songs behind, most if not all lyrics without a hint of melody.  Back in the ’30s and ’40s there were no smart phones, tape recorders, and precious few wire recorders.  Radio stations had … Continue reading

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Another Songwriter Gone: Guy Clark (1941–2016)

Guy Clark was a crusty fellow with a laconic Texas reticence, which belied a whimsy that comes out in some of his songs, like “Too Much,” Too much workin’ll make your back ache Too much trouble’ll bring you a heartbreak … Continue reading

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Merle, Hank, and The Art of the Song

“I look for songs in the world around me”—Merle Haggard I’ve been taking Merle Haggard for granted, for too long.  And suddenly, he’s gone. Merle has been a part of my life since the ’60s, so much a fixture that … Continue reading

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“Beautiful Star of Bethlehem”: The Composer’s Grandson Writes

Almost two years ago I posted an article about the history of a hymn we have played on the Hillbilly at Harvard Christmas Extravangaza for years and years: The Stanley Brothers‘ recording on King Records of “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem”; … Continue reading

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My Favorite Album of 2014. . . Was Released in 2010!

But I just discovered Richard Brandenburg this past fall.  I was listening to an album I got from a California artist named David Thom at the IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, a good album, which I enjoyed, but nothing … Continue reading

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