country music

Clockwise from Top Left: Owen Sweeney; Owen Sweeney; Brent N. Clarke; Dario Cantatore; Amy Harris; Jack Plunkett / Invision/AP - Collage compiled by Jake Troyer

This year, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" spent a record 19 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Now, it holds the title of the longest running number one single in the chart's history.

It's symbolic of the year in music, in a way — an array of new voices and up-and-comers throwing music industry standards out the window. Whether it's Lizzo's love of the flute, or Lil Nas X's combo of country and trap music, the new age of music seems to be twisting, bending and re-imagining the boundaries of popular music.


Atlanta's own Black Lips is a band that keeps audiences on their toes, literally — which you'd know if you've ever landed in the mosh pit at one of their shows — and figuratively, given that the latest it-bag line from Gucci is named after band member Zumi Rosow. 

For 20 years, founding members Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley have been making unruly garage rock, rockabilly records, and sometimes, they can sound like old country crooners. In fact, they have a new album coming out in early 2020, which they say is a country album. It's called The Black Lips Sing In A World That's Falling Apart.


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Boudleaux and Felice Bryant had a deep impact in Nashville, with notable hits like "Bye Bye Love" and “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” Their music has been recorded by artists like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton and Simon & Garfunkel.

The hit-making couple is the subject of a new exhibit at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn.


Mandy Wilson

In honor of the Ken Burns series Country Music, Bill Nigut is taking over the On Second Thought Sunday time slot with a special edition of Two Way Street. This episode features his conversation with the legendary Brenda Lee, an artist featured in sections of the documentary. 


From the Civil War to the Dust Bowl and from baseball to jazz, Ken Burns documentaries have covered a range of critical events in American history and culture. Now, country music is getting the Ken Burns treatment. 

He and long-time collaborators and producers Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey spent eight years researching and making an eight-part, 16-hour documentary called Country Music, which will air in six parts beginning Sunday, Sept. 15 on GPB.


Credit: Eat Humans

The annual Music Midtown festival takes place this weekend. Through its 25 year history — it launched in 1994 — A-list acts like Coldplay, Pearl Jam, Elton John and Drake have all taken to the festival's stages.

This year, performing musicians include Travis Scott, Vampire Weekend, Billie Eilish and Lizzo. Atlanta native Faye Webster will be among them. First, she joined On Second Thought to talk about how, while still only in her early 20s, she's already released her third album — and to tell us about her musical journey along the way.


Photo by Emilia Brock

The newest Ken Burns series premiering in September follows the vast and varied evolution of country music over the 20th century. The eight-part series begins not in Nashville, nor Bristol, but Atlanta.

That's because, in 1923, OKeh Records music pioneer Ralph Peer came from New York to the South and set up a temporary recording studio smack dab in downtown Atlanta at 152 Nassau Street. That's where he recorded early country, blues, jazz and gospel artists, including what is known as country music's first hit, "The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane" by Fiddlin' John Carson. 

On Second Thought discusses the history of 152 Nassau Street, the site of some of county and blues music's earliest recordings, and why the building is at risk of demolition. The round table discussion is joined by Kyle Kessler, Atlanta architect and preservationist; Lance Ledbetter, co-director of Dust to Digital; Nedra Deadwyler, founder and CEO of Civil Bikes; and Steve Goodson, professor of history at University of West Georgia.


Courtesy of Sony Music Archives

From the Civil War to the Dust Bowl and from baseball to jazz, Ken Burns documentaries have covered a range of critical events in American history and culture. Now, country music is getting the Ken Burns treatment. 

 

He and long-time collaborators and producers Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey spent eight years researching and making an eight-part, 16-hour documentary called Country Music, which will air on PBS stations like GPB in September. GPB is a presenting partner for a preview April 1 at the Atlanta History Center and on Wednesday, April 10, at Savannah's Jepson Center.

 

 


On Second Thought For Tuesday, May 29, 2018

May 29, 2018
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Here’s something you add to your burn book. "Mean Girls" is now a Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical. The musical is up for 12 awards. (That’s so fetch!) The play features an all-star cast of mainstays and breakouts, including Grey Henson, who is nominated for the Tony for best featured actor in a musical. Henson grew up in Macon and plays Damian in the show. The actor talked with On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott about life on Broadway and what it’s like working with Tina Fey.

Angie Aparo /Flickr

Atlanta-based musician Angie Aparo has had a whirlwind of a music career. He got his big break when he wrote the Grammy Award-winning song “Cry” for Faith Hill. He also co-wrote songs with Tim McGraw and sang with the Zac Brown Band.

 

But after several years writing and recording music, in April 2016 Aparo's life took a sharp turn. He suffered a spontaneous carotid artery dissection.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

On this episode of “Two Way Street,” we’re reairing our conversion with Country legend, Bill Anderson.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

On today's episode of “Two Way Street,” we talk to Sugarland artist Kristian Bush. He and his musical partner, Jennifer Nettles, have been on hiatus since 2013 but recently announced that they will be getting back together for a 2018 tour. We talk to him about Sugarland’s long-anticipated reunion, but since this is a holiday show, we start by talking to Kristian about his passion for Christmas music.

On today’s show we talk to two singer-songwriters who are part of the rich community of musical artists who live and work in Nashville – one of the great music mecca’s of this country.

Kristian Bush is one of the most successful artists in country music, both as a songwriter and part of the duo Sugarland. But his latest venture, Troubadour, is a musical — about country music in the 1950s, and a relationship between a star and his son.

When it comes to collaboration, Bush says he's open to just about anything — "If you ask nicely." That's how he and Atlanta playwright Janece Shaffer ended up connecting on the project.

Country music veteran Bill Anderson was born in Columbia, South Carolina but found his voice in Griffin and Decatur, Georgia. He graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and went on to spend the next 50 years becoming one of the most successful singer-songwriters in country music history.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Growing up at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains, Jimmy Haney had one dream. To join the musicians he and his father heard on the radio at the Grand Ole Opry. He got his start on that road in the 1950s with an icon of Country Music, but it almost cost him his life. Haney tells his story in this piece from GPB Music and the Field Note Stenographers