Archive for October, 2021

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 20 October 2021

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021


Legendary lap steel player Billy Robinson, 90, died October 15. According to Saving Country Music, he was the youngest ever Opry staff musician, when he was hired in 1949 at the age of 18. He backed Hank Williams on the Opry when Hank received multiple encores for “Lovesick Blues.” His session work included George Morgan’s “Candy Kisses,” Carl Smith’s “I Overlooked an Orchid,” and Red Foley’s “Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy.” The Nashville native was then drafted into the U.S. Army, where he played steel guitar for Special Services. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 6 October 2021

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021


“I was ate up with it.” That’s how Tracy Lawrence, 53, describes his youthful quest to sing traditional county music while growing up in Arkansas. When he called me last week for our scheduled interview, he told me he learned how to sing and play guitar by listening to singers like Merle Haggard and Randy Travis. “I really worked hard at trying to hit all those notes,” he explained. “When I would sing those songs with a band, I would always make a point to do it in the key on the record, so I could get all those little inflections and everything in it. I really studied the way they sang, and the spots they breathed in, and where they did their vibratos. I was a big student of their phrasing. I would try to emulate every minor detail of the way they sang on those records.”