Ten country songs for tax day

It seems odd we'd ever find occasion to offer the following advice: Don't do what Willie did. But as tax day approaches, it's the wisest advice we can offer. Don't leave the management of your finances to Price Waterhouse, if they turn around and advise you to utilize shady tax shelters. That's what happened to Willie when back in 1990, the IRS seized most of his assets, claiming he owned $32 million in back taxes, penalties, and interest. Yowza.

You don't have enough money to ever contract with a big accounting firm, and the only shelter you know about is the one you can barely afford to keep over your head? That's cool; file your taxes on time to avoid penalties, and try to be chill like Willie. Things'll turn out alright. Here's a soundtrack to ease your filing woes.

More »

Mother Banjo on the John Prine tribute show at 331 Club


Many singer-songwriters count the likes of Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan among their favorites, but few writers can brag that Kristofferson and Dylan have said the feeling's mutual. Dylan has called John Prine's songs "pure Proustian existentialism... Midwestern mind trips to the nth degree," and it's said Kristofferson quipped after an early performance, "John Prine is so good, we may have to break his thumbs." Endorsements like those earned Prine an early record deal, countless fans, and for the sixth year in a row, a tribute concert in celebration of his half birthday. Yes, his half birthday.

This Saturday at the 331 Club, local Prine fans/roots and Americana musicians Mother Banjo and Art Vandalay host the sixth annual "Big Fat Love" celebration of John Prine's half birthday, featuring tribute sets by the hosts as well as Dana Thompson, Baby Grant Johnson, Brianna Lane, and Ben Cook-Feltz. The event will feature songs spanning Prine's 35-plus-year career ranging from beloved to lesser-known songs. Plus, there are prizes! This week, Gimme Noise got the dirt on the upcoming event from Mother Banjo's Ellen Stanley.

More »

Ten country songs 'bout Jesus

I've been told a lot of things about Jesus. For one, he evidently looked a lot like Kenny Loggins. Or Kenny Loggins looks a lot like him? Apparently dinosaurs were created and then roamed the earth around the same time as mankind, so I guess Kenny Loggins could be Jesus after all. "Danger Zone" is a song about eternal damnation. "Footloose" is what happens when a sinful woman anoints your feet in her tears. Loggins was not the Messina, but the Messiah.

You got me: I haven't been told much about Jesus at all. I grew up Catholic, and we didn't have all those happy picture books you Protestants colored in Sunday School. The rest of us are left to believe everything the internet tells us about Jesus Loggins. And this is where we turn to country music, which unlike the internet does tell us everything we need to know about Jesus, who died on tomorrow's date (give or take) a good many years ago (but without any dinosaurs around), but rose again after the police knocked on the door to his tomb and hollered, "Outta the crypt, Longhair!"

Okay, don't listen to me. Listen to these fine and abiding country Christians spin 10 excellent songs about Jesus. (Sorry, Carrie Underwood.)

More »

Top 13 country songs about whiskey

Today's a big day in whiskey history. As legend tells it, it was on this day in 1983 that Merle Haggard set a new world record for purchasing the largest round of whiskey, after buying 5,095 shots of Canadian Club at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth at an appearance to promote his "C.C. Waterback" duet with George Jones. The whole round totaled 40 gallons of whiskey, and clocked up a bill of $12,737.50.

Have a headache yet? Read on, to discover 13 finely distilled country classics about brown liquor -- so far as your bloodshot eyes and double vision will allow you to do so.

More »

Jack Greene, Opry stalwart, passes at 83

A prime example of country music's late-'60s era of mellow and polished crooners, Jack Greene's sound was old, no doubt, but epitomized a style still enjoyed today by countless Opry listeners, who continue tuning in each week not only to hear contemporary acts, but also the classic sounds of Greene and his peers.

Following a career that charted a number of hits, including "There Goes My Everything," "All the Time" and "Statue of a Fool," Greene passed away during his sleep in his Nashville home Thursday evening, from complications related to Alzheimer's disease. He was 83.

More »

10 songs of unrequited love for Taylor Swift's discarded fan mail

Photo by Steve Cohen
It's all too easy to make Taylor Swift play the part of the bitch. From her latest row with America's Sweethearts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, to the string of heartbreak she's left in her wake, the bottom line is this: when it comes to popular girls, she is officially the most popular girl in the world, epitomizing all that is popular girl in that for every one girl who idolizes her, there are 19 more scratching Xs into her eyes in the yearbook. And now? We hear that News 2 Nashville is reporting that HUNDREDS of fan letters addressed to Swift have been found in a dumpster, much of it unopened! Uh oh!

See Also:
My mom reviews the Grammy Awards 2013 nominees
Can Taylor Swift age gracefully with Red?
Taylor Swift unveils 2013 U.S. tour -- St. Paul in September

More »

The Nashville Network premiered 30 years ago today... and now it's back

Here's Miley Cyrus making possibly her first TV appearance ever -- on The Nashville Network
Thirty years ago today, something big happened in country music. On March 7, 1983, just two years after MTV and the Buggles ushered onto our television sets a consistent -- well, for a time -- rotation of pop music programming, The Nashville Network premiered. It revolutionized the country music video business and brought countless country stars to American homes for the first time. Originally owned by WSM, Inc., the network was launched from the Opryland USA theme park -- now an outlet mall -- and though CMT beat the network to the punch by a whole two days in laying claim to status as the first country music cable television network, over its almost two decade run, TNN became known for its lineup of celebrity variety and talk (and cooking and fishing) shows, before eventually losing its luster and evolving into Spike TV and its rotation of Baywatch reruns.

Last year, it was announced that after a long hiatus TNN would make its return to a number of markets, though sadly, the Twin Cities is not one of them. No worries -- we've compiled the best of the network's glory days right here! And so, join us as we take a video walk through memory lane, and assuming she was a fan, right back to your grandma's couch, circa 1988. More »

Ten country songs to bring on the spring

March is that time of year when we forget everything we've come to know about the month's wild mood swings. We ignore the weatherman's prognostications, and throw on shorts and short sleeves at the first sight of melting (read: slushy, gray, disgusting) snow. And so by our interpretation, guess what, folks -- spring has officially sprung! Soon the tulips will be poking through what little snow remains in your backyard, competing for space with all the dog poop you've neglected during the winter.

Here are 10 songs to ring in your undeniable, unshakable, totally unreasonable spring fever.More »

The Cactus Blossoms: We see the Turf Club as our workshop

A year into their two-steppin' friendly Monday night residency at the Turf Club, the Cactus Blossoms have become a mainstay not only of that St. Paul stage, but of the country and folk scenes here in the Twin Cities. No strangers to the road, they've got a full docket of travels ahead of them as they embark for a number of dates throughout the country, where they will no doubt be embraced as just as beloved as they are right here at home.

In anticipation of their Saturday night appearance at Lee's Liquor Lounge opening for country traditionalists Foghorn Stringband, we caught up with brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey for an update on -- pardon the pun -- what is blossoming lately for the band. More »

Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter 45 years ago today

Though they have both passed, today we celebrate what would have been the 45th wedding anniversary of Johnny and June Carter Cash. Following a somewhat rocky and entirely unconventional courtship, it was on this day in 1968 that Johnny proposed to June onstage during a performance at the London Ice House, a hockey arena in Ontario, Canada. She said yes, and they were wed a week later a at a church in Franklin, Kentucky... followed by a nonalcoholic reception at Johnny's home. More »