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George Strait: The Cowboy Rides Away Farewell Show

By Matthew Ramirez, Contributor

One of the biggest names in all music retired from touring earlier this month, but unless you're a hardcore country music fan, or from Texas, it might have been hard to tell. George Strait has had more No. 1 hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs than any other artist. He's sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, and is the best-selling performer in the history of country music in America. As a beacon of pure… more »

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Mike Cooper on Rescuing His Lost Classics

By Andy Beta, Contributor

Legend goes that a kid named Mick Jagger wanted to start a band with the young Mike Cooper in the '60s. When Cooper balked, Jagger instead recruited Brian Jones and started a blues-indebted band called the Rolling Stones instead. Mike Cooper's idiosyncratic path took him elsewhere. Now in his sixth decade of music-making, Cooper remains a gifted, prolific player. In June, the excellent Paradise of Bachelors label reissued a clutch of his crucial early-'70s albums:… more »

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A Brief History of the Voice-O-Graph

By John Morthland, Contributor

It's about the size of a phone booth, and when first introduced it felt like a glimpse of the future. Today, it's a quaint novelty. But to Jack White and Neil Young, it's a novelty that serves a noble purpose. Young recorded his new album, A Letter Home, on the 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth in residence in the Novelties Lounge of White's Third Man Records office in Nashville. For $15, you can make a recording… more »

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Spotlight: Lee Hazlewood

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Brad Paisley, Moonshine in the Trunk

2014 | Label: Arista Nashville

Brad Paisley’s 11th studio release is virtually guaranteed to secure the singer’s reign as the king of minivan country for at least another year. For the first 10 of its 15 tracks, it alternates funny songs (the best of which, “High Life,” is a “Weird Al” Yankovic-worthy tale of lawsuit-happy hillbillies) with love ballads or feminist paeans (“Shattered Glass” is about the proverbial ceiling). But after “Gone Green” — a genial tale of a redneck turned environmentalist — fades, humor’s set aside and earnestness takes over completely.

A clip of John… more »

Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Mötley Crüe

2014 | Label: Big Machine Records, LLC

On paper, the idea of today’s country stars throwing a retirement party for Mötley Crüe, the Sunset Strip-bred miscreants who are saying farewell to the road after 33 years, makes sense. Big-tent country has, in many senses, become the arena rock of the 21st century, with its combination of larger-than-life guitars and dude-next-door frontmen. But this tribute to Mötley’s body of work also shows how music has changed since the band’s early days, when even dudes in leather pants and lots of hairspray could have slightly off-kilter pitch on a… more »

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The Finest in New & Old Country

By Stephen M. Deusner, Contributor

Sidle on up to the bar and have a few rounds with the finest in fresh-faced folk and oak-aged country tunes. Turnstyled and Junkpiled will soundtrack the tears in your beers as well as letting the good times roll. From new bucks like Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons to old-timers like Merle Haggard and Townes Van Zandt, with plenty of deep cuts, there'll be plenty to scuff your boots and kick up your heels… more »

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