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GRITZ News Items: Americana Rocks, Shaver, Hayes Carll, FAME and Skynyrd

Posted: Sep 19, 2008


The 7th Annual Americana Music Honors and Awards show took place on Thursday (Sept. 18) in Nashville at the Mother Church of Country Music, The Ryman Auditorium. Wish I could have been there. It’s always a blast. Here’s a list of winners.
Album of the Year: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant/Raising Sand

Artist of the Year: Levon Helm

Duo/Group of the Year: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Instrumentalist of the Year: Buddy Miller

New Emerging Artist of the Year: Mike Farris

Song of the Year: "She Left Me for Jesus" by Hayes Carll and Brian Keane
Additional Lifetime Achievement Honors were given to:

Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music - Joan Baez

Lifetime Achievement / Songwriting - John Hiatt

Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement / Executive - Terry Lickona

Lifetime Achievement / Performance - Jason and The Scorchers

Presidents Award - Jerry Garcia

Lifetime Achievement / Instrumentalist - Larry Campbell

Trailblazer / Nanci Griffith

Lifetime Achievement / Producer / Engineer - Tony Brown

According to all reports, including an eyewitness report from a friend of GRITZ, Levon Helm gave a stellar performance at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville Wednesday night. It was the kickoff for the Americana Music Festival and Conference,  with a star-filled show that prompted multiple standing ovations.

Levon’s many guest artists included  Billy Bob Thornton, Sam Bush, Buddy and Julie Miller, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Sheryl Crow, blues man Little Sammy Davis,Delbert McClinton,  John Hiatt, Steve Earle and Allison Moorer.

Among classics performed were “The Weight” and a star-by-star turn on Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”

The ninth annual Americana Music Festival & Conference is expected to gather more than 1,000 performers and industry professionals to Music City through Saturday.

IF YOU SHOOT YOUR MOUTH OFF AT SHAVER, HE’LL SHOOT YOUR MOUTH OFF - A McLennan County grand jury in Waco, Texas has indicted Billy Joe Shaver on felony charges for his alleged role in an April 2007 shooting at a Lorena bar.

Shaver is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony, and a charge of unlawful carrying of a handgun by a licensed holder on a licensed premises, a third-degree felony.

One witness said Shaver followed the victim, Billy B. Coker, out of Papa Joe's Texas Saloon in Lorena on April 1, 2007, and asked, “Where do you want it?” before shooting him in the face, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed last year.

Coker, who was treated and released, told police last year that the shooting was unprovoked. An attorney for Shaver said at the time that Coker was drunk, aggressive and had a knife and that he followed Shaver outside.

The town that inspired the music of Lost Highway's Hayes Carll, is destroyed by Hurricane Ike. "Now, virtually all that's left of Crystal Beach (Texas) are those songs," says Carll.

Carll spent four years honing his songwriting in the bars of Crystal Beach, and is currently in England.

Carll hosts the Stingaree Music Festival on Crystal Beach each April. His Highway 87 label is named after the road that takes you to the seaside town, "where the cops all know your number and the bars all know your name." Carll's three albums are inhabited by the characters, the shrimpers and oil workers and beach bums he met while
playing at places like Bob's, which are no longer there.


Fame Records, the original home of The Muscle Shoals Sound founded by Rick Hall, will release its first catalog collection in over thirty years this fall. The label is the sister company to FAME Recording Studios, founded in 1959, and plans to release historic reissues, new recordings, and never-before-heard tracks from its extensive archives, via a new arrangement with EMI Distribution.

The first release from the reinvigorated FAME label ‘The Best of Jimmy Hughes,’ is an eighteen -track collection from the archetypal soul singer, coming out October, 28, 2008.

‘The Best of Jimmy Hughes’ is a fitting inaugural release for FAME.  Hughes’ signature hit, 1964’s “Steal Away,” was the first song recorded at FAME’S hallowed Avalon Avenue studios location, and the first release on the original FAME label.  And though he retired from recording in the mid- 70’s, Hughes still lives near Muscle Shoals and sings in church most Sundays.

‘The Best of Jimmy Hughes’ features all seven of his charting singles, and sixteen of the eighteen tracks on the collection are being made available for the first time in the digital age. Extras include an essay by renowned record producer Rick Hall, and a roundtable discussion with Hughes and Hall, and several legendary Muscle Shoals musicians - Norbert Putnam, Spooner Oldham, Jerry Carrigan, Peanut Montgomery and David Briggs - which fans can access as a bonus mp3 when they purchase the album.


After spending the last year writing songs with ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist John 5, ultimate rock and roll survivors Lynyrd Skynyrd are close to finishing a new studio album. Band member Rickey Medlocke said in a recent interview said that while he initially skeptical about the guitarist, who now plays with Rob Zombie, he quickly showed impressive chops.

"Everybody thought, 'My god, you are going to write with this guy? How is that ever going to work?' But this guy came in and is really multitalented in all genres. I was surprised that this guy could sit down and play Glen Campbell and Roy Clark better than they do, and it blew my mind. And then he loves Southern rock, the blues and country. It really blew us away."

Skynyrd, currently on the road with Kid Rock on the “Rock and Rebel” tour, has designs to hit the studio this fall and finish the album by the end of the year. The band is targeting an early 2009 release date on an label to be announced. [Reuters]

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