Outlaws and Armadillos

It’s over ten years since I first set foot in Music City. One of my early memories of that first visit is my final songwriting session of the trip. I was to go to the house of Nanci Griffith and write ‘something’ with her. She’d already thrown me by declaring in an email, ‘I can’t write anything as I’m too angry about George Bush.’ I can’t remember how I countered that one but it probably ran along the lines of, ‘We’re not over the moon here about your president either.’

I remember an old guitar that I got to play and a story which I half remember about it being Billy Joe Shaver‘s and how he’d sold it at a knock down price while a little down on his luck. From memory the story involved Harlan Howard too and Nanci and I later talked about how none of these names really made any sense to me at the time.

I thought of Billy Joe this morning as I read about the Country Music Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville launching their new exhibit, ‘Outlaws and Armadillos.’ It’s a tribute to the Outlaw movement and celebrates the Austin Armadillo World HQ which hosted some of the Outlaw movements first gigs. (2$ cover charge to see Willie Nelson back in the day)

Over the weekend the HOF also hosted an opening concert produced by Dave Cobb and featuring the musical direction of Shooter Jennings. The band included Amanda Shires, Jason Isbell and Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett. Guests included Outlaw Queen Jessi Colter, Bobby Bare and the great Billy Joe Shaver himself. It sounded like quite a night.

We’ll hear a little bit more about the exhibition from our man on the ground, Bill DeMain on this Tuesday’s show as he had an exclusive sneak preview. It’s going to be running till 2021 so it’s a must see for all you folks who ask me for Nashville tips when heading out there.

Elsewhere on the show I’ll bring you some more from one of my favourite albums of recent months Hiss Golden Messenger’s Hallelujah Anyhow. I’ve noticed M.C. Taylor (the man who’s band HGM really is) has recently been working with Matthew E White at Spacebomb records too….so much to tell you. Look out too for new things from Neko Case, Maren Morris, The Milk Carton Kids and the aforementioned Amanda Shires.

We’ll have some our usual mix of lovely old records including some cuts from Jerry Reed and Dawn Landes and whatever occurs to us between now and then. Join me if you can on BBC Radio Scotland from five past nine live from 9 this Tuesday repeated this coming Friday too.

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