American Masters – The Highway Men: Friends Till The End

From left to right Kris Kristofferson, Johnny ...
From left to right Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, who formed the country music supergroup, The Highwaymen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Public television continues to be one of the best avenues of American music specials.

Frequently referred to as “the Mount Rushmore of country music,” The HighwaymenWillie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson – were American country music’s first bona fide supergroup, an epic quartet comprised of the outlaw country genre’s pioneering stars. An essential musical and cultural influence, the Grammy-winning group was active from 1985 – 1995: recording three albums, touring the world and acting in the movie Stagecoach (1986). American Masters – The Highwaymen: Friends Till the Endpremiering nationwide Friday, May 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) as part of the 30th anniversary season of THIRTEEN’s American Masters series, explores how these men came together and the fruits of their historic collaboration.

The Highwaymen Live – American Outlaws, a new 3 CD/1 DVD or Blu-ray box set of concert performances — including the complete Nassau Coliseum concert film seen in the American Masters documentary — will be available May 20 fromColumbia/Legacy, along with a new single-disc compilation CD, The Very Best of The Highwaymen. The Highwaymen: Live At Nassau Coliseum (a special broadcast edit of the concert film featured on The Highwaymen Live – American Outlaws) is part of special programming premiering on PBS stations as part of June Pledge 2016.

Music Journalism A-Z – Lenny Kaye

Lenny-KayeLenny Kaye

Many people know Lenny Kaye as a guitarist and composer with the Patti Smith Group.  I have seen him play with Patti Smith four or five times in the past few years. I love his style and his gentle enthusiasm.

Lenny Kaye is lesser known but greatly respected as a music journalist. He has a powerful writing command  that makes him one of America’s leading music analysts and interpreters.

Lenny began by writing reviews for Jazz and Pop magazine. He later branched out to foundation rock magazines like FusionCrawdaddy and Rolling Stone. He next became the music editor for Cavalier, a gentlemen’s magazine.where he authored a monthly column until 1975.

He then decided to become a free-lance writer where he would a wrote for hire with a range of publications that included Melody Maker and CREEM. Again he served in an editor role for music monthly magazines like Rock Scene and Hit Parader through the seventies.

Lenny Kaye is the co-author of  the autobiography, Waylon, The Life Story of Waylon Jennings written with the late Waylon Jennings.

Lenny Kaye has written with an authoritative sense about several defining periods in the history of music.

One literature work that represents his history/analysis writing skills is You Call It Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon. This book  highlights the age of crooning in early 1930s New York City. The book centers on Russ Columbo, known as Bing Crosby’s rival. Lenny Kaye as a Columbo enthusiast offers the reader a scrapbook research title accompanied by many rare photographs and memorabilia from his own collection.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Nuggets about the first psychedelic era which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Lenny Kaye wrote the liner notes and helped assemble the collection with Jac Holzman of Elektra Records fame. I purchased that edition for Lenny Kaye to autograph for me someday in the future 😉

Nuggets

You can find monthly writing contributions from Lenny Kaye at e-Music where he writes for them today. Here are some of his 2012 writing efforts.

Delve into the catalog of Jamie Records and their associated labels, covering everything from Duane Eddy to the Fantastic Johnny C.
Visit Nico at her resting place and think of how she remains with us still and evermore.
Celebrate Johnny Cash and his walk o’ the line.
Muse on the life and art of Chet Baker, he of the mournful trumpet and romantic song.

Jimmy Webb’s Welcome Resurgence

From left to right Waylon Jennings, Willie Nel...
Image via Wikipedia

I have long admired Jimmy Webb as a singer and song writer. You know his songs well. They live in your heart and blossom like flowers whenever you require them. He has written such masterpieces as By The Time I Get To Phonenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Up, Up and Away, MacArthur’s Park, Didn’t We and All I Know.

We recently saw Jimmy Webb perform at Infinity Music Hall in Norfolk, CT. It was a delightful evening of songs played on the piano, accompanied by the personal remembrances of Mr. Jimmy Webb. He shared his memories openly about such friends as The Outlaws (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash,Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings) which preceded the song, Highwayman. Jimmy Webb is a very accomplished piano player, which adds a powerful dimension to his on-stage presence. He made Infinity Music Hall feel like his living room. He was very taken with the venue, which always has an engaging ambiance. His stories charmed us as he spoke with warmth and great aplomb about Harry Nilsson, Frank Sinatra and our personal favorite friendship, Richard Harris.

You can hear some of those stories on Jimmy Webb’s recording, Live and at Large.

After an energetic and soulful two hour concert, Jimmy Webb met with his fans in the lobby, signing autographs and posing for pictures. He told me he really liked Santana, which made me smile 🙂

Jimmy Webb has released a new collaboration recording Just Across The River last week. It was recorded over a two day interval in Nashville. The collaborations with esteemed friends includes Billy Joel (Wichita Lineman), Jackson Browne (P.F. Sloan), All I Know (Linda Rondstadt), If You See Me Getting Smaller (Willie Nelson), Galveston (Lucinda Williams), and By The Time I Get to Phoenix (Glen Campbell) just to name a few :). The recording flows evenly as each new texture of Jimmy Webb’s musical tapestry unfolds before our sensibilities. You can learn more about this special collaboration recording, Just Across The River on Jimmy Webb’s Web site.

Its great to see the resurgence in Jimmy Webb’s musical career. He richly deserves the praise he is receiving in the press and music community for this collaborative effort, Just Across The River.

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