Cocaine & Rhinestones is a podcast about the history of country music made in the 20th century…
But I’m not gonna pretend like I have southern accent or talk to you about pickup trucks and chewing tobacco. This is about the truth. You don’t have to know what it’s like to drive a tractor. You don’t need to have spent the last 20 years listening to nothing but Merle Haggard 8 tracks while sipping Pearl beer from a can in order to appreciate these incredible stories and this genius music. You don’t need to “be” country to perform country, so you certainly don’t have to be country to enjoy it. The truth is that country music is wild and it is amazing because the people who made it were wild and they were amazing. Sometimes they went too far. Sometimes, the amazement we feel will not be the happy kind. You can say the same thing about any other genre of music. I’m here to say it (mostly) about country music and country musicians. The reason for that is simple: I don’t see anyone else saying it and I’m pretentious enough to start talking.
I didn’t want to make this podcast. The realization that I was going to have to do it was not comfortable. To say the least, it’s a daunting task and I’ve never done anything like it before. But I couldn’t sleep at night. If I didn’t make Cocaine & Rhinestones, it was never going to exist and I couldn’t bear the thought of that. Stressing out over it may seem ridiculous, I’m aware. It’s a podcast, who cares? But history matters. It’s composed of stories and podcasts are the way we tell stories to each other now. Imagine if an entire genre of music was allowed to go out of print when we made the transition from vinyl to CD. That’s what I saw happening with the lore of country music. Most of what I’m talking about on Cocaine & Rhinestones has been written down in books but nobody’s reading those books. Many of them have never even been converted to digital format. This history wasn’t being passed on to a new generation. It was going extinct.
So, short version: it had to happen, nobody else was going to do it and I knew I had to at least try. Now that I’ve seen the reception to the first season of the podcast, I’m prepared to keep trying (and trying to improve) for as long as it takes to complete the work. If that means I spend the rest of my life making this podcast, that’s what it means. If you’d like to help me do that, you can support the podcast through Patreon, which has the added bonus of monthly behind-the-scenes updates regarding the creation of the show. Anyone who’d like to make a one-time “donation” rather than signing up for monthly support may do so through Patreon, canceling their “subscription” after being charged, or by purchasing books from this Amazon wishlist. These are all books that I will need to read for the podcast at some point. Simply add your selections to the shopping cart and check out as you normally would to have Amazon send the books and they’ll be removed from the list so no repeats are sent.
Tyler Mahan Coe is the creator-writer-producer of the breakout podcast, Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History of Country Music. Immediately gripping and instantly credible, the show debuted in October of 2017 and quickly made the leap from country fan favorite to mainstream phenomenon through profiles in The New Yorker, The Guardian and Pitchfork. Coe’s fascination with his subject and dedication to uncovering the truths behind so many tall tales is nothing if not contagious. In early 2018, Cocaine & Rhinestones simultaneously occupied the #1 Music podcast position on both US and UK iTunes charts. A second season of the show has already been promised. In the meantime (seriously, it’s mean), you can find Tyler destroying friendships and dismantling the careers of pop/rock artists on his other podcast, Your Favorite Band Sucks, with co-host Mark Mosley.
What the Hell Is a Podcast?
It’s like a radio show that you can listen to whenever you want. You can pause it and come back to it later. You can rewind it if you missed something or fast forward if there’s something you don’t want to hear.
Most people listen to podcasts on their mobile device, using the Podcasts app on Apple products or apps like CastBox on Android. Get an app, open it up, search for Cocaine & Rhinestones and subscribe. Some apps will download episodes to your device as they are released. If you don’t have a lot of storage space on your device, you may want to shut this off and “stream” the episodes instead. (This will require a good mobile or Wi-Fi connection.) If you do download the episodes, you can listen to them anytime, anywhere.
You can also listen to Cocaine & Rhinestones on a computer or any other audio setup capable of playing mp3 files. That’s all an episode of the podcast is: an mp3 file. You can listen in iTunes or straight from the audio player at the top of every episode’s blog post on this website. You can download the mp3 file from a link in that audio player and listen to it however you listen to mp3s. You’ll also find a full text transcript of every episode in that blog post, in case you prefer reading the story.
And, if none of this is making any sense to you, just find a person under 30 years of age to help you get started.
Before I get to the contact info, please understand that I will never listen to your demo or check out the artist you’re working with or anything like that. My podcast does not have guests on it. I do not talk about anyone who wasn’t impacting country music before the year 2001 and I do not conduct interviews with the subjects of my episodes while in production.
I’d also ask that you not email me to ask if or when I’m going to do an episode on any particular person or subject. My decisions on that front will never be based on what people want to hear and I don’t take requests. This is discussed more in the Season 1 Q&A episode which is linked below.
Note: I have no control over any technical issues you may be experiencing with the podcast on whatever service you are using to listen to it. What I do is make the show, put it in .mp3 form and send it out to all the various services. After that, it’s out of my control. If you’re having a problem listening to an episode, you find that episode’s blog post on this website and listen directly from the embedded player or download the .mp3 for listening in whatever app you use to play music files.
If you have a question about the podcast (in general or the content of a specific episode), you can use this email address to get an answer, if I have one. (Again, please, do not message me to ask if/when I’m doing an episode on a person or topic. These types of messages will not get a response.) Full disclosure, checking this email address is not a priority for me at this time. There was a bonus Q&A episode answering all the questions sent in during the run of the first season, so that’s done. Right now, working on the second season of the podcast is the most important thing.
If you work in the media (that means you, too, fellow podcasters) and would like my input on a project or would like to have a conversation regarding any aspect of Cocaine & Rhinestones or country music, please contact me here for that. If you want to set up an in-person thing, I’m in Nashville.