Grand Ole Opry

What is there to be said about the Grand Ole Opry that hasn’t been said before?

Well, hopefully, whatever I said about it in the episodes below can tell you some things you didn’t already know.

Harper Valley PTA, Part 3: Tom T. Hall

CR009 Harper Valley PTA, Part 3: Tom T. Hall

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They call him The Storyteller because he distills life into words. Behind any story worth telling, you’ll always find another story. Maybe if we can get behind some of his best stories, we can reverse engineer the alchemy of Tom T. Hall. Maybe we’ll find the story about who he is and how he’s able to do what he can do with the English language…

Probably not but, worst case scenario, it will be an incredibly entertaining waste of time. Beginning with a condensed history of country music radio, we follow Tom T. from his early days as a young DJ into a seemingly effortless realization of his destiny to become one of country music’s greatest songwriters ever.

This episode is highly recommended for fans of songwriting, arguing about music, Net Neutrality, the music business, Bobby Bare, Dave Dudley, Jimmy C. Newman, Hank Cochran and songs for children.

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Jeannie C. Riley

CR008 Harper Valley PTA, Part 2: Jeannie C. Riley

1200 630 Cocaine & Rhinestones

Jeannie C. Riley’s debut single sold over a million copies within ten days of being released but she never wanted to record the song. She’s often considered a one-hit wonder. We can easily disprove that.

In the late ’60s, Jeannie C. Riley became country music’s most blatant sex symbol to date but she never wanted to wear those clothes. Small town girl with big dreams goes to the city and lets it break her in order to make her. Total cliche, right?

Sure.

Except Jeannie’s choice to bury the story in lie after lie turns it into a mystery tale of obscured identity, infidelity and blackmail. In this episode, some truth sees the light of day, maybe for the first time ever.

Recommended for fans of Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Russell, The Wilburn Brothers, Tom T. Hall, Little Darlin’ Records and mystery novels.

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Louvin Brothers in cabin

CR006 The Louvin Brothers: Running Wild

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The Louvin Brothers are widely regarded as the most influential harmony duo to ever cut a country song. The way Charlie and Ira could sing together is downright otherworldly. There’s even a special term we had to invent for family (it’s always/only family) who can sing this way: blood harmony. That being said, it’s possible we’ve never heard what they could really do.

By the way, do you believe in evil?

This episode delves in to exactly what blood harmony is and how the magic of it can’t save you from beating the living hell out of each other at every opportunity. Here is the story of two dirt-poor brothers who fought for fifteen years to achieve their lifelong dream and what happened after that. (Hint: it involves whiskey and bullets.)

This episode is recommended for fans of: singing, physics, the Radiolab podcast, mandolins and Roy Acuff.

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Ernest Tubb Texas Defense Social

CR001 Ernest Tubb: The Texas Defense

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Everyone loves Ernest Tubb.

So when he straps on a gun belt one night to head across town and snuff out a character named Jim Denny, well, you might guess that ol’ Jim had it coming. Maybe he didn’t, maybe he did…

For you to make up your own mind, we’ll need to go behind-the-scenes of 650 AM WSM in Nashville, The Grand Ole Opry and the world of country music publishing companies.

This episode is highly recommended for fans of Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Paycheck, Justin Tubb, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Roy Acuff and Matlock. Yes, Matlock.

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