Country Music

For decades now, country's aesthetic and ideological sensibilities have been shaped as much by the music's modern, middle-class suburban appeal as its rural working-class roots, which can make for quite the rhetorical push-and-pull (likely one of many factors that contributed to the Dixie Chicks' famed expulsion from the format over voicing distaste for the second President Bush during a U.K. concert). Working-class political speech hasn't always been recognized as political at all; it's just as likely to be dismissed as class resentment.

When Margo Price wailed, "Let's go back to Tennessee," on her 2016 breakthrough album Midwest Farmer's Daughter, she meant more than her current home town of Nashville. The queen of East Nashville has a long relationship with Memphis, forged through collaboration with producer Matt Ross-Spang, one of the young movers and shakers who's helping put that other mid-South music capitol and its classic studios back on the recording map.

"Folsom Prison Blues" is a country/rockabilly song that expresses the laments of a fictional inmate at Folsom Prison who wishes he could ride a nearby train away from his confinement and to San Antonio. Johnny Cash wrote the song in 1953 while stationed in Germany serving in the Air Force. Cash was inspired to pen the song after seeing the Hollywood drama film “Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison.”

Axiomphoto.net by Ternell Washington

On Fridays, we give you a preview of some of the weekend's most interesting events. This week, it's a little different, with an emphasis on the last event.  

First off, on Saturday at the Institute of Texan Cultures Buddhist monks are creating a community mandala out of colorful sands. It's called The Mystical Arts of Tibet, and promises to be both fascinating and beautiful. Then on Saturday night, Texas original Billy Joe Shaver is playing a great live outdoor venue outside of Boerne, the Round Up. 

Don Williams, who began a long career in country music as a Nashville songwriter in the early 1970s and who entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, died today at his home in Alabama following a short illness, a publicist confirmed to NPR. He was 78.

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