This morning WSM-AM 650 presented the monthly live-audience show of the station's wake-up show in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. And so for the second time in less than four days I was inside the Ford Theater there. The first time was Tuesday evening for Eddie Stubbs' WSM show "Intimate Evening" (see the report posted immediately before this). Now it's "Coffee Country & Cody", to which I like to add "AND Charlie" because I strongly feel that sidekick Charlie Mattos is as crucial to show's success as is host Bill Cody.
As I walk into the Hall of Fame building a pretty, petite young lady passes me going out. While I pause in the lobby to shed my overcoat she re-enters, heading for the theater with a fiddle case and bow in hand. This clues me in that she was one of Bill and Charlie's guests. Shortly I learn that she's none other than Amanda Shires! Of the many musical ladies that the Cody show has introduced to me over the airwaves, Amanda is probably my favorite. One reason is that she's from Mineral Wells and Lubbock and hi-lites the West Cross Timbers region of Texas (where the former city sits) on her most recent recorded album.
Amanda Shires gave us reason to become bigger fans of her - literally! She carried in a quantity of home-made snickerdoodles, of which I got to sample one. Yum, yum!
Well, if I get goose-bumps from this unexpected proximity to Amanda, SHE gets goose-bumps from playing fiddle alongside today's first live Guest for the show, Michael Martin Murphey. Amanda and her fiddle accompany him in a medley of his hit songs -- not including "Wildfire" (which I picked up that he had sung before I entered). Murphey's other songs are off his "Buckaroo Blue Grass" album, and he finishes his portion of the show with one song off the soon-to-be-released Buckaroo BG II album.
Next Guest is Moe Bandy. At the earliest break (from the broadcast of the show) I make bold to request my favorite Bandy hit, "Americana" which is definitely third fave on my personal list of all-time favorite country hit songs after "Crazy Arms" (#2) and "Love Without End Amen" (#1). The first song done live by Moe is "Too Old to Die Young", probably my second fave on the Bandy song list. Later Bill Cody has a recording of "Bandy the Rodeo Clown" aired. Moe remarks on the origin of the song's lyrics and how Lefty Frizzell and Whitey Shafer came to write these. Two details strike me. First, that Moe's brother was a rodeo cowboy (Moe jokingly says he quit the rodeo circuit after two head injuries). (Thus neither Bandy brother was a clown.) Second, that at the time the song came out Moe was seeking not just a hit song but a gig in which to play. On that latter Bill comments perceptively that a place to do a gig isn't hard to find in THIS town!
Finally, Moe strums his guitar, singing "Americana". By the end of the first refrain and start of second verse my head's leaking. This song affects me so that I found it hard to sing along on the second refrain (Moe invited us to sing along second time around on chorus of "Too Old" as well as "Americana"). One reason I find the song so powerful is that I can remember my first hearing of it on the airwaves (or one of the first). I still can picture that I was driving alone in the afternoon on a narrow road in an isolated wooded area with undergrowth more lush than rank. Strange thing is I cannot place it otherwise. I want to associate this hearing of "Americana" with our 1992-94 residence in Devine, Texas -- which makes sense in that it's is a small town off a superhighway, the song's setting. But there's no place near Devine that would have a wood with tall trees and lush undergrowth. So was it in rural Leon County outside Tallahassee (1991-92)? When I asked him, Moe said the song hit the airwaves in 1988 - which is while we lived in Nashville the first time. So it COULD be that my memory of the location is a rural area outside Music City USA!
. Americana - pictures of a people proud and free.
. Americana - I'll keep holdin' to the dream.
. You're still what livin' means to me!
The last Guest on "Coffee Country & Cody -- AND Charlie! -- was songwriter (Jay) Fred Knoblock. He was there to promote a series of concerts at the Bluebird Café (a major gig for musical performers in this city) all thru January, to benefit the Alive Hospice program. Gina Killeborn of Alive Hospice was present also regarding this. Fred will be one of the artists on tonite's concert at the Bluebird. Like Michael and Moe, he too picked guitar and sang. One of his songs celebrated his home State (also birth State of Moe) "Feels Like Mississippi". The lyircs were so evocative and the melody so smooth that it caused me to vaguely wish I'd been raised in the Magnolia State too!
On the other hand, Moe's "Americana" echoes thru my mind. I've lived for significant lengths of time in three widely-separated States, and otherwise in three more of these United States. I love this country - all of it!