Posted by themusicsover on November 7, 2016
September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016
Photo by Takahiro Kyono
Leonard Cohen was a revered Canadian poet, author, and most famously, singer-songwriter. Over a career that spanned almost 50 years, Cohen provided the dimly-lit smoky-bar soundtrack for people who needed hope, lost faith, felt despair, or longed for love. Initially planning a career as an author and poet, Cohen wanted to reach more people, so he switched gears and found himself singing and performing in New York City at the relatively late age of 33. He quickly became an unlikely pop star – rugged baritone voice, simple chord structures, and a private, guarded life within a profession that celebrated extroversion. His career might have seemed over when upon the release of his most famous song, 1984’s “Hallelujah,” his label head reportedely told him, “Look, Leonard; we know you’re great, but we don’t know if you’re any good,” before dropping him. But his songs eventually caught on, and younger generations of singer-songwriters borrowed them to include in their own canons. “Hallelujah” alone was recorded by over 200 artists, including Bob Dylan, Justin Timberlake, k.d. lang, John Cale, and most famously, Jeff Buckley. In all, Cohen’s tunes have been covered by more than 2000. That list includes such greats as Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Willie Nelson, R.E.M., and Tori Amos. In 2008, at the age of 74, and facing financial ruin, Cohen embarked on an ambitious (and triumphant!) world tour that would last about three years before his health started to get the better of him. After getting well, he hit the road again doing a seemingly endless series of impassioned shows that ran north of three hours a piece. That lasted through December of 2013, when he fell ill again. But Cohen refused to be bound by his health and set out to record what would be the final two albums of his lifetime, 2014’s Popular Problems, and this year’s You Want it Darker, recorded in his home with him in a wheelchair and singing many of the sessions in physical pain. That album was released just two weeks before his death, and served as a profound self-eulogy in much the same way as David Bowie‘s Lazarus. It has been reported, thankfully, that exluding his last album, his late-life career revival earned him around $10 million. Leonard Cohen was 82 when he passed away on November 7, 2016.
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Posted in Folk, Musician, Pop, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Johnny Cash, Justin Timberlake, k.d. lang, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, R.E.M., Tori Amos, Willie Nelson | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on May 17, 2016
November 6, 1941 – May 17, 2016
Guy Clark was the true embodiment of a “songwriter’s songwriter.” Born in Texas, Clark’s name is rarely excluded when conversations turn to the greats from that state. Alongside contemporaries like Townes Van Zandt and Jerry Jeff Walker, Clark laid down the foundation for what is now simply called Texas Music or Texas Country. His lyrics, served over mostly sparse blues folk instrumentation, tended to come as close to being called literature as songs could get. As a performer – and most of the time armed with little more than his acoustic guitar or maybe a second and a fiddle, Clark could leave an audience holding its collective breath in anticipation of the next word coming from his mouth – and many times, that was during his talk leading up to the song. He eventually settled in Nashville where he and his wife, Susanna Clark, often welcomed local songwriters into their home where they could work on perfecting their craft in informal workshops. This open houses often hosted the likes of Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and Steve Young. Clark’s songs have been hits for such country luminaries as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, and Rodney Crowell. For his own recordings, Clark garnered numerous accolades, including a Best Folk Album Grammy for his 2014 release, My Favorite Picture of You. On May 17, 2016, Guy Clark died following a courageous battle against cancer. He was 74.
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Posted in Americana, Country, Folk, Musician, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: Alan Jackson, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Steve Young, Susanna Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson | Leave a Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on August 13, 2013
September 3, 1933 – August 13, 2013
Tompall Glaser was one of the original so-called “outlaws” of country music. Alongside the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Billy Joe Shaver, Glaser put Nashville on watch by working, living, and playing outside the mainstream country music rules of the ’70s. Born in Spalding, Nebraska, Glaser initially moved to Nashville with his brothers to sing back up for Marty Robbins. The brothers were also making their own records before Tompall went off on his own. Over the course of his solo career, he released around a dozen albums that included hit country singles like “Put Another Log On The Fire” and “It’ll Be Her.” Perhaps his most famous song however, “Streets Of Baltimore,” found its glory thanks to being covered by the likes of Gram Parsons, Bobby Bare, the Statler Brothers, Charley Pride, and Norah Jones‘ country group, the Little Willies. Meanwhile, Glaser and his brothers opened Glaser Brothers Sound Studio, or as it was affectionately known around town, Hillbilly Central. The compound quickly established itself as the fostering ground for the “outlaw” movement. As it took hold, even RCA Records had to react by releasing Wanted! The Outlaws, a compilation of previously released tracks by Glaser, Nelson, Jennings, and Jessie Colter. Glaser’s contribution, “T For Texas,” reached #36 on the Country Singles charts and is considered one of the milestones of the era. The album itself, released in 1976, became the first Country album to sell over 1 million copies as it reached #1 on the Country Album charts and #10 on the Pop Album charts. Glaser continued to record with his brothers until 1982 and released one last solo album in 1986 before selling the studio and retiring from the music business altogether. Tompall Glaser died following a long undisclosed illness on August 13, 2013. He was 79.
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Posted in Americana, Country, Musician, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: Bobby Bare, Charley Pride, Gram Parsons, Jessie Colter, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Norah Jones, The Little Willies, The Statler Brothers, Tompall Glaser, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson | 1 Comment »
Posted by themusicsover on August 8, 2013
April 5, 1931 – August 8, 2013
Photo by Dan Loftin
Cowboy Jack Clement was a successful record producer, songwriter and session player who worked with a wide range of artists over a career that spanned 60 years. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Clement was still in his teens when he first picked up the guitar. After serving in the Marines during the late ’40s/early ’50s, he co-founded his first band, a bluegrass outfit named Buzz and Jack & the Bayou Boys. In 1954, he went to work at Sun Studios where he worked on early recordings by the likes of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins. As his career continued, Clement produced such iconic records as Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” George Jones‘ “She Still Thinks I Care,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” for Jerry Lee Lewis who he is credited for having discovered. As a songwriter, Clement penned tunes that have been recorded by the likes of Cash, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Tom Jones. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 1973. He is also a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Music City Walk of Fame. In April of 2013, it was announced that the Country Music Hall of Fame would include him in their class of 2013. In 1987, U2 hired Clement to produce tracks for their Rattle and Hum album at Sun Studios. He worked on “When Love Comes To Town” “Love Rescue Me,” and “Angel Of Harlem.” Parts of the sessions can be seen in the Rattle and Hum film. In recent years, Clement could be heard during his weekly radio program on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel. Cowboy Jack Clement was 82 when he passed away in his home. Cause of death was not immediately released.
Posted in Country, Musician, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: Buzz and Jack & the Bayou Boys, Carl Perkins, Cowboy Jack Clement, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Tom Jones, U2 | 5 Comments »
Posted by themusicsover on March 27, 2013
DOB Unknown – March 27, 2013
Gordon Stoker is best remembered as a member of Elvis Presley‘s backing vocalists, the Jordanaires. He also acted as their manager. Just 15 when he became a professional musician, Stoker eventually played piano on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry radio program. In 1949, he was picked up by the Jordanaires Gospel group to play piano. Within two years, he was singing tenor in the group. In 1956, Presley invited them to be his back up singers both live and on record. Stoker can be heard on such records as “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You,” “I Got A Woman,” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” The group continued on – with Stoker remaining until the time of his death – after Presley passed away in 1977. The list of other artists that were backed by the Jordanaires on record includes Ricky Nelson, Johnny Cash, Ringo Starr, Patsy Cline, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Ween, and Kristen Chenoweth. Gordon Stoker was 88 when he passed away on March 27, 2013. Cause of death was not immediately released.
Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.
Posted in Early Rock, Gospel, Musician, Singer | Tagged: Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, George Jones, Gordon Stoker, Johnny Cash, Kristin Chenoweth, Patsy Cline, Ricky Nelson, Ringo Starr, Ween | Leave a Comment »