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News and Notes

Radio Preview: Wanda Jackson, Connie Smith & More

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By Mountain Stage
 · November 1, 2012

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Josh Saul
Bob Thompson takes the stage in Bristol.

This week’s premier broadcast of Mountain Stage was recorded just a few weeks ago at the Paramount Theater in Bristol TN / VA, in partnership with our good friends at the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance.

You’ll hear from Wanda Jackson, Connie Smith, JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge and Larry Cordle. Click here to see a list of times and stations where you can listen. And preview this week’s show via our Mountain Stage Song of the Week. This week, it’s Kentucky-born singer-songwriter Larry Cordle, with “Hello, My Name is Coal.”


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Brian Blauser
Wanda Jackson performs live on Mountain Stage

The undisputed queen of rockabilly, Wanda Jackson has successfully rejuvenated her career numerous times over the years. When she was 15, Jackson won a local talent contest in Oklahoma City which led to a regular radio show - and being discovered by country singer Hank Thompson.

After charting a hit with Thompson’s band, she signed to Capitol Records in the mid-‘50s and stayed with the label for nearly two decades, charting both country and rockabilly songs. Jackson returned to the studio in 2010 with Jack White-produced The Party Ain’t Over,” a nod to her 1958 hit “Let’s Have a Party.” Her latest release, “Unfinished Business,” is Jackson’s 31st studio release and marks the producing debut of singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle.


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Brian Blauser
Connie Smith performs live on Mountain Stage

Dolly Parton once said, "There’s really only three female singers in the world: Streisand, Ronstadt and Connie Smith. The rest of us are just pretending." In June of 1964, Connie Smith, who was raised near Hinton, WV, with 13 siblings, was signed to RCA Records by Chet Atkins.

Her first recording session yielded the No. 1 hit "Once a Day." The song was the biggest country record in 1964 and earned Smith the honor of being named Billboard’s "Most Promising Female Singer of 1964." Over the next decade, Smith charted 10 Top 5 singles, nine Top 10 entries and 27 other chart hits. Married to country star Marty Stuart, Smith put her career on hold for several years to concentrate on raising a family. Her new album, “Long Line of Heartaches,” is her 53rd release to date, her first since 1996 and only her second since 1978.

JD McPerson, Backstage at Mountain Stage

Coming off a string of sold-out west coast shows and his national television debut on “Conan,” Oklahoma-based retro-revivalist JD McPherson is riding a wave that includes a four star review from Britain’s “Mojo” magazine for his debut, “Signs and Signifiers,” and hitting No. 1 on the Americana Radio chart.

Hailing from Broken Arrow, OK, the visual artist dove head-first into old school R&B and self-directed a video of the single, “North Side Gal,” which has racked up more than 625,000 views. McPherson has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and KCRW’s “Today’s Top Tune.”


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Brian Blauser
Larry Cordle, live on mountain Stage

Larry Cordle was born and raised on a small family farm in eastern Kentucky, not far from his childhood friend and neighbor, musical prodigy Ricky Skaggs. Upon hearing Larry’s song, “Highway 40 Blues,” Skaggs promised that he would one day record it. In the summer of 1983, it was the number one song in the nation, helping to launch Larry’s songwriting career and skyrocketing Skaggs’ already solid country music career.

At last count, Cordle’s songs have appeared on projects that have sold a combined total of more than 55 million records, by artists such as Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins and many others. His latest album is Pud Marcum's Hangin'.


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Brian Blauser
Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three, live on Mountain Stage

From St. Louis, Missouri, Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three's creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing rings true and fine, making them among the most innovative of all the purists performing American roots music today. A lot of performers are content to play old material, reworking the tunes to give them new life or to stamp them with personal style. But this group, led by guitar-plucking troubadour Pokey LaFarge, achieves timelessness with original songs while honoring the legendary artists of yesterday through covered tunes.

Accompanied by The South City Three, Pokey uses his booming voice as an instrument with an incredible range; one moment he shouts a line and the next he croons above his parlor guitar. In 2009, Pokey began working with The South City Three, a trio made up of fellow St. Louis musicians Joey Glynn, Adam Hoskins and Ryan Koenig.

Thanks again for listening to Mountain Stage. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for the latest news, backstage photos, and stories.


Pokey LaFarge rocked the show right outta the gate! I hope to hear the band on future Mtn Stage shows. Great talent and tight band.
Posted by: Joe H at 11/4/2012 9:05 PM


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