NASHVILLE SKYLINE: Nobody Asked Me, But …

CMA Awards Show: Dance With Who Brung You

(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/ Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)

Nobody asked me, but …

• Am I the only one who thinks that it’s very unfortunate that Jamie Foxx and the Eagles will be on the CMA Awards show, but the three new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame will not be? Let me see, Vince Gill and Mel Tillis and Ralph Emery, as the newest members of the Hall of Fame, will not even be mentioned during the show, but Foxx and the Eagles get prominent screen time? Don’t get me wrong. I love the Eagles’ music and Foxx is a marvelous talent, but … Foxx and the Eagles did not build country music. Tillis, Gill and Emery were hugely important in the rise of country. I think there’s an important lesson here. As the wise University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal used to say, “Dance with who brung you.”

• For my money, the best country album of the year so far has to be Dirt Farmer by Levon Helm. The fact that he has returned from throat cancer is miracle enough, but that he sounds this good is reason for thanks. It used to be a cliché that you could hear America singing in someone’s voice, but with this album, Helm truly does accomplish that. The America he conjures up is the fast-vanishing America, the land of railroads and farms and factories and assembly lines. An honest, blue-collar America. Not the America of hedge funds and online gossip and job outsourcing and billion-dollar CEOs and gutless politicians and spineless journalists. Listen to America singing, for once.

• I think it’s a wonderful thing that occasionally Little Big Town remind me of both Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles in their finest musical moments. Nothing at all wrong with that.

• Robert Plant and Alison Krauss sound wonderful together on their CD Raising Sand. On such cuts as “Killing the Blues” and “Stick With Me Baby,” they sound like a classic duo from the ’50s who were somehow lost to history. And with “Your Long Journey,” they evoke the sound of a lovely duo from the ’30s, also now gone.

• Did you see those blips on so-called news sites claiming that Gretchen Wilson was issued an “in-flight citation” from American Airlines for either: (a) over-drinking on a flight, (b) refusing to return her dog to its under-seat cage, or (c) cursing? I would lean toward (c) there, although the point is this: Have you ever heard of an “in-flight citation”? Neither have I. As a rule of thumb, I never print anything unless I know what it is. I don’t know what an “in-flight citation” is, and I can’t find anyone at American Airlines who does either. So what about the credibility of all these “news sources” that rush to copy anything that TMZ posts?

• And did you see the headlines, including one in the The
newspaper, resulting from Time magazine’s “exclusive” this week about Merle Haggard telling Time that he has written a song about Hillary Clinton? “Has written” is the proper term here. Haggard wrote the song “Hillary” early this year. I wrote about it in my column of Apr. 26 and quoted from its lyrics:

If we don’t elect Hillary, then we’ll never know/She is the right lady, and her husband’s a pro/Eight years in the White House with the know-how we need/When you walk with a leader, you learn how to lead/And who kept her head high when it could have been down?/And who ran the show when the scandal hit town?/This country needs to be honest, changes need to be large/Something like a big switch of gender/Let’s put a woman in charge.

Nice to know that Time magazine is catching up with the times.