Cowboys in Cyberspace

Cowboys in Cyberspace
Australia’s award-winning Internet Country Music resource (Est. 1997)

July 2008 – OLD SKOOL, NEW LICKS

July 1st, 2008

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Cowboys In Cyberspace is just back from a week in Nashville, Tennessee, coinciding with the excitement of the 4-day CMA Music Festival, which the majority of people still refer to by its former name of Fan Fair. With an average daily attendance of 52,000 and temperatures hovering in the mid-to-high nineties, it was a hot time in Twang Town. You couldn’t walk down the main street with out tripping over Australians and Keith Urban made a surprise appearance at the Friday stadium show, performing a seven-song mini-concert, leaping from the stage to walk around LP Field and finally autographing and handing his guitar to an overwhelmed fan. Here’s hoping it wasn’t his Australian custom-made Tomkins guitar! I was in Nashville hosting nine Tomkins Guitars Showcases that featured Travis List, Sharnee Fenwick, Tracy Killeen, Sandra Humphries and Jetty Road, plus surprise guests that included Audrey Auld and Wayne Horsburgh. More than one young local guitar picker said to me, “…we love your playing…we dig those old skool guitar licks…” to which I replied, “…thanks, but they were new when I got ’em!”

Tomkins gang in Nashville 2008

Pictured above, some of the Tomkins Guitar gang at the Sheraton Hotel,
left to right: Bob Howe, Sharnee Fenwick, Paula Bowman (Jetty Road),
Tracy Killeen, Lee Bowman and Julian Sammut (Jetty Road),
Allan Tomkins, Sandra Humphries, Henry Czerwonka.

My highlight for the week, as a spectator, was Marty Stuart‘s Late Night Jam at the Ryman Auditorium – over four hours of non-stop musical magic from 10pm to nearly 2.30am – raising money for MusiCARES who provide a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need (much like our own Support Act Limited, Australia’s Music Industry Benevolent Fund). This was Marty’s seventh annual Late Night Jam and for the first time it was an official CMA Music Festival event. Guests included the legends (feisty Charlie Daniels, the gorgeous Connie Smith, former Johnny Cash drummer W.S. ‘Fluke’ Holland), contemporary stars (John Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Kathy Mattea), bluegrass bands, up-and-coming talent and much more. Songwriters featured strongly including surprise guest Mel Tillis who sang Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town and Kostas, who performed Ain’t That Lonely Yet and Blame It On Your Heart. The man who came close to stealing the show was veteran songwriter Dallas Frazier, who gave us not only If My Heart Had Windows and Elvira, but also the classic There Goes My Everything – as close to a perfect country song as you will ever hear.

Marty's Late Night Jam 2008

The next night I met two of the stars of the Late Night Jam – WSM and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs (pictured below, with me) who was broadcasting from the back of Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop and his special guest Miss Connie Smith. Eddie and Miss Connie were delighted to learn they had Australian fans listening to Marty’s show live via the internet. Eddie sure knows his stuff, having previously been a member of the Johnson Mountain Boys and playing fiddle for Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright. WSM Radio is still one of the best places to hear real country music. One of the best places to see and hear traditional country music downtown is Robert’s Western World, voted #1 Best Honky Tonk Club in The Nashville Scene. As their slogan says…Burgers, Boots and Beer!

Eddie Stubbs and Bob Howe at Ernest Tubb's Record Shop

 Bob talked to Barbara Morison on 2SER 107.3 FM about this month’s column and more…

Until next time, happy surfing!

Comments are closed.