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Cowboys In Cybersp@ce - December 2000

"Yule Log On"

Merle Haggard CD cover Christmas is upon us once again. Perhaps you'll be cyber-shopping this year, or at least checking out your potential purchases before you part with your hard-earned cash. I've been on-line, looking at some of the recent album releases. The new Merle Haggard CD 'If I Could Only Fly' prompted me to re-visit which now carries the legend 'created and designed by Merle and Theresa Haggard'. The focus there is definitely on Merle's great new recording - an album that consolidates his position as one of THE major artists in Country Music. In fact, from track to track, as Merle shifts effortlessly from ballad to honky-tonk to Western Swing, you can almost hear the history of CM revealed in all its glory. At his Web site, being a humble Hag, he doesn't blow his own trumpet, but you can follow the links and read what other people have written about him. If you want to hear the man himself, there is an interview with the down-to-earth Merle on-line at the 'Saturday Night Country' Web site.

Keith Whitley, another of Country Music's finest vocalists, never got to create a vast catalogue of material like Haggard. Whitley's career was cut short in 1989. His music lives on though, and in the case of the new release ' Sad Songs and Waltzes', it even finds a new life. The recordings come from a J.D. Crowe and the New South album 'Somewhere Between' on which Whitley was the vocalist, and four 1983 demos that landed him his record deal with RCA. With the help of a dedicated team of Nashville's best session players that included Hargus 'Pig' Robbins, Diamond Rio's Gene Johnson and Alison Krauss, producer J.D. Crowe has re-recorded the music to showcase Whitley's voice. Read more about it on the Web, and visit Lorrie Morgan's site to see a tribute to her late husband in happier times.

Pixie Jenkins was one of the first Australian entertainers to make use of the World Wide Web. He's still breaking new ground. This time it's by teaming his fiddle and the tunes of John Williamson with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. 'True Blue Classics' is a simply stunning album, and you can check out all of Pixie's work his Web site. Look for the excellent illustrated biography of his career, including baby photos. I, for one, will be very surprised if Pixie doesn't take home the Gold in January.

Speaking of baby photos, the Kenny Chesney biography page has not only the obligatory cubby-cheeks shot, but also the dorky teenage portrait. I wonder if the girls at his high school knew he'd grow up to be a chart-topping Country hunk? Kenny's Greatest Hits Album debuted at number 1 on the U.S. Album Chart for the first week of sales. If you haven't seen the video for his hit 'She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy', check it out on the Web.

Donella Plane has come a long way since 1998 when she entered Tamworth the way many do, and that was in the main street - Peel Street, Tamworth. Going from strength to strength, this year has been huge for Donella, who had a radio hit with title track of her album 'Remember the Dance'. Check out her colourful and lively Web site.

These days, the novelty of flashy Web sites begins to grow thin when balanced against long download times. Some animated art never fails to bring a smile to my face though. In this case it's the guitar amplifier design of Kieran Kane and GrooveTone's Web site where the volume knobs rotate to 'eleven' when you point at them with your mouse (must be borrowed from Spinal Tap). Kane's fourth solo disc, 'The Blue Chair', will be welcomed by anyone who saw his Australian shows with Kevin Welch. Kane wrote the majority of the songs on 'The Blue Chair', and one of them is co-written with Welch and Alison Moorer who provide the back up vocals for that track. Kieran also delivers a subtle version of the song he wrote for Alan Jackson, 'I'll Go On Loving You'. There are two songs he didn't write, one by another (very) recent visitor Jesse Winchester, and the other by Van Morrison.

You Win Again CD cover Earlier this year in Cowboys In Cybersp@ce, I explored the roots of Country Music that were found in the album 'The Skiffle Sessions' by Van Morrison, in which he returned to the music of his teenage years. With this new release, in partnership with Linda Gail Lewis, there is no need to dig that deep to find the Country. It's right in the forefront. On their album 'You Win Again', Van the Man and the sister of piano-pumping Jerry Lee, go rollicking through more Hank Williams classics such as 'Jambalaya' and 'Why Don't You Love Me', plus other timeless Country songs like 'Crazy Arms'. Recorded in a spontaneous fashion that reminded Linda Gail Lewis of "…the first time I heard my brother's records. It's got the same magic those old Sun recordings had." In fact there is no mistaking her piano style that comes from the same source as Jerry Lee, and their cousins Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart. Visit the Van Morrison Web site to read an interview where Linda discusses the making of the album, and then visit the 'Rockabilly Hall Of Fame' site to read about her wild family life! My advice; listen to this album and hear two people truly enjoying themselves!

Finally, the linedance version of the Prisoner theme song by Australian duo FG2H (Frankie Goes To Holloway) now has its very own dance, called appropriately enough 'On The Inside'. Lorraine Deering of the L.D. LineDancers choreographed the brand new dance, and if you want to know which Boot to Scoot and when, check out the instructions at the FG2H Web page.

Merry Christmas to all you cyber-Cowboys and cyber-Cowgirls, and may Santa bring you a fast connection and unlimited downloads!

4AAA-FM logo Don't forget to listen out for Cowboys in Cybersp@ce each month on the radio waves with Belinda Miller of Murri Country, 4AAA–FM (98.9 in Brisbane).
If you want to share the location of an interesting site you’ve seen or request a topic for discussion in future columns, why not E-mail me. Until next month, happy surfing.


link to free music

Click Here for a FREE download of my TIARA 2001 Awards Finalist track - She Loves My Banjo.
(Also available to Australian Country Radio and Media on NfS 58).



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