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Cowboys In Cyberspace - September 2001

"WWW . . . What is it good for?"

As this column reaches its fourth birthday (!), we stand once again at the crossroads where Country Music and technology meet. Looking up, we can see the signposts that point the way to the future, and behind us the road that we came along to get here. CD coverLooking back down that road we can see, in the not too misty past, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and others, spearheading a revival of the spirit of Country Music and saving it from irretrievably falling into the clutches of 'pop' music. Many might argue that it needs rescuing once again, but I believe help is at hand. The recent success of the 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' and 'Songcatcher' soundtracks have done much to reawaken interest in the Appalachian roots of CM. Dolly Parton and Alison Krauss have rekindled awareness of Bluegrass, and now Patty Loveless has explored her Kentucky heritage on a stunning new album, 'Mountain Soul'. Dedicated to her mother and her father (who was a miner), 'Mountain Soul' captures the mood of an earlier time when life was hard, but faith was strong. In revisiting her own past, Loveless revives the soul of a precious music. If you get a chance to read her extended bio on the Web, you'll understand how personal this project is, and I doubt you'll be able to listen to her sing 'You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive' again without getting a chill in your bones. The CD also allows you to unlock some exclusive content at the Patty Loveless Web site. With the disc in your computer's CD-Rom drive, you can view the family album that makes up the album artwork, and watch a special video greeting from Patty, who tells you to come back soon for more exclusive goodies. (A technical note: Although the Web page lists the minimum specifications you need to view the content, it omits to say that you must have the Quick Time movie player software installed, which can be downloaded for free).

STOP PRESS: From the The Blue Chip Radio Report:- Sad news about the chicken on the album cover!

If you have ever doubted the quality of music previews on the Web, you would have had no complaints about the recent pre-release sample of 'Runaway Train', the latest single from Kasey Chambers. After downloading the free file (via MP3.com.au), the song played back gloriously through the Windows Media Player software, while at the same time you could choose to watch the lyrics fly into view, read Kasey's bio, tour dates, or look at some new photos. On the day the single was released, the preview period was over and the file became inactive, thus preserving the copyright use. You are now offered the option to purchase it.

Hank Williams poster
Cyber-Hank? Well hardly, but when the producers of Sydney's 'Canterbury Country' decided to devote their September 13th show to Hank Williams, they faced a dilemma. How do you coordinate over two-dozen singers and make sure that they all choose to perform a different song from the vast catalogue of Hank classics? Easy! First they sent out E-mail invitations to many of our top performers. Each performer was directed to a secret Web page where they could see who had already picked which song, and then they E-mailed back their own selection. Eventually the Web page was updated to the point where it was ready to go public, and the audience could get a good idea of the show that was in store for them! Kim Cheshire, Dwayne Elix, Keith Glass, Catherine Britt, Karen O'Shea, Craig Byrne, Brooke Leal, Mary Heard, Murray Hill, Sweeney~Killeen, Deniese Morrison, Merril Perera, yours truly and the Hillbilly Heaven band (with special guest fiddler, Wayne Goodwin) will all be there at the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club. There will still be a few surprises saved up for the night, including some exciting CD giveaways, courtesy of Universal Music!


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.

Don't forget to listen out for cyberBob each month on the radio waves with Belinda Miller of Murri Country, 4AAA (98.9 FM in Brisbane) and Barbara Morison on 2SER (107.3 FM in Sydney). Until next time, happy surfing.

LAST MONTHHOME COWBOYNEXT MONTH

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