Check out my buddy Terry’s latest youtube posting of his song “We Don’t.”
Colt Ford interview will be linked soon once it is up at CMP.
Here’s the text of my other interview with George Hamilton IV, including an introduction he gave before playing “Life’s Railway to Heaven.”
GH: “I remember on the porch, sittin’ on my granddaddy’s knee listening to the Opry – Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow the Singin’ Ranger, I was just a little kid and he opened up a whole world of dreams for me, you know, sittin on his knee I listened to these people and I thought gee I’d like to do that you know I’d like to someday be a singer and sing on the ‘Grand Ole Uproar.’ But one night he told me he said ‘you know son I’m a mountain man and I’m a railroad man, and I know about them things.’ He said ‘life is just like a mountain railroad,’ and I said what dyou mean granddaddy? And he said ‘well sometimes you up on the mountaintop where the sun’s shining and the sky’s blue and all of a sudden you go down way down in the deep dark holler where it’s scary and lonesome’ he said, ‘life’s like that ups and downs and twists and turns.’ He said ‘if you aint careful you might get sidetracked son,’ he said, ‘stay off the sidetrack stay on the main line.’
Country Chorus: So how long are you in Canada for?
George Hamilton IV: This particular trip eight days. I started on Thursday night and played Thursday Friday and Saturday, and now here today and I’ll be here ‘til next Friday morning. I’m doing some churches for a few days in the Barrie area. Then I head back to Nashville next Friday and then I’m scheduled for the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday.
CC: Nowadays as you were saying in the concert, country music is heading in a bit of a different direction, with a lot of it having more of a pop and rock n’ roll sound. Who do you feel nowadays you really enjoy listening to and you feel like embodies country music for you. Maybe a few of your friends or people you hear?
GH: I’m encouraged by the number of young people coming along who know where we came from. There’s a lot of young musicians, especially in bluegrass music, a lot of young players that know the history and the traditions of country music and really care about it. I’m thinking of people like Allison Krauss, and Rhonda Vincent, we’ve got some new young people on the Grand Ole Opry that are keepin’ the traditions alive. Being an older guy naturally I care about that, because I’d hate to see it all kind of get homogenized to where it becomes somethin’ else you know. I like a lot of the country rock that I hear today. The radio stations mainly play the music that appeals to the young people ‘cause the radio stations are wantin’ to get a young audience. But at the same time as all that is happening there seems to be a resurgence of young musicians and singers who are interested in traditional country or kinda roots music.
CC: I noticed that when I was in Nashville a couple of years ago. There was a bluegrass movement. And we’ve seen some major stars last few years who’ve brought back the steel in a really big way.
GH: It seems to go in cycles you know, and just when it’s like it’s all going off into country rock all of a sudden along comes Allison Krauss, or somebody who plays a more traditional sound. But there’s something there for everybody. Country music is like rainbow music there’s so many different shades and colors to it most anybody can find something there that they like.
CC: My other question is when you started out as a musician what were some things that inspired you in your songwriting?
GH: The songs that I do, I’m not really much of a writer. I’ve written a few. But I try to very carefully pick out good songs. Songs that have stories. And that’s why I got so interested in Gordon Lightfoot because his songs were so powerful the lyrics, the stories they tell. I like story songs. And so I just tried to make an effort through the years to record the finest songs I could find, and a lot of them have been Canadian through the years. We did a lot of them tonight. Got a special place in my heart for Canada and especially the singer songwriters.
CC: What does country music mean to you?
GH: Well country music is music from the heart. I think it’s a form of folk music. To me it is folk music. The music of the folks. The music of the people. And it tells of the joys and sorrows and heartaches and happiness of regular people, working-class people. It’s working class music about regular folks and the way their lives turn out. So I think it’s in the folk tradition. And that why I like the Canadian writers so much because they have a strong folk feel to their music. And the Canadian country songs that I love the most are the ones that tell stories. And Gordon Lightfoot to me is the master at that. Think of songs like “If You Could Read My Mind,” “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” They really say something. They tell a story.