THIS DAY IN COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY
Lorrie Morgan born in Nashville, Tenn. (1959)
Gene Autry recorded the No. 1 single "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1949)
Ray Price's No. 1 single "For the Good Times" charted (1970)
Hank Snow recorded the No. 1 single "I've Been Everywhere" (1962)
OF MUSIC AND MORE
DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOUR ON SECOND LEG
Kentucky lived up to its nickname as the Bluegrass State as the Down from the Mountain tour launched its second leg in Louisville on Tuesday.
Inspired by music from the film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" the tour includes many of the soundtrack's contributors, among them Alison Krauss and Union Station, Emmylou Harris and Ralph Stanley. Though not featured on the soundtrack, Patty Loveless and Ricky Skaggs also are part of the second leg of the tour.
Taking the stage just before the end of the first act, Skaggs shouted back to the home state crowd, "I know where I am tonight!"
The three-hour concert's brisk proceedings might remind longtime country fans --- and there were many in the audience, sitting with children and grandchildren --- of the early days of bluegrass and country music when artists traveled in package tours. In that tradition, it's worth noting that Krauss, Harris, Stanley, Loveless and Skaggs are all members of the Grand Ole Opry.
While latecomers struggled to find their assigned folding chairs in the dark gymnasium known as Freedom Hall, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Norman Blake (stepping in for the late John Hartford on "Big Rock Candy Mountain") and Nancy Blake offered three familiar songs from the "O Brother" soundtrack.
If there is such a thing as star power in bluegrass, this show has it. Before her band's two songs, Krauss joked, "I ate so much fried chicken I can hardly catch my breath!"
Dan Tyminski replied, "You're gonna start clucking."
To which Krauss retorted, "Or something else!"
Tyminski remained onstage for "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow," performing the song with two members of the Nashville Bluegrass Band, who served as his Soggy Bottom Boys. That big song out of the way, the show nevertheless refused to slow down. Harris revived Loretta Lynn's "Blue Kentucky Girl," noting that the tour reminded her of "bluegrass summer camp." Blues singer Chris Thomas King and the Del McCoury Band also performed brief sets before the intermission.
Rosanne Cash, the Cox Family, the Fairfield Four, the Flatlanders and the Peasall Sisters will join the tour for dates later in its circuit. Cash's ex-husband, Rodney Crowell, emcees the series, and Bob Neuwirth serves as musical director.
Ralph Stanley was clearly the star of the show. The audience leapt to its feet the instant the 75-year-old veteran --- now in his 56th year of touring -- appeared on stage and broke into his a cappella hit "O Death." Afterward Patty Loveless joined him, wrapped her arms around him and said, "This is the person I claim as the father of mountain soul." She then joined him in their bluegrass hit "Pretty Polly."
The show concluded with the cast reunited for the joyous "Angel Band" and the audience joining Stanley in a rendering of "Amazing Grace" in the old lining out style.
The Down From the Mountain tour concludes Aug. 21 in Birmingham, Ala.
YEARWOOD ASKS FANS TO PAINT "CORNERS"
Trisha Yearwood is enlisting the help of her fans to design a new concert T-shirt around her latest single, "I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners." The contest runs through July 15, but entries must be postmarked by July 13. The winning original design will be printed on an official tour shirt, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the American Lung Association. Complete rules are available on Yearwood's Web site (trishayearwood.com). "I Don't Paint Myself Into Corners," co-written by fellow MCA artist Rebecca Lynn Howard, is the third single from Yearwood's latest album, "Inside Out."