Ken Burns Country Music History



  • Anybody watching it? It's epic and fascinating so far. However, it looks like there is no such thing as a trumpet player in a traditional country band. All twang and dang and yeehaw. A guess trumpets are city instruments. However, Wynton Marsalis does make a comment or two about the relationship to the blues and the black music influence. And no doubt the recent era Nashville sound includes an orchestra sound. Anybody think of a "country artist" trumpet player?



  • Danny Davis

    I've been watching the series and I don't think it's progressed, chronologically enough to include horns. Also, Bob Wills was mentioned but I don't recall much emphasis on horn groups or Western Swing.



  • @Kehaulani I forgot about Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass. Wonder if he will get a mention?



  • @Niner said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    All twang and dang and yeehaw. A guess trumpets are city instruments.


    Twang, Dang and Yeehaw? Oh, so you think you know it all about country music, don’t you? And horns? Yeah, that some jazzy, R&B garbage that has no place in By God country music dammit. And don’t get you started about Sturgill Simpson and his latest record.
    But the truth of the matter is horns have been in country music nearly from the beginning. Any of you ever heard of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys? How about any of the other Western Swinging cowboys that carried horn sections around with them in old touring cars with the tuba strapped to the top, playing honky tonks and dance halls from Tallahassee to California? Forget about Lyle Lovett’s Large Band. Or how about just look at the house band of Dale Watson’s recent Ameripolitan Awards in Austin, TX—a bastion for the die-hard and tightly-defined traditional country crowd. And yep, there was a horn section.
    Let’s face it though, Western Swing is only one small facet of country music, and what the hell does “Ameripolitan” mean anyway? And who is going to trust Lyle Lovett as some country music authority with that hair? Horns don’t really have any place in country music, do they? Well try to tell that to the apostles of Don Markham.
    Unless you’re a serious country music fan, and a fan of Merle Haggard specifically, you may not recognize the name. Even if you are a Haggard fan, it still may fly over your head, and that’s okay. Don Markham was never much for making a fuss about his role in country music, even though he played an important one, and one that was integral to keeping one of the most important traditions of country music alive—that being the inclusion of the occasional horn solo to keep the spirit of Western Swing in the music.
    https://www.savingcountrymusic.com/think-horns-dont-belong-in-country-then-you-dont-know-don-markham/



  • @Niner said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass


    Hey! I got to play with those guys when they were in Clarksburg, WV



  • @Niner said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    Anybody think of a "country artist" trumpet player?


    I play bluegrass on the Bb trumpet



  • Uh, I think I mentioned both Bob Wills as well as Western Swing.

    Regarding much of the other music, I don't think the series has gotten too many of those bands yet. Of course, maybe things have just taken longer to reach Texans. It's a little laid back, there.

    My impression is that, although horns were definitely used by musicians who played Country Music, horns were not a defining part of real Country Music yet. The core instrumentation of early C&W were strings.

    BTW, wind instruments were not city instruments. Great and long legacy of winds used everyplace in America.



  • @Kehaulani said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    Of course, maybe things have just taken longer to reach Texans. It's a little laid back, there.


    Might want to steer clear of Texas for a while. They're not so laid back and can be down right loyal to a fault about their state.



  • "Can anyone think of a "country artist" trumpet player?
    @Niner Which country?? 😀



  • @Bay-Area-Brass The one where everyone sings in a stylized accent apparent only when they sing and the men all wear cowboy hats when they go on stage.



  • @Bay-Area-Brass said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    "Can anyone think of a "country artist" trumpet player?


    Danny Davis stands out but trumpet (and other wind instruments) have been part of the ever changing country music scene for a very long time. There's Wayne Jackson of The Memphis Horns, Toby Keith has used a three piece horn section for a long time, Thomas Rhett has Frank Houston, Jake Owens did a remake of Ring of Fire, Josh Abbott Band used Grooveline Horns and Lady Antebellum used horns on the song You Look Good. One of the best (or at least my favorite for now) is Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards doing Drink You Away. Every ass was out of their seat when the song was playing. It was just that good! From Jewel to Alabama was standing and without horns, it would not have been as good. As far as artists, even Sonny Rollins cut a country album, Way Out West.



  • @Dr-Mark said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    @Bay-Area-Brass said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    "Can anyone think of a "country artist" trumpet player?


    Danny Davis stands out but trumpet (and other wind instruments) have been part of the ever changing country music scene for a very long time. There's Wayne Jackson of The Memphis Horns, Toby Keith has used a three piece horn section for a long time, Thomas Rhett has Frank Houston, Jake Owens did a remake of Ring of Fire, Josh Abbott Band used Grooveline Horns and Lady Antebellum used horns on the song You Look Good. One of the best (or at least my favorite for now) is Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards doing Drink You Away. Every ass was out of their seat when the song was playing. It was just that good! From Jewel to Alabama was standing and without horns, it would not have been as good. As far as artists, even Sonny Rollins cut a country album, Way Out West.

    Good information but let's not get side-tracked. The original criticism seemed to me to point out that these players hadn't been noted, but the historical progression of the music hadn't yet gotten to that point in the series, had it?



  • Hi Kehaulani,
    You're right, the series hasn't gotten to that point yet but for decades wind instruments have been part of the ever changing thing called country music.



  • Another point is that at least for most players, I suspect, is that they were not necessarily glued onto one style of music. Both my grandfathers were amateur musicians (the old days), and they played folk, old time, pop, country swing, light classics and legit solo material, you name it. And not just my grandfathers but most of their siblings, as well. Also, they played more than one instrument. I suspect this reflects the norm vs. the specification as implied in the series.



  • @Dr-Mark said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    @Niner said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    All twang and dang and yeehaw. A guess trumpets are city instruments.


    Twang, Dang and Yeehaw? Oh, so you think you know it all about country music, don’t you? And horns? Yeah, that some jazzy, R&B garbage that has no place in By God country music dammit. And don’t get you started about Sturgill Simpson and his latest record.
    But the truth of the matter is horns have been in country music nearly from the beginning. Any of you ever heard of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys? How about any of the other Western Swinging cowboys that carried horn sections around with them in old touring cars with the tuba strapped to the top, playing honky tonks and dance halls from Tallahassee to California? Forget about Lyle Lovett’s Large Band. Or how about just look at the house band of Dale Watson’s recent Ameripolitan Awards in Austin, TX—a bastion for the die-hard and tightly-defined traditional country crowd. And yep, there was a horn section.
    Let’s face it though, Western Swing is only one small facet of country music, and what the hell does “Ameripolitan” mean anyway? And who is going to trust Lyle Lovett as some country music authority with that hair? Horns don’t really have any place in country music, do they? Well try to tell that to the apostles of Don Markham.
    Unless you’re a serious country music fan, and a fan of Merle Haggard specifically, you may not recognize the name. Even if you are a Haggard fan, it still may fly over your head, and that’s okay. Don Markham was never much for making a fuss about his role in country music, even though he played an important one, and one that was integral to keeping one of the most important traditions of country music alive—that being the inclusion of the occasional horn solo to keep the spirit of Western Swing in the music.
    https://www.savingcountrymusic.com/think-horns-dont-belong-in-country-then-you-dont-know-don-markham/

    I feel some passion there, DR. Mark!
    I have a friend who is a steel guitar player and has played alongside some pretty famous country stars. He can tell some riveting stuff. He is legit, too. He’s more or less retired now, but he could easily play a 6 string guitar that would rival and exceed many who claim to "play" guitar. He is not a fan of the new stuff coming down the pike now, to be sure.



  • @BigDub said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    I feel some passion there, DR. Mark!
    I have a friend who is a steel guitar player and has played alongside some pretty famous country stars. He can tell some riveting stuff. He is legit, too. He’s more or less retired now, but he could easily play a 6 string guitar that would rival and exceed many who claim to "play" guitar. He is not a fan of the new stuff coming down the pike now, to be sure.


    Your friend's statement makes me sad for him.
    First of all, from my ears, it can't get any better than country music but then again, I can say the same thing about jazz, classical, pop, etc..
    This brings me to an important point. Why does music exist? I'm speaking not as a performer and the rewards I receive from that activity but music in general. The stuff we hear on the radio or Internet. It won't do my taxes, it won't get me out of jail, it won't feed me, it won't fix me up with a really hot Ukrainian, so what the heck is it good for? Of course its opinion but this small personal story I feel is not far off the truth.
    When I was young(er) I didn't care for Armstrong because I thought it was simple and minstrel like. Later in life (but still a pup) I didn't like Miles because I could play every note he could and I had the trumpeter's magical bullet in my pocket! A double high C! I thought a lot of styles and musicians were beneath me because I practiced my hind parts off and I "earned" the position of a musical snoot. In my 30's 40's I don't know if it was a blow to the head or someone slipped something in my drink but I experienced a total change in my way of thinking about music. Music (regardless of style) exists for one reason. To communicate something to me. It can be a sad dirge or a peppy medieval dance like a gigue but it's trying to say something to me. When I hear people say "I hate country music" or "I can't stand the new country" or any kind of music I say to myself, "If millions of people are enjoying this song or style, why don't I get it? Why am I denied the joy?" The bottom line is "If I don't like it, that means, I don't understand it, not that I'm somehow above it" If I don't get it then shame on me for not trying to understand. Its our job to listen and squeeze the pleasure and joy from the sound regardless of genre and not to think of ourselves as above it because we're degreed or just happened to have played with a famous person or two.
    Music = Joy!



  • @Dr-Mark So what do you think about Rap? What's Rap telling you?



  • MUSIC = JOY !

    A thousand times yes. I can't imagine what life would be like without it.



  • Music touches our hearts. That simple. And, surprisingly to me, there are those for whom that doesn't apply.

    Sophistication? A Mahler symphony is surely more sophisticated than a simple Appalachian folk song. It takes a great deal more sophistication, if not patience, to get through a Mahler symphony than a folk song.

    But we should not confuse sophistication with quality. Shelby Flint's, The Ash Grove is a pure and beautiful song accompanied by only guitar. It touches the heart. How can it be more qualitative than a complex symphony?

    We shouldn't confuse complexity and a masterly grasp of compositional techniques with quality.

    Now, getting down to personal likes, that is very subjective, based on one's background, personal tastes, etc. I personally like, among others, advanced avant guarde music. My background gives me the tools to comprehend and get pleasure out of it. But my mother told me that my favourite song as a child, one that would compel me to go running to the radio, was Hank Thompson's Little Red Wagon. Different strokes and so forth. . .



  • @Dr-Mark said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    @BigDub said in Ken Burns Country Music History:

    I feel some passion there, DR. Mark!
    I have a friend who is a steel guitar player and has played alongside some pretty famous country stars. He can tell some riveting stuff. He is legit, too. He’s more or less retired now, but he could easily play a 6 string guitar that would rival and exceed many who claim to "play" guitar. He is not a fan of the new stuff coming down the pike now, to be sure.


    Your friend's statement makes me sad for him.
    First of all, from my ears, it can't get any better than country music but then again, I can say the same thing about jazz, classical, pop, etc..
    This brings me to an important point. Why does music exist? I'm speaking not as a performer and the rewards I receive from that activity but music in general. The stuff we hear on the radio or Internet. It won't do my taxes, it won't get me out of jail, it won't feed me, it won't fix me up with a really hot Ukrainian, so what the heck is it good for? Of course its opinion but this small personal story I feel is not far off the truth.
    When I was young(er) I didn't care for Armstrong because I thought it was simple and minstrel like. Later in life (but still a pup) I didn't like Miles because I could play every note he could and I had the trumpeter's magical bullet in my pocket! A double high C! I thought a lot of styles and musicians were beneath me because I practiced my hind parts off and I "earned" the position of a musical snoot. In my 30's 40's I don't know if it was a blow to the head or someone slipped something in my drink but I experienced a total change in my way of thinking about music. Music (regardless of style) exists for one reason. To communicate something to me. It can be a sad dirge or a peppy medieval dance like a gigue but it's trying to say something to me. When I hear people say "I hate country music" or "I can't stand the new country" or any kind of music I say to myself, "If millions of people are enjoying this song or style, why don't I get it? Why am I denied the joy?" The bottom line is "If I don't like it, that means, I don't understand it, not that I'm somehow above it" If I don't get it then shame on me for not trying to understand. Its our job to listen and squeeze the pleasure and joy from the sound regardless of genre and not to think of ourselves as above it because we're degreed or just happened to have played with a famous person or two.
    Music = Joy!

    Clarify please: if you don’t like a certain kind of music that means you don’t understand it?
    Does that apply to other things?
    At this time I would have to respectfully disagree.
    I understand rap. Enuf said.


Log in to reply