Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Back to the Country 7/14 - Country Music Jingles

Howdy Friends, tomorrow is the 2nd Wednesday of the month which means I'll be back on WORT 89.9fm hosting Back to the Country. This week's theme is the Country Music Jingle--exploring 100+ years of country music and corporate sponsorship. I'll be playing 3 hours of rarely heard jingles by Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, the Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, George Jones, Johnny Horton, Merle Haggard, Bill Monroe, and whole bunch more including some Starday jingle demos never before broadcast and some rare Rex Trailer jingles, too!


For legal reasons I can't play any of the cigarette jingles I've uncovered, but I'm mighty grateful to the WORT legal team for allowing me to play all the other country music jingles about bread, beer, soda, bicycles, cars, hot dogs, guitars, soap, cereal, washing machines, jeans, paint, pesticide, and just about everything else under the sun.

Neither myself nor WORT are endorsing any of the products advertised during the show, but I believe these jingles have historic and educational value, not to mention the enormous earworm potentical, and I sure hope y'all dig 'em as much as I do. Tune in this Wednesday morning (tomorrow) from 9am-noon CST via 89.9fm, the WORT app, or streaming at www.wortfm.org



Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Back to the Country: This week's theme is Starday Custom Pressings

Howdy Friends. Tomorrow is the 2nd Wednesday of the month which means, I'm back on the air, baby! I'll be hosting Back to the Country again from 9am-noon CST and this time around I'll be playing and discussing my very favorite Starday Custom Pressings!

From 1954-1966, Starday Records ran a country-oriented vanity pressing service that released some really raucous rockabilly, boppin' country, drivin' bluegrass, wild western swing, and some of the earliest recordings of Willie Nelson, Link Wray, J.J. Cale, Lonnie Irving, The Lewis Family, and many more. I know I say it all the time, but these are REALLY my favorite records. Check it out in Southern Wisconsin via WORT 89.9 FM or streaming via wortfm.org



Photo of Willie Nelson and I discussing his Starday custom release at Summerfest 2019 in Milwaukee, credit Kevin Smith

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A Mosrite Special on Back to the Country 4-14-21

Howdy Friends, I'll be hosting Back to the Country tomorrow morning from 9-noon (CST) and this week's show is going to be a Mosrite Special!


Many folks today associate Mosrite guitars with the Ramones, Nirvana, Screeching Weasel, MC5, Davie Allen, and of course the Ventures, but Mosrite acitually got its start in the country music world. Tomorrow's show will explore the country music roots of Mosrite and will feature tunes by Joe and Rose Lee Maphis, the Buckaroos, Barbara Mandrell, and Buck Trent to name just a few.

I'll be spinning the very best of the Mosrite Records label as well as many of my favorite Mosrite pickers. Special treats include an unreleased guitar instrumental I recorded on my Joe Maphis model Mosrite with Tony Savarino, some super rare recordings by Mosrite luthier Semie Moseley, as well as a discussion about all things Mosrite with Mosrite expert and guitar archeologist Deke Dickerson!

I've been playing Mosrite guitars, collecting Mosrite Records, and researching the record label for nearly two decades and I can't wait to share some of this great music with you. You can tune in to tomorrow from 9am-noon (CST) via 89.9 FM in southern Wisconsin, stream it live at wortfm.org, or listen on the go via the brand new WORT app.



Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Bonus Edition of Back to the Country tomorrow (3/31/21)

Tomorrow morning from 9am-noon (CST) I'll be hosting a brand new episode of Back to the Country and talking about one of my very favorite things in the world--record collecting! I'll regale you with tales of how I first got into the hobby, how the practice has become a major part of my professional work at the University of Wisconsin, and all the while I'll be sharing with you my favorite 7", 10", 12", and even 16" record discoveries from 2021.




We're only three months into the new year but it's already been an outstanding trimester for records. I'm excited to share with y'all the cream of my recent acquisitions crop, both personally and for the Wisconsin Music Archives and Mills Music Library.
Tune in to 89.9FM in southern Wisconsin, stream it live at wortfm.org, or listen via the new WORT app.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Nate’s Sundance Film Festival 2021 Favorites and Review

Last month Rachel and I purchased a 2021 Sundance Film Festival Awards Pass so that we could watch all the category-winning films. The winners were announced last night, today Rachel and I took the day off from work to watch them, and I know you are all wondering which of these films you should try to see, so without further ado, here is my 2021 edition of NATE’S ANNUAL SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW, listed in order from favorite to least favorite.



1. Summer of Soul, (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) – THUMBS UP!

This “Black Woodstock” documentary is mind-blowing, evocative, timely, and super cool. Questlove blends unseen concert footage of Nina Simone, BB King, Sly and the Family Stone, the Staple Singers, and more from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival with contextual footage of the era to show that while fashion and popular music may change over time, racism and systemic oppression have always been in vogue. Winner of the prestigious “Nate’s Favorite Film of Sundance” award. Recommended!


2. Coda – THUMBS UP!

A great Boston/Massachusetts film about finding escape through music and also about how tough the fishing industry can be. Glee and ASL fans rejoice! Proves yet again that music is fun and fishing stinks! Recommended!


3. Luzzo – THUMBS UP!

Basically a Breaking Bad plot but set in Malta, condensed to a feature-length film, and with some colorful, old boats and social commentary on climate change and how tough the fishing industry can be. Proves yet again that crime pays and fishing stinks! Recommended!


4. Hive – THUMBS UP!

Turns out, “hive” can mean multiple things—a bee hive, for which the main character maintains, as well as a hive of women, in this case an empowered group of widows in a small Kosovo village who break social norms and go into business for themselves. It’s also shorthand for “high five,” which I would give to anyone who said they also liked this film. Recommended!


5. Flee – THUMBS UP!

Heartbreaking and tragic animated documentary about fleeing oppressive regimes in Afghanistan and Russia. Turns out, there are a lot of bad police (and people) out there, but this personal tale of escape and pride is also hopeful and inspiring. Recommended!


6. On the Count of Three – THUMBS UP!

Two friends who both want to kill themselves decide to live one final day. During the day they make some questionable decisions, the Fonz makes an appearance in a very unlikeable role, and the characters shed light on the nuances of suicidal tendencies. Near the end there is an OJ and AC-style police chase and something very dramatic happens. Recommended!


7. Cryptozoo – THUMBS DOWN!

Granted, I only watched the first twelve minutes of this “indescribable” animated film, but in that span a dude gets gored through the chest by a unicorn and his girlfriend repeatedly smashes the unicorn in the head with a rock until it dies. Not recommended!


Monday, January 11, 2021

Nate Gibson Explores Mercury-Starday Country Series on Back to the Country WORT 89.9FM

Howdy Friends, I'll be back on WORT 89.9FM this Wednesday morning (1/13/21 9:00am-noon CST) with a three-hour Back to the Country show all about the Mercury-Starday Country Series.

Though it only lasted one year, the 1957 merger brought Starday Records to Nashville, brought Margie Singleton and Shelby Singleton into the music business, released the first records by the Big Bopper and Roger Miller, unleashed some blistering rockabilly by Sleepy LaBeef and Curtis Gordon, scored chart hits by George Jones and Jimmie Skinner, and issued some stellar bluegrass by the Stanley Brothers, Bill Clifton, Carl Story, Jim Eanes and more.

In addition to all 52 singles and 5 LPs, I've got some interview snippets, advance acetates, rare live recordings from the era, and even a zany break-in 45 using these tunes. In between the musical interludes I'll regale you with tales of recording sessions, writing the Starday book, collecting the records, and more. I might even sing and dance for ya. Hopefully it'll be a nice break from this week's insanity... streaming at www.wortfm.org and available in the WORT Archive for two weeks after Wednesday morning's broadcast.



Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Exploring the Country & Western Columbia 7-inch LPs tomorrow on Back to the County 89.9FM

 Howdy Friends, Tomorrow is the second Wednesday of the month which means it is my turn once again to host Back to the Country on WORT 89.9 FM, Madison. Woot-woot! This week's show is all about some of the rarest post-war country music records--the 7-inch Columbia microgroove LP. These were the first singles pressed on vinyl instead of shellac (they pre-date RCA's 45 by a few months) and contain some of my very favorite bluegrass, western swing, southern gospel, honky-tonk, old-time, and cowboy tunes. Unfortunately, the 33 1/3 rpm 7-inch LP never really sold well and they were only made between January 1949 and February 1951 before Columbia decided to press just 78s and 45s. I've been hard at work this past month compiling and writing an annotated and lavishly illustrated discography about these fascinating experimental records, which is almost done (!), but in the meantime, allow me to play and sing for you some of my favorites! You can stream the show tomorrow from 9 AM-noon CST via wortfm.org or, if you're in southern Wisconsin, adjust your dial to 89.9 FM. Country Musically, Nate