Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Fast forward many years and I'm pretty much doing the exact same thing, except that these days I collect country music records instead of baseball cards. I'm still constantly re-sorting and cataloging my collection, still memorizing all the statistics on the labels and in the deadwax, and I'm also always hunting for my favorite artists' Rookie Cards, or debut recordings.
Over the past 20 or so years I've found quite a few of them and tomorrow morning (11/10/2021) from 9-noon (CST) I'll be playing my very favorite Country Music Rookie Cards for ya on Back to the Country, WORT 89.9 FM (streaming via wortfm.org or via the WORT app). Hope you can join me!
Friday, November 5, 2021
Just a short while ago Archeophone Records released an amazing 2xCD set documenting the history of Chicago-based Wallin's Svenska Records and the early musical contributions of Swedish immigrants in the US: Swede Home Chicago, the Wallin's Svenska Records Story, 1923-27. I played a small role in the project by digitizing about half of the 28 known 78 rpm discs as well as digging out some of the rare discs and sleeves from the Mills Music Library and the Swedish American Museum in Chicago.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Tomorrow (10/13) I'll be hosting Back to the Country again on WORT 89.9 FM from 9am to noon and the theme this week will be the elusive and fantastic Starday Extended-Play (EP) Series.
Friday, October 1, 2021
It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that my friend Betty Amos passed away yesterday morning. Betty was an accomplished singer, hit songwriter, and just the second woman recorded playing three-finger Scruggs-style banjo. She was a member of the Carlisles in the early '50s and sang on many of their hit records like "Knot Hole," "Iz Zat You Myrtle?," "Rattlesnake Daddy" and others. She was a solo star on the Louisiana Hayride in the mid '50s and made it very clear to me that Elvis Presley was a guest on HER segment of the Hayride and not the other way around. In the early '60s she formed a trio with her sister Jean and best friend Judy Lee (and sometimes a quartet with Gloria Belle) and recorded several incredible bluegrass and fuzz-country sides for Starday Records.
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Tomorrow morning is the 2nd Wednesday of the month which means I’ll be back on WORT hosting Back to the Country from 9-noon CST. This week I’ll be taking an in-depth look into one of my very favorite record labels—EVENT RECORDS from Westbrook, ME. Operating from 1956-1961, Event captured some of the best bluegrass ever made by The Lilly Bros w/ Don Stover and Charlie Bailey, made some of the earliest (and best) recordings of Dick Curless and 15-year old guitar phenom Lenny Breau, and brilliantly documented a vibrant New England country music scene in the late ‘50s that included artists like Roy Aldridge, Hal Lone Pine, Betty Cody, Slim Coxx, Curtis Johnson, Harold Carter, Smokey Val, Clyde and Willie Joy, Gene Hooper, Jimmy Copeland, and many more.
Bear Family Records has released deep dives into the early music career of Event co-founder Al Hawkes (see: Allerton & Alton—Black, White & Bluegrass) and the extensive Event Records rockabilly catalog (see: That’ll Flat Git It Vol. 20), but Wednesday’s show will focus on the rich country music contributions of Event Records with many released and unreleased gems from the Event vaults.
Al was a dear friend of mine, a pioneer bluegrass musician, an electronics wizard, and a passionate country music collector and archivist. I’m mighty honored to present a show that focuses on his recorded country music and bluegrass legacy and hope y’all can tune in to hear more of my very favorite records! Tune in via 89.9FM in Southern WI or streaming live via wortfm.org
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Tomorrow morning I'll be back on the radio hosting Back to the Country on WORT 89.9 FM from 9:00-noon CST (and streaming at wortfm.org). What's the theme this week, you ask?
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Hodag Illustration by Fred Chao
Event sponsored by WUD Music
More details at: https://union.wisc.edu/events-and-activities/event-calendar/event/nate-gibson-and-the-honky-tonk-hodags/
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
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!
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
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
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!
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
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.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
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.
Monday, January 11, 2021
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.