Porter Wagoner is a country and Grand Ole Opry icon. You’d think that the 80-year-old would have no trouble getting on the radio but as the equally legendary Johnny Cash found out if you ain’t a young whippersnapper then don’t try getting your latest and greatest on the radio.
Cash famously put an ad out with himself giving the finger to the Nashville music industry and country radio because of their lack of support when he won the Grammy for his album ‘Unchained.’
Wagoner’s most recent album ‘Wagonmaster’ has gotten the same kind of respect that Cash’s ‘Unchained’ got so don’t expect to hear it on a radio station anytime soon. I’m going to do my part (after decrying this lack of respect in my review of Kelly Clarkson’s ‘My December’ after reading a story about this “respect” in Newsweek).
Well, I raise my middle finger to the industry as well and was finally able to find ‘Wagonmaster’ in my local mart. It’s truly a fine album and a godsend for Wagoner’s fans or just fans of classic country.
The album is produced by Marty Stuart (who isn’t a young buck anymore and probably has the same trouble getting on the airwaves maybe) and he shows the proper respect for the icon (and did the same for Johnny Cash too methinks). Several of the songs feature Porter talking about how they came to be.
“Albert Erving” was written about a man that Porter knew in his childhood. He even records Johnny Cash’s “Committed to Parkview” that appeared on the ‘Highwayman’ album. There’s also a hidden track that has Stuart and Wagoner talking about Hank Williams Sr. before Stuart offers Wagoner $5 to sing “When the Lonesome Whistle Blows.”
Porter favors Stuart and us by singing this touching song gratis. I actually paid for my copy of ‘Wagonmaster’ and don’t regret a cent. It’s a damn good album from a grand ole’ legend of country music and don’t you forget it.