LISA DENTON: Barry, I know we try to give people reasons to get off the couch, but Ken Burns' new PBS documentary, "Country Music," is a good reason to hunker down at the house. I've learned a few things watching it. Like Bonnie Parker — of Bonnie and Clyde — used her bank-robbing money to buy up Jimmie Rodgers' records. That the women of the Carter Family — Maybelle and Sara — bought motorcycles when their records began to sell. That there are photos of Hank Williams without a hat. That Roy Acuff wasn't always old.
BARRY COURTER: It's pretty terrific whether you enjoy the music form or not, though how anybody could not hear the truth or poetry in Merle Haggard's "Hungry Eyes" or Loretta Lynn's "Fist City" is beyond me. Do you doubt for a second that Lynn didn't give that woman a whoopin'?
LISA: I reckon that home wrecker might have got what was coming to her, but let's not forget she wasn't doing all that adulterating by herself. Seems like Doo, Loretta's husband, got a free pass in the song.
I like "Hungry Eyes" too, but the mama song that tears me up is "To Daddy," written by Dolly Parton and recorded by Emmylou Harris. It will slay you.
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has developed a Ken Burns Country Music Pathway where you can plan your travels to some of the sites mentioned in the series. (Just the ones in Tennessee, of course, though our neighbors to the south also have music-related tourism sites, Landmarks of Georgia Music and the Sweet Home Alabama Music Trail.) On the Tennessee site, you can search by city or the type of place you want to discover, such as entertainment districts or birthplaces or studios. Chattanooga is represented by Songbirds Guitar Museum.
BARRY: One thing I keep trying to stress to people is that today's shows and singers are tomorrow's history and history makers. Wow, that sounded, you know, like, really smart or something, didn't it?
LISA: Must've been that birthday you had. With age comes wisdom. Continue, oh sage.
BARRY: Seriously, the shows that happen at Songbirds and the Tivoli and JJ's Bohemia could quite possibly be the moments people are talking about in 10, 20, 50 years.
LISA: People still talk about the Prince concert at Memorial Auditorium in 1998.
I wish there was more of Chattanooga's country music history on the Tennessee tourism website. One of last week's episodes showed a picture of harmonica player DeFord Bailey with a Chattanooga Medicine Co. sign in the background, which makes me think he played at least one show here. And they said Minnie Pearl got the idea for her "Brother" character after staying with a family on Sand Mountain in Alabama. They had a passel of kids, including one called Brother.
The series has also mentioned the Louvin Brothers (born Charles and Ira Loudermilk in Northeast Alabama) and how a Chattanooga diner was one of Hank Williams' last stops before he died.
BARRY: Heard that one, and it makes perfect sense. It is a very good series.
LISA: The series concludes Wednesday night, which means you can catch the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera opening its 87th season Thursday night at the Tivoli Theatre. They'll feature music by Russian composers Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff.
I always say that even if you think you don't like classical music, you should make a point to see the symphony at least once in your lifetime. The talent is outstanding. And odds are, if you like Bugs Bunny, you like classical music.
BARRY: Bugs was my gateway drug for classical music. And now that it is not as hot as 40 you-know-whats, NoonTunes is upon us, taking place Fridays at Miller Park. The food trucks are there, so you can grab lunch and hear great local music. This week is neo jazz and soul sounds of Kimmie J. Soul.
If you like good songwriting, Lucinda Williams returns to town for a show Sunday at the Walker Theatre performing "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" as part of the 20th anniversary tour of the album's release.
Good stuff that one.
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Contact Lisa Denton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6281. Contact Barry Courter at email@example.com or 423-757-6354.