If That Ain't Country-logo

If That Ain't Country

Music Podcasts

Some call it old country; classic country; real country. We call it traditional country, and that's exactly what we do here at "If That Ain't Country". For three hours each week, we feature the very best traditional country, honky tonk, bluegrass and western swing from the golden years 'til today. It's pretty simple but we think you'll like it. Hosted by Western Red - it's US country with an Australian twist, keeping true to the traditions that make country great. With a genuine love and deep respect for the foundations of the genre, the legends are right alongside the best of today's independent artists - a mix you won't find anywhere else. For more information, email: westernred@ifthataintcountry.net. Become a supporter of this podcast (with thanks!!): www.patreon.com/ifthataintcountry


United States


Some call it old country; classic country; real country. We call it traditional country, and that's exactly what we do here at "If That Ain't Country". For three hours each week, we feature the very best traditional country, honky tonk, bluegrass and western swing from the golden years 'til today. It's pretty simple but we think you'll like it. Hosted by Western Red - it's US country with an Australian twist, keeping true to the traditions that make country great. With a genuine love and deep respect for the foundations of the genre, the legends are right alongside the best of today's independent artists - a mix you won't find anywhere else. For more information, email: westernred@ifthataintcountry.net. Become a supporter of this podcast (with thanks!!): www.patreon.com/ifthataintcountry




Pat Patterson - Most Requested Country Songs

In this week's episode we're featuring an ultra-rare slice of 1969 honky tonk from a West Virginian stationed in West Germany after his service: "Most Requested Country Songs" by Pat Patterson. An enigmatic character to say the least, we let the music do the talking as Patterson's lilting yet attention-grabbing honky tonk vocal demands your time. Recorded Stateside with the best players money could buy, the one LP that Patterson ever released has been on my radar (unsuccessfully) for almost a decade and has finally become widely available thanks to the obscure hard country reissue specialists at Sweet Mental Revenge Records out of Sweden. Superb stuff, a real treat to play it this week in full. Purchase it yourself at rodgerwilhoit.bandcamp.com!


Stoney Edwards - Land Of The Giants

In this week's episode we're featuring an unreleased album for Capitol Records recorded from 1973 by Oklahoma's Stoney Edwards: "The Land Of The Giants". A collection of songs paying tribute to the giants of country music as the title suggests, the project was shelved in the face of the '73/'74 oil embargo and never revisited (at least by Capitol). That situation somewhat sums up Edwards' career - an incredibly talented singer and picker with country credentials oozing from every note, this Seminole, Oklahoma native's life was plagued with bad luck and unfortunate events. We'll dig into Edwards' intriguing back story this week, unearth a good number of gems from his back catalogue and remember one of the few black country singers to ever score a chart hit this side of Charley Pride. Essential listening.


Sonny Burns: 1959-1968

In this week's episode we're turning the spotlight on Texan Sonny Burns' second attempt at recording success during the years 1959-1968. What little information there is on Burns' career usually centres on his association with George Jones while at Starday Records: it's country music folklore that Burns famously missed (what turned out to be) a hit duet session with The Possum and stymied his own career in favour of bourbon and women. However, after resurfacing in 1959 on TNT Records out of San Antonio, the early 60s saw a reunification with Pappy Daily at United Artists and Burns' lay down some of the finest honky tonk music of the decade, albeit with some added sheen as compared to his Starday material. '59-'68 produced some sensational sides for Sonny Burns and this week we run through a tonne of 'em, thirteen hardcore honky tonk nuggets in total. Dig it!


The Derailers - Full Western Dress

In this week's episode we're featuring an album from Austin-based outfit The Derailers from the peak of their power: "Full Western Dress" (1999). Riding thousands of road miles as well as the rise in the Americana and alt-country radio scene, The Derailers Bakersfield-infused honky tonk saw them gain strong regional and national success, though it never translated into widespread mainstream radio airplay. A special musical connection and combination between joint frontmen Tony Villaneuva and Brian Hofeldt equated in tight harmonies and catchy, jangly, twangy country music pleasing fans of the hard stuff from coast to coast. The majority of the album was written by the band and earworms are plentiful as Buck & Don - er, Tony and Brian - looked to take it to the next level with their second outing on Sire Records in "Full Western Dress". Quality material!


The Whites - Whole New World

In this week's episode we're featuring a 1985 album for family band The Whites: "Whole New World". When family patriarch and lynchpin of the group Buck White decided to rejig his band, he needed only look across the dinner table for what became The Whites: daughters Sharon White on guitar and Cheryl on bass along with Buck himself on mandolin (and whatever else needed playing) made the nucleus for this family act's most successful years. Enlisting all-star help in Jerry Douglas on dobro and Ricky Skaggs on fiddle, The Whites took their gorgeous harmonies and pioneered an ever-so-slightly swinging traditional country/bluegrass mash up which appealed to audiences for decades. The fact that nine of the ten tracks from this week's feature album were included in this episode proves "Whole New World" is an absolute delight and just the tip of a top notch and brilliantly selective disography.


Hoot Hester - On The Swingin' Side

In this week's episode we're featuring a relatively rare lead vocal performance from Kentucky fiddleman Hoot Hester: "On The Swingin' Side". Stints with local Louisville-area bluegrass bands lead to work with legendary road bands including Jerry Reed and Mel Tillis' Statesiders, the latter an outfit which Hester relished his time in for it's professionalism. Fellow Statesider alum Paul Franklin appears on "On The Swingin' Side" to help Hester and an all-star cast through a solid album of covers (Bob Wills pops up, naturally) and some great Hester originals, showing us fans that years before The Time Jumpers, Hester was ready to stretch out on vocals and swing!


I Can Almost See Houston: The Complete Howdy Glenn

In this week's episode we're featuring some unearthed West Coast country on the hitherto-unknown Howdy Glenn from our friends at Omnivore Recordings: "I Can Almost See Houston: The Complete Howdy Glenn" (2023). Glenn's place in country history is significant enough given that he was a black country singer based in California, but add to that fact that Howdy Glenn was a working firefighter for the City Of Inglewood, that he was once signed to Warner Brothers Records AND was nominated for an ACM Award, and you've got some serious intrigue. A full-throated, dynamic and charismatic performer, exactly why Glenn's catalogue remained buried until now is the subject of this week's show and also proved a great opportunity to play some solid 70s country even the most ardent country historians had never heard before.


BONUS: Interview with Scott B. Bomar on "The Complete Howdy Glenn"

WARNING: Country music nerdity alert! Well, no more than usual I suppose.. Anyway, this time it's something a little different! An unedited chat with music historian and author Scott B. Bomar ("The Bakersfield Sound", "The Byrds: 1964-1967") ahead of his latest project: "I Can Almost See Houston: The Complete Howdy Glenn" set for release on Omnivore Records on Jan. 20, 2023. Audio episode to follow, but this was a fantastic opportunity to pick the brains of Bomar who does for a living what most of us country nerds dream of. His work on the previously unknown Howdy Glenn is going to be fantastic, take a listen to the behind-the-scenes chat.


Gene Davis: California Country King

In this week's episode we're featuring the music of one of The West Coast's most popular club draws in Missouri's Gene Davis. Davis tripped over to The Golden State in '53 and his go-getter attitude, tasty guitar licks and solid country vocal saw him hired almost immediately. Establishing himself and The Gene Davis Band (later The Star Routers) as one of the most in-demand acts on the booming LA & SoCal club scene, Davis appeared alongside the area's big names on TV shows, radio and of course on stage: in no uncertain terms helping to lay the groundwork for what is now known as The Bakersfield Sound. Somewhat of a trendsetter in more ways than one, Davis' time at the legendary Palomino Club and the dazzling list of names who passed through his employ over years is testament enough to the man's musical talent and his output (though not a national hitmaker) is worthy of this week's airtime.


Johnny Dollar - Down Life's Highway

In this week's episode we're featuring a delightful compilation on Johnny Dollar (yes that was his real name), put out in 1982: "Down Life's Highway". Despite the vague album artwork and even more general liner notes, don't be fooled: this is a quality ten song collection of solid (mostly long forgotten) honky tonk gold. Every single song on this album was originally recorded for Chart Records between 1968-1971 (in this reviewer's opinion, Dollar's strongest career output) and there are no duds to be found. High-energy honky tonk with plenty of truck driving tunes, there's a lot of Del Reeves to Dollar's material but the latter remains a lot more obscure outside of rockabilly and hardcore country fans. Take a trip "Down Life's Highway" with Johnny Dollar and enjoy some cracking traditional country music laced with clever, catchy writing and Lloyd Green's steel guitar work.


Randy Kohrs & The Reel Deal - Now It's Empty

In this week's episode we're featuring the one album release for dobro-maestro Randy Kohrs and his short-lived band The Reel Deal: "Now It's Empty" (2003). Produced by the Iowa native in his own Slack Key Studio, "Now It's Empty" was mostly recorded without overdubs using Royer, Vintage RCA and Fostex ribbon microphones to emulate a 1950s feel. With several originals fitting the mould beautifully, well-chosen covers from the George Jones catalogue, James O'Gwynn and a couple from Stonewall Jackson slide into that old school vibe nicely and Kohrs bluegrass-suited tenor lead vocal gives a strong foundation on which to lean. Production remained understated yet twangy and with steel guitar from the sensational John Hughey (still sounding magnificent even in his late 60s), "Now It's Empty" is a solid album that went under the radar at the time and is worth a re-listen.


George Dearborne - Old Brown Bottle

In this week's episode we're featuring the debut album for Beaumont's George Dearborne: "Old Brown Bottle" (2020). Make no mistake though, this is not Dearborne's first rodeo. Embedded in the area music scene during the 70s and 80s, Dearborne met a teenage Mark Chesnutt when he himself was only a few years older. Years later, Dearborne and his renowned band "Branded" would become the house act at the Beaumont's legendary low-slung honky tonk Cutter's - a position held by Chesnutt only a few years prior. Nashville didn't work out for Dearborne however, and he gave music away for 22 years, picking it up again in 2016 and reforming "Branded" with new and all-star personnel. Fast making a name for himself around the Lone Star State, "Old Brown Bottle" is a welcome debut for traditional country fans who enjoy straight ahead country shuffles with a good sense of fun. The best pickers money can buy appeared on "Old Brown Bottle" and you can hear the quality with every track. Highlights are numerous: the steel guitar intro from Mike Johnson on "One More", Wes Hightower's blending with Dearborne's lead vocals on "A Fire That Just Won't Burn" and two Ray Price shuffles are obvious standouts.


All Request Show #2

In this week's episode we once again opened up the request lines to the members of our Traditional Country Tragics Facebook group for an all-request show! Requests came in from all over the USA and further afield, including cuts from Porter Wagoner, Faron Young, Slim Dusty, Daryle Singletary and plenty of curve balls. You made the playlist this week and I've got to say that you all have great taste. Cheers!


Caution! Eddie Bond Music Is Contagious: The Hard Country Side Of A Rockabilly Star

In this week's episode we're showcasing the country roots of revered Memphis-born rocker Eddie Bond: digging into Bond's back catalogue for some forgotten hard country magic and featuring a self-released LP from the 70s in tandem - "Caution: Eddie Bond Music Is Contagious". Bond's early influences were undoubtedly country and his time with The Snearly Ranch Boys before forming his own band The Stompers cemented those influences. Initially The Stompers themselves were essentially a country and western band with rockabilly overtones, taking in some legendary talent by the mid 50s including iconic steel guitarist John Hughey. But when rock 'n' roll hit Eddie Bond jumped on board, recording a slew of rockers (mostly for Mercury) between 1955-1957. Rediscovered twenty years later in the midst of the European rockabilly revival, Bond remains mostly remembered today for those rockabilly cuts but this week we're showcasing the hard country side this week of one of the few rockabillies actually born and bred in The Home Of The Blues.


Conway Twitty - Darling, You Know I Wouldn't Lie

In this week's episode we're featuring a Conway Twitty album taken from smack dab in the middle of his hard country years (approx. 1965-1975): "Darling, You Know I Wouldn't Lie" (1969). Turning again to his go-to hardcore country lyricist Wayne Kemp (an old running mate from his days in Oklahoma City), Twitty scored his third consecutive Top 5 hit with the cheating-themed title track. A further exploration in song of Harlan Howard's "Life Turned Her That Way" theme presents itself on "Bad Girl", promptly followed by the corresponding "Bad Man". Interesting to note both tracks written by Twitty himself, who also added a dynamite hard country shuffle to round out Side A of the album in "Table In The Corner". Even the filler from this period in Conway's career is top-notch: a cover of Tom T. Hall's "Ballad Of Forty Dollars" rips as much as the original and even though it's hard to top a George Jones vocal, the Owen Bradley/Decca arrangement and production on "When The Grass Grows Over Me" and "Window Up Above" makes for superb listening. Quality stuff!


Melba Montgomery - The Original Nugget Sessions (1962)

In this week's episode we're featuring Melba Montgomery's complete Nugget Records sessions from the year 1962. Shortly after having spent almost four years touring with Roy Acuff's roadshow and marginally before being snapped up by United Artists, Melba was offered a chance to record for Lonzo & Oscar's newly-relocated Nugget Records in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. The result was ten sides which have largely been forgotten by country fans who focus instead on her duets with George Jones and UA solo material. Ten hard country nuggets (pun intended) all of which feature Shot Jackson on dobro and Buddy Emmons on steel. The two co-founders of the legendary Sho-Bud steel guitar company help push these Nugget recordings on a young, fresh and distinctive Melba Montgomery to the heights of honky tonk gold. Superb listening.


Jim Ed Brown - Bottle, Bottle

In this week's episode we're featuring a dynamite outlier from the late 60s career of Jim Ed Brown: "Bottle, Bottle" (1968). A lot of Brown's full-length albums of this era were on the slicker side and hard country gems were a little elusive. However, "Bottle, Bottle" is a full-on dive into the hard country side of the spectrum, dripping with the steel guitar of Pete Drake. Looking and sounding typically dapper, Jim Ed Brown's silky smooth vocal sounds right at home on a country shuffle (of which there are several), songs of loving and leaving and the necessary barroom laments (with a name like "Bottle, Bottle", it's expected). The likeable Arkansan cut just enough of this kind of material on this album to have this reviewer wanting to take a second look at Brown's catalogue to see what else has been missed. A-class.


Eddie Noack on Allstar: 1962-1966

In this week's episode we're focusing on Allstar Records, a part song-poem part legitimate commercial label operating between 1953-1966 in Houston, Texas. Aside from his song-sharking tendencies, Allstar's founder Daniel James Mechura no doubt had his eyes set on recording hit country music, frequently hiring above-par backing musicians to back up Allstar's roster of artists. And that roster is all the evidence you need to see that Allstar was a legitimate commercial music operation - the talent and track records from the likes of Wiley Barkdull, Jerry Jericho and Eddie Noack (all of whom recorded for Allstar) speaks to that. In fact, we've got the microscope on the sensational hard country output of Eddie Noack on Allstar this week (1962-1966): releasing ten songs with the label during that period (many self-penned), Noack continued his Texas honky tonk ways, including a stylistic nod to the super successful Buck Owens formula on several. Noack had a long and diverse career but he was sounding honky tonk ready at Allstar!


Larry Boone - One Way To Go

In this week's episode we're featuring an off-the-beaten-path slice of the neo-traditional era from Larry Boone: "One Way To Go" (1991). Boone's songwriting prowess was his main claim to fame, but with a solid country vocal, movie star good looks and three albums for Mercury and two for Columbia (including this one), Boone had his chances at solo stardom. It's mostly the era that's on the table this week: a time when country was country and the world wasn't so complicated (full disclosure: your host was a kid in the early 90s). Let the fiddle punctuation of Rob Hajacos, the dobro touches of Jerry Douglas and the ethereal steel guitar of Paul Franklin ease you into an enjoyable and nostalgic three hour trip back to 1991 this week with Larry Boone and "One Way To Go".


Little Jimmy Dickens - Country Music Hall Of Fame

In this week's show we're featuring a later career album for longtime Opry staple and country music fixture Little Jimmy Dickens: "Country Music Hall Of Fame" (1984). The front cover indeed depicts the moment Dickens was inducted to the Hall Of Fame after four years of nominations; a plaque tucked under his arm while being greeted on stage by Barbara Mandrell and trying not to shed a tear. For a man so long in country music, Dickens was best known for his Opry appearances, razor sharp wit and for being simply a "part" of the industry. Most fans could recognise his name but Dickens' own catalogue remains overlooked. We change that this week with "Country Music Hall Of Fame": the album Porter Wagoner called Dickens' best-to-date and an appropriate slice of the 4'11" "Tater" - his versatility and sterling treatment of a good country song is on full display. From the showstopping tearjerker "Raggedy Ann" and the peppy "She'll Party At The Drop Of A Hat" to the lovelorn "Holding On To Life", Dickens' place as "part of the Opry furniture" hides a very long and fascinating career and a voice that didn't seem to age.