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If That Ain't Country

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If That Ain't Country: a weekly, three-hour radio show featuring the very best in traditional country, honky tonk, bluegrass and western swing from the golden years 'til today. Including the popular If That Ain't Country's Year In Country Music - pulling out the big hits and memories from a weekly feature year in the world of country music. Hosted by Western Red - it's US country music with an Australian twist, keeping true to the traditions that make country music great.




Ep. 252 - Freddie Hart - Trip To Heaven

In this episode, we're featuring a top notch album from Freddie Hart: "Trip To Heaven" (1973). It spawned only one single - the title track - which turned out to be a number one hit. Alongside that chart topping performance, this release has nine other hard country tunes with a 70s twist, all with Freddie Hart's most distinctive of southern drawls. Hart's career started as a member of Lefty Frizzell's band, but after writing hits for Carl Smith, Buck Owens and Porter Wagoner - he ground his...

Duration: 02:35:56

Ep. 251 - Ricky Van Shelton - Loving Proof

In this episode, we're featuring a ballad-driven album from Ricky Van Shelton: "Loving Proof" (1988). Shelton's second album, this release sold over a million copies and cemented the Virginia baritone at the top of the new traditionalist wave. A reliance on covers on this album pays dividends for Ricky Van Shelton - he reinvigorates the Ned Miller classic "From A Jack To A King", the Wayne Kemp tearjerker "I'll Leave This World Loving You" and the Wilburn Brothers "Somebody's Back In Town" -...

Duration: 02:33:57

Ep. 250 - Dave Dudley - Listen Betty, I'm Singing Your Song

In this episode, we're featuring a classic Dave Dudley album: "Listen Betty, I'm Singing Your Song" (1971). Dudley himself contributed just under half of the writing for this record - impressive for a time when singers were releasing three or four albums a year - and his good friend Tom T. Hall added two as well, including the title track. Two of the songs were hits, but this release was put out as Dudley's star was on the wane. Dudley still very much hitched his wagon to the archetypal...

Duration: 02:31:57

Ep. 248 - Curtis Grimes - Undeniably Country

In this episode, we're featuring a 2016 release from Texas sensation Curtis Grimes: "Undeniably Country" (2016). Known for his Texas Country/Red Dirt sound in previous years, Grimes set out with producer Trent Willmon to make an album that fans couldn't mistake for anything but straight country music. And the result is a resounding success - steel guitar from Nashville maestro Mike Johnson, songwriting from Grimes himself (who grew up on a steady diet on George Strait and Alan Jackson, as he...

Duration: 02:33:22

Ep. 247 - Loretta Lynn - When The Tingle Becomes A Chill

In this episode, we're featuring a mid-70s release from Loretta Lynn: "When The Tingle Becomes A Chill" (1976). With the MCA marketing machine behind this album, it spawned a Top 5 hit in the title track and a further Top 20 for the Coal Miner's Daughter - but this album arguably marked a decline in Loretta's commercial appeal. She backed it up with some success in '77, but after that it was all downhill, sales-wise. Having said that, the album features some solid country songwriters (Ben...

Duration: 02:32:45

Ep. 244 - Johnny Bush - Here Comes The World Again

In this episode, we're featuring a hard country album from Johnny Bush: "Here Comes The World Again" (1973). After having served in Ray Price's and Willie Nelson's bands, he had paid his dues and this was Bush's first release on a major label (RCA). "Whiskey River" (written by Bush) was just about to become a big hit and it seemed Johnny Bush's star was on the rise. In the summer of 1972, however, a mysterious vocal condition put Bush's well-known high notes at risk. He adopted tricks to get...

Duration: 02:34:49

Ep. 243 - Merle Haggard - If We Make It Through December

In this episode, we're featuring a very eclectic Merle Haggard album: "If We Make It Through December" (1974). Featuring only three songs written by The Hag himself - a statistic which set apart this release from most other Haggard albums - it did not lack for quality songwriting. Hank Cochran, Dave Kirby, Whitey Shafer and Lefty Frizzell all lent their talents to this album and perhaps that explains the range of styles present here: Dixieland jazz, pop string instrumentation, western swing...

Duration: 02:34:21

Ep. 242 - Porter Wagoner - The Thin Man From West Plains

In this episode, we're featuring a twangy album from Porter Wagoner: "The Thin Man From West Plains" (1965). The title alludes to Porter's lanky frame and his home town of West Plains, Missouri - who by rights, would have been very proud of their famous export. Wagoner was in his element in 1965 - his Porter Wagoner TV show had been in syndication for four years at that point, it was a hit in over 50 cities around the country, and with his band The Wagonmasters - he was one of the most...

Duration: 02:35:57

Ep. 241 - Ron Williams - The Longer You're Gone

In this episode, we're featuring the second album from one of country's most unique baritones: Ron Williams, "The Longer You're Gone" (2009). Ron Williams is the son of Leona Williams - a marvellous traditional country singer herself with a long and illustrious career, and it seems as though country music was inevitable for Ron, born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. After his mother married Merle Haggard for a period in the late 70s/early 80s, and after having lived under the same roof as...

Duration: 02:35:56

Ep. 240 - Connie Smith - Just One Time

In this episode we're featuring an album from the marvellous Connie Smith - released towards the end of her time at RCA: "Just One Time" (1971). For a voice which George Jones has called his favourite female country vocal - Connie Smith remains criminally under-appreciated in the world country music. After bursting onto the scene with "Once A Day" in 1964, the pressure of the music business took it's toll and after a divorce in 1968, Smith scaled back public performances and recording....

Duration: 02:35:40

Ep. 239 - Alan Jackson - Don't Rock The Jukebox

In this episode we're featuring the album that cemented Alan Jackson as a bona fide 90s country superstar: "Don't Rock The Jukebox" (1991). It sold four million copies and four of the five singles went to number one - catapulting this quiet Georgia-native to the forefront of traditional country music - a place he stayed until well into the 2000s. Excellent production, with just the right amount of slick to go with the twang, fiddle and steel - Jackson had a hand in writing nine of the...

Duration: 02:35:15

Ep. 238 - John Anderson - I Just Came Home To Count The Memories

In this episode, we're featuring an early album from John Anderson: "I Just Came Home To Count The Memories" (1982). On the Warner Brothers label, this release came at a time when country music was in it's post-Urban Cowboy slump (traditionally speaking), and the slick not-very-country material out of Nashville was ruling the charts. This album's the opposite of that sound, featuring great production, with excellent session musicians to boot - fiddles and steel compliment Anderson's...

Duration: 02:35:23

Ep. 237 - Moe Bandy - Cowboys Ain't Supposed To Cry

In this episode, we're featuring a Moe Bandy album from the height of his solo success: "Cowboys Ain't Supposed To Cry" (1978). Before his duets with Janie Fricke and later Joe Stampley, Moe Bandy was doing what he does best - making hardcore traditional country music. This collection of songs shows Moe's influences in very plain fashion: channeling Hank Williams, Sr. in Weldon Myrick's steel licks and even covering two of Hank's hits - this is a country album, sure enough. Songs like...

Duration: 02:33:12

Ep. 236 - Billie Jo Spears - Lonely Hearts Club

In this episode we're featuring one of Billie Jo Spears' finest records under the eye of producer Larry Butler on the United Artists label: "Lonely Hearts Club" (1978). Billie Jo had enjoyed popularity in the UK as the "Queen Mother Of Country Music" at times when her US sales were down - however this album did well in the USA as well, spawning three singles which charted at #18, #17 and #16 consecutively. We feature two of those three singles, including the title track, and a great love...

Duration: 02:35:19

Ep. 235 - Justin Trevino - A Salute To Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys PART TWO

This week, it's part two of our look at Justin Trevino's latest album "A Salute To Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys" (2017). On the day in 1984 when Justin Trevino first heard Price's iconic honky tonk shuffle style on the airwaves - wafting in on the 50,000-watt KKYX out of San Antonio - a lightbulb went off: the song was "The Other Woman", the stylish combination of a 4/4 beat and vibrato vocals thrown in for good measure had Trevino hooked. Arguably with few stronger influences on his own...

Duration: 02:34:36

Ep. 234 - Justin Trevino - A Salute To Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys PART ONE

This week, it's part one of our look at Justin Trevino's latest album "A Salute To Ray Price & The Cherokee Cowboys" (2017). Packed with twenty tracks of solid Ray Price covers - from hits, to minor hits to more obscure material - we wouldn't be doing this stellar release justice to feature only six tracks, so we've split it into two! With excellent instrumentation as you'd expect from Justin Trevino - who himself is an A-class producer - he and Duane Wavra burn through a wonderful version...

Duration: 02:34:43

Ep. 233 - Del Reeves - Looking At The World Through A Windshield

In this episode, we're featuring a high-energy trucking-themed album from Del Reeves: "Looking At The World Through A Windshield" (1968). Filled with well produced, fun and energetic traditional country truckin' tunes, this album is truly a romp from woe to go - typical of Del Reeves career. It's no surprise that Reeves would return to the trucking theme after the success of "Girl On The Billboard" in 1965, and he burns through "Highway 40", Jim & Jesse's "Diesel On My Tail", with a few Big...

Duration: 02:35:03

Ep. 232 - George Strait - Pure Country

In this episode, we're featuring the best-selling album of George Strait's illustrious career: "Pure Country" (1992). As the soundtrack to the movie that was George's acting debut, it's not a huge departure from what he'd been doing up until that point - nay, more of the same. But the same formula proved to be a winning one yet again, and some 25 years later, "Pure Country" remains his best selling record - having sold over six million units since it's release. In the film, Strait plays...

Duration: 02:33:32

Ep. 231 - Mel Tillis - Heart Healer

In this episode, we're featuring a 1976 album from master songwriter Mel Tillis: "Heart Healer". After having made himself a name as one of the finest wordsmiths in the country music field, and having written massive hits for Ray Price, Webb Pierce and Bobby Bare - it's nice to see this Tampa, Florida native get some recognition on his own. Having had to overcome a nasty stutter brought on by a childhood battle with malaria - Tillis fills this album with country music gold. From the...

Duration: 02:35:05

Ep. 230 - Joni Harms - After All

In this episode, we're featuring a 2004 album from Oregon cowgirl Joni Harms: "After All". Having written or co-written all 13 tracks on the album - and with some great Nashville studio talent to back her up - you can't help but feel that these songs are a snapshot of life in Joni's hometown of Canby, Oregon. With a sincerity and authenticity that's hard to come by unless you're the real deal - on this album Joni makes her way through familiar subject matter ranging from matrimonial...

Duration: 02:35:27

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