CD-279 Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show "Sho Nuff Country"
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While growing up in Texas in the 1960s and learning to play music, I had no idea of the historical significance of the area where I lived, its musicians and the impact it had on the development of American Country music. Limestone County, Texas was not only my home but was the hub of a music hotbed which produced legendary figures Bob Wills and Cindy Walker, with the adjoining counties producing Hank Thompson, Willie Nelson and Lefty Frizzell. These musicians developed, or at the very least contributed, to the development of two major styles of Country music, Western Swing and Honky-Tonk. It still amazes me today when I think about it. It is something I am very proud of and I never pass up the opportunity to exercise my bragging rights.
The song selection in this CD is for the most part, a collection of tunes that I heard and learned while growing up in Limestone County Texas during what I consider the tail-end of the greatest time period in the development of American Country music. Old Time fiddling, Honky-Tonk, Western Swing, and classic Country music was the music I heard and learned to play. I saw Bluegrass music come to the forefront and enjoy its most commercially successful time in history during the 1960s with Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs and their music for the “Beverly Hillbillies” and “Bonnie and Clyde.” This nationwide phenomena was responsible for turning a whole new generation of musicians on to this popular style of Country music and I was one among many (as a result) that made bluegrass music a lifelong passion. So when I tout that we played it all back then we actually did. Playing, preserving and presenting a mixture of these various styles of country music over the years has been my mission.
Over the 23 years the Karl Shiflett & Big Country show has been around, over 40 some odd musicians have come and gone. Of that number almost all have shared an equal love for both Bluegrass and vintage Country music. The current lineup of the band is no exception and is without a doubt the most versatile group of musicians I have ever worked with. Billy Hurt and Brennen Ernst are from Virginia and know more about playing music than any two I have ever known.
Each of us has a special gift and a special connection to the music and to each other. It’s who we are. I am very proud of each of the musicians and their skill level and in my opinion, this is the best recording project I have ever done with any band.
The material on this CD represents a wide variety of musical styles all connected by their similarities but standing apart because of their differences. It’s the knowledge of these differences that makes our band sound the way it does and that gives me great personal satisfaction. As you listen to our versions of the songs made famous by our Country music heroes like George Jones, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Flatt & Scruggs, Don Gibson, Hank Thompson, the Carter Family and many more, imagine what a “Country Family Reunion” of these greats
would have been like. If our music makes you move a little, tap your foot or if it touches your heart, then our efforts have not been in vain. If you like it call it whatever you want. We’ll just call it
“SHO NUFF COUNTRY”!