Smoking Cigarettes and Drinking Coffee Blues

There are few country artists I like more than Marty Robbins. He had an unmistakable country western sound that is still popular today. In my youth, no one I knew listened to country music or liked country music, such a shame. However, I did have one cassette tape with country music and sure enough the ones that stuck with me were 2 songs sung by Marty Robbins, El Paso, which is probably his most famous one, and Ghost Riders in the Sky, a traditional western song. In his long career he made a big impact on country music.

A very young Marty Robbins from

A very young Marty Robbins from

Marty Robbins is best remembered for his western songs which he didn’t really start singing until 10 years into his career. Among his many hits the El Paso trilogy was one of the most interesting and hit number one on both pop and country billboard charts. He wrote El Paso and it ended up being such a hit, that he wrote Feleena (From El Paso) and El Paso City. The song features a lot of embellishment picking which gives it this wonderful mystic quality and the ¾ time which is atypical for a popular song. The themes he sings about in the song love, betrayal, revenge and shootouts, aren’t strange but the way he crafts the lyrics. It all goes together so well.

Since I love guitars Im going to go into a little bit about Marty’s Martin Guitar. It was a very small guitar the model number is 5-18 and Marty was really the only guitarist known to play it because it has a very crowded finger board and apparently most people don’t like the 1 11/16″ nut size.  A lot of people like this size for travel, but not really as a main guitar.

Here is a link to the site, guitar specs, not that interesting to many people but I love looking at them.

Marty was also a NASCAR driver and damn good at it too. He came in top 10 six times, and one of them was the Daytona 500. Just so you know what he was about, His biography is titled Marty Robbins: Country Music and Fast Cars and to add to the cool factor of Marty Robbins, he was a good friend of Johnny Cash and appeared on his show.

He released 52 albums and 100 singles, certainly a very prolific writer. Unfortunately, Marty Robbins died in 1982 from complications after surgery but his memory lives on. I had no idea but Fallout: Las Vegas uses the song Big Iron which may turn a new group of people onto Marty.

This is the Marty Robbins I am much more familiar with. Just look at that mustache. He looks like this in most of the videos you see of him.

And now the recommended videos

Marty sang a lot of crooner songs, but I’m going to focus on the country western parts here

El Paso- This is a good place to start

Big Iron- Story of a Texas Ranger looking for an outlaw

Cigarette and Coffee Blues – good song for a broken heart. In this video you will see Marty’s signature parlor guitar. It looks like a little bit smaller you have a ukulele.

They’re Hanging Me Tonight – Classic Country song theme, gunshots for your ex lover

This is my all time favourite country song, It has a great story makes a big impression. Personally I like the Johnny cash version better because there is a wicked piano part, but one thing Marty always had were those 3 part vocal harmonies. He uses them very well in this song. Hell of a song by a hell of a singer.

Ghost Riders in the Sky

Any other favourite Marty Robbins song? any other old country singers you think I should write about?

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Americana Rock Mix- Podcast

Americana Rock Mix logo from

Americana Rock Mix logo from

Who doesn’t love a good podcast?

If you love the type of music I have been referencing in this blog then I suggest you check out the Americana Rock Mix. The host Von is very charming and I have to give it to him he has a very clean and well edited sound. There are so many podcasts I would love to listen to but the production values make it hard to listen to the speaker/commentator/orator. I would say same goes for documentarians. I also have to say that I like Von. I’ve listened to a few episodes and so far they have all been great.

There are a few things about this podcast that I really like. One thing he does that so many others don’t is play a couple songs by each artist. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a great song and when I go to check out the rest of the band’s songs I don’t really care for them. Two, I like is the live sets he puts out. I was doubly impressed to see that a Josh Ritter concert was on the podcast. I have seen Mr. Ritter more than any other artist because he is an excellent performer. He also has Hoots and Hellmouth and few Drive By-Truckers sets. There are over 100 episodes so far and mostly about 1 hour or a bit more. That’s a lot of fucking music. So if I had to recommend a music podcast. This would be number one.

Brad Paisley

Right now, I know it seems like this blog is all over the place, guitars, rock music and now I’m throwing in some country music?!?!?! Well it’s about to get a whole lot crazier once I throw in Latin, Bluegrass, Classical, maybe a little hip hop and metal.

I wanted to talk about Brad Paisley here, he is one of my favourite current country stars. I like his songs from the cheesy, funny Cigar Song to the heartbreaking Whiskey Lullaby with Alison Krauss to the real reason I think he is great Nervous Breakdown. He can write a song and he can solo like no one else. I know a lot of shredders turn to metal and play as fast as possible but Brad can craft a solo and play just as fast.

Paisley with his Paisley Guitar

Paisley with his Paisley Guitar

Hey! Look! It’s a telecaster!!

I know I’m a bit late on this but I really like his latest album This is Country Music. It really takes a lot from 70s country music, and even features Alabama and a song called Eastwood. Great album and probably one of my favourite overall albums in country music. I love Westerns and western music and someday soon I going to throw down some Marty Robbins, but until then I put down my top 5 Brad Paisley songs.

I am putting some videos in so you can see the awe.

1. Nervous Breakdown – This is all instrumental but it shows how well Paisley can pick

2. Whiskey Lullaby – Very sad and a great song

3. Old Alabama – Featuring Alabama enough said

4. Online – Pretty accurate reflection of who you are probably talking to in a chat room

5.Throttleneck – another instrumental picking song, it reminds me of ghost riders in the sky. If you don’t

know that song go ahead and look up the Johnny Cash version.

On good Morning America; all pictures from

good_morning_america-paisley and alabama

Good Morning America Brad Paisley and Alabama from Brad

Here is a great video of him playing in the White House for Barack Obama on the American Music series they had at the White House.