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Peter Gilstrap / Courtesy of Ronda Sherley

It’s a January morning in 1968. There are 1,000 convicts in mess hall #2 at Folsom Prison. They’re hooting, hollering, clapping, pounding fists on metal tables.

The object of their excitement is Johnny Cash. He’s onstage under the harsh fluorescent lights, standing tall behind a nicotine veil of smoke. Down in the front row, there’s an inmate with a chiseled face and dark pompadour piled high, sucking on a Pall Mall. He's California state prisoner A597959C — just another face in the crowd.

Keturah Davis / Courtesy of Joshua Bishop

In 1964, a Japanese country singer named Tomi Fujiyama performed on the Grand Ole Opry, right after Johnny Cash. She had no idea that someday there would be a movie about her life and her quest to get back on the Opry stage — or how long it would take to get there.

This weekend, Fujiyama is back in Nashville to celebrate the official release of that film.

courtesy Country Music Hall of Fame

One of Nashville's most prolific hit-makers died Sunday. Mel Tillis spent the last year dealing with intestinal issues, according to his publicist. He died at a hospital in Ocala, Florida, at age 85.

Julieta Martinelli / WPLN

 


The deadly mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas hit close to home for many Nashvillians. They responded last night with words of encouragement — and country music.  

courtesy JasonAldean.com

Jason Aldean is one of the most successful artists in country music at the moment, with 15 million albums sold, but his tours have dealt with more death than most. Rolling Stone says Aldean has been “seemingly snakebit” while on the road.

Thomas Maupin buck dance
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

A Tennessee master of a waning dance style has earned national recognition.

Thomas Maupin is a scrawny 78-year-old buck dancer from Eagleville. His elbows, hips and knees jangle like a country puppet while his black shoes clack out intricate rhythms across wooden dance floors. After years of local notoriety, he's been named as a National Heritage Fellow.

courtesy CMA

One of the biggest pop acts in the world joined a country duo for a performance on Lower Broadway during this week’s CMT Awards. The result didn’t sound much like what usually comes out of Nashville’s honky tonks.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns wants to sift through Nashville's attics.

He's working on an epic 16-hour film on the history of country music. His team has interviewed a hundred musicians and historians so far. But he figures there are some home videos that should be included. Specifically, he's looking for fan footage from the 1950s through the 1990s.

Linda Stanley / via Flickr

At Wednesday night's CMA Awards, Dolly Parton will be honored for a lifetime of success.

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Nashville is known for its songwriters — people like Victoria Banks, who is paid to come up with tunes and lyrics on a regular basis. 

Banks, who wrote the 2000 Sara Evans hit "Saints & Angels," talked to WPLN's Emily Siner in our live series and podcast Movers & Thinkers about the challenges of cultivating creativity — especially when it's your job.

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