Like everything, this list is a work in progress.
If you have any sites you think may be of interest,
please feel to write me and send me their URL address.
I've reviewed a bunch of record labels
and have a separate page of label-based links.
Usually I also link to the label's own website,
at the bottom of whatever I've written.
Likewise, Slipcue has special artist pages
many of which include discographies and record
reviews and recommendations.
At the top of my list is Country Roots: A Budget Collection. This fellow writes simply, has good taste, and doesn't have any adverstising or banners. A kindred spirit! If you want an economical guide to hard country, bluegrass, rockabilly and all that stuff we love, then check this site out! (The Country Roots webmaster also hosts Devner Barn Dance, a site that lists local country events in Colorado.)
Third Coast Music Network is a Texas-based outfit with unusually broad-based (and on-target) tastes, and is affiliated with radio station KSYM out of San Antonio... They have a fancy Links page of their own, which will direct you to dozens of artist sites and other twang-loving types. (This link will take you to their Links page... poke around the site a bit for other writing and info of interest...)
Country Standard Time: Jeff Remz' e-zine is notable for its breadth of focus. Nashville Top Forty is given the same attention, and level of respect, as the scrappiest of alterna-country independents. Remz has a big pool of reviewers who pitch in, so a wide range of taste is represented. Includes industry news, album reviews and feature articles. The graphic layout leaves something to be desired (then again, who am I to talk?), but the content is top-notch. The website has a HUGE backlog of articles and reviews from it's several years of publication... very impressive! Also comes out as a monthly magazine.
No Depression is the hipsterific flagship publication of the alternative country/twangcore scene. They have a handsome-looking magazine, which includes contributions by dozens of freelance writers and music fans. No Depression features articles, interviews, album reviews and concert reviews. The way I heard it, the 'zine grew out of an online Uncle Tupelo/Wilco chat group, which makes it a little ironic that (so far) their on-line presence has been pretty limited. Although by and large the reviews are a little too uncritical for my tastes, the 'zine is an invaluable resource for keeping up on and documenting the '90s "Americana" boom.
Rural Routes Twangzine
is pretty cool, pretty friendly and pretty informative. And pretty flippant. Brasher and more sarcastic than I could ever dream of being... but if you're looking for another site that's willing to actually criticize music once in awhile, then check these folks out!
I'm looking forward to the development of the Panhandle Country website, homepage of longtime Bay Area DJ, Tom Diamant. He's been on the air at Berkeley radio station KPFA-FM for, gosh, decades now, and was one of the folks who turned me on to some of my favorite country artists, lo, those many years ago... Keep an eye on this link, kids... it oughtta be good!
Take Country Back! is a pretty cool site, with plenty of timely articles and a devotion to good, old-fashioned hard country the way we like it here, over at Slipcue. More or less on the commercial side of the street, but worth checking out!
TNN's site is, of course, a corporate cesspool.
Nonetheless, they have a lot of good information, including a very extensive biographical database. If you can plow past the flashing banners regarding Joe Diffie's latest TV special, and this may provide you with some good info. Head for the Site Map.
Seeing as how I am myself rather interested in the actual craft involved in writing good songs, I figure The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame is worth mentioning. Dozens of great songwriters are profiled on the site, and most of 'em are old timers. My kinda website.
Banjo.com is a pretty impressive bluegrass site (though they crow about it a little too much for my tastes...). Plenty of band profiles, discographies, festival updates and whatnot.
Countrypolitan.com - As a dutiful fan of hard country music, I have long looked askance at "countrypolitan" music... But lately, as I grow older and fantasize less and less about getting beat up in gnarly-looking bars, I find myself drawn to the style. For a comprehensive look at the world of Billy Sherrill and Fenton Jarvis, check this impressive site out!
Kentucky Konnections is dedicated to profiling celebrities from the state of Kentucky. It's mostly about country musicians (naturally) but also includes entries on folks such as George Clooney, Lee Majors and Mohammad Ali. It's a little goofy, and some pages are a bit sketchy, but the site also has several pages that are packed with good information. I was particularly pleased to find a profile of Skeeter Davis.
Gentleman Jim's Country Site has some excellent artist profile pages. The layout isn't great (text text text, black background, text text text), but the information is good, and the choice of folks to profile is cool. Includes pages for classic country artists such as Kitty Wells, Hank Thompson, Jan Howard and Ray Price. The pages for producer Owen Bradley and songwriter Harlan Howard are of special interest -- always nice to see something off the beaten track!
The Rockabilly Hall of Fame website has links galore as well as hundreds of entries on artists both great and small. And you think I'm an obsessive??
Rockin' Country Style is just the place for all you discography freaks. Special emphasis is placed on rockabilly and countrybilly, and all those rare, obscure 45rpm singles that the more fanatical among us flip out over. To be honest, I don't entirely understand the info as presented, but this fellow sure has an impressive list of artists whose work he's catalogued. Check it out, and see for yourself...!
It occurs to me that keeping tabs on all the cool country radio shows out there might be fun. These folks, Made In America sent me their URL -- haven't heard the show, but their website has some record reviews, as well as reviews of concerts in their hometown, Cleveland, Ohio -- the hardest-drinking college town in three states. I think they may even have a real audio link or two... so check it out...
in El Cerrito, California is one of the country's oldest and most respected roots music stores. They carry a wide variety of roots, jazz and world music, on a wide range of specialty and collector labels. Down Home does a lot of mail order business, puts out a very informative newsletter, and is building a hefty website, slowly but surely. If you want to talk to some folks who really know what they're talking about, this is the place.