Mickey Newbury News Page

The News

Mickey Newbury

2011

An American Trilogy, newly digitally-remastered from the original studio tapes, is released in May, 2011.

http://anamericantrilogy.com

 

 

2009

The 9th Annual Mickey Newbury Gathering of Porch Rockers (I just made that up) will be held in Gainesville, Texas June 18th-21st.  Come join us for good food, good friends, and lots of music. For more information about registration, please check out the Gathering page on the Back Porch. 

We have joined the digital age! Beginning in April, digital downloads of the CDs from the boxset will be available in the Music Store. We will start with Looks Like Rain, and will add the others over time. Album downloads will start at $10.00 each, and you will receive a link to download once you purchase.

2008

Mickey was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage, Texas on August 16. His mother, Mamie, wife, Susan, son, Chris, and daughter, Laura were in attendance to accept the award, which is on display at the Hall of Fame, along with some other items and photographs. As someone who was Texan through and through, this is an exciting honor for Mickey, and we are grateful to the Lonestar State for their recognition of his contribution to the genre.

Mickey Newbury Receives 2006 President’s Award

The Americana Music Association has selected Mickey Newbury as this year’s recipient of the President's Award. Past honorees have included John Hartford, Gram Parsons and the Carter Family. Given in posthumous recognition of outstanding musical achievement, the winner is chosen by the AMA President, a post currently held by Tamara Saviano.

Mickey’s mother, Mamie, was on hand September 22 at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville to receive the prestigious award. Singer Kacey Jones then performed Newbury’s “Lie To Me Darlin,” a song that also appears on her highly acclaimed Newbury tribute album.

Mickey Newbury’s songs have been recorded by hundreds of artists; over 1,000 covers have been documented. Though he considered himself a songwriter first and singer second, Mickey recorded 25 albums over 35 years. Some of his albums are considered masterpieces.

In 1968, Mickey saw huge success… three number one songs and one number five – across four different charts: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) on the Pop/Rock chart by the First Edition, SweetMemories on Easy Listening by Andy Williams, Time is a Thief on the R&B chart by Solomon Burke, and Here Comes the Rain Baby on the Country chart by Eddy Arnold. This feat has not been repeated.

His arrangement of “An American Trilogy,” made famous by Elvis Presley, is a great slice of Americana . Consisting of “Dixie” slowed to a quarter-time ballad (I wish I was in the land of cotton), “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (Glory glory hallelujah) and “All My Trials" (So hush little baby / Don’t you cry / You know your daddy’s bound to die), the “Trilogy” bonds minority, Southern and Northern issues into a common lament. The song, Brian Hinton wrote, has become “the ultimate example of Americana. It somehow evokes the birth of modern America.” Actually, the movement has grown. The prayer-song has become a staple in the repertoire of church groups and male voice choirs the world over.

Many of his peers consider him to be the best of the best. Kris Kristofferson says, “God, I learned more about songwriting from Mickey than I did any other single human being. To me he was a songbird. He comes out with amazing words and music... I’m sure that I never would have written Bobby McGee, Sunday Morning Coming Down... if I had never known Mickey. He was my hero and still is.”

Mickey’s love was the music, not the business, and he actively campaigned for recognition of Americana music as early as the 1970s, when he tried to bring attention to Stephen Foster’s work. Among Mickey’s peers, he was always seen as a champion of the songwriter.


2004

In June of this year, with gratitude to all of those who have run Mountain Retreat, the organization was moved to Oregon, and Mickey’s family is taking care of business. It’s taken a little while to smooth things out, but work is continuing on a number of projects.

Bob Rosemurgy and Owsley Mannier are finishing the DVD, and have promised it will be ready in January of 2005. This will be a compilation of images from the Hermitage concert and historical photos of Mickey’s life. The DVD/video will feature Mickey and Jack Williams in concert in 1994, plus some selections with Marie Rhines, photos and special surprises. The color is stunning, the audio spectacular, and this will be a one-of-a-kind, "must have" release for Mickey's fans.

Joe Ziemer’s book, Crystal and Stone, and Ron Lyon’s audio biography, An American Treasure, are available in the CD Store. We are also offering a great tribute album by Cowboy Johnson. Anyone who has tried to sing Mickey’s songs knows how difficult it is to make the songs their own. Cowboy has done that with incredible feeling in Grain of Sand, and brought many people into the circle of Newbury fans because of his performance.

The illustration of Little Blue Robin is getting wonderful treatment from Ted Cheavens. Ted’s incredible talent has brought the birds to life, and you will love the way the story unfolds. Although we had hoped it would be ready for Christmas, we need to release the DVD first, and it should be in printing by the spring of 2005. Everything takes longer than anticipated.

The family is spending a lot of time going through reels of tapes and master sessions that keep appearing from as far back as 1965. There is a great deal of material that hasn’t made its way to release, and Chris is taking the time to review all of those tapes. It looks as though there may be a CD or two left to offer to fans.

Chris is working on a guitar book of Mickey’s songs that will explain tunings and methods of playing. Mickey didn’t always play by musical rules, and lots of fans would like to know how he played particular pieces. This will be a limited, leather-bound edition, and should be available after Little Blue Robin is released.


2003

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The CD, Blue To This Day was released, including Little Blue Robin, Tildie, The Two Step Goes On, Mississippi Moon, Help Me Son and more. Premier producer, Paula Wolak, and master of the mastering, Michael McDonald had CD out by the summer. It is a great addition to Mickey's recorded work and musical legacy.

2002

Mickey Newbury passed away at his home in Springfield, Oregon on September 29 after a lengthy illness. Mickey was recognized as one of America's finest songwriter-performers, and his songs have been recorded by hundreds of other artists, including Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez, Kenny Rogers, Waylon Jennings and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Mickey was born in 1940 in Houston, Texas. While in high school, he formed a vocal group, The Embers, which performed throughout Texas in the mid-1960's. In 1959, after graduating from high school, Mickey joined the Air Force. He spent three years as an air traffic controller, serving most of that time in England. Upon his discharge in 1963, he returned to Texas where he wrote and performed songs in local clubs.

His songs came to the attention of Wesley Rose of Acuff-Rose Music in Nashville, who summoned him to Nashville in 1964. Mickey quickly became one of the premiere songwriters in Nashville, and in the 1960's had #1 hits in Pop, Country, Rhythm & Blues and Easy Listening charts. In 1970 Mickey did a live arrangement of American Trilogy while performing at the Bitter End West, and that song has since become a standard in the repertoire of many performing artists. It was probably the last song Elvis performed in concert, and has been recorded by over 100 different artists.

After numerous releases on major labels, in 1996 Mickey formed his own music production and distribution company, Mountain Retreat. Since then, all of Mickey's earlier catalogue has been released in the CD format, including his earlier albums, which were released as part of the 8 CD box set, The Mickey Newbury Collection. Mickey continued to write and perform new songs, which have been released on Stories From the Silver Moon Cafe (2000), and A Long Road Home (2001). Mickey's current release is entitled Winter Winds (2002). He established an Internet website at www.mickeynewbury.com where his many friends gather to discuss music and life on the "chat" page.

Mickey was one of the most respected songwriters, both for his artistic skill and integrity. He is a member of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame. His accumulated work has been described as one of the most remarkable catalogs of music any American artist has assembled in this century, "...a body of work for which he deserves to be remembered and revered." (Peter Blackstock in No Depression, March-April, 1999) Mickey's passing is a great loss to his family, many friends and to music.

2001

The release of Mickey's autobiographical masterpiece, A Long Road Home, brought 2001 to a dramatic conclusion. What an eventful year it was, with the digital remastering of the box set, The Mickey Newbury Collection, and continuing work on projects.

The first of these was the revision of Disc #1 in the 2 CD set, It Might As Well Be The Moon. Originally issued in 1988 as In A New Age, we issued it in the 2 CD format in 1999, combining the original in a revised form with additional instrumentation and a masterful concert performance from San Francisco's Great American Music Hall. Mickey's vision for the original CD was unmet by the revision, so we started over and added additional bass accompaniment to the two tracks performed by Edgar Meyer. The result was magnificent, and this remarkable one take "live" studio recording is an essential Newbury recording.

On February 26, Mountain Retreat released another essential Newbury recording. Titled Winter Winds, this is also a one take "live" recording produced in a studio format with accompaniment by Jack Williams (guitar), John Catchings (cello), Craig Nelson (bass) and a few other excellent musicians. Originally released in a live concert setting as Nights When I Am Sane, the entire recording has been remixed and reworked into a dark, intimate production of many of Mickey's classics, such as Angeline, Ramblin' Blues, Poison Red Berries, Just Dropped In, San Francisco Mabel Joy, 33rd Of August, Nights When I Am Sane, Genevieve, Jubal Lee's Revival, and more. This will surely take its place among Mickey's finest recordings.

Mickey also started working with his engineer-producer, Paula Wolak, on another CD, Blue To This Day, which featured many of Mickey's new compositions, including Little Blue Robin, The Two Step Goes On, Tildie, Help Me Son, Mississippi Moon, and others.

Sit a spell on the Front Porch and chat with Mickey's friends about music, life, and whatever takes wing. We appreciate all the support and help we've received over the years since starting to produce and distribute Mickey's music, and we wish you health, happiness and, in the words of one of the Porch regulars, "pleasant listening."