Chuck Bills - WSM Blues (3:30)
WSM Blues is Chuck Bills' tribute to his favorite radio station, Nashville's famed WSM (650 AM), which is probably best known for hosting the Grand Ole Opry show for decades. Under the right conditions, WSM can be heard in 38 states due to its extraordinarily powerful 50000 watt signal and the fact that it's a clear channel station, meaning no other US stations share that specific frequency.
Since 1979, WSM has been a full-time country station featuring a pretty impressive array of classics and deep catalog country, bluegrass and Americana music. One program that I can highly recommend is recording artist Jim Lauderdale's weekly program, The Jim Lauderdale Show, which broadcasts live and streams over the internet each Wednesday at 2PM Nashville time. On a recent show, he kicked off with a couple Buck Owens songs and a pair of Reno & Smiley numbers, before treating listeners to Bobby Bare's hit version of Streets of Baltimore, which was followed by a Jimmie Rodgers song from about 1930. As far as I can tell, there's no playlist - just a knowlegeable and passionate DJ playing music he loves, kind of like what happens on WFMU. And like WFMU, WSM features archived programming on their website, although navigating the WSM website can be a bit of a challenge.
Here's a good example of how engaging WSM's programming can be. A couple of months ago on an excursion to Nashville, I heard weeknight DJ Eddie Stubbs spin The Shoe Goes On The Other Foot Tonight by Marty Robbins. That alone was enough to put a big smile on my face, but after the song, I could scarcely believe it when he called to listeners' attention Bill Johnson's sensational steel guitar solo. Where else do DJs on commercial radio stations take the time to point out such artistry? Then, I was positively dumbfounded when Stubbs said "let's hear that great steel solo again" and joined the song in progress and proceeded to play the solo all over again. Brilliant! Here's the steel guitar solo that prompted Stubbs' salute:
Hear It: An MP3 of Bill Johnson's spectacular steel guitar solo from the 1966 recording of The Shoe Goes On The Other Foot Tonight.
And below, you can see Bill Johnson in action playing the same solo live in a clip taken from The Marty Robbins Show (1969).
The clip above was borrowed from the YouTube channel of tarquin45, which I cannot recommend highly enough. It's a superb archive featuring a incredible wealth of extremely rare Marty Robbins footage.