Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History of Country Music: Season 1
January 8, 2019 6:50 PM - Subscribe

I’m not gonna pretend like I have southern accent or talk to you about pickup trucks and chewing tobacco. This is about the truth. You don’t have to know what it’s like to drive a tractor. You don’t need to have spent the last 20 years listening to nothing but Merle Haggard 8 tracks while sipping Pearl beer from a can in order to appreciate these incredible stories and this genius music. You don’t need to “be” country to perform country, so you certainly don’t have to be country to enjoy it.

Cocaine and Rhinestones represents one man's obsessive campaign to tell every story of 20th century country music though a deep dive podcast, each episode with audio "liner notes" that break down his thoughts on the content of that particular episode, and extensive additional web content with a detailed blog with links, photos, videos and more. The guy is on fire with making this and I'm posting it here because I want you to listen!
posted by latkes (5 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I really like this podcast. As podcasts get more produced, we've lost some of the idiosyncrasy that used to come with the medium. This show is idiosyncratic. It's got a specific and distinct flavor and perspective that is unique to Tyler Mahan Coe, and I really groove on his vibe. At times, I wish he would hire an external editor (learn to kill your darlings Tyler!), but I just adore his point of view and the complete devotion he has put in to this project.

My favorite episodes were the single song episodes. Again, this reflects I think the principle of "leave them wanting more" for good entertainment. Some of the performer-focused episodes veer into the "This happened, then this happened, then this happened" territory of a boring biography. But when he uses a smaller story to illustrate some broader points about social history, and then brings that back to the micro level of the outrageous, heartbreaking, or fascinating specifics of an anecdote or song, the podcast really sings.

I also like when he uses the medium in his favor and plays a lot of music clips to illustrate a point. The Winona episode did this especially well I though. I was more interested in his using those musical examples to illustrate where the Judds fit into the genre than in hearing every detail of their fucked up relationship dynamics.

But although there were some shortcomings that are not surprising in a single-person project like this, I think the balance falls on this being a really great project that is mostly super fascinating, educational and fun.

I also appreciate that although women are underrepresented in the industry, he shows a lot of respect and admiration for the women who do write and perform country music.
posted by latkes at 6:57 PM on January 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I HATE podcasts, but I love country music, and people have been telling me to check this out for ages. I have to say, so far I think he's doing an amazing job. A whole episode on Ralph Mooney! It's like this podcast was created specifically for me.

It's worth noting that Tyler Mahan Coe isn't just some guy, either: he's David Allan Coe's son, so he's been in and around the country music business all his life. I mean, shoot, even just hearing about being David Allan Coe's son would be interesting.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:36 PM on January 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

I got really into this podcast last year. I love the amount of research and thought he puts into each episode.

The bonus Q&A from the end of Season 1 was posted in February 2018 so ... maybe it's just about time for Season 2?
posted by bunderful at 4:36 AM on January 9, 2019

I adore this show, and spent the end of 2017/beginning of 2018 proselytizing about it to everyone I encountered. I think I love it on the same wavelength laid out here; the specificity of it, the individual quirkiness, the subject matter. It's great stuff , and I'm really looking forward to season 2.

I did find out about Coe's other podcast, had basically the exact opposite reaction to it, and wrote a bit about it. That, uh, ended a period of friendly interaction with Coe on twitter. That notwithstanding, I'm still excited for S2 of C&R.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:15 AM on January 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm another lover of this show. I even posted about it on the main site.

I really like the way Coe digs deeply into the subject and, in particular, into specific songs. I haven't seen a start date for season 2 yet -- Coe's last post on Patreon just said he was "closer than ever" and had one more major figure to research. But given the way the season 1 episodes built on what came before, it's probably about time for me to give it another listen before season 2 drops.
posted by maurice at 9:02 AM on January 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

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