cyberBob Howe Each month guitar picker and Webmaster Bob Howe brings you the latest Country Music happenings on the Internet.
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Cowboys In Cyberspace - May 2006


Keeping up with the digital age...

The computer-based fridge that restocks itself by ordering more food over the Internet will eventually become a common household appliance, but before that happens we are much more likely to have all our entertainment needs merge into one digital solution. Already we are seeing a trend towards television and music being delivered by the Web and the boundaries between old and new technologies continue to become fuzzy. So too, the borders between the various arts also merge as musicians, actors and personalities flit seamlessly between roles, real or imagined.

LISA CHAPPELL LISA CHAPPELL, former star of the 'McLeod's Daughters' television show spent her spare time between film shoots in the bush rekindling an old While finishing her award-winning role as 'Claire' she also decided to find her own voice, "stripping away any characters". Rather than follow a pop or dance muse, Lisa called on her surroundings for inspiration and has independently released an album of rootsy music in the sensitive singer/songwriter vein. Check out When Then Is Now, produced by Rick Price, at her site.

Old Dog - New Tricks: Country legend MERLE HAGGARD began offering exclusive Webcasts on his site this year. These online shows are filmed in Merle's living room for an hour and feature songs, talk, and guests and are 'pay-per-view' and can only be played once for each time purchased. Originally planned to be a weekly occurrence, the venture may have been temporarily sidelined by Merle's busy touring schedule, including a huge tour with Bob Dylan, but there are a few shows available filmed at the end of last year and a free Bloopers & Out-takes video.

The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) now publishes a Digital Track Chart calculated from sales data submitted by major online music providers, making it the only authoritative guide to the most (legally) downloaded tracks each week. ARIA reports that the digital sales market accounted for $8,000,000 revenue to the industry during 2005, or around 1.5% of the overall wholesale market. It will be interesting to compare which songs prove more popular in digital form compared with their CD counterparts and we'll wait to see which country artist will be first to appear on the chart. Individual song downloads may yet mark the resurgence of the 'single' format which has arguably waned sales-wise since the heady days of vinyl 45rpm discs.

barbed wire
barbed wire


DVD cover


You shouldn't judge a DVD by its cover or else you might overlook this gem. The artwork is plain to say the least and the presentation is minimal but inside the unexciting wrapper is a veritable treasure trove for fans of honky-tonk. In fact even the title is misleading if you think of hillbilly as banjos and dungarees. This is Marty Robbins, Faron Young, Ray Price and Webb Pierce in spangled suits live on US television in the fifties. Fair enough, the producers have set them up in front of hay bales and square dancers and it may look old fashioned by today's standards, but this is the real deal.

The first few numbers make a nod towards rockabilly, but the majority of the 50 songs (that's right, 50!) are straight ahead up-tempo country of the era and there are wonderful inclusions like a jolly Jim Reeves, the rarely seen Hawkshaw Hawkins and a couple of excellent instrumentals from Chet Atkins. The vision and sound is very good, considering the vintage of the original source. This collection is an all-male affair (however look for a young June Carter doing one of the introductions) so surely there will be a follow up featuring the ladies.

(via Shock in Australia)
102 Mins


Bob talked to Barbara Morison on 2SER 107.3 FM about this month's column and more...


Until next time, happy surfing!

If you want to share the location of an interesting site you've seen
or request a topic for discussion in future columns, why not E-mail me.

Don't forget to listen out for cyberBob each month on the radio waves with
Barbara Morison
on 2SER (107.3 FM in Sydney and on the Web)
and listen for Big Bob from Bondi every Saturday night with
John Nutting on Saturday Night Country (your Local ABC Radio and the Web).



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© 2006 Bob Howe - ShowNet