Jimmie ("The Singing Brakeman") Rodgers is perhaps the most beloved hero (of
rockers) most fans have never heard of. A giant to a legion of songwriters, from
Bob Dylan to the late Jerry Garcia, Rodgers, also known as the Father of
Country Music (in addition to being a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame, the very first inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the
first musician ever commemorated on a postage stamp), will get the old tribute
treatment on July 22.
The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers--A Tribute, will
be the first release on Bob Dylan's new Egyptian Records imprint, with
contributions from Dylan, U2's Bono, Dwight Yoakam, John Mellencamp, Aaron
Neville, Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers' Dickey Betts and Van Morrison.
Among the highlights: Jerry Garcia with longtime collaborator David
Grisman covering "Blue Yodel #9 (Standin' on the Corner)" in what a source at
Columbia Records (Egyptian is distributed by Columbia) said is believed to be
his final studio performance, Dylan covering "My Blue Eyed Jane" with Emmylou
Harris on backing vocals (produced by Daniel Lanois) and Willie Nelson's
version of "Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia," produced by Don Was and featuring
famed session drummer Jim Keltner.
Dylan wrote the liner notes to the
album, in which he praises Rodgers as a "blazing star whose sound was, and
remains, the raw essence of individuality."
The interactive portion of the
tribute CD is slated to include a web browser that will allow fans to link to a
Rodgers home page for more information on the artist and his life.