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Vince Gill And Paul Franklin Break Down The Bakersfield Sound

Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, two country legends, pay tribute to Merle Haggard and Buck Owens on a new album.
Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, two country legends, pay tribute to Merle Haggard and Buck Owens on a new album.

Vince Gill has been making records since he was a teenager. Paul Franklin plays pedal-steel guitar like few others have. The two country legends have a new album together titled Bakersfield.

It's a tribute to a particular kind of country music that came out of Bakersfield, Calif., and was created and championed by a couple of guys from that town named Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Gill says the Bakersfield sound grew out of musicians moving west in the hope of scratching out a living.

"They seemed to take that music with them: very honky-tonk driven, very beer-joint driven," Gill says. "It just was unabashed; it wasn't smooth, it wasn't croonish. I think what you have to do is compare it with the country music that was being made primarily in Nashville, which was a lot smoother: string arrangements and kind of cosmopolitan. And along comes Buck and Merle, and they got these twangy Telecasters and Ralph Mooney playing a singing steel guitar. In a way, it's like the Rolling Stones of country music."

Vince Gill and Paul Franklin recently spoke about Bakersfield with NPR's Don Gonyea. Click the audio link to hear more of their conversation, and sample the album at Vince Gill's website.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.