If you’re anything like those of us on the EastNashvilleBlog.com staff who grew up in the 1980s, you were a fan of the poetry of Shel Silverstein. Collected in books like A Light In The Attic and Where The Sidewalk Ends, Silverstein’s witty verse lit a fire in our young imaginations and gave us a sense of humor that’s come in very handy living in modern America. If you’re from a previous generation you may have loved those books as much as we did, but chances are that you knew Silverstein more for the songs he penned back in the day for recording artists like Johnny Cash and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.
Regardless of which generation of Silverstein fan you represent, chances are you’re going to want to check out Twistable Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein. Totaling fifteen tracks, this Sugar Hill Records compilation is the brainchild of East Nashvillian Bobby Bare, Jr., who put together the disc with his father, country music legend Bobby Bare. Both men were heavily influenced by Silverstein – Bare’s biggest hits were written by him, while Bare Jr. counted the poet and songwriter as a musical mentor.
Both men get a track on the disc – Sr. with “The Living Legend”, and Jr. with his daughter Isabella on “Daddy What If,” a new version of the same song that he recorded with his father at the age of eight (and for which the two were nominated for a Grammy). Joining them to cover Silverstein’s songs on Twistable, Turnable Man is a veritable who’s who of past and modern American music: Kris Kristofferson (“The Winner”), John Prine (“This Guitar Is For Sale”), Nanci Griffith (“The Giving Tree”), Lucinda Williams (“The Ballad of Lucy Jordan”) and Todd Snider (“A Boy Named Sue”) share the record with My Morning Jacket (“Lullabys, Legends and Lies”), Black Francis and Joey Santiago of The Pixies (“The Cover of the Rolling Stone”), and Dr. Dog (“The Unicorn”).
Check out preview versions of all the songs, not to mention a video of Shel Silverstein playing on The Johnny Cash Show in 1970, over at the Sugar Hill Records site for Twistable, Turnable Man. The album hits stores on June 8th.