If you've given up on hearing "good ole" traditional country and bluegrass
on the radio, you obviously haven't heard the local Saturday morning show
that has West Alabama humming familiar, but hard-to-find, treasures from
the past. Country Music Flashback with Andy Tucker, which airs Saturday
mornings from 7-9 on Catfish 102.9, is the ultimate spotlight on traditional
country & western, bluegrass and gospel music. Listeners can expect to hear
the likes of Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Uncle Dave Macon, Rose Maddox, the
Louvin Brothers plus scores of other legends. Radio is Tucker's hobby,
as he owns the Andy Tucker Agency of Farmers Insurance on Skyland Boulevard
"The great thing about this show is that I have complete freedom to
spin records from as far back as the 1920s. This is an artform that
most stations have forgotten, much less would even offer in small doses
like I am able to do," says the 28-year-old Tucker whose knowledge
of the music he plays makes even the old-timers scratch their heads.
According to Tucker, he was turned on to this music when he was 11-years-old
after hearing Roy Acuff's version of "I Saw the Light" this drove him to begin
his mission of learning as much as he could about this music that he says
has been "lost in the shuffle." The University of Alabama graduate served
as a weekend host on WSM in Nashville's Interstate Radio Network and fulfilled
a dream by affiliating with the legendary Ernest Tubb Record Shop.
Anyone tuning Andy in might hear a record from regional favorite Carl Sauceman,
an upbeat, driving shuffle number recorded on the West Coast or a selection
from a Mississippi string band recorded in 1929. Tucker eludes, "There is far
more character to a scratchy 78 or 45 rpm than the flawless, manufactured sound
of today." Though he adds there is still plenty of worthwhile music being
recorded on independent labels and it is added to the mix. Interviewees on
CMF have included Eddy Arnold, Bill Anderson, Jean Shepard, Billy Walker,
Hank Thompson and Charlie Louvin. Tucker also features live music periodically,
which is certainly a throwback to days gone by.
Since going on the air in April of 2003, Tucker has learned that people are
hungry for this particular kind of music. "In an age where the traditional
aspect is often left out of 'country' music, folks find my presentation of
these recordings refreshing…and the overwhelming response is not just from
those that grew up listening to this, but from younger people as well,"
says Tucker. He plays only "music with integrity," which is what families
were exposed to as they gathered around radios 60 and 70 years ago, and
thanks to Country Music Flashback, now have access to again.