Filed Under:

Vince Gill And Paul Franklin Break Down The Bakersfield Sound

Play associated audio

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 2013 NPR. To see more, visit


From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the actor Rainn Wilson about his new memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.