Country artist Travis Tritt, artist and music industry leader Shannon Sanders, and Concord Records president John Burk explore the impact of Ray Charles’s groundbreaking 1962 album “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music” during a 2019 panel discussion at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which also includes a performance by Tennessee-born blues and country singer-songwriter Valerie June.
Ray Charles was called the “genius of soul,” but he grew up listening to country music, and over his six-decade career, country songs remained part of his repertoire. “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music” contained the classics “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “You Don’t Know Me,” and “Born to Lose,” and the album’s success led to a sequel, “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Volume Two.” Concord reissued both volumes in 2019.
Reflecting on a video clip of his 2002 “CMT Crossroads” collaboration with Charles (a performance of Hank Snow’s “I’m Moving On”), lifelong fan and fellow Georgian Travis Tritt calls the taping the best day of his life. John Burk talks about producing the Grammy-winning Ray Charles record “Genius Loves Company,” which includes numerous guest artists, Willie Nelson and Norah Jones among them.
Shannon Sanders and Tritt discuss how “Modern Sounds” integrated soul and country music at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, overcame racial barriers in popular music, and gave country music broader exposure.
Valerie June closes the show with a performance of three Ray Charles classics: "Careless Love,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” and “You Are My Sunshine.”
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