Buck Owens may best be remembered for Hee Haw, the TV variety show he hosted from 1969 to 1986. But Owens — born Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. — was no bumpkin. A sophisticated musician who played a range of stringed instruments, Owens broke with the highly polished conventions that characterized Nashville. He was the prime example of what came to be called the Bakersfield sound: a rawer, honky-tonk style with a harder rhythm and more twang. The Bakersfield sound held its own as rock and roll came to dominate pop music, and it touched everyone from Emmylou Harris and Dwight Yoakam to the Grateful Dead.
When he received an offer to play Carnegie Hall with his band, Owens initially told his manager to turn it down, fearing that a weak turnout in New York would be an embarrassment. Instead, that 1966 show turned out to be one of the highlights of his career. The recording of that show, Carnegie Hall Concert with Buck Owens and His Buckaroos,entered the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry this year.
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