Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

John Coltrane: Thank God He’s a Country Boy!

Tom Wilmeth blogs about references to Coltrane in recent hit country songs

John Coltrane

There is a something very curious taking place right now on the Billboard Magazine Country Music chart. I’m certain there is no Grammy Award or even a statistical category for this anomaly, such as Artist with the Most Records Sold, the Single with the Most Weeks at #1, or even sub-categories such as the Longest Song to Make the Chart. Nonetheless, let me briefly draw your attention to a strange confluence now on country radio: There are specific references to the late jazz saxophone master John Coltrane currently found within not one, but in the lyrics of two separate country hits this week!

The jazz recordings of John Coltrane are about as far from country music as one can travel while still being on American soil. Briefly, Coltrane was born in 1926; he joined Miles Davis’ quintet in 1955; in 1960 he began his own solo career. Before his death in 1967, Coltrane was responsible for expanding not only the possibilities of the tenor saxophone, but of jazz itself.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published