BAKERSFIELD - Bakersfield is getting first dibs on a new album by country music stars Vince Gill and Paul Franklin. It's called "Bakersfield" and the musicians pay tribute to Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and the Bakersfield Sound.
KUZZ listeners get to hear it all in a special program Friday and Sunday.
The record label sent KUZZ a copy of the album two months ago. On it, Gill and Franklin cover five Merle songs and five Buck songs, and the radio station thought Bakersfield would enjoy the modern musicians' take on its music roots.
"The record label sent it to me, undercover, and they said listen to it, tell us what you think," said Tom Jordan, Program Director at KUZZ. "I listened to it and I went hmmm. A little light came on and I said this is something we can embrace and have fun with here in town."
Country stars Vince Gill and Paul Franklin describe the album on a YouTube clip, wanting to mimic the masters of the Bakersfield Sound.
"It goes right to the core to me of what country music is," said Franklin on the video. "This is some stuff that I think a lot of people miss hearing," said Gill. "It's two guys loving this music and doing it the best we can," said Franklin.
In an interview with KUZZ, Gill and Franklin talk about growing up with their music.
"Paul Franklin actually talks about in the interview about how his very first rock concert, Buck Owens was on that same bill," said KUZZ Music Director, Toni Marie.
Gill would eventually get to play with Buck, while Franklin studied the steel in the songs, a sound and style they both love.
"It can whine. It can wail. It can cry. It can chirp. It can laugh and they just wanted to showcase that," said Marie.
And, KUZZ wanted to showcase the album, weaving the interview with the artists with all ten songs, into an hour-long special. It's a reminder of the music mark Bakersfield has made and continues to.
"You go around Bakersfield all day long and you think, ok, I just live in Bakersfield. Well, Bakersfield is a pretty important place," said Marie.
The hour-long uninterrupted special called "This is Bakersfield" airs Friday on KUZZ at 8 p.m. It will play again at noon Sunday with CD giveaways throughout the weekend.
"Bakersfield" isn't officially released until next Tuesday. And, just announced Friday, Vince Gill and Paul Franklin are coming to Bakersfield to perform at Rabobank on October 25th. Tickets go on sale Friday, August 2nd.