Memo to Ken Burns by Leigh Montville

            MEMO TO KEN BURNS – By Leigh Montville 

           Do you have a minute? Say hello to Juliet Simmons Dinallo and her husband, Michael Dinallo. We know you’re a busy man, sure, but go ahead. Say hello. 

            Juliet and Michael are residents of good old 37206, the East Nashville zip code where you spent a bunch of time in the last few years. That’s right. They’re walking the streets by the Ryman, listening to the music coming out the doors on lower Broadway, heading for gigs here and there, plugging into the studios and cranking out their own sound. Living the dream. 

            Juliet, she’s the red-headed one with the voice just about as pure as tap water from heaven. Michael, he’s the one with the guitar and that 1958 Brylcreem haircut, looks like he just came from a recording session with Elvis and the Jordanaires. They’re doing that Nashville couple thing, you know, holding that treasure map, trying to follow the footsteps of Johnny and June, George and Tammy, Guy and Susanna. Maybe without a bunch of the drama. 

            They have a song out now, Juliet and Michael, called ‘You Got Nothing On Me.’ Take a listen. Three minutes and 13 seconds out of your life. Michael’s on the guitar and that’s the McCrary Sisters doing background harmonies and Tom Hambridge on the drums and Dave Roe on bass and Brother Cleve, himself, on the B3 organ. The sound is a mix of country and soul, a lot of 37206 put together with a good dose of 38103, which is Beale Street, Memphis, TN. 

            Take a listen. This is all the stuff you were talking about in the 16-hour PBS series, Country Music.  Isn’t it? Roots. Americana. Did we mention how much we liked the series? There might have been some omissions here and there, sure, can’t please everybody, but you carved out the heart of the subject and put it on the kitchen table for everyone to see. 

            Take a listen. The heart’s still beating. Juliet Simmons Dinallo and Michael Dinallo. Take a listen. Maybe you’ll want to do that sequel…. 




Memphis, Tennessee

Photo by Steve Roberts 

June 2019