Cocaine & Rhinestones is a podcast about country music from before the year 2000. It’s about the musicians and producers and songwriters and singers who made country music. It’s about the DJs and record labels who found country music. It’s about the music itself and it’s about the lives these people lived in order to make it.
From legendary superstars like George Jones and Ernest Tubb to criminally under-appreciated sidemen like Ralph Mooney, from the real reason Loretta Lynn kept getting banned from country radio to the horrific reality of Spade Cooley murdering his wife, Cocaine & Rhinestones takes a deep look at one of the most American forms of art to ever exist.
Western swing, honky tonk, The Grand Ole Opry, the Nashville Sound, the Bakersfield Sound, Cajun fiddle, pedal steel guitar – these sounds and more are heard in every episode from excerpts of some of the best country music ever made. Hit country songs are placed in context on a timeline reaching back even earlier than Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family and covering ground all the way up to best-selling acts like The Judds in the 90s.
You don’t have to be a country music fan to love this podcast. This is ornate non-fiction storytelling at its finest. Fans of true crime podcasts, this is for you. Love hearing about history? You could think of Cocaine & Rhinestones as an audio documentary series. In fact, you probably should think of it that way.
Every episode of Cocaine & Rhinestones is hosted, produced and written by Tyler Mahan Coe. This is a scripted show. You won’t be wasting your time listening to Tyler try to remember what he was talking about or listening to him take a drink of water on the mic. If for some reason you don’t like listening to great stories intercut with killer old-school country music, every episode of Cocaine & Rhinestones has a companion blog post on https://cocaineandrhinestones.com with a full transcript of the story, links to all the music and video clips used in each episode, information on what books Tyler read to research the episode and more!
If you’re enjoying the show, please leave a good review wherever you listen to podcasts. Even more importantly, tell one of your real life friends about it, in person. Cocaine & Rhinestones is not meant as disposable content. You can listen to this series over and over again, talk about it with your friends, get into arguments over whose favorite country song is better.
In addition to artists already mentioned, the first season of Cocaine & Rhinestones features Johnny Paycheck, Bobbie Gentry, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Don Rich, Doug Kershaw, Rusty Kershaw, Neil Young, Wynonna, Bob Wills, Glen Campbell, Jeannie C. Riley, Tom T. Hall and The Louvin Brothers. If you’re a fan of real country music, you already know this is going to be your new favorite podcast just from reading those names!
No other podcast is telling these stories. Press play. Get into it.