By BERNICE FOX
Special to Circling the News
With one of the nation’s most popular country music radio stations, KKGO, headquartered nearby in Westwood, maybe it’s not a surprise that Pacific Palisades has its share of country music stalwarts.
We’ll start with Reese Witherspoon.
Witherspoon has announced her company, Hello Sunshine, is producing an upcoming country music competition series called “My Kind of Country.” It’ll run on Apple TV Plus – the same streaming platform that hosts her dramatic series, “The Morning Show.”
She tells her fans on Instagram “it’s not looking like I’ll ever fulfill my childhood dreams of becoming Dolly Parton,” so producing this new series “might just be the next best thing.”
Witherspoon grew up in Nashville and lives in the Palisades. She says country music has been a huge part of her life for as long as she can remember. And she won an Oscar for playing country music star June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line.” Witherspoon did her own singing in the movie.
Country music has a lot of depth, according to Witherspoon, who points to “the history of songwriting and recording, the artistry of matching lyrics and chords, the true expression of what is happening to humanity right now… not to mention the dazzling stage performances that bring you to your feet.”
Witherspoon says, “there are so many remarkably talented people whose voices are being heard right now.” And she adds “there are many more who have different experiences and remarkable stories that still need to be told in the genre.”
So, she says it is “our hope is to discover musicians who are revolutionizing country music and help amplify their voices and bring the JOY of Country Music to everyone around the world.”
Apple TV Plus has not announced when “My Kind of Country” will be available to watch.
Another Palisadian who is deep into country music is Rita Wilson. She grew up in Hollywood and went to Hollywood High School, not necessarily a hotbed of country. On her website, she says she grew up loving both country and pop music.
Though best known as an actress, she’s been diving into singing and writing country music. She and her record label have been spotlighting songs from her latest album which she released last year called “Halfway to Home.”
Why that title? Wilson explains “everybody is a work in progress. I don’t feel that we’re ever at the place we want to be. Just when you think you’ve got it made, something throws you for a loop.”
For Wilson, one of those loops was her breast cancer diagnosis and surgery in 2015. That’s most likely a reason she recently donated an autographed Fender acoustic guitar to an auction to raise money for the City of Hope. The City of Hope is known for cancer research and treatment and has branched out to diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Wilson’s husband, Tom Hanks, has said he has developed Type 2 diabetes.
And getting back to the topic of country music, Brad Paisley used to live in the Palisades. But once his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, was finished filming the sitcom, “According to Jim,” they moved back to Nashville fulltime.