The Abduction of Antônio Vilas-Boas from Larry Cordle

Is there anyone in bluegrass who tells a better story than Larry Cordle? For the past 40 years he has been writing and singing some of the most memorable songs to come out of Nashville, and they have brought him all sorts of trophies from the Grammys, SPBGMA, IBMA, the CMA, and the Dove awards.

His first big song was with his friend and fellow Kentuckian Ricky Skaggs and Highway 40 Blues, which was a #1 country hit in 1982. Since that time, Cord has turned out one after the other for notable country and bluegrass artists, with a sales count of songs he’s written well over 50 million, perhaps none more memorable than Murder on Music Row.

But nothing lights the fire under Larry like recording and performing his music himself, which he has kept on doing, even after undergoing chemo for leukemia in 2017. Now at 74, the hits just keep on coming.

The latest is a plainly hilarious song called The Abduction of Antônio Vilas-Boas, based on the true story of a Brazilian farmer who says that he was abducted by aliens while working in his field in 1957.

Cord says that wrote this one with his longtime partner Larry Shell, and our very own Terry Herd, who brought the idea to a writing session back in October of 2019.

“When we read the story Terry had handed us, we just laughed and laughed. We all felt like no one else would be writing a song like that, and if we could get the story in song form, it would make for something really funny. So, we worked on it all day amidst gales of laughter as each part took shape.

We basically followed the story which anyone owning a computer can find by just putting the guy’.s name in their browser. Of course, we had to take some creative license to hopefully make it funnier and provide an ending that we dreamed up. I hope you all enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed writing this tale that I dare say there won’t be many like it in bluegrass!

Thank you, Terry, for the great idea, and thank you and Shell for letting me write this one with you.”

Herd, who has plenty of song credits of his own, says that getting to write with these guys had been a dream for him for some time.

“Having an opportunity to write with Cordle and Shell has been a top bucket list item of mine since I moved to Nashville in 1996. My goal was to have a good time with two of my heroes, enjoy a few laughs, and, if we were lucky, actually get a song out of the experience. Well, here it is, and I hope everyone laughs at least half as much as we all did in the session.”

Have a listen to the new single, The Abduction of Antônio Vilas-Boas, with support from some of Nashville’s best. Clay Hess is on guitar, Scott Vestal on banjo, Mike Anglin on bass, Steve Thomas on mandolin, and Rob Ikes on the outer space reso-guitar.

The Abduction of Antônio Vilas-Boas is available now from popular download and streaming services. Radio programmers can get the track from AirPlay Direct or by request from Hope River Entertainment.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.