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Front Page News, Archive #3

Remembering Max D. Barnes Born Jul 24, 1936 in Hardscratch, IA
Died Jan. 11, 2004 Nashville, TN

            by Stephen Thomas Erlewine - Max D. Barnes may not have released many records, but he left an important mark on contemporary country music. As a songwriter, Barnes composed many familiar songs of the '80s and '90s, receiving 42 songwriter awards in his career. Artists like George Jones ("Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes"), Waylon Jennings ("Drinkin' and Dreamin'"), Conway Twitty ("Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night"), Keith Whitley ("Ten Feet Away"), Randy Travis ("I Won't Need You Anymore [Forever and Always]"), Vern Godsin ("Way Down Deep," "Slow Burnin' Memory"), Pam Tillis ("Don't Tell Me What to Do"), and Vince Gill ("Look at Us") have recorded his songs, as have many others. Although he has had a couple of minor hits himself (most notably "Allegheny Lady" in the mid-'70s), his true legacy lies in his songs, not his records.
            Barnes grew up in Iowa, receiving his first guitar from his sister Ruthie Steele at age 11. Shortly afterward, his parents were divorced. He moved to Omaha, NE, with his mother and two younger brothers. At 16, he dropped out of school and began singing in a local nightclub. During this time, he formed a band called the Golden Rockets, which featured his future wife, Patsy, as lead singer. Max and Patsy quit playing clubs after the birth of their son, Patrick. At first, Max worked for an Omaha concrete company, but the family soon moved to Long Beach, CA, where he was the foreman at a lamp factory. After a while, he quit, spending his summers in Omaha and his winters singing in California. By 1962, he saved up enough money to buy a nightclub near Lake Okiboji, IA, but he sold it after eight months. Again, the Barnes family moved back to Omaha, where Max spent nine years driving as a truck driver.
            Barnes' musical career didn't really begin until 1971, when he recorded a single for Jed, "Ribbons of Steel"/"Hello Honky Tonk." He followed it with "You Gotta Be Putting Me On"/"Growing Old With Grace," which was released on Willex. Following some words of encouragement from songwriter Kent Westberry, Barnes moved to Nashville in 1973. Barnes became a staff writer for Roz-Tense Music, which led to Charley Pride recording two of his songs. Soon, he moved to Gary S. Paxman Music, then to Danor Music. While he was with Danor, Barnes wrote nearly 30 songs recorded by other artists, including several hit singles; on one occasion, he had five of his songs on the charts simultaneously. He also co-wrote many songs with Troy Seals, one of the co-owners of the publishing company. Sadly, tragedy befell the Barnes family, as the eldest son, Patrick, died in a car accident in 1975. Max wrote about the incident on "Chiseled in Stone," which was co-written with Vern Gosdin, who had a hit with the song in 1989.
            In 1976, Barnes signed a publishing deal with Screen Gems EMI, which helped him secure a recording contract with Polydor. Released the following year, Rough Around the Edges spawned the minor hit "Allegheny Lady," which scraped the bottom of the charts. If he didn't have hits with his own records, he did have hits with his songs, as Conway Twitty brought several of Barnes' songs to the charts, including the Loretta Lynn duets "I Can't Love You Enough" and "From Seven Till Ten," and the solo "Don't Take It Away," which hit number one.

Scruggs 80th Birthday Party
            By JOHN GEROME (AP) Jan. 7th 2004 - Some of Nashville's finest pickers threw a surprise party Tuesday for banjo great Earl Scruggs on his 80th birthday ‹ and they brought their instruments with them. Scruggs, whose three-fingered approach to playing the instrument is credited by many with giving bluegrass music its distinctive sound, accepted a banjo-shaped cake and watched an all-star cast perform "Foggy Mountain Breakdown."
            Vince Gill (news), Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, Marty Stuart, Brenda Lee, Porter Wagoner, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and many others attended the celebration at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. President Bush sent his congratulations, as did actor Billy Bob Thornton and musical stars Don Henley, Dolly Parton and Dwight Yoakam.
            Gill called Scruggs an innovator who created a new way to play his instrument. "When he started that three-fingered banjo style," Gill said, "everybody I know who heard it was stopped in their tracks and said, `What is that?' I have to find that, I have to learn that.'" But Gill said Scruggs' greatest gift was his open-minded approach that brought acoustic music to a wider, younger audience in the 1960s and '70s. Through the years, Scruggs has recorded with country, rock and pop stars, including Sting, Elton John (news), Henley, Yoakam, Johnny Cash (news), the Byrds and many others. With his wife and manager, Louise, at his side, Scruggs told the crowd, "Thank you, every one of you. I enjoyed every bit of it."
            Scruggs grew up on a farm in North Carolina's Cleveland County and worked as a textile worker in the early 1940s before he began performing professionally. He met Lester Flatt in 1945 when they were members of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. They left three years later to form the Foggy Mountain Boys and eventually the hugely successful Flatt & Scruggs. The duo started an early morning radio show in Nashville and joined the Grand Ole Opry cast in 1955. During the late 1950s and early '60s, they had a syndicated TV show and their songs began hitting the country charts.
            "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" from "The Beverly Hillbillies" TV show hit No. 1 on the country charts in 1962 ‹ their only chart topper. "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" from the 1967 movie "Bonnie and Clyde" reached only No. 58 but became a bluegrass standard. Their other hits include "Cabin in the Hills" and "Pearl, Pearl, Pearl," another song from "The Beverly Hillbillies."
            Musical and business differences ended the duo in 1969, and Flatt died in 1979. Scruggs and his sons Randy and Gary formed the Earl Scruggs Revue that year and became a major draw on college campuses. Their repertoire mixed traditional songs and contemporary folk-rock covers with Scruggs' intricate banjo solos.

Dave Dudley R.I.P.
            DANBURY, WIS, December 23, 2003 - Dave Dudley passed away yesterday afternoon. He had a massive Coronary. He died in Dave Dudleywhere he lived, Danbury Wisc. Dave was 75 years old.
            Dave Dudley (born David Darwin Pedruska, May 3, 1928, Spencer, WI) is the father of truck driving country music. With his 1963 song "Six Days on the Road," he founded a new genre of country music ‹ a variation of honky tonk and rock-inflected country that concentrated lyrically on the lifestyles of truck drivers. Dudley had a string of Top 15 singles that ran through the '60s, while he continued to have Top 40 hits well into the '70s, establishing himself as one of the most popular singers of his era.
            At the age of 11, Dudley's father gave him a guitar, but he had his heart set on being a baseball player. Throughout his teenage years he played ball, becoming a member of the Gainesville Owls as a young adult. However, his career was cut short by an arm injury. Following his retirement from baseball, he became a DJ at a local Texas station, where he would sometimes play along with the songs on the air. The station owner encouraged to become a performer, and Dudley followed the advice.
            Dudley moved to Idaho in the early '50s, where he formed the Dave Dudley Trio, which didn't have much success in its seven years together. In 1960, following the breakup of the trio, he moved to Minneapolis, where formed a group called the Country Gentlemen, which quickly built up a dedicated following. His career was thrown off track in December of 1960, when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver as he was packing his guitar into his car. After several months, he was recovered and managed to secure a record deal with Vee Records. His first single, "Maybe I Do," was minor hit in the fall of 1961 and was followed by another minor hit, "Under Cover of the Night," the following year on Jubilee Records.
            In the summer of 1963, he had his breakthrough hit, "Six Days on the Road," which was released on Golden Wing. The song became a massive success, peaking at number two on the country charts and making the pop Top 40. That same year, he signed with Mercury Records, releasing his first single for the label, "Last Day in the Mines," by the end of the year. Throughout the '60s, he had a long string of truck driving singles, including "Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun," "Trucker's Prayer," "Anything Leaving Town Today," "There Ain't No Easy Run," and "Two Six Packs Away." By the end of the decade, he was also making conservative, good-old-boy anthems as well.
            During the early '70s, he had several hits ‹ notably the 1971 Top Ten singles "Comin' Down" and "Fly Away Again" ‹ but by the beginning of the '80s, he was no longer a presence on the charts. His last hit single was 1980's "Rolaids, Doan's Pills and Preparation H." During the '80s and '90s, Dudley didn't record much, but he remained a popular concert draw. And truck drivers still loved him ‹ the Teamsters Union awarded him an honorary, solid-gold membership card.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine - courtesy TWANGTOWNUSA.COM

Ryman Recognized
            NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Dec. 1, 2003 -- The Ryman Auditorium, along with only five other venues in the nation, has been nominated for a 2003 Pollstar Concert Industry Award in the category of Theatre of the Year. Pollstar already has named the Ryman one of its "Top 50 Grossing Theater Venues" in the country - a field that includes facilities with two to three times the Ryman's capacity.
            "It's an honor for the Ryman to be recognized by Pollstar as one of the nation's premier music theatres," said Pam Matthews, Ryman Auditorium general manager. "The Ryman, which has a century-long tradition of attracting the world's best entertainers from all musical genres, is known for its exceptional acoustics and a rich music history. Most of all, the Ryman is one of the most unique places in America to listen to and experience music."
            Pollstar's other Theatre of the Year Award nominees include the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix, the Fox Theatres in Atlanta and Detroit, the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, and Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
            Recently voted one of the Top Ten "Best Live Music Venues" in the nation and the "Best Live Music Venue" in Nashville according to patrons and editors of, the Ryman has featured a range of performers over the last year that includes Annie Lennox, Al Green, Willie Nelson, Train, Ralph Stanley and Margaret Cho. British rock band Coldplay, which performed on the historic stage to a sold-out house in March, proclaimed the Ryman "The Greatest Theatre in the World." Opry member and bluegrass legend Del McCoury also recently noted that the Ryman "is just as exciting today as it was in 1963, the first time I played here."
            The Pollstar Concert Industry Awards will take place on Feb. 6, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. The Pollstar Concert Industry Award winners were first announced in 1984 while the official Pollstar Concert Industry Awards presentations began in 1990 at New York City's prestigious Radio City Music Hall.
            About the Ryman Auditorium: A National Historic Landmark, the Ryman Auditorium was built as a church in 1892, served as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-74, and was completely renovated in 1994. The Ryman, voted one of the Top Ten "Best Live Music Venues" in the nation by Citysearch patrons, continues its more-than-100-year music tradition by offering the best in live entertainment. The Ryman Auditorium is owned by Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE:GET), a Nashville-based hospitality and entertainment company that owns and operates Gaylord Hotels, the Grand Ole Opry and ResortQuest International. For more information, visit or

Iowa's Pioneer Music Musem
            Anita, Iowa - In 1976, when the non-profit (501(c)3) association, National Traditional Country Music Assn., was formed, one of the objectives in their long range planning, was to create a Pioneer Music Museum that would house artifacts and "memories" of how music evolved in the State of Iowa. It took some time, and some doing, but that eventually happened.  It took 29 years, and is not only surviving, but growing.
            The first Pioneer Music Museum, was located on the second and third floors of a restored opera house in Walnut, Iowa. According to the NTCMA president, Bob Everhart, "We tried really hard to make our musuem work in Walnut, after all, that small town is Antique City, USA. But it just didn't work at all. We had it on the second and third floors, and everytime a tour bus came, we lost more than half of the elderly because they wouldn't, or couldn't climb the stairs. Even regular visitors refused to climb the stairs. Installation of an elevator was not financially feasible. We functioned in Walnut for several years but eventually had to find a more workable and profitable location. We put the opera house in Walnut up for sale, and purchased street level property in Anita, Iowa, a small rural town mid-way between Omaha and Des Moines, just off Interstate-80. We're right next door to the Lake Anita State Park.  It was the smartest thing we've ever done. Not only has the museum thrived, we have been able to add "America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame,"  as part of the display, and "America's Old Time Fiddler's Hall of Fame," too! This has expanded our museum offerings considerably, and made the museum itself more attractive to visitors. It's a very unique 'memory experience' with none other like it in the State of Iowa, or perhaps the entire midwest. The original pioneer music, and the performers of 'down-home' music, have been solidly preserved and honored at this museum. We need to expand. We're running out of room now, and to make our Anita museum larger, we need to sell our opera house in Walnut. We'd like to add "state of the art" sound with special presentations of Iowa's many music cultures that came with the settling pioneers. Iowa is a peculiar state that did not discriminate against nationalistic music fervor and has maintained these many musical art forms through the years through festivals and special musical presentations. We'd like to keep all of that alive in one location."
            The Pioneer Music Museum and Halls of Fame are open Memorial Day through Labor Day annually, and by special appointment. More information is available from the National Traditional Country Music Assn., at 712-762-4363 or e-mailing them at They have a website at

Teddy Wilburn, Rest In Peace
Grand Ole Opry Star Teddy Wilburn Passed Away November 24th at 4:15 P.M. in Nashville. The family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Fund ... Opry Trust fund or PSP Organization in lue of flowers.
            BIO - Born Nov 30 in Hardy, Arkansas. Joined the Opry in 1953. Teddy Wilburn first started appearing regularly on the Opry with the other Wilbur Children when he was only 9 years. He came back as a duo with his brother for almost 30-years. He has been a solo performer since his brother's death in 1982.
            Teddy was barely six years old when he made his first public appearance - shivering on a Thayer street corner on Christmas Eve performing with his brothers Lester, Leslie and Doyle and sister Geraldine.
            Their father got them started early. "Pop" Wilburn ordered their musical instruments from the Sears catalog, rehearsed them for over a year, constructed two hardwood floors in the backyard between two oak trees, and then invited neighbors from miles around to come to their home for backyard square dances. Everybody danced and twirled as the young Wilburns played their guitars, fiddles and mandolin.
            Since their one-room schoolhouse had only a 6-month term, that left them 6 months to tour and play at local radio stations schools, churches, and movie houses - wherever their dad, who was also their manager, agent, and PR man, could book them.
            Roy Acuff caught their act in Birmingham, AL and told the Grand Ole Opry management about the Wilburn kids and arranged an audition.
            The Wilburn Children became regular members in 1940. However due to the extreme young ages of the children and the show's late hours, the pressures from a child labor organization forced them to terminate the children's stay after only six months.
            They returned home and played small radio stations and gatherings. Sister Geraldine got married and left the act. The four Wilburn brothers continued pickin' and singin' and became members of the "Louisiana Hayride" in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1948. They played the Hayride until the Korean War took Teddy and Doyle in 1951.
            After their release from the Army, Teddy and Doyle went to work with Webb Pierce and his show and were soon back on the Opry. Webb got them a recording contract with Decca Records that became a 22-year relationship. Their 1963 hit "Troubles Back in Town" was followed by other Wilburn classics, "Roll Muddy River," "It's Another World," Someone Before Me," and "Arkansas."
            They appeared on everything from Arthur Godfrey to Dick Clark's American Bandstand and had their own syndicated television show for more than 12 years - introducing such country greats as Loretta Lynn, the Osborne Brothers and Crystal Gayle to national audiences.
            The Wilburn Brothers' career ended on October 16, 1982, when Doyle died from cancer. "It was like a 45-year marriage ended," Teddy said. "There was a lot of adjusting to do."
            Today Teddy still performs on the Opry - continuing the tradition of having a Wilburn on the stage of the Opry - a tradition started 60 years ago. -TWANGTOWNUSA.COM

Don Gibson Passes Away
From Dick Shuey: "We have worked and talked with him on the road and in Nashville. he was one of the friendliest, most unassuming, and amazingly talented people we have ever known. We'll miss him."
            He Was 75 years old. Don Gibson was a member of the Country Music Hall Of Fame and the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. It is reported that he died of natural causes. Don Gibson, born: 4/3/1928, birthplace: Shelby, NC, year of Grand Ole Opry Membership: 1958. When considering great country music talents, Don Gibson's name has to be high on the list. As a songwriter/artist, Don has composed such classic standards as "Oh, Lonesome Me" and "I Can't Stop Loving You."
            More than 150 artists have recorded the later classic, including Elvis Presley three times. Don's reap from the song even includes a gold record for the Ray Charles version.
            Don knew he had something special the day he composed "I Can't Stop Loving You." He thought less of "Oh, Lonesome Me," written the same afternoon. "I thought it was nothing at all, so I sent it to Nashville and said, 'Give it to George Jones.' I had no idea I'd ever cut it, but Chet Atkins and Wesley Rose said that was the one they wanted me to record. I said, 'I don't want to do that junk. I thought you'd given it to George.' Well they insisted, so I said, 'I'll do it if you let me put 'I Can't Stop Loving You' on the back. I think it's the best song.' They didn't want to. Then they said they would but weren't going to push it , and they didn't."
            Gibson also wrote such songs as "Blue Blue Day," "Legend in my Time," "Sweet Dreams," "Too Soon To Know," "Guess Away The Blues," "Country Green," "Who Cares" and scores of others.
            As a teenager, he worked at a variety of jobs, including one in the textile mills in his native North Carolina, "hopping curbs and even delivering baby diapers," he recalled. He worked to make enough money to finance his efforts to be an entertainer and songwriter.
            He was still a youngster when he moved to Knoxville to perform on the WNOX Tennessee Barn Dance and Midday Merry-Go-Round. He soon organized his first band in the area. He then met Wesley Rose, president of Acuff-Rose Publishing in Nashville. Rose heard some of Don's songs and sought him out. And just as Rose's father, Fred, discovered Hank Williams, Wesley discovered Don Gibson.
            Don signed a songwriting contract with Rose and a recording contract with RCA. His first single was "Too Soon To Know," and the second "Oh, Lonesome Me," swept every major award in the country music field in 1958. During this period, Don joined the Grand Ole Opry as a regular. He rejoined the Opry in 1975.
            But the nicest thing that ever happen to him, in his own words, "is her," his wife, Bobbi, a beautiful, charming girl from his hometown.

Country Music Retirement Home
           By JOHN GEROME, (AP) NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Marty Martel never had a gold record, but he's been in the country music business for 30 years, first as a singer and later as the owner of a small production and talent agency. Now 64 years old and near the end of his career, Martel wants a little peace of mind. He wants to see a long-discussed retirement home built for people in country music, a place where singers, producers, musicians and others can go, no matter how little money they have. "I know that when my time comes I hope that I have everything in order and I don't need it," Martel said. "But I'd like to know that it's there."
           After 10 years of stops and starts, the project is gaining traction. A task force appointed by the Country Music Association and the Reunion of Professional Entertainers is searching for land. Organizers have collected seed money. And some high-profile executives and entertainers have gotten behind it, including CMA President Ed Benson and singer Martina McBride. Still, Benson said that until ground is broken and sketches drawn, raising the millions it will take to build the home is a hard sell. The timing is less than ideal, with music sales in a slump.
           "In 1994, at the height of country's biggest success boom ever, had we been able to get it off the ground, raising money for this would have been easier," Benson said. The retirement home will be patterned after one run by the Motion Picture & Television Fund in Los Angeles. Besides the retirement home, MPTF operates a service network of five outpatient centers, a 265-bed hospital and a children's center.
           The Nashville project is far less ambitious. Coordinator Katy Gillon said the home is to be developed in three phases, starting with independent living villas, then assisted living quarters and finally a skilled nursing home. Fees would be paid on a sliding scale, with each person's situation kept private. Rules for eligibility are still in the works.
           At the MPTF retirement home, residents must be in the film or TV industry at least 20 years to be eligible. Besides actors, the home is open to writers, set designers, camera operators and other behind-the-scenes workers. Benson said it's important that Nashville's retirement home is viewed as a place for people of all means, not as a last resort for the poor. "We want to create a community that is desirable and not just be seen as a home for the decrepit and people who couldn't take care of themselves," he said.
           Still, the need is there. Until the 1960s, country music was a relatively small, regional industry, and its singers and musicians struggled to make a living, let alone save for retirement. "In the first 30 or 40 years of country music, it wasn't really an organized profession that had as one of its aspects the concern and welfare of the individual," said Charles Wolfe, an English professor at Middle Tennessee State University who has written several histories of country music. "Up until the age of modern Nashville, in 1958 or 1960 when the CMA was formed, there wasn't much of anything out there for musicians to use as retirement."

Johnny Musical Tribute
Planned for Nov. 10th

           Nashville, TN -- A musical tribute to the late Johnny Cash is set to take place November 10th at the historic Ryman Auditorium with some of the biggest names in music. Performers scheduled to-date includes his daughter, Rosanne, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Hank Williams Jr., Jack Clement, Steve Earle and Larry Gatlin. Musicians not yet confirmed are Bob Dylan, Bono and Bruce Springsteen.

           "John Carter, Rosanne and the rest of the family just wanted to give the public closure to their feelings about John's death," Lou Robin, Cash's manager said. "They thought maybe this would be an opportunity for a lot of different entertainers to come and voice their feelings and perform and entertain."
           Cash was the youngest person ever inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the only performer ever selected for both the Country and Rock Music Hall of Fame, until 1998, when Elvis Presley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Cash, who was awarded 12 Grammy awards during his 42-year music career, died Sept. 12 from complications related to diabetes. He was 71.
           Tickets to the Musical Tribute to Johnny Cash will be free. More details on tickets will be forthcoming.

Slim Dusty: 1927-2003
           In the town and in the country they drank to his memory and listened one more time to the songs that defined another Australia. Slim Dusty - Australia's greatest country music performer. Slim Dusty, the nation's greatest country performer, died at 9.10am yesterday (September 29th), book-ending a week that began with the loss of American country icon Johnny Cash.
           Dusty was born David Gordon Kirkpatrick on June 13, 1927, wrote his first song as a 10-year-old in 1937, and performed on radio for the first time in 1942. He had his first big hit in 1957 with A Pub With No Beer and his last in 1980 with I Love to Have a Beer With Duncan, although he never stopped touring or recording. He released his 104th studio album last year. Dusty, 76, died at his Sydney home after a long battle with cancer.

Sheb Wooley Passes
by Edward Morris - Singer, songwriter and actor Sheb Wooley - who also recorded a series of parody hits as Ben Colder - died Tuesday (Sept. 16) at Skyline Medical Center in Nashville. He was 82. Wooley had suffered from leukemia for the past five years, his widow, Linda Dotson, told But she said he had been strong enough to go with her to Johnny Cash's wake on Sunday (Sept. 14). While there, she continued, he seemed to falter: "It was like God laid His hand on his shoulder and said, `You'll be the third to go,'" Dotson observed. (TV actor John Ritter, son of Country Music Hall of Fame member Tex Ritter, died the day before Cash.)
           Shelby F. Wooley was born April 10, 1921, near Erick, Oklahoma. While a teenager, he worked as a rodeo rider and formed his own band. In the mid-1940s, he performed on radio stations WLAC and WSM in Nashville and subsequently had his own show on the Calumet Radio Network. He signed to Bullet Records in 1946, then moved on to MGM Records two years later, where he remained until 1973. Wooley was a major musical influence on Roger Miller, who was related to him by marriage. Miller was only 11 when Wooley gave him his first fiddle.
           Wooley began acting in movies in 1950, appearing first in Rocky Mountain with Errol Flynn. In 1952, he played killer Ben Miller in the Gary Cooper-Grace Kelly classic western, High Noon. Altogether, he acted in more than 60 films, among them Giant (1956) and Hoosiers (1986). Prominent in television acting as well, he played the role of Pete Nolan in the popular Rawhide series from 1959 to 1966.
           As a recording artist, Wooley had his first success on the pop charts. His "Are You Satisfied?" barely made a dent in 1955, reaching only the No. 95 spot. But three years later, he unleashed a monster with the novelty tune, "The Purple People Eater." It went No. 1 on the pop listings and stayed there for six weeks. "That's My Pa," another novelty effort in 1962, was his first country hit. It also reached No. 1.
           As "Ben Colder," Wooley scored six country and five pop hits with such parodies as "Don't Go Near The Eskimos" (a takeoff on "Don't Go Near The Indians"), "Still No. 2," "Almost Persuaded No. 2," "Detroit City No. 2" and "Harper Valley P.T.A. (Later That Same Day)." His last charted country song came in 1971 with "Fifteen Beers Ago," a sendup of Conway Twitty's "Fifteen Years Ago." Fittingly enough, Wooley wrote the theme song for the Hee Haw series. In 1968, the Country Music Association honored Wooley/Colder with its comedian of the year award.
           On Oct. 9, 2002, then Tennessee senator Fred Thompson saluted Wooley as an "American treasure" by reading a catalog of his achievements into the Congressional Record. "He never strayed far from his roots," Thompson said, "and always knew how to rope in an audience."

Johnny Cash Dies, Age 71
September 12, 2003 - Johnny Cash, a towering figure in American music spanning country, rock and folk and known worldwide as "The Man in Black," has died, according to hospital officials in Nashville, Tenn. He was 71. "Johnny died due to complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure," said Cash's manager, Lou Robin, in a press release issued by Baptist Hospital in Nashville.
          The release said Cash died at the hospital at 1 a.m. EDT. He was released from Baptist on Wednesday where he had spent two weeks being treated for an unspecified stomach ailment.
          Cash had battled a disease of the nervous system, autonomic neuropathy, and pneumonia in recent years and was once diagnosed with a disease called Shy-Drager's syndrome, a diagnosis that was later deemed to be erroneous.
          Dozens of hit records like "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Walk the Line," and "Sunday Morning Coming Down" defined Cash's persona: a haunted, dignified, resilient spokesman for the working man and downtrodden.
          Cash's deeply lined face fit well with his unsteady voice, which was limited in range but used to great effect to sing about prisoners, heartaches, and tales of everyday life. He wrote much of his own material, and was among the first to record the songs of Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson.
          Cash said in his 1997 autobiography "Cash" that he tried to speak for "voices that were ignored or even suppressed in the entertainment media, not to mention the political and educational establishments."
          Cash's career spanned generations, with each finding something of value in his simple records, many of which used his trademark "boom-chicka-boom" rhythm.
          Cash was a peer of Elvis Presley when rock 'n' roll was born in Memphis in the 1950s, and he scored hits like "Cry! Cry! Cry!" during that era. He had a longtime friendship and recorded with Dylan, who has cited Cash as a major influence.
          He won 11 Grammys — most recently in 2003, when "Give My Love To Rose" earned him honors as best male country vocal performance — and numerous Country Music Association awards. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980 and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
          His second wife, June Carter Cash, and daughter Roseanne Cash also were successful singers. June Carter Cash, who co-wrote Cash's hit "Ring of Fire" and partnered with her husband in hits such as "Jackson," died in May 2003.
          The late 1960s and '70s were Cash's peak commercial years, and he was host of his own ABC variety show from 1969-71. In later years, he was part of the Highwayman supergroup with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kristofferson.
          In the 1990s, he found a new artistic life recording with rap and hard rock producer Rick Rubin on the label American Recordings. And he was back on the charts in with the 2002 album "American IV: the Man Comes Around."
          He also wrote books including two autobiographies, and acted in films and television shows. In his 1971 hit "Man in Black," Cash said his black clothing symbolized the downtrodden people in the world. Cash had been "The Man in Black" since he joined the Grand Ole Opry at age 25.
          John R. Cash was born Feb. 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Ark., one of seven children. When he was 12, his 14-year-old brother and hero, Jack, died after an accident while sawing oak trees into fence posts. The tragedy had a lasting impact on Cash, and he later pointed to it as a possible reason his music was frequently melancholy.
          He worked as a custodian and enlisted in the Air Force, learning guitar while stationed in Germany, before launching his music career after his 1954 discharge.
          Cash launched his career in Memphis, performing on radio station KWEM. He auditioned with Sun Records, ultimately recording the single "Hey Porter," which became a hit. "Folsom Prison Blues," went to No. 4 on the country charts in 1956, and featured Cash's most famous couplet: "I shot a man in Reno/ just to watch him die."
          Cash recorded theme albums celebrating the railroads and the Old West, and decrying the mistreatment of American Indians. Two of his most popular albums were recorded live at prisons. Along the way he notched 14 No. 1 country music hits.
          Because of Cash's frequent performances in prisons and his rowdy lifestyle early in his career, many people wrongly thought he had served prison time. He never did, though he battled addictions to pills on and off throughout his life. He blamed fame for his vulnerability to drug addiction.
          He credited June Carter Cash, whom he married in 1968, with helping him stay off drugs, though he had several relapses over the years and was treated at the Betty Ford Center in California in 1984.
          June Carter Cash was the daughter of country music great Mother Maybelle Carter, and the mother of singer Carlene Carter. Together, the couple had one child, John Carter Cash. He is a musician and producer.
          Singer Rosanne Cash is Johnny Cash's daughter from his first marriage, to Vivian Liberto. Their other three children were Kathleen, Cindy and Tara. They divorced in 1966.
          In March 1998, Cash made headlines when his California-based record company, American Recordings, took out an advertisement in the music trade magazine Billboard. The full-page ad celebrated Cash's 1998 Grammy award for best country album for "Unchained." The ad showed an enraged-looking Cash in his younger years making an obscene gesture to sarcastically illustrate his thanks to country radio stations and "the country music establishment in Nashville," which he felt had unfairly cast him aside.
          Cash once credited his mother, Carrie Rivers Cash, with encouraging him to pursue a singing career. Cash lived in Hendersonville, Tenn., just outside of Nashville. He also had a home in Jamaica.
Visit Johnny's Tribute Page

The following statement was issued today (Sept. 12, 2003) by manager of Johnny Cash, Lou Robin:
          "In honor of the Cash families privacy during these times, the decision has been made to hold private - both the visitation and the funeral services. They wish to thank everyone for their prayers at this difficult time."

The following statement was issued today by the family of Johnny Cash:
          "The family of Johnny Cash, in this sad hour, is greatly comforted by the outpouring of love and respect for his remarkable life. We also take solace in the knowledge that he is again reunited with his dearest companion, June. Our lives, and indeed the entire planet, will forever feel the emptiness of his loss, but his music and the greatness of his spirit will endure."

Donations may be sent to:
SOS Children Villages USA
1317 F Street NW #550
Washington, DC 20004

Freddy Fender to be
Honored with Pioneer Award

           Freddy Fender, one of the most significant voices in Mexican American musical history, is being honored by the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) with their coveted Pioneer Award. Announcement of the honor came today (Sept. 11, 2003) from John Juliano, President of IEBA, that presentation will be made to the legendary artist on Tuesday October 7th as a highlight of the organization's Nashville Conference, October 5-8th.
           Noted IEBA President Juliano: "Freddy Fender's music has crossed all the normal boundaries of the industry to make him truly unique among other greats in the music industry. He in every sense of the words has earned the 'Pioneer Award' IEBA is the honor of bestowing upon him."
           Born Baldemar G. Huerta on June 4, 1937 in the Mexican slums of San Benito, Texas, Freddy Fender's music took him on a "rags to riches" journey from the Rio Grande Valley. Overcoming career and cultural challenges, Fender's music has left a musical imprint on more than six decades.
           Fender migrated north with his parents in the late '40's to work as a farm laborer in the upper Midwest. At 16, he dropped out of school to join the Marines.
           He began his music career in the ë50's, while still in his teens, billing himself as "El Be Bop Kid." By '58, he was cutting sides in Spanish, and finding success throughout Texas and Mexico. He switched styles to a more rockabilly feel, becoming Freddy Fender in '59 and breaking the wider "gringo" market.
           His major breakthrough to international audiences came in 1974 when his recording of "Before The Next Teardrop Falls," topped both country and pop charts. He followed it with a gold record for "Wasted Days And Wasted Nights," and another cross over smash "Since I Met You Baby." Between 1975 and 1977, he had nine songs in the top 10 on the country charts. Fender is also credited with having written "Secret Love," which became a number one hit for Doris Day.
           Fender was named "Most Promising Male Vocalist" by the Academy of Country Music in 1975. The Country Music Association named "Before The Next Teardrop Falls" as single of the year that same year.
           The beloved performer moved to yet another level in his career when he was tapped by Robert Redford to co-star in the film, "The Milagro Beanfield War." One year later, tapped fellow musicians Augie Meyers, Doug Sahn, and Flaco Jimenez to form the "dream band" of Tex-Mex music, The Texas Tornadoes, whose popularity moved hispanic influenced music to worldwide attention and international audiences of the caliber of the Montreaux Jazz Festival, where Fender and his companions received more than a dozen standing ovations for their high-spirited ethnic influenced music.
           Fender has continued to tour as a legendary icon whose audiences have shouted their approval in a multitude of languages. In January 2002, Fender accomplished yet another phenomenal major musical feat. His newest CD project, "La Musica De Baldemar Huerta," won as "Best Latin Pop Album Of The Year" at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards.
           In winning the IEBA Pioneer Award, Freddy Fender joins industry greats such as Johnny Cash and Irby Mandrell who have been previous winners. For more information on Freddy Fender or IEBA contact: Nashville: Kirt Webster, 615.777.6995 x24.

Hank Williams' Heirs Ruled Owners
Of Rare Recordings

           (Nashville) Sept. 8, 2003 - Hank Williams may have some "new" music on the charts thanks to a court ruling on Friday regarding the ownership of 40 songs never commercially released. The treasure trove of Hank Williams material in question includes over 150 recordings, including live renditions of many of his greatest hits.
           The ruling on Friday (September 5th) in Nashville court pronounced that sole ownership of a rare collection of recordings by Hank Williams will remain in the ownership of Williams" heirs: Jett Williams and Hank Williams Jr.
           The recordings, known as the "Mother's Best Flour Show" catalogue were recorded in connection with the radio show of the same name that aired on WSM Radio in the 1950's. The rare performances by the country legend were aired only once and subsequently saved from destruction in the mid '60s by Les Leverett, then official photographer for the Grand Ole Opry. The transcription discs have been in the possession of Jett Williams since the late 1980s.
           At stake at the court hearing presided over by Judge Irvin Kilcrease was control over the ownership of the musical catalogue in question. In an earlier ruling, the court determined that Hank Williams' record label held no ownership or exploitation rights to the music. The action was initiated by Jett Williams and her husband, attorney F. Keith Adkinson, with the assistance of Vincent Chieffo of California, in order to prevent a threatened telemarketing campaign of the "Mother's Best Flour" archives. The campaign proposed to sell some 42 overdubbed versions of Williams" music from the collection.
           Friday's ruling put ownership and exploitation rights solely in the hands of the singer's two children and prevents any third party exploitation of these rare recordings.
           According to F. Keith Adkinson, Jett will spearhead the efforts to make available the "Mother's Best" material - much of it never before heard performances - to the legion of Hank Williams fans. Noted Jett who was present at the announcement of the court's decision: "I'm delighted that this matter is finally resolved and Hank Jr. and I can, at long last, share this rich resource with the world at large that loved my Dad"s music. This case is not only for him - but will recognize and protect similar rights of other great artists."
           On the road when the court ruling was announced, Hank Jr. put his thoughts in few words: "It worked out the way Daddy would've wanted." For more information on the Hank Williams Estate contact: Kirt Webster, Webster Companies, Inc 615-777-6995 x24, or F. Keith Adkinson, 615-655-5549

'Grand Ole Opry Live' TV Moves
           NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The live telecast of the Grand Ole Opry is moving from Country Music Television to its smaller competitor, Great American Country. The hour-long country music show, "Grand Ole Opry Live," has appeared on CMT every Saturday night since 2001. It draws 1.5 million to 2 million viewers and was CMT's highest-rated weekly series. The move means the TV broadcast will reach fewer viewers. Great American Country, started in 1996, reaches only 25.2 million U.S. households, compared to the more than 70 million households reached by CMT.
           "There isn't a bigger, longer-running music show on TV today," said Jeff Wayne, president of Great American Country, whose parent company is Jones Media Networks of Englewood, Colo. "It really puts us on the map." CMT and Gaylord Entertainment, which owns the Opry, tried but failed to negotiate a new agreement with the Opry. Steve Buchanan, senior vice president of media and entertainment for Gaylord, said CMT proposed a deal that would have broadcast fewer shows.
           Great American Country will air "Grand Ole Opry Live" Saturdays at 8 p.m. EDT and increase the number of repeat telecasts. Repeats will be three times on weekends and twice on Tuesday. However, in the first year of the deal, Great American Country will show fewer live episodes: only 26 in the first year, down from more than 40 live shows a year on CMT. The Opry's TV show has been on the air for 18 years. Before CMT, it appeared on TNN: The Nashville Network.

Dwight in Frozen Food Isle
           "Hi! I want to thank you for your support of one of my recent ventures: the Dwight Yoakam line of frozen food products. What started as 'bringing something special' for the opening of the Crystal Palace has grown beyond my wildest dreams. We now have three food products in national distribution at Wal-Mart Supercenters with others on the way.
           "The three items are: Chicken Lickin's chicken fries, Lanky Links' pork sausage links, and Chicken Lickin's' buffalo style bites. All of these items are precooked for easy preparation as a snack or a meal. As it says on the package, "Just Heat 'Em and Eat 'Em!'
           "These products have been doing so well that starting September 2nd, Wal-Mart Supercenters will be promoting them for a limited time in special display cases in their stores nationwide. If you've already tried these products, this is a great time to stock up. If you haven't had the chance to try them yet, there's never been a better time. Run on down to Wal-Mart Supercenters to try them yourself. They're in the frozen meat section of your local Wal-Mart Supercenter."
           Thank you for all your support over the years. Best regards, Dwight Yoakam

Dust Bowl ReOpens
It is with great pleasure that we at the "That Bakersfield Sound" site announce our good friends Michael and Vickie Henson in conjunction with Sonny and Margie Anglin will be opening the Dust Bowl Roots Gospel and Country Music Museum on Sept. 20,2003 in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. For those of you who don't know Michael is the son of Herb Henson who was the host and innovator of the Cousin Herb Trading Post TV Show broadcast in Bakersfield, CA for over 10 yrs. during the 50's and 60's.Herb was very instrumental in providing the oppurtunity for many of the artists to hone their craft which eventually became our beloved Bakersfield Sound.
           Obviously the museum will contain memorabilia of Bakersfield's contribution to Country Music and will also include historic facts of the Dust Bowl generation including their love of Gospel music.
           Touted as the 1st Annual All Day Dust Bowl Music Festival two artists that regularly appeared on the Cousin Herb Show Albert E. Brumley, Jr. (vocalist) and Tom Brumley (pedal steel) will be appearing with the backing of Mike Henson's B-Town Sound Band at 6:00 PM-?
           It will also feature artist Sonja K. Ayres Art & Craft Show from 9:00-5:00 with day long Indian Tacos and Desserts 9:00 till ?
           The address of the museum is Rt 2, Box 230, Sallisaw,OK 74955. For more info you can contact Michael Henson at (918)774-0696 or (918)774-9153
           I personally applaud Michael and Vickie for their massive efforts to make this dream a reality and to provide to the public a personal insight to all those folks who were the Pioneers of The Bakersfield Sound. One last thing. This year celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Cousin Herb Henson's Bakersfield Trading Post Show.God Bless Mr. Herb Henson for his vision and creative insight that we all now enjoy as the Bakersfield Sound.
Glenn J. "The Ambassador Of The Bakersfield Sound" Pogatchnik

Wilma Burgess Dies by - 8/25/2003 - Wilma passed away unexpectedly this morning at 4:05 a.m. at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, after suffering a massive heart attack. She was 64, and had been hospitalized the past week for tests, but had seemed to be on the road to recovery.
            Wilma came to Nashville in 1965, and was produced by famed Owen Bradley of Decca. Her biggest hit was "Baby," and other noteworthy songs include "Don't Touch Me" (a Hank Cochran tune), plus perhaps her prettiest and most memorable song of all (and my personal favorite), "Misty Blue."
            Mary Reeves also paired Wilma with Bud Logan for a series of duets on such songs as "My Cup Runneth Over," and they also had a great album released on Jim's Shannon label called "Wake Me Into Love."
            Wilma's life was closely intermingled with Mary Reeves so much so that she had various intriguing stories to tell about the Jim Reeves posthumous career. Short of hearing them from Mary herself, Wilma was the next best source.

Floyd Tillman R.I.P.
            August 22, 2003 - Country Hall Of Fame Member Floyd Tillman passed away at 4:40 A.M. this morning at his home in Texas. Floyd was 88 years old. He was born Dec 8, 1914 in Ryan, OK.
            Floyd Tillman is probably best known for writing "It Makes No Difference Now," a country classic that he sold to Jimmie Davis for $300 in 1938, only to watch it become a hit for Davis, Cliff Bruner, Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, and others. That song was one of the first to tap the bitter acceptance of romantic dissatisfaction that was to set the tone for so many later country songs. He was a major performer in his own right and one of the creators of honky tonk country music, repeatedly cited as an influence by Willie Nelson and other Texas performers. Tillman was born in Ryan, OK, but raised in Post, TX, in a sharecropper family. He began playing guitar and mandolin, performing as a backing musician for local fiddlers while he was still a child. In 1933, at age 19, Tillman joined Adolph and Emil Hofner's house band at Gus' Palm Garden in San Antonio. Two years later, he became the leader of the Blue Ridge Playboys, a Houston band that spawned several of the most innovative country musicians of the pre-World War II era. In 1936, he began singing and playing electric guitar, mandolin, and banjo with the Mack Clark Orchestra, a Houston pop ensemble. Through these varied experiences, Tillman absorbed a whole range of 1930s music and got a good taste of the rhythmic freedom of jazz. He also began writing songs and taking lead vocals occasionally; one of his early compositional efforts, co-written with Blue Ridge Playboy Leon Selph, was "It Makes No Difference Now." Late in life, he succeeded in regaining rights to the song.
            With jukeboxes spreading across the industrializing Southwest and the market for recordings rebounding as the Depression waned, Tillman began a solo recording career of his own on the Decca label in the late '30s. Joining the Army during World War II, he remained in Texas and continued to compose and perform. It wasn't long before his trademark delivery, sometimes described as a cross between Ernest Tubb and Frank Sinatra, began to emerge; he combined the low-volume vocal inflections of the crooner with tight country voice production. He had his first number one hit in 1944 with "They Took the Stars Out of Heaven," and his songwriting, inspired by wartime themes of separation, continued to develop along with his vocal style. He notched two Top Five hits, "G.I. Blues" and "Each Night at Nine," that lamented the soldier's distance from loved ones even as they began to forge postwar country music's language of loneliness. Reportedly these songs were often aired by Japanese propaganda broadcaster Iva Toguri, known as Tokyo Rose, in an attempt to encourage American soldiers to desert.
            Tillman continued to perform around Houston after the war, and in the late '40s he had two more major hits with songs he himself he had composed: 1947's "I Love You So Much It Hurts" showcased Tillman's individualistic country-jazz vocals to the fullest, and 1949's "Slippin' Around," one of the first country songs to take cheating as its theme, was covered by Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting and became as well known among pop fans as in the world of country. Tillman continued to find inspiration in current events with such songs as the much-covered "This Cold War With You." He enjoyed solo success as late as 1960 with "It Just Tears Me Up," and he continued to write songs and to appear around Texas occasionally. Tillman was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1984. -by James Manheim

Bluegrass Music Award Nominees
            Aug 15, 2003 - Nominees in the top categories of the 2003 International Bluegrass Music Awards:
              Entertainer of the year: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Del McCoury Band, Mountain Heart, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage.
            Instrumental group of the year: Blue Highway, Alison Krauss & Union Station, The Del McCoury Band, Mountain Heart, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.
            Vocal group of the year: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Del McCoury Band, Mountain Heart, IIIrd Tyme Out.
            Male vocalist of the year: Ronnie Bowman, Del McCoury, Russell Moore, Tim O'Brien, Dan Tyminski.
            Female vocalist of the year: Dale Ann Bradley, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless (news), Lynn Morris, Rhonda Vincent.
            Song of the year: "A Simple Life," Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (artists), Harley Allen (songwriter); "Anything Southbound," Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time (artists), Larry Cordle & Mike Anthony (songwriters); "Blue Train (of the Heartbreak Line)," Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (artists), John D. Loudermilk (songwriter); "Long Time Gone," Dixie Chicks (news - web sites) (artists), Darrell Scott (songwriter); "Shape of a Tear," The Lynn Morris Band (artists), Hugh Campbell (songwriter).
            Album of the year: "Alison Krauss & Union Station LIVE," Alison Krauss & Union Station; "Live at the Charleston Music Hall," Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder; "Shape of a Tear," The Lynn Morris Band; "Songs From the Workbench," Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time; "Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. III," Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and various artists.
            Emerging artists of the year: Nothin' Fancy, David Peterson & 1946, Pine Mountain Railroad, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Wildfire.

Floyd and Carl Set For Country HoF
August 11 - Floyd Cramer and Carl Smith will be inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame during the 37th annual CMA Awards, which will be broadcast on CBS-TV on November 5. The selection was recently announced last week by the Country Music Association. Inductees are chosen by more than 300 voters appointed by the CMA Board Of Directors.
            Cramer, whose hits included "San Antonio Rose" died in 1997. He will be the first inductee in the brand new category--recording and-or touring musician active prior to 1980.
            Smith, 76, will be inducted in the yearly open category. His hits in the 1950's and 60's included "Are You Teasing Me," "Back Up Buddy" and "Loose Talk." Smith was married to the late June Carter Cash from 1952 to 1957 and is the father of country singer Carlene Carter.

Hag Launches Own Label/Tour
Merle Haggard Launches His Own Label, Hag Records, First Release is New Album - Haggard Like Never Before - Out September 30; Controversial First Single 'That's the News' is Already Making Waves in the Media; Upcoming Television Appearances Include the O'Reilly Factor, August 7 and Late Show With David Letterman October 9; New Tour Begins August 22.
            Haggard is ready to unleash a new album filled with new gems - HAGGARD LIKE NEVER BEFORE - on his own label, Hag Records, due out September 30 and distributed through Compendia Media Group. The first single, "That's The News," has already been garnering loads of media attention and the track has been rush released to radio. In response to the intense media interest, Merle has already appeared on the Fox News Channel and CNN's "Live From The Headlines," and will next be featured on "The O'Reilly Factor" August 7 and The Late Show With David Letterman October 9.
            According to Hilburn in his Los Angeles Times "Calendar" cover story, "Haggard's 'That's The News' is a thoughtful, provocative commentary in which he asks why the U.S. government and media give the impression that the war is over although Americans are still dying in the middle East." Sample lyrics include: "Suddenly the war's over, that's the news/Suddenly the cost of war is something out of sight/Lost a lot of heroes in the fight/Politicians do all the talking, soldiers pay the dues/Suddenly the war is over, that's the news."
            Haggard remains an uncompromising artist whose work relies upon the honest and purity of his vision, not the obligations of being a country star ... hence the formation of Hag Records. In concurrence with that vision, Haggard has formed his own label, with Tom Thacker as President, and distribution through Nashville-based Compendia Media Group in North America. "For the first time, I wanted to be in complete control and get it right," says Merle regarding the creation of Hag Records.
            The new album, HAGGARD LIKE NEVER BEFORE, features 9 new Haggard cuts, plus two covers, one of which was written by the legendary Woody Guthrie, "Reno Blues (Philadelphia Lawyer)," featured here as a duet with Merle and fellow country renegade Willie Nelson.
            In his legendary 40-year plus career, Haggard has not only recorded 38 #1 country hits, but he has written dozens of standards which have been performed by artists as diverse as Willie Nelson, Supersuckers, Elvis Costello, Dwight Yoakam, The Grateful Dead and even Dean Martin. He has also published two best-selling biographies and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
            Haggard will also be hitting the road again in late August in support of HAGGARD LIKE NEVER BEFORE.
Fri. 8/22 - Huntington, WV - Big Sandy Superstore Arena
Sat. 8/23 - Brooksville, KY - Foots Club Grounds
Sun. 8/24 - Somerset, KY - Center for Rural Development
Tue. 8/26 - Columbus, OH - Club Dance
Wed. 8/27 - South Bend, IN - Morris Pac
Thu. 8/28 - Poplar Bluff, MO - Black River Coliseum
Fri. 8/29 - Branson, MO - The Grand Palace
Sat. 8/30 - Double Springs, AL - Looneys Amphitheater
Sun. 8/31 - Atlanta, GA - Stone Mountain
Thu. 10/2 - Mount Pleasant, MI - Soaring Eagle Casino
Fri. 10/3 - Jim Thorpe, PA - Penn's Peak
Sun. 10/5 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
Mon. 10/6 - Annapolis, MD - Maryland Hall for Creative Arts
Tue. 10/7 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
Wed. 10/8 - Verona, NY - Turning Stone Casino Resort
Fri. 10/10 - Wheeling, WV - Capitol Music Hall
Sat. 10/11 - Metropolis, IL - Harrah's Casino
Sun. 10/12 - Branson, MO - The Grand Palace
Fri. 11/7 - Bossier City, LA - Horseshoe Casino & Hotel
Sat. 11/8 - Kinder, LA - The Grand Casino
Sun. 11/9 - Little Rock, AR - Clear Channel Expo Center
Fri. 11/14 - Ft. Worth, TX - Billy Bob's

Original Member of Oak Ridge Boys Dies
(AP) - The last original member of the band that became the Oak Ridge Boys has died at 82. Marshall Lon "Deacon" Freeman, died at his home here on Wednesday, July 30th. He was the last surviving member of the Oak Ridge Quartet, which later became gospel group The Oak Ridge Boys.
            Freeman began singing as a child in a Baptist church. After serving with the Army Air Corps during World War II, he joined a group called the Georgia Clodhoppers as a singer and rhythm guitar player.
            The group was renamed the Oak Ridge Quartet and made regular appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. Freeman left the group in 1949 because the travel kept him away from his family. He took a job broadcasting at a radio station in Rome. He was born in Berryton.
            In 2000, The Oak Ridge Boys were inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Hall of Fame in Nashville. Freeman was honored along with current Oak Ridge Boys Joe Bonsall, Richard Sterban, Duane Allen and William Lee Golden.

Outlaw Country...The Woman's Perspective
An Outlaw...A Lady: The Very Best Of Jessi Colter
Capitol Nashville To Release Her Greatest Hits On September 2, 2003
Includes Duets With Late Husband, and "Outlaw", Waylon Jennings

               "I've always been amazed at the ability Jessi has to deliver her potent lyric with such vocal vulnerability. It could bring you to your knees. Perhaps a new record from this amazing female vocalist will give future country singers something to listen to, learn from, and shoot for." -- Lee Ann Womack, 2003
               Hollywood, CA, July 29, 2003 - Jessi Colter was the lone female voice in the company of country music's posse of "Outlaws". Capitol Nashville collects the best from Colter's career on An Outlaw...A Lady -- The Very Best Of Jessi Colter, to be released on September 2, 2003. The 18 songs featured from her 10 albums include 10 charting hits and the #1 single that shot to the top of both country and pop charts in 1975, "I'm Not Lisa".
               Also known as Mrs. Waylon Jennings, Colter became a bona-fide solo country music star at the start of the 1970s. A singer and a songwriter, Colter's compositions told of the excruciating trials and the extreme pleasure of loving an American '"bad boy". In the true spirit of country music's "Outlaw" movement, (a 1970s rebellion against rhinestones, slick production values, and "country-politan" styles), Colter's music paid homage to true country, the country of Hank Williams and the honky tonk. Her songs intentionally lacked the polished sheen applied to her pop-country contemporaries like Crystal Gayle and Dolly Parton. Instead, Colter's tunes reverberated with a reality covered in the grit of a hard day's work.
               Colter was also the only female vocalist on the legendary Wanted: The Outlaws! album, also featuring Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Tompall Glaser. It is still notable as the first country music album to ever sell over a million records.
               All the music on the collection is remastered. George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams Jr. and Tony Joe White also contribute their thoughts on Colter, her songs, and her career. 2003 is bringing about a great deal of activity for Jessi, including executive producing a tribute album to Waylon for release on RCA in the fall, along with a complimentary TV tribute concert, recording a new solo album with producer Don Was, and performing as the special guest of honor at the 3rd annual Americana Music Conference, in Nashville, on September 19.
               EMI Music Marketing - Publicity, Michael Ruthig - 323.871.5496,
        Track Listing for The Very Best Of Jessi Colter: An Outlaw ... A Lady:
1. You Mean To Say
2. Suspicious Minds with Waylon Jennings
3. Under Your Spell Again with Waylon Jennings
4. I'm Not Lisa
5. What's Happened To Blue Eyes
6. You Ain't Ever Been Loved (Like I'm Gonna Love You)
7. Storms Never Last
8. It's Morning (And I Still Love You)
9. Without You
10. Here I Am
11. I Belong To Him
12. New Wine
13. I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name
14. You Hung The Moon (Didn't You Waylon?)
15. Maybe You Should've Been Listening
16. That's The Way A Cowboy Rocks and Rolls
17. Hold Back The Tears
18. Wild Side of Life / It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels w/Waylon Jennings

Wildwood Flower: June's Final Bloom
By Barry A. Jeckell (Billboard) - June Carter Cash's final studio work will be released Sept. 9 via Dualtone Records in a set that features her last recorded duet with husband and fellow country music legend, Johnny Cash.
               Produced by John Carter Cash, her son by the Man in Black,"Wildwood Flower" was completed just prior to her May death from complications due to heart surgery. She was 73.
               "This record was very important to her," John Carter Cash says in a statement. "She had a great heritage that she wanted to carry on, and she wanted to make an artistic, historical and musical statement. I think the inspiration was bound to rise in her again. So when she got offered this record deal, this album just naturally fell into place."
               Eight of the 13 tracks on "Wildwood Flower" are standards of the legendary familial roots group the Carter Family, some written by June's uncle, A.P. Carter. Among those classics are the Carter Family theme song "Keep on the Sunny Side," "Lonesome Valley" and the title track.
               The family theme so strong throughout June Carter Cash's life is constant through the album, which features guest appearances by her husband as well as daughter Carlene Carter, granddaughter Tiffany Anastasia Lowe, niece Lorrie Carter Bennett, cousins Janette and Joe Carter, daughter-in-law Laura Cash and former son-in-law Marty Stuart.
               Also adding acoustic guitar, cello and vocals on many of the tracks are folk favorites Norman and Nancy Blake.
               Johnny Cash is heard on three songs on "Wildwood Flower," including on backing vocals on a new rendition of "Keep on the Sunny Side."
               He also narrates her rendition of "The Road to Kaintuck," a song she wrote for his 1965 album "Ballads of the True West. The couple's last recorded duet, "Temptation," is also featured.
               Material for the album was recorded at Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tenn., the Carter family home in Mace's Springs, Va., and the Cash's Hendersonville bedroom.
               Preceding several of the album's tracks are vintage radio recordings of June, her sisters Anita and Helen, and mother Maybelle Carter. The enhanced disc also includes video clips of the recording sessions, rehearsal footage and June discussing her childhood and her family.

Here is the "Wildwood Flower" track list:
"Keep on the Sunny Side"
"The Road to Kaintuck"
"Kneeling Drunkard's Plea"
"The Storms Are on the Ocean"
"Big Yellow Peaches"
"Sinking in the Lonesome Sea"
"Church in the Wildwood"
"Cannonball Blues"
"Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone"
"Anchored in Love"
"Wildwood Flower"

Farm Aid Sept. 7 in Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Farm Aid, a concert that raises money to keep families on their farms, will hold its annual show Sept. 7 at the Germain Amphitheater. The lineup includes Willie Nelson (news), John Mellencamp and Neil Young, who organized the first Farm Aid in 1985, and Dave Matthews, who joined the board of directors in 2001. Sheryl Crow, Brooks & Dunn and Trick Pony will also perform.
               "We salute these generous artists lined up for Farm Aid 2003," said Farm Aid communications director Mark Smith in a statement. "The Farm Aid concert is an inspiration to Farm Aid's year-round work to keep family farmers on the land. Ohio music fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see all these artists on the same stage."

CRB's Country Music
DJ Hall of Fame

A Historical "MUST ATTEND" Event ‹ As previously announced Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. (CRB), presenters of the annual Country Radio Seminar (CRS), will host the annual Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame and Country Radio Hall of Fame Event on Thursday, June 26, 2003 at the Hilton Suites, Downtown Nashville.
         The Country Music DJ Hall of Fame is dedicated to the recognition of those individuals who have made significant contributions to the country radio/music industry.  Seventy-four disc jockeys have been inducted into the prestigious Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame since it was founded in 1974.  Renowned on-air personalities including Ramblin' Lou Shriver, Cliffie Stone, Texas Bill Strength and Bob Kingsley have been recognized for their talents, contributions and commitment to the radio industry.
         The CRB assumed the administration of the Hall of Fame in August 1997 from the Federation of Country Air Personalities (headed by Industry veteran Chuck Chellman) with the objective to continue the long-standing tradition to recognize deserving disc jockeys with this prestigious honor.
         Each year former honorees gather at the annual event to recognize the new members into the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame and Country Radio Hall of Fame--Country Radio's greatest honor--with four additions to be made at this summer's event.  This year's ceremony will honor Bob Cole, Duke Hamilton, Dick Haynes, and W. Steven Martin.
         The CRB Board has also created three additional awards to be presented as part of the festivities:
*The Country Radio Hall of Fame Award will be presented to Dan McKinnon;
*Reba McEntire will be honored with the Career Achievement Award. (Reba is the sixth country music artist to be recognized with this award.      Joining her in this honor are previous award winners Sonny James, Buck Owens, Loretta Lynn, Chet Atkins and Eddy Arnold.    Sara Evans and      Trisha Yearwood will deliver this special presentation and perform in tribute to Ms. McEntire); and
*The President's Award will be announced the night of the event. (The Year 2002 award recipient was Erica Farber, Publisher of Radio &      Records.)
To allow interested attendees the opportunity to see Country Music History in the making, The Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame and Country Radio Hall of Fame Event is open to the public.
         The Country Music DJ Hall of Fame Event
         Thursday, June 26, 2003
         Hilton Suites, Downtown Nashville
         Cocktail Reception @ 5:30PM
         Dinner @ 7:00PM
         Induction Ceremony @ 8:00PM
         Seating is Limited
         Ticket Price:  $60.00
         For ticket information to the CRB Country DJ Hall of Fame Banquet call 615.327.4487 /or/ visit the CRB web site at
         The official Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame plaques are proudly displayed at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.  For a complete list of inductees to date and to actually hear an audio of their work, please visit

June Carter Cash R.I.P.
JUNE CARTER CASH passed away a little after 5 P.M. CDT Thursday, May 15, 2003 due to Heart Surgery complications. June was at Nashville's Baptist Hospital recovering from replacement of a Heart Valve May 7th. She was 73. June had Johnny and family members at her bedside, manager Lou Robin said.
         A singer, songwriter, musician, actress and author, Cash and her husband performed on record and on stage, doing songs like "Jackson" and "If I Were a Carpenter," which both won Grammy awards in 1967 and 1970, respectively. They recorded duets including "It Ain't Me Babe" in 1964 and "If I Had a Hammer" in 1972.
         In 1961, she turned down an offer to work on a variety show that had Woody Allen as one of the writers, agreeing instead to tour with Johnny Cash for $500 a week. They married in 1968 after he proposed to her on stage on London, Ontario.
         In his 1997 autobiography, Johnny Cash described how his wife stuck with him through his years of amphetamine abuse. "June said she knew me — knew the kernel of me, deep inside, beneath the drugs and deceit and despair and anger and selfishness, and knew my loneliness," he wrote. "She said she could help me. ... If she found my pills, she flushed them down the toilet. And find them she did; she searched for them, relentlessly."
         She was co-writer, with Merle Kilgore, of Cash's 1963 hit "Ring of Fire," which was about falling in love with Cash. She said the song symbolized her feeling of being engulfed by Cash. "John was notorious," she said in 1999. "He roared when he wanted to." In a 1987 Associated Press interview, she described her husband as "probably the most unusual, fine, unselfish person I've known. He's different. I think the word is 'power.' There's a lot of power to him. I've seen him on shows with people with a No. 1 record or a lot of No. 1 records, but when John walks on that stage, the rest of 'em might as well leave."
         June Carter was born June 23, 1929, in Maces Spring, Va. Her mother, Maybelle Carter, was in the Carter Family music act with her cousin Sara Carter and Sara's husband, A.P. Carter. In 1927, they made what are among the first country music recordings.
         The family act broke up, but mother and daughters June, Helen and Anita continued on as Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters, with little June playing autoharp.
         Starting in 1939, the sisters starred in a radio show on XERA in Del Rio, Texas, that could be heard as far away as Saskatchewan, Canada. The Carters went on to become staples of the Grand Ole Opry country music show in Nashville. The Carters' harmony singing still inspires artists today and Maybelle's "Carter lick" on the guitar has become one of the most influential techniques in country music.
         She did occasional acting roles, including the part of Robert Duvall's mother in the 1997 film "The Apostle." With her husband, she periodically performed at Billy Graham crusades.

Suit Over Haggard Tape Settled
PETE SLOVER / The Dallas Morning News - AUSTIN ­ In the end, the case of a missing, unreleased Merle Haggard tape offered for sale on the Internet was not a story of theft, and the Fredericksburg woman who tried to auction the recording has settled the case by giving it back. In a lawsuit he filed last spring, Mr. Haggard suggested that Kathy Schroeder of Fredericksburg had swiped a copy of the tape from his tour bus while he was in Texas for a show she was promoting.
           From the beginning, Ms. Schroeder insisted that she did not steal the tape, and her story was supported by sworn testimony at a hearing on a temporary injunction last fall, a transcript of which was recently obtained by The Dallas Morning News. The tape missing from the bus was later found, and witnesses testified that the copy in Ms. Schroeder's possession was left at her house during a party by a musician who had acquired it legitimately. Roger Moon, a singer from Luckenbach whose recordings were being promoted by Ms. Schroeder, testified that he left the disputed tape at Ms. Schroeder's house. He said the recording was left in his car by B.B. Morse, a bass player who had played with both Mr. Moon and Mr. Haggard. The bass player confirmed that account in his testimony.
           Ms. Schroeder testified that she was unfamiliar with copyright laws asserted by Mr. Haggard. She said she thought the recording was hers to sell, since she had the tape in her possession. She testified that she had contacted Mr. Haggard's record company by telephone and Mr. Haggard by e-mail to see whether they objected to her selling the tape, and that she took the lack of response as implicit permission. In the litigation, her lawyers did not endorse that position nor attempt to justify her effort to sell the tape.
           Ms. Schroeder's statements also suggested she felt entitled to offset losses of more than $80,000 she says she suffered when Mr. Haggard failed to show up for an October 2001 concert she was promoting at the Gillespie County Fair. She has sued Mr. Haggard over that dispute in a case that is pending.
           Mr. Haggard responded that he canceled his appearance for health reasons ­ as allowed by his contract ­ although Ms. Schroeder's attorneys have challenged his alleged health problems and his interpretation of the contract. Mr. Haggard's lawsuit contended that Ms. Schroeder visited his tour bus when his musicians appeared at the gig without him.
           Lawyers and parties on both sides would not comment on the settlement, other than to say it did not include any payment of money but had a provision restricting both sides from talking to the media about the deal. The tape, offered on eBay last spring at a starting price of $325,000, was a "rough cut" of unreleased Haggard works in progress, including "covers" of classic ballads by other artists.
           In his lawsuit, Mr. Haggard placed the commercial value of the music at more than $1 million. A state court issued an injunction against the sale of the tape until the dispute could be worked out, and eBay pulled the listing before there were any bids.
           Mr. Haggard, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, has had dozens of No. 1 country hits. He has cultivated an outlaw image, in part based on his imprisonment for a failed burglary for which he was later pardoned.
           People working for Mr. Haggard said they discovered the auction listing during a routine sweep of the Internet for "Haggardabilia."

Bill Carlisle Passes Away
Grand Ole Opry star, Bill Carlisle, pass away at the age of 94 on Minday, March 17, 2003. Bill had suffered a stroke last Wed. He was at his home at his passing.
           Born Dec 19, 1908 in Wakefield, KY, yodeling singer/songwriter/guitarist Bill Carlisle was the younger brother of popular 1930s country singer Cliff Carlisle. During the '30s, Bill established himself as a blues singer, but during the '50s and '60s, he was best known for his novelty songs as he and his family band, the Carlisles, became regulars on the Grand Ole Opry.
           Brother Cliff gave young Carlisle his start in 1933 by letting him audition with the ARC label group. His first single, "Rattlesnake Daddy," became quite popular; during the '40s, it became a bluegrass favorite. Dubbed "Smilin' Bill" by publicists, he was noted for his precise and extremely fast runs on the guitar. Eventually Bill became almost as popular as his older brother, with whom he shared a talent for yodeling and a tendency to sing songs filled with risqué double entendres, such as "Copper Head Mama" (1934) and "Jumpin and Jerkin' Blues" (1935). During the late '30s, Bill signed with Decca and explored different styles, but still recorded bawdy songs as well.
           During the '30s and '40s, Carlisle worked at different radio stations in Kentucky, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee, sometimes with Cliff and sometimes solo. In 1946, Bill and Cliff scored a giant hit with "Rainbow at Midnight." Two years later, Bill had his own Top 15 hit with "Tramp on the Street." Cliff eventually retired in 1950, and Bill then organized the Carlisles and went back to Knoxville to do shows with Don Gibson, Chet Atkins, and Homer and Jethro, among others. It was during these performances that he began to leap about on stage and develop his comical alter-ego "Hot Shot Elmer," a character he created during the 1940s.
           As Elmer, Carlisle would interrupt performances by jumping over chairs, falling off the stairs and creating general mayhem on stage. During the '50s he recorded a series of novelty songs for Mercury. The first, "Too Old to Cut the Mustard," hit the Top Ten in 1952. "No Help Wanted" climbed to number one the following year and stayed there five weeks. That year he had three more hits, all of which made it to the Top Ten, including the Ira Louvin song "Taint Nice (To Talk like That)." This string of successes led the Opry to invite the Carlisles aboard in 1953. Bill's children joined his band in the 1960s, and he had another hit in 1965 with "What Kind of Deal Is This." During the '80s and '90s, the fun-loving Bill was noted for appearing onstage in crazy green wigs and with his constant theatrical leaps earned the nickname "Jumping" Bill Carlisle. -Sandra Brennan

Cash Reveals True Colors
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK - IN AN EXCLUSIVE EXPANDED EPISODE OF "CMT INSIDE FAME." NASHVILLE - March 17, 2003 - Johnny Cash's deep resonant voice, and the depths of human emotion that his music evokes, have made him the quintessential country music legend - a rare performer whose music transcends time and musical genres. In an exclusive CMT interview, the American icon who has performed for prisoners and presidents explores his uncommon life and celebrated career in a special 90-minute episode of CMT INSIDE FAME, premiering on Friday, March 28 at 11:00 PM-12:30 AM, ET/PT following the premiere of the documentary special CMT 40 GREATEST MEN OF COUNTRY MUSIC. Also featured in the in-depth profile are Cash's wife of 35 years, June Carter Cash, daughter Rosanne Cash and brother Tommy Cash. Other interviews include Vince Gill, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Rodney Crowell, Wynonna, Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, Travis Tritt, Charlie Daniels and Sheryl Crow.
Photo: Rick Diamond/CMT

Second Annual Frizzell
Country Music Festival

A tribute to the legendary Lefty Frizzell
May 10th, 2003 1-7 pm 'Rain or Shine'

Haggard Retrieves Audiotape
Country singer Merle Haggard (news) has retrieved an audiotape of some of his unreleased music from a woman he sued for allegedly stealing the cassette from his tour bus in 2001. Kathy Schroeder denied stealing the tape, which she tried to auction on eBay for $325,000. Haggard dropped his lawsuit after getting the tape back. Other terms of the settlement were not made public. Schroeder, a concert promoter, said a singer left the tape at her house and she tried to sell it to recover an estimated $80,000 she lost when Haggard canceled an October 2001 appearance. She has sued the singer over the cancellation.

Johnny Paycheck R.I.P.
Johnny Paycheck, 64, died in his sleep overnight Tuesday, February 18th after a lengthy illness. The Grand Ole Opry, of which he was a member, confirmed his death.
           Johnny Paycheck - AKA Donald Eugene Lytle - Born May 31, 1938 in Greenfield, OH The first that many people ever heard of Johnny Paycheck was in 1977, when his "Take This Job and Shove It" inspired one-man wildcat strikes all over America. The next time was in 1985, when he was arrested for shooting a man at a bar in Hillsboro, Ohio. That Paycheck is remembered for a fairly a musical novelty song and a violent crime (for which he spent two years in prison) is a shame, for it just so happens that he is one of the mightiest honky-tonkers of his time. Born and raised in Greenfield, Ohio, Paycheck was performing in talent contests by the age of nine, and riding the rails as a drifter by the time he turned fifteen. After a Navy stint landed him in the brig for two years, he arrived in Nashville, where he performed in the bands of Porter Wagoner, Faron Young, Ray Price and George Jones. He recorded several singles under the name Donny Young, then, in 1965, cut his first sides as Johnny Paycheck for the Hilltop label. A year later, he and gadfly producer Aubrey Mayhew started the Little Darlin' label, for which Paycheck recorded his greatest work. Marked by Lloyd Green's knockout steel guitar and Paycheck's broad, resonant vocals (not to mention his rounder's sense of humor) his Little Darlin' records of the 1960s have since become cult favorites. After splitting with Mayhew (and after running his life into the gutter) Paycheck made a celebrated comeback on Epic in the 1970s. "Take This Job and Shove It" was the most famous result, though ballads like "She's All I Got" and "Someone to Give My Love To" are far more indicative of his stylistic range.
           Paycheck began playing guitar when he was six, and within three years, he was performing talent contests across the state. When he was 15, he ran away from home, hitchhiking and hoboing his away across the country, singing in honky tonks and clubs along the way. By his late teens, he had joined the Navy, but while he was serving, he assaulted a superior officer and was convicted of court martial. As a result, he spent two years in the brig. Upon his release, he moved to Nashville, where made the acquaintence of Buddy Killen at Decca Records, who offered him a contract. At Decca, Paycheck released two rockabilly singles on the label under the name Donny Young; neither were hits. Shortly afterward, he moved to Mercury where he released two country singles, which were also failures. By that time, he had begun supporting other musicians, playing bass and occasionally steel guitar with Porter Wagoner, Faron Young and Ray Price. He frequently moved between employers because of his short-fused temper. Paycheck finally found his match in George Jones. He stayed with Jones for four years, fronting the Jones Boys between 1962 and 1966, and singing backup on George's hits "I'm a People," "The Race is On," and "Love Bug."
           Toward the end of his stint with Jones, Donald Lytle refashioned himself as Johnny Paycheck, taking his name from a Chicago heavyweight boxer. Late in 1965, he relaunched his solo career with the assistance of producer Aubrey Mayhew, who produced a pair of singles ‹ "A-11" and "Heartbreak Tennessee" ‹ for Hilltop Records. Though it only charted at number 26, "A-11" caused a sensation within the country community, earning several Grammy nominations as well as reviews that compared Paycheck to his mentor, George Jones. In 1966, he and Mayhew formed Little Darlin' Records, primarily designing the label to promote Paycheck, but also recording Jeannie C. Riley, Bobby Helms and Lloyd Green. That summer, "The Lovin' Machine" became Johnny's first Top Ten hit. Also that year, he wrote Tammy Wynette's first hit, "Apartment #9," with Bobby Austin and Fuzzy Owen; Paycheck also wrote Ray Price's number three hit "Touch My Heart."
           All of Paycheck's recordings for Little Darlin' Records rank among his grittiest, hardest country but they weren't necessarily big hits Between 1967 and 1969, Paycheck had eight more hit singles, with each record progressively charting at a lower position than its predecessor ‹ "Motel Time Again" reached number 13 in early 1967, which "If I'm Gonna Sink" climbed to number 73 in late 1968. Though "Wherever You Are" showed signs of a comeback in the summer of 1969, peaking at number 31, the label went bankrupt shortly after its release, partially due to Paycheck's declining commercial performance, partially due to his heavy drinking and erratic behavior. Over the course of the next year, he moved to California and sunk deeply into substance abuse. Meanwhile, Billy Sherrill at Epic Records had been searching for Paycheck with the hopes of producing his records. The label finally tracked him down in 1971 and offered him a contract, provided that he cleaned himself up. Paycheck accepted the offer and with Sherrill's assistence, he kicked his addictions.
           Like many of Sherrill's records of the early '70s, his Johnny Paycheck recordings were heavily produced and often layered with stings. Though this was a shift from the hardcore country that Paycheck made on Little Darlin', the new approach was a hit ‹ his debut single for the label, "She's All I Got," became a number two hit upon its fall 1971 release. It was quickly followed by another Top Ten hit, "Someone to Give My Love To," and Paycheck was finally becoming a star. During the next four years, he had 12 additional hit singles ‹ including 1973's Top Ten singles "Something About You I Love" and "Mr. Lovemaker," and 1974's "For a Minute There" ‹ with the more accessible, pop-oriented Sherrill crafted for him, but Paycheck's wild ways hadn't changed all that much. In 1972, he was convicted of check forgery and in 1976, he was saddled with a paternity suit, tax problems, and bankruptcy. Accordingly, he shifted his musical style in the mid-'70s to put him in step with the renegade outlaw country movement.
           Johnny Paycheck's first outlaw album, 1976's 11 Months and 29 Days (which happened to be the length of his suspended sentence for passing a bad check), featured a photo of him in a jail cell on the cover, signalling his change of direction. Initially, his outlaw records weren't hits, but early in 1977 he returned to the Top Ten with a pair of Top Ten singles, "Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets" and "I'm the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)." Later that year, he released his cover of David Allan Coe's "Take This Job and Shove It," which became his biggest hit, spending two weeks at number one; its B-side, "Colorado Kool-Aid," also charted at number 50. Soon, Paycheck's records were becoming near-parodies of his lifestyle, as the title "Me and the I.R.S." and "D.O.A. (Drunk on Arrival)" indicated. Nevertheless, he stayed at the top of the charts, with "Friend, Lover, Wife" and "Mabellene" both reaching number seven in late 1978 and early 1979.
           Shortly after the twin success of those singles, his career began to crumble due to his excessive, violent behavior. In 1979, his former manager Glenn Ferguson began a prolonged and difficult legal battle. In 1981, a flight attendant for Frontier Airlines sued him for slander after he began a fight on a plane. The following year, he was arrested for alleged rape. The charges were later reduced and he was fined, but by that point, Epic had had enough and dropped him from the label. Paycheck moved over to AMI, where he had anumber of small hit singles between 1984 and 1985. Later in 1985, he had a bar-room brawl with a stranger in Hillsboro, Ohio that ended with Paycheck shooting and injuring his opponent. The singer was arrested for aggravated assault and spent the next four years appealing the sentence, while he recorded for Mercury Records. None of his singles for the label reached the Top 40, and he was dropped from the label in 1987. He spent 1988 at Desperado Records before signing with Damascus the following year, following his conversion to Christianity.
           In 1989, Paycheck's appeals had expired and he was sentenced to the Chillicothe Correctional Institute. Johnny spent two years at the prison, even performing a concert with Merle Haggard at the jail during his stint, before being released on parole in January of 1991. Following his release, Paycheck kept a low profile, playing shows in Branson, Missouri and recording for the small label, Playback Records. ‹ Dan Cooper
          ED. NOTE: Johnny spent the past three or four years in a nursing home.

Randy Travis Takes Rest
Feb, 17, 2003 - Randy Travis is currently on vocal rest, doctors' orders, but that rest comes at the end of a long year of hard work. In addition to the touring he did to support his second album of inspirational music, Travis wrote or co-wrote some 40 songs last year. He quotes the late Roger Miller, saying sometimes the songwriting well goes dry and you just have to stop and let it refill itself. Travis says his well went dry for a time, but last year the music just poured out of him.
           Travis says he hit a 'growth spurt' of songwriting in 2002. "From that point on throughout the whole year every time I sat down for the most part we finished one if not several songs, me and whoever's writing," Travis told AP Radio. As soon as he's vocally up to it again, Travis will go back and hit it again, maybe just as hard. Travis says the feel is different, at a record company and on stage, when his albums are inspirational.

Bill Monroe Commemorative
Postage Stamp in 2006?

Would you like to see Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music, honored by a commemorative United States Postage Stamp? If you would, the time to act is NOW, and all you have to do is to write and mail a letter.
           Each year, the United States Postal Service considers the issuance of approximately 25 commemorative postage stamps. Under its guidelines, which you can read at: The honoree must have been dead for at least 10 years, which in Bill Monroe's case will be September 9, 2006. The 95th anniversary of his birth, September 13, 2006, which is only 4 days later, would be a logical date for the issuance of the stamp.  The guidelines further recommend that the process be started 3 years before the issuance year, which is NOW - 2003.
           The first step is for a citizens' committee to select, and narrow down to approximately 25, the worthy nominees for each year. This they do by considering letters, cards, petitions, etc., sent to them by the public at large. After that, the committee considers art work and other details for the stamp. Because Bill Monroe's music is appreciated World-Wide, nominations from outside the USA would be very appropriate. If you would like to participate in this effort on behalf of a great American musical genius, write your letter to:
          Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee
          c/o Stamp Development, US Postal Service
          475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 5670
          Washington, DC 20260-2437

Hal Wayne Vest Dies in Car Crash
Country music musician and producer Hal Wayne Vest died in a Feb. 7 car wreck on Interstate 65 near White House, Tenn. He was 57. Mr. Vest, a Hendersonville resident who produced and recorded under the name Hal Wayne, was the younger brother of steel guitarist Jim Vest. A former member of Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys band, Mr. Vest sang and played bass, guitar and drums, and he produced acts, including Billie Jo Spears, David Rogers and Charlie Louvin.
           In the mid-80s, Mr. Vest won several awards from Cash Box magazine for his work on his own Hal-Kat Kountry Records. Mr. Vest's wife, Jeanette L. Vest, also was injured in the accident. She was treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for a fractured pelvis and three broken ribs. Mr. Vest is survived by his wife; son, Hal Wayne Jr.; daughters, Lynn Rochelle and Jeanne Lorraine; brother, James Vest; step-children, Jeannie and Shelly Wellman; and five grandchildren.

Earl Scruggs Gets Hollywood Star
Bluegrass legend Earl Skruggs' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is set to be unveiled Feb. 13, the Nashville Tennessean reports. Gibson Guitar will throw a reception after the ceremony, says Earl's wife, Louise. The star will be placed on Hollywood Boulevard directly across from the Hollywood Roosevelt, where the Skruggses stayed when Earl was filming episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, the paper said.

New Bill Monroe is a Legendary Event
Bluegrass fans are about to get a sneak preview of musical heaven. Thanks to the genius of Bill Monroe and the innovative musical marketing of Koch/Audium Records a very special twofold musical event will launch next month.
           On February 11th, Koch/Audium Records releases a lavish 2 CD set, "Bill Monroe: The Legend Lives On." Proof of how enduring that legend really is can be found in the list of major name artists (many of them legends in their own right) who have come together for this musical celebration of Bill Monroe - the man and his music.
           Ricky Skaggs, the late John Hartford, Marty Stuart, The Whites, Ralph Stanley, Charlie Daniels, Jim & Jesse, Connie Smith, Del McCoury, Bill Carlisle, Larry Sparks, The Bluegrass Boys, Jerry & Tammy Sullivan, Tim O'Brien, and Bill's son, James Monroe are among the talents arrayed in musical tribute to the ongoing dynasty of "The Father Of Bluegrass" - William Smith Monroe.
           These CD's are an unabashed love-fest of bluegrass, picked and sung by the best. It's a project so well tuned that Bill himself would have been proud to be on hand to add a distinctive mandolin lick or two into the final mix.
           And if the two CD set isn't reason enough to bring joy to the heart of the bluegrass fans among us - Koch/Audium Records has a bonus card up their creative sleeve - A DVD and VHS featuring the artist comprising "Bill Monroe: The Legend Lives On." This DVD and VHS will be the featured premium offer in the March national subscriber drive of PBS stations around the U.S. The DVD/VHS will launch in March exclusively as a PBS subscription premium - available only to donors of PBS affiliates. Koch/Audium will release the DVD/VHS for national distribution in September.
           With both the CD and DVD/VHS listeners are buying into what will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the outstanding musical events of 2003.
           Thanks to his indelible imprint on American music, Bill Monroe will never be forgotten. "Bill Monroe: The Legend Lives On" holds the promise of not only providing a fitting tribute, but of further creating a whole new generation of listeners - and buyers - of the bluegrass music the man and his legend helped bring to life.
           A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these recordings benefits the Bill Monroe Memorial Fund.

Order information.

Country "Wheel of Fortune"
           NASHVILLE - Jan. 9, 2003 - A star-studded lineup of country artists begins taping sev- eral episodes of TV's "Wheel of Fortune" in Nashville Thursday, the Tennessean reports. Host Pat Sajak and letter-turner Vanna White will preside at the Bellsouth Acuff Theater. The sessions will be aired beginning next month. Those appearing include Alison Krauss, Billy Ray Cyrus, Wynonna, Barbara Mandrell, Steve Azar, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, George Jones, Brenda Lee, Lorrie Morgan, Joe Nichols, Charley Pride, Ricky Skaggs, Pam Tillis, Mark Wills and Darryl Worley.

Gaylord Fires WSM-AM Staffers
           By CRAIG HAVIGHURST, Staff Writer, The Tennessean. Jan. 8, 2003 - NASHVILLE - A year after a public outcry derailed a possible format change for classic country radio station WSM-AM 650, its operations manager and several other staffers were fired yesterday by an owner dissatisfied with the number of listeners it attracts.Kyle Cantrell, a 20-year WSM veteran and a longtime Grand Ole Opry announcer, was fired as operations manager and program director yesterday, owner Gaylord Entertainment Co. confirmed. He will exit the Opry announcing staff as well.Matthew Gillian and Johnny Koval, hosts of the overnight Opry Star Spotlight program, and online content director K.K. Wilson said they were fired, as well. In addition, Wilson said afternoon disc jockey Allen Dennis, assistant promotion director Trish Matthews and Cantrell assistant Carolyn Davis lost their jobs.Gaylord would confirm only Cantrell by name. One year ago, Gaylord seriously considered changing WSM's format from classic country to sports and talk programming.
           The resulting controversy led the company to reconsider.Station officials said yesterday that WSM is still "committed to country." But general manager John Padgett said: "We have to be open to looking for programming content that will attract listeners to the station." Gaylord spokesman Jim Brown said some programming works well. "But we will be looking at how to enhance the programming under new leadership. "Over the past year, WSM-AM has generally been rated fourth of four local country stations, with ratings hovering in the middle of the pack for Nashville radio overall."
           "It's been a challenging year," Padgett said. "We've had some successes, but we have to work harder to make the growth track happen faster." Opry Star Spotlight, which is losing its weekday and weekend hosts, is a 50-year-old show that brought legendary disc jockey Ralph Emery to national prominence and offered exposure to thousands of artists from the famous to the obscure. "I'm stunned," Gillian said. "We really had something going with that show." He cited scores of e-mails from listeners around the country who listen over the Internet or WSM's strong night signal. Padgett would not comment on the future of the program or any specific changes in programming philosophy. He did say that Cantrell would be replaced. "It's a sad day when a country station gets rid of their assets and keeps their liabilities," said Wilson, a 12-year veteran. "There's no one that knows more about WSM and its history than Kyle Cantrell. If they're going to stay in the country genre, they've cut off their nose to spite their face."
           Koval, known on the air as Johnny K, logged 17 years with the station. "I loved working there," he said. "I've got a lot of fans out there, and they're going to be hurt." Cantrell, who grew up idolizing such Opry hosts as Grant Turner, studied broadcasting with hopes of working at WSM. "I truly love the station," he said yesterday. "My only desire when I started was to be part of it in some way. My fondest dream was to be able to someday announce the Grand Ole Opry. I did that."

Buzz Busby R.I.P.
           By Adam Bernstein, Washington Post Staff Writer - Buzz Busby, 69, an acclaimed bluegrass mandolinist, songwriter and bandleader who helped Washington develop a reputation as a bluegrass center in the 1950s and spent a lifetime wrestling with an addiction to alcohol and drugs, died of cardiac arrest Jan. 5 at the Forest Haven nursing home in Catonsville, Md.
           Mr. Busby also had Parkinson's disease and diabetes, and was largely sidelined from his career since undergoing a quintuple bypass operation in 1990. Mr. Busby, who led the Bayou Boys band in the 1950s, was considered a local bluegrass pioneer and specialized in the "high lonesome" sound popularized by Bill Monroe - a traditional, fast-paced music with which Mr. Busby found favor on television and area clubs.
           "They were the band that got bluegrass started in Washington," said Tom Mindte, 45, a bluegrass mandolinist who leads the group the Patuxent Partners. "He made Washington a bluegrass hub because of his popularity, mainly."
           The Bayou Boys appeared regularly on "The Hayloft Hoedown," an evening program on WRC-TV, and also on "Louisiana Hayride," aired from Shreveport, La. The band performed often at such places as the Pine Tavern in Washington.
           A car accident in 1957, in which the ambulance driver mistakenly pronounced him dead, left him hospitalized for weeks. In the meantime, members of the Bayou Boys wanted to keep their engagements and formed what became the core of the Country Gentlemen, one of the legendary proponents of "newgrass," or modern bluegrass.
           After recuperating, Mr. Busby turned to songwriting. He wrote such bluegrass standards as "Cold and Windy Night," "Lost," "This World's No Place to Live, But It's Home," "Lonesome Wind" and "Blue Vietnam Skies." Among his most famous was "Just Me and the Jukebox," which includes the lines:
           "Just me and the jukebox to pass the time away,

           Just me and the jukebox, who knows the price I paid.

           A glass of wine to ease my mind since we've been apart,

           Just me and the jukebox, who knows my broken heart."

           Jerry Garcia and the Johnson Mountain Boys were among those who recorded his songs. About 1960, Mr. Busby began his descent into alcohol and drug abuse. His marriage unraveled. He spent time in jail. "He would try hard" to overcome his additions, "and he'd experience recidivism," said his brother Wayne Busbice, a guitarist and singer. "He couldn't keep a group together after that."
           Mr. Busby continued to perform and received new notice when Wayne Busbice started a record company that issued new recordings with his brother. Mike Joyce, reviewing the release "Louisiana Grass" for The Washington Post in 1986, wrote: "As always, it's Buzz's tremolo-humming mandolin style that stands out most, but the singing is heartfelt, the playing surefooted and the songs almost always worth hearing again."
           Mr. Busby was born Bernarr Graham Busbice and was one of nine siblings to grow up on a farm in Eros, La. He learned guitar and mandolin from his brother Wayne. A high school valedictorian, Mr. Busby was recruited by the FBI in the early 1950s. He did fingerprinting work at the agency while attending George Washington University.
           He was so successful musically that he gave up the FBI and college to devote himself to music. He worked in a duo called Buzz & Jack with songwriter and guitarist Jack Clement, who became a major record producer in Nashville. Then came the Bayou Boys. Among those who performed in the group was banjoist Don Stover, guitarist Charlie Waller, singer and guitarist Pete Pike, bassist Lee Cole, banjoists Bill Emerson and Eddie Adcock, and fiddler John Hall.
           After the car accident, the Country Gentlemen formed with Waller, Emerson, mandolinist John Duffey and bassist Tom Gray.
           Mr. Busby's marriage to Patricia Padgett Busby ended in divorce. Besides his brother Wayne of Wesley Chapel, Fla., survivors include two sons, Timothy Busbice of Westlake Village, Calif., and Glenn Busbice of Huntington Beach, Calif.; another brother; two sisters; and two grandchildren.

Waylon Honored by RCA NASHVILLE - February will be a year since we lost country star Waylon Jennings, and RCA Records is putting together a tribute album to the Outlaw. His wife Jessi Colter has authorized a 16-song collection titled "I've Always Been Crazy: A Tribute to Waylon Jennings," and will contribute a track herself. Colter has a new version of "Storms Never Last," a song she wrote and recorded with Jennings. The album is slated for release in April.
           Other artists contributing tracks include Brooks and Dunn; Kenny Chesney with Kid Rock; Sara Evans with Deana Carter; Andy Griggs; Travis Tritt; Hank Williams Jr.,; and Dwight Yoakam. Jennings made 60 albums and had 16 country singles that reached No. 1 country. His "Greatest Hits" album in 1979 sold 4 million ‹ a rare accomplishment in country music for that era.

"Images of a Country Drifter"
           Posted January 6, 2003 - Hank Williams 50th Memorial, sets the stage for year long tour. The Hank Williams Museum, in Montgomery, AL; recently held the 50th Memorial of the death of Hank Williams, Sr. This prestigious event, to preserve the memory of our countries most famous country music singer and songwriter, will kick off a year long tribute show, called "Images of a Country Drifter," a historical biography in narration and song, by David Church.
          The memorial services, held New Year's Day at the grave site in Montgomery, found people attending from as far away as Europe, Japan, and several other countries. Portions of the memorial were broadcast on local, regional and National news, and made the headlines of numerous regional newspapers. David Church, a tribute artist, whose voice sounds incredibly like the late legendary father of contemporary country music, led members from the Original "Drifting Cowboys" in the gospel song, "I Saw the Light," written by Williams. Church stated in an interview later, that it was an incredible honor, and lifetime achievement for him to be a part the memorial. "Images of a Country Drifter," a historical review of the life of Hank Williams, featuring international entertainer, David Church, has gained national attention. The review includes 20 songs and is narrated by female country artist, Terri Lisa. Church performed the tribute show on Thursday evening, while the legendary steel player, Don Helms, backed him up on stage. Helmes played steel for Williams throughout most of his career. Also present during the performance were, Lum York, Braxton Shuffert, Jimmy Porter, and Clent Holmes. All who have played as members of the "Drifting Cowboys" during Williams short career. The show received a standing ovation from the crowd of Hank fans present for this prestigious memorial. Also in attendance were several members of the Hank Williams fan club including president, Mary Wallace, and founder of the museum, Cecil Jackson, and numerous music and local dignitaries. Mary was astounded by the performance, and asked Church to attend the June festival for Hank Williams held in Georgiana. Numerous comments were made regarding the close resemblance of Churches voice to the legendary artist, Hank Williams Sr.
          After 10 years in bluegrass, David produced his first country album, which has receive fabulous reviews and airplay throughout the world. One of the songs, "You've Got the Key" went to #11 in the European charts. "Images of a Country Drifter;" the Hank Williams Tribute show, will be touring the US throughout 2003, promoting and preserving the image of Hank Williams and the museums in Alabama. Church is currently working on a recording project to include 10 - 11 original Hank Williams songs and a song that he wrote as a tribute to Hank and is scheduled to be finished late January or early February. Don Helmes will be featured on the album playing steel guitar. The next performance will be held in Huntington, WV, on Jan 25, 2003; at the Huntington High Renaissance Center.
          For more information on shows and on David, visit their website at:
For more information on the Hank Williams Museum contact 334-262-3600
Contact: Randy Shilling, Manager at: 740-453-7942

The One And Only Dick Shuey
By Geoff Wilbur
           I'd known about Dick Shuey for a while through his promotion Activities -the wonderful help he lends other musicians - but when I heard his latest disc. I knew this was someone country fans and the country music industry should know nore about.
           Asked about his latest big endeavors, Dick responds. "Everything is big, Geoff. There's never anything small in the country music business. Everything is important - because you never know who is watchin'."
           "I just came out of the studio about 3 weeks ago. My good buddy Ernie Ashworth from the Grand Ole Opry invited me to record a duet with him. We had a ball cutting 'Anywhere But Here'." It has been advanced shipped to some D.J.s already and will be included in the upcoming Hero Records "TWANG COUNTRY" Project.
           " I don't have any appearances scheduled at the present time. Time is my problem. Between DICKSHUEY.COM , TWANGTOWNUSA.COM and a little songwriting, it's just about around-the-clock, non stop here at the Ranch."
           What about Dick's album? He responds, "Country From The Heart" came about because I had never had an album release, and no record company was interested in releasing one on me, so I formed Hero records and distributed it myself. It encludes songs from all my sessions from way back in 1969. I figured that since I had these masters lying around all these years I'd throw it out there and watch what would happen.. I've been pleasantly surprised.
           "Country From The Heart" has done better than my wildest dreams. The DJs have been just wonderful in accepting its content. Just about every track is getting its fair share of play. The variety is wide enough range that there's just about something for everybody if they are a coiuntry music fan.
           When asked, Dick states "I guess 'Houston Is A Honky Tonk Town' would be my favorite. Anytime one can work with Grand Ole Opry stars on a recording, that has to be building memories. Ernest Tubb, Justin Tubb, Charlie Walker ... Ernie Ashworth, Little Roy Wiggins, Charlie Louvin, Connie Eaton ... These folks are and were real pros. Talk about history in country music ! Wow !
           Dick recalls the beginning of his songwriting career. "I started writing songs - or trying to --- while in the Navy and doing DJ work for the Navy. I ran the ship's radio station on board the USS Canopus {AS-34}. Everything just kind of grew out of that. I was young and dangerous --- and had no sense - so here I am today. It gets in one's blood and they can't help themselves. It was better than doing garbage pick-up, even if the garbage worker makes more money. Songwriting doesn't stink as bad when it's 100 degrees in August."
           Where does Dick get his inspiration? He notes, "Everything one sees and hears - one has to do a lot of listening and observing. I may read something, hear something that will kick in the computer between my ears. Some work and most don't, but that's the nature of being a songwriter. I'm writing a song right now with Don Powell. {"Bill Anderson Write Me A Good Country Hit Song"} I love to co-write. Makes for the chance of a better song when the product is complete. Well, maybe ..."
           Through the years, Dick has shared the stage with lots of country music luminaries. He recalls, "Ernest Tubb, Charlie Louvin, Ernie Ashworth, Conway Twitty ... and Bill Anderson ... in prison ... Ha-ha-ha - that's the truth. It was up in Connectticut at the state prison when I was working at WEXT Radio in West Hartford. Kenny Price, Don Bowman and Jan Howard were on that show. I was doing a benefit for the prisoners with my local band and Bill's show happened to be in town. The warden called me and wanted to know if it was alright for Bill Anderson to bring his group e words of advice worth remembering: "Don't you ever get the idea you are a success in country music without a little help from your friends. It's not having a hit record, it's having friends who are there for you when you need them and helping you have fun with what you do. Country Music is good about that."

Geoff Wilbur
The Renegade Newsletter
P.M.B 449
580 Thames Street
Newport, R.I. 02840 U.S.A.
Phone: {401} 849.3972

Alabama Gets AMA Award
           Alabama will receive the Award of Merit at the 30th annual American Music Awards Jan. 13 at the Shrine Auditorium in los Angeles. Reba McEntire will make the presentation. Twenty other awards will be handed out during the three-hour ceremony, hosted by the Osbourne family and broadcast on ABC television.
           An inscription on the Award of Merit, given in recognition of "outstanding contributions to the musical entertainment of the American public," will read: "For over a quarter of a century, the energy and excitement of this band's music has brought them millions of fans, an amazing 42 No. 1 hits and the most awards in any category on the American Music Awards." Previous recipients include Bing Crosby, Irving Berlin, Johnny Cash, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks and the Beach Boys.

Jim McReynolds R.I.P.
           Grand Ole Opry member Jim McReynolds of the bluegrass duo Jim & Jesse, died of cancer on New Year's Eve in Gallatin, Tenn., at 75. McReynolds and his brother, inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1964, are considered bluegrass legends for their rich harmonies and unique style. "I never heard him try to imitate anyone else," Jesse McReynolds tells the Nashville Tennessean. "He just sang what came natural to him." Jim McReynolds was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2001.

Saying Goodbye in 2002:

    Hank Williams 50th Anniversary
    Memorial Celebration/Tribute Show

               The Hank Williams Museum,a non-profit organization,  in Montgomery,  Alabama is to host a 50th Anniversary Memorial Celebration on Jan 1-3 in Montgomery.  The celebration is in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the death of Hank Williams Sr; who died in West Virginia on New Years day, 1953. People from all over the US are expected to attend.
               There is to be memorial ceremony held at the gravesite at 10:00 a.m. on January 1st.  The public is invited to attend. Following the ceremony, the Museum will be open to the public, for  tour and refreshments.  At 12:00, Myra Lewiski, the famous artist will unveil a porcelain doll of Hank Williams.  At 4:30, there will be a candlelight ceremony, at the bronze statue of Hank, by the City Auditorium. The service will be officiated by Dr. Henry Lyon III, the son of the minister who officiated at Hank's funeral. The Mayor, and other dignitaries will be present.  The celebration will feature Jack Greene, Stonewall Jackson,  David Church, and James Segrest and the Bama River Band. The Drifting Cowboys will also be present as well as other celebrities. Green will perform on January 2. Green topped the charts in the 60's with songs like, "Statue of a Fool, There Goes My Everything, and appeared on prominent TV shows such as "HEE HAW", Nashville Now and the Grand Ole Opry backstage.
               January 3 will feature Stonewall Jackson, followed by a Hank Williams Tribute show, by David Church. Stonewall Jackson, a legendary Opry Star, famous for songs like "Waterloo," "BJ the DJ" and many others.  The Tribute show, called "Images of a Country Drifter," will include historical narration on the life of Hank Williams, as well as 20 songs performed by Church. Church has  gained popularity among Hank William Sr fans. Many people that have attended his performances have stated that David's voice is so incredibly close to that of Hank Sr. that you actually think  it is a recording of Hank. David has performed all over the world, and has had many songs in the top 10 in European countries.  "You've Got the Key" gained international recognition, when it went to #1 in several countries and was #11 on the charts for most airplay in a 6 month period in 2002. Church has had numerous additional songs in the charts.
               A local band, James Segrest and Bama River, will also be performing. James has gained international exposure for his "Johnnie Paycheck" style with songs like "The Ole Violin."  He has produced 3 albums and received airplay around the world as well, with numerous songs such as  "She's going through my change of life," and many others.  Many of his songs have been in the European charts, and he appeared at #39 for the most airplay for 2002.  James's band the Bama River Band will back the performances.   For more information on Jack Green and Stonewall Jackson, visit Church's website is: and Segrests website is:
               Hotel rooms for anyone coming to the celebration are available at discount prices at "The Guest House Hotel and Suites" and the number is:  334-264-2231.  For more information on the Celebration contact: The Hank Williams Sr. Museum in Montgomery at: 334-262-3600.

    Cowboy Hall of Fame Inducts Strait
               George Strait is known more for singing than roping skills, but he will be inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame on Jan. 10 in Fort Worth. Strait, 50, is to be honored for starting the George Strait Team Roping Classic, which handed out nearly $300,000 in cash and prizes at the 20th annual competition this year in San Antonio, and for elevating the image of the cowboy around the world through his music.
               "We are expanding the hall of fame's range to go beyond the sport of cutting and rodeo competition," Ann Bastable, executive director, told the San Antonio Express-News.
               Strait has been named the top entertainer in country music at the TNN & CMT Country Weekly Music Awards. He and his son, Texas A&M University student George "Bubba" Strait, also compete in team roping. The George Strait Team Roping Classic is scheduled for March 14-15 at the San Antonio Rose Palace. Strait, his brother Buddy and their wives started the roping event in 1982, said Ashley Allison, assistant to the director of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
               The hall of fame honors excellence in the support of the western lifestyle in Texas and in rodeo competition and business.

    Click Here
    THE JOHNNY CASH INTERVIEW WITH LARRY KING TRANSCRIPT. Show aired on CNN TV Tuesday. November 26, 2002.

    Help Save Classic Country Music!
               The mission of the Country Legends Association is the preservation, protection, and promotion of Classic/Traditional Country Music. Toward that end, along with Independent Classic Country Recording Artist Joe Berry we are co-sponsoring a petition hosted at to stop  airplay and performance monopolies enjoyed by major label artists, and caused by the major record labels and national broadcast conglomerates, and also to force the payment of unpaid performance and airplay royalties to the artists entitled to them by law. This situation affects not only up and coming independent recording artists, but also the Country Legends who made Country Music what it is today. If you love Classic Country Music as much as we do, then we urge you to click on the following link, then add your signature and any comments you might have to the petition at:
               Be sure to tell your friends who love Classic Country Music about this, and ask them to sign as well. Folks, if we'll all pull together we can and will win this fight! -The Country Legends Association -

        Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's
    Public Donation Ceremony at CHOF

               NASHVILLE - Nov. 25, 2002- The members of the ground-breaking Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Capitol Records/Nashville President & CEO Mike Dungan, record producer Randy Scruggs and some very special guests will assemble at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum to donate memorabilia documenting the NGDB's historic Will The Circle Be Unbroken Vol. III album to the Museum's archives on Tuesday, December l0, at ll:00 a.m.
               The ceremony will include live music and stories and will be followed at noon with the first public screening of Farther Along, a 36-minute film documenting the Circle Vol. III sessions. The ceremony is open to the public and free with Museum admission.
               Mike Dungan will present the original plate for the Circle Vol. III album cover poster along with the first strike poster. NGDB member Jimmie Fadden, who played harmonica on almost all the current album's 28 titles, will donate the harmonicas he used on the Vol. III sessions.
               Singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer Randy Scruggs, who played on all three volumes of the trilogy, and produced the Grammy-winning Circle Vol. II and Circle Vol. III albums, will add his charts and notes from the Vol. III sessions to the Museum collection.
               In addition to Scruggs, Dungan, and band members Fadden, Jeff Hanna, John McEuen, Bob Carpenter, and Jimmy Ibbotson, special guests will include McEuen's son Jonathan and Hanna's son Jaime, who both contributed lead vocals and lead guitar to the album's first single release, "The Lowlands," composed by Gary Scruggs. Among the invitees are all the members of the album's multi-generational cast including: Del McCoury, Doc Watson, Jimmy Martin, Iris DeMent, June Carter Cash, Earl Scruggs, Sam Bush, Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Taj Mahal, Vassar Clements, Matraca Berg, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Jerry Douglas, Glen Duncan, Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Dillard, and others.
               The Circle trilogy's title song, the Carter Family's immortal "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," described by Wall Street Journal critic Nat Hentoff as "a song of eternal faith," is represented in the architecture and design of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum's $37 million new facility. At the Museum's ceremonial observance of the September ll, 200l, national tragedy, E. W. "Bud" Wendell, chairman of the Museum's Board of Officers and Trustees, cited the song as a source of comfort and inspiration. Since the launch of the Museum's capital campaign in l998, the song has evolved as the Hall of Fame's anthem and is traditionally performed at all formal ceremonies. Hall of Fame members Dolly Parton, Eddy Arnold, Jo Walker-Meador, Wendell, Little Jimmy Dickens, and Brenda Lee joined the NGDB to sing "Circle" at the Museum's Medallion Ceremony honoring new inductees Bill Anderson, Sam Phillips, the Delmore Brothers, the Everly Brothers, Waylon Jennings, the Jordanaires, Don Gibson, Homer & Jethro, Don Law, Ken Nelson, the Louvin Brothers and Webb Pierce on May 5, 2002.
               The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum's important collection already includes the washboard played by Jeff Hanna on the Circle II and Circle III albums, as well as the accordion heard on Circle II, donated by Bob Carpenter.
               Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 educational organization chartered by the State of Tennessee in 1964. The Foundation also operates CMF Records, the Museum's Frist Library and Archive, the CMF Press, RCA's Historic Studio B, and Hatch Show Print. More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at or by calling 615/416-2096.



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