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Front Page News, Archive #4
Jessi Colter's First
In 20 Years
Courtesy: Ron Wynn, firstname.lastname@example.org - February 27, 2006 -
CD titles can be misleading, irrelevant or just silly, but Jessi Colter's Out Of The Ashes
(Shout! Factory), which will be released Tuesday, Feb 28th, has a special significance.
It is her first new solo album in 20 years (though she did two albums of music for children in
1995 and 2000), and it has extensive doses of gospel and blues influence incorporated within
the resolutely traditional country framework.
But Colter also regards it as a renewal work, the beginning of her return to the musical spotlight
that she's largely avoided since the death of famed husband Waylon Jennings in 2002.
"I had to really get away from everything after that," Colter said during an interview she
gave while in Nashville on a promotional swing. "When you lose someone like Waylon,
it's not something that you can just recover from right away.
But I also never really got away from music. There were songs that would work on, and
finally I got to the point where I felt it was time that we get these done. I remember playing
one for Don (Grammy-winning instrumentalist and producer Don Was) and he told me to get a
bunch of those together and we'd make the record. I already had lots of demos at home,
so we got them together."
The results show Colter's voice hasn't lost any of the luster, range or impact that
once made her a prominent figure among country singers. She's reverent and evocative on
"His Eye Is On The Sparrow" and "Please Carry Me Home," a number co-written with her son
Shooter that was also featured on the disc Songs Inspired By The Passion Of The Christ.
Then Colter turns alternately bluesy on "You Can Pick Em" and forlorn on "Never Got Over You,"
while also displaying her interpretative talents on Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"
and "You Took Me By Surprise." But the most triumphant number is her rendition of Tony Joe
White's "Out Of The Rain," a spirited and highly memorable cut that also has backing from
the Greater Apostolic Christ Temple Choir plus Waylon Jennings, who completed the initial
vocal track. The song stands as a powerful testament to his memory and White's lyrical flair.
A pianist in a Pentecostal church at 11 and a rockabilly star as teen, Colter's first hit was
the 1961 single "Lonesome Road." Her first marriage to Duane Eddy ended in 1968, and a year
later she married Waylon Jennings. She had a country and pop hit in 1975 with "I'm Not Liza,"
then became part of country history a year later when she joined Jennings, Willie Nelson and
Tompall Glaser on Wanted! The Outlaws, the first Nashville album to sell a million copies.
When asked if anyone involved with that record had any idea of its significance, Colter
answered quickly, "Lord, No! We were just having a great time and doing something that
we enjoyed. We knew it was a little bit different from what everyone else was doing
at the time, but we didn't even think about country music history. We just thought
about making good, honest music."
That remains her mantra today, and Colter says that Out Of The Ashes is only the first in a
series of releases.
"There are more than enough songs written right now for me to make at least two more albums,"
Colter said. "Plus, I keep writing all the time, so the fans will be hearing a lot
more from me in the future."
WWVA Music Hall Fades
WHEELING, W.Va. - With barely a whisper of warning, a legend died here.
Jamboree USA, the live country music show second only to Nashville's Grand Ole Opry in
longevity and prominence, quietly slipped off the air at the end of December.
The cancellation of the weekly show gave new life to the town's fears that the
stage of the Capitol Music Hall, a 77-year-old landmark concert hall that played a
starring role in the history of radio, would soon go dark for good.
The hall's broadcasts, relayed since the 1940s by a giant 50,000-watt transmitter,
reached 20 states and Canada.
A post-Depression variety show called "It's Wheeling Steel" served as the
template for shows such as Lawrence Welk's. During World War II, the AM station
WWVA, which broadcast out of the hall, raised more money for war bonds than any
other station in the country.
Now, leaders of Wheeling's business and cultural communities are struggling
frantically just to keep the doors open.
Since the first Jamboree USA broadcast from the hall in 1933, millions of people
from around the continent waited in lines wrapping around the corner of Main and 10th
streets in Wheeling, hoping to get a ticket from the box office.
"People would make weekends out of it," said George Dormas, owner of the
Bridge Tavern and Grill, which has occupied the corner opposite the Capitol
Music Hall since Dormas' father, Pete, moved the restaurant there in 1961.
Dormas "grew up in the place," and spent the Saturday nights of his adolescence
serving cheeseburgers to the likes of Loretta Lynn, the Oak Ridge Boys and Ronnie McDowell.
Many of his former customers' names are carved into metal stars imbedded in
the sidewalk outside the entrance to the Capitol Music Hall, a miniature version of
Hollywood's walk of fame that boasts names including Charley Pride and Merle Haggard.
In the early 1990s, visitors to the Capitol Music Hall spent $27.1 million a year
in Wheeling, whose city government operates with a $24 million budget.
The show's popularity began to decline about a decade ago. Media giant Clear Channel
bought the hall and WWVA around 1999, and changed the station's format to talk radio,
though it kept the Jamboree in its Saturday night slot.
Many still living here cling to memories of concerts and movies they've seen in the hall,
a grand structure built in 1928 with ornate carvings outside and a striking interior of
original art deco and classical design.
Past the box office, massive art deco murals adorn soaring two-story lobby
walls that reach up to an arched ceiling bordered by elaborate, classical,
gold-painted molding. About 2,500 bright red seats fill the sweeping balcony and main
floor of the theater, where dark, clean deco lines on the walls point toward baroque
accents high above the stage.
By Mike Wereschagin, TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Sunday, February 19, 2006
Historian Charles K. Wolfe Dies at 62
Charles K. Wolfe, whose books, articles, studies and liner notes brought the dusty worlds
of decades-old country, bluegrass, old-time and roots music to life for modern students
and artists, died Thursday night in Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro after
a long battle with diabetes and other health problems. He was 62.
Mr. Wolfe was a three-time Grammy nominee, an English professor at Middle Tennessee
State University (he retired last year) and one of history's most ardent chroniclers
of music and musicians.
WSM-AM air personality Eddie Stubbs, who worked with Mr. Wolfe on several lengthy sets
of liner notes, including the Mac Wiseman boxed set that won the International Bluegrass
Music Association's best liner note prize in 2004, said, "I think any of us who are students
of the music are working in his shadow. I truly believe this man belongs in the Country
Music Hall of Fame."
Mr. Wolfe authored more than 15 books, including a book of essays on Southern
fiddling called The Devil's Box and a much-cited book called A Good Natured Riot:
The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry. He co-authored a meticulously detailed biography of
folk singer Leadbelly and a book about Nashville blues harmonica player DeFord
Bailey that was a primary asset in advocates' ultimately successful drive to win
Bailey admission into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Fiddle virtuoso Mark O'Connor grew up reading Wolfe's Devil's Box newsletter,
which focused on old-time Southern fiddlers, and O'Connor wrote the foreword to the
Devil's Box book that compiled work from the newsletter.
Pete Fisher, the Grand Ole Opry's general manager, praised Mr. Wolfe as a writer
of depth, insight and importance, while Michael Gray - once a student of Mr. Wolfe's
and now a fellow historian and associate editor at the Country Music Hall of Fame and
Museum - said, "He paved the way for country music scholarship, and he legitimized the
research at an academic level."
Mr. Wolfe is survived by his wife, Mary Dean, and daughters, Stacey and Cindy. Visitation
will be this afternoon at the Woodfin Memorial Chapel, 1388 Lascassas Pike in Murfreesboro.
Funeral services will be tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at Woodfin. -Peter Cooper, Tennessean
FRANKLIN, KENTUCKY WILL BE SITE OF NEW BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL IN APRIL 2006
Bluegrass Music Hall Opens in April
NASHVILLE (February 7, 2006) - James Monroe, a veteran entertainer based in Nashville,
will open a 700-seat music hall and RV campground in Franklin, Kentucky. Monroe was
inspired by his father, Bill Monroe, the acknowledged "Father of Bluegrass Music," to create
a haven for music lovers and outdoorsmen alike. The James Monroe Bluegrass Music Hall
is expected to be completed and ready for patrons in early April of 2006.
In honor of the grand opening, Monroe will host the Kentucky Springtime Bluegrass Special,
April 19-22, 2006. The celebrations begins Wednesday, April 19 with The Hatfield Band
and Logan County Grass scheduled to perform and continues on Thursday, April 20 with
performances by Larry Sparks, Leroy Troy, Primitive Quartet, and Ronnie Stoneman. On
Friday, April 21, Dean Osborne, the Fritts Family, Lawrence Bishop, and Mac Wiseman
are scheduled to perform and Gary Brewer, The Grascals, and Bobby Osborne will close
weekends' festivities on Saturday, April 22.
James Monroe played with Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys for seven years before forming his
own band, James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers. His band has since toured the United States.
The Midnight Ramblers will perform on a weekly basis at the Music Hall in conjunction with
the Music Hall's house band.
Confirmed performances for this summer include Jack Greene and Jimmy C. Newman at the
Country Music Package Show; John Anderson, Mel McDaniel, Jessee McReynolds, Jean Shepard
and James Monroe at the Country Bluegrass Event and Country Music Hall of Famer Ray
Price will be featured at The Legend Show.
The Bill Monroe Memorial Birthday Celebration featuring Bobby Bare, David Davis,
Jim Monroe, Bobby Osborne, Billy Walker and James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers
will be held September 14-16. Future appearances include: John Conlee, David Davis,
Jim Monroe, Stella Parton, Diane Sherrill, Gene Watson, and Leona Williams.
For specific information regarding The James Monroe Bluegrass Music Hall please visit
Merle Haggard to Receive
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
MERLE HAGGARD - dubbed "the most influential country singer of his generation" by the L.A. Times,
"the indomitable guardian of country tradition" by Blender, and, "with the arguable exception
of Hank Williams, the single most influential singer-songwriter in country music history"
by the Country Music Hall of Fame¨ and Museumâs Encyclopedia of Country Music ö makes good on
that bountiful praise as recipient of a 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award at this yearâs GRAMMY¨
Awards. MERLE joins the likes of David Bowie, Richard Pryor, and Delta blues pioneer Robert
Johnson in being honored this year for "lifelong contributions to the recording medium."
Meanwhile, MERLE (along with Buddy Guy, Alison Krauss, Aerosmith's Joe Perry, and
others) is set to honor another legend as part of the Les Paul & Friends: 90th Birthday
Salute at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles on February 7. Then, after touring
last year with icon Bob Dylan, MERLE joins the Rolling Stones for one night only
on March 9 at the Alltel Center in Little Rock, AR, before hitting the road for several
dates of his own in support of his latest album CHICAGO WIND.
Released by Capitol on October 25, the Jimmy Bowen-produced CHICAGO WIND has given
critics yet another reason to laud THE HAG. "Haggard, despite kicking around for 40
years, sounds fresh and enthusiastic; he's still writing and finding engaging songs
to wrap that warm, unfailingly musical baritone around," pronounces People's 4-star
review, noting that MERLE "is as close to Nashville royalty as it gets."
In its A- review, Entertainment Weekly echoed those thoughts, noting that "What is crystal
clear is that the 68-year-old country deity has lost none of his vocal mastery - while he
may have decades of hard living scored upon his face, his voice remains smooth and unruffled."
As MERLE continues to break new ground and win over a new generation of fans,
Capitol Nashville/EMI Music Catalog Marketing has declared it "The Year of Hag"
with a remastered and expanded set of ten original MERLE HAGGARD albums from
the 1960s and Î70s on five CDs, set for release on February 21. Featuring 21
rare or previously unreleased bonus tracks, and including four classic albums
never before available on CD, these reissues capture the best of MERLE's early
Capitol Records output. Capitol Nashville/EMI Music Catalog Marketing continues
"The Year of Hag" with HAG: AS COUNTRY AS IT GETS - THE VERY BEST OF MERLE HAGGARD
in September, with several more themed compilations (including a collection of
spirituals, and an anthology of the best of Merle's songwriting) in late 2006 and 2007.
Reflecting on MERLE's remarkable career in a nearly 10-page feature in the
November issue of GQ, Chris Heath wrote: "Not all of his greatest songs dealt with trouble -
he has written with a majesty about love and dignity and gratitude and pride and standing
up for what you believe in÷but trouble and heartache certainly felt like his most
natural neighborhoods: how life is hard, how hearts break easier than they mend,
and how it sometimes seems as though everything but loneliness will abandon you, of
anger looking for its rightful home, of wanting to stay but knowing
there's something just as deep within a certain kind of man that forever tugs him to leave."
Nashville Palace Re-Opens
The Nashville Palace has re-opened with a modern, state of the art venue and a renewed commitment
to providing the very best in Live Country Music.
The Nashville Palace is located near the corner of McGavock and Briley Parkway, Nashville, TN,
just blocks from the Grand Ole Opry and Opry Mills.
For ticket and hotel package information call (615) 884-3004.
Louise Scruggs dies at 78
Louise Scruggs ‹ the wife of banjo innovator Earl Scruggs and considered among the most
influential business people in country music history ‹ died Thursday, February 2, 2006 at Baptist
Hospital in Nashville. She had been battling respiratory ailments for many months. She was 78.
Earl Scruggs, a Country Music Hall of Fame member, always gave credit to his mate of six
decades for his accomplishments.
A half-century ago Louise Scruggs began managing and booking the now-legendary bluegrass
act Flatt and Scruggs.
As her husband's steward, she became the first female manager in Nashville music, she
brought bluegrass into the folk boom and she virtually created the notion of bluegrass as
a successful business venture.
Through her illness, Mrs. Scruggs worked to further the reach and popularity of her
husband's music, helping him toward Grammy Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
and other honors.
Mrs. Scruggs was born in 1927, and grew up in Middle Tennessee, near Lebanon.
In 1946, she sat on the front row at the Grand Ole Opry and saw Bill Monroe's Blue Grass
Boys with new member Earl Scruggs. The young instrumentalist, then 22 years old, was winning
applause with his electrifying, "three-finger" style of banjo playing. Audiences loved the
syncopated roll of Earl's banjo, and Monroe did, too. It made the entire band sound faster,
edgier and different than anyone else had ever sounded. That sound would ultimately define
what came to be known as bluegrass, and the banjo method would later be called "Scruggs Style."
Livin' Lovin' Rockin' Rollin':
The 25th Anniversary Collection
On April 21, 1980, Alabama signed to RCA Records. Over the course of the next 25 years,
they would become a legend of American music. The story of Alabama is studded with
superlatives. With 78 charted titles, 50 Top 10 hits, an unmatched 21 consecutive #1 singles
and 75 Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum album awards from the Recording Industry
Association of America (RIAA), Alabama has made entertainment history.
The band's career sales are in excess of 66 million records, ranking Alabama as one
of the 10 biggest-selling bands in the annals of popular music. Alabama has more #1
records, 42, than any band in country-music history and has sold more concert tickets
than any other country act. Alabama has been a fixture on country's singles and/or album
charts every single year from 1979 to the present. "Livin' Lovin' Rockin' Rollin':
The 25th Anniversary Collection," a 3-CD box set, commemorates Alabama's 25th
anniversary with RCA and features a career defining collection of songs selected
and sequenced by the band. In addition the set includes 9 previously unreleased
tracks, many from Alabama's personal archives, as well as rare and never-seen
photos and historical notes from Nashville journalist Robert Oermann. FYE.com c
elebrating this new release by giving away a signed Alabama custom Epiphone guitar.
Visit FYE.com for more details and to purchase this boxed set. Alabama's "Livin' Lovin'
Rockin' Rollin': The 25th Anniversary Collection" is in stores now.
2006 Music Across America Tour
NASHVILLE, January 25, 2006 - John Conlee, country music hitmaker, announced John Conlee's Music
of America Tour with special guests Janie Fricke and T.G. Sheppard. The show will be hosted
by John Conlee, and will showcase all performers singing their chart-topping hits.
The show will use one band, saving fans from sitting through set changes and long-lines
at the beer stand!!! The tour will be booked by Bobby Roberts Company.
About John Conlee:
Hailing from Kentucky, and one of the newest members of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame,
John Conlee has made his mark in country music history. Scoring 8 #1 hits, 19 Top 10 hits,
co-founding Farm Aid with Willie Nelson, and countless other accolades Conlee continues
to entertain fans with his classic voice and sound. Conlee is a member of the Grand Ole
Opry and in 2005 he released his first video in over 20 years.
The video coincided with a radio single for the track "They Also Serve," a tribute to family
members of those serving in the military. Conlee made special appearances on Hannity
& Colmes, Fox & Friends, Fox News Channel, Fox Magazine, The Daily Buzz, among others
in support of his latest effort.
About Janie Fricke:
Janie Fricke is a name that is hard to forget in country music history. Fricke was named
Female Vocalist of the Year by the CMA, ACM, Cashbox, Music City News and Billboard
Magazine, as well as hitting the top of the charts earning her 18 #1 hits. Fricke has
performed for President Ford, President George H.W. Bush, President Reagan, and President
George W. Bush, and was the first female voice to sing on the moon - yes, she performed
the wake-up jingle for the Apollo astronauts. And to top that - Fricke performed on the
last Elvis Presley recording session, lending her vocals to his final work.
About T.G. Sheppard:
T.G. Sheppard has always had an unstoppable passion for music. That passion, combined
with a steadfast dedication to entertainment, has made him one of the most popular
live performers in country music today. With success chock full of chart-topping hits,
18 #1's to be exact, like "Last Cheater's Waltz", "I Loved 'Em Every One", and "Do You Wanna
Go To Heaven", it's only natural that T.G. has developed a reputation as a solid performer
who delivers exactly what audiences want.
For booking information on John Conlee's Music of America Tour contact:
Bobby Roberts Company - 615-859-8899
Daily Country News Updates Here
Bellamy Brothers with New Faces
It was always brothers 'Jesse and Noah Bellamy,' but it took them awhile to figure that out. "We
played together in many bands,
realizing many incarnations; however, it has always come down to the fact that my brother and I were
the only ones that were
serious about the music. We were always the "only ones left standing," stated Jesse.
"We both grew up around music," said Jesse, 26, whose father is a musician in the famous country
music duo The Bellamy Brothers. "Our dad was and is in the business. It just kind of came natural."
Although they were raised on a Florida cattle ranch, neither brother had aspirations of being a
cattle rancher. Jesse relates,
"We converted an old hay barn into a studio, that's where we rehearsed and eventually began
recording our first demos."
It didn't take the brothers long to realize where their individual strengths lie. Noah excelled in
his guitar playing
and engineering the recording sessions while Jesse began focusing on singing and songwriting duties
in the group.
In summer 2005 Jesse and Noah embarked on their first tour of Europe where they performed festivals
in Switzerland, Norway,
and The United Kingdom: delighting audiences in with their unique country-rock sound while receiving
rave reviews and significant
international airplay along the way.
Janette Carter Passes Away
Despite heroic attempts to save her life, Janette Carter, 82, beloved
matriarch of the Carter Family, passed away at 6 a.m. Sunday, January 22, at
Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee. She had been unconscious
since Tuesday evening (January 17), when her health took a major turn for the
worse. She had endured a combination of chronic illnesses, several surgical
procedures over the last several years, and Parkinson's Disease. Prior to being
rushed to the hospital's emergency room Tuesday, she had been in a nearby
rehabilitation facility following a fall in her home Christmas day.
Daughter Rita Forrester reported Thursday that her mother, while still
critical, had begun showing some signs of improvement. Other complications
overnight Friday, however, required emergency surgery Saturday despite Janette's
weakness and medical instability.
Over the next 24 hours, two Code Blue events occurred. A team of physicians
revived her after the first event but were unable to bring her back after the
As for the future of the Carter Fold, Rita Forrester says her mother's
policies, goals, and ambitions will continue as before.
Janette Carter was one of three children born to A. P. and Sara Carter. A. P.
Carter was the founder and leader of the history-making trio that began
recording in 1927. Three daughters born to Maybelle Carter, the other member of
the original trio, have also passed away. With the passing last March of her
brother Joe, Janette remained the last surviving child of members of the
original Carter Family.
Janette followed her father's last wishes‹to do all she could to preserve not
only Carter Family music but also the old-time folk and country music of the
Appalachians‹by presenting country music performances at the site of the
general store her father operated in his final years. Over the next several
decades, those performances grew to become the Carter Family Fold, centerpiece of
the not-for-profit Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Inc. The Saturday
night performances have become the region's top visitor attraction.
Janette's lifetime of hard work and struggles brought her countless awards
and phenomenal national and international recognition. The latest, and among
the most significant, occurred last September when she was presented with the
National Endowment for the Arts Bess Lomax Hawes award in honor of her
lifelong efforts in the preservation and performance of Appalachian music.
Janette Carter's parents A.P. and Sara and her Aunt Maybelle Carter produced
a legacy of music that is regarded as pivotal in the establishment of the
country music industry and have been in the Country Music Hall of Fame since
Cash Home Sold
Nashville, TN - Johnny Cash and June Carter's rustic Hendersonville home, where they lived
during their entire marriage, has been sold two years after the passing of Johnny Cash.
The home was purchased by Balinda, LLC, a Florida LLC wholly owned by Barry and Linda Gibb.
Barry and Linda Gibb wish to restore the home to its original condition.
"This place will always be the spiritual home for the Cashes. My wife, Linda and I are
determined to preserve it, to honor their memory. We fell in love with it, it's an
incredible honor for us. We plan to use the home to write songs because of the
The home was sold by the Estate Trustees, Robert L. and Catherine C. Sullivan, as part of
the directives left by Johnny and June.
Ferlin Husky Undergoes Heart Surgery
Country Music Legend Ferlin Husky underwent successful heart surgery
on Tuesday morning (December 27) in Springfield, Missouri.
Doctors found two of his arteries ninety nine percent blocked. Two
were placed in those arteries and doctors expect a full recovery.
will be released from the hospital on Wednesday.
"Ferlin looks just great," Leona Williams said. "They brought him
the recovery room at about 12:30 PM and he looked great and said he
good. He should be up walking and back to singing soon."
Husky was born in Flat River, Missouri, on December 3, 1925. His
record was a duet with Jean Shepard on "Dear John." That was
followed by a
string of songs that topped both the Country and Pop charts including
"Timber I'm Falling" "Gone" "Country Music Is Here To Stay" "Little
Feel Better All Over" and "Once."
Husky had his biggest success in Country Music with the multi million
selling "On The Wings Of A Dove" in 1960. It stayed at the number one
position for over ten weeks and reached number twelve on the pop
Husky has just signed with Heart of Texas Records based in Brady,
will return to the studio in late January to begin recording his
country studio album in over ten years.
"We are very pleased with the surgery," Heart of Texas Records
Tracy Pitcox said. "Ferlin was having some difficulty breathing
last few shows and on a recent celebrity cruise. The blocked
the problem. We are excited about the new album and about Ferlin
some additional dates in the future."
Cards can be sent to: Ferlin Husky P.O. Box 777 Vienna, Missouri
65582. For more information concerning the Ferlin Husky/Leona Williams
show, please call (325) 456-5316.
Western Legend Buck Page Still Rockin'
After 70 Years in the Business
Buck Page, a Western music
legend currently living In Burbank, CA, has released his
historic first solo album "Right Place To Start". The release
will be accompanied by 3 music videos for the CD, due to be
commercially released later this year. Special guest, R.W.
Hampton added his award winning vocals on two duets. The
releases coincide with the filming of a documentary on Buck's
life as a Western Music Entertainer for over 70 years, expected
to be completed in Spring of 2006. During his long and fruitful
career, Buck was a regular guest performer for President Reagan,
Willie Nelson and a long list of many others.
Buck started his professional music career in 1936 at the age of
13, heavily influenced by Gene Autry during his early years. He
has been recognized as a "Living Legend" just to name one
current award. Buck sees himself as being part of the beginning
of Western Music culture. As a teacher and an artist he has
spent his life committed to Western Music. The heritage and
ethics – important parts of the Cowboy's ways of life - have
always been a top priority to Buck: he is the "Salt of the
Earth" or the "Real Deal" as people have called him over the
years and this solo project will soon prove to be a "Classic".
"I wish to share my love for Western Music," Buck says. "I
encourage artists currently working in the Western Music field.
My aim is to bring Western Music to the public and other
aspiring artists, in the hopes that they will follow the trails
cut by myself and other Western artists and involve themselves
in the value and excitement of this true form of America's Music
Buck has been a traveling and working entertainer all of his
life. He has never been signed by any major label but has
recorded three CD's in the last 10 years with his "Riders of the
Purple Sage est. 1936". Buck has again been endorsed by Gretsch
Guitars which monuments a 65 year relationship (since 1940) with
the Gretsch Family of world class musical instruments.
For more information and review copies of "Right Place To
Start", please contact The Source Entertainment Group at 805 551
2342 or email@example.com.
Buck's new Cd can be found at www.the-source-entertainment-group.com
Mayf Nutter Inducted
STARDUST RECORDS Artist, Mayf Nutter has received much acclaim
the past few years thanks to Buster Doss who has exposed Mayf's
recordings to a World-Wide audience of Deejays and fans who
never heard his music before.
Rockabilly Hall of fame founder, Bob Timmers, attended
JAMBOREE ON THE MOUNTAIN, an event produced by Col. Doss
and was inspired to look into the past achievement of Mayf Nutter.
Then it was apparent to him and others associated with
the RHOF that Mayf belonged among their esteemed members.
Mayf Nutter, star of television, films and the stage
was inducted into the
Rock A Billy Hall of Fame on Saturday, 5 November
2005. The induction took place at Buck Owens' Crystal
Palace Saloon on Buck Owens Blvd. In Bakersfield, CA.
The Sold Out crowd went wild as Bob Timmers of the
Rock A Billy Hall of Fame inducted Mayf for his
contribution to rockabilly music. A long line of fans extending
into the parking lot were turned away from the Standing Room
Only event, but many waited hoping for others
to leave early after the ceremony or for a chance to meet Mayf
as he left the building.
Mayf's rockabilly versions of: "Everybody's Talkin.", "Green Door",
"Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy", "Never Ending Song Of
Love" and everyone's favorite "Goin' Skinny Dippin'"
have become classics and are currently being played on
radio stations around the world. As a matter of fact,
Mayf Nutter records are constantly in the Top 100 of
the International Charts and have been for the past
It was only fitting that Mayf's induction took place
at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace Saloon with the live
radio broadcast on KUZZ radio. Among the first radio stations to
play Mayf's records was KUZZ AM-FM in Bakersfield. As a
result of hearing Mayf's music on the station, Buck
called Mayf and brought him to Bakersfield to record
with Buck and his Buckaroos. That was thirty six
Since that time Mayf has been either a recurring
character, or star, of five prime time award winning TV
series: "Gunsmoke", "The Waltons", "Falcon Crest",
"Knot's Landing" and "Hawkins" in which he starred
with Jimmy Stewart.
Mayf received Best Actor recognition for his role in
the Showtime nine hour mini-series "The Lone Star Bar
& Grill". Mayf has done over 100 guest star roles is
such TV hits as "Murder She Wrote", "The Dukes of
Hazzard", "Houston Knights", "Charlie's Angels" and
many, many more.
"Mayf Nutter's Worldwide Radio Hits, Vol 1" is his
current CD release and is being played on radio
Mayf adds this Rockabilly Hall of Fame honor to his many awards including
being enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame
Walkway of Stars in Nashville, TN. and being included
in the Bakersfield Country Music Museum.
Upcoming, Mayf Nutter fans will be able to see Mayf in two
feature films "The Painted Forest", produced by Michael
Stanton, and "Big Chuck Little Chuck", produced by
Byron Quisenberry, in 2006.
Skaggs Family Christmas Tradition
Has Begun for 2005
Nashville, TN - On October 18, a new holiday tradition began with release of A Skaggs Family
Christmas, Vol. 1. The beauty of song and the love of family come together on this collection
Christmas classics (plus a couple of brand new songs), performed by virtuoso multi-instrumentalist
Ricky Skaggs, his wife, and their children, joined by members of another celebrated musical clan,
"I believe we were able to capture the meaning of Christmas by recording as a family," Ricky offers.
"God is family, and so all of our involvement on A Skaggs Family Christmas is what it's all
This project was born not in a recording studio, but in the Skaggs' living room, where Ricky, Sharon
and their kids were singing Christmas songs together. It souded and fest so good that Ricky quickly
arranged for them to perform at five holiday shows in 2003. "Everyone at the Christmas shows kept
asking if we had a CD of theis music," he writes in the album's liner notes. "Well, at the time we
didn't. But as soon as we got off the road ... we went right into the studio and started
Ricky and his family have taken their love for this music on the road during the holidays for three
years, and now - to celebrate their first full-length recrding of theses songs - CMT is creating a
magical Skaggs Family Christmas special, featring an appearance by family friend Allison Krauss.
special is scheduled for broadcast between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with several rebradcasts
throughout the holiday season.
Like any gathering for friends and relatives, each with his or her unique personality and taste, the
selections on A Skaggs Family Christmas vary widely. Ricky's daughter Molly Skaggs, a 21 yr
old music composition student at Nashivlle's Belmont University, casts a delicat, yet jazz-inflected
spell in her reading of "Christmastime Is Here." Rachel White, 23, takes the lead on "What Child Is
This," with Celtic and bluegrass strains that breathe a timeless flavor into the mix. Cheryl White
sings "Mary, Did You Know" in her distinctive full timbre; Sharon White Skaggs delivers a beautiful
reading of "Love Came Gently," her voice nestled into the sound of the Nashiville String Machine.
Buck, the head of the White family clan, covers a broad range on his own, from the playful swing of
"Hangin' 'Round the Mistletoe" to the quiet majesty of his recitation on "The Christmas Guest." And
representing the next generation of family artists, 16 yr old Luke Skaggs joins in the harmony on a
number of tracks and on one, "Little Drummer Boy," steps out with a guitar solo behind his sister
There's joy in Kentucky Thunder's romp through "Deck the Halls," comfort in the pairing of Rachel's
voice to velvet strings on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and in the familiar blend of The
Whites on "White Christmas," and wonder in Ricky's rendition of "Go Thee Down."
There's variety ... yet A Skaggs Family Christmas is unified too, as different vocal and
instrumental elements flow into a single statement of love, friendship, and faith.
"I actually didn't realize how much variety we had until I started editing the record," Ricky says.
"But that makes it easier to touch a lot of listeners. And because of the kids' involvement , well,
I just think that A Skaggs Family Christmas says a lot more thatn A Ricky Skaggs Christmas
Album could say on its own."
Look for Volume 2 of A Skaggs Family Christmas next year, when that special holiday season
A 10 time Grammy Award winner, Ricky Skaggs is also a recipient of eight Country Music
Association (CMA) awards, including "Entertainer of the Year," and founder/leader of the celebrated
bluegrass band Kentucky Thunder. Since 1997, he has owned his own acoustic music label, Skaggs
The Whites are one fo America's most beloved family groups. Drawing on their father
Buck's long experience as a bandleader, vocalist, and pianist, sisters Sharon and
Cheryl have pooled their talents with his for more than 30 years. From their first
appearances as the Down Home Folks in their home state of Texas in the early '60s to their recent
soudtrack and on-screen contributions to the Coen Brothers' film O Brother Where Art Thou,
Whites continue to endure as a part of our national musical landscape.
For hi-resolution images, listening tracks, as well as more supporting documents, please visit
www.lotosnile.com and click MEDIA and ARTISTS.
Interviews are available. Thank you for your consideration.
Lotos Nile Media
Phone: (615) 298-1144 / Fax: (615) 279-0505
Skaggs Family Records
Phone: (615) 264-8877 x 109
Johnny Rodriguez Pickin' Party Photos
Ray Price Exhibit
NASHVILLE, Tenn., October 21, 2005 - The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will pay tribute to
architect Ray Price with an exhibit, tentatively titled Ray Price: The Cherokee Cowboy, opening in
Museum's East Gallery in August 2006 and running through June 2007.
Price, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, will celebrate his 80th
birthday on January
12, 2006. "Ray Price is a man of singular and enduring artistic vision whose role as an architect
and savior of country
music is too little appreciated," said Museum Director Kyle Young. "The 'Ray Price beat' is
it, country music would certainly be incomplete. He is a central figure in the 20th Century history
American popular music."
Following a tour of duty in the U. S. Marines during World War II, Price aimed for a veterinary
and enrolled at North Texas Agricultural College. Supplementing his formal education with a little
nightlife singing in a local establishment, and with encouragement from Dallas recording
Beck, the young Texan made his first record, "Jealous Lies," for the Bullet label in January 1950.
His singing on Dallas radio programs earned the notice of Troy Martin, an executive at the
powerful publishing house Peer-Southern Music, who guided him to a contract with Columbia Records in
1951. His first Columbia release, "If You're Ever Lonely, Darling," written by his chart-topping
mate Lefty Frizzell, didn't make any money and failed to chart.
In the fall of 195l, Hank Williams took Price with him on tour and wrote a song, "Weary Blues (From
Waiting)," which he gave to his new pal to record. The song did well enough to garner Price an
invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry in January 1952. When Price moved to Nashville the same year,
he and Williams roomed together. Williams let Price use his band, the Drifting Cowboys,
which is part of the reason Price's recordings sounded so much like Williams' for a few years.
However, Price wasn't just any Hank Williams sound alike. Blessed with a drop-dead tenor voice and
eagle eye for great songs, the balladeer delivered two Top Five country hits for Columbia in 1952:
"Talk to Your Heart" and "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes," (which would later become a #l pop
hit for Perry
Como). He returned to the Top Five again in March 1954 with "I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)."
Though "I'll Be There" continued to shadow Hank and Lefty, Price was clearly showing signs of his
own musical coming of age.
With his recording of "Release Me," a 1954 Top Ten, Price further framed his soon-to-be-signature
sound by adding
session musicians like guitarist Grady Martin to a core group of Drifting Cowboys, embroidering his
usual honky-tonk style with threads of western swing.
In 1956, as Price began to enjoy success with his personally branded honky-tonk, rockabilly cats
Presley and Carl Perkins were suddenly jitterbugging past superstars like Eddy Arnold and Red Foley
dominate the upper echelons of the country music charts and to preside over what looked to be the
of traditional country music. Some country stars began to emulate the rockabilly sound, but Price
already learned the limitations of imitation. Instead, when he and his band, the Cherokee Cowboys,
entered the studio in March 1956 to cut "Crazy Arms," they created a new sound, incorporating both
an acoustic and an electric bass to lay down a 4/4, dance-friendly shuffle rhythm that worked like
Evinrude behind Price's imposing tenor and harmonized choruses. The sound became known as "the
Ray Price beat," and it catapulted honky-tonk high enough and far enough to land and endure in
the 21st century. "Crazy Arms" neatly knocked Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" off its #l aerie
and remained in the top slot for twenty weeks.
Fledgling honky-tonker Price was now a fully feathered star, who helped give wing to the careers of
At various times, the Cherokee Cowboys included Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck (known
Donnie Young), Johnny Bush, Jimmy Day and Buddy Emmons, among others. He championed talented
Bill Anderson, Harlan Howard, Hank Cochran, Roger Miller, Mel Tillis, Willie Nelson and Kris
Price's 1959 Top Five recording of Howard's "Heartaches by the Number" helped establish the young
professional credentials, while his 1958 #l hit-and-runner "City Lights" did the same for Anderson.
which memorializes the alienation of countless rural southerners who abandoned dirt farms for
in the industrial states in the '50s, is a clear example of the special way country records document
By the early '60s, Price was edging toward a more polished, uptown sound, which reached full flower
with his acutely emotional 1967 interpretation of the Irish standard "Danny Boy." The recording
found its way
to the country Top Ten, but many disc jockeys rejected it as a pop-oriented "sell-out." Done with a
orchestra, the song alienated many Price fans, but it won him new devotees as well.
Price returned to the top of the country chart in 1970 with Kris Kristofferson's "For the Good
The song also went to #11 on the pop chart, and was Kristofferson's first #1 country hit. "For the
modernized country lyrics for a new generation and united Price's early fans with new ones. The
merited recognition as the Academy of Country Music's l970 Single and Song of the Year and won a
Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. The For the Good Times album, on Columbia, garnered
Album of the Year accolade. In 1971, the Country Music Association voted Price's I Won't Mention It
of the Year. The title song followed "For the Good Times" to the top of the country chart.
Between 1952 and 1989, Price scored a whopping 108 chart hits including eight chart-toppers and two
dozen Top Five classics.
Price's recordings for various labels since the 1970s have included the critically acclaimed Time in
2002 and Run That
by Me One More Time, a collection of duets with Willie Nelson, in 2003. In 2003, the Academy of
presented the versatile singer with the Pioneer Award.
Price's membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame is deserved recognition for a man who has used
resources of talent, will and taste for the betterment of the genre. Well before his recordings
evolved from the
barroom to the showroom, the versatile Price was making music that borrowed from jazz, blues, pop
His innovative honky-tonk beat, designed for roadhouses located a long way from church, and the
strings that helped to carry his story songs heavenward, attracted new audiences to country music
and have become
staples of modern country.
His hits helped draw pop stars to the song catalogs represented by Nashville publishers, and his
is synonymous with the rise of Nashville as a recording center. Many of those he helped along the
his longtime producer Don Law, are now themselves members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Like
his voice and
his ear for powerful songs, his skill as a bandleader and his will to make music the Ray Noble Price
way is undiminished.
Price still regards Nashville and its music industry as a key part of his career. He continues to
travel here to
record, valuing the players who live here and the studios available here.
Earlier this year, Price told CMT.com columnist Chet Flippo that he wanted to be remembered as "the
singer ever." Ray Price: The Cherokee Cowboy will be another step in that direction.
Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of FameÆ and Museum is
the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the
state of Tennessee
in 1964. The Museum's mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular
music rooted in
southern culture. With the same educational mission, the Foundation also operates CMF Records, the
Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, historic RCA Studio B, and Hatch Show Print.
The Ford Division of the Ford Motor Co. is a Founding Partner of the $37 million Country Music Hall
and Museum, which opened on May 17, 2001. More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame
is available at www.countrymusichalloffame.com or by calling (615) 416-2001.
Guitarist Mike Elliott Dies at Age 65
St. Paul, MN, September 26, 2005 - Mike Elliott, a
versatile and highly accomplished guitarist revered
for his work in jazz and country music, passed away at
his home in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 14, 2005
at the age of 65. Elliott had been seriously ill
since suffering a heart attack in January 2005. Mike
is survived by his wife Francena Elliott, who was by
his side at the time of his passing, and step-children
Stephanie Noel and Natalie Page of Dallas, Texas.
Born May 18, 1940 in Chicago, Mike studied guitar as a
teenager in Colorado under the legendary Johnny Smith.
His long career included extended periods in the Twin
Cities, where he played and recorded with the
influential jazz group Natural Life, and Nashville,
where he was a studio musician, producer/engineer and
songwriter on hit country recordings. During his
Nashville years (1982 - 1997) his many accomplishments
included serving as music director for the great
Nashville producer Jack Clement, contributing a song
to John Anderson's triple platinum album "Seminole
Wind," working on staff for Gibson Guitars and writing
instructional jazz books for the Hal Leonard
publishing company. As a jazz guitarist, renowned
critic Leonard Feather considered Mike to be one of
the very best. His versatility on guitar led to
performances with the Toronto Symphony, road work with
Victor Borge, recordings with stars like Johnny Cash
and much more. A devoted and brilliant educator, Mike
presented guitar clinics with people like Les Paul and
taught countless students from beginners to Bela
Fleck. Although Mike had some health insurance, he
had spent most of 2005 in the hospital and his family
is left with staggering medical bills and other
expenses. Donations to help cover expenses can be
sent to The Elliott Family, P.O. Box 211256, Eagan, MN
55121-9998. A benefit and celebration of Mike
Elliott's life will be held on Sunday, October 16
starting at 3:00 p.m. at the Artists' Quarter, 408 St.
Peter St. in downtown St. Paul.
"There was only one Mike, and I'm so fortunate to
have had him in my life," said Francena Elliott,
Mike's wife. "I loved him completely. Mike was very
soft spoken, but he made a huge impression on everyone
who met him. Even though he accomplished so much,
Mike was incredibly humble and kind. I adored him and
will miss him terribly." Standing six foot seven
inches tall, Mike's gentle nature and sharp wit were
all the more striking.
Pat Martino, the Philadelphia-based guitar great and
Blue Note recording artist, was a long-time friend of
Mike Elliott. In recent years, Mike helped make the
introductions that brought Mr. Martino to McNally
Smith College of Music in St. Paul to work with guitar
students. "It struck me that Mike was very much a
father figure to the students, and truly embraced by
them," says Martino. "Few individuals are blessed
with the ability to transcend their gifts as an artist
and a musician and become an intermediary to learning
for all around them. Mike was one of those rare
individuals. He made the learning environment very
comfortable for everyone, including me."
The Life of Mike Elliott. Mike Elliott was born into
a musical family in Chicago on May 18, 1940. His
father was a studio musician and his mother was a
blues singer. Mike picked up the guitar at an early
age, and was playing professionally by the age of 16
in Colorado Springs, CO, where his family had moved.
It was also in Colorado that Mike began studying
guitar with his mentor Johnny Smith, one of the most
influential guitarists in jazz history. Mike became a
business partner in the music store that Smith had
opened and began teaching guitar himself. Elliott
formed his own jazz group around this time and went
out on the road in 1964.
In 1966, Mike moved to Minneapolis and by the early
1970s he had co-founded the seminal jazz fusion group
Natural Life, whose membership included Bob Rockwell
on sax, Billy Peterson on bass, Bobby Peterson on
piano and drummers Bill Berg and Eric Kamau Gravatt.
The group recorded multiple albums and shared the
stage with the likes of Charles Mingus and McCoy
Tyner. Mike remained in the Twin Cities through 1981,
during which time he performed with many high-profile
outfits, including the Minnesota Orchestra and the
Toronto Symphony (as featured soloist). He also was a
busy session musician for albums and TV and radio
commercials and taught private lessons and master
classes at several universities. From 1978 to 1981,
Mike was a clinician with the Gibson Guitar company,
traveling the world conducting clinics.
In 1982, Mike moved to Nashville, TN, to become
manager of Gibson Professional Musical Services.
There, he held clinics with folks like Les Paul,
Howard Roberts and Elliot Easton. Mike's other
pursuits in Nashville included teaching, session work,
engineering, producing, arranging and songwriting.
Remaining in Nashville until 1998, Mike worked with
notables such as Trisha Yearwood, Chubby Checker,
Emmylou Harris and Joe Diffie. John Anderson's 1992
release "Seminole Wind," which became a
triple-platinum seller, included a song co-written by
Elliott. In 1996, Mike received the prestigious NAIRD
Award for his work as an engineer on Steve Earle's
Grammy-nominated album "Train A Comin'." In
Nashville, Mike also founded Magic Tracks recording
studio, served as president of Celebration Records and
was the music director for legendary producer Jack
Clement. As a guitarist, executive, songwriter,
engineer and producer, Mike excelled in virtually
every aspect of the competitive Nashville music scene.
In his "spare time," Mike wrote training, technical
and owners' manuals for Gibson and authored two
successful method books for Hal Leonard - "Expanding
Jazz Harmonies" and "Contemporary Chord Solos."
Mike Elliott returned to the Twin Cities in 1998,
continuing his work as an educator, live performer,
recording artist and engineer. That year he joined
the faculty of McNally Smith College of Music
(formerly Musictech). Mike could be seen playing at
the Artists' Quarter with friends like pianist Adi
Yeshaya, bassist Gordy Johnson, drummers Gordy
Knudtson and Kenny Horst, and the Petersons (Ricky,
Billy and Bobby). Mike was also called upon by
vocalists like Cookie Coleman and Joanie Knudtson to
add his magic touch.
In addition to his recordings with Natural Life and
countless sessions, Mike released seven albums of his
own, including the highly acclaimed "The Art of the
Solo Guitar" and Mike's personal favorite "Home
Cookin'" (2002). A devoted educator, Mike's many
accolades included a "Distinguished Service" award
from the Minnesota Music Educators Association in
1999. Although press-shy, Mike was the subject of
many glowing articles and reviews in publications like
"Guitar Player," "Minneapolis Star Tribune" and "The
Cleveland Plain Dealer."
Mike was greatly influenced by his mentor Johnny
Smith, as well as his friend and contemporary Pat
Martino and songwriter/producer and life-long friend
Joe Allen. The list of people Mike worked with is
seemingly endless, including luminaries with whom he
shared respect and friendship like Ramsey Lewis, Chet
Atkins, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Johnny Cash and so
Not only versatile on guitar, Mike Elliott was a
Mensa member, a lover of boats and the owner of
several exotic cars. An avid golfer, Mike had an
incredible six hole-in-ones. He was deeply loved by
family, friends and fans - known for his warmth,
humility, honesty and kindness.
Country Book written by Jimmy Adams
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Amtrak's Heartland Flyer is Goin' to the Bluegrass Festival
OKLAHOMA CITY - Amtrak has announced that its Heartland Flyer, which regularly operates between
Fort Worth, Texas, and Oklahoma City over the BNSF Railway, will temporarily extend its operation
33 miles north to and from Guthrie, Okla., later this month to provide service during the
Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival.
The extension will be added to the normal schedule, from Thursday, Sept. 29, through Saturday,
Oct. 1. Instead of tying up at Oklahoma City, the Flyer will continue on to Guthrie, arriving
at 10:55 p.m. From Friday, September 30, through Sunday, October 2, the southbound Flyer
will originate in Guthrie at 7:15 a.m. As usual, it will depart Oklahoma City at 8:25 a.m.
and arrive in Fort Worth at 12:39 p.m. The additional charge for the temporary segment
between Guthrie and Oklahoma City will be $10 in each direction.
The Heartland Flyer is operated by Amtrak under a contract with the Oklahoma Department
of Transportation (ODOT) and with the support of the Heartland Flyer Coalition, a grass-roots
group representing the communities along the 206-mile corridor. The temporary extension
is being operated under Amtrak's contract with ODOT.
Master producer Ray Ruff passed away 9-15-05. He was one of the founding partners in
CURB records and produced Donnie Brooks.
He died due to a brain anurisum caused from an attack by his longtime pet mountain lion.
More about Ray.
Vassar Clements Dead at Age 77
Vassar Clements was an extraordinary fiddler, a self-taught virtuoso who appeared on more than
2,000 albums and also played viola, cello, bass, mandolin, guitar and tenor banjo.
Clements died Tuesday at his home in Goodlettsville at age 77 after a battle with lung cancer.
Clements, who was born in Kinard, S.C. but grew up in Kissimmee, Fla., began playing as
a seven-year old and never had a formal music lesson in his life. His association with the
legendary Bill Monroe initially established his reputation in bluegrass circles.
His work bridged a variety of styles, including country, jazz, bluegrass, rock 'n' roll and
Mr. Clements recorded with artists as varied as Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, the Grateful Dead,
Bruce Hornsby, the Byrds, Woody Herman and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
He even once recorded with the Monkees ‹ by happenstance. He was working on a recording
session when someone asked him whether he wanted to stay and play on another one.
"I didn't know until later it was the Monkees," he said.
Bluegrass Road Warriors Cherryholmes
Drop New Album On Sept. 27, 2005
Nashville, TN - Bluegrass band Cherryholmes is turning tragedy into triumph with the September 27th
release of their self-titled album on Skaggs Family Records. The album comes on the heels of a slew
of first round International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) nominations for this hardworking,
roadtested family of world-class musicians. Nominations include ones for Entertainer of the Year,
Vocal Group of the Year, Instrumental Group of the Year, Emerging Artists of the Year, Female
Vocalist of the Year, Banjo Player and Fiddle Player of the Year, for which two members of the band
were nominated. The final nominations will be announced August 30th, 2005 at the Country Music Hall
of Fame in Nashville, TN.
These are heady times for Cherryholmes, but it was a tragic event that birthed these high-octane
pickers. The family band, led by parents Jere and Sandy Cherryholmes, got its start in 1999 when
their eldest daughter, Shelly, passed away at age 20 from respiratory illness due to chronic heart
problems. Soon after the family went to a bluegrass festival to lift their spirits. Jere and Sandy
decided they wanted to do something special with their family so they started a bluegrass band.
Sandy was already home schooling the kids - Cia, B.J., Skip and Molly - so incorporating music into
the lesson plan was a natural progression. Combining hard work, talent and the sheer love of making
music, the band quickly progressed and began playing out within a year. By 2002, Jere was ready to
quit his job as a carpenter for the Los Angeles County school system, so the band could hit the road
and make music full time. Before long they were doing over 250 dates a year and taking the
world by storm with their rocket-fuled, breakneck brand of traditional music.
Cherryholmes hit warp sped in 2004. They launched their own festival, The Best in Tradition with
Cherryholmes, and self-released their third album, Bluegrass Vagabonds. They also took
home the Entertaining Group of the Year award from The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass
Music in America (SPBGMA). Cia brought home the banjo trophy for Banjo Performer of the Year - the
only woman to be nominated. 2005 has been just as exciting with Molly and B.J. fiddling on the
live DVD from Rhonda Vincent and the band signing with Skaggs Family Records. They will be
special guests during the holidays this year for her Christmas tour.
Ben Isaacs of family gospel group The Isaacs wears the producer's hat for Cherryholmes. The disc
showcases their pedal-to-the-metal playing prowess on instrumentals like "Tallahassee", "Shelly In
The Heather/Linda's Reef" and "Coastline", while the stunning a capplella closing track, a reworking
of the Louvin Brothers' gem "No One To Sing For Me", underscores that the band is made up of six
vocalists. It's a vocal harmony tour de force.
From tragedy to triumph, music has been the bond holding Cherryholmes together. If this new album
leads to even more accolades and awards, well that's just becoming a family tradition.
For hi-resolution images, video or listening tracks as well as more supporting documents, please
visit www.lotosnile.com and click MEDIA and
Kissy Black firstname.lastname@example.org
Jocelyn Harms email@example.com
Phone: (615) 298-1144 / Fax: (615) 279-0505
LABEL: Michelle Nikolai
Skaggs Family Records
Phone: (615) 264-8877 x 109
"Walk the Line" Movie Release: Nov. 18th
20th Century Fox is scheduling "Walk the Line," a Johnny Cash-June Carter biopic starring Joaquin
Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, as an Oscar candidate, with a tentative Nov. 18 release date.
"Walk the Line" concentrates on Cash's life in the 1950s and '60s, from the time he made
his first rockabilly recordings at Memphis' Sun Records to when he married Carter in
1968 and became a heroic cultural figure for his tours of prisons.
Ben Peters R.I.P.
Ben Peters, the Grammy-winning songwriter who penned 14 No. 1 country hits, including Kiss
An Angel Good Morning, Daytime Friends and Before The Next Teardrop Falls, died Wednesday,
May 25, 2005 of pneumonia at Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville. He was 71.
Born in poverty in rural Mississippi and neglected as a child, Ben worked cotton fields in his
He found his grandfather's saxophone in an attic, learned to play the instrument and ran away from
New Orleans while he was still a teenager. He took the sax with him and began playing in clubs.
The Peters family moved to Nashville in 1966. Ben did some work as a solo artist but eventually
concentrated on writing and established himself as one of country music's greatest songsmiths.
He often drew from real life when writing songs. Kiss An Angel Good Morning, which became Charley
biggest hit, was written after Ben's wife reminded her husband to pay attention to their daughter,
Angela, whose nickname was 'Angel.'
Peters, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, wrote songs for Jerry Lee Lewis, Brenda
Lee, Ray Charles, Eddy Arnold,
Alan Jackson, George Jones, Loretta Lynn and Willie Nelson.
Jimmy Martin Passes Away
(05-14) Jimmy Martin, a pioneering bluegrass singer and guitarist who performed with the
Blue Grass Boys and many other musicians, died Saturday. He was 77.
Martin died in a Nashville hospice, more than a year after he was diagnosed with bladder
cancer, said his son, Lee Martin.
After performing as lead vocalist for the Blue Grass Boys periodically through 1955,
Martin formed his own band, the Sunny Mountain Boys, and recorded with Decca records for 18 years.
Martin recorded several bluegrass standards, including "Rock Hearts,""Sophronie,""Hold
Watcha Got,""Widow Maker" and "The Sunny Side of the Mountain."
Martin was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor in
1995. His life was also the subject of an independent documentary film, "King of Bluegrass:
The Life and Times of Jimmy Martin," which was released in 2003.
According to the film's Web site, Martin was fired at the age of 21 for singing on the
job at a factory in Morristown. He then went to see the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville
and talked his way backstage, where he persuaded Monroe to sing a couple of songs with him.
In the late 1950s and 1960s, Martin performed on both the "Louisiana Hayride" and "WWVA Wheeling
Jamboree," which were well-known country music shows. He also made guest appearances
on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, but never became a regular cast member, which was
his childhood dream.
Martin collaborated with many other artists throughout his career, including the Nitty Gritty
Dirt Band. His voice was the first heard on the Dirt Band's "Will the Circle Be Unbroken"
album in 1972, and his appearances on subsequent albums brought his feisty spirit to
audiences that might never have attended a bluegrass festival.
Martin performed until his later years, usually from April until October.
He also served as a mentor to many musicians, including J.D. Crowe and Paul Williams.
Jimmy Martin slide show
Jimmy Martin speaks
Statues to be Unveiled
at Crystal Palace
Bakersfield's own country music legend Buck Owens will honor nine of his peers and himself
May 25 with the unveiling of 10 life-size bronze statues at the Crystal Palace. Tickets went
on sale today.
Statues of Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson,
Elvis Presley, George Strait, Hank Williams Sr., Bob Wills and Owens himself will be
presented to the Crystal Palace, made by sculptor Bill Rains.
Owens along with Dierks Bentley, Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, Joe Nichols and Brad
Paisley will perform. Honorees Brooks, Haggard, Jones and Nelson are scheduled to attend.
Tickets for the event went on sale at 11 a.m. and can be purchased at Vallitix.com, all
Vallitix locations, the Crystal Palace Box Office or by calling 322-5200. Tickets are
$10 and only eight tickets will be sold per person.
The unveling will take place in the parking lot of the Crystal place with the gates
opening at 6:30 p.m. and the dedication starting at 8. The event will be standing room
only and no public seating will be available. The Crystal Palace will be closed to the
public on May 25 for this event.
"Godfather of Modern Steel Guitar"
Jerry Byrd Dies at Age 85
Peter Cooper, TENNESSEAN.COM - Musician's intricate, elegant style stood out.
Jerry Byrd, one of the most influential steel guitar players in American music history, died
Monday morning at Kaiser Hospital in Honolulu. He was 85 years old and had been suffering from
Mr. Byrd began playing Hawaiian music as a teenager in Lima, Ohio. By the late 1930s,
he was playing professionally, and he moved to Nashville around 1944, taking a job on the
Grand Ole Opry and playing in a style that was more elegant and intricate than previously
had been heard.
"Many of the players of his era sounded like what you heard in the old western movies:
They could be cartoonish and primitive," said Lloyd Green, a friend of Mr. Byrd's and fellow
Steel Guitar Hall of Famer. "He came along and played with great tone and originality.
He was the first steel player I heard who was a true artist, and most players today consider
him the godfather of the modern steel guitar."
Mr. Byrd performed with Ernest Tubb, Red Foley and other greats, and in 1953 he
joined Chet Atkins for a popular WSM Radio show called Two Guitars. He did numerous recordings
for Monument Records, but by 1962 he had ceased doing steel guitar session work and instead
played bass on many Nashville albums.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Byrd moved to Hawaii, a region that had long fascinated him,
and he settled into a life of teaching steel guitar on the island.
REMEMBERING JERRY BYRD
Biography by Jason Ankeny - Famed guitarist Jerry Byrd was born on March 9, 1920 in Lima,
OH. As a child, he developed a passion for Hawaiian music, although he made his first inroads
into performing by playing country on an area radio station between 1935 and 1937. After a
stint on Cincinnati's WLW, he joined the Renfro Valley Barn Dance in 1941; a year later, he
jumped to WJR in Detroit, and remained there until he signed on with Ernie Lee's Pleasant Valley
Boys in 1944.
Byrd remained with Lee until 1946, when he formed his own group, the Jay-Bird Trio. Two years later,
he joined Red Foley's band and became a session staple at King Records. Also in 1948, Byrd cut his
singles, "Mountain Mambo" and, under the name Jerry Robin, "Sun Shadows." Later in the year,
he issued his first 78, "Steelin' the Blues." While at King, Byrd also recorded a handful of
and as the years wore on, the music became his primary focus.
Still, Byrd remained an active figure on the country landscape; in 1950 he became a regular on
Foley's NBC television program, and from 1954 to 1956 he was featured on the Nashville-based
series Home Folks. An eight-year stint on the program Country Junction followed, and in 1964 he
a member of Bobby Lord's TV band. In 1968, Byrd left country for good, moving to Hawaii
to focus exclusively on the state's native music.
New Dwight Yoakam Release June 14th
"There's a lot of reckless joy on this album," says DWIGHT YOAKAM about his upcoming album
BLAME THE VAIN, due out June 14 on New West Records/Via Records, marking his first affiliation
with New West. "We are thrilled to be working with Dwight. He had a vision for this record
and delivered on every level. The songwriting, the production, the performances are all
stunning. He really has delivered a magnificent album," says Cameron Strang, president of
New West Records. The album's first single will arrive at radio in April, with a video
to hit airwaves shortly thereafter. A major cross-country tour will launch in July.
"We never left a session that wasn't flat-out fun," continues the singer, songwriter
and guitarist who solely produced the album-a career first -and wrote the music and
lyrics for these 12 songs of romantic cravings and deeply felt heartaches.
Mixed by David Leonard, who did the same honors for DWIGHT's classic albums If
There Was A Way and This Time, the new disc is distinguished by DWIGHT's signature
panoramic meld. Country, rockabilly, chiming British Invasion guitars, classic Southern rock,
Bakersfield grit-and more-are seamlessly blended in the finely etched arrangements on
BLAME THE VAIN. You can hear DWIGHT embrace tradition one moment, then playfully uproot
it the next, recording with such musicians as ace guitarist Keith Gattis, keyboardist Skip
Edwards, bassist Taras Prodaniuk, Mitch Marine on drums, and legendary percussionist
Bobbye Hall, whose work is heard (although she's often uncredited) on many classic
Motown albums. She was first credited on Marvin Gaye's album What's Goin' On.
For some "psycho-hillbilly squall," says DWIGHT, there's the song "Intentional
Heartache." He ups the ante with "She'll Remember": the tongue-in-cheek intro-"an homage
to the Moody Blues, ELP via Monty Python," explains DWIGHT-gives way to a bracing
country rock tune with disarming tempo shifts. There's also the subtly poignant
innocent plea of the upbeat shuffle "I Want To Love Again," of which DWIGHT enthuses,
"I have to pay tribute to Buck and the Bakersfield sound on every album." The album's
title track "Blame The Vain" is classic DWIGHT: a self-effacing confessional (where he
concludes "...then I just blame me") set against a beautifully raw ascending guitar riff.
This marks Dwight's first album of all-new material since 2003's Population Me on
Audium/Koch Records. His current release, The Very Best of Dwight Yoakam, was #28
on the Billboard Top Country Album Chart after more than 30 weeks of release. The
disc reaches all the way back to his two million-selling 1986 debut album GUITARS,
CADILLACS, ETC. ETC., which secured his stature among country's elite, while subsequent
albums like HILLBILLY DELUXE, BUENAS NOCHES FROM A LONELY ROOM, JUST LOOKIN' FOR A HIT,
IF THERE WAS A WAY and THIS TIME all achieved platinum or multi-platinum status.
The two-time Grammy winner has garnered 21 Grammy nominations throughout his career,
while selling more than 23 million albums worldwide and earning praise from the likes
of Time magazine, hailing him as "A Renaissance Man," Rolling Stone, noting "he has
no contemporary peer," and Vanity Fair, proclaiming "Yoakam strides the divide between
rock's lust and country's lament."
This year, Dwight will have a strong presence in the film world. Look for starring
roles in Bandidas with Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek and The Three Burials of Melquiades
Estrada (directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones), plus a cameo in the Owen Wilson/Vince
Vaughan movie The Wedding Crashers. Dwight first achieved notice as an actor with his
film debut in Red Rock West. He went on to achieve major acclaim for his roles in Sling
Blade and Panic Room. He starred in South Of Heaven, West of Hell, also directing the
film and co-writing its screenplay and has also been seen in Roswell, The Newton Boys,
The Little Death and The Minus Man and numerous other films that can be found on IMDB.
What's new in Branson for 2005
By Special Release to Branson Courier, 03/13/2005 -
Guests visiting the area in 2005 can expect to see new shows, attractions, special events,
festivals, restaurants, lodging amenities, retail shops, outdoor recreational activities
and more as the Branson/Lakes Area continues to grow and expand its wealth of vacation amenities.
This year marks a record in new development for the Branson/Lakes Area with the addition of
Branson Landing, now under construction in historic downtown Branson. The New Shanghai
Theatre opens in May and a historic event to welcome home Vietnam veterans is scheduled for
June. For updates throughout the year, call the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
and Convention & Visitors Bureau toll free at (800) 214-3661 or visit, www.explorebranson.com
to sign up to receive the Chamber's monthly e-newsletter.
Andy Williams and Petula Clark perform together at The Moon River Theatre in the spring
David Copperfield at The Moon River Theatre June 13-16
The New Shanghai Theatre on Hwy. 165, Branson's newest theater, opens May 15
featuring the New Shanghai Circus.
The Branson Variety Theater presents Bobby Vinton in concert with Vinton family
members and a live orchestra.
The Welk Theater hosts Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers with Pam Tillis (Sept - Oct),
and Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers with the Lennon Sisters (Nov - Dec). Siegfried &
Roy Present Darren Romeo, The Voice of Magic runs April - December.
Circle B Chuckwagon Dinner & Show opens at the newly renovated Dinner Bell
Restaurant across from The Grand Palace.
Clay Cooper's Country Music Express opens at the Caravelle Theater.
Les Brown's Band of Renown with Les Brown Jr. performs at the Mickey Gilley Theater.
George Jones, Bill Engvall, Merle Haggard and The Von Trapp Children join the
Biggest Concert Series at The Grand Palace.
John Wayne and America's Yodeling Sweetheart perform at the Nova Theater
The Yeary's Music Show and "Act of Godä join #1 Hits of the 60's at the Musical Palace.
Neil Goldberg's Cirque show appears at The Remington Theatre.
The Sons of the Pioneers perform their chuckwagon dinner show at The Shepherd
of the Hills Pavilion Theatre.
Acrobats of China featuring the New Shanghai Circus mark the opening of their
8th season in Branson with a new theater on Hwy. 165, the New Shanghai Theatre.
Buck Trent, in his 14th season, opens his show at the Grand Country Music Hall.
"From Patsy to Present" plays at the Branson Mall Music Theater.
Doug Gabriel opens his show at the Jim Stafford Theatre.
Silver Dollar City presents Powder Keg, a new $10 million explosive-launch roller
coaster that launches riders from 0 to 53 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and hits speeds
up to 64 miles per hour.
Silver Dollar City presents a salute to the American cowboy during their Festival
of American Music & Craftsmanship, September 8 - October 29. Performances by Riders
in the Sky, Michael Martin Murphy, Buck Taylor, Roy Rogers Jr., and the palomino-riding
Sons of Tennessee along with a tribute to John Wayne are part of the entertainment, along
with hundreds of musicians playing bluegrass, string band, country and gospel. Visiting
craftsmen demonstrate coppersmithing, stone masonry, and Best of Missouri Hands juried
artists demonstrate pewtersmithing, pottery, weaving, watercolor and bentwood furniture making.
Silver Dollar City's Bluegrass & Barbecue festival, May 21- June 5, features the
upbeat sounds of American bluegrass music along with the aromas and flavors of an all-American
barbecue, with Kansas City-style, Memphis favorites and Texas traditional barbecue.
Sample 300 barbecue sauces and visit the Barbecue Expo for the latest in grills,
demonstrations and tips from the experts. See regional bluegrass artists and rising stars
including Blue Highway, NewFound Road, Rarely Herd and the Chapmans.
The Branson Balloon offers passengers a 15-minute ride 500 feet into the air over Shepherd
of the Hills Expressway offering a bird's-eye view of the Branson landscape. It is the largest
tethered helium balloon in the U. S. at 200,000 cubic feet.
"Titanic... The Legend Continuesä opens on Hwy. 76 at the former site of Thunder Road
Amusement Center. The attraction will feature re-creations of first class staterooms,
third class austere accommodations, the Grand Staircase, plus an interactive area for
passengers to experience the touch of an iceberg. Visitors can view over 200 priceless
artifacts and historic treasures, and will be able to share the personal, heroic and
tragic stories of its passengers.
Playtime Pizza is a 30,000-square foot complex with indoor go-kart track, 2
levels of arcades, prizes and shops. The dining area seats 520 in individually themed
party rooms and private group rooms.
A new entertainment complex on Hwy. 76 also opening in 2005 will include a
state-of-the-art live entertainment theater, The Belair, featuring Rock Legends of the
50s and 60s. Grammy Award-winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Bill Medley
of The Righteous Brothers, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and several other artists will
perform. The complex will house "57 Heaven,ä a 32,000-square foot exhibit that takes
visitors on a walk down memory lane through lifestyle exhibits displaying the mood and
spirit of 1957, including an unparalleled museum-quality collection of classic cars, all
vintage 1957. There will also be a themed restaurant and gift shop.
The new 2-mile Table Rock Lakeshore Trail connects the Dewey Short Visitor Center
with the Showboat Branson Belle and the Table Rock State Park. The paved trail is open
each day until dusk.
The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, Arkansas presents the Biblical account of
early history at the Museum of Earth History and a new Holy Land exhibit.
BransonFest, April 5-9, held at the Welk Resort Theatre will feature a sampling of
Branson's finest entertainment, food, arts and culture in '05.
The Mid America Gospel Music & Singing Convention will be held May 13 -15 at the
Tri-Lakes Music Center and feature choirs from all across the country as well as gospel
music groups such as The Dixie Melody Boys, the Florida Boys Quartet, The Hoskins Family
and Christian comedian Aaron Wilburn.
Mardi Gras in Branson, June 2-4, will feature new musical groups, more food, more
vendors and more fun. This Cajun/Zydeco festival celebrates "La joie de vive" Cajun-style
with a touch of the Ozarks.
Operation Homecoming USA, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, presents
Welcome Home - America's Tribute to Vietnam Veterans June 13-19. The homecoming
entails numerous events throughout the Branson area including military demonstrations and
displays, banquets, a fishing tournament, a golf tournament and a 10-hour outdoor concert
on Saturday night featuring some of the biggest acts in the entertainment industry including
the Beach Boys, the Fifth Dimension, Creedance Clearwater Revisited, Ann-Margret, the Doobie
Brothers, Yakov Smirnoff, the Supremes with Mary Wilson, the Oak Ridge Boys, Tony Orlando,
Les Brown's Band of Renown with Les Brown, Jr., and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
Boyd's Bear Country opens on Hwy. 76 behind the Nova 4 Movie Theater and offers
whimsical and 'folksy with attitude' gifts and collectibles. Guests can shop,
and adopt and stuff their own bears.
Chateau On The Lake opens the $2 million, 10,000-square foot full-service Spa Botanica in June.
College of the Ozarks offers the grand 97,000-square-foot, 4-story Keeter Center, which
houses a new restaurant, meeting and conference space, lodging rooms, classrooms and more.
Pointe Royale Condominium Resort Golf & Conference Center has a new clubhouse and meeting
facility for members and guests.
Top of the Rock Golf Course is opening a new Arnold Palmer-designed signature practice
The City of Branson is developing a new Recreational Center including a 7,500- square
foot fitness facility, two basketball courts, volleyball courts, a 12,249-square foot swimming
pool, baseball/softball fields, soccer fields and a 1.5 mile asphalt walking track
Chateau On The Lake developer, John Q. Hammons Hotels, announced plans in 2004 to build
Charlevoix, a five-star, 18-story luxury hotel next to Chateau on the Lake in 2007.
Johnny, June Boxes Sets Coming
The music of country music's most beloved couple will be celebrated with
a pair of upcoming Columbia/Legacy multi-disc sets. Due June 7, "Johnny
Cash - The Legend" and June Carter Cash's "Keep on the Sunny Side -
Her Life In Music" will blend well-known and rare tracks in deluxe
packages boasting extensive liner notes and vintage photography.
"The Legend" will span four discs and 107 Cash tracks, covering
1955-2002 and all of the Man in Black's major recordings for the Sun and
Columbia labels. Seven of the included tracks are previously unreleased,
including "It Takes One To Know Me." That track was written by his
wife's daughter, Carlene Carter, as a teenager, and recorded in 1977.
Carter recently added vocals to the recording that appears here.
The other unreleased tracks are "Doin' My Time," "I'm Never Gonna Roam
Again," "When I'm Gray," a demo version of "Down In the Valley" and a
version of Billy Joe Shaver's "You Can't Beat Jesus Christ" that all
date to the early 1980s, and a 1973 recording of "I've Been Working On
A limited-edition package will include a hardcover coffee table book, a
bonus CD recording of Cash's first radio appearance in 1955 and a DVD
featuring the 1980 CBS television special "Johnny Cash - The First 25
The two-disc "Keep On the Sunny Side" examines the 64-year career of his
wife, a member of the seminal Carter Family and a spirited and soulful
songwriter and performer in her own right. The set boasts 40 songs
culled from such labels as Arhoolie, RCA, Dualtone and Columbia.
- Barry A. Jeckell, NY
Goldie Hill, Dead at 72
A long-time member of the Grand Ole Opry has died. Goldie Hill died Thursday, February 24th night
at Baptist Hospital of Cancer, Nashville. Goldie was 72 years old.
She began singing in her teens with her brothers in Texas then joined Webb Pierce's band in the
Once she arrived in Nashville, she was dubbed "The Golden Hillbilly."
Her biggest hit came in 1953 with "I Let The Stars Get in My Eyes." She retired from performing
marrying fellow Opry Member Carl Smith in the late 50's.
REMEMBERING GOLDIE HILL
(Biography by Al Campbell)
Country singer Goldie Hill, younger sister of Tommy Hill, was born in 1933 in Karnes County,
TX. Music played a huge part in the Hill family. The radio was one way to block out the daily
work of picking cotton. Goldie soaked up the popular country music of the era and developed a
talent for singing. Early on, Goldie's older brothers Tommy and Ken left a life of cotton picking
determined to make a name for themselves in country music. Within a few years, they were backing up
Hank Williams, Johnny Horton, and Webb Pierce. Sister Goldie officially got her start on the
Louisiana Hayride in 1953 as part of Tommy's band. Billed as "the Golden Hillbilly," she scored
a number one hit in 1953 with her second single, "I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes," originally
written by Tommy for Kitty Wells. Among her other charting tunes were several duets with either
Ernest Tubb's son Justin Tubb or Red Sovine, including the big hit "Yankee Go Home." In 1957
she married country singer Carl Smith following his divorce from June Carter. In the late
'60s she made a short-lived comeback as Goldie Hill Smith, without much fanfare. Following
Carl Smith's retirement from music in the late '70s, he and Goldie lived on their horse farm
outside of Franklin, TN, and the two began to show horses professionally during the course of the
Sunny Spencer Dies at 75
The Sons of the Pioneers and The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead and Outdoor Theatre Family are
deeply saddened by the loss of long-time Pioneer performer, Robert "Sunny" Spencer, who passed
away in Tucson, Arizona, Saturday evening, February 5.
As a young teenager, while working at radio station WLEX, announcer Tom Nolan nicknamed
Robert "Sunny" and both the name and personality have made Sunny a favorite of friends,
family, and fans alike ever since. Trail Boss Dale Warren, a 52-year member of the Sons
of the Pioneers and personal friend of Sunny Spencer for over sixty years, said, "Anyone
who has known or worked with Sunny, or enjoyed his music, knows that the name is the man!
There is no name that could have captured the smile, musical talents, and contagious
personality, other than Sunny."
The Shepherd of the Hills owner, Gary Snadon, stated, "Although Sunny and the Pioneers
have only made The Shepherd of the Hills their home for one season now, Sunny had already
made a place for himself in the hearts and minds of the Shepherd family. His smile, wave, outgoing
spirit, and incredible stage presence will be greatly missed by all of us who had come to know and
love Sunny, and looked forward to seeing him each day."
Sunny had been in Tucson with the Pioneers appearing at their winter home, the Hidden
Valley Inn, and was looking forward to a return to The Shepherd of the Hills for their
second season in the new Pavilion Theatre.
A memorial service was held on Wednesday, February 9 with funeral services in
Branson on February 13. Warren stated that the Pioneers will not be able to travel back to
Branson for the funeral services, as they will fulfill their commitment to sell-out crowds in
"The Show Must Go On" it would be Sunny. "He would certainly understand, and I know
he wouldn't have it any other way," said Warren. "It's really the greatest tribute we can give
to his memory." However, plans are underway for a community-wide memorial service in
tribute to Sunny Spencer, hosted by the Sons of the Pioneers and The Shepherd of the Hills
upon the return of the Pioneers to their summer and fall home, here in Branson. Details
of the memorial will be released as soon as they are finalized.
Robert "Sunny" Spencer brought to the Sons of the Pioneers a depth of talent that is both
unique and impressive. His fine vocal ability, his mastery of the fiddle, clarinet, guitar, banjo,
mandolin, sax, trumpet, bass, fiddle, in addition to his often outlandish sense of humor, has
added a unique quality to the Pioneers, as evidenced by the love of millions of fans over t
he twenty-one years he performed with the Pioneers. As Dale Warren described
so simply, yet eloquently, "There was only one Sunny Spencer!"
The Sons of the Pioneers will open their season in Branson on May 16.
Loretta Wins Grammy
Veteran country singer Loretta Lynn, who launched a bold comeback last year by joining
forces with Detroit rocker Jack White of the White Stripes, won her first Grammy Award
in 33 years on Sunday, Feb. 13th.
Lynn, 69, who received five nominations in four categories, won the country collaboration
with vocals prize for her performance with White on "Portland Oregon."
Lynn's album, "Van Lear Rose," was also nominated for best country album, the winner
of which will be announced during the televised ceremony later in the day.
Lynn's sole Grammy to date was for "After the Fire is Gone," her duet with the late Conway
Twitty, which they won in 1972.
"Van Lear Rose," the 71st album of her 45-year career, earned wide critical acclaim and
attention from a new generation of fans, thanks to the unlikely involvement of White,
who coaxed her out of semi-retirement.
The cherubic-faced frontman with the hallowed indie duo the White Stripes was a longtime
fan and journeyed to Nashville in 2003, where they ended up recording most of the album
in two days.
In addition to producing and arranging the album, he sang with Lynn on the
atmospheric single "Portland Oregon," which won unexpected airplay on rock radio stations.
Lynn's chart-topping autobiographical 1970 tune "Coal Miner's Daughter" inspired both a
best-selling memoir and an Oscar-winning film starring Sissy Spacek.
Mentored by the late Patsy Cline (news), she carved out a career as a feminist
heroine. Her other No. 1 country hits included "Don't Come Home Drinkin' (with
Lovin' On Your Mind)," "Fist City" and "Woman of the World."
Sammi Smith R.I.P. Feb. 13
Sammi Smith to be buried in Guymon, OK.
Singer/songwriter Sammi Smith passed away after a lengthy illness at her home in Oklahoma City.
She was 61 years old.
She was born in Orange County, Calif., on Aug. 5, 1943 and was known for singing songs true to
the gritty reality of everyday life.
Sammi Smith was considered one of the true female country songbirds of the 1970s and 1980s.
She was unafraid to sing songs that spoke of real life and its hardships, and was known for
her husky soulful voice.
She began to sing in clubs at the age of 11 and had her first hit with "So Long Charlie Brown"
in 1967. She followed in 1970 with her first major hit "Help Me Make It Through the night" which
went to the top of the country charts and also became a Top Ten pop hit.
She wrote songs for fellow artists, including "Cedartown, Georgia" for Waylon Jennings.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, she had chart success with many other songs and her
last hits came in the late 1980s with "What a Lie" and "I Cry When I'm Alone."
Her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry was with her son, actor and recording artist
Waylon Payne in August of 2004.
At the time of her death, an independent film documentary was being filmed about her l
ife and years in the music business.
She is survived by son Waylon Payne of Nashville and Los Angeles; sons Robert White,
Bobby White and daughter Snow Jewel White Showalter of Ft. Smith, Ark., her two adopted
sons Alfred and Albert Keay of Globe, Ariz., stepchildren James Johnson and Jennifer Johnson
of Bristow, stepmother Edith Smith of Guymon, brother Bobby J. Johnson of Sacra, N.M.,
Jerry Lathrop of Boise City, special aunt Betty Kidwell of Guymon, two nieces and 11
All memorials are requested sent to : MUSICARES 1904 Wedgewood, Nashville, Tenn. 37212.
Doug Lang wrote:
A singer with a gift for how to float
a line across the measures, finding
hidden values in each word.
I'm not sure she knew just how good
she was. The industry certainly didn't,
another talent driven off the main road
by the currents of the mediocre river.
Roy Stamps wrote:
I have been thinking about the 35 years that I have known Sammi...the very high points and the very
low ones, and all those crazy things in the middle. Waylon Jennings called her, "The Girl Hero", I
never really knew why, but she liked the title. Believe it or not, there was a time when she was a
much bigger star that Mickey or Willie, yet she did everything that she could to bring them into her
spotlight so they could share it. For a long time she was the only female member what has been
called "The Outlaws". Waylon's wife, Jessie, was around, but she never knew the success that Sammi
had. Luther Perkins brought Sammi to Johnny Cash and John helped her get her first record contract.
She had been singing in bars since she was nine or ten, and she attributed her sexy voice to
breathing all that smoke at such a young age. Like Mickey, it was the smoke that killed her.
Sam would give you the shirt off her back if she thought you needed it. She never collected a dime
from her record company for one of the biggest selling records in country music history. "When she
won the Grammy for "Help Me Make It Through The Night" she didn't attend the awards show because she
couldn't afford the trip. They shipped her Grammy to her and when she took it over to Waylon's, he
dropped it and broke the sound horn. When her record company, Mega, went bankrupt, her master tapes
were sold by the court, she did recieve these back about a year ago when the individual who bought
She signed with Electra, but overproduction and bad marketing cut short what should have been a long
career. She had a dream of building a school on the Apachie Reservation in Arizona, and held several
concerts to raise money for the project. The fact that it never happened was one of her big regrets.
She was a direct decendant
of the famed Apachie Chief Cochise.
About 23 years ago Sammi married an Oklahoma Cowboy. She and John ran a ranch about fifty miles from
Tulsa. From time to time she would make a personal appearance at various Opry shows in Oklahoma and
Texas, or show up when Willie was in the area to sing with him on her big hit song. Her health
started it's downward turn fifteen years ago. Her relationship with John deteriorated after twenty
years, resulting in a separation two years ago.
Over the years Sammi maintained regular contact with several old friends. Mary Francis, who some of
you met at G-3, "X" Linclon, who had played with Sammi's band, and, I'm proud to say, Sylvia and me,
among others. She never wanted anyone to know how sick or broke she really was.
A few years ago I called Mickey, put him on hold and called Sammi, it was the first time the two old
friends had spoken in years. I listened for a while and then laid the phone down to do something and
forgot about it. About an hour later I saw the phone laying there and picked it up...they were still
It took a super human effort for her to sing both nights at Gathering III. It was something that she
wanted to do for Mickey and his family and friends. To the best of my knowledge, it was one of the
last times she sang in public. She loved Jonmark's guitar playing and Marie's violin and had made
plans to be at Gathering IV where she wanted to record a group of Mickey's songs, but she was too
sick to make the trip from Oklahoma City to Austin.
Tonight I thought of those who went before her...all friends...Roger Miller, Mickey, Johnny Cash,
Waylon, Buckey Meadows, Merle Kilgore,
Jimmy Day, Joe Poovey, Johnny Carroll and so many others. One thing is for sure...there's one hell
of a guitar pull going on about now.
Services for Sammi will be at ten in the morning on Wednesday in Oklahoma City. This is one
appearance by the Girl Hero I will not miss.
God Bless, Sam....I'm going to miss you.
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy They are the charming gardeners who make our souls
blossom... Marcel Proust
Merle Kilgore Dead at Age 70
The distinctive voice of Merle Kilgore, one of the most significant songwriters and entertainers in
American musical history was forever silenced February 6, 2005.
He died from congestive heart failure onset from medical complications related to ongoing treatment
cancer over the last few months. He passed away in a hospital in Mexico seeking alternative ways to
fight the cancer.
He is survived by his wife, Judy, sons Steve and Duane Kilgore, daughters, Pam Compton, Kim Pomeroy,
and Shane McBee, 8 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter.
Born Wyatt Merle Kilgore on August 9, 1934, in Chickasha, Oklahoma - Kilgore spent much of his
growing up years in Shreveport, Louisiana. As a boy of 14, Merle cut his teeth in the music
industry carrying the guitar of Hank Williams Sr. to and from the stage of the historic Louisiana
Hayride. Who could have known that as an adult, Merle would devote much of his career to carrying
the name, the legacy, and musical heritage of the Williams family to new audiences, new heights,
and virtually every great stage in country music and beyond as the manager of Hank Williams Sr.'s
pride and 'Bocephus' -- Hank Williams Jr.
And never has the word ;manager' covered a broader definition. When Buddy Lee and Hank's Jr.'s
mother, the late Audrey Williams, put Merle on the bill and on the road with Jr. in the '60's there
was a method to their plan. The teenage Hank Jr. was growing up in a tough industry without the
benefit of his legendary father. In stepped Merle Kilgore's handsome young entertainer, fifteen
years older than Hank, who had already written a #1 hit for Webb Pierce, 'More And More,' and
followed it with monster hits including 'Wolverton Mountain,' a 10 million seller for Claude King,
and 'Ring Of Fire,' written with June Carter Cash, recorded by Johnny Cash and on its way to selling
16 million records for Johnny, June and Merle.
Few artists on the day wanted to share a stage with Merle Kilgore - even fewer wanted to follow him
on stage. Merle simply stole the show on whatever stage you placed him. With his off the wall
humor, string of hit songs, and glitzy brand of showmanship, rare that an artist of Merle Kilgore's
caliber would take a step back from the spotlight to consider his touring partner - the teenage Hank
Jr. - on his way to carving a legendary career of his own. Maybe it was a duty Merle felt to Hank
Sr. ... and maybe it was just the stuff legend is made of - but to say theirs was to become a
friendship and a working relationship built on mutual respect - and yes - love-would be the true
definition. Somewhere on some stage, in some forgotten town long ago Merle Kilgore and Hank Jr.
crossed the invisible line to form a bond 'of the road' - and became the kind of brothers and
'family' that only those in the entertainment industry can fully appreciate and understand.
Reached by phone with the news of the passing of his long time friend and manager, Hank Williams Jr.
was unable to make a formal statement at this time.
Greg Oswald, Sr. Vice-President at William Morris, and responsible agent for Hank Williams jr. was a
long time friend of Merle's and in constant communication with him throughout his illness. 'When
my brother called me just a few hours ago with the news, my immediate thought was that only six
short weeks ago I lost my mother - and the pain was equally as sharp when that news came across the
phone line tonight about Merle. He was family not only to Hank, but to me and to so many in the
industry. We have suffered the loss of a truly unique and great man in the country music community
of the caliber we'll never again see in our lifetime within the industry.'
Merle Kilgore's management of Hank Williams Jr.'s career brought him accolades along the corridors
of Music Row - including CMA 'Manager Of The Year.' He served on the CMA Board Of Directors, was
elected Vice President of CMA, as well as President of both the Nashville Songwriter's Association
International and the Nashville Songwriter's Foundation. He served two terms as President of ROPE.
Merle became an Honorary State Senator in the State of Tennessee, was inducted into the Louisiana
Hall of Fame, and even made the hall of fame in his old high school alma mater - Byrd High-- back in
Shreveport. Senator Kilgore has had an illustrious life - from double dating with pal Elvis Presley
to acting roles in seven movie productions.
Through it all, Merle continued not only to be one of the country music industry's most successful
personal managers - but an artist in his own right. His acting roles, accolades as a performer, and
songbook as a multi-million selling writer would take volumes to record.
Merle Kilgore was a friend to all within the sound of his voice and he continued throughout
life to encourage those within the family of Country Music to love what they did. His
legacy will continue with the legions of friends and fans around the world who will insure
Merle Kilgore's legend will forever remain among those of the true giants in the music
Photo: Barbara Dunn King - Ekingehk@cs.com
Now Available - "I Still Miss Someone:
Friends and Family Remember Johnny Cash"
Book signing party photos here.
New Louisiana Hayride Book:
"Radio and Roots Music Along the Red River"
Overshadowed by its Nashville counterpart and mostly forgotten today, KWKH's "Louisiana Hayride"
remains a critical part of country music's history.
The large brick building at 705 Elvis Presley Avenue might not look like much at first glance, but
between 1948 and 1960, Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium was known to radio listeners worldwide as
home of the "Cradle of the Stars." From the auditorium's stage, KWKH-AM broadcast "The Louisiana
Hayride," a weekly Saturday night showcase of comedy routines, advertisements, gospel tunes, and -
importantly - country and western songs. The roster of legendary "Hayride" acts reads like a
who's who of classic country artists: Hank Williams, Red Sovine, Slim Whitman, Leon Payne, Webb
Pierce, Jimmy C. Newman, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, Kitty Wells, Johnnie
and Jack, Floyd Cramer, The Browns, Faron Young and Elvis Presley. During its twelve year run, the
"Hayride" was beamed from KWKH's powerful 50-kilowatt tower to twenty-eight states. The CBS Radio
Network picked up the show as part of its "Saturday Night, Country Style" and was heard around the
globe on the Far East Network of the Armed Forces Radio Service. Yet, despite the caliber of its
performers and the size of its audience, the "Hayride" could never escape the shadow of the slicker,
more tradition bound "Grand Ole Opry." Since its final broadcast, the "Hayride" has been relegated
to little more than a footnote to all but the most die-hard music critic and country music fan.
LOUISIANA HAYRIDE: Radio and Roots Music Along the Red River (Oxford University Press;
0-19-516751-1; $29.95; December 2004) by Tracey E.W. Laird pays long overdue tribute to one of the
most important regional radio shows in popular music. Not only did the "Hayride" kick off the
careers of country music's most honored luminaries, its embrace of untested styles and performers
it apart from the more revered "Opry." By allowing rockabilly newcomers like Elvis Presley to take
the same stage as beloved country and western artists like Hank Williams, the "Hayride" boasts the
singular distinction of launching both modern country and rock and roll.
LOUISIANA HAYRIDE is also the story of northwest Louisiana's unique social, cultural and
musical background. Laird takes readers on an immersive journey into Shreveport's early lawless
river town days and explores the impact nineteenth-century music, the phonograph, the rise of radio,
ad regional native sons like Huddle "Leadbelly" Ledbetter and Jimmie Davis all had on the music and
the musicians that would come to prominence on the "Louisiana Hayride."
Rich in historical detail, LOUISIANA HAYRIDE, is certain appeal to roots music fans, lovers of
country music, and anyone eager to learn more about American music.
About the Author:
Tracey E.W. Laird is an Assistant Professor of Music at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. She is
native of the Hayride's hometown of Shreveport, LA.
Radio and Roots Music Along the Red
By Tracey E.W. Laird
Oxford University Press
Book Review to come
"Jamboree on the Mountain
May 6th, 7th and 8th
On I-24 between Nashville & Chattanooga there is a mountain on the Cumberland Plateau and a town
named Monteagl. STARDUST, WHP, COUNTRY DISCOVERY, UNIVERSAL SOUND, MISTY, ECHOTA, WIZARD,
THUNDERHAWK labels plan to have their artists there ... and there will be more! ALL
labels and artists are welcome!
No artist that performs on the show will pay for a ticket,
and no fee will be charged for the artist showcase.
Fans, Friends & Family will have to buy tickets
($10.00 a day or $25.00 FOR ALL 3 DAYS). This money will go to
the owners of the "STAGE" to offset their expenses. No money to the promoter
or anyone else that is helping sponsor this great event. Think of it like a
cross between a Willie Nelson Picnic and Fan Fair and you will have the
picture of what it will be like.
Artists, Labels, etc. for more info get in touch with Colonel Buster Doss CEO,
Stardust, Wizard & Thunderhawk Records, 341 Billy Goat Hill Rd.. Winchester, TN 37398.
Phone 931-649-2577. Fax 931-649-2732, Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember Johnny Carson
"I'm not certain that any entertainment show can quite compare to The Tonight Show with
Johnny Carson. Comedians and artists were 'made' on his show. When I received my first
invitation to appear on his show many, many years ago, that was at a time when Country
artists were rarely ever featured. Being on his show was like winning an industry award
for me. When a country music artist from my era was a special guest of Johnny Carson, then -
we knew we had made it. I'm extremely proud to have had the honor."
-Crystal Gayle, Grammy Award winning entertainer
"Johnny Carson is one of the greatest entertainers of all time in my book. There is no,
nor will there be, another like him. I have to admit that I was pretty excited to just be
in the studio. That was back when 'Going Through The Big D' was at the top of the charts
and I thought - man, I have made it! I'm gonna hang with Johnny Carson! It ended up
that Johnny couldn't make it after all and Jay Leno filled in. But, he left me a note
to say 'sorry kid - ' I'm really sorry too, cause I never had the chance to meet him."
-Mark Chesnutt, who made his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1994, shares his
story surrounding his first visit to the studio:
"I was fortunate enough to be on Johnny's show twice. The time I shared the make-up
room with him is my favorite memory. He was so easy to talk to. Another interesting
time from the show was when my manager and I parked our rental car in Ed McMahon's
space. We got in big trouble for that one. Johnny Carson was such a nice guy and
one of the biggest influences on the entertainment world. He was an absolute leader."
-Janie Fricke, 3x Female Vocalist of the Year
"Johnny Carson was the master of television. I was fortunate enough to be on his
show seven times. Being invited on the show in the first place was a true honor,
but being asked back was the real thrill. I will never forget one night when Johnny
asked me to perform two songs - I knew then that the comedy guests must be bad, because
they were not getting their full time. Then as I was headed to the stage, Johnny said 'Hey
Lee, only one song,' so the comedian must have redeemed themselves.
He will be missed by all. He made us all laugh and will continue to for years to come.
My memories from being on his show will always be among my favorites."
-Lee Greenwood, Grammy Award winning entertainer
"Johnny Carson was a natural. He was the 'Top Banana.' He helped a lot of talent.
Many entertainers owe their income to him. When you were a guest on his show, you
wouldn't see him until you were on stage with him. All of his questions just came
off the top of his head, which is one reason he was so great. Johnny got on to
me at one point for not being on his show for eight years. Of course I wanted to
tell him that I had tried, but his people wouldn't let me. I feel like I had a real
friendship with the guy. He was so classy."
-Ray Price, Country Music Hall of Fame Member
"We were on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and we were somewhat disappointed when
Johnny was out that evening and Jay Leno sat in," Richard laughed. "Doc Severson and
the other horns players from the house band sat in and played "Some Folks Like To Steal"
from our first album. They were all wearing coon-skin hats! It was pretty funny!
Although I never personally met Johnny, I was a huge fan, and he'll be missed!"
-Richard Young of the Kentucky HeadHunters
Carl West R.I.P.
On Monday, January 10, 2005, former West Coast Playboy Carl West passed away, he was 69.
Carl, who played steel guitar with Wynn Stewart's West Coast Playboys from 1957 to 1959
began his career in the early 1950s. He also worked in various bands with future Champ band
member Dale Norris, as well as Eddie and Hank Cochran before they started their recording
careers as the Cochran Brothers.
In the 1960s he worked with a variety of bandleaders, the longest of which was Eddie Drake and
a semi-regular gig with Jerry Inman which led to Carl appearing as a sideman on Inman's 1967
country album of Beatles' songs. He also recorded various over the years including dates for
Wynn Stewart, Bobby Vee, Dorsey Burnette and the Byrds.
In the early 1970s he retired from the music scene, taking a day job for close to 30 years.
After retirement Carl once again took up the pedal steel guitar, although as a recreational
After Carl had experienced a short period of ill health, he was diagnosed with terminal
cancer and passed away quietly at home with his family at his side.
by Jonny Whiteside (LA Weekly) -
Don't look for the soul of country music in glitzy Nashville ‹ or even Bakersfield. It's
right here on the grand ole streets of L.A.
Long fabled for its vaunted country music tradition, Bakersfield is more and more like a
ghost town with an ever-dwindling handful of regular stages for country acts. Two of
these stages feature Buck Owens and Red Simpson, among the very best this hallowed
hicksville has produced, but Owens has been missing a lot of Crystal Palace dates
recently due to poor health, and Simpson doesn't even bother to fire up his Telecaster
anymore, doing a single set with an electronic keyboard every lonesome Monday
night at the classic corrugated-tin tonk Trout's in nearby Oildale. At Simpson's
once-a-month Grange Hall seniors dance, the crowd fuels up not on bourbon and bennies
but coffee and cookies. You can't even get a damn beer.
Miles later down the Alfred Harrell Highway, I arrive at Ethel's Old Corral Café, a
decayed shack with a pair of decrepit buckboards bookending the front-porch roof and an
eye-popping 25-foot-high shirtless fiberglass Indian brave standing sentinel in a parking
lot full of Harley hogs and pickup trucks. Inside, it's midnight dark. There are rough-hewn
picnic tables and benches, drinkers two deep at the bar and, in the corner, a glittering
red drum kit surrounded by a handful of scruffy jammers. As likely to do an Alan Jackson
song as they are a Haggard tune, the revolving troupe of players, equally primitive and
accomplished by turns, demonstrate the fetishistic tribal rite with boozy confidence.
After a few hours and a few trips out of the frosty-beer-and-AC womb of the Corral for
a smoke in the desert furnace, a lulling hot-and-cold sauna effect takes over. Count your
stinking blessings, son, because it turns out that there indeed ain't no place
like home: California's best country music is still an almost exclusively Los
The history of Los Angeles country is phenomenal, going back to 1929's barefoot Beverly
Hillbillies, the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy and Gene and the radical late-'40s guitar
stylings of Jimmy Bryant and Roy Nichols. These were players whose deconstructions of
hillbilly take-off guitar solos tended toward an almost hard-bop expressionism, which
led to the austere modern approach of Missouri-born, Los Angelesbased Wynn Stewart.
Stewart, a protean auteur whose prime, from 1957 to 1967, stretches through rockabilly,
ballads, honky-tonk and some of the best death songs ever ("Long Black Limousine," "I'm
Gonna Kill You"), was an unprecedented stylist whose deep influence directly codified the
so-called Bakersfield Sound and significantly reached several future giants. The most
notable were Waylon Jennings, a fiercely vocal fan who recorded several of Wynn's
tunes and taught himself to play guitar "so it sounded just like Moon's steel" (as
in Ralph Mooney, the longtime Stewart sideman who subsequently became a defining force
in Jennings' 1970s Waylors), and Merle Haggard, who played bass for Stewart after
getting out of San Quentin and later invested the singer's updated honky-tonk form with
an explicit realism. Buck Owens and Johnny Paycheck also learned much from the Stewart model.
But the pursuit of a California country kick never ends, and today there's plenty to be
proud of. Solid hardcore talents like Rick Shea, Patty Booker, Kathy Robertson, the
expanded-consciousness artistry of I See Hawks in L.A., the incomparable guitarist Pete
Anderson, and an ever-swelling army of bluegrass pickers, country rockers, offbeat cowpunk
shouters and retro-fixated revivalists all make for a bed of potentialities that's far more
heartening than it is funereal. But instead of celebrating the established voices, this story
is a tour through Los Angeles' country music underworld, stalking the worthy chosen few that
deserve attention beyond their loyal fan base.
In California, it's always been about the extreme to which one can take the music while remaining
clearly linked to tradition, and what has always differentiated California country from the
Southeastern model is its embrace of the aggressive, the offbeat ‹ a Westerner's attitude that
drove decades of vibrant, progressive activity. It's a connected manner of legitimate
communicative expression rooted in the form, rather than an attempt to simulate that form.
That's a subtle distinction, one that has nothing whatsoever to do with having smelt a
lot of mule shit (as Hank Sr. memorably put it) or "paying dues" or chopping cotton,
but has everything to do with the differentiation between covetous aping and natural
perceptive sensitivity. What it's all about is combining the form with psychic gravity ‹
something that cannot be simulated.
"I didn't think I was any good until people started saying that I was," says
26-year-old singer-songwriter Molly Howson. Standing out front of Hallenbeck's
General Store, the North Hollywood coffeehouse where she's just delivered a powerful set,
Howson drags hungrily on a cigarette. Onstage, she'd torn into the lyrics with almost
masculine gusto, and her material was both idiosyncratic and extraordinary.
Snarling about unpacking her belongings after a romance went south, only to find
she had brought along her ex's "fuckin' fishin' hooks," or careening through "Jack
Daniels Did," a hungover, scarcely remorseful tale of completely losing control
at last night's saloon (the title line is preceded, in admirably Loretta-esque fashion, by
"My Mama didn't raise me that way, but last night . . ."), Howson had considerable impact ‹
even the low-rent NoHo intelligentsia, who had been groaning "Oh, no ‹ a country singer?"
turned out to be enthusiastic recipients of her slightly cracked, thoroughly genuine songs.
Howson is a powerful anomaly, a Hollywood-born high school dropout whose formative
experiences came as a habitual truant roaming the streets. She's "never read a book for
pleasure," can't abide a 9-to-5 ‹ she works as a house painter ‹ and picked up a guitar
for the first time in the summer of 2003. Since then she has exhibited a formidable
writing and vocal style, developed over a course of open-mike spots and the few bookings
she's been able to get. Howson manages to largely bypass the maudlin shtick that so many
inward-looking confessional voices succumb to, creating instead a strikingly effective,
original country sound.
"I started writing songs," Howson says, "because I was looking for something in my
life that I could rely on to carry me through." Classic country themes ‹ loss and
drunkenness ‹ prevail, and her songs further that pathology with a biting, occasionally
profane intensity, masked by a sweet and wholesome demeanor. Her building contractor
father, a man of dovetail-precise character, filled the house with country music, and
her Fillmore Auditoriumenlightened mother, a congenial free spirit, "always tried to
expose Molly to good singers or, I should say, singers with great voices ‹ Billie
Holiday, Janis Joplin." So, musically, Howson was in good hands. She names Tammy
Wynette and Patsy Cline as favorites, and underwent an intense Tanya Tucker period,
but none of these are apparent influences in Howson's performances. With her shadowy
from-the-chest intonation and an angular manner of phrasing that lends unusual shapes
to deliberately toyed-with syllables, she achieves a highly individual presentation.
But even with an impressive self-produced 11-song CD, Howson had been eating dirt for
months, trying to break in on hothouses like the once-a-month "Sweethearts of the Rodeo
All Stars" at Molly Malone's and "It Came from Nashville" nights, but was invariably rebuffed.
"It's all a big clique," she says, "and if you're not already in on it, you can
pretty much forget about it."
So Howson kept going to the pure country sources, and, after a few tries in Chatsworth's
Cowboy Palace Wednesday talent contest, was impressive enough to score her own night there. "I
was so nervous, I almost puke every time I think about it," she says of her first Palace booking,
a demanding all-Molly, 8 p.m.-'til-closing-multiple-cover-song-sets gig.
She had no compunction whatsoever about having to learn Shania Twain songs, yet
dishearteningly remarks that she wanted to make her second CD "a little more rocking,
less twangy." As work on that CD has progressed, though, she says the playbacks are
country. "It's all country. I guess that's just what I do."
Back on the sidewalk outside Hallenbeck's, she chats with friends, signs a CD for an
Australian fan, tosses away a cigarette butt and finds herself approached by a
coffeehouse employee with some money in hand. "Here. You made nine dollars."
A marked contrast to Howson's self-propelled, dirt-under-the-fingernails artistry is
the only slightly less intriguing singer-songwriter Tonya Watts, who as the only
child of the South in this story ‹ and the sole commercially viable performer ‹
represents the latest in a long line of expatriate girl singers seeking approval in
the entertainment capital of the world. For the past couple of years, she's organized
the "It Came from Nashville" night at West Hollywood's Genghis Cohen on the second
Tuesday of every month. The shows are built around Watts and like-minded Southerners
Levi Kreis, Austin Hanks, Travis Howard and others who came West to avoid the stifling
factory conditions of Music City.
Meeting Watts, a former model, occasional actress and past Pamela Anderson body double,
in a room at Dusty Wakeman's Mad Dog Studios, with her husband, The Bold and the
Beautiful soap hunk Brian Gaskill, a quip of Howson's came to mind: "I met them
and thought, 'Oh, it's Ken and Barbie.' " Alabama-born, no bigger than a nickel
and with an accent of extravagant twang, Watts sports a Stars and Barsemblazoned
T-shirt, sliced down the sides and secured with about 200 safety pins, that
trumpets "Redneck & Proud of It."
At Mad Dog, she was cutting a newly composed number, "When Hank Jr. Came to Town,"
co-written in Tennessee with Nashville hotshot James Dean Hicks. The song is a good,
solid Deep Dixie outlaw update (when queried, she seemed completely unaware of Johnny
Cash's 1987 "The Night Hank Williams Came to Town"), and Dusty Wakeman's production puts
it across in high gothic '70s hillbilly style. The song tells an old-timey tale of a
peckerwood papa and his rock & roll bad little girl discovering common familial
ground when they run into each other at one of Junior's concerts ‹ and Watts
has pull enough that Indie 103's Watusi Rodeo has been airing several of her label-less cuts.
Yet apart from the regular "It Came from Nashville" showcases, Watts doesn't play too
many other clubs. "I want to use my own band, and I like to pay them $100 or at least
$50 each, and I just can't afford to do that," she says. "So I concentrate on what we do
[on the showcase nights], which is all about the songs. Often we'll come in with
something written maybe an hour before, just get up and do it that night."
Early Watts originals were airy plaints and sentimental reveries, but her increasing
loyalty to Hank Jr. and David Allan Coe, the big-boy practitioners of what author Barbara
Ching calls hard country's "deliberate display of burlesque abjection," is leading her down
a far gnarlier and more appealing honky-tonk trail. But the "It Came from" crew is show-business
hungry. Regular Waylon Payne, the son of outlaw big wheels Sammi Smith and guitarist Jody
Payne (godson and namesake of Waylon Jennings), had a 2003 Universal Records debut
("intensely compelling songs," gushed Dwight Yoakam on the accompanying press release,
but "intensely murky self-indulgence" would be a more apt description, and the album
was DOA). Meanwhile, Howard and Hanks each briefly participated in USA Networks'
bonehead "reality" talent contest Nashville Star and have, like Kreis, recently
signed their own record deals.
Watts herself went through a period of constantly shuttling between Hollywood and
Nashville ‹ certainly she and her actor husband have significant entrée to industry
power pigs ‹ and by dint of her Dixie nativity, considerable babe-ocity and the "Redneck
Woman"heralded return to populist outlaw stance, she seemed on the verge of striking her
own insidious pact with the Music City beast. "Every time I go down there," she said on
the day of the Mad Dog sessions a few months back, "they keep telling me, 'Tonya, you've
really got to be here in Nashville to make this happen,' so I'm considering making the
move, because this is what I want to do, and it just looks like that's the only way
it's going to."
She nearly did. After nearly three months hustling her songs in Nashville, a
dismayed Watts gladly returned to Hollywood. "They all say the same thing," she said
recently, "and they all talk shit about each other. They don't even like the music
being put out, but no one changes. Truth is, they don't want artists there ‹ they
just want good singers who will do exactly what they tell them. You just end up
stuck, playing the game."
For Cody Bryant, a Whittier-born, 20-year-veteran multi-instrumentalist of
impressive virtuosity on guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin, the matter of Music City
is settled. "Nashville?" says the leader of Cody Bryant and the Ruff Riders with
a laugh, "why bother? I'm really sick of people whining about Nashville 'not
understanding' or 'not taking an interest in real music.' Nashville doesn't
owe us the time of day, so quit whining or suck it up and write the kind of
stuff they want. Anyway, we're in California ‹ God's country. My pilgrimages
have all been to Bakersfield."
A passionate tradition bearer who embraces the history of Los Angeles country
that filtered through his childhood, Bryant writes songs much in the classic Harlan
Howard style. He also enjoys a close association with Red Simpson. "When I did my
album a few years ago, someone said, 'What do you want to get out of this?' I said, 'A
chance to meet Red Simpson ‹ but he's probably dead.' Then I found out from [singer]
Kathy Robertson that he wasn't, went up there the next Monday.
"I made him dig his Tele out of a suitcase, and he took me to Trout's, started
throwing modified three-chord jazz progressions over country songs. These old guys
can put 12 chords in a three-chord progression if they want to ‹ it's a trick they
play to stay awake, and it's what separates the men from the boys."
After Bryant demonstrated the ability to follow Simpson's musical acrobatics,
the pair grew close and have recorded a yet-to-be-released trove of recent
Simpson compositions. Bryant's headquarter stage, Burbank's Viva Cantina, features
Simpson several times a year. There Simpson always embodies the crackling guitaristic
ideal of the Bakersfield Sound ‹ the alliance is one of the best things to happen
in California country since Dwight Yoakam coaxed Buck Owens out of a lengthy retirement.
At Viva, other eminent players, like axman Al Bruno, have also found a haven.
Another close Bryant association with 1930s-era Riders of the Purple Sage founder
Buck Page ("His knowledge of that era filled in all the blanks in my mind as to
how they got the sound") also demonstrates the breadth of his ongoing search
for the authentic.
Bryant was born to it: "I couldn't fight it if I wanted to. We were the last ones who
grew up with Buck's TV show and Cal's Corral [the country-music TV showcase put
together by local car dealer Cal Worthington]. My dad was a square-dance caller,
and I'd go with him every night to carry his gear ‹ I was going to dances when I was 2,
and a lot of those guys on the records were also doing the square dances ‹ it was another
paid gig. Joe Maphis, Jimmy Bryant (no relation), all those sidemen. I started playing
piano when I was 11, then guitar and then banjo took over my life for a long time. I
did bluegrass everywhere you could, the festivals, the parks. Entered and won a lot
of bluegrass festivals ‹ winning Telluride was when I made my exit. I was in my 20s
and drifted back to the L.A. sound. It's a way of performing, that loose style, energetic,
dance-oriented. Take no prisoners, just get it out there and worry about the arrangement
when we get to the chorus."
He and his Ruff Riders work in black uniforms and on the bandstand make everything a joke ‹
except the music. He runs through a raft of classics every night ("It's like Tony Bennett
said: 'Take care of the standards, and they'll take care of you'), and when a friend calls
for one of Bryant's own numbers, he fires back, "Hey, we're just a bunch of guys who get
paid to do cover songs!" He's proud of his originals but is so historically obsessive
that he is almost unable to not do all the greats.
"I think about them every night while I drive to Viva, because it's the same street
they took to work the Riverside Rancho ‹ Cactus Mac, Cliffie Stone, Roy Rogers and
the Pioneers, Foy and the Riders, Tex Williams, Johnny Bond, the Western Caravan,
Leo Leblanc, and the hundreds of others, and every night I'm conscious of doing
their music justice. Their music had value beyond their lifetimes ... I know I take it way
too seriously ‹ I would've stopped long ago if I could."
The most unlikely and perhaps noblest extension of the Los Angeles form of applying
extremes to an old-time musical school are the hard-drinking, hell-raising lowlifes
known as the Groovy Rednecks. Ridiculed for years by most of the Town South of Bakersfield
and Ronnie Mack's Barn Dance crowd, the Rednecks have endured, persevered and not only
outlived but artistically outstripped almost all of each camp's most celebrated acts.
As frequent Barndance band guitarist Harry Orlove recently said, "I used to hate the
Rednecks ‹ they always showed up drunk, and you could never understand what Tex was
singing. But I got their last album, and now I love them ‹ they're my favorite band."
That album, the band's third, titled Ass Grabbin' Country, is a lurching showcase for
the band's terminally self-deprecating exercises in truth-telling rocky-tonk ("Happy
Mother's Day From Prison," "My Girlfriend's Got a Boyfriend"), and they manage, as
usual, to strike dead center with a Roger Miller pith. Meeting with founders Tex
Troester and Bob Ricketts and nine-year Redneck Ron Botelho in the party garden
adjacent to Troester's micro-mini Ivar Avenue studio apartment, the bud both foams
and burns as they recount 12 years of lurid recklessness.
The Rednecks are a pure Hollywood enigma, born of the crusty Raji's club school but,
trading in an almost folk-style accounting of that life, they qualify more as classic
troubadours than rock & roll rabble.
"It's strange," Tex says, "but we always go over better at punk clubs than we do at
Much of the palaver revolves around the fact that almost no one takes them seriously
(then, again, neither do they). They finally got a slot on the "Sweethearts of the
Rodeo" jam night after several years of trying, but it only happened because another
band canceled ‹ the call came three days before the show.
"We've also been trying for years to go down and play South By Southwest," Ricketts
says of the Austin-based music festival and conference, "but they always send our
Neither the Chicago-born, Delta-blues-fixated Ricketts nor former Blood on the
Saddle bassist Botelho are exactly born-again country fans, and with the band's
primary country picker Gary Riley MIA this afternoon (even as they're preparing
to play a matinee set at Hollywood Boulevard boozeteria the Frolic Room),
it's almost mystifying trying to peg their indisputable country credibility.
"It is weird," says Ricketts, "but as more time passes, we just get more and more country."
It's the songs that nail it ‹ a number like "How Come I Only Love You When I'm Drunk"
is nothing if not country; the occasional presence of acclaimed songwriter and drummer
Mike Stinson (who sits in when regular trapsman Jim Doyle is unable) speaks further
to the magnetic allure of this oddball outfit.
The band demonstrably came into their official hillbilly own last month, opening
for apocalyptic proto-outlaw David Allan Coe at the Key Club. They took the stage
in a just-drunk-enough condition to appease the upscale-rebel-scum audience and
still saddle up their do-not-give-a-fuck pony for a smashingly tight spree through
Ass Grabbin' Country in its entirety.
"I'd never felt better than I did after that Coe show," Troester says. "I was
walkin' around the club like a normal guy, but I couldn't go two feet without
someone shakin' my hand or pattin' me on the back ‹ that was the greatest night of life."
An hour or two and a 12-pack later, they start setting up gear at the Frolic Room.
Out front, Tex is in his element. A longtime door man at boulevard strip joint
Jumbo's Clown Room, he still occasionally fills in checking IDs and intimidating
sloppy drunks at the Frolic's door, and he seems to know everyone. A Middle
Eastern guy from the Hollywood Star Tours office next door comes out, eager to
show Tex his new belt buckle ‹ a Confederate flag with a golden eagle superimposed upon it.
"I actually got 86'd from here a couple of weeks ago," Tex rasps. "They caught
me smoking a joint out front, but we're still playing the show, so I guess it
wasn't really an 86 ‹ more like a 69."
Later, Tex says, "[The band] means everything to me. It's hard to describe, but
if I didn't have the band, I wouldn't know what the hell to do with myself."
Besides, he adds, things are looking good ‹ actor Joey Lauren Adams is pitching
"How Come I Only Love You When I'm Drunk" for the soundtrack of an upcoming Billy
Bob Thornton/Dwight Yoakam picture she has signed to appear in. The Rednecks
already had one song used in a movie, and, Tex says, "I get a check for about a
quarter every six months."
Inside the Frolic, the Rednecks are jammed into that slimy niche just left of the entrance;
venerable scenester/party beast Donny Popejoy makes a smooth broadcaster-toned intro: "Ladies
and gentlemen, please welcome for the 424th time ..." and they kick into "Drinkin'
Band," a rabble rouser of the highest order. Tex rips his dingy white cowboy off his
head and tosses it discuslike down the length of the bar. The congenial dipsos lining
the trough love it, a camcorder-toting tourist sneaks in to get some footage of the
debauch, and the faces on the Hershfeld mural that covers one wall seem to register
that even after all these decades, they really have not seen it all. The romp is
afoot, a characteristic barrage of Billy Joe Shaversimple lyrical observations
Not long ago at Viva Cantina, country singer Moot Davis has just finished his set.
Producer-guitarist Pete Anderson had worked Davis there a couple of times a week,
tempering his protégé and breaking in a band in preparation of road work to support
Davis' debut album. The boy can sing, and with the presence of Anderson, an outstanding
soloist who manages to flabbergast with every song, it's a pretty damn good show.
But the preponderance of '50s-era covers and retrofitted originals leaves one
asking, "Why, Baby, Why?" Just shy of creepy rockabilly revival, it seems unnatural,
a surefire way to hobble one's own artistry.
Cody Bryant was due up next, and I asked him before he took the stage, "Why can't
these guys just be themselves?"
"Fear," he replied without hesitation. "That's the scariest thing to do ‹
it's a pit full of snakes and fire, something to be avoided at all costs."
by Glenn J. Pogatchnik -
Recently my associate Bob Timmers was contacted by Heather Myles's personal assistant
Linda Hefferon via e-mail. Bob then forwarded Linda's e-mail to me and this is where the story
I contacted Linda and requested some of Heather's music. I received Heather's latest Cd "Sweet
Talk & Good Lies" and her prior Cd "Highways & Honky Tonks" which incidentally are both available
at Heather's website www.heathermyles.com
I was just flabbergasted at Heather's singing and songwriting abilities. It's very hard to
describe such talent ... you simply have to hear it. To me personally her music has all the key
ingredients of what made The Bakersfield Sound so popular all over the world. I often heard it said
in todays music where is all the talent of yesteryear ... well I'm hear to tell you Heather Myles
is living proof that talent exists and is thriving.
Let me tell you a little about what I've heard of her credentials.
First of all she has been touring for some years now building up a fan base. She is extremely
popular in Europe and has toured there quite extensively but that's not to say she hasn't toured
here in America too. She has toured as the opening act with one of her musical heroes Merle
Haggard and later recorded a duet with Merle titled "No One Can Love You Better"
which is one of my personal favorites and given the exposure should be a massive hit with true
Her music is currently being played on XM satellite on DJ Eddie Kilroy's show "Hank's Place" on
Channel 13 where another of her musical influences George Jones heard her on his car radio
and actually contacted her to request to meet her and discuss a possible tour with her in
the future. How cool is that. She also has an ever expanding fan club. As you can see by the above
picture she has even played the Grand Ole Opry.
This young lady has paid her dues and thru exposure on XM Satellite Radio hopefully will cross
over into the realm of fame and fortune.
Now getting back to her music. There are so many potential hits on her above Cd's that Eddie
Kilroy is actually playing over fifteen separate songs on his show. I mentioned Heather did a
duet with Merle on the "Highways & Honky Tonks" Cd. She also has a duet with Dwight Yoakam
called "Little Chapel" on her latest Cd "Sweet Talk & Good Lies." She's even graciously let us
use her song "Nashville's Gone Hollywood"as an opening song to our sister website
I must admit I am a little biased about Heather because she hails from Southern California
and resides not all that far from Bakersfield and sings and plays the kind of
true #*!+kicker music I like. I will tell you one thing she is a true one of a kind and
truly deserving of the notoriety and respect a superstar commands ... after all if Merle
and George feel that way that should surely indicate how massively talented Heather is.
Order her Cd's ... give her a listen and you too will be a true believer. Again her music
can be purchased at www.heathermyles.com
Jones And Friends
Celebrate 50 Years of Hits
Nov. 25, 2004 - George Jones says he gets a kick out of hearing the way other singers approach the
songs he made famous 30, 40, or 50 years ago.
Beginning Thanksgiving, he'll have plenty to keep him amused.
Public television stations around the country will begin airing "George Jones,
50 Years of Hits: A Soundstage Special Event," with Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney,
Harry Connick Jr., Aaron Neville, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Uncle Kracker, Kris Kristofferson,
Emmylou Harris, Randy Travis and several others dipping into his lengthy catalog.
The special was taped recently at Nashville's BellSouth Acuff Theatre. Jones, 73,
joins in on a number of duets.
The TV special ties to "George Jones - 50 Years of Hits," a three-disc compilation on Bandit
Records released Nov. 9.
The set spans Jones' career from "Why Baby Why" in 1955 to his rendition of "Amazing Grace."
In between are classics such as "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "She Thinks I Still Care,"
"Tender Years" and "The Grand Tour."
Jones has had at least 165 songs on the charts and influenced generations of singers.
He's among an elite group of aging country stars who form the last links to early
figures such as Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell.
The youngest of eight children, he sang for tips as a boy on the streets of Beaumont,
Texas. The family lived in a government-subsidized housing project, and his father,
a laborer, was an alcoholic who would rouse the children from bed in the middle of
the night to sing for him.
He got his start on radio with husband and wife team Eddie & Pearl in the late 1940s.
His output included a brief rockabilly period in the '50s under the pseudonym Thumper
Jones, several duets with the third wife of his four wives, country singer Tammy Wynette,
and duets with pop and rock stars including Ray Charles and James Taylor.
He continues to do about 120 concerts a year and is working on a new studio album in
which he'll sing some of his favorites by other artists, including his friends Johnny
Cash and Merle Haggard.
"I'm hoping to start slowing down after next year," Jones said. "I'll cut the tour dates
to about half. I don't want to quit because I love it too much. I just have to have
something to do." -John Gerome, AP
Gatlin Brothers. Gosel CD
Nashville, Sept. 24, 2004
There's a certain "coming of age" quality in the knowledge that Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin
Brothers have chosen as their latest musical projectÝa collection of songs that are taking
them back to where it all began. With the music of their heritage. The gospel.
Family Gospel Favorites contains the music the Gatlin Brothers grew up back in West Texas
when four decades of million selling songs and White House performances was still in the
far distant future for Larry and younger brothers Steve and Rudy.Ý As they skillfully
mastered the art of perfect family harmony on Sundays at the little home church back
in Abilene, seeds were forever instilled in the Gatlins' music. As they grew into
international fame, their early roots in gospel harmonies were evident no matter
how often their later hits crossed and criss-crossed into platinum on the pop and country charts.
The new Gatlin collection streets October 26th from Dualtone Records. Larry Gatlin is quick
to admit it's a project close to the brothers' collective hearts. "My first hero was James
Blackwood from the Blackwood Brothers Quartet," noted Gatlin in a recent interview in New York.
"Our folks took us to those old Southern style gospel quartet concerts when we were growing
up. I loved it! The music was infectious, inspiring and right then and there I decided that
making music was what I wanted to do with my life."
Family Gospel Favorites collection is the 'best of the best' for the pure precision striking
harmonies of the Gatlins. Such classics at "It Is Well With My Soul," "In The Garden,"
"Amazing Grace," "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," "Love Lifted Me," "What A Friend We Have In
Jesus," Rock Of Ages," "Whispering Hope," "I'll Fly Away," "Swing Down Sweet Chariot,"
"Peace In The Valley," "Do Lord," "Victory In Jesus/Power In the Blood," and "Sweet Hour
Of Prayer" are filled with the 'realness' of the hope and inspiration of their faith that
the three brothers have each personally found in their own lives.
While Larry, Steve, and Rudy continue to perform a schedule of concerts as The Gatlin Brothers,
each has pursued their own individual course as successful artists and businessmen.
Larry has recently been named a creative director for the new Gospel Music Channel,
which launches nationally in October. He will host his own weekly program on the new channel,
initially set to reach 1.5 million households across the nation. The new Gatlin album project
will get a special spotlight when The Gospel Music Channel airs a one-hour documentary on
the making of Family Gospel Favorites, which will air October 30th. The Gatlins' musical
special will have multiple re-airings throughout November and December.
Americana Music Association
Nashville, Sept. 24, 2004
Junior Brown, true to his country roots, was excellent as always. Classy, is the best way to
this legend's on and off stage presence, definetly in a class by himself. His playing takes you
back to the good ole days of country music.
Mountain Heart is Bluegrass at its best. They are a collection of some of the best musicians in the
business. They really get you out of your seat and tapping your toes.
Carlos is a cross between Cajun and Rockabilly. His dusky voice combined with Marci's strong clear
vocals make a great combination. They play a real hard driving type of music that makes you sit up
and listen. -Bonnie Tankersley
Ray Price Forms New Record Company
Country Music Legend Ray Price Collaborates to Launch "Texas Records".
Country music legend Ray Price, along with former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes; Texass
businessman, Jim Sharp; and former Secretary and Board Member of the Academy of Country Music,
Rose Waters; have collaborated to launch a new record company, Texas Records, to be based in
The concept for the record company is based around the powerful song, "My Old Friend,"
written by Robert Segrest, Greta Shepherd and James Segrest of Montgomery, Alabama; home
of the legendary Hank Williams. Waters pitched the song to Ray, who immediately loved the
song and wanted to record it. From there, Waters brought the high-profile Texas partners
together to form Texas Records. Waters previously worked as the business manager for
another country legend, Merle Haggard. In his book, "My House of Memories,"
Haggard credits Waters with his financial salvation.
Price shared his vision of the song to Willie Nelson, who loved the idea. Soon after,
the My Old Friend session was recorded at his studio in Austin, Texas. "If this song
doesn't receive any awards, then something is wrong with the 'country music' of today,"
commented several studio listeners. Willie will sing with Ray on several cuts on the album,
which is dedicated to the memory of many of their belated friends in the business.
The album will include one of each of these artists' most popular songs.
Price's first album on the label, My Old Friend, will include such songs as: Mama's Don't Let
Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys (Waylon Jennings); King Of The Road (Roger Miller); Hello
Darlin' (Conway Twitty); Sunday Morning Coming Down (Johnny Cash); Take This Job And Shove
It (Johnny Paycheck); Love Me Tender (Elvis Presley); El Paso (Marty Robbins); Faded Love
(Bob Wills); Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain (Roy Acuff); I Can't Help It If I'm Still In
Love With You (Hank Williams); and Waltz Across Texas (Ernest Tubb).
The title cut will be released as the first single. The video for the single,
which is already in progress, will feature Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George
Jones and Buck Owens; all appearing with Ray in a tribute to their 'old friends.' Harold
Bradley and Buddy Emmons, two well-known session musicians from Nashville, also played
on the project.
Already, several country music recording artists have expressed an interest in
being a part of TEXAS RECORDS. "Why heck, just the State of Texas could give you a gold
album if they like you," one artist said with a laugh.
WORTH A CLICK:
COUNTRY MUSIC CHANGED MY LIFE.
Ken Burke's Books: Tales of Tough Times and Triumph from Country's Legends,
Country's All-Time #1 Hitmaker
"Country's All-Time #1 Hitmaker, Conway Twitty, Celebrated With 25 #1s; New Collection Includes
'Hello Darlin,' 'I'd Love To Lay You Down' and Four #1 Duets With Loretta Lynn...
Elvis had 13. So did George Jones. Reba McEntire had 21, Garth Brooks 18, Loretta Lynn 16.
And, incredibly, Conway Twitty had 41 (sharing five of them with Loretta)--more #1 singles
than any country artist in history. Now the Country Music Hall of Famer's all-time greatest
hits, including four of his #1 duets with Lynn, each digitally remastered, have been brought
together on 25 #1S (UTV/Hip-O/MCA Nashville/UMe), released August 24th, 2004. The biggest
single-CD compilation to ever span Twitty's chart-topping from 1958 to 1986, 25 #1S
embraces each of the handful of record labels for which he recorded.
Twitty's first #1 was also his only pop #1, "It's Only Make Believe," which featured Elvis
Presley's backup group The Jordanaires. It was also the first of many #1s which he wrote
or co-wrote, including eight on 25 #1S. But it would be 10 years before he had another #1
and it would not be pop. Though signed to Decca in 1965, it took three more years before
he nabbed his first country #1, "Next In Line." He would score eight more in the next
four years, including "Hello Darlin'" and "I Can't Stop Loving You" and two duets with
Loretta -- the Grammy-winning "After The Fire Is Gone" and "Lead Me On." The two other
Twitty-Lynn collaborations on 25 #1S are "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" and "As
Soon As I Hang Up The Phone."
In the early '70s the increased suggestiveness in much of his material, such as on "You've
Never Been This Far Before," which spent three weeks at #1 despite being banned by several
radio stations, made Twitty perhaps country's first adult contemporary star. Among his other
best-known #1s from this era are "Linda On My Mind," "There's A Honky Tonk Angel (Who'll
Take Me Back In)," "I See The Want In Your Eyes," "Touch The Hand," "After All The Good
Is Gone," "Play, Guitar, Play," "Don't Take It Away" and "Happy Birthday Darlin'."
As the '80s dawned, Twitty continued to score with "I'd Love To Lay You Down," the dance
floor fantasy "Tight Fittin' Jeans," the Barry Gibb-penned "Rest Your Love On Me" and
the boogie-in' "Red Neckin' Love Makin' Night." After exiting MCA (which had absorbed Decca),
he reached #1 with his satin- sheet-smooth remake of the Pointer Sisters' "Slow Hand," "The
Clown," the Harlan Howard-written "I Don't Know A Thing About Love (The Moon Song)" and
his final #1, 1986's "Desperado Love."
In 1993, just short of his 60th birthday, Twitty died unexpectedly. He left behind a
phenomenal catalog of music -- and a record of #1s unlikely to ever be surpassed."
Alan Jackson and Strayhorn Band.
The photo was sent in by Tom Rutledge who plays guitar in the
Strayhorn Band. It was taken in a little southern town at an abandoned gas station while shooting
video for the song "Little Man". Tom is that smiling fellow on the very right of the picture. Tom
Bakersfield page editor Glenn Pogatchnik became friends thru their mutual admiration of the
late legendary Roy
Nichols who played lead guitar in Merle Haggard's band. Tom has a very informative website located
"Hee Haw" is Back!"
For nearly 25 yaers the cast of Hee Haw supplied a steady diet of country music and corny jokes
fresh from the heart of Nashville. Buck Owens and Roy Clark were the show's co-hosts.
Volume 1 of "The Hee Haw Collection" goes on sale Tuesday, May 18, 2004 at Wal-Mart, Target,
Best Buy, Circuit City, Musicland, Transworld, Border and Towers stores. It will be
available on DVD or VHS for $9.99. You may also order from
Volume 1 features a 30-minute bonus, "Hee Haw Laffs," humor from the 1969-70 season, such as Archie
Campbell with his
version of "Rindercella," Junior Samples with "Trigonometry" and skits with The Culhanes, The
Moonshiners Cabin and "Pffft! You Were Gone."
Four more volumes are planned. Volume 2 will be released June 29th and features and Jean Shepard.
Volume 3 has a Sept. 2nd release release date.
The Best of 2003 Set for May 11 Release
MerleFest Records, distributed exclusively by Welk Music Group, has announced a May 11,
2004 street date for MerleFest Live!: The Best of 2003. The audio compact disc assembles a "who's
acoustic music recorded live at MerleFest 2003 on a generous 18 tracks. MerleFest host Doc Watson's
two contributions reflect both his bluegrass ("Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms") and blues/rockabilly
("Match Box Blues") influences. This live compilation includes something for everyone who
Americana music from Asleep at the Wheel's western swing on "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" to the
core bluegrass of "How Mountain Girls Can Love" by Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder to Guy Clark's
troubadour twang on "Black Diamond Strings" and Don Edward's traditional cowboy music heard on
Call" to the jam band fusion of Donna the Buffalo's "Conscious Evolution."
Merlefest Live: The Best of 2003 also features live cuts by artists including Dr. Ralph Stanley
& the Clinch Mountain Boys, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, the Whites, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Hot Rize,
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Mountain Heart, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, and the Red Stick Ramblers.
The CD also presents a glimpse into Vassar Clements' 75th Birthday Jam at MerleFest 2003 with
"Orange Blossom Special" featuring Vassar, Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Tony Rice, Bryan Sutton, Mark
Schatz, and Peter Rowan.
An extraordinary line-up greeted record crowds to MerleFest 2004, the 17th annual festival
in celebration of the music of the late Merle Watson and his father Doc Watson. Wilkes Community
College presented the event on April 29 May 2 by on its campus in Wilkesboro, NC. MerleFest again
drew an enormous, well behaved, and appreciative audience with a preliminary estimated total
including volunteers and school children of 82,500. MerleFest 2004 offered food, crafts, family
and children's' activities, and performances by nearly 100 Americana music acts, including Doc
Watson and Merle's son Richard, the Sam Bush Band, Rosanne Cash, the Derailers, Donna the Buffalo,
Béla Fleck & Edgar Meyer, Vince Gill, the Gourds, David Grisman Quintet, Hot Tuna, Indigo Girls,
the Kruger Brothers, Patty Loveless, Natalie MacMaster, Nickel Creek, Tim O'Brien, Mark
O'Connor's Hot Swing Trio, Reeltime Travelers, Tony Rice Unit, Savoy Doucet Cajun Band,
Earl Scruggs with Family & Friends, the WAiFS, and Gillian Welch. A surprise appearance
on Sunday by Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones with the John Cowan Band delighted
the audience. Look for a MerleFest Live: Best of 2004 project to be released in early 2005.
(MerleFest Information: 800-343-7857 or www.merlefest.org)
Loretta Lynn: "Kindred" Spirits Album
Story by Wendy Newcomer / COUNTRYWEEKLY.COM - May 04, 2004 - Loretta Lynn sings from her heart with
new album - and spreads her wings with a rockin' new producer.
Who'd have thought a rock 'n' roller from Detroit could produce legend Loretta Lynn's most country
ever? But that's exactly what happened when the Coal Miner's Daughter teamed up with Jack White,
the rock duo The White Stripes.
"It's so country," exclaims Loretta. "This album is countrier than country music was when I first
Loretta and Jack first met in March 2003 after she found out The White Stripes dedicated -
as improbable as it sounds - their 2001 album White Blood Cells to her. She invited Jack and his
partner/former wife, Meg White, to her house in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., and made the duo a
"I had chicken and dumplings, green beans and a salad, and all kinds of stuff," notes Loretta. "Jack
loved my homemade bread."
He also loved Loretta's plainspoken songs and honest voice. One month later she shared a stage with
The White Stripes when they played New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. Jack and Loretta set the place
fire, singing her feisty solo hit "Fist City" and the jaunty Loretta/Conway Twitty duet "Louisiana
Woman, Mississippi Man."
Not long after that, Jack asked Loretta if he could produce her next record, and last fall they
entered a small studio in an east Nashville house to create Van Lear Rose, Loretta's just-released
While some might think the pairing of Jack and Loretta strange, she wasn't concerned at all. "I'm
for anything," she declares, " 'cause if I don't like it, I'll just do something else."
Loretta recalls her first day in the studio. "I thought, 'Is this old house gonna fall in on us
before we get out of here?' " she jokes. "We walked in, and this long, tall guy [engineer Eric
McConnell] was sittin' at the control table. I noticed that he didn't have many controls - not
even as many as I've got on my little [sound] board. I thought, 'Oh gee, this is gonna be good.'
I started singing and you know, we just took off with 'em. From the first song, it was great."
Van Lear Rose was recorded much like albums used to be made, with a stripped-down fourpiece
band and minimal studio tweaking. The studio musicians may not have been Nashville A-list session
players, but Loretta was extremely pleased with the results. "This little band was really rocking,"
she says. "All of them were in their 20s - and real bashful. They was from up in Michigan.
They were a nervous wreck, I think, from just being in Nashville. But I thought it was best
not to say anything. I thought, 'Well, it might make them more nervous.' But they done good."
The album was also recorded with very few vocal takes. In fact, with the exception of one song,
all of the songs are first-take vocals. However, Loretta says working with Jack was a very different
experience than working with her first producer, the late Owen Bradley, who produced many of her
"Owen was really polished," explains Loretta. "With Owen, you'd have to sing a song three times
he'd even listen to it. He'd want your voice opened up, and he'd want you to remember that song
exactly the way you were gonna do it. He wanted it stamped into your mind, and then we'd [record]
Loretta wrote all 13 songs on Van Lear Rose. The album kicks off with the title cut, a story
song about Loretta's beloved mother who, according to Loretta's father, was the most beautiful
and sought-after girl in the county. The next song - and the one she hopes will be the album's first
- is a rocking country rave-up called "Portland, Oregon," which Loretta wrote seven or eight years
Oregon, and sloe gin fizz/if that ain't love then tell me what is, uh-huh," notes Loretta, giving an
impromptu lyric recital. Jack surprised Loretta by adding his voice to the song and making it a
"I went back in the studio the next day after I recorded that," she remembers. "They were playing it
back and I heard my voice change in the second verse. I said, 'Well who is that?' and Jack said,
'That's me.' "
Another of Loretta's favorites on the album is "Women's Prison," which finds Loretta telling the
story of the oftenforgotten female inmate. "I've been to a lot of men's prisons and done shows for
no one has ever asked me to go to a woman's prison," she explains. "I think it's a shame that no one
thinks about a woman's prison - don't you? Nobody cares, and that's just the way I felt. That was
why I wrote it. I'm trying to let 'em know I do love 'em, no matter what."
Other songs on the record include the attitude- packed "Mrs. Leroy Brown" and "Family Tree," a "wife
talking to the other woman" ballad. When asked how her songwriting had changed through the years,
"It hasn't," she says. "The same old stuff goes on, don't it? And every day, something is gonna
that you're not likin' - you might as well put it in your song and sell it. So I do that."
At the time of this interview, Loretta had yet to play the album for her family and friends.
Even her band hadn't heard it yet. She's anxious for her fans to hear the new music, too -
and plans a few tour dates this spring and summer with her band and Jack White, so the two
can perform the new material.
But there's one person whom she knows would like the album - her beloved late husband, Doolittle
who died from diabetes complications in 1996. Loretta poured her heart out about missing Doo in the
song "Miss Being Mrs."
"There's never a song I write that Doo's not a part of," she admits. " 'Family Tree' and all these
fighting songs, you've gotta live 'em like you're still fightin' for 'em. I still do in my heart. I
exactly what he'd think about a song and what he'd say, to this day. When I'm writing a song, I
can still see him sittin' in the back of the room, watching and listening."
While many of the songs on Van Lear Rose truly rock because of Jack's influence, they are still
vintage Loretta - a country girl singing her life story, just like she always has.
"You have to," she declares. "This is how I connect with other people. If you can't connect with
people who are not singers, but who are living the same life that you are - you oughta get out of
And Loretta doesn't plan on retiring any time soon. Along with her upcoming shows, she wants to
a religious album and a Christmas album - and she hopes Jack will once again be her producer. Even
though their producing styles are different, she likens the young musician to her legendary first
"You know, this kid is not very old," she notes of 28-year-old Jack, "but he's older-acting.
It's like he's been here many times. I see a little bit of Owen Bradley in him.
He's great at the rock 'n' roll music, but I think he will probably be even greater at producing."
Dave Kirby R.I.P.
Renowned country music songwriter, guitar session player and singer Dave
passed away at his Branson, Missouri, residence on Saturday, April 17,
short illness. Kirby was diagnosed with multimyloma cancer on March 20.
Kirby was born in Brady, Texas, on July 10, 1938. Kirby was influenced
uncle, legendary Hank Williams's front man Big Bill Lister. Lister took
under his wing and first introduced him to songwriting and guitar playing at
the age of eight.
Kirby moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1955. He landed a job at a local
radio station playing country music. He was influenced by the music of Carl
Smith, Mac Wiseman, Ernest Tubb and the guitar playing of Merle Travis.
Buck Owens recorded Kirby's first song "Down By the River". Rose Maddox
the cut the same song and shortly after Owens and Maddox recorded it as
Johnny and Jonie Mosby and Porter Wagoner also added their vocals to Kirby
compositions while he was living in New Mexico.
"During the 1960's, Willie Nelson used to come out to Albuquerque and he
got me to go and play in the band," Kirby recalled in a 2000 interview.
"Willie got to liking my songs, and I don't remember how, but Hank Cochran
got to liking them too. They both wrote me saying 'Come to Nashville' so in
1967, I made the big move."
Kirby signed a writing contract with Pamper Music, which was owned in
Ray Price. Other writers for Pamper at this time included Roger Miller,
Howard, Nelson and Cochran.
"I got a few things cut and then I wrote "Is Anybody Going To San
Antone?" Kirby said. "It has become my biggest hit, but it just lay there
at the Pamper shelf for three years before it ever got cut." Charley Pride
heard the song in 1970 and it became a multi million selling single.
Kirby's compositions became hits for a host of entertainers including "Wish
I Didn't Have To Miss You" by Jack Greene and Jeannie Seely, "April's
Fool" and "You Wouldn't Know Love" by Ray Price, "What Have You Got
Planned Tonight Diana?" and "Sidewalks of Chicago" for Merle Haggard,
"There Ain't No Good Chain Gang" for Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings,
"Memories To Burn" for Gene Watson, "Where Are You Going Billy Boy?"
for Bill Anderson and Mary Lou Turner, "Leavin's Been Coming For A Long
Long Time" for George Strait and "I'll Go To A Stranger" for Johnny
Ray Charles, Moe Bandy, Norma Jean, Porter Wagoner, Johnny Russell, Texas
Tornadoes, George Jones, Faron Young, Charley Walker, Johnny Rodriguez, Cal
Smith, John Anderson, Kitty Wells, Razzy Bailey, Jo-El Sonnier, Curtis
Hank Thompson and dozens more have recorded Kirby compositions.
Kirby began session work in Nashville during the early 1970's. His first
session was with Country Music Hall of Famer Granpa Jones. "Granpa walked in
the studio and looked at me," Kirby recalled. "I had kind of long hair and
the first thing he said was 'Son, don't play any of those hippie licks on
Kirby went on to have a very successful session career playing lead
Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Janie Fricke, Ringo Star, Emmylou Harris, Don
Williams, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Crystal Gayle, Wynn Stewart, Ray
Moe Bandy, Ronnie Milsap, Connie Smith and Kenny Price.
Not only a successful writer and session player, Kirby also contributed many
vocal recordings of his own including "North Alabama" "Cantaloupe
Jones" "The Rumor" "Cowboy Connection" and "Better Off When I Was
Hungry." Kirby recorded for Boone, Capitol, Dimension and Monument Records.
Dot Records released his album "Writer, Singer, Picker" in 1973.
Kirby married country music entertainer Leona Williams in 1985. The two
entertained together throughout the country while still maintaining a heavy
writing schedule and session work.
"Dave Kirby never realized his importance in the country music community,"
Brady, Texas, disc jockey Tracy Pitcox said. "Dave played on virtually
the sessions leaving Nashville throughout the 1970's and into the 1980's.
His songwriting is legendary. We were very honored to recognize Dave in his
hometown for the last eight years during our 'Dave Kirby Celebration'."
Kirby just completed work on his first solo album in twenty years. "Mr.
Songwriter" contains ten of Kirby's biggest writing successes and will be
released on Heart of Texas Records on May 15.
Survivors include his wife Leona Williams, four sons Wade and Paul Kirby and
Ron and Brady Williams, two daughters Janice Ross and Kathy Lee and ten
Memorials may be made in honor of Dave Kirby to the Heart of Texas Country
Music Museum at 1701 South Bridge in Brady, Texas, 76825
Celebrity Advertising Campaign Places Tennessee Tourism Center Stage...
The Stage is Set for You!"
National entertainment legends and Tennessee natives Dolly Parton and Isaac Hayes are among the
promoting their home state's tourism attractions and destinations to national and international
through a new advertising campaign launched April 7, 2004.
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker unveiled the state's
new tourism advertising campaign before a lunch crowd of nearly 350 supporters, including members
of the state legislature and tourism industry leaders at Nashville's downtown Sheraton Hotel.
"The face we put on tourism in Tennessee is serious business, not only for me, but for all
Tennesseans," Governor Bredesen said. "This campaign resonates universally - it's going to help
us all, and I like that."
The campaign, themed "Tennessee, The Stage is Set for You!", promotes the many aspects of
Tennessee's tourism product, including legendary music, outdoor adventures, family fun, heritage,
and scenic beauty.
The campaign consists of print, broadcast and electronic components, including radio and television
commercials, a new logo depicting a white spotlight illuminating the words "Tennessee. The Stage is
for You!", plus other broadcast, marketing and sponsorship components.
The first television commercial features Tennessee native and entertainment star Dolly Parton
inviting tourists to make Tennessee their stage for family fun, thrills, relaxation, celebration,
discovery, romance and memories to last a lifetime. The television commercial was taped at
Nashville's internationally known historic Ryman Auditorium, one of Tennessee's
most popular tourist attractions.
"I'm doing this because I love Tennessee -- I'm a Tennessee girl," Parton said of her
involvement with the state campaign. "I mean there's nothing we can't do in Tennessee.
The stage is set for everything."
Taping of a second television commercial featuring musician, actor, and Memphis native Isaac
Hayes concluded Monday, April 5. That commercial puts Hayes at the Stax Museum, the former location
of the famed soul recording studio in the heart of Memphis where Hayes met so many music
influentials and developed the early part of his career.
Department officials expect to announce additional celebrities who will take part in
the advertising campaign sometime in the future.
The development of "Tennessee, The Stage is Set for You!" began months ago with comprehensive
research on tourist attitudes and perceptions of Tennessee. A comprehensive brand audit, focus
groups in six of Tennessee's feeder travel markets, plus online "user preference" studies of
potential campaign concepts were part of the research process.
Commissioner Whitaker said the stage theme was selected because it complements Tennessee's
musical heritage, relates both to literal stage venues, and ties into the state's scenic
vistas, attractions and cultural centers, as well.
"We wanted to take what we're famous for, our great music and literal stage venues, and
expand that concept to include all of what Tennessee has to offer," Commissioner Whitaker
said. "So we're inviting tourists to make Tennessee their own stage for a great vacation,
whether it's in the Great Smoky Mountains, at Elvis Presley's Graceland, on Chattanooga's
Lookout Mountain or somewhere off the beaten track."
Tourism is one of Tennessee's largest industries, employing more than 173,000 individuals
and generating nearly $10.3 billion in direct revenues last year. The state is home
to numerous international attractions, including the Grand Ole Opry, Graceland, the
Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, The Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Farm, the
Country Music Hall of Fame, Dolly Parton's Dollywood theme park, the Memphis Zoo, the
Bristol Motor Speedway, and many others..."
Jimmie Rodgers Festival, 2004
The line-up for the 51st annual Jimmie Rodgers Festival was announced at a press conference in
home of the annual salute to the "Father of Country Music."
Betty Lou Jones, president of the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation, said the goal of festival volunteers
is to perpetuate the rich musical legacy of Jimmie Rodgers and his contributions to country, rock
roll, blues and gospel music. This year's events include:
April 3-4: Jimmie Rodgers Talent Contest, to be held in conjunction with Arts in the Park
at Meridian's Highland Park. The youth competition is for ages 3-14 and will be held April 3 from
9 a.m.-5 p.m. The adult competition, for performers 15 and older, will be April 4 from 11 a.m.-3
Winners in both categories will receive prizes. They will also open the shows at Jimmie Rodgers
concerts and perform at various promotional events.
The deadline to enter is March 26. For information, call chairman Cathy Monsour at (899) 396-5882,
483-5763 or 693-4390.
April 8: Southern Gospel Concert featuring the McKamey's and the Inspirations at Northcrest
Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Organizers expect this concert to sell out. Tickets are on sale now at
Northcrest Baptist Church, or Bible Book Store locations downtown and at the Bonita Lakes Mall.
For information, call chairman Richard Ferguson at 743-2682.
April 25: Pickin' in the Park is a chance for music-lovers to perform and enjoy hearing others
perform at Singing Brakeman Park, near Union Station in downtown Meridian. Pickin' in the Park will
begin at 12:30 p.m. and continue until dark. Local musician Mike Brown is chairman of the event;
to sign up, call him at 696-7124.
April 30: Contemporary Gospel Concert presenting a night with Ray Boltz at Northcrest
Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Organizers expect this concert to sell out. Tickets are on sale now at
Northcrest Baptist Church, or Bible Book Store locations downtown and at the Bonita Lakes
Mall. For information, call chairman Richard Ferguson at 743-2682.
May 1: A big day with "Something for Everyone." A railfest and a car show begin at 8 a.m.
with crafts, arts, collectibles, delicious food, refreshing beverages, entertainment, antique
and vintage car and motorcycle exhibits, railroad memorabilia and children's activities.
There is no admission charge from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. For information, call Mark Naylor at 485-1895.
Back by popular demand from last year, Andy Anderson and the original Rolling Stones and The
will perform their rendition of "gray rock" from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
May 6: Annual Jimmie Rodgers Golf Tournament at the internationally recognized Dancing
Rabbit Golf Club in Choctaw. For more information, call event chairman Robert Smith at
May 14: Delbert McClinton performs at Singing Brakeman Park. Tickets will go on sale
March 23, at 9 a.m., at all Trustmark Bank locations and the Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. This concert is sponsored by WKZR; for information,
call Art Matthews and Al Brown at 693-1103.
May 26: Annual memorial service is at the gravesite of Jimmie Rodgers. A wreath
will be placed at 3:30 p.m. at Oak Grove Cemetery in Meridian.
New WSM Program Announcement
Dear WSMonline visitor,
Thank you for logging on and tuning in to WSM. We appreciate your support of Nashville Country
As you are probably aware, there are many costs associated with streaming on the Internet.
Several broadcasters have made the decision to cease streaming their radio stations over the
Internet given the escalating costs associated with providing content. At WSM, we feel it is i
mportant that we continue to offer you the opportunity to enjoy programming direct from Music City.
Beginning March 15th, we will launch a new subscription plan with an introductory monthly fee of
$6.50 for high-band listeners to WSMonline and for selected WSM archives. For your convenience,
you will also be able to sign-up and save on a full year subscription for only $65.00! Registration
for the service will begin a few days prior to the launch.
With your subscription to WSMonline, you'll be able to listen to 650 AM WSM at the highest
quality, while having access to exclusive Internet specials and other unique programming.
You will enjoy shows like Eddie Stubbs' Classic Show, a special country legends series,
great concert events, as well as album premieres that you can not hear anywhere else.
This new subscription plan allows WSM to continue serving Internet listeners across the
United States and around the world. WSMonline will offer the low-band stream at no cost as
well as access to the information and contests on our website. We appreciate your support
of WSM as the premier source of classic country music.
WSM Program Director
Grand Ole Opry Road Show
The Grand Ole Opry will hit the road with an 11-date national tour as the "Grand Ole Opry American
Show 2004" featuring Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and the Del McCoury Band.
Frequent Opry guest Rebecca Lynn Howard also will appear when the tour begins April 23.
"We know that millions of music fans across the country hold the Grand Ole Opry in the highest
regard, and that not everyone has had the opportunity to visit Nashville to see this remarkable
said Steve Buchanan, senior vice president of Gaylord Entertainment Co. "Our goal is to give fans
across the country the chance to sample the best the Opry and Nashville have to offer, inspiring
them to visit Music City to witness country music at its finest. This tour is a great addition to
the other ways we are sharing the best in country music, including our television, syndicated radio,
and Internet broadcasts."
Each artist will perform their own song and also join each other on stage for collaborations
and at stops that extend through October.
Tour stops will also feature WSM Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs as well as special guest
appearances by other performers. Embodying the live show format of Opry performances in Nashville,
the shows will be complete with a tour version of the Opry's signature barn backdrop and
"What a great opportunity to show people of all ages where the Opry has been and where it is going,"
"The Grand Ole Opry is country music. This tour will offer fans across America the opportunity to
excitement of the Opry with performances by country's brightest stars while we continue our Tuesday,
and Saturday Opry broadcasts right here in Nashville." said Opry vice president and general manager
The Opry hit the road many times in the past with tours featuring everyone from Roy Acuff and Minnie
Pearl to Garth Brooks and Ricky Skaggs. Traveling tent shows were the first means of taking the
Opry on tour in the 1930s.
During World War II, Opry stars toured American military bases in the U.S. and
Central America building wartime morale. Ernest Tubb took a group of Opry stars to
New York's Carnegie Hall in 1947, and another Opry troupe played Constitution Hall in
Washington, D.C. that same year.
The Opry's first overseas tour in 1949 took Acuff, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hank Williams, and
others to U.S. military bases in England, Germany, and the Azores. The Opry traveled to Houston in
1990 for a special performance for President George Bush and the heads of state attending the
Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations, then hit the road for a 10-city tour the following year.
The scheduled dates are:
April 23 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort Arena
April 30 York, PA Toyota Arena @ York Expo Center
July 23 Marshall, MO Crossroads Amphitheatre
July 24 Monticello, IA Great Jones County Fair
Aug 14 Columbus, OH Ohio State Fair - Celeste Center
Aug 15 Lewisburg, WV West Virginia State Fairgrounds *
Aug 16 Hamburg, NY Erie County Fair and Expo
Aug 17 Detroit Michigan State Fairgrounds
Aug 18 Interlochen, MI Interlochen Center/Kresge Auditorium
Sept 18 Spencer, IA Clay County Fair
Oct 16 Phoenix, AZ Arizona State Fairgrounds
* Del McCoury Band will not be on this date - Buddy Jewell will perform
Pioneer Arts, Crafts and
Culture Excell in Iowa
Missouri Valley, Iowa ... When the National Old Time Music Festival moved from Avoca, Iowa, to
Valley, Iowa, last year, some were concerned that the Pioneer crafts, arts, and culture focus would
Just the opposite happened.
Held over Labor Day Weekend (Aug 30-Sept 5, 2004) this amazing 7-day festival, which has a definite
focus on Pioneer arts and crafts, also includes Pioneer and Homesteader survival skills and culture
enhancement. By keeping the Pioneer spirit alive through their survival crafts, and their beautiful
ornamentation and art work, the festival is keeping alive a direct connect to the past. It's a
connect to our own ancestors who came to the raw prairie to make a new life, a new home, a new
According to Bob Everhart, Director of the event, "We are constantly interested in bringing pioneer
arts and crafts to our festival. We encourage anyone that pursues this same interest to contact us
about being part of what we are doing. We had some incredible pioneer crafts at our festival last
including hand made furniture from teakwood, ironwood, and mahoganey. We also encourage pioneer
to blossom at our event. This year we are having a "Mule Jump" relative to pioneer culture. A
is almost impossible to believe, and until you've seen it, it's also very hard to describe. The
I can do is invite as many people as wants, to come see it, and make their own appraisal of what it
Mostly though, we want to encourage any artisan or craftsman who has product for sale to the general
public, to contact us at their earliest convenience for space availability. We were full last year,
and we fill up fast, so it's imperative that they try to reach us as soon as possible."
The festival, which includes a lot of pioneer music, hosts ten sound stages, well over 600
performers of old time acoustic music, and more than 250 scheduled stage shows. There are always
celebrities at this event, and for seven days, the Harrison County Fairgrounds turns into a 'people'
festival, celebrating the incredible music and culture of rural America.
Everhart reminds everyone, "This is an old-time acoustic music, arts and crafts event. The music
played here doesn't hurt your ears, it makes you feel good. It's like taking a step back in time,
but sharing it with thousands of your closest friends. This same philosophy applies to our arts and
crafts vendors. We welcome them with open arms, and do everything we can to make the event not only
profitable, but very enjoyable."
More information on the event is available on the web at
www.oldtimemusic.bigstep.com or by writing Everhart at P O Box 492, Anita, Iowa, 50020.
XM Satellite Radio "Entertainment Lone Star USA"
The Country Legends Network announced that extracts and interview clips from "Entertainment Lone
will be heard on XM radio. The program is now moving to Fort Worth Texas, the new home
of country music. CLN is in negotiations with a number of other major stations to syndicate
this program, and another program called "America Talks Country" from coast to coast.
The show features the Legends of Country Music and future legends, the ones who make Country
Music the Music America loves. The President of the Country Legends Association, Frank Dell
who hosts the show says "Fan-Demand has been overwhelming and according to surveys conducted
by the CLA there is a large market for real Country Music which has been ignored for years by
the industry. Fans are rising up and want to be counted for this new trend."
Dell, and his producer Dick Driscoll, who has years of experience in broadcasting, also produce
Talks Country"; a talk/music format show that visits with an artist and allows fans to call and talk
to them live. The popularity of this type of show is increasing.
"Fort Worth, is all things country" says Dell. "This is a prestigious move, as well as a location
for fans and tourists to attend "Entertainment Lone Star USA" which is a country show that will
not compromise country music or force the public to think what is not country, is country.
The CLA will be active in lobbying for changes in the industry. It's time to clean up the
art form so our kind of music keeps its identity, not just as a historical fact but preserved.
Many identities are trying to creep into this art form which are not desirable to country fans.
The CLA believes in God and Country with family moral standards. Some people say country music
is cheating, drinking, and other problems of everyday people These people seem to overlook
these are subjected in traditional standards by Cole Porter and so many others.
Country, Gospel, and Bluegrass music all have a mystery, with real experiences which
is why it is so popular and continues to grow, especially with younger fans who are
looking for reality in their lives.
You can count on the Country Legends Association to do what others have failed to do by
being fair to the fans and those talented in this industry who have paid their dues in the
art form of Country Music. The Country Legends Association web site is currently being updated to
the changes. http://www.clalonestar.com - Fort
Texas the new home for Country Music. Russ Nelson, Public Relations, Country Legends Network,
email@example.com - 218-626-9044
ABBIE NEAL R.I.P.
Birth: Apr. 4, 1918, Brookville, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Feb. 15, 2004, Reno, Washoe County, Nevada, USA
Abbie Neal aka Esther Amanda McKinnon was a National Champion Woman's
Fiddler. She began her career with her brothers, Gilbert and Walter.
She worked with Cowboy Phil in the '40's and later formed Abbie Neal
and Her Ranch Girls. In the '50's, they starred on the Wilkens Easy
Credit Hour on WDTV in Pittsburgh, PA. They won the Arthur Godfrey
Talent Scouts show in New York City and entertained our troops on USO
tours overseas. Abbie starred in her own show WJAC-TV in Johnstown,
The Nevada Circuit was next, performing at Las Vegas' Golden Nugget
and Reno's Harrah's Club. After retirement, she and several other
retired musicians entertained senior citizens at convalescent
facilities, hospitals, and senior centers.
Abbie played all stringed instruments. She was well known for her
beautiful recitations. A star was placed in her honor on the Walkway
of Stars in Wheeling, WV in 1983 for her major contributions to
Jamboree USA and country music.
The music she created for us lives on at http://www.lou-christie.com:
As reviewed in the April / May 2002 issue of Country Music magazine,
compiled, produced and wrote the liner notes for
ABBIE NEAL & HER RANCH GIRLS:
AMERICA'S FAVORITE ALL GIRL WESTERN BAND-
42 Track CD (LC4951, November 2001)(79:23):
w/ Live Radio & TV shows and the Singles "If Again" (Written by Doug
Kershaw, © May 5, 1957, Admiral 45-1006) & "Hillbilly Beat" (Admiral
45-15000, May 1956).
R.I.P.: "Pappy" Dave Stone
Country Music radio pioneer Dave Pinkston, best known as "Pappy" Dave Stone, died
at mid-day today (Wednesday, February 18th) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
"Pappy" Dave Stone, inducted to the Country Radio Broadcasters (CRB) Disc Jockey Hall
of Fame in 1999, started in radio in 1946 as a traffic manager and bookkeeper, going
on to become the entrepreneur of radio conglomerates. In 1947, he went on the air
with a 30-minute show called "The Western Roundup" at KSEL in Lubbock, TX. Two years
later, he moved up to the position of manager and was told it was beneath the dignity
of a manager to be a DJ on a hillbilly radio station. Stone originally took the advice
but quickly decided to go back on the air. He stayed on the air even as he began
buying stations in conjunction with a real estate friend, Leroy Elmore.
In 1953, Stone put KDAV on the air in Lubbock, Texas; believed to be the first station
to exclusively program country music. KPEP/San Angelo, TX, went on the air a year
later followed in 1955 by KZIP in Amarillo. Two years later (1957), his country
influence spread to Colorado where he opened KPIK. With the advent of FM, he completed
his combine with KPIK-FM in Colorado Springs.
Always an innovator, Pappy started the first country music club, began booking all
the major country acts into the Lubbock area and was a mentor to new talent. Some
of these then unknowns included Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Waylon
Jennings, who started his career as one of Pappy's deejays.
Leroy Elmore, Stone's partner in the radio business and best friend for some 50 years,
died in January 2004.
Earliest live recordings available March 9 on Scena Records
Early George Jones Live Recordings
George Jones' live performances from the 1950s and early 1960s have only been the stuff of legend,
since no concert recordings from the time have existed -- until now.
George Jones: Live Recordings from the Louisiana Hayride on Scena Records provides a wealth of
unavailable concert recordings from early in the career of the greatest country singer of all-time.
The album, taken from Saturday night broadcasts on Shreveport's KWKH, features four songs recorded
in 1956 and 1958, four more from an outstanding 1960s set, and eight from 1968 and 1969, when
Jones was establishing his reputation as the rowdiest and most heartbreakingly expressive
country singer of his generation.
Until now, the earliest live recordings on Jones came from a 1965 concert released on LP
in 1987 by an independent British label. Jones didn't officially sanction a live recording until
1985, when he released First Time Live! on Epic Records. Concert performances from early in his
career have always been rare and welcomed with enthusiasm by his legions of fans. Live Recordings
from the Louisiana Hayride picks 16 of the best performances from one of his favorite stages, the
Shreveport Municipal Auditorium.
Jones jumped on board the popular Louisiana Hayride program early in his career. The giant
Shreveport country station no doubt gave the East Texas native an early boost when he began
on the program in 1955, the same year that his first hit, "Why Baby Why," introduced his remarkable
to national audiences. Jones was just 24 years old when he performed the CD's opening cut,
the romping "You Gotta Be My Baby," which shows that his animated delivery was there from the start.
By 1958, his colorful, distinctive phrasing had evolved to where his trademark vocal dips and his
expressive range already were apparent on ballads like the great "Color of the Blues" and the
Can Stop My Loving You." Another 1958 recording, "I'm Ragged But I'm Right," finds Jones showing off
on a song that's been a well-loved part of his repertoire from the start of his career.
His 1960 recordings find him in an exceptionally playful mood. He stretches and snaps words on the
outstanding "Too Much Water," and the way he exaggerates and amplifies certain words throughout "Big
Harlan Taylor" is completely diifferent than any previously recorded studio recording. His cut-up
of stage humor also flares early on, as shown in his introduction to the mournful "Accidentally On
Purpose," a new release at the time that he describes as "our brand new escape from Mercury
The selections also include thrilling versions of such classics as "White Lightning," "The Race Is
Things I Still Care" and "Walk Through This World With Me," the latter recorded two weeks before his
to Tammy Wynette in February 1969.
The Louisiana Hayride ranked right behind the Grand Ole Opry as one of the most popular live country
radio programs of its era. Broadcast at 50,000 watts by KWKH from Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium,
Hayride drew sold-out crowds of 3,800 to its Saturday broadcasts. The show was a fixture in the
homes of c
ountless country fans across the Mid-South and Southwest. Every third Saturday, the Hayride went
national over the CBS radio network. It also gave early boosts to many top stars, including Hank
Williams, Elvis Presley, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Johnny Horton and Jim Reeves.
Boogers and Snot: A Funny, Inspirational Book for Kids
Larry Gatlin's Children's Book
Grammy Award-winner Larry Gatlin has been entertaining audiences for over four decades, from
gospel performances to the White House to Broadway. So when his granddaughter feels lousy with a
he knows exactly how to cheer her up--with a funny song.
Gatlin blends his talents as a singer/songwriter and as a loving grandpa in his new picture book,
Boogers and Snot: A Grandfather's Story (recently published by Eakin Press). Featuring color photos
of the entertainer along with his granddaughter, Parker, the book reveals a grandfather's solution
to soothing his little angel's awful cold-by making her laugh at a song he makes up. In the book he
shares the song, titled "Boogers and Snot," with other kids and "grownup kids" at a Christmas church
service to remind everyone that God loves them, even when a bad cold leaves disgusting results.
The book is a grandparent collaboration, with photos taken by Larry's wife, Janis. Printed music
and a CD are included for those who want to play and sing along. The book will be in bookstores in
mid February and copies are available on www.eakinpress.com or at www.larrygatlin.com.
Larry Gatlin's career skyrocketed in Nashville when he and the Gatlin Brothers released hit after
hit, such as "Broken Lady" (Grammy winner), "All the Gold in California," and "Houston (Means I'm
One Day Closer to You)" in the 1970s. One of his true callings has always been songwriting, and
many of his compositions have been recorded by music legends, such as Elvis Presley, Barbara
Streisand, and Johnny Cash. The story of his rise in the music business, as well as the personal
struggles he has had to overcome, are told in his inspirational biography, All the Gold in
California (Eakin Press, 2003).
Gatlin continues to write songs and maintains a hectic schedule of appearances (he and the
Gatlin Brothers are frequent performers at Branson, Missouri, and many other venues). But his focus
remains on his family - which, as Boogers and Snot proves, can be an inspiration.
Boogers and Snot: A Grandfather's Story by Larry Gatlin, paperback 24 pages, full
color. $15.00 (includes CD) - Contact: (615) 297-3800
Naomi Shares Her Life in Book
(AP) - Naomi Judd is sharing her way of coping with life's tough times in a new book called "Naomi's
Breakthrough Guide, 20 Choices to Transform Your Life."
The country singer retired from performing with her daughter, Wynonna, in 1991 because of a
chronic hepatitis infection. The book deals with surviving the illness, as well as how she got off
welfare and raised her two children, Wynonna and actress Ashley Judd.
"Whether it's a crisis like a terminal illness ... all these personal ground zeros really are
the greatest teachers, they strip us down and help us to identify who we are at a core level, what
matters to us most and help us start living out of our hearts," she told AP Radio.
Judd, 58, talked with mental health experts, and the book includes mental exercises to help
people cope with their low moments and get in touch with what's important to them in life.
"Your passions are what really allows your life to expand and you become what you've always
wanted to be," she said.
"There's no point in getting a gym membership, or deciding to quit smoking ... or to find that right
relationship until you do the work in the book, until you burrow down into yourself," she said.
E-mail "Traditional Country Hall of Fame"