Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It Is No Secret

Category: Obituary

You may be a little surprised to see a country music blog paying tribute to evangelist Billy Graham, but this is actually one of the best places to mention the late minister.

Dr. Graham died this morning (2/21) at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Friends who appeared on TV station WCNC in Charlotte said that the minister had been in failing health, with "poor quality of life," for a number of years.

William Franklin Graham was born in 1918 Charlotte when Charlotte was more country than town.  He was raised on a dairy farm and knew hard work, growing up in the 1920s and into the Great Depression.  

He felt the calling into ministry and obeyed.  His first "crusade" was held in 1947 in Los Angeles, which is where his connection to country music also began.  Among the people attending his revival in a circus tent was Stuart Hamblin, who later wrote the country gospel classic "It Is No Secret."

Additionally, Graham appeared in a 1951 film, Mr. Texas, which he billed as "the first Christian western" movie.  The film co-starred Hall of Fame songwriter Cindy Walker.

As the popularity of television rose in the 50s and 60s Graham's multi-night crusades were carried on numerous television stations.  Among the country legends who frequently guested on the shows were Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Charlie Daniels, and Ricky Skaggs.  Cash, much like President George W. Bush, credited Graham's friendship with helping him overcome his addictions.

Billy Graham was 99.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dates of Note in Country Music, February 16-28

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; RR=country performer also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

February 16:

Jimmy Wakely born in Mineola, Arkansas, 1914 (died 1982)
Jo-Walker Meador (CM 95) born in Orlinda, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2017)
Smiley Burnette (NS 71) died in Encino, California (leukemia), 1967 (was 55)

February 17:

Johnny Bush born in Houston, Texas, 1935 (now 83)
Buck Trent born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1938 (now 80)
Jon Randall born in Dallas, Texas, 1969 (now 49)
Bryan White born in Shellman, Georgia, 1974 (now 44)
Billy Byrd born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 2001)
Gene Pitney born in Hartford, Connecticut, 1940 (died 2006). The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer recorded two albums of duets with George Jones.
Uncle Jimmy Thompson died in Laguardo, Tennessee (natural causes), 1931 (was 82)
Eck Robertson died in Borger, Texas (natural causes), 1975 (was 87)
Gus Hardin died near Claremore, Oklahoma (car wreck), 1996 (was 50)

February 18:

Juice Newton born in Lakehurst Naval Station, New Jersey, 1952 (now 66)
Dudley Connell born in Scheer, West Virginia, 1956 (now 62)
Julius Frank "Pee Wee" King (ne Kuczynski) (CM 74, NS 70) born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1914 (died 2000)
Tootsie Bess, owner of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1978 (was 61)
Johnny Paycheck died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2003 (was 64)

February 19:

Lorianne Crook born in Wichita, Kansas, 1957 (now 61)
Cedric Rainwater (real name: Howard Watts) (BG 07) born in Monticello, Florida, 1913 (died 1970)
Lowell Blanchard died in Knoxville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1968 (was 57)
Grandpa Jones (CM 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1998 (was 84)
Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton officially break up their act, 1974

February 20:

Kathie Baillie of Baillie & the Boys born in Morristown, New Jersey, 1951 (now 67)
Claire Lynch born in Albany, New York, 1954 (now 64)

February 21:

Mary-Chapin Carpenter born in Princeton, New Jersey, 1958 (now 60)
Don Reno (BG 92) born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1926 (died 1984)
Carl T. Sprague died in Bryan, Texas (unknown cause), 1979 (was 83)

Ray Whitley (NS 81) died in California (unknown cause), 1979 (was 77)

February 22:

Del Wood born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 1989)
George Younce of the Cathedrals (SG 98) born in Patterson, North Carolina, 1930 (died 2005)
Sonny James (CM 06) died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2016 (was 87)
Johnny Cash asked June Carter to marry him onstage during a concert in London, Ontario, 1968

February 23:

Rusty Young of Poco born in Long Beach, California, 1946 (now 72)
Buck Griffin born in Corsicana, Texas, 1923 (died 2009)
Penny DeHaven died in Atlanta, Georgia (cancer), 2014 (was 65)
Minnie Pearl married Henry Cannon, 1947

February 24:

Little Roy Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincoln County, Georgia, 1942 (now 76)
Don Law (CM 01) born in London, England, 1902 (died 1982)
Webb Pierce (CM 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1991 (was 69)
Goldie Hill Smith died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2005 (was 72)
Dinah Shore died in Beverly Hills, California (ovarian cancer), 1994 (was 77). The legendary pop singer and TV hostess was part of the family of live performers on WSM radio.

February 25:

Dr. Ralph Stanley (BG 92) born in Stratton, Virginia, 1927 (died 2016)
Faron Young (CM 00) born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1932 (died 1996)

February 26:

Billy Jack Wills born in Hall County, Texas, 1926 (died 1991)
Johnny Cash (CM 80, NS 77, RR 92) born in Kingsland, Arkansas, 1932 (died 2003)
Jan Crutchfield born in Paducah, Kentucky, 1936 (died 2012)
Tim Wilson died in Commerce, Georgia (heart failure), 2014 (was 52)

February 27:

Chuck Glaser of the Glaser Brothers born in Spalding, Nebraska, 1936 (now 82)
Joe Carson died in Wichita Falls, Texas (car wreck), 1964 (was 27)
Walter Bailes died in Sevierville, Tennessee (various health problems), 2000 (was 80)

February 28:

Jim Denny (CM 66) born in Silver Point, Tennessee, 1911 (died 1963)
Audrey Williams born in Banks, Alabama, 1923 (died 1975)
Don Helms born in New Brockton, Alabama, 1927 (died 2008)
Joe South (NS 79) born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1940 (died 2012)
Fiddlin' Arthur Smith died (unknown causes), 1971 (was 72)

Leap Day, February 29:

Dinah Shore born in Winchester, Tennessee, 1916 (died 1994)
Vaughn Horton (NS 71) died in New Port Ritchey, Florida (heart attack), 1988 (was 76)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Daryle Singletary Dies


Category: News/Obituary 

Daryle Singletary, a "maverick" in that he dared to be true to country music in an era when most were moving toward a pop/rock feel in the 90s, has died.

Singletary died unexpectedly this morning (2/12) at his home in suburban Nashville.  He had performed in Louisiana over the weekend.

Born in Georgia in 1971, Daryle Singletary held fast to the traditions of country music at a time when it was difficult to do so.  In 2002 he released an album titled That's Why I Sing This Way, paying tribute to (and featuring) many of his music heroes such as Johnny Paycheck, George Jones, and Merle Haggard.

After years of struggling Singletary finally scored a hit in the mid-90s with "I Let Her Lie," which was a throwback to the more traditional country songs that had been swept aside.  Singletary didn't change his style once he became successful, continuing with other hits such as "Amen Kind of Love" (his highest-charting single) and "The Note," echoing greats of the past such as Lefty Frizzell and Keith Whitley.

Although he hadn't had a charted record since 2002 Singletary continued to record and perform, remaining a favorite with traditionalists and fans.  Last year he recorded a duet album with bluegrass queen Rhonda Vincent, American Grandstand.  Vincent told No Depression in an interview about the collaboration, "Daryle is one of the greatest singers, and I love to sing with him whenever I have the opportunity."

Survivors include Singletary's wife, four children, and his parents.  Plus, a lot of country music fans.

Daryle Singletary was just 46.


Daryle and Rhonda performing "After the Fire is Gone":





Friday, February 09, 2018

I Don't Have to Hang My Head Over Things I Wish I'd Said

Category: Personal

If you've noticed, I haven't been the busiest beaver on this blog in the past year or so.  There's a reason:  my dad's health began taking the inevitable downward spiral that those in their late 80s face.  

Today (2/9) that downward spiral ended at about 2 AM, peacefully in a southern Indiana nursing home.  (Ironically, he was scheduled to be released later today.)  He had so many issues, from dementia to renal failure to congestive heart failure, that it would be difficult for me as a layperson to guess a cause of death.

Samuel Raizor gave me more than an unusual last name and a big brother whom I still admire with that kid sister hero-worship mentality.  Born in the early part of the Depression, in 1930, my dad grew up knowing hard work.  As a child, I remember taking trips to his dad's and brother's farms to hang tobacco (this is Kentucky, remember), quite the laborious chore.  As I came along he put up chain link fences as his primary job.  He was also in the Kentucky National Guard.

What I have firmly engrained in my DNA from my father is a love of country music.  And I mean country music.  If you notice on the bi-monthly list of birthdays and death dates, there's hardly a newer mainstream country act listed.  That's because my dad would have told you that their music, in the words of Bob at the Country Bunker in The Blues Brothers, "ain't no Hank Williams song!"  And I heartily concur.

Dad got to see all the big acts who came through Louisville in the 40s and 50s, when they'd play at the old Armory.  He saw a raw Faron Young, he told me once, and said he knew almost immediately that Faron would become big.  

Our relationship, admittedly, was -- as the Facebook status says -- complicated.  Certainly it wasn't anything on the order of what the great songwriter Rodney Crowell detailed in his book Chinaberry Sidewalks, but we had our moments.  Fences were broken and the bridges were burned more than once in our lives, and yet love and time allowed new bridges and new fences.  Despite the fact that we had "issues" (and it's a rare person in this world who doesn't have them with one or both parents at one point in their lives), I can sit here today and thank God that I never feared some of the horrible things that fathers do to their children (daughters especially) these days.

I also thank God that we did have the opportunities to mend those fences and rebuild those bridges.  As Crowell wrote in "Things I Wish I'd Said," the touching song about his father's death:

And I thank my lucky stars
We had a chance to heal our scars
Now I don't have to hang my head
Over things I wish I'd said.

Samuel Raizor was 87.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dates of Note in Country Music, February 1-15

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel, StG=Steel Guitar; OTF=Old Time Fiddler; RR=also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


February 1:

Don Everly (CM 01, NS 01, RR 86, GLA 97) born in Brownie, Kentucky, 1937 (now 81)
Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook born in Chicksaw, Alabama, 1937 (now 81)
Del McCoury (BG 11) born in Bakersville, North Carolina, 1939 (now 79)

Tom Gray of the Country Gentlemen (BG 96) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1941 (now 77)
Lisa Marie Presley born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1968 (now 50)

Jason Isbell born in Green Hill, Alabama, 1979 (now 39)
Scotty Wiseman (NS 71) died in Gainesville, Florida (heart attack), 1981 (was 71)

February 2:

Howard Bellamy of the Bellamy Brothers born in Darby, Florida, 1946 (now 72)
Emmett Miller born in Macon, Georgia, 1900 (died 1962)
Lester McFarland of Mac & Bob born in Gray, Kentucky, 1902 (died 1984)

Glenn Barber born in Hollis, Oklahoma, 1935 (died 2008)
Rusty Kershaw born in Tiel Ridge, Louisiana, 1938 (died 2001)
Jimmie Crawford (StG 00) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2005 (was 69)
Louise Scruggs (BG 10) died in Nashville Tennessee, 2006 (was 78)

February 3:

Dave Rich born in Briar Creek, Kentucky, 1936 (now 82). Ernest Tubb heard a recording of Rich's and hounded friend Ray Price throughout a game of golf to record the song. The song? "City Lights."
Matraca Berg (NS 08) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1964 (now 54)
Betty Foley, daughter and one-time duet partner of Red Foley, born in Chicago, Illinois, 1933 (died 1990)
Jiles Perry "J.P." Richardson ("The Big Bopper") died near Clear Lake, Iowa (plane crash), 1959 (was 28)
Buddy Holly (NS 94, RR 86; GLA 97) died near Clear Lake, Iowa (plane crash), 1959 (was 22)
James Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 97) died in Memphis, Tennessee (stroke), 2002 (was 83). He was the last original member of the legendary quartet.

February 4:

Clint Black born in Long Branch, New Jersey, 1962 (now 56)
Chris McDaniel of Confederate Railroad born in Rock Springs, Georgia, 1965 (now 53)
Vic McAlpin (NS 70) born in Defeated Creek, Tennessee, 1918 (died 1980)
Kenneth "Jethro" Burns (CM 01) died in Evanston, Illinois (prostate cancer), 1989 (was 68)
Tom Brumley (StG 92) of Buck Owens' Buckaroos died in San Antonio, Texas (heart ailment), 2009 (was 62)

February 5:


Sara Evans born in Boonville, Missouri, 1971 (now 47)

Shelby David "Tex" Atchison born in Rosine, Kentucky, 1912 (died 1982)
Claude King born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1923 (died 2013)
Henson Cargill born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1941 (died 2007)
Eddy Noack died (cerebral hemorrhage), 1978 (was 47)

February 6:

Dale Reno of the Reno Brothers born in Roanoke, Virginia, 1961 (now 57)
Richie McDonald of Lonestar born in Lubbock, Texas, 1962 (now 56)
Anita Cochran born in Pontiac, Michigan, 1967 (now 51)

Jim Bowles (OTF) born in Rock Bridge, Kentucky, 1903 (died 1993)
Violet Koehler of the original Coon Creek Girls born in Wilton, Wisconsin, 1916 (died 1973)

Merle Kilgore (NS 98) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2005 (was 70)
Frankie Laine died in San Diego, California (complications from hip replacement surgery), 2007 (was 93)

February 7:

Tony Booth born in Tampa, Florida, 1943 (now 75)
Garth Brooks (CM 12, NS 11) born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1962 (now 56)
Wilma Lee Cooper born in Valley Head, West Virginia, 1921 (died 2011)
Warren Smith born in Humphreys County, Mississippi, 1933 (died 1980)
Ambrose Allen of the Allen Brothers born in Sewanee, Tennessee, 1901 (died 1959)
Dale Evans died in Happy Valley, California (congestive heart failure), 2001 (was 88)
Molly Bee died in Oceanside, California (complications of a stroke), 2009 (was 68)
Patsy Cline's last recording session, Nashville, 1963. The last song she recorded was a cover of Moon Mullican's "I'll Sail My Ship Alone."
Jim Reeves recorded "Four Walls" in Nashville, 1957. This song is said by many to be the beginning of the "Nashville Sound."

February 8:

Don Wayne Reno of the Reno Brothers born in Roanoke, Virginia, 1963 (now 55)
Pappy Daily born in Yoakum, Texas, 1902 (died 1987)
Bob Dunn (StG 92) born in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, 1908 (died 1971). Dunn is credited as being the first country musician to use amplification for his instrument.

Dan Seals born in McCamey, Texas, 1948 (died 2009)
Merle Watson born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, 1949 (died 1985)
Lulu Belle Wiseman died (Alzheimer's disease), 1999 (was 84)

Pauline "Mom" Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) died in Washington, Georgia (illness), 2003 (was 92)
Keith Knudsen of Southern Pacific died in California (chronic pneumonia), 2005 (was 56)

February 9:


Joe Ely born in Amarillo, Texas, 1947 (now 71)
Travis Tritt born in Marietta, Georgia, 1963 (now 55)
Ernest Tubb (CM 65, NS 70) born in Crisp, Texas, 1914 (died 1984)

Red Lane (NS 93) born in Zona, Louisiana, 1939 (died 2015)
Charles K. Wolfe (BG 09) died in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (complications of diabetes), 2006 (was 62)

February 10:

George York of the York Brothers born in Louisa, Kentucky, 1910 (died 1974)

Arthur Satherley (CM 71) died in Fountain Valley, California (natural causes), 1986 (was 96)
Kendall Hayes died in Louisville, Kentucky (cancer), 1995 (was 59)
Jim Varney died in White House, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2000 (was 50)


February 11:

Wayma "Pee Wee" Whitewing (StG 02) born in Reichert, Oklahoma, 1934 (now 84)

Wesley Rose (CM 86) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1918 (died 1980)
Kim Williams (NS 12) died in Panama City, Florida (unknown cause), 2016 (was 68)

February 12:

Moe Bandy born in Meridian, Mississippi, 1944 (now 74)
Stephen Sholes (CM 67) born in Washington, DC, 1911 (died 1968)
Harley "Red" Allen (BG 05) born in Pigeon Roost, Kentucky, 1930 (died 1993)
Lorne Greene born in Ottawa, Ontario, 1915 (died 1987). The legendary actor hit the Billboard top 40 country charts in 1964 with "Ringo."

Barney Isaacs Jr. (StG 99) died (unknownd cause), 1996 (was 69)
Sammi Smith died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (emphysema), 2005 (was 61)

Mosie Lister (SG 97) died in Spring Hill, Tennessee (natural causes), 2015 (was 93)

February 13:

David McLaughlin of the Johnson Mountain Boys born in Washington, DC, 1958 (now 60)
Tennessee Ernie Ford (CM 90) born in Bristol, Tennessee, 1919 (died 1991)
Boudleaux Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) born in Shellman, Georgia, 1920 (died 1987)
Jim McReynolds of Jim & Jesse (BG 93) born in Coeburn, Virginia, 1927 (died 2003)
Charlie Moore born in Piedmont, South Carolina, 1935 (died 1979)
Buddy Lee died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1998 (was 65)
Waylon Jennings (CM 01, NS 95) died in Chandler, Arizona (complications of diabetes), 2002 (was 64)

February 14:

Tom Bradshaw (StG 06) born in Skiatook, Oklahoma, 1935 (now 83)

Razzy Bailey born in Five Points, Alabama, 1939 (now 79)
Bill Nowlin (BG 16), co-founder of Rounder Records, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1945 (now 73)
Harry Stone born in Jacksonville, Florida, 1898 (died 1968)
Lonnie Glosson born in Judsonia, Arkansas, 1908 (died 2001)
Buck Griffin died in Oklahoma (heart failure), 2009 (was 85)

February 15:

Wally Fowler born in Adairsville, Georgia, 1917 (died 1994)

Hank Locklin born in McLellan, Florida, 1918 (died 2009)
Louise Scruggs (BG 10) born in Lebanon, Tennessee, 1927 (died 2006)
Dorris Macon died (suicide), 1981 (was 71)
Nat "King" Cole died in Santa Montica, California (lung cancer), 1965 (was 45). The legendary pop crooner hit #1 on the Billboard country charts in 1944 (with the King Cole Trio) with the song "Straighten Up and Fly Right."


Monday, January 15, 2018

Dates of Note in Country Music, January 16-31

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; OTF=Old Time Fiddler; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient; RR=also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


January 16:

Ronnie Milsap (CM 14) born in Robbinsville, North Carolina, 1943 (now 75)
Jim Stafford born in Eloise, Florida, 1944 (now 74)
Sandy Pinkard of Pinkard & Bowden born in Abbeville, Louisiana, 1947 (now 71)

Roy Lanham born in Corbin, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1991)
Ruby Falls born in Jackson, Tennessee, 1946 (died 1986)

Dizzy Dean born in Lucas, Arkansas, 1910 (died 1974). The legendary baseball player is credited with dubbing Roy Acuff "King of Country Music."
Carl Smith (CM 03) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2010 (was 82)
Bill Monroe seriously injured in a car wreck, 1953. Monroe was away from performing for six months while recovering.

Jimmy Buffett's private plane was shot at by Jamaican authorities, 1996.  The Jamaican police mistook Buffett's plane for one belonging to a drug kingpin.  No one on board Buffett's plane was injured.

January 17:


Steve Earle born in Fort Monroe, Virginia, 1955 (now 63)

Amanda Wilkinson of the Wilkinsons born in Belleville, Ontario, 1982 (now 36)
Walter Bailes of the Bailes Brothers born in Kanawha County, West Virginia, 1920 (died 2000)
Grady Martin born in Marshall County, Tennessee, 1929 (died 2001)
Cliffie Stone (CM 89) died in his home in Saugus, California (heart attack), 1998 (was 80)
Frank "Hylo" Brown died in Mechanicsburg, Ohio (natural causes), 2003 (was 81)
The street in front of Graceland renamed "Elvis Presley Boulevard," 1972

January 18:


Hargus "Pig" Robbins (CM 12) born in Spring City, Tennessee, 1938 (now 80)
Mark Collie born in Waynesboro, Tennessee, 1956 (now 62)

Linda Parker of the Cumberland Ridge Runners born in Covington, Kentucky, 1912 (died 1935)
Bobby Edwards born in Aniston, Alabama, 1926 (died 2012)
Eddie Hill (DJ 75) died (long-term illness), 1994 (was 74)
Glenn Frey died in New York, New York (pneumonia/complications of ulcerative colitis surgery), 2016 (was 67)

January 19:


Stu Phillips born in Montreal, Quebec, 1933 (now 85)
Dolly Parton (CM 99, NS 86; GLA 11) born in Locast Ridge, Tennessee, 1946 (now 72)
Stephanie Davis born in Bridger, Montana, 1958 (now 60)
Dennie Crouch of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Strawberry, Arkansas, 1967 (now 41)
Leo Soileau born in Ville Platte, Louisiana, 1904 (died 1980)
Ken Nelson (CM 01) born in Caledonia, Minnesota, 1911 (died 2008)

Oscar Sullivan born in Edmonton, Kentucky, 1919 (died 2012)
Charlie Waller of the Country Gentlemen (BG 96) born in Joinerville, TX, 1935 (died 2004)
Phil Everly (CM 01, NS 01; RR 86; GLA 97) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1939 (died 2014)
Ralph Peer (CM 84) died in Los Angeles, California (pneumonia), 1960 (was 67)
Vic McAlpin (NS 70) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1980 (was 61)
Carl Perkins (NS 85; RR 87) died in Jackson, Tennessee (complications of stroke/throat cancer), 1998 (was 65)

James O'Gwynn died in Hattiesburg, Mississippi (long-term illness), 2011 (was 82)
George Jones' first recording session (for Starday), 1954

January 20:

John Michael Montgomery born in Danville, Kentucky, 1965 (now 53)

Huddie "Leadbelly" Leadbetter (NS 80; RR 88) born in Mooringsport, Louisiana, 1889 (died 1949).  The year of Leadbelly's birth is open for debate, as is the actual day, with numerous sources citing January 20, January 21, or January 23, and years of 1888 or 1889.
George Burns born in New York, New York, 1896 (died 1996). The legendary comedian and actor had a top 20 country song in 1980 with "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again."
Slim Whitman born in Tampa, Florida, 1924 (died 2013)
Larry Butler died in Pensacola, Florida (natural causes), 2012 (was 69)

January 21:

Mac Davis (NS 00) born in Lubbock, Texas, 1942 (now 76)
Jim Ibbottson of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1947 (now 71)

Cedric Rainwater (BG 07) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1970 (was 56)
Jim Anglin died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1987 (was 73)
Colonel Tom Parker died in Las Vegas, Nevada (stroke), 1997 (was 87). In addition to Elvis, Parker managed Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, and Minnie Pearl early in their careers.
Patsy Cline appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts and won the talent show,1957

January 22:

J.P. Pennington of Exile born in Berea, Kentucky, 1949 (now 69)

Teddy Gentry (CM 05) born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1952 (now 66)
Dickie McBride of Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers born in New Baden, Texas, 1914 (died 1971)
Jimmy Day died in Buda, Texas (cancer), 1999 (was 65)
Janette Carter, the last surviving member of the Carter Family, died in Kingsport, Tennessee (Parkinson's disease/illness), 2006 (was 82)

January 23:

Etta May born in Bald Knob, Arkansas, 1962 (now 56)
Johnny Russell (NS 01) born in Sunflower County, Mississippi, 1940 (died 2001)
T. Texas Tyler died in Springfield, Missouri (stomach cancer), 1972 (was 55)

Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey (NS 79; SG 13) died in Chicago, Illinois (Alzheimer's disease), 1993 (was 93)
Art Stamper died in Louisville, Kentucky (throat cancer), 2005 (was 71)
Johnny Carson died in Hollywood, California (emphysema), 2005 (was 79). Carson had a number of country artists on The Tonight Show, including over two dozen appearances by Homer and Jethro, who Carson considered among his favorite guests.

Curtis Potter died in Abilene, Texas (pneumonia), 2016 (was 75)
The Winter Dance Party began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1959. Three of the headliners, Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, and Ritchie Valens, would die 11 days later.

January 24:

Doug Kershaw born in Tiel Ridge, Louisiana, 1936 (now 82)
Jack Scott born in Windsor, Ontario, 1936 (now 82)
Ray Stevens (NS 80) born in Clarksdale, Georgia, 1939 (now 79)
Becky Hobbs born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1950 (now 68)
Keech Rainwater of Lonestar born in Plano, Texas, 1963 (now 55)

Warren Zevon born in Chicago, Illinois, 1947 (died 2001).  The folk-rock singer wrote "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," which was a hit on the country charts by both Linda Ronstadt and Terri Clark.  Zevon also had Dwight Yoakam on two albums and appeared in South of Heaven, West of Hell, which Yoakam directed and starred in.
Shot Jackson died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of stroke), 1991 (was 70)
Justin Tubb died in Nashville, Tennessee (aortic aneurysm), 1998 (was 62)

January 25:

Claude Gray born in Henderson, Texas, 1932 (now 86)
Farrell "Rusty" Draper born in Kirksville, Missouri, 1923 (died 2003)
Speedy West (StG 80) born in Springfield, Missouri, 1924 (died 2003)
Cactus Jack Call died in Kansas City, Missouri (car wreck), 1963 (was 39).  A benefit concert for the disc jockey five weeks later would be the final performances by Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Cowboy Copas.

Buddy Charleton (StG 93) died in Austin, Texas (lung cancer), 2011 (was 72)

January 26:

Dave Rowland of Dave & Sugar born in Sanger, California, 1942 (now 76)
Lucinda Williams born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, 1953 (now 65)

James O'Gwynn born in Winchester, Mississippi, 1928 (died 2011)
Clayton McMichen born in Allatoona, Georgia, 1900 (died 1970)
Goebel Reeves died in Long Beach, California (heart attack), 1959 (was 59)

Charlie Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) died in Wartrace, Tennessee (pancreatic cancer), 2011 (was 83)
Hillary Clinton 
disparagingly invoked Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" during an interview, 1992

January 27:

Lee Carroll of Exile born in Glasgow, Kentucky, 1953 (now 65)
Cheryl White of the Whites born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1955 (now 63)
Richard Young of the Kentucky Headhunters born in Glasgow, Kentucky, 1955 (now 63)
Tracy Lawrence born in Atlanta, Texas, 1968 (now 50)
Joe Callahan of the Callahan Brothers born in Madison County, North Carolina, 1910 (died 1971)

Buddy Emmons (SG 81) born in Mishawaka, Indiana, 1937 (died 2015)
Claude Akins died in Altadena, California (cancer), 1994 (was 67). Among the actor's roles was Sonny on the TV series Movin' On, which featured the title song performed by Merle Haggard.

January 28:

Greg Cook of Ricochet born in Vian, Oklahoma, 1965 (now 53)
Bill Phillips born in Canton, North Carolina, 1936 (died 2010)

Harlow Wilcox born in Norman, Oklahoma, 1943 (died 2002)
Skeeter Willis died in Nashville, Tennessee (lymph cancer), 1976 (was 58)
Al Dexter (NS 71) died in Denton, Texas (heart attack), 1984 (was 78)

Jim Bowles (OTF) died in Kentucky (pneumonia), 1993 (was 89)
Jimmy Fortune joined the Statler Brothers, 1982

January 29:


Patsy Sledd born in Falcon, Missouri, 1944 (now 74)
Irlene Mandrell of the Mandrell Sisters born in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1957 (now 61)

Lloyd Perryman of the Sons of the Pioneers born in Ruth, Arkansas, 1917 (died 1977)
Little Jimmy Sizemore born in Paintsville, Kentucky, 1928 (died 2014)

January 30:

Jeanne Pruett born in Pell City, Alabama, 1937 (now 81)
Norma Jean ("Pretty Miss Norma Jean") born in Wellston, Oklahoma, 1938 (now 80)
Harold Morrison born in High Lonesome, Missouri, 1931 (died 1993)
Melvin Endsley born in Drasco, Arkansas, 1934 (died 2004)
Ott Devine died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1994 (was 83)

January 31:

Lynwood Lunsford of Lost & Found born in Roxboro, North Carolina, 1962 (now 54)
Warren Smith died in Longview, Texas (heart attack), 1981 (was 47)

Doc Williams died in Wheeling, West Virginia (natural causes), 2011 (was 96)

Friday, January 12, 2018

"He Helped Everybody"


Category: Obituaries

The new year has proved very painful for the Country Disc Jockey Hall of Fame, losing two members in the past two weeks.

Hairl Hensley: the "dean of Grand Ole Opry announcers" died on December 31.  He was an Opry announcer for 35 years, second in tenure only to the great Grant Turner.  In addition to his work on the Opry, he also was a beloved DJ on WSM, broadcasting both country and bluegrass shows.  For years he hosted a 15-minute morning program called "The Early Bird Gets the Bluegrass" at 5 AM, as well as a Monday night bluegrass/interview show.

Hensley had a marvelous sense of humor.  I remember hearing him play Tom T. Hall's "Ravishing Ruby" one night; and, when the trumpet part came in during the chorus of the song, Hairl slipped in a trumpet playing the "charge!" call over it.  But that wasn't his best gag, and I would be remiss if I didn't tell my favorite Hairl Hensley story.  

Massey-Ferguson Tractors sponsored a portion of the Opry at one time.  Hensley took the script book and did a little "alteration" of the script for the Massey-Ferguson ad:  he crossed out "Massey-Ferguson" and wrote, in its place, "M.F."  If you think that sounds funny, you should have heard Eddie Stubbs read it that way one night:  "These M.F. tractors are the best you can buy."  

Aside from the jokes, he was a great DJ with a vast knowledge of country and bluegrass, and he genuinely loved the music he played.

Hairl Hensley was 81.

Tom Perryman:  from humble beginnings in eastern Texas, Tom Perryman moved up to become one of the most important DJs in the 40s and 50s.  He had a keen ear for good music and went out of his way to help up-and-coming acts of the day, such as Jim Reeves and Ray Price, get their music played on radio. 

Perryman died January 11th after years of failing health.  

In addition to his eagerness to turn a song he believed in into a hit, Perryman was also a good businessman.  After Jim Reeves found success he and Perryman became business partners, buying radio stations in eastern Texas (including the one where Reeves got his start, KGRI in Henderson, Texas).  

In the foreword to Perryman's biography, Keepin' It Country, Ray Price explained his long friendship with Perryman and how the DJ worked tirelessly to get country stars' songs the exposure they deserved.  Price summarized Perryman's commitment simply:  "He helped everybody."

Tom Perryman was 90.

Farewell to these two giants of country music broadcasting.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Dates of Note in Country Music, January 1-15

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient; RR=also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

January 1:


Frank Kettering of the Hoosier Hot Shots born in Monmouth, Illinois, 1909 (died 1973)
Hank Williams (CM 61, NS 70, RR 87) died in the back seat of a car between Knoxville, Tennessee and Oak Hill, West Virginia (cardiac arrest), 1953 (was 29)
Aubrey "Moon" Mullican (NS 76) died in Beaumont, Texas (heart attack), 1967 (was 57)
Floyd "Salty" Holmes of the Prairie Ramblers died (unknown cause), 1970 (was 60)
Townes Van Zandt (NS 16) died in Mount Juliet, Tennessee (heart attack), 1997 (was 52)
Del Reeves died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2007 (was 73)

Patti Page (Clara Fowler) died in Encinitas, California (long illness), 2013 (was 85)
Cousin Jody (ne James Summey) quit Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys (along with two other members), 1939.  Acuff replaced Cousin Jody with Beecher Ray Kirby, who was later nicknamed "Bashful Brother Oswald."
Johnny Cash played at San Quentin prison, 1959. Among the prisoners in attendance was Merle Haggard.

The first episode of The Porter Wagoner Show aired in syndication, 1961

January 2:

Harold Bradley (CM 06) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1926 (now 92)
Dick Feller born in Bronaugh, Missouri, 1943 (now 75)
Roger Miller (CM 95, NS 73) born in Fort Worth, Texas, 1936 (died 1992)
Red Smiley (BG 92) died in Richmond, Virginia (complications from diabetes), 1972 (was 47)
Tex Ritter (CM 64, NS 71) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1974 (was 68)
Wayne Walker (NS 75) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1979 (was 53)

Little Jimmy Dickens (CM 83) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure/stroke), 2015 (was 94)

January 3:

Nikki Nelson of Highway 101 born in San Diego, California, 1969 (now 49)

Leon McAuliffe (StG 78) born in Houston, Texas, 1917 (died 1988)
Elwood Goins (BG 09) born in Bramwell, WV, 1936 (died 2007)
Felton Jarvis died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1981 (was 46)
Doye O'Dell died in Northridge, California (complications of a stroke), 2001 (was 88)

Quanah Talmadge Tubb (better known as Billy Talmadge Tubb) died in El Paso, Texas (unknown causes), 2007 (was 81)
Phil Everly (CM 01, RR 86) died in Burbank, California (COPD), 2014 (was 74)
Sam Lovullo died in Encino, California (natural causes), 2017 (was 88)
Grandpa Jones suffered stroke after performing on the Grand Ole Opry, 1998
Sam Phillips opened Sun Recording Studio, 1950

January 4:

Mike Henderson born in Independence, Missouri, 1955 (now 63)
Kathy Forester of the Forester Sisters born in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1955 (now 63)
Patty Loveless born in Pikeville, Kentucky, 1957 (now 61)
Deana Carter born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1966 (now 52)

Lorene Mann born in Huntland, Tennessee, 1937 (died 2013)
Clayton McMichen died in Battletown, Kentucky (unknown causes), 1970 (was 69)
Jake Hess (SG 97) died in Opelika, Alabama (complications of heart attack), 2004 (was 76)
First barn dance program in America airs on WBAP, Fort Worth, Texas, 1923

January 5:


Steve Ripley of the Tractors born in Boise, Idaho, 1950 (now 68)
Iris DeMent born in Paragould, Arkansas, 1961 (now 57)

Big Bill Lister born in Kenedy, Texas, 1923 (died 2009)
Sam Phillips (Sun Records owner) (CM 01, RR 86) born in Florence, Alabama, 1923 (died 2003)
Tug McGraw, former baseball pitcher and father of Tim McGraw, died in his son's home in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2004 (was 59)

January 6:


Joey Miskulin ("Joey the Cow Polka King") of Riders in the Sky born in Chicago, Illinois, 1949 (now 69)
Jett Williams born in Montgomery, Alabama, 1953 (now 65)
Harry "Hap" Peebles born in Anthony, Kansas, 1913 (died 1993)

Earl Scruggs (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07; GLA 08) born in Flint Hill, North Carolina, 1924 (died 2012)
Autry Inman born in Florence, Alabama, 1929 (died 1988)
Bobby Lord born in Sanford, Florida, 1934 (died 2008)
Chubby Wise (BG 98) died in Bowie, Maryland (heart attack), 1996 (was 80)
Bobby Austin died in Camas, Washington (illness), 2002 (was 68)
Sneaky Pete Kleinkow died in Petaluma, California (complications of Alzheimer's disease), 2007 (was 72)
Ken Nelson (CM 01) died in Somis, California (natural causes), 2008 (was 96)

January 7:

Leona Williams born in Vienna, Missouri, 1943 (now 75)
Marshall Chapman born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1949 (now 69)
David Lee Murphy born in Herrin, Illinois, 1959 (now 59)
Bunny Biggs (Jamup of Jamup and Honey) born, 1897 (died 1948)

Jack Greene born in Maryville, Tennessee, 1930 (died 2013)
Owen Bradley (CM 74) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart ailment/complications of flu), 1998 (was 82)

January 8:

Christy Lane born in Peoria, Illinois, 1940 (now 78)

Holly Tashian born in New York, New York, 1946 (now 72)
Hoke Rice of the Rice Brothers born in Gainesville, Georgia, 1909 (died 1974)
Luther Perkins born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1928 (died 1968)
Elvis Presley (CM 98, RR 86; GLA 71) born in Tupelo, Mississippi, 1935 (died 1977)
Randall Hylton born in Willis, Virginia, 1946 (died 2001)
Sara Carter (CM 70, BG 01; GLA 05) died in Lodi, California (lengthy illness), 1979 (was 79)
Maxwell Emmett "Pat" Buttram, died in Los Angeles, California (kidney failure), 1994 (was 78)

Red Simpson died in Bakersfield, California (heart attack), 2016 (was 81)
The U.S. Postal Service issues a 29c postage stamp featuring Elvis Presley, 1993. The stamp is the Postal Service's best-selling commemorative stamp of all-time, with sales of over 517,000,000.
Billboard magazine publishes first "Hillbilly Records" chart, 1944. The first #1 song was "Pistol Packin' Mama" -- the Bing Crosby & Andrews Sisters' version. Al Dexter's original would be the second #1 song in Billboard chart history.

January 9:

Henry Slaughter (SG 06) born in Roxboro, North Carolina, 1927 (now 90)

Roy Head born in Three Rivers, Texas, 1943 (now 75)
Crystal Gayle born in Paintsville, Kentucky, 1951 (now 67)
Jimmy Day (StG 82) born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1934 (died 1999)
Big Al Downing born in Lenapah, Oklahoma, 1940 (died 2005)

Jimmy Boyd ("I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus") born in McComb, Mississippi, 1940 (died 2009)
Richard Nixon born in Yorba Linda, California, 1913 (died 1994). Nixon was the first sitting U.S. president to attend the Grand Ole Opry (1974).
Jon Hager of the Hager Twins died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2009 (was 67)

January 10:

Curly Ray Cline (BG 09) born in Braisden, West Virginia, 1923 (died 1997)
Zeb Turner died (cancer), 1978 (was 62)
Loretta Webb married Oliver "Mooney" Lynn, 1948

January 11:

Naomi Judd born in Ashland, Kentucky, 1946 (now 72)
Robert Earl Keen born in Houston, Texas, 1956 (now 62)

Kelly Hogan born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1965 (now 52)
Tommy Duncan born in Hillsboro, Texas, 1911 (died 1967)
Goldie Hill Smith born in Kanes County, Texas, 1933 (died 2005)

Max D. Barnes (NS 92) died in Nashville, Tennesee (pneumonia), 2004 (was 67)
Jimmy Griffin of the Remingtons died in Franklin, Tennessee (cancer), 2005 (was 61)

Margaret Whiting died in Englewood, New Jersey (natural causes), 2011 (was 86)
Tommy Allsup died in Springfield, Missouri (complications from hernia surgery), 2017 (was 85)
Stonewall Jackson filed $10 million age discrimination lawsuit against the Grand Ole Opry, 2007

January 12:

William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys (CM 15) born in Brewton, Alabama, 1939 (now 79)
Ricky Van Shelton born in Danville, Virginia, 1952 (now 66)
LaWanda Lindsey born in Tampa, Florida, 1953 (now 65)
Claudia Church Crowell born in Lenoir, North Carolina, 1962 (now 56)

Tex Ritter (CM 64, NS 71) born in Panola County, Texas, 1905 (died 1974)
Jack Rhodes (NS 72) born in Gedden, Texas, 1907 (died 1968)
Ray Price (CM 96) born in Perryville, Texas, 1926 (died 2013)
Paul Warren (BG 13) died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 1978 (was 59)
Charlie Collins died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2012 (was 78)
The film O Brother, Where Art Thou opened nationwide, 2001. The soundtrack won three Grammy awards: Album of the Year, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (Dan Tyminski, "Man of Constant Sorrow"), and Best Male Country Vocal Performance (Dr. Ralph Stanley, "O Death"). It also sold over eight million copies and sparked a brief resurgence in the popularity of bluegrass and traditional country music.

January 13:

Trace Adkins born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1962 (now 56)

Ezra Cline (BG 09) born in Gilbert Creek, VA, 1907 (died 1984)
Jenny Lou Carson (NS 71) born in Decatur, Illinois, 1915 (died 1978)

Stephen Foster (NS 10) died in New York New York (complications of fever and blood loss from cut), 1864 (was 37)
Doyle Holly died in Nashville, Tennessee (prostate cancer), 2007 (was 70)

January 14:

Joseph Henry "T-Bone" Burnett born in St. Louis Missouri, 1948 (now 70).  An Americana music performer and producer (of albums by Los Lobos and the BoDeans), he was the producer of the award-winning soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou.

Billie Jo Spears born in Beaumont, Texas, 1937 (died 2011) 

January 15:

David Lynn Jones born in Bexar, Arkansas, 1950 (now 67)

Kurt Howell of Southern Pacific born in Winter Haven, Florida, 1958 (now 59)
Billy Walker born in Ralls, Texas, 1929 (died 2006)
Peter Kuykendall (BG 96) born in Wasington, DC, 1938 (died 2017)
Ron Davies born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1946 (died 2003)
Jack Guthrie died in Livermore, California (tuberculosis), 1948 (was 32)
Vic Willis died in Hohenwald, Tennessee (car wreck), 1995 (was 72)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Country Music's Final Bows of 2017

Category: Tribute

Here are the people from the world of country and bluegrass who sang their final song in 2017.

Tommy Allsup (January 11, complications from hernia surgery, age 85): album producer, western swing performer, and session guitarist who lost his seat on the ill-fated Buddy Holly plane in February 1959.

Chuck Berry (March 17, heart attack, age 90):  rock and roll's daddy had a major impact on country music as well, with enough Chuck Berry-penned tunes becoming country hits to warrant his induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Billy Joe Burnette (December 29, 2016, heart attack, age 76): rockabilly singer-songwriter who wrote the Red Sovine cross-over tear-jerker "Teddy Bear."

Dr. Benjamin H. Caldwell Jr. (May 8, long illness, age 82): a Nashville physician who did country music a gigantic favor in the 1970s by spearheading a movement to save the Ryman Auditorium from demolition. 

Glen Campbell (August 8, Alzheimer's disease, age 81): session guitarist and one-time Beach Boy who became a massive success in country and pop, earning his way into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  His poignant farewell albums and public battle with Alzheimer's put a familiar face on the dreaded disease.

Steve Chapman (July 29, unknown cause, age 74): guitarist who worked with Ernest Tubb, Bill Anderson, and Mandy Barnett.

Dave Evans (June 26, long illness, age 66): bluegrass performer who worked with Larry Sparks and had his own band, Dave Evans & the River Bend.

Bob Forshee (May 11, unknown cause, age 80): country music songwriter who penned Darrell McCall's early hit "A Stranger Was Here" as well as songs recorded by Jimmy C. Newman, Jan Howard, and others.

Troy Gentry (September 8, helicopter crash, age 50): half of the 90s/00s superstar duo Montgomery Gentry.

Wendell Goodman (May 21, unknown cause, age 81): husband and manager of rockabilly and country legend Wanda Jackson.

Hairl Hensley (December 31, illness, unknown age): Country Music DJ Hall of Fame member who was the voice of the Grand Ole Opry and early-morning bluegrass music on WSM for decades.

Alan Jabbour (January 13, cancer, age 74): old-time fiddler who was the founding director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.


Blake Johnson (June 4, heart attack, age 33): bluegrass musician who worked with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, James King, and others.

Michael Johnson (July 25, long illness, age 72): singer and songwriter who had country ("Give Me Wings," "The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder") and pop ("This Night Won't Last Forever," "Bluer Than Blue") hits.

Danny Lee Jones (February 3, cancer, age 77): bluegrass musician who was a member of Bluegrass Alliance and the Bluegrass Generation, and worked with the Goins Brothers and Bill Monroe.

Rhubarb Jones (April 2, heart attack, age 65): Country Music DJ Hall of Fame member who also announced for the WWF.

Pete Kuykendall (August 24, long illness, age 79): bluegrass songwriter (under the pseudonym "Pete Roberts"), performer (as part of the Country Gentlemen), and promoter.  His love of bluegrass led to the founding of the premiere magazine for the genre, Bluegrass Unlimited. 

Sam Lovullo (January 3, natural causes, age 88): the producer of the long-running country comedy variety series Hee Haw.

Geoff Mack (July 21, natural causes, age 94): Australian country singer/songwriter whose best-known song was "Americanized" into the huge Hank Snow hit "I've Been Everywhere."

Don Markham (February 24, long illness, age 85): "Here comes Don!" was Merle Haggard's typical introduction to the saxophonist who played with Haggard's band the Strangers after leaving Johnny Paycheck's band.

Grover "G.C." McCoury (February 27, stroke, age 87): the older brother of Del McCoury had his own regional bluegrass act, the McCoury Family.

Billy Mize (November 1, long illness, age 88): Bakersfield Sound singer and songwriter, best-known for writing the Charlie Walker hit "Who Will Buy the Wine."

Leon Rhodes (December 10, illness, age 85): one of the great guitarists in country music who made a huge mark on the sound of Ernest Tubb (remember Tubb's call of "and Leon!" in "Waltz Across Texas").

Kayton Roberts (July 13, stroke, age 83): Steel Guitar Hall of Fame member who played for years with Hank Snow.

Curly Seckler (December 27, natural causes, age 98): Bluegrass Hall of Fame member who was part of Charlie Monroe's Kentucky Partners, Flatt & Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys and member of Flatt's "Nashville Grass."

Mark Selby (September 18, cancer, age 56): session musician (Kenny Rogers, Wynonna), singer, and songwriter (including the Grammy-winning "There's Your Trouble" by the Dixie Chicks).

Ben Speers (April 7, Alzheimer's disease, age 86): member of the legendary southern gospel group the Speers Family.

Billy Stewart (March 24, illness, age 85): the brother of Redd Stewart who served as fiddler for Little Jimmy Dickens, Lonzo & Oscar, and others on the Opry in the 1950s.

Tammy Sullivan (April 21, cancer, age 52): part of the bluegrass gospel band the Sullivan Family.

Mel Tillis (November 19, respiratory failure, age 85): Hall of Fame singer and songwriter with a career that spanned six decades.

Greg Trooper (January 15, pancreatic cancer, age 61): Americana singer/songwriter who had his songs covered by acts such as Steve Earle and Vince Gill.

Jo Walker-Meador (August 16, stroke, age 93): the longest-serving executive director of the Country Music Foundation, she was responsible for the expansion of the CMA, the Hall of Fame, and country music as an industry.

Don Warden (March 11, natural causes, age 87): Steel Guitar Hall of Fame member who played in Porter Wagoner's band and became Dolly Parton's manager beginning in 1967.

Don Williams (September 8, short illness, age 78): Country Music Hall of Fame singer and songwriter known as "the Gentle Giant" for his quiet baritone voice that delivered over 40 years' worth of love songs to the world.

Norro Wilson (June 8, illness, age 79): Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member who wrote songs ranging from "The Grand Tour" to "A Very Special Love Song."

Bob Wootton (April 9, unknown cause, age 75): longtime guitarist for Johnny Cash's "Tennessee Three" who joined the band after Luther Perkins' death.

Gil Wright (April 30, unknown cause, age 87):  member of the legendary background vocal group the Anita Kerr Singers. 

Joe Wright (January 3, unknown cause, age 79): the original lead guitarist for Marty Robbins' backing band, the Teardrops.

Farewell, and thank you for the music.


And finally, sadly: 

Hannah Ahlers, 34, Beaumont, CA 
Heather Alvarado, 35, Enoch, UT
Dorene Anderson, 49, Anchorage, AK
Carrie Barnette, 34, Garden Grove, CA
Jack Beaton, 54, Bakersfield, CA
Steve Berger, 44, Milwaukee, WI
Candice Bowers, 40, Garden Grove, CA
Denise Burditus, 50, Martinsburg, WV
Sandy Casey, 35, Redondo Beach, CA
Andrea Castilla, 28, Huntington Beach, CA 
Denise Cohen, 58, Carpinteria, CA
Austin Davis, 29, Riverside, CA
Thomas Day Jr., 54, Corona, CA
Christiana Duarte, 22, Torrance, CA
Stacee Etcheber, 50, Novato, CA
Brian Fraser, 39, Walnut, CA
Dana Gardner, 52, Grand Terrace, CA
Keri Galvan, 51, Thousand Oaks, CA
Angie Gomez, 20, Riverside, CA
Charleston Hartfield, 34, Las Vegas, NV
Christopher Hazencomb, 44, Camarillo, CA
Jennifer Irvine, 42, San Diego, CA
Nicol Kimura, 38, Placentia, CA
Jessica Klymchuk, 34, Valleyview, Alberta
Carly Kreibaum, 33, Sutherland, IA
Rhonda LeRocque, 42, Tewksbury, MA
Victor Link, 55, San Clemente, CA
Jordan McIldoon, 23, Maple Ridge, British Columbia
Kelsey Meadows, 28, Taft, CA
Calla Medig, 28, Jasper, Alberta
Sonny Melton, 29, Paris, TN
Pati Mestas, 67, Menifee, CA
Austin Meyer, 24, Reno, NV
Adrian Murfitt, 35, Anchorage, AK
Rachel Parker, 33, Manhattan Beach, CA
Jennifer Parks, 36, Lancaster, CA
Carrie Parsons, 31, Seattle, WA
Lisa Patterson, 46, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
John Phippen, 57, Valencia, CA
Melissa Ramirez, 26, Bakersfield, CA
Jordyn Rivera, 21, San Bernardino, CA
Quintin Robbins, 20, Henderson, NV
Cameron Robinson, 28, St. George, UT
Rocio Guillen Rocha, 40, Eastvale, CA
Lisa Romero-Muniz, 48, Gallup, NM
Christopher Roybal, 28, Denver, CO
Brett Schwanbeck, 61, Bullhead City, AZ
Bailey Schweitzer, 20, Bakersfield, CA
Laura Shipp, 50, Thousand Oaks, CA
Erick Silva, 21, Las Vegas, NV
Susan Smith, 53, Simi Valley, CA
Tara Roe Smith, 34, Okotoks, Alberta
Brennan Stewart, 30, Las Vegas, NV
Derrick "Bo" Taylor, 56, Oxnard, CA
Neysa Tonks, 46, Las Vegas, NV  
Michelle Vo, 32, Los Angeles, CA
Kurt Von Tillow, 55, Cameron Park, CA
Bill Wolfe, Jr., 42, Shippensburg, PA 

These fifty eight individuals were killed when a gunman opened fire on 22,000 fans at an outdoor country music concert headlined by Jason Aldean on October 1 in Las Vegas.  Additionally, 546 other concertgoers were injured.