Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Tear Dropped By This Morning


Category: News/Obituary

Country music legend Jean Shepard has died.

The matriarch of the "Grand Ladies of the Grand Ole Opry" passed away this morning (9/25), two days after entering hospice care for Parkinson's disease complications.

Born Ollie Imogene Shepard in 1933, Jean Shepard made her mark with the song "A Dear John Letter," the 1953 #1 smash that was the first hit for both her and her duet partner, Ferlin Husky.  After the follow-up, "Forgive Me, John," they went on separate music paths that took both to the Hall of Fame.  

Shepard was a trailblazing woman singer in country music.  Following in the (high) heels of Kitty Wells, she had several hits in the 1950s such as "A Satisfied Mind" (the same song that Porter Wagoner recorded) and "Beautiful Lies."

Her career waned after her marriage to Harold "Hawkshaw" Hawkins in 1960, as she concentrated on raising a family.  On March 5, 1963, Shepard, eight months pregnant with her son Harold Franklin Hawkins Jr., had (as she later wrote and recounted) "the most horrible feeling" hit her about the same time that the plane with her husband aboard crashed in Camden, killing him, Cowboy Copas, Patsy Cline, and Randy Hughes.  

After the tragedy Shepard nearly abandoned the music business completely, but she came back in 1964 with the Betty Amos composition "Second Fiddle (To an Old Guitar)."

More hits followed, including a number of Bill Anderson songs (from her album Poor Sweet Baby [And Ten More Bill Anderson Songs]), including the hits "Slippin' Away" and "At the Time."  

In 2011 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Last year she celebrated her 60th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  Parkinson's forced her into retirement last November, just after her birthday.

In 1992 I got to interview her for an article I wrote on Bill Anderson.  She nearly dragged me into her dressing room and plopped me down on the sofa, then enthusiastically said, "Now, honey, what do you want to know about Bill Anderson?  I could talk about him all day!"

Her wonderful song, "A Tear Dropped By," certainly is fitting on this sad day:

A tear dropped by this morning
I found it in my eye
Funny it should be there
I hadn't planned to cry.

Jean Shepard was 82.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Break My Mind

Category: News/Obituary

In a year where we already lost a songwriter's songwriter (in Guy Clark), we now must mourn the death of the legendary John D. Loudermilk.

Loudermilk died yesterday (9/21) of bone cancer in Nashville.

Loudermilk was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina.  His grandfather worked on construction of the chapel at Duke University.  His great-great grandparents, Homer and Matilda Loudermilk, were part of the infamous "Trail of Tears," the forced march of Cherokee Indians from their North Carolina home to Oklahoma in 1838.  His cousins were Ira and Charlie Louvin.

As part of the "folk revival" in the 1950s, Loudermilk wrote and recorded songs that ranged from silly ("Road Hog," a parody of "Ground Hog" that featured a "county sheriff in my unmarked car" pulling over speeders) to sublime (what may be his best-known song, "Indian Reservation [Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian]," which he wrote after some Eastern Band Cherokee rescued him from his broken-down vehicle on a snowy night in Cherokee and requested that he write a song about them).  

Folk singers (the Nashville Teens - "Tobacco Road") country stars (Stonewall Jackson - "Waterloo"), crossover hits (George Hamilton IV -- "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" and "Break My Mind"), early rock and roll (Sue Thompson - "Norman" and "James [Hold the Ladder Steady]"), and even later rock acts (Paul Revere and the Raiders took "Indian Reservation" to #1 in 1971) did John D. Loudermilk songs.  His song "Blue Train (of the Heartbreak Line)" won the International Bluegrass Music Association "Song of the Year" in 2003 on the strength of the hit version by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. 

Additionally, he had charted songs on both the pop and country charts himself.  His biggest pop hit of his own music was "Language of Love," which hit #32 on the charts in 1961.  In country, he had two top 40 hits, "Bad News" (later covered by Johnny Cash) and "That Ain't All."

Loudermilk was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1976.

Farewell to the brilliant John D. Loudermilk, who was 82.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, September 16-30

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 Award recipient; RR=country performer also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

September 16:

David Bellamy of the Bellamy Brothers born in Darby, Florida, 1950 (now 66)
Bobby Randall of Sawyer Brown born in Midland, Michigan, 1952 (now 64)
Terry McBride of McBride & the Ride born in Austin, Texas, 1958 (now 58)
Ralph Mooney (StG 83) born in Duncan, Oklahoma, 1928 (died 2011)
Sheb Wooley died in Nashville, Tennessee (leukemia), 2003 (was 82)

September 17:

Hank Williams (CM 61, NS 70, RR 87; GLA 87) born in Mount Olive, Alabama, 1923 (died 1953)
Jimmie Crawford (StG00) born in Obetz, Ohio, 1935 (died 2005)
John Ritter, son of Tex Ritter, born in Burbank, California, 1948 (died 2003)
Steve Sanders (William Lee Golden's one-time replacement in the Oak Ridge Boys) born in Richland, Georgia, 1952 (died 1998)
Bill Black born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1926 (died 1965)
RCA's 33 1/3 RPM "long-playing" (LP) record first appeared, 1931

September 18:

Carl Jackson born in Louisville, Mississippi, 1953 (now 63)
Lydia Rogers of the Secret Sisters born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 1988 (now 28)
Ervin T. Rouse born in Craven County, North Carolina, 1917 (died 1981)
Priscilla Mitchell born in Marietta, Georgia, 1941 (died 2014)
Michael "Bea" Lilly (BG 02) died in Plymouth, Massachusetts (Alzheimer's disease), 2005 (was 83)

September 19:

Trisha Yearwood born in Monticello, Georgia, 1964 (now 52)
Clyde Moody born in Cherokee, North Carolina, 1915 (died 1989)
Danny Dill (NS 75) born in Carroll County, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2008)
Carlton Haney (BG 98) born in Rockingham County, North Carolina, 1928 (died 2011)
Clyde "Sonny" Burns born in Lufkin, Texas, 1930 (died 1992)
Red Foley (CM 67) died in Fort Wayne, Indiana (heart attack), 1968 (was 58)
Gram Parsons died in Joshua Tree, California (drug overdose), 1973 (was 26)
Skeeter Davis died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2004 (was 72)
Slim Dusty (ne David Kirkpatrick, the "Australian King of Country Music") died in St. Ives, New South Wales (cancer), 2003 (was 76)
Carl Smith married singer Goldie Hill, 1957

September 20:

Bob Miller (NS 70) born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1895 (died 1955)
Pearl Butler born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 1988)
Karl Farr (CM 80) died in West Springfield, Massachusetts (heart attack), 1961 (was 52)
Jim Croce died in Natchitoches, Louisiana (plane crash), 1973 (was 30). The folk singer/songwriter's pop hit "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" made the country charts a year after his death.
Steve Goodman died in Seattle, Washington (liver and kidney failure/leukemia), 1984 (was 36)
Hank Williams re-joined the Louisiana Hayride after being fired from the Grand Ole Opry, 1952

September 21:

Dickey Lee (NS 95) born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1936 (now 80)
Don Felder, former guitarist/steel guitarist for the Eagles, born in Gainesville, Florida, 1947 (now 69)
Kenny Starr born in Topeka, Kansas, 1952 (now 64)
Daryl Mosley of New Tradition born in Waverly, Tennessee, 1964 (now 52)
Ronna Reeves born in Big Spring, Texas, 1966 (now 50)
Ted Daffan (NS 70) born in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, 1912 (died 1996)
Walter Brennan died in Oxnard, California (emphysema), 1974 (was 80). Among the actor's charted hits were "Old Rivers" and a version of Bill Anderson's "Mama Sang a Song."


September 22:

June Forester of the Forester Sisters born in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, 1952 (now 64)
Debby Boone born in Hackensack, New Jersey, 1956 (now 60). The "You Light Up My Life" singer is Red Foley's granddaughter.
James Roy "Pop" Lewis Sr. of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Pickens, South Carolina, 1905 (died 2004)

September 23:

Pat Alger (NS 10) born in Long Island City, New York, 1947 (now 69)
Don Herron Jr. of BR5-49 born in Steubenville, Ohio, 1962 (now 54)
Roy Drusky died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2004 (was 74)
Bradley Kincaid (NS 71) died in Springfield, Ohio (natural causes), 1989 (was 94)
O.B. McClinton died in Nashville, Tennessee (abdominal cancer), 1987 (was 45)
Jimmy Wakely (NS 71) died in Mission Hills, California (emphysema), 1982 (was 68)
Roy Horton (CM 82) died in Nashville, Tennessee (diabetes/congestive heart failure), 2003 (was 88)
First recording session for Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, 1935

September 24:

Rosalie Allen died in Palmdale, California (congestive heart failure), 2003 (was 79)
Priscilla Mitchell died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2014 (was 73)
Jim Denny fired as Opry manager, 1956

September 25:

Ian Tyson born in Victoria, British Columbia, 1933 (now 83)
Larry Sparks (BG 15) born in Lebanon, Ohio, 1947 (now 69)
Shel Silverstein (NS 02) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1930 (died 1999)
Royce Kendall born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1934 (died 1998)
Little Jimmy Dickens became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, 1948

September 26:

David Frizzell born in El Dorado, Arkansas, 1941 (now 75)
Carlene Carter born in Madison, Tennessee, 1955 (now 61)
Doug Supernaw born in Bryan, Texas, 1960 (now 56)
Marty Robbins (CM 82, NS 75) born in Glendale, Arizona, 1925 (died 1982)
Lynn Anderson born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1947 (died 2015)
The Beverly Hillbillies debuted on CBS, 1962. The program featured appearances by Roy Clark as Cousin Roy and Flatt and Scruggs as friends of the Clampetts, and the show was frequently sponsored by Kellogg's Corn Flakes with ads featuring Homer and Jethro.

September 27:

Beasley Smith (NS 83) born in McEwen, Tennessee, 1902 (died 1968)
Uncle Josh Graves (BG 97) born in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2006)
Charlie Monroe died in Reidsville, North Carolina (cancer), 1975 (was 72)
Johnnie Wright died in Madison, Tennessee (natural causes), 2011 (was 97)
Johnny Mathis died in Cornersville, Tennessee (pneumonia), 2011 (was 80)

September 28:

Ronnie Reno born in Buffalo, South Carolina, 1947 (now 69)
Laurie Lewis born in Long Beach, California, 1950 (now 66)
Mandy Barnett born in Crossville, Tennessee, 1975 (now 41)
Joseph Falcon born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1900 (died 1965). Falcon is credited with the first Cajun recording, "Allons a Lafayette," in 1928.
Jim Boyd (of Bill Boyd and the Cowboy Ramblers) born in Fannin County, Texas, 1914 (died 1993)
Jerry Clower born in Liberty, Mississippi, 1926 (died 1998)
Tommy Collins (ne Leonard Sipes) (NS 99) born in Bethany, Oklahoma, 1930 (died 2000)
Johnny Mathis born in Maud, Texas, 1930 (died 2011). Because of the rise of a pop singer by the same name in the mid 1950's, Mathis became known as "Country Johnny Mathis."
Glenn Sutton (NS 99) born in Hodge, Louisiana, 1937 (died 2007)
Johnny Horton married Billie Jean Williams (widow of Hank Williams), 1953

September 29:

Jerry Lee Lewis (RR 86) born in Ferriday, Louisiana, 1935 (now 81)
Gene Autry (CM 69, NS 70) born in Tioga Springs, Texas, 1907 (died 1998)
Bill Boyd born in Fannin County, Texas, 1910 (died 1977)
Tillman Franks born in Stamps, Arkansas, 1920 (died 2006)
Wesley Tuttle died in San Fernando, California (natural causes), 2003 (was 85)
Mickey Newbury (NS 80) died in Springfield, Oregon (emphysema), 2002 (was 62)

September 30:

Richard Bowden born in Linden, Texas, 1945 (now 71)
Johnny Burns born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1948 (now 68).  The son of Jethro Burns is a singer/songwriter/guitarist on his own, and worked for many years with country-folk icon John Prine.
Deborah Allen born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1953 (now 63)
Marty Stuart born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, 1958 (now 58)
Mary Ford died in Arcadia, California (diabetes complications), 1977 (was 53)
Uncle Josh Graves (BG 97) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lengthy illness), 2006 (was 81)
Ruby Wright died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart disease), 2009 (was 69)
Billboard magazine changed the name of the "Hillbilly and Western" chart to the "Folk Country and Western" chart, 1950. Ernest Tubb is considered by many to be one of the people responsible for this, as he claimed that "hillbilly" was a derogatory term.




Sunday, September 04, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, September 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; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement award; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar)


September 1

Steve Goetzman of Exile born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1950 (now 66)
Maggie Cavender (NS 89) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1918 (died 1996)
Boxcar Willie (ne Lecil Travis Martin) born in Sterratt, Texas, 1931 (died 1999)
Johnny Mack Brown born in Dothan, Alabama, 1904 (died 1974). The western actor was the namesake of Lester "Roadhog" Moran and the Cadillac Cowboy's Live at the Johnny Mack Brown High School album.
Conway Twitty (CM 99, NS 93) born in Friars Point, Mississippi, 1933 (died 1993)
George Riddle born in Marion, Indiana, 1935 (died 2014)
Delia "Mom" Upchurch, the "Den Mother to the Stars," died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1967 (was 85)

Jerry Reed (NS 05) died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2008 (was 71)
Hal David (NS 84) died in Los Angeles, California (stroke), 2012 (was 91)
Doug Bounsall died in Las Vegas, Nevada (car wreck), 2012 (was 61)

September 2


Paul Wylie Deakin of the Mavericks born in Miami, Florida, 1959 (now 57)
Johnny Lee Wills born in Jewell, Texas, 1912 (died 1984)
Charline Authur born in Henrietta, Texas, 1929 (died 1987)
Grady Nutt born in Amarillo, Texas, 1934 (died 1982)
Fabor Robinson, founder of Fabor Records, died in Minden, Louisiana (unknown cause), 1986 (was 74)


September 3

Jimmy Riddle born in Dyersburg, Tennessee, 1918 (died 1981)
Hank Thompson (CM 89, NS 97) born in Waco, Texas, 1925 (died 2007)
Tompall Glaser born in Spalding, Nebraska, 1933 (died 2013)

September 4


Kathy Louvin born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1957 (now 59)
Harold "Shot" Jackson (StG 86) born in Wilmington, North Carolina, 1920 (died 1991)
Dottie West died in Nashville, Tennessee (injuries from a car wreck), 1991 (was 58)
Carl Butler died in Franklin, Tennessee (heart attack), 1992 (was 65)

September 5

Chuck Seitz born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1918 (died 2012).  In addition to serving as a Grammy-nominated recording engineer at King and RCA Seitz co-wrote the classic "Before I Met You."
Curley Williams died in Montgomery, Alabama (unknown cause), 1970 (was 66)
Joe South (NS 79) died in Atlanta, Georgia (heart failure), 2012 (was 72)
The Country Music Association was founded, 1958
The Lewis Family's final concert, 2009. The bluegrass and gospel band began performing in 1951.


September 6

David Allan Coe born in Akron, Ohio, 1939 (now 77)
Buddy Miller born in Fairborn, Ohio, 1952 (now 64)
Jeff Foxworthy born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1958 (now 58)
Mark Chesnutt born in Beaumont, Texas, 1963 (now 53)
Zeke Clements (NS 71) born near Empire, Alabama, 1911 (died 1994)
Paul Yandell, C.G.P. born in Mayfield, Kentucky, 1935 (died 2011)
Mel McDaniel born in Checotah, Oklahoma, 1942 (died 2011)
Ernest Tubb (CM 64, NS 70) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from emphysema), 1984 (was 70)
Autry Inman died (unknown cause), 1988 (was 59)
Roy Huskey Jr. died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1997 (was 41)

September 7

Ronnie Dove born in Herndon, Virginia, 1940 (now 76)
Mark D. Sanders (NS 09) born in Los Angeles, California, 1950 (now 66)
Buddy Holly (NS 94; GLA 97) born in Lubbock, Texas, 1936 (died 1959)

Hubert Long (CM 79) died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain tumor), 1972 (was 48)
Warren Zevon died in Los Angeles, California (mesothelioma), 2003 (was 56).  The folk-rock singer wrote "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," which made the country charts by both Linda Ronstadt and Terri Clark, and Dwight Yoakam recorded Zevon's "Carmelita" and sang on two of Zevon's albums.  Zevon also appeared in the movie South of Heaven, West of Hell with Yoakam.
Oscar Sullivan died in Nashville, Tennessee (leukemia), 2012 (was 93)

September 8

Jimmie Rodgers (CM 61, NS 70; RR 86) born in Meridian, Mississippi, 1897 (died 1933)
Milton Brown born in Stephenville, Texas, 1903 (died 1936)
Patsy Cline (CM 73; GLA 95) born in Winchester, Virginia, 1932 (died 1963)
Harlan Howard (CM 97, NS 73) born in Detroit, Michigan, 1929 (died 2002)

September 9

Freddy Weller born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1947 (now 69)
Rodger Dale Tubb died in Fredericksburg, Texas (car wreck), 1938 (was 7 weeks old)
Tex Owens (NS 71) died in New Baden, Texas (unknown cause), 1962 (was 70)
Bill Monroe (CM 70, BG 91, NS 71; RR 97; GLA 93) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1996 (was 84)

September 10

Rosie Flores born in San Antonio, Texas, 1956 (now 60)
Luke Wills born in Memphis, Texas, 1920 (died 2000)
Tommy Overstreet born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1937 (died 2015)
Joe (ne Walter) Callahan of the Callahan Brothers died in Asheville, North Carolina (cancer), 1971 (was 61)


September 11

Jimmie Davis (CM 72, NS 71) born in Beech Springs, Louisiana, 1899 (died 2000)
Randy Hughes born in Gum, Tennessee, 1928 (died 1963)
Lorne Greene died in Santa Monica, California (pneumonia), 1987 (was 72). The actor's recitation "Ringo" was a top 25 country hit in 1964.
Leon Payne (NS 70) died in San Antonio, Texas (heart attack), 1969 (was 52)
Bill (ne Homer) Callahan of the Callahan Brothers died in Dallas, Texas (congestive heart failure), 2002 (was 90)

Terrorists crash planes into the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC, 2001.  The attack spawned several country songs including Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" and Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)."

September 12

Lois Johnson Burns born in Jackson Township, Ohio, 1924 (died 1989). One of WLW's "Johnson Twins," she married Jethro Burns of Homer & Jethro in 1946.
Leona Johnson Atkins born in Jackson Township, Ohio, 1924 (died 2009). One of WLW's "Johnson Twins," she married Chet Atkins in 1946.
Helen Carter born in Maces Springs, Virginia, 1927 (died 1998)
George Jones (CM 92; GLA 12) born in Saratoga, Texas, 1931 (died 2013)
Rod Brasfield (CM 87) died in Martin, Tennessee (heart failure), 1958 (was 48)
Johnny Cash (CM 80, NS 77; RR 92; GLA 99) died in Nashville, Tennessee (Shy-Drager syndrome complications, diabetes, lung disease), 2003 (was 71)
John Ritter died in Los Angeles, California (heart ailment), 2003 (was 54). The actor was the son of Western legend Tex Ritter.
Charlie Walker died in Nashville, Tennessee (colon cancer), 2008 (was 81)

Don Wayne (NS 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2011 (was 78)
Wade Mainer died in Flint, Michigan (congestive heart failure), 2011 (was 104)

September 13

Bobbie Cryner born in Woodland, California, 1961 (now 55)
Bill Monroe (CM 70, BG 91, NS 71; RR 97; GLA 93) born in Rosine, Kentucky, 1911 (died 1996)
Wilma Lee Cooper died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2011 (was 90)
Roy Acuff postage stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service, 2003

September 14

John Berry born in Aiken, South Carolina, 1959 (now 57)
Mae Boren Axton born in Bardwell, Texas, 1914 (died 1997)
Don Walser born in Brownfield, Texas, 1934 (died 2006)
Vernon Dalhart (CM 81, NS 70) died in Bridgeport, Connecticut (heart attack), 1948 (was 65)
Beasley Smith (NS 83) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cerebral hemorrhage), 1968 (was 66)
Hank Williams arrived in Nashville and met with Fred Rose to discuss a record or publishing deal, 1946

September 15

Roy Acuff (CM 62; GLA 87) born in Maynardsville, Tennesssee, 1903 (died 1992)
Patsy Cline married Charlie Dick, 1957

Monday, August 15, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, August 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; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; RR=also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


August 16:


Billy Joe Shaver (NS 04) born in Corsica, Texas, 1939 (now 77)

Kathie Lee Gifford born in Paris, France, 1953 (now 63). Gifford began her career as one of the "Hee Haw honeys."
Emory Martin born in Hickman County, Tennessee, 1889 (died 2006). Martin was the one-armed banjo player at the Renfro Valley Barn Dance.
Elvis Presley (CM 98, RR 86, GLA 71) died at Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee (heart failure), 1977 (was 42)
Vassar Clements died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2005 (was 77)
Patsy Montana recorded "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," 1935. The song would become country music's first million-seller by a female.


August 17:

E.W. "Bud" Wendell (CM 98) born in Akron, Ohio, 1927 (now 89)

Wayne Raney (DJ 93) born in Wolf Bayou, Arkansas, 1920 (died 1993)

 
August 18:


Bob Koefer (StG 04) born in Clay Center, Kansas, 1928 (now 88)

Allen Reynolds (NS 00) born in North Little Rock, Arkansas, 1938 (now 78)
Hank Penny born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1918 (died 1992)
Molly Bee born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1939 (died 2009)
Johnny Preston born in Port Arthur, Texas, 1939 (died 2011). Preston is best known for "Running Bear," the 1959 hit written by J.P. Richardson and featuring guitar work and backing vocals by George Jones.
Charlie Waller (BG 96) died in Gordonsville, Virginia (heart attack), 2004 (was 69)
The Louvin Brothers play their last official show as a duo (opening for Ray Price) in Watseka, Illinois, 1963. According to Charles Wolfe's biography, the duo that once commanded over $1,100 per show as headliners received $250 for the performance.

August 19:

Roger Cook (NS 97) born in Bristol, England, 1940 (now 76)

Eddy Raven born in Lafayette, Louisiana, 1944 (now 72)
Larry Sasser (StG 11) born in Gainesville, Georgia, 1947 (now 69)
Lee Ann Womack born in Jacksonville, Texas, 1966 (now 50)
Clay Walker born in Beaumont, Texas, 1969 (now 47)
Curly Ray Cline (BG 09) died in Rockhouse, Kentucky (illness), 1997 (was 74)


August 20:


Rudy Gatlin born in Olney, Texas, 1952 (now 64)

John Hiatt (NS 08) born in Indianapolis, Indiana, 1952 (now 64)
Ralph Stanley II born in Coeburn, Virginia, 1958 (now 57)
Jim Reeves born in Galloway, Texas, 1923 (died 1964)
"Sneaky Pete" Kleinow (StG 07) born in South Bend, Indiana, 1934 (died 2007)
Justin Tubb born in San Antonio, Texas, 1935 (died 1998)
Louis Innis died (heart attack), 1982 (was 63)
Leon McAuliffe (StG 78) died in Tulsa, Oklahoma (illness), 1988 (was 71)

Red Rhodes (StG 05) died in Los Angeles, California (lung disease), 1995 (was 64)

 August 21:

Kenny Rogers (CM 13) born in Houston, Texas, 1938 (now 78)

Harold Reid (CM 08) born in Staunton, Virginia, 1939 (now 77)
Nick Kane of the Mavericks born in Jerusalem, Georgia, 1954 (now 61)
Sam McGee died in Williamson County, Tennessee (tractor accident on his farm), 1975 (was 81)
Murray "Buddy" Harman died in Nashville, Tennessee (congestive heart failure), 2008 (was 79)

August 22:

Marian Leighton-Levy (BG 16) born in Harrington, Maine, 1948 (now 68).  The three co-founders of Rounder Records are part of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame "class of 2016."
Holly Dunn born in San Antonio, Texas, 1957 (now 59)

Collin Raye born in DeQueen, Arkansas, 1959 (now 57)
Rod Brasfield (CM 87) born in Smithville, Arkansas, 1910 (died 1958)
Connie B. Gay (CM 80) born in Lizard Lick, North Carolina, 1914 (died 1989)
Horace "Aytchie" Burns died in Knoxville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1974 (was 56). Aytchie was a bass player at Knoxville's WNOX and on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. He was also the older brother of Jethro Burns.
Elizabeth Haynes born in Greenville, Kentucky, 1920 (died 1976)
Elizabeth Haynes died in Hammond, Indiana (kidney disease), 1976 (56th birthday). The one-time bass player and "red-headed yodeling gal" on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance was the wife of Homer Haynes.
Leon Chappelear died in Gladewater, Texas (suicide [gunshot]), 1962 (was 53)
Mooney Lynn, the husband of Loretta Lynn, died in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee (heart failure/diabetes), 1996 (was 69)

Floyd Tillman (CM 83, NS 70) died in Houston, Texas (leukemia), 2003 (was 88)

August 23:

Rex Allen, Jr. born in Chicago, Illinois, 1947 (now 69)

Woody Paul of Riders in the Sky born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1949 (now 67)
Tex Williams born in Anvil, Illinois, 1917 (died 1985)
Leslie York of the York Brothers born in Louisa, Kentucky, 1917 (died 1984)

"It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" hit #1 on the Billboard charts, 1952. The song, the first #1 hit for a female singer, was very controversial in its day, with many country stations refusing to play the song and the Grand Ole Opry management prohibiting Kitty Wells from performing the tune on the Opry.

August 24:

Teea Goans born in Lowry City, Missouri, 1980 (now 36)

Fred Rose (CM 61, NS 70) born in Evansville, Indiana, 1897 (died 1954)
Jerry Clower died in Jackson, Mississippi (complications from heart surgery), 1998 (was 71)
Nat Stuckey died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 1988 (was 54)

August 25:

Elvis Costello born in London, England, 1954 (now 62). The punk pioneer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member has performed with numerous country legends including George Jones, Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, and Charlie Louvin. Johnny Cash recorded Costello's song "The Big Light" on Johnny Cash is Coming to Town.

Jo Dee Messina born in Holliston, Massachusetts, 1970 (now 46)
Jerry Rivers born in Miami, Florida, 1928 (died 1996)
Cliff Bruner died in Texas City, Texas (cancer), 2000 (was 85)

August 26:

Jimmy Olander of Diamond Rio born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1961 (now 55)

Don Bowman born in Lubbock, Texas, 1937 (died 2013)
Bob Miller (NS 70) died in Nyack, New York (unknown cause), 1955 (was 59)
Wilma Burgess died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2003 (was 64)
Harlow Wilcox died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (heart attack), 2003 (was 59)

August 27:
J.D. Crowe (BG 03) born in Lexington, Kentucky, 1937 (now 79)
Jeff Cook of Alabama (CM 05) born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1949 (now 66)
Carter Stanley (BG 92) born in Dickenson County, Virginia, 1925 (died 1966)
Oliver "Mooney" Lynn, husband of Loretta Lynn, born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, 1926 (died 1996)
Jimmy C. Newman born in Big Mamou, Louisiana, 1927 (died 2014)
Frances Preston (CM 92) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2012)
'David "Bunny" Biggs of Jamup & Honey died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown causes), 1948 (was 52)
Jim Denny (CM 66) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1963 (was 52). For his Hall of Fame career, Denny may be most infamous for telling a guest artist after an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck." The person on the receiving end of Denny's criticism was Elvis Presley.

August 28:

LeAnn Rimes born in Jackson, Mississippi, 1982 (now 34)

Billy Grammer born in Benton, Illinois, 1925 (died 2011)
Archie Campbell died in Knoxville, Tennessee (post-operative complications following June heart attack), 1987 (was 67)

August 29:

Don Schlitz (NS 93) born in Durham, North Carolina, 1952 (now 64)

Dan Truman of Diamond Rio born in St. George, Utah, 1956 (now 60)
Grady Cole born in Lafayette, Georgia, 1909 (died 1981)


August 30:

Kitty Wells (CM 76, GLA 91) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1919 (died 2012)

Jon Hagar born in Chicago, Illinois, 1946 (died 2009)
Jim Hagar born in Chicago, Illinois, 1946 (died 2008)


August 31:


Noel Boggs (StG 81) died in Los Angeles, California (heart attack), 1974 (was 56)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, August 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; RR=country performer also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

August 1:

Leon Chappelear born in Tyler, Texas, 1909 (died 1962)
Howard "Howdy" Forrester of the Smoky Mountain Boys died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1987 (was 65)
The AFM called a strike against record companies, 1942. The strike, combined with the shortage of shellac because of World War II, severely limited the record companies' output for two years.


August 2:

Ted Harris (NS 90) born in Lakeland, Florida, 1937 (now 79)
Hank Cochran (CM 14, NS 74) born in Isola, Mississippi, 1935 (died 2010)
Betty Jack Davis died in Cincinnati, Ohio (car wreck), 1953 (was 21)
Joe Allison (NS 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2002 (was 77)
Redd Stewart (NS 70) died in Louisville, Kentucky (complications from a head injury), 2003 (was 82)
The wreckage of Jim Reeves' plane discovered, 1964. The two-day search of wooded areas in and around Nashville for the plane included many country music performers. Eddy Arnold was among those in the party that found and identified Reeves' body.

August 3:

Randy Scruggs born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1953 (now 63)
Dean Sams of Lonestar born in Garland, Texas, 1966 (now 50)
Dorothy Dillard of the Anita Kerr Singers born in Springfield, Missouri, 1923 (died 2015)
Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires (CM 01) born in Gleason, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2013)
Little Roy Wiggins (StG 85) died in Sevierville, Tennessee (heart disease and diabetes complications), 1999 (was 73)


August 4:

Vicki Hackerman of Dave & Sugar born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1950 (now 66)
Louis Armstrong born in New Orleans, 1901 (died 1971). The legendary jazz trumpet player and singer recorded with Jimmie Rodgers.
Carson J. Robison (NS 71) born in Oswego, Kansas, 1890 (died 1957)
James Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers (SG 97) born in Ackerman, Mississippi, 1919 (died 2002)
Scotty Stoneman born in Galax, Virginia, 1932 (died 1973)
Fiddlin' Doc Roberts died in Richmond, Kentucky (unknown cause), 1978 (was 81)
Kenny Price died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1987 (was 56)
Billy Sherrill (CM 10, NS 84) died in Nashville, Tennessee (short illness), 2015 (was 78)


August 5:

Bobby Braddock (CM 11, NS 81) born in Lakeland, Florida, 1940 (now 76)
Terri Clark born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1968 (now 48)
Hal Durham born in McMinnville, Tennessee, 1931 (died 2009)
Vern "The Voice" Gosdin born in Woodland, Alabama, 1934 (died 2009)
Sammi Smith born in Orange, California, 1943 (died 2005)
Tim Wilson born in Columbus, Georgia, 1961 (died 2014)
Luther Perkins died in Nashville, Tennessee (injuries from a house fire), 1968 (was 40)


August 6:

Billy Robinson (StG 96) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1931 (now 85)
Patsy and Peggy Lynn born in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, 1964 (now 52)
Lisa Stewart born in Louisville, Mississippi, 1968 (now 48)
Old Joe Clark (Manuel Clark), longtime Renfro Valley performer, born in Erwin, Tennessee, 1922 (died 1998)
Billy Bowman (StG 89) died in Columbia, South Carolina (cancer), 1989 (was 60)
Colleen Carroll Brooks died in Yukon, Oklahoma (throat cancer), 1999 (was 70). The former Ozark Mountain Jubilee singer was the mother of Garth Brooks.
Marshall Grant died in Jonesboro, Arkansas (brain aneurysm), 2011 (was 83)


August 7:

B.J. Thomas born in Hugo, Oklahoma, 1942 (now 74)
Rodney Crowell (NS 03) born in Houston, Texas, 1950 (now 66)
Raul Malo of the Mavericks born in Miami, Florida, 1965 (now 51)
Felice Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1925 (died 2003)
Henry "Homer" Haynes (CM 01) died in Hammond, Indiana (heart attack), 1971 (was 51)
Billy Byrd died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2001 (was 81)


August 8:

Mel Tillis (CM 07, NS 76) born in Tampa, Florida, 1932 (now 84)
Phil Balsley of the Statler Brothers (CM 08) born in Staunton, Virginia, 1939 (now 77)
Jamie O'Hara born in Toledo, Ohio, 1950 (now 66)
Webb Pierce (CM 01) born in West Monroe, Louisiana, 1926 (died 1991)
Dale Warren of the Sons of the Pioneers died in Branson, Missouri (heart failure), 2008 (was 83)
Chuck Seitz died in Cincinnati, Ohio (natural causes), 2012 (was 93).  In addition to serving as recording engineer at King and RCA Seitz co-wrote the classic "Before I Met You."
Hank Williams Jr. critically inured in a fall while mountain climbing on Ajax Mountain in Montana, 1975. Williams' head was split open, his face was shattered, and he lost an eye in the 500-foot fall.


August 9:

Merle Kilgore (NS 98) born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, 1934 (died 2005)
Hal Rugg (StG 89) died in Tuscon, Arizona (cancer), 2005 (was 69)


August 10:

Jerry Kennedy born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1940 (now 76)
Jonie Mosby born in Van Nuys, California, 1940 (now 76)
Gene Johnson of Diamond Rio born in Jamestown, New York, 1949 (now 67)
Delia Upchurch born in Gainesboro, Tennessee, 1891 (died 1976). Upchurch was known as "the Den Mother of Nashville Stars" because she ran a boarding house where struggling musicians and songwriters could stay and pay what they could afford.
Jimmy Martin (BG 95) born in Sneedville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 2005)
Jimmy Dean (CM 10) born in Plainview, Texas, 1928 (died 2010)
Alvin "Junior" Samples born in Buena Park, California, 1926 (died 1983)
Billy Grammer died in Benton, Illinois (long-term illness), 2011 (was 85)

August 11:

John Conlee born in Versailles, Kentucky, 1946 (now 70)
Don Helms (StG 84) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2008 (was 81)
Hank Williams fired from the Grand Ole Opry, 1952


August 12:

Mark Knopfler born in Glasgow, Scotland, 1949 (now 67). Knopfler, best known as guitarist and lead singer of Dire Straits, won a "Best Country Vocal Collaboration" Grammy with Chet Atkins in 1990 for the song "Poor Boy Blues."  He also recorded an album of country songs under the pseudonym the Notting Hillbillies.
Rex Griffin (NS 70) born in Gadsden, Alabama, 1912 (died 1958)
Porter Wagoner (CM 02) born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 1927 (died 2007)
Buck Owens (CM 96, NS 96) born in Sherman, Texas, 1929 (died 2006)
Linda Parker of the WLS National Barn Dance died in Mishawaka, Indiana (peritonitis), 1935 (was 23)


August 13:

Lee Roy Abernathy (SG 97) born in Atco, Georgia, 1913 (died 1993)
Dan Fogelberg born in Peoria, Illinois, 1951 (died 2007)
Les Paul died (pneumonia), 2009 (was 94). The legendary guitarist won a Grammy for his work with Chet Atkins on the album Chester and Lester.
Vernon Dalhart recorded "The Prisoner's Song," 1924. The song would sell an estimated seven million copies as country's first million-selling song.


August 14:

Connie Smith (CM 12) born in Elkhart, Indiana, 1941 (now 75)
Charles K. Wolfe (BG 09) born in Sedalia, Missouri, 1943 (died 2006)
Johnny Duncan died in Fort Worth, Texas (heart attack), 2006 (was 67)

August 15:

Ben Eldridge of the Seldom Scene (BG 14) born in Richmond, Virginia, 1938 (now 78)
Jimmy Webb (NS 90) born in Elk City, Oklahoma, 1946 (now 70)
Rose Maddox born in Boaz, Alabama, 1925 (died 1998)
Bobby Helms born in Bloomington, Indiana, 1933 (died 1997)
Don Rich born in Olympia, Washington, 1941 (died 1974)

Lew DeWitt (CM 08) died in Waynesboro, Virginia (complications from Chron's disease), 1990 (was 52)
Will Rogers died near Port Barrow, Alaska (plane crash with Wiley Post), 1935 (was 55)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Heartfelt Congratulations

Category: News

Excuse me for getting personal for a moment, but I'm one of the happiest individuals on the planet today.  

On Wednesday the International Bluegrass Music Association announced that their 2016 Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductees would include Ken Irwin, Marian Leighton Levy, and Bill Nowlin.  These three college friends helped American roots music to no end in 1970 when they founded Rounder Records.

I don't know where we'd be without Rounder.  One of the premiere independent record labels in America, they not only set the bar high but they showed how to be an indie label and do it right.

And oh, the music.  Of course there's Alison Krauss, but Rounder also gave us the Whitstein Brothers, the Johnson Mountain Boys, James King, and Dailey & Vincent.  Additionally, acts as diverse as Pokey LaFarge, Allan Toussaint, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, JD McPherson, and Doc & Merle Watson have had material released on Rounder at one point in their careers.

When other labels ran from individuality in music, Rounder embraced it, promoted it, and proved that there was a market for it.  That great tradition continues to this day.  The foresight and dedication of Ken, Marian, and Bill has now been rewarded with induction into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.

And so to the terrific trio I offer my heartfelt congratulations on this honor, as well as my deepest thanks for all you have done for American roots music.