Thursday, May 24, 2018

Don't Worry

Category: News/Obituary

Glenn Snoddy has died.

The man universally credited with inventing the "fuzz tone" guitar pedal died Monday (5/21) at his home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  

Glenn Snoddy was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee in 1922.  He served in the Army during World War II, earning Bronze Stars in the Pacific theater.  While in the Army he began to tinker with radio and recording equipment, which set his course to change country music -- and rock and roll, for that matter -- in the early 1960s.

After the War Snoddy found work quickly in Nashville, working as engineer on, among others, Hank Williams' final session.  He was in demand as he worked with Owen Bradley at the famed Quonset Hut.

His life changed completely by accident in 1961.  He served as engineer for a Marty Robbins session at the Quonset Hut.  While Grady Martin played the solo on "Don't Worry" it came through with a distorted, fuzzy sound.  Instead of re-recording the take, they left it as it was.  And people -- especially musicians -- loved it.  

Snoddy invented a guitar pedal to duplicate the fuzz sound that had happened by accident on the "Don't Worry" session.  "I'm pretty sure what happened was the primary transformer opened up," Snoddy later told the Nashville Tennessean about the ground-breaking accident.

In addition to that happy accident, Snoddy worked on classics by Johnny Cash (including "Ring of Fire"), Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, and countless others.

Farewell and a salute to Glenn Snoddy, who had turned 96 on May 4.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dates of Note in Country Music, May 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; DJ=Country Music Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; RR=country performer also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient)

May 16:


Rick Trevino born in Austin, Texas, 1971 (now 47)
Laura Lee Owens, the "Queen of Western Swing," born in Kansas City, Missouri, 1920 (died 1989)

Wallace Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) died in Washington, Georgia (complications of Parkinson's disease), 2007 (was 78)
Doug Dillard of the Dillards (BG 09) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung infection), 2012 (was 75)

May 17:

Pat Flynn of the New Grass Revival born in Los Angeles, California, 1952 (now 66)
Grant Turner (CM 81, DJ 75) born in Abeline, Texas, 1912 (died 1991)
Paul Warren (BG 13) born in Lyles, Tennessee, 1918 (died 1978)
Arthur Lee "Red" Smiley (BG 92) born in Marshall, North Carolina, 1925 (died 1984)

Penny DeHaven born in Winchester, Virginia, 1948 (died 2014)
Wiley Walker of Wiley & Gene (NS 71) died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (cancer), 1966 (was 54)
New Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum building opened, 2001.  Nearly every living Hall of Famer was present at the opening ceremonies, and the audience was treated to a tour of the new facilities for free.

May 18:

Rodney Dillard of the Dillards (BG 09) born in East St. Louis, Illinois, 1942 (now 76)
Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1948 (now 70)
Gary Scruggs born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1949 (now 69)

Tom Shapiro (NS 08) born in Kansas City, Missouri, 1950 (now 68)
George Strait (CM 06) born in Poteet, Texas, 1952 (now 66)

Leon Ashley born in Newton County, Georgia, 1936 (died 2013)

May 19:

Martha Carson born in Neon, Kentucky, 1921 (died 2004)
Rex Gosdin born in Woodland, Alabama, 1938 (died 1983)
Mickey Newberry (NS 80) born in Houston, Texas, 1940 (died 2002)

May 20:

"Lonesome George" Gobel born in Chicago, Illinois, 1919 (died 1991). Although many may remember him as a comedian and regular on Hollywood Squares, one of Gobel's earliest jobs in entertainment was on the WLS National Barn Dance when he was a teenager in the 1930s.
Jack Cash, brother of Johnny Cash, died in Dyess, Arkansas (injuries from accident with table saw), 1944 (was 15)

May 21:

Henry Glover born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1921 (died 1991). The R&B songwriter and pioneering black record company executive co-wrote "Blues, Stay Away From Me" with the Delmore Brothers and Wayne Raney in 1949.
Charlie Poole died in Spray, North Carolina (alcohol-related heart failure), 1931 (was 39)
Billy Walker died in Fort Deposit, Alabama (car wreck), 2006 (was 77)
Vaughn Monroe died in Stuart, Florida (post-operative complications), 1973 (was 61). Among the pop singer's many hits was "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky."

May 22:

Buddy Alan born in Mega, Arizona, 1948 (now 70)
Rich Alves of Pirates of the Mississippi born in Pleasanton, California, 1953 (now 65)
Dana Williams of Diamond Rio born in Dayton, Ohio, 1961 (now 57)
Ralph S. Peer (CM 84) born in Independence, Missouri, 1892 (died 1960)

Miggie Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Richmond County, Georgia, 1926 (died 2017)
Royce Kendall died in LaCrosse, Wisconsin (stroke), 1988 (was 63)

May 23:

Mac Wiseman (CM 14, BG 93) born in Crimora, Virginia, 1925 (now 93)
Ken Irwin, co-founder of Rounder Records, born in New York, New York, 1944 (now 74)
Misty Morgan born in Buffalo, New York, 1945 (now 73)
Shelley West born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1958 (now 60)

Leroy Troy born in Goodlettesville, Tennessee, 1966 (now 52)
Rosemary Clooney born in Maysville, Kentucky, 1928 (died 2002). The legendary pop singer recorded a number of country songs, including covering Carl Smith's hit "If Teardrops Were Pennies."
Rex Gosdin died (heart attack), 1983 (was 45)

May 24:

Mike Reid (NS 05) born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, 1947 (now 71)
Rosanne Cash (NS 15) born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1955 (now 63)
Billy Gilman born in Westerly, Rhode Island, 1988 (now 30). Gilman's "One Voice" hit #1 when he was 12, making him the youngest person in Billboard country chart history to have a #1 song.
Gene Clark of the Byrds and Dillard & Clark died in Sherman Oaks, California (bleeding ulcer), 1991 (was 46)
Vivian Liberto died in Ventura, California (cancer), 2005 (was 71). Vivian was Johnny Cash's first wife and Rosanne Cash's mother.
Jimmie Rodgers recorded "Old Love Letters (Bring Memories of You)," "Mississippi Delta Blues," "Somewhere Down Below the Dixon Line," and "Years Ago" in New York City, 1933. Ravaged with tuberculosis, they would be the final recordings of the Father of Country Music.

The United States Postal Service issues the Jimmie Rodgers postage stamp, 1978

May 25:

Tom T. Hall (CM 08, NS 78) born in Olive Hill, Kentucky, 1936 (now 82)
Jessi Colter born in Phoenix, Arizona, 1947 (now 70)
Dr. Humphrey Bate of the Possum Hunters born in Castallian Springs, Tennessee, 1875 (died 1936)
Ernest V. "Pop" Stoneman (CM 08) born in Monarat, Virginia, 1893 (died 1968)

Hal David (NS 84) born in New York, New York, 1921 (died 2012)
Dick Curless died in Bangor, Maine (stomach cancer), 1995 (was 63)

May 26:

Randall Hank Williams Jr. (NS 07) born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1949 (now 70)
Richard Leigh (NS 94) born in Washington, DC, 1951 (now 67)
Lance LeRoy (BG 00) born in Tingall, Georgia, 1930 (died 2015)
Levon Helm born in Marvell, Arkansas, 1940 (died 2012). The actor and drummer/singer for the Band made his acting debut in Coal Miner's Daughter.
Jimmie Rodgers (CM 61, NS 70, RR 86, GLA 17) died in New York, New York (tuberculosis), 1933 (was 35)
Onie Wheeler died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1984 (was 62). He died on the Grand Ole Opry stage during a performance of the post-Friday Night Opry show, Grand Ole Gospel.
Judy Lynn died in New Albany, Indiana (congestive heart failure), 2010 (was 74)
The first International Country Music Conference held in Meridian, Mississippi, 1983. The three-day event began as a memorial to Jimmie Rodgers and coincides with the anniversary of his death.

May 27:

Redd Stewart (NS 70) born in Ashland City, Tennessee, 1921 (died 2003)
Kenny Price born in Florence, Kentucky, 1931 (died 1987)

Don Williams (CM 10) born in Floydada, Texas, 1939 (died 2017)
Slim Bryant died in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania (long-term illness), 2010 (was 101)
Opryland opened, 1972 (closed 1997)

May 28:

John Fogerty born in Berkeley, California, 1945 (now 73). The leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded an album of country songs under the pseudonym Blue Ridge Rangers in 1973, hitting the country chart with his rendition of "Jambalaya," and several songs Fogerty has written have been recorded by country singers.
Jerry Douglas born in Warren, Ohio, 1956 (now 62)
Phil Vassar born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1965 (now 53)

Gary Stewart born in Jenkins, Kentucky, 1945 (died 2003)

May 29:

Carl Story (BG 07) born in Lenoir, North Carolina, 1916 (died 1995)

Danny Davis (ne George Joseph Nowlan) of the Nashville Brass born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1925 (died 2008)
Doc Watson (BG 00) died in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (complications from abdominal surgery), 2012 (was 89)
Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family became members of the Grand Ole Opry, 1950
Hank and Audrey Williams divorced, 1952

May 30:

Mike Snider born in Gleason, Tennessee, 1960 (now 57)
Lewis Crook of the Crook Brothers born in Trousdale County, Tennessee, 1909 (died 1996)

Johnny Gimble (CM 18) born in Tyler, Texas, 1926 (died 2015).  Gimble is one of the "class of 2018" inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Don Wayne (NS 78) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1933 (died 2011)
Karl Davis of Karl & Harty died in Chicago, Illinois (cancer), 1979 (was 73)
Bobby Harden of the Harden Trio died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2006 (was 70)

May 31:

Vic Willis of the Willis Brothers born in Schulter, Oklahoma, 1922 (died 1995)
Johnny Paycheck (ne Donald Eugene Lytle) born in Greenfield, Ohio, 1938 (died 2003)

Bud Carter (StG 09) born in Sullivan, Missouri, 1931 (died 2015)
William "Red" Rector died in Knoxville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1990 (was 60)

Lloyd Perryman of the Sons of the Pioneers (CM 80) died in Burbank, California (complications of heart surgery), 1977 (was 60)
Jerry Sullivan of the Sullivan Family died in Alabama (illness), 2014 (was 80)

Monday, April 30, 2018

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

May 1:

Rita Coolidge born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1944 (now 74). Although primarily a pop singer, Coolidge had a dozen songs chart in country. She is also the former wife of Kris Kristofferson.
Wayne Hancock born in Dallas, Texas, 1965 (now 53)
Sam McGee born in Williamson County, Tennessee, 1894 (died 1975)

Sonny James (ne James Loden) (CM 06) born in Hackleburg, Alabama, 1929 (died 2016)
Jimmy Gately born in Springfield, Missouri, 1931 (died 1985)
Ott Devine born in Gadsen, Alabama, 1910 (died 1994)
Spike Jones died in Bel Air, California (emphysema), 1965 (was 53). The novelty band leader recorded "Pal-Yat-Chee" with Homer and Jethro, and Red Ingle (of Red Ingle & Natural Seven, of "Temp-Tay-Shun" fame) was once a member of Jones' City Slickers.
Jim Hager of the Hager Twins died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2008 (was 66)
Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas, Nevada, 1967
A six-inch rainstorm hit Nashville, 2010.  The massive flood damaged the Grand Ole Opry House, the Opryland Hotel, the WSM-AM studios, the basement of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Wildhorse Saloon, the instrument storage business Soundcheck, and a number of country singers' homes. Over 13 inches of rain fell over a two-day period in Music City and killed nearly two dozen.

May 2:

R.C. Bannon born in Dallas, Texas, 1945 (now 73)
Larry Gatlin born in Seminole, Texas, 1948 (now 70)
Ty Herndon born in Meridian, Mississippi, 1962 (now 56)
Roy Lee Centers of the Clinch Mountain Boys died in Jackson, Kentucky (shot to death -- details disputed between a fight, "road rage" or murder), 1974 (was 29)
"Slowly" by Webb Pierce hits #1 on the Billboard charts, 1954. It becomes the first #1 song to feature the pedal steel guitar.

May 3:

Cactus Moser of Highway 101 born in Montrose, Colorado, 1957 (now 61)
Bing Crosby born in Tacoma, Washington, 1903 (died 1977). The pop crooner has the distinction of being the performer of the first #1 single in Billboard magazine's "Hillbilly and Western Singles" history with his rendition of Al Dexter's "Pistol Packin' Mama." Dexter's own recording was the second #1 song.
Dave Dudley born in Spencer, Wisconsin, 1928 (died 2003)
Patsy Montana (CM 96) died in San Jancinto, California (unknown cause), 1996 (was 83)
Dollywood theme park opened in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, 1986

May 4:

Stella Parton born in Sevierville, Tennessee, 1949 (now 69)
Robert Ellis Orrall born in Winthrop, Massachusetts, 1955 (now 63)
Randy Travis (CM 16) born in Marshville, North Carolina, 1959 (now 59)
Al Dexter (ne Clarence Albert Poindexter) (NS 71) born in Jacksonville, Texas, 1902 (died 1984)
Bobby Austin born in Wenatchee, Washington, 1933 (died 2002)
Joe L. Frank (CM 67) died in Chicago, Illinois (complications of throat infection), 1952 (was 52)
Leo Jackson died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide [gunshot]), 2008 (was 73)

May 5:

Ace Cannon born in Grenada, Mississippi, 1934 (now 84)
Roni Stoneman born in Washington, DC, 1938 (now 80)

Glen Duncan of Lonesome Standard Time born in Columbus, Indiana, 1955 (now 63)
J.D. Miller born in Iota, Louisiana, 1922 (died 1996)
Tammy Wynette (CM 98, NS 09) born in Itawamba County, Mississippi, 1942 (died 1998)

Wayne Carson (NS 97) born in Denver, Colorado, 1942 (died 2015)
Jerry Wallace died in Corona, California (congestive heart failure), 2008 (was 79)

May 6:

Jimmie Dale Gilmore born in Austin, Texas, 1945 (now 73)
Cliff Carlisle born in Taylorsville, Kentucky, 1904 (died 1983)

Otis Blackwell (NS 86) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2002 (was 71)
George "Goober" Lindsey died in Nashville, Tennessee (brief illness), 2012 (was 83)
Dottie Dillard of the Anita Kerr Singers died in Springfield, Missouri (natural causes), 2015 (was 91)

May 7:

Jerry Chesnut (NS 96) born in Loyall, Kentucky, 1931 (now 87)

Lorie Collins of the Collins Kids born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, 1942 (now 76)
Riley Puckett born in Alpharetta, Georgia, 1894 (died 1946)
Horace "Aytchie" Burns born in Cisco, Georgia, 1918 (died 1974). Aytchie, the older brother of Jethro Burns, was a performer at the WNOX Midday Merry-Go-Round and the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. While in the Army he was also the platoon sergeant of Roger Miller.
Eddie Rabbitt (NS 98) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 1998 (was 56)

May 8:

Jack Blanchard born in Buffalo, New York, 1942 (now 76)
Del Anthony Gray of Little Texas born in Hamilton, Ohio, 1968 (now 50)
Jimmie Tarlton of Darby & Tarlton born in Cheraw, South Carolina, 1892 (died 1979)

Homer Bailes of the Bailes Brothers born in Kanawha County, West Virginia, 1922 (died 2013)
Benny Martin (BG 05) born in Sparta, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2001)
Rick Nelson born in Teaneck, New Jersey, 1940 (died 1985)
Leon Huff of the Light Crust Doughboys died (unknown cause), 1952 (was 39)
George D. Hay (CM 66) died in Virginia Beach, Virginia (unknown cause), 1968 (was 72)
Eddy Arnold (CM 66, GLA 05) died in Brentwood, Tennessee (complications from a fall), 2008 (was 89)

Charles "Everett" Lilly (BG 02) died in Clear Creek, West Virginia (aneurysm/heart attack), 2012 (was 87)


May 9:

Richie Furay of Poco born in Yellow Springs, Ohio, 1944 (now 74)
Bobby Lewis born in Hodgenville, Kentucky, 1946 (now 72)
Fuzzy Knight born in Fairmont, West Virginia, 1901 (died 1976). The actor appeared in several films as Tex Ritter's sidekick.
Hank Snow (CM 79, NS 78) born in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, 1914 (died 1999)
Nudie Cohn died in Hollywood, California (unknown cause), 1984 (was 81)
Keith Whitley died in Nashville, Tennessee (alcohol poisoning), 1989 (was 33)

Johnny Gimble died in Dripping Springs, Texas (complications of a stroke), 2015 (was 88)
Jimmie Davis elected governor of Louisiana, 1944

May 10:

Carl T. Sprague born in Houston, Texas, 1895 (died 1979)
Mother Maybelle Carter (CM 70, BG 01, GLA 05) born in Nicklesville, Virginia, 1909 (died 1979)
Shel Silverstein (NS 02) died in Key West, Florida (heat attack), 1999 (was 68)

May 11:

Bobby Black (StG 04) born in Prescott, Arizona, 1934 (now 84)

Mark Herndon of Alabama (CM 05) born in Springfield, Massachusetts, 1955 (now 63)
Bob Atcher born in West Point, Kentucky, 1914 (died 1993)
Dick Overbey (StG 10) born in Detroit, Michigan, 1942 (died 2014)
Glen Sherley died in Salinas, California (suicide [gunshot]), 1978 (was 42)
Lester Flatt (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure), 1979 (was 64)
Dottie Rambo (SG 97, NS 07) died in Mt. Vernon, Missouri (bus crash), 2008 (was 74)

May 12:

Kix Brooks born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1955 (now 63)
The Duke of Paducah, Benjamin "Whitey" Ford, (CM 86) born in DeSoto, Missouri, 1901 (died 1986)
Joe Maphis born in Suffolk, Virginia, 1921 (died 1986)
Leroy Pullins born in Berea, Kentucky, 1940 (died 1984)

W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel died in Dallas, Texas (unknown cause), 1969 (was 79)

May 13:

Ray Kennedy born in Buffalo, New York, 1954 (now 63)
Johnnie Wright born in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, 1914 (died 2011)

Jack Anglin born in Columbia, Tennesee, 1916 (died 1963)
Lari White born in Dunedin, Florida, 1965 (died 2018)
Gid Tanner died in Dacula, Georgia (unknown cause), 1960 (was 74)
Bob Wills (CM 68, NS 70, GLA 07) died Fort Worth, Texas (pneumonia/complications of stroke), 1975 (was 70)


May 14:


Jimmy Martin (BG 95) died in Nashville, Tennessee (bladder cancer), 2005 (was 77)

May 15:

K.T. Oslin born in Crossett, Arkansas, 1941 (now 76)
Eddy Arnold (CM 66, GLA 05) born in Henderson, Tennessee, 1918 (died 2008)
June Carter Cash died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from open heart surgery), 2003 (was 73)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Dates of Note in Country Music, April 15-30

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[s] enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; LAG=Lifetime Achievement Grammy; RR=country act also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


April 16:

Dusty Springfield born in London, England, 1939 (died 1999). The legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer hit the country charts in 1962 as part of the Springfields with "Silver Threads and Golden Needles."

April 17:

Craig Anderson of Heartland born in Huntsville, Alabama, 1973 (now 45)
Eddie Cochran died in Bath, England (injuries from an April 16 car wreck), 1960 (was 21). The rockabilly pioneer co-wrote "Summertime Blues," which Alan Jackson covered in country.
Dorsey Dixon died in Plant City, Florida (heart attack), 1968 (was 70)
Hank Penny died in Camarillo, California (heart failure), 1992 (was 73)
Linda McCartney died in Tuscon, Arizona (breast cancer), 1998 (was 56). Linda and husband Sir Paul McCartney's band, Wings, hit the country charts in 1974 with "Sally G."
Glenn Sutton (NS 99) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2007 (was 69)

April 18:

Walt Richmond of the Tractors born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1947 (now 71)
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown born in Vinton, Louisiana, 1924 (died 2005)
Curtis Potter born in Cross Plains, Texas, 1940 (died 2016)
Your blogger born in Louisville, Kentucky, 19(?!!??!) (drinking Hadacol)
Milton Brown died in Fort Worth, Texas (pneumonia resulting from injuries in an April 13 car wreck), 1936 (was 32)

April 19:

Jody Carver (StG 04) born in Brooklyn, New York, 1929 (now 89)
Bill Rice (NS 94) born in Datto, Arkansas, 1939 (now 79)
Gary Brewer born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1965 (now 53)
Bobby Russell (NS 94) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1941 (died 1992)
Earl Bolick of the Blue Sky Boys died in Tucker, Georgia (unknown cause), 1998 (was 78)
Levon Helm died in New York, NY (throat cancer), 2012 (was 71)
The "National Barn Dance" debuted on WLS, Chicago, 1924

April 20:

Johnny Tillitson born in Jacksonville, Florida, 1939 (now 79)
Doyle Lawson (BG 12) born in Ford Town, Tennessee, 1944 (now 74)
Wade Hayes born in Bethel Acres, Oklahoma, 1969 (now 49)
Frank "Hylo" Brown born in River, Kentucky, 1922 (died 2003)
Benny Hill found dead in his London flat (coronary thrombosis), 1992 (was 68). The British comedian's Benny Hill Show featured Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax" as its theme song.

April 21:

Wade Mainer born in Buncombe, North Carolina, 1907 (died 2011)
Ira Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) born in Section, Alabama, 1924 (died 1965)
Carl Belew born in Salina, Oklahoma, 1931 (died 1990)
Paul Davis (NS 10) born in Meridian, Mississippi, 1948 (died 2008)
Neal Matthews Jr. (CM 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2000 (was 70)

April 22:

Pat Enright of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Huntington, Indiana, 1945 (now 73)
Cleve Francis born in Jennings, Louisiana, 1945 (now 73)
Larry Groce born in Dallas, Texas, 1948 (now 70). The Mountain Stage host had one charted record, 1977's "Junk Food Junkie," which was a minor country hit.
Reuben Gosfield of Asleep at the Wheel born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1951 (now 67)
Heath Wright of Ricochet born in Vian, Oklahoma, 1967 (now 49)
Glen Campbell (CM 05, LAG 12) born in Delight, Arkansas, 1936 (died 2017)
Ray Griff born in Vancouver, British Columbia, 1940 (died 2016)
Steve Sholes (CM 67) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1968 (was 57)
Felice Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2003 (was 77)
Paul Davis (NS 10) died in Meridian, Mississippi (heart attack), 2008 (was 60)
Richard Nixon died in New York, New York (stroke), 1994 (was 81). The former president's political troubles were chronicled in Tom T. Hall's song "Watergate Blues." Nixon also appeared on the Grand Ole Opry during its first night at the Opry House in 1974.
Hazel Dickens (BG 17) died in Washington, DC (pneumonia), 2011 (was 75)

April 23:

Roland White of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Madawaska, Maine, 1938 (now 80)
Roy Orbison (NS 87, LAG 98) born in Vernon, Texas, 1936 (died 1988)
Kent Robbins (NS 98) born in Mayfield, Kentucky, 1947 (died 1997)

April 24:

Shirley Boone born in Chicago, Illinois, 1934 (now 84). Pat Boone's wife is also the daughter of Red Foley.
Rebecca Lynn Howard born in Salyersville, Kentucky, 1979 (now 39)
Harry McClintock died in San Francisco, California (unknown cause), 1957 (was 74). His greatest success would come decades after his death when his recording of "Big Rock Candy Mountain" began the film O Brother, Where Art Thou.
Bobby Garrett (StG 95) died in Tyler, Texas (cancer), 1999 (was 64)
Bonnie Owens died in Bakersfield, California (Alzheimer's disease), 2006 (was 73)

April 25:

Larry Robbins of the Johnson Mountain Boys born in Dickerson, Maryland, 1945 (now 73)
Karl Farr (CM 80) born in Rochelle, Texas, 1909 (died 1961)
Cliff Bruner born in Texas City, Texas, 1915 (died 2000)
Vassar Clements born in Kinard, South Carolina, 1928 (died 2005)
O.B. McClinton born in Senatobia, Mississippi, 1940 (died 1987)
The musical Big River opened on Broadway, 1985. It won a "Best Musical" Tony for songwriter Roger Miller, making him, to date, the only country performer to ever win a Tony Award.

April 26:

Johnny Mosby born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, 1933 (now 85)
Duane Eddy born in Corning, New York, 1938 (now 80)
Fiddlin' Doc Roberts born in Richmond, Kentucky, 1897 (died 1978)
Cecil Null born in East War, West Virginia, 1927 (died 2001)
Tim Spencer (CM 80) died in Apple Valley, California (long illness), 1974 (was 65)
Wesley Rose (CM 86) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1990 (was 72)
George Jones (CM 92, LAG 12) died in Nashville, Tennessee (respiratory failure), 2013 (was 81)

April 27:

Maxine Brown of the Browns (CM 15) born in Campti, Louisiana, 1931 (now 87)
Herb Pedersen of the Dillards and Desert Rose Band born in Berkley, California, 1944 (now 74)
Sydney Nathan (BG 06; RR 97) born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1904 (died 1968)
Jimmie Skinner born in Blue Lick, Kentucky, 1909 (died 1979)

April 28:

Dale Potter born in Puxico, Missouri, 1929 (died 1996)
Tommy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band died in Spartanburg, South Carolina (injuries from an April 21 car wreck), 1980 (was 30)
Ken Curtis died in Clovis, California (heart attack), 1991 (was 74). The Gunsmoke star was also a one-time member of the Sons of the Pioneers.

April 29:

Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys (CM 15) born in Taylortown, Texas, 1943 (now 75)
Wayne Secrest of Confederate Railroad born in Alton, Illinois, 1950 (now 68)
Karen Brooks born in Dallas, Texas, 1954 (now 64)
Billy Mize born in Arkansas City, Kansas, 1929 (died 2017)
Eddie Noack born in Houston, Texas, 1930 (died 1978)
Vern Gosdin died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2009 (was 74)
Kenny Roberts died in Alton, Massachusetts (natural causes), 2012 (was 85)

April 30:

Fuzzy Owen born in Conway, Arkansas, 1929 (now 89)
Willie Nelson (CM 93, NS 73, LAG 00) born in Abbott, Texas, 1933 (now 85)
Darrell McCall born in New Jasper, Ohio, 1940 (now 78)
Johnny Farina (StG 02) born in Brooklyn, New York, 1941 (now 77)
Robert Earl Reynolds of the Mavericks born in Kansas City, Missouri, 1962 (now 56)
Johnny Horton born in Los Angeles, California, 1930 (died 1960)
Curly Chalker (StG 85) died in Hendersonville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 1998 (was 66)
WLS airs the final broadcast of the National Barn Dance, 1960, after 36 years on the air.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Dates of Note in Country Music, April 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[s] enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; GLA= Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient; PMF= Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient; RR=country performer also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


April 1:

Jules Verne Allen born in Waxahachie, Texas, 1883 (died 1945)
Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith born in Clinton, South Carolina, 1921 (died 2014)
Jimmy Logsdon born in Panther, Kentucky, 1922 (died 2001)
Jim Ed Brown (CM 15) born in Sparkman, Arkansas, 1934 (died 2015)
Paul Cohen (CM 76) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1970 (was 71)
Rachel Veach joined Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, 1939. Her presence gave rise to Pete Kirby's nickname "Bashful Brother Oswald:" a woman traveling with a group of men was scandalous, so Kirby was billed as Veach's "bashful brother" to quell any rumors.
The original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened, 1967

April 2:

Warner Mack born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1938 (now 80)
Sonny Throckmorton (NS 87) born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1941 (now 77)
Emmylou Harris (CM 08) born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1947 (now 71)
Dean Townson of Pirates of the Mississippi born in Battle Creek, Michigan, 1959 (now 59)
Billy Dean born in Quincy, Florida, 1962 (now 56)
Mose Rager born in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, 1911 (died 1986). The guitarist was a significant influence on the thumbpicking style of another guitarist from the region, Merle Travis.

Cliff Carlisle died in Lexington, Kentucky (unknown cause), 1983 (was 78)
Former Country Gentleman Doyle Lawson formed Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, 1979

April 3:

Richard Thompson born in Notting Hill, London, 1949 (now 69).  The legendary folk-rock singer/songwriter and guitarist wrote and originally recorded "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," later a bluegrass hit for Del McCoury, as well as Jo-El Sonnier's biggest hit, "Tear-Stained Letter" (which was also covered by Faith Hill).
Curtis Stone of Highway 101 (and son of Cliffie Stone) born in North Hollywood, California, 1950 (now 68)
Hank Newman of the Georgia Crackers born in Cochran, Georgia, 1905 (died 1978)
Don Gibson (CM 01, NS 73) born in Shelby, North Carolina, 1928 (died 2003)
Billy Joe Royal born in Valdosta, Georgia, 1942 (died 2015)
Ella Mae Cooley murdered, 1961. Her husband, self-proclaimed "King of Western Swing" Spade Cooley, was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison.
David Keli'i (StG 90) died in Honolulu, Hawaii (unknown cause), 1983 (was 68)
Harley "Red" Allen (BG 05) died in Dayton, Ohio (cancer), 1993 (was 63)
Starday Records owner Don Pierce died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2005 (was 89)
Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith died in Charlotte, North Carolina (natural causes), 2014 (was 93)
The 
Louisiana Hayride debuted on KWKH, Shreveport, Louisiana, 1948. Among the artists who performed on the radio show were Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Claude King, Johnny Horton, and one-time emcee Jim Reeves.

April 4:

Steve Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers born in Olney, Texas, 1951 (now 66)
Cy Coben (ne Cohen)  born in Jersey City, New Jersey, 1919 (died 2006)
Norro Wilson (NS 96) born in Scottsville, Kentucky, 1938 (died 2017)
Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry born in Lexington, Kentucky, 1967 (died 2017)
Red Sovine died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack while driving), 1980 (was 61)

April 5:

Bill Clifton (BG 08) (ne William August Marburg) born in Riverwood, Maryland, 1931 (now 87). In addition to being a bluegrass performer, Clifton is also credited with starting the bluegrass festival, when he organized a July 4, 1961 show in Luray, Virginia.
June Stearns born in Alpha, Kentucky, 1939 (now 79)
Tommy Cash born in Dyess, Arkansas, 1940 (now 78)
Bob McDill (NS 85) born in Beaumont, Texas, 1944 (now 74)
Pat Green born in San Antonio, Texas, 1972 (now 46)

Lewis Phillips of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Washington, GA, 1972 (now 46)
Laura Rogers of the Secret Sisters born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 1986 (now 32)
Jack Clement (CM 13, NS 73) born in Whitehaven, Tennessee, 1931 (died 2013)
Charlie Collins of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys born in Caryville, Tennessee, 1933 (died 2012)
Frenchy "Stoney" Edwards died in Oklahoma (stomach cancer), 1997 (was 67)
Gene Pitney (RR 02) died in Cardiff, Wales (heart disease), 2006 (was 65). In addition to his rock hits, Pitney recorded two albums of duets with George Jones.

April 6:

Vernon Dalhart (CM 81, NS 70) (ne Marion Try Slaughter) born in Marion County, Texas, 1883 (died 1948)
Dick Kaihue McIntire (StG 82) born in Honolulu, Hawaii, 1902 (died 1951)
Wade Ray born in Griffin, Indiana, 1913 (died 1998)
Merle Haggard (CM 94, NS 77, GLA 06) born in Bakersfield, California, 1937 (died 2016)
Tammy Wynette (CM 98, NS 09) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure attributed to blood clot), 1998 (was 55)
Merle Haggard (CM 94, NS 77, GLA 06) died in Palo Cedro, California (pneumonia), 2016 (79th birthday) 
Grand Ole Opry shows were canceled due to rioting in the wake of Martin Luther King's assassination earlier in the week, 1968

April 7:

Bobby Bare (CM 13) born in Ironton, Ohio, 1935 (now 83)
John Dittrich of Restless Heart born in New York, New York, 1951 (now 67)
Leon "Pappy" Selph born in Houston, Texas, 1914 (died 1999)
Cal Smith born in Gans, Oklahoma, 1932 (died 2013)
Clyde Moody died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1989 (was 73)
Henry Glover died in St. Albans, New York (heart attack), 1991 (was 69)
Jeff Newman (StG 99) died in Watertown, Tennessee (plane crash), 2004 (was 62)
George Shuffler (BG 11) died in Valdese, North Carolina (long illness), 2014 (was 88)

April 8:

John Schneider born in Mount Kisco, New York, 1960 (now 58)
Jimmie Osborne born in Winchester, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1957)

April 9:

Margo Smith born in Dayton, Ohio, 1942 (now 76)
Con Hunley born in Fountain City, Tennessee, 1945 (now 73)
Hal Ketchum born in Greenwich, New York, 1953 (now 65)
Mark Roberts of the Red Clay Ramblers born in Wareham, Massachusetts, 1957 (now 61)
Dave Innis of Restless Heart born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1959 (now 59)
Carl Perkins (NS 85, RR 87) born in Tiptonville, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1998)
Darrell Glenn died in Fort Worth, Texas (cancer), 1990 (was 54)
Mae Boren Axton died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 1997 (was 82)
Tut Taylor died in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina (natural causes), 2015 (was 91)

April 10:

Fiddlin' Arthur Smith born in Bold Spring, Tennessee, 1898 (died 1971)
Sheb Wooley born in Enick, Oklahoma, 1921 (died 2003)
DeWitt "Scotty" Scott (StG 92) born in Amarillo, Texas, 1932 (died 2015)
Weldon Myrick (StG 97) born in Jayton, Texas, 1938 (died 2014)
Former home of Johnny and June Cash destroyed by fire, 2007. Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees owned the house at the time of the fire.  In 2010 the Gatlin Brothers referenced the fire in a song titled "Johnny Cash is Dead and His House Burned Down."

April 11:

Jim Lauderdale born in Troutman, North Carolina, 1957 (now 61)
Harty Taylor of Karl & Harty born in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, 1905 (died 1963)
Millie Good of the Girls of the Golden West born in Mount Carmel, Illinois, 1913 (died 1993)
George Shuffler (BG 11) born in Valdese, North Carolina, 1925 (died 2014)
Eddie Miller died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1977 (was 83). In addition to writing a number of songs, including "I've Loved and Lost Again" which was recorded by Patsy Cline during her stint on Four Star, Miller co-founded the Nashville Songwriters' Association International.
Lighnin' Chance died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer/Alzheimer's), 2005 (was 79)
Jerry Byrd (StG 78) died in Honolulu, Hawaii (complications of Parkinson's disease), 2005 (was 85)

April 12:

Ron Elliott (StG 09) born in Salisbury, Maryland, 1936 (now 82)
Vince Gill (CM 07, NS 05) born in Norman, Oklahoma, 1957 (now 61)
Ernie Lee born in Berea, Kentucky, 1916 (died 1991)
Ned Miller born in Raines, Utah, 1925 (died 2016)
Judy Lynn born in Boise, Idaho, 1936 (died 2010)
Lewis Crook of the Crook Brothers died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 1997 (was 87)
Boxcar Willie died in Branson, Missouri (leukemia), 1999 (was 67)

April 13:

Sam Bush born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, 1952 (now 66)
Bob Nolan (CM 80, NS 71) of the Sons of the Pioneers born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1908 (died 1980)
Guy Willis of the Willis Brothers died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1981 (was 65)
Johnny Dollar died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide), 1986 (was 53)

April 14:

Loretta Lynn (CM 88, NS 83, GLA 10, PMF 13) born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, 1932 (now 86)
Stuart Duncan of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Quantico, Virginia, 1964 (now 54)
Vito Pelletteri died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from a stroke), 1977 (was 87)
Burl Ives died in Anacortes, Washington (throat cancer), 1995 (was 85)

April 15:

Roy Clark (CM 09) born in Meherrin, Virginia, 1933 (now 85)
Chris Stapleton born in Lexington, Kentucky, 1978 (now 40)
J.L. Frank (CM 67) born in Limestone County, Alabama, 1900 (died 1952)
Bob Luman born in Nacogdoches, Texas, 1937 (died 1978)
Junior Barnard of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys died (car wreck), 1951 (was 30)
Rose Maddox died in Ashland, Oregon (kidney failure), 1998 (was 72)
Otto Kitsinger died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1998 (was 54). Kitsinger was the historian and writer for CMT's Opry Backstage.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Kenny O'Dell Dies


Category: News/Obituary

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Kenny O'Dell died Tuesday (3/27) in a suburban Nashville healthcare facility.

Born Kenneth Guy Gist, Jr. in 1944, O'Dell changed his name because of the difficulty people had pronouncing his real last name.  His interest in songwriting began early, writing songs while he was still in grade school.  Moving to Nashville in the late 60s, he recorded three albums of his own music, with his biggest hit as a singer being 1978's "Let's Shake Hands and Come Out Lovin'."

As a songwriter, however, O'Dell attained legendary status in 1973...thanks to Watergate.  He told the Nashville Tennessean in 2017 that he kept hearing about Congressional hearings related to the Watergate scandal being held in secret.  "They're always talking about how no one knows what goes on behind closed doors," O'Dell told Bart Herbison.  "And I'm thinking, I like the title 'Behind Closed Doors.'"

O'Dell played rhythm guitar on Charlie Rich's recording of the song, which became a chart-topping smash in country and pop.  The song won the "Country Song of the Year" Grammy award for the year, as well as the "Song of the Year" award in both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards presentations.

His other massive songwriting success -- earning him a BMI "Country Song of the Year" award and a Grammy nomination -- was "Mama, He's Crazy," one of the biggest hits in the career of the Judds.  Additionally, O'Dell wrote or co-wrote other hits such as "Lizzy and the Rainman" (Tanya Tucker), "I Take It on Home" (Charlie Rich), and "Trouble in Paradise" (Loretta Lynn).

O'Dell was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1996.  His wife, Corki Casey O'Dell, was a Musicians Hall of Fame guitarist.  She passed away last year.

Kenny O'Dell was 73.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Deke Dickerson to Write Travis Biography

Category: News

I saw some terrific news on Facebook this evening from my friend, guitarist, singer, and songwriter Deke Dickerson.  He has signed a contract with BMG Books to publish a biography of the legendary Merle Travis.

With the full cooperation of Travis' daughters, Cindy and Merlene, Dickerson has access to an unpublished and unfinished autobiography Travis began, as well as "a storage unit full of Merle's writings, photos, letters, guitars, and reel-to-reel recordings."

If you've read either (or both) of Dickerson's Strat in the Attic books you know his love for guitars, guitarists, and the rich history of the greatest guitar heroes of country, rockabilly, and early rock and roll.

Congratulations to Deke on this exciting project!  We can't wait!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Three Shining New Hall of Fame Stars

Category: News

Today (3/27) it is overcast and gloomy, but the new Hall of Fame inductees are shining so brightly it takes away the cloud cover.  The class of 2018 was announced this morning, and I am thrilled beyond measure to present the list of inductees.

MUSICIAN: JOHNNY GIMBLE.  Known initially as a member of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys, Gimble's career branched out to include his trademark fiddle work on countless albums.  He was featured on Merle Haggard's tribute album to Wills, as well as working as a road musician for Willie Nelson and a session man for George Strait.  Later he was a member of the Hee Haw "Million Dollar Band."  Gimble died in 2015, but what a legacy he left.

VETERANS ERA: DOTTIE WEST.  Country music's first female Grammy winner, the late Dottie West had been one of the most overlooked performers on the list of "veterans era" performers.  That came to an end today, over 26 years after her tragic death from injuries in a car wreck on her way to an Opry performance.  A songwriter, a singer, and a dynamic performer, West was one of the unsung female heroes in country music who helped pave the way for the women singers today.  Now, she has received the recognition she so richly deserved.

MODERN ERA: RICKY SKAGGS.  From eastern Kentucky (along the famed "Country Music Highway"), Skaggs learned a love of bluegrass at a very early age...and showed it off at an equally early age, playing on Flatt & Scruggs' TV show.  His career has covered bluegrass in the 70s with J.D. Crowe, a band musician in the late 70s and early 80s as part of Emmylou Harris' "Hot Band," his own string of country successes in the 80s as one of the champions of the "neo-traditional sound" revival, and his return to his bluegrass roots in the 90s through today.

Thank you, Hall of Fame.  What a remarkable class for 2018.