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.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

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


July 16:


Ronny Robbins born in Phoenix, Arizona, 1949 (now 67)
Harry Chapin died in East Meadow, New York (heart attack resulting in car wreck), 1981 (was 38). Chapin, a folk music icon, wrote "Cat's in the Cradle," which gave Ricky Skaggs one of his last country hits.
Jo Stafford died in Century City, California (congestive heart failure), 2008 (was 90). The pop singer also did country, including appearing on Red Ingle & Natural Seven's hit "Tem-Tay-Shun."
Kitty Wells (CM 76) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2012 (was 92)

July 17:

Elizabeth Cook born in Wildwood, Florida, 1972 (now 44)

Woodrow Wilson "Red" Sovine born in Charleston, West Virginia, 1918 (died 1980)
Harry Choates died in Austin, Texas (head injury, possibly self-inflicted), 1951 (was 29)
Dizzy Dean died in Reno, Nevada (heart attack), 1974 (was 63). Dizzy was credited with giving Roy Acuff the nickname "King of Country Music."
Don Rich died in Bakersfield, California (motorcycle accident), 1974 (was 32)
Wynn Stewart died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1985 (was 51)
Ozark Jubilee debuted on KWTO radio, 1954

July 18:


Ricky Skaggs born in Cordell, Kentucky, 1954 (now 62)
Mark Jones of Exile born in Harlan, Kentucky, 1954 (now 62)

Barney Alvin Kalanikau Isaacs, Jr. (StG 99) born in Honolulu, Hawaii, 1926 (died 1996)

July 19:
Sue Thompson born in Nevada, Missouri, 1926 (now 90)
Bernie Leadon of the Eagles, Flying Burrito Brothers, and Run C&W born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1947 (now 69)
George Hamilton IV born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1937 (died 2014)
William "Lefty" Frizzell (CM 82, NS 72) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1975 (was 47)
George Riddle died in Indianapolis, Indiana (throat cancer), 2014 (was 78)

July 20:


Thomas "Sleepy" LaBeef born in Smackover, Arkansas, 1935 (now 81)
T.G. Sheppard born in Humbolt, Tennessee, 1942 (now 74)
Radney Foster born in Del Rio, Texas, 1959 (now 57)
Joseph Emmett "J.E." Mainer born in Weaverville, North Carolina, 1898 (died 1971)
Cindy Walker (CM 97, NS 70) born near Mart, Texas, 1918 (died 2006)

Velma Smith born in Eppley Station, Kentucky, 1927 (died 2014)
Ralph Rinzler (BG 12) born in Passaic, New Jersey, 1934 (died 1994)
Wayne Carson (NS 97) died in Nashville, Tennessee (long illness), 2015 (was 72)

July 21:


Sara Carter of the Carter Family
 (CM 70, BG 01) born in Wise County, Virginia, 1899 (died 1979)

Eddie Hill (DJ 75) born in Delano, Tennessee, 1921 (died 1994)
Hal Rugg (StG 89) born in New York, New York, 1936 (died 2005)

July 22:

Don Henley of the Eagles born in Gilmer, Texas, 1947 (now 69). In addition to the Eagles, Henley was in a band, Shiloh, in the late 60s with Richard Bowden (later of Pinkard and Bowden) and Jim Ed Norman.
Margaret Whiting born in Detroit, Michigan, 1924 (died 2011). Although primarily a pop singer, Whiting had a series of duets with Jimmy Wakely in the 40s and 50s.
Bob Ferguson died in Jackson, Mississippi (cancer), 2001 (was 73)
Jack Lynn, son of Loretta Lynn, died in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee (drowned), 1984 (was 34)
Ralph S. Peer arrived in Bristol to make recordings for RCA, 1927

July 23:


Alison Krauss born in Decatur, Illinois, 1971 (now 45)
Johnny Darrell born in Hopewell, Alabama, 1940 (died 1997)

Patsy Stoneman died in Manchester, Tennessee (natural causes), 2015 (was 90)

July 24:


Donald "Red" Blanchard of the WLS National Barn Dance born in Pittsville, Wisconsin, 1914 (died 1980)
Lawton Williams born in Troy, Tennessee, 1922 (died 2007)
Max D. Barnes (NS 92) born in Hardscratch, Iowa, 1936 (died 2004)

Freddie Tavares (StG 95) died in Anaheim, California (unknown cause), 1990 (was 77)

July 25:


Marty Brown born in Maceo, Kentucky, 1965 (now 51)
Walter Brennan born in Swmapscott, Massachusetts, 1894 (died 1974). The actor had a major country hit with "Old Rivers" in 1962.

Roy Acuff Jr. born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1943 (died 2015)
Steve Goodman born in Chicago, Illinois, 1948 (died 1984)
Tommy Duncan died in San Diego, California (heart attack), 1967 (was 56)
Charlie Rich died in Hammond, Louisiana (blood clot in lung), 1995 (was 62)

July 26:


Fred Foster
 (CM 16) born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, 1931 (now 85).  Fred, as owner of Monument Records, is one of the "class of 2016" inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Jim Foglesong (CM 04) born in Lundale, West Virginia, 1922 (died 2013)

July 27:


Bobbie Gentry born in Chickasaw, Mississippi, 1944 (now 72)

Bill Engvall born in Galveston, Texas, 1957 (now 59)
Henry "Homer" Haynes (CM 01) born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 1971)

July 28:


Frank Loesser died in New York, New York (lung cancer), 1969 (was 59). The legendary pop composer was the "victim" of Homer and Jethro's first major hit, "Baby, It's Cold Outside," in 1949 (which featured a young June Carter singing the female part). Although RCA officials worried about Loesser's reaction, Loesser loved the parody and only asked that the songwriter credit read, "With apologies to Frank Loesser."  Loesser later wrote the liner notes for the Homer & Jethro Fracture Frank Loesser EP.

July 29:


Martina McBride born in Sharon, Kansas, 1966 (now 50)
Pete Drake (StG 87) died in Brentwood, Tennessee (lung disease), 1988 (was 55)
Anita Carter died in Goodlettesville, Tennessee (illness), 1999 (was 66)

Buddy Emmons (StG 81) died in Hermitage, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2015 (was 78)

July 30:


Dennis Morgan (NS 04) born in Tracy, Minnesota, 1952 (now 64)

Sam Phillips (CM 01) died in Memphis, Tennessee (respiratory failure), 2003 (was 80)
Lynn Anderson died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2015 (was 67)

July 31:


Bonnie Brown
 of the Browns (CM 15) born in Sparkman, Arkansas, 1937 (died 2016)
Jim Reeves (CM 67) died in Nashville, Tennessee (plane crash), 1964 (was 40)
Dean Manuel died in Nashville, Tennessee (plane crash), 1964 (was 30)

Velma Smith died in Madison, Tennessee (illness), 2014 (was 87)

They Made the Night a Little Brighter Wherever They Would Go

Category: Obituary

Recently CNN asked if 2016 was "the year of the celebrity death."  It's certainly seeming that way.  Today (7/16) we bid farewell to our third Country Music Hall of Fame member this year.

Bonnie Brown, one of the great sibling trio the Browns, died today after a bout with lung cancer, 16 days shy of her 78th birthday.

Bonnie was the "baby" of the Browns, not joining older siblings Maxine and Jim Ed in the act until after she graduated from high school.  Once she did, and Jim Ed was discharged from the Army, the magic of their harmonies took country and pop by storm with songs like "The Three Bells" and "The Old Lamplighter."

The sisters retired from the act in the mid-60s to raise families, and Jim Ed set out on a successful solo career.  Still, the siblings would reunite occasionally on the Grand Ole Opry and Country's Family Reunion shows, and the magical harmonies flowed effortlessly from them as if it had been hours, not decades, since they had performed together.

The Browns were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015.  Shortly after their induction was announced, Jim Ed, who had been battling lung cancer, took a turn for the worse and was presented his Hall of Fame medallion in his hospital bed.  Shortly after their formal induction Bonnie announced that, even though she never smoked, she, too, had lung cancer.

Tonight when the stars come out, think of Jim Ed and Bonnie, singing the tale of "The Old Lamplighter" who'd "make the night a little brighter wherever he would go" together again.  And remember their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Another Major Death

Category: News

Amid all of the country, bluegrass, Americana, and rock musicians we've lost this year, the sad news comes out of Washington DC that another legend is on life support and about to die.

This time, it's not a "who," it's a "what."  

WAMU, the longtime bluegrass and country radio station at American University in Washington DC, has announced that its "Bluegrass Country" streaming will either be sold this year or, if no buyer is found, will cease operations at the end of 2016.  The reason is what you might expect: it's not making money.

In its heyday WAMU was one of the premiere radio stations in the entire country for bluegrass music.  Before he moved to Nashville, Eddie Stubbs ran his country music education courses over the airwaves of WAMU (and even after he moved to Nashville he still taped radio programs for the station to broadcast).  

And, of course, that speaks of the rich bluegrass history in the DC area: the Johnson Mountain Boys, the Stonemans, and the Seldom Scene originated near the nation's capital (in addition to country acts like Jimmy Dean, Roy Clark, and Patsy Cline having deep roots there).

But that's all gone now, eaten by the systematic destruction of the term "country music" and the omnipresent need for money and ratings -- even at a public radio station.

Here's Rhonda Vincent & the Rage at WAMU's Bluegrass Country, an indication of what we're all losing: 



Sunday, July 03, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, July 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; DJ=Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; STG=Steel Guitar; RR=country act inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

July 1:

John Lair born in Livingston, Kentucky, 1894 (died 1985). Lair, a one-time announcer on the WLS National Barn Dance, founded the Renfro Valley Barn Dance in 1937.
Thomas A. Dorsey (NS 79) born in Villa Rica, Georgia, 1899 (died 1993)
Alvino Ray (STG 78) born in Oakland, California, 1908 (died 2004)
Charles "Everett" Lilly (BG 02) born in Clear Creek, West Virginia, 1924 (died 2012)
Keith Whitley born in Sandy Hook, Kentucky, 1955 (died 1989)
Charles Carr died in Montgomery, Alabama (brief illness), 2013 (was 79).  As a 19-year-old college student, Carr was Hank Williams' chauffeur on the fateful trip from Alabama to Akron, Ohio New Year's Eve 1952. 
Red Lane (NS 93) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2015 (was 76)

July 2:

Ken Curtis (one-time member of Sons of the Pioneers as well as Gunsmoke actor) born in Lamar, Colorado, 1916 (died 1991)
Fred Maddox of the Maddox Brothers born in Boaz, Alabama, 1919 (died 1992)
Marvin Rainwater born in Wichita, Kansas, 1925 (died 2013)
DeFord Bailey (CM 05) died in Nashville, Tennessee (kidney and heart failure), 1982 (was 82)
Elwood Goins of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) died in Pikeville, Kentucky (long-term illness), 2007 (was 71)
Ralph Rinzler (BG 12) died in Washington, DC (long-term illness), 1994 (was 59)
Jim Reeves' final RCA recording session, 1964

July 3:

Johnny Lee born in Texas City, Texas, 1946 (now 70)
Aaron Tippin born in Pensacola, Florida, 1958 (now 58)
Johnny Russell (NS 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of diabetes), 2001 (was 61)
Homer L. "Boots" Randolph died in Nashville, Tennessee (subdural hematoma), 2007 (was 80)

July 4:

Ray Pillow born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1937 (now 79)
Peter Rowan born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1942 (now 74)
Stephen Collins Foster (NS 10) born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, 1826 (died 1864)
Charlie Monroe born in Rosine, Kentucky, 1903 (died 1975)
Marion Worth born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1930 (died 1999)
Bill Vernon (BG 04) born in New York, New York, 1937 (died 1996)
Big Al Downing died in Leicester, Massachusetts (leukemia), 2005 (was 65)

July 5:

James "Guy" Willis of the Willis Brothers born in Alex, Arkansas, 1915 (died 1981)
Mitch Jayne (BG 09) born in Hammond, Indiana, 1928 (died 2010)
The Grand Ole Opry's first show at the War Memorial Auditorium, 1939

July 6:

Jeannie Seely born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, 1940 (now 76)
Nancy Griffith born in Austin, Texas, 1953 (now 63)
Justin Trevino born in Brownsville, Texas, 1973 (now 43)
Roy Rogers (CM 80; CM 88) died in Apple Valley, California (heart failure), 1998 (was 86)

July 7:

Randy Goodrum (NS 00) born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1947 (now 69)
John "Lonzo" Sullivan born in Edmonton, Kentucky, 1917 (died 1967)
Charlie Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) born in Section, Alabama, 1927 (died 2011)
Wallace Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincolnton, Georgia, 1928 (died 2007)
Doyle Wilburn born in Hardy, Arkansas, 1930 (died 1982)
George Morgan (CM 98) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of heart bypass surgery), 1975 (was 50)
Bill Porter died in St. Louis, Missouri (Alzheimer's disease), 2011 (was 79)
Lois Johnson died in Nashville, Tennessee (long illness), 2014 (was 72)

July 8:

Toby Keith born in Clinton, Oklahoma, 1961 (now 55)
Louis Jordan (a jazz artist who had two country #1 hits in 1944) born in Brinkley, Arkansas, 1908 (died 1975)
Ervin Rouse died (complications from diabetes), 1981 (was 64)
Kenny Baker (BG 99) died in Gallatin, Tennessee (stroke), 2011 (was 85)
Marty Stuart married Connie Smith, 1997

July 9:

Jesse McReynolds (BG 93) born in Coeburn, Virginia, 1929 (now 87)
David Ball born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, 1953 (now 63)
Eddie Dean born in Posey, Texas, 1907 (died 1999)
Molly O'Day born in Pike County, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1987)
Jim Fogelsong (CM 04) died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2013 (was 90)
The Country Music Association announced the largest Country Music Hall of Fame induction class ever -- a total of 12 inductees (Bill Anderson, Delmore Brothers, Everly Brothers, Don Gibson, Homer & Jethro, Waylon Jennings, Jordanaires, Don Law, Louvin Brothers, Ken Nelson, Webb Pierce, and Sam Phillips) -- to coincide with the opening of the new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 2001

July 10:

Randall E. "Hawk" Shaw Wilson of BR5-49 born in Topeka, Kansas, 1960 (now 56)

July 11:

Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Detroit, Michigan, 1947 (now 69)
Eddie Cline of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) died in Gilbert Creek, West Virginia (unknown cause), 1984 (was 77)

July 12:

Steve Young born in Newman, Georgia, 1942 (died 2016)
Jimmie Driftwood died in Fayetteville, Arkansas (heart attack), 1998 (was 91)

July 13:

Louise Mandrell of the Mandrell Sisters born in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1954 (now 62)
Rhonda Vincent born in Kirksville, Missouri, 1962 (now 54)
Bradley Kincaid (NS 71) born in Level, Kentucky, 1895 (died 1989)
Tim Spencer (CM 80, NS 71) born in Webb City, Missouri, 1908 (died 1974)
Riley Puckett died in East Point, Georgia (blood poisoning), 1946 (was 62)

July 14:

Rory Michael Brook (NS 89) born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1942 (now 74)
William J. "Billy" Hill (NS 82) born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1899 (died 1940)
Woody Guthrie (NS 77) born in Okemah, Oklahoma, 1912 (died 1967)
Marijohn Wilkin (NS 75) born in Kemp, Texas, 1920 (died 2006)
Del Reeves born in Sparta, North Carolina, 1933 (died 2007)

July 15:

Linda Ronstadt born in Tucson, Arizona, 1946 (now 70)
Mac McAnally (NS 07) born in Red Bay, Alabama, 1957 (now 58)
Lloyd "Cowboy" Copas born in Adams County, Ohio, 1913 (died 1963)
Johnny Seay born in Gulfport, Mississippi, 1940 (died 2016)
Hank Cochran (CM 14, NS 74) died in Nashville, Tennessee (pancreatic cancer), 2010 (was 74)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

O Death...

Category: News/Obituary 

The agony of 2016 continues.  Dr. Ralph Stanley has died.

Stanley, a 1992 Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductee, died today (6/23) around 8 PM after what grandson Nathan said was "a long, horrible battle with skin cancer."

Ralph Stanley and brother Carter started on Virginia radio stations shortly after Ralph's discharge from the Army.  They recorded for Columbia (prompting Bill Monroe to leave the label, infuriated that they'd sign another bluegrass act), Mercury, and King.  After Carter died on December 1, 1966 Ralph continued on as a solo act.

Over the years Stanley was awarded two honorary doctorates of music (including from Yale) and won the 2002 "Best Male Country Vocal Performance" Grammy award for his stirring rendition of "O Death" on the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou.  He also won a bluegrass Grammy that year for Lost in the Lonesome Pines, a collaborative effort with Jim Lauderdale.

What can you say about the legacy and the music that Dr. Ralph has given us, except "thank you, Dr. Ralph."

Thank you.  A million times over, thank you, Dr. Ralph.

Ralph Stanley was 89.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

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


June 16:

Billy "Crash" Craddock born in Greensboro, North Carolina, 1946 (now 70)
Bob Nolan  (CM 80, NS 71) died in Newport Beach, California (heart attack), 1980 (was 72)
"Orange Blossom Special" recorded by the Rouse Brothers, 1939. Ervin Rouse co-wrote the legendary fiddle tune with Chubby Wise.

June 17:

Clyde "Red" Foley (CM 67) born in Blue Lick, Kentucky, 1910 (died 1968)
Dave Akeman (Stringbean) born in Annville, Kentucky, 1916 (died 1973)

Dolores Dinning Edgin died in Springfield, Tennessee (natural causes), 2015 (was 86)
Minnie Pearl suffered a stroke that ended her career, 1991
Ground breaking ceremonies held for the new Country Music Hall of Fame, 1999. Your blogger was a member of the "All-Guitar Marching Band," fronted by Chet Atkins, that led the Hall of Fame members to the site.

June 18:

Sir Paul McCartney born in Liverpool, England, 1942 (now 74). The legendary Beatle hit the country chart in 1974 with "Sally G." He was also introduced to a Friday Night Opry audience in 1974 by Roy Acuff, where McCartney proclaimed Nashville the "music capital of the universe."
Marty Haggard born in Bakersfield, California, 1958 (now 58)

Zeke Turner born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1923 (died 2003)
A.P. Carter married Sara Dougherty, 1915

June 19:

Glen Allred of the Florida Boys (SG 01) born in Monroe, Tennessee, 1934 (now 82)

Doug Stone born in Marietta, Georgia, 1956 (now 60)
Howard Dixon of the Dixon Brothers born in Darlington, South Carolina, 1903 (died 1951)
Lester Flatt (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07) born in Sparta, Tennessee, 1914 (died 1979)
Pat Buttram born in Addison, Alabama, 1915 (died 1994)
Bobby Helms died in Martinsville, Indiana (emphysema), 1997 (was 63)

Slim Whitman died in Orange Park, Florida (heart failure), 2013 (was 90)
Chet Flippo died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2013 (was 69)

June 20:

Anne Murray (Canadian Music 93) born in Springhill, Nova Scotia, 1945 (now 71)
Evelyn Mae Cox of the Cox Family born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1959 (now 57)
Jimmie Driftwood (ne James Corbitt Morris) born in Mountain View, Arkansas, 1907 (died 1998)
T. Texas Tyler born in Mena, Arkansas, 1916 (died 1972)

Pauline "Mom" Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Washington, Georgia, 1920 (died 2003)
Chet Atkins (CM 73, RR 02, GLA 93) born in Luttrell, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2001)
Ira Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) died near Williamsburg, Missouri (car wreck), 1965 (was 41)
Benjamin "Whitey" Ford, the "Duke of Paducah" (CM 86), died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1986 (was 85)

June 21:

Eddie Adcock (BG 96) born in Scottsville, Virginia, 1938 (now 78)
Leon Everette born in Aiken, South Carolina, 1948 (now 68)
Kathy Mattea born in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, 1959 (now 57)
Porter Howell of Little Texas born in Longview, Texas, 1964 (now 52)

Charlie Lamb born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1921 (died 2012)
Jimmy C. Newman died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2014 (was 86)

June 22:


Kris Kristofferson (CM 04, NS 77, GLA 14) born in Brownsville, Texas, 1936 (now 80)

Peter Asher born in Williesden, Middlesex, England, 1944 (now 72). The former half of the pop duo Peter and Gordon was the producer of most of Linda Ronstadt's crossover hits.
Roy Drusky born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1930 (died 2004)
Elton Britt died in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania (heart attack), 1972 (was 58)

June 23:

Dallas Wayne born in Springfield, Missouri, 1956 (now 60)

Zeb Turner born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1915 (died 1978)
June Carter Cash born in Maces Springs, Virginia, 1929 (died 2003)

June 24:

Johnnie Bailes of the Bailes Brothers born in Kanawha County, West Virginia, 1918 (died 1989)
Foy Willing of Riders of the Purple Sage died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1978 (was 63)
Tim Krekel died in Louisville, Kentucky (stomach cancer), 2009 (was 57)

June 25:

Jenifer Strait, daughter of George Strait, died in San Marcos, Texas (car wreck), 1986 (was 13)
Boudleaux Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) died in Knoxville, Tennessee (cancer), 1987 (was 67)
Lew DeWitt retired from the Statler Brothers because of health issues, 1982
Billboard magazine renames the "Hillbilly" music chart the "Country and Western" chart, 1949

June 26:

Gretchen Wilson born in Granite City, Illinois, 1973 (now 43)

Colonel Tom Parker born in Breda, Netherlands, 1909 (died 1997). Before Elvis, Colonel Tom managed Hank Snow, Eddy Arnold, and Minnie Pearl.
Doc Williams born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1914 (died 2011)
Kenny Baker (BG 99) born in Jenkins, Kentucky, 1926 (died 2011)
Charlie Cline of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) born in Gilbert Creek, Virginia, 1931 (died 2004)
Vernon Presley died in Memphis, Tennessee (heart failure), 1979 (was 63)
Elvis Presley's final concert, at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, 1977

June 27:
Lorrie Morgan born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1959 (now 57)
Elton Britt born in Marshall, Arkansas, 1913 (died 1972)
Rosalie Allen born in Old Forge, Pennsylavania, 1924 (died 2003)
Little Roy Wiggins (StG 85) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1926 (died 1999)
Joe Maphis died near Los Angeles, California (lung cancer), 1986 (was 65)
Bob Keeshan born in Lynbrook, New York, 1927 (died 2004). The Statler Brothers referenced Keeshan's best-known character in their hit "Flowers on the Wall:" "Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo."

Susanna Clark died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2012 (was 73)

June 28:

George Morgan (CM 98) born in Waverly, Tennessee, 1924 (died 1975)
Bobby Caldwell (StG 10) born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1941 (died 2009)
The WWVA Wheeling Jamboree began, 1940

June 29:

T. Tommy Cutrer (DJ 80) born in Osyka, Mississippi, 1924 (died 1998)
Frank Loesser born in New York City, 1910 (died 1969). The legendary pop songwriter was the first "victim" of a Homer & Jethro parody in 1949, "Baby, It's Cold Outside." After Homer & Jethro recorded seven more parodies of Loesser compositions for an EP (Homer & Jethro Fracture Frank Loesser), Loesser, a fan of the pair, wrote the liner notes.
Rosemary Clooney died in Beverly Hills, California (lung cancer), 2002 (was 74).  The pop singer worked on WLW with many country singers and recorded a cover of the Carl Smith hit "If Teardrops Were Pennies."

June 30:

Dwayne O'Brien of Little Texas born in Ada, Oklahoma, 1963 (now 53)
Doyle Holly born in Perkins, Oklahoma, 1936 (died 2007)
R.W. Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 02) died in Clanton, Alabama (plane crash), 1954 (was 33)
Bill Lyles of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 02) died in Clanton, Alabama (plane crash), 1954 (was 34)
Chet Atkins (CM 73, RR 02, GLA 93) died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2001 (was 77)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, June 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=country act inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


June 1:


Pat Boone born in Jacksonville, Florida, 1934 (now 82). The legendary pop crooner married Red Foley's daughter Shirley.

Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn born in Coleman, Texas, 1953 (now 63)
Elsie McWilliams (NS 79) born in Harperville, Mississippi, 1896 (died 1985)

Lee Allen of the Allen Brothers born in Sewanee, Tennessee, 1906 (died 1981)
Johnny Bond (CM 99, NS 70) born in Enville, Oklahoma, 1915 (died 1978)
Dale Warren of the Sons of the Pioneers born in Rockford, Illinois, 1925 (died 2008)
Andy Griffith born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, 1926 (died 2012)
Hazel Dickens born in Mercer County, West Virginia, 1935 (died 2011)
Wayne Kemp (NS 99) born in Greenwood, Arkansas, 1941 (died 2015)
Jimmy Murphy died (unknown cause), 1981 (was 55)

June 2:


Carl Butler born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 1992)
Helen Carter died in Nashville, Tennessee (gastrointestinal issues), 1998 (was 70)
Adolph Hofner died in San Antonio, Texas (illness), 2000 (was 83)

Weldon Myrick (StG 97) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2014 (was 76)

June 3:


Fred "Too Slim" LeBour of Riders in the Sky born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1948 (now 68)

Deke Dickerson born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1968 (now 48)
Jamie O'Neal born in Sydney, Australia, 1968 (now 48)
Curly Williams born in Cairo, Georgia, 1914 (died 1970)
Homer Louis "Boots" Randolph born in Paducah, Kentucky, 1927 (died 2007)
Wally Fowler died at Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee (heart attack/drowned), 1994 (was 77)
Van Stoneman of the Stoneman Family died in Mufreesboro, Tennessee (Parkinson's disease), 1995 (was 54)

James Alan Shelton died in Kingsport, Tennessee (cancer), 2014 (was 51)
Graceland opens to the public, 1982
The Cincinnati radio show Midwest Hayride begins television broadcasts (on WLW-TV), 1955

June 4:


Bill Mack born in Shamrock, Texas, 1929 (now 87)
Linda Martell born in Leesville, South Carolina, 1941 (now 75). She was the first black female artist to perform on the Grand Ole Opry.

Texas Ruby Owens born in Wise County, Texas, 1910 (died 1963)
Freddy Fender born in San Benito, Texas, 1937 (died 2006)

Herby Wallace (StG 01) born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1947 (died 2012)
Zeke Clements (NS 71) died in Nashville, Tennessee (post-operative complications), 1994 (was 82)
John Hartford (BG 10) died in Madison, Tennessee (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma), 2001 (was 63)
Alabama's annual "June Jam" concert began in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1982

June 5:


Don Reid (CM 08) born in Staunton, Virginia, 1945 (now 71)
Gail Davies born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, 1948 (now 68)
William "Hopalong Cassidy" Boyd born in Cambridge, Ohio, 1895 (died 1972)

Vaughn Horton (NS 71) born in Broad Top, Pennsylvania, 1911 (died 1988)
Hal "Lone" Pine born in Pea Cove, Maine, 1916 (died 1977)
John "Lonzo" Sullivan died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1967 (was 48)
Conway Twitty (CM 99, NS 93) died in Springfield, Missouri (abdominal aneurysm), 1993 (was 59)
Ronald Reagan died in Los Angeles, California (complications of Alzheimer's disease), 2004 (was 93). While governor of California, the former president signed a full pardon for former convict Merle Haggard.

Don Bowman died in Branson, Missouri (complications of a stroke), 2013 (was 75)
Grand Ole Opry's first performance at the Ryman auditorium, 1943

The United States Postal Service issues the Johnny Cash postage stamp, 2013

June 6:


Joe Stampley born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1943 (now 73)
Gid Tanner of the Skillet Lickers born in Thomas Bridge, Georgia, 1885 (died 1960)
Asher Sizemore born in Manchester, Kentucky, 1906 (died 1973)
Charlie Cline of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers born in Gilbert, West Virginia, 1931 (died 2004)
Claudette Orbison, wife of Roy Orbison, died in Gallatin, Tennessee (motorcycle accident), 1966 (was 24)
Grant Turner began his tenure as Grand Ole Opry announcer, 1944

June 7:


Sir Tom Jones born in Treforest, South Wales, 1940 (now 76). The legendary pop/rock singer had a hit with a cover of "Green, Green Grass of Home" in 1967 and hit the country charts with "Say You'll Stay Until Tomorrow" in 1977.
Larry Boone born in Cooper City, Florida, 1956 (now 60)
Dean Martin born in Steubenville, Ohio, 1917 (died 1995). The pop crooner recorded two albums of country music on Reprise in the early 60s and sang with Ricky Nelson in the John Wayne classic Rio Bravo in 1969.
Wynn Stewart born in Morrisville, Missouri, 1934 (died 1985)
Courtney Johnson of New Grass Revival died in Glasgow, Kentucky (lung cancer), 1996 (was 56)

June 8:


Vernon Oxford born in Rogers, Arkansas, 1941 (now 75)
Tony Rice (BG 13) born in Danville, Virginia, 1951 (now 65)
Adolph Hofner born in Moulton, Texas, 1916 (died 2000)
Alton Delmore (CM 01, NS 71) died in Huntsville, Alabama (alcohol-related illness), 1964 (was 55)
Roba Stanley died in Gainesville, Florida (unknown cause), 1986 (was 76). She is credited as being the first female solo artist recorded in country music history (1924).
Tommy Perkins of the Texas Playboys died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (car accident), 2003 (was 69)

June 9:

Herb Remington (StG 79) born in Mishawaka, Indiana, 1926 (now 90)

Willard Cox of the Cox Family born in Cotton Valley, Louisiana, 1937 (now 79)
Jamie Dailey of Dailey & Vincent born in Corbin, Kentucky, 1975 (now 41)

Les Paul born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, 1915 (died 2009). In addition to his recordings with wife Mary Ford, Paul invented the solid-body electric guitar and multi-track recording. He also won a Grammy for his album with Chet Atkins, Chester and Lester, in 1976.

June 10:


Thom Schuyler (NS 11) born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1952 (now 64)

Herman Crook of the Crook Brothers died in Nashville, Tennesee (heart attack), 1988 (was 89).  Crook was the last surviving member of the original Grand Ole Opry/WSM Barn Dance cast from 1925.
Steve Sanders, who replaced William Lee Golden in the Oak Ridge Boys for 15 years, died in Cape Coral, Florida (suicide), 1998 (was 45)
Ray Charles died in Beverly Hills, California (complications of liver disease), 2004 (was 73). Charles made the country charts in the 80s with duets with George Jones and Willie Nelson, and his ground-breaking 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country Music presented country songs to a wide audience.


June 11:


Jay McDowell of BR-549 born in Bedford, Indiana, 1969 (now 47)

Edwin Duhon of the Hackberry Ramblers born in Lafayette, Louisiana, 1910 (died 2006)
Brother Dave Gardner born in Jackson, Tennessee, 1926 (died 1983)
Jud Strunk born in Jamestown, New York, 1936 (died 1981)
 

Wilma Burgess born in Orlando, Florida, 1939 (died 2003)
Henry Maddox of the Maddox Brothers & Rose died aboard a mercy flight between Ashland, Oregon and Portland, Oregon (kidney disease), 1974 (was 46)

Jim Ed Brown (CM 15) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2015 (was 81).  Brown died less than three months after it was announced that he would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
John Wayne died in Los Angeles, California (stomach cancer), 1979 (was 72). The actor has been referenced in a number of country songs.

June 12:


Junior Brown born in Kirksville, Indiana, 1952 (now 64)

Rebecca Holden born in Austin, Texas, 1958 (now 58)
Penny Jay born in Monteagle Mountain, Tennessee, 1927 (died 2006)
Dr. Humphrey Bate of the Possum Hunters died in Castalain Springs, Tennessee (heart attack), 1936 (was 61)
J.E. Mainer died (heart attack), 1971 (was 72)
Johnny Bond (CM 99, NS 70) died in Burbank, California (complications from stroke/heart attack), 1978 (was 63)

Winnie Winston (StG 10) died in New Zealand (prostate cancer), 2005 (was 64)
Danny Davis (ne George Joseph Nowlan) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure), 2008 (was 83)

June 13:


Howard Vokes born in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, 1931 (now 85)
Slim Dusty born in Kempsey, Australia, 1927 (died 2003)

Jimmy Dean (CM 10) died in Varina, Virginia (natural causes), 2010 (was 81)
Frances Preston (CM 92) died in Nashville, Tennessee (congestive heart failure), 2012 (was 83)
The Country Music Foundation Library and Media Center opened in the basement of the Country Music Hall of Fame, 1972. The CMF is now on the top floor of the new Hall of Fame building.

June 14:


Burl Ives born in Newton, Illinois, 1909 (died 1995)
Lash LaRue born in Gretna, Louisiana, 1917 (died 1996). The Western actor was the first sidekick to western singer/actor/songwriter Eddie Dean and was mentioned in the Statler Brothers' "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott."
Ernest V. "Pop" Stoneman (CM 08) died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 1968 (was 75)

Tom Tall died in Los Angeles, California (unknown cause), 2013 (was 75)
Patsy Cline seriously injured in a car accident in Madison, Tennessee, 1961

June 15:


Terri Gibbs born in Miami, Florida, 1954 (now 62)
Blind Alfred Reed born in Floyd, Virginia, 1880 (died 1956)
Tex Owens (NS 71) born in Killeen, Texas, 1892 (died 1962)
Marvin Hughes born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1911 (died 1986)

Leon Payne (NS 70) born in Alba, Texas, 1917 (died 1969)
RCA engineer Bill Porter born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1931 (died 2010)
Bob White (StG 90) born in Jenny Lind, Arkansas, 1932 (died 2003)
Waylon Jennings (CM 01, NS 95) born in Littlefield, Texas, 1937 (died 2002)

Ruby Falls died in Nashville, Tennessee (cerebral hemorrhage), 1986 (was 40)
Hee Haw debuted on CBS as the summer replacement show for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, 1969. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thirty Three Years of Fun

Category:  Personal/News

The 33rd annual International Country Music Conference begins today (5/26) at Belmont University in Nashville.  It will run through Saturday afternoon.

It started 33 years ago today, the anniversary of the death of Jimmie Rodgers.  From there it's become a gathering place for scholars, historians, authors, and geeks like me who cannot get enough of the history and knowledge of country music.

Presentations this year cover the usual wide variety of topics, from a pre-World War II Japanese-American country singer to Felice & Boudleaux Bryant to Josh Graves to Hoagy Carmichael!  My presentation (they keep letting me do them!) this year is on the Whitstein Brothers, a grossly under-appreciated country/bluegrass close harmony duo from the 80s and 90s.

Books are also available, including the great new work from Caroline Gnagy, Texas Jailhouse Music, about female country music bands formed in prisons around Texas.

This is where the people who truly love country music -- so much so that they sacrifice good money by writing about Bill Clifton instead of something "trendy" (as I frequently tell people, "You don't get rich writing books about hillbillies, you get rich writing Harry Potter books") -- gather to share knowledge, fellowship, and a deep and passionate love for all things country music. 

I'm so thankful to be part of this incredible fraternity!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Bed By the Window is Empty

Category: Obituary

In a year where music lovers are already reeling with the loss of two Country Music Hall of Fame members, two Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame members, and five Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, we yet again mourn the loss of another great.

Bluegrass singer James King died today (5/19) of complications from his long battle with liver disease.

Born in Virginia and raised on the classics such as the Stanley Brothers, King began working on a music career after his enlistment in the Marines.  He played with Ralph Stanley and, in the early 90s, began the James King Band.  He was also a member of the bluegrass supergroup Longview (that also featured heavy hitters such as Dudley Connell and JD Crowe).

King's voice was pure bluegrass, with those terrific story songs that would grab your heart and choke it.  The title track of his classic album Bed By the Window was a perfect example.  The song is about two friends who were roomed together in a nursing home.  Both confined to their beds, the friend in the envious eponymous bed describes the world in all its beautiful splendor to his buddy.  Then the man dies and his friend, eager to see the world that his friend had described, is moved to the bed by the window, only to see it faces a stone wall.

King once said the best advice he ever received about performing was "spill your guts onstage and then walk in 'em."  The "bed by the window" is empty now.  King's death, compounded with the loss of Guy Clark earlier in the week, means that someone else has to paint lovely portraits on dingy walls.  No one will do it with the heart and emotion that James King was able to pour into a song.

Farewell to James King, who was just 57.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Only Two Things That Money Can't Buy

Category:  Obituary

Oh, does this hurt.  Guy Clark has died.

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer passed away early this morning (5/17) after a long illness.  He was transferred to a hospice facility earlier this year.

There are songwriters, and then there's Guy Clark.  Inspired, he said, by Townes Van Zandt to start writing, he in many ways surpassed his influence.  

From that #1 song (thanks to Ricky Skaggs) "Heartbroke" (Skaggs sanitized the line "pride is a bitch and a bore if you're lonely," as did George Strait with his version [Rodney Crowell's cover did not]) to the all-time classics "L.A. Freeway," "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train," and "Homegrown Tomatoes" (with its singalong and smile-along chorus of, "What would life be without homegrown tomatoes, there's only two things that money can't buy, and that's true love and homegrown tomatoes"), Guy Clark was revered by everyone except the masses.  As with most great songwriters (including Van Zandt and countless others), Clark developed a dedicated cult following, which included most of the "big names" in country music, who gleefully covered his songs.

His Dublin Blues album was a masterpiece.  Heck, all of his albums were masterpieces.  But when Doc Watson died that great line from "Dublin Blues" was the first thing that came to mind:  "I have seen the David, I've seen the Mona Lisa too, and I have heard Doc Watson play 'Columbus Stockade Blues.'"

Much like that comparison of Watson to the greatest artwork in history, we can all be thankful that we have heard Guy Clark sing "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train."  Or "The Randall Knife."  Or "Black Diamond Strings."  Or anything that he gave us.  He was a gem.

Clark's wife, Susanna, who was also a songwriter ("I'll Be Your San Antone Rose," "Easy From Now On") and painter (she did the cover of Willie Nelson's Stardust album), died in 2012.  Now the two desperadoes wait for a train no longer.

Actually, there's three things that money can't buy:  true love, homegrown tomatoes, and the joy of a Guy Clark song.

Guy Clark was 74.

Monday, May 16, 2016

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; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; RR=country performer also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

May 16:


Rick Trevino born in Austin, Texas, 1971 (now 45)
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 64)
Grant Turner (CM 81) 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 74)
Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1948 (now 68)
Gary Scruggs born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1949 (now 67)

Tom Shapiro (NS 08) born in Kansas City, Missouri, 1950 (now 66)
George Strait (CM 06) born in Poteet, Texas, 1952 (now 64)

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:

Miggie Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Richmond County, Georgia, 1926 (now 90)
Buddy Alan born in Mega, Arizona, 1948 (now 68)
Rich Alves of Pirates of the Mississippi born in Pleasanton, California, 1953 (now 63)
Dana Williams of Diamond Rio born in Dayton, Ohio, 1961 (now 55)
Ralph S. Peer (CM 84) born in Independence, Missouri, 1892 (died 1960)
Royce Kendall died in LaCrosse, Wisconsin (stroke), 1988 (was 63)

May 23:

Mac Wiseman (CM 14, BG 93) born in Crimora, Virginia, 1925 (now 91)
Ken Irwin, co-founder of Rounder Records, born in New York, New York, 1944 (now 72)
Misty Morgan born in Buffalo, New York, 1945 (now 71)
Shelley West born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1958 (now 58)

Leroy Troy born in Goodlettesville, Tennessee, 1966 (now 50)
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 69)
Rosanne Cash (NS 15) born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1955 (now 61)
Billy Gilman born in Westerly, Rhode Island, 1988 (now 28). 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 80)
Jessi Colter born in Phoenix, Arizona, 1947 (now 69)
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 68)
Richard Leigh (NS 94) born in Washington, DC, 1951 (now 65)
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) 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:

Don Williams (CM 10) born in Floydada, Texas, 1939 (now 77)
Redd Stewart (NS 70) born in Ashland City, Tennessee, 1921 (died 2003)
Kenny Price born in Florence, Kentucky, 1931 (died 1987)
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 71). 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 60)
Phil Vassar born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1965 (now 51)

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 56)
Lewis Crook of the Crook Brothers born in Trousdale County, Tennessee, 1909 (died 1996)

Johnny Gimble born in Tyler, Texas, 1926 (died 2015)
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)