Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Please Walk On Out of My Mind

Category:  News/Obituary 

Red Lane has died.

The Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame member died this evening (7/1) of cancer at approximately 7 PM central time in Nashville, according to his Facebook page.

Born in Louisiana in 1939, Red Lane was one of the great prolific songwriters in Nashville in the 60's through the 80's.  The long string of hits he wrote include John Conlee's "Miss Emily's Picture" (inspired by Lane's grandmother, Emily), "Country Girl" (co-written with and a hit by Dottie West), Conway Twitty's "Darlin', You Know I Wouldn't Lie" (co-written with Wayne Kemp, who passed away earlier this year), Eddy Arnold's "They Just Don't Make Love Like They Used To," and "New Looks From an Old Lover" by B.J. Thomas.

Two of Lane's best-known compositions were the haunting "Black Jack County Chain," recorded by Willie Nelson, about a group of inmates who beat a sadistic jailer to death with their chains, and the classic Waylon Jennings song "Walk On Out of My Mind," with its terrific chorus of, "Since you walked out of my life, out of my world, please walk on out of my mind."

Lane was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993.  He has been honored with presentations on his career at the "songwriters session" at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Red Lane was 76.

Monday, June 29, 2015

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. 

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 69)
Aaron Tippin born in Pensacola, Florida, 1958 (now 57)
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:

Stephen Collins Foster (NS 10) born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, 1826 (died 1864)
Ray Pillow born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1937 (now 78)
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 75)
Nancy Griffith born in Austin, Texas, 1953 (now 62)
Justin Trevino born in Brownsville, Texas, 1973 (now 42)
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 68)
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 54)
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 86)
David Ball born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, 1953 (now 62)
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 55)

July 11:

Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Detroit, Michigan, 1947 (now 68)
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 (now 73)
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 61)
Rhonda Vincent born in Kirksville, Missouri, 1962 (now 53)
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 73)
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:

Johnny Seay born in Gulfport, Mississippi, 1940 (now 75)
Linda Ronstadt born in Tucson, Arizona, 1946 (now 69)
Mac McAnally (NS 07) born in Red Bay, Alabama, 1957 (now 57)
Lloyd "Cowboy" Copas born in Adams County, Ohio, 1913 (died 1963)
Hank Cochran (CM 14, NS 74) died in Nashville, Tennessee (pancreatic cancer), 2010 (was 74)

Monday, June 15, 2015

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; RR=country act inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

June 16:

Billy "Crash" Craddock born in Greensboro, North Carolina, 1946 (now 69)
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)
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 73). 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 57)

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 81)

Doug Stone born in Marietta, Georgia, 1956 (now 59)
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 70)
Evelyn Mae Cox of the Cox Family born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1959 (now 55)
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) 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 77)
Leon Everette born in Aiken, South Carolina, 1948 (now 67)
Kathy Mattea born in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, 1959 (now 56)
Porter Howell of Little Texas born in Longview, Texas, 1964 (now 51)

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) born in Brownsville, Texas, 1936 (now 79)
Peter Asher born in Williesden, Middlesex, England, 1944 (now 71). 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 59)

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 42)

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 56)
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 52)
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) died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2001 (was 77)

Excuse Me While I Gloat

Category:  News/Opinion

Back in February Sony Nashville's CEO Gary Overton made a bold proclamation about country musicians: "If you're not on country radio, you don't exist."  He lost his job ("mutual agreement" resignation, officially) a month later after the uproar over a remark that was ostensibly designed to make commercial country radio stations feel far more important than they are.  (I say that because 99% of music [not just country music] recorded in America is never played on the radio, and yet all those artists are selling albums and concert tickets.  Robbie Fulks wrote in his "Career Day" essay in the book A Guitar and a Pen that his wife commented that musicians can have a devoted following and make a living wage "without ever gaining an ounce of celebrity."  Those who are part of that 99% are out there making music will never play a concert in the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, but they're doing just fine, thank you, with plenty of happy and loyal fans.)

And now what has happened to further rub salt in Overton's wound?  The #1 album on the Billboard country charts this week is Django and Jimmie by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson.  

Neither man has been played on commercial mainstream country radio in at least 25 years, maybe longer.  So they "don't exist," but they debuted at the top spot on the country album chart.

Excuse me while I gloat.

It's short-lived, of course.  They won't get radio airplay because you can't play two country legends after Florida-Georgia Line without a lot of people realizing that one of the two of them is not country music.  But oh, does it feel good today.

Congratulations, Willie & Merle.  And thanks.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rockers Gone Country, Part 3,402,746

Category: News/Opinion 

Back in the old days rock and roll was rock and roll, and those who played it wanted NOTHING to do with that "hillbilly music" that people like George Jones, Buck Owens, and Merle Haggard were doing. Now you can't swing a drumstick without hitting a rock singer who's announced that he/she is making a "country record."


Understand something:  this isn't the world of Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jerry Wallace, or Conway Twitty, all of whom switched genres with varying degrees of success (Lee and Twitty ended up in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and "Little Miss Dynamite" is also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame).  This also isn't Gene Pitney's duet albums with George Jones, Ray Charles' Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, or Elvis Costello's Almost Blue album.  This seems to be people looking at Harlan Howard's legendary quote that "country music is three chords and the truth" and thinking, "'Three chords? I can do that!" 

Bret Michaels, the former lead singer of the 80's hair band Poison, has announced that he'll do a country album.  Aerosmith lead vocalist Steven Tyler is also going to do a country album.  And let's not forget "the Boss," Bruce Springsteen, who's reportedly had a country album in the can for nearly three years now.

The quote they are forgetting, however, comes from Hank Williams, who proclaimed, "You've got to have smelled an awful lot of manure before you can sing like a hillbilly."  He wasn't talking about the kind that road managers and booking agents give artists on tour, either.  

Fear not:  unlike rockers like Richard Thompson (who wrote the IBMA award-winning song "1952 Vincent Black Lightning") or Sir Paul (who had a minor country hit with "Sally G." in 1974) you aren't going to see Bret Michaels' name pop up in the "Dates of Note in Country Music."  Not even at gunpoint.

However, there is one rocker with a country album on the radar that's an exception.  At least at this point, not having heard the album, I would say he has has more legitimacy when it comes to making a country album than any of the others.  That person is Don Henley, the drummer, vocalist, songwriter, and co-founder of the Eagles.

Henley's first solo album in 15 years, Cass County (named after the county in Texas he was born and raised in), will be released later this year.  He previewed it to a group of journalists earlier this week in Nashville.

Why will I give the man who sang "Dirty Laundry," "All She Wants to Do Is Dance," and dueted with Axl Rose on "I Will Not Go Quietly" a pass while the others are only agitating me with their "hey, I'll slap a cowboy hat on my head and call myself 'country'" schtick?

Simply put, history.  Henley has proved he can sing country music.  Songs such as "The Best of My Love," "Lyin' Eyes," "Hollywood Waltz," "Saturday Night," and "Midnight Flyer" showed the country side of the Eagles.  When their second album, the concept album Desperado, came out fellow Eagle Glenn Frey referred to it as "a[n] (explicit deleted) cowboy record."  While nothing was further from the truth (seriously, "Out of Control" is only country if you're referring to the George Jones song by that title, NOT the song on the Desperado album), there were times in the mid-70's when the Eagles were doing as well on the country singles charts as they did on the rock charts.  They didn't particularly care for the term at the time, but they were considered the most successful of the "country-rock" acts that began in the late 1960's with the Byrds' landmark Sweetheart of the Rodeo album.

Henley's solo career, easily the most successful solo Eagle in terms of both commercial and critical success (I believe he's the only solo Eagle with a Grammy), left the "country rock" in the dust.  I Can't Stand Still was a rock album, start to finish.  Even his cover of "The Uncloudy Day," which he was inspired to include thanks to Willie Nelson's rendition, was reggae, not country.  The next album, Building the Perfect Beast, rocked even harder...and began to reflect the popularity of synthesizers.  

But there was a definite, undeniable country flavor to several Eagles songs in Henley's "first career."  Additionally, Henley grew up in eastern Texas, two counties away from Country Hall of Famers Tex Ritter and Jim Reeves' birthplaces in Panola County, where he was exposed to country music as a child -- real country music, not whatever Bret Michaels must think passes as "country music."  The 1969 album Shiloh, which first introduced the world to Don Henley, contained country elements (especially the hilarious "Down on the Farm," by future Pinkard & Bowden member Richard Bowden).  The Eagles formed while the various members did a stint backing Linda Ronstadt in her country era (remember, she covered Wayne Raney's "We Need a Whole Lot More of Jesus [And a Lot Less Rock and Roll]" on Hand Sown...Home Grown [let's see Mr. Michaels do a Wayne Raney song!]).  He may not have made every record a country record (if he had he certainly wouldn't be the subject of this blog!), but he does have far better credentials to present than anyone else in rock and roll currently making (or threatening to make) inroads into "country music."

The question now, which won't be answered until the album is released, is how country will this be?  One of the songs on the album is a cover of the Louvin Brothers' classic "When I Stop Dreaming" with Dolly Parton singing along, and other country singers including Vince Gill will be guesting on the album.  (He also has Mick Jagger guesting on one song, so the list of guest stars won't be an accurate indication.)  The problem is that there's a vast difference in what the Eagles were doing as "country music" in the 70's and what is comically presented as "country music" today.  There's not a country music station in America that would play "Lyin' Eyes" today.  It would be dismissed it as "too country."  Is that the country music we'll get from Henley, or will he be rehashing his ballads from The End of the Innocence (the title track to which could probably work well as a country song with different instrumentation backing it) and calling it "country" like the rest of the rock singers today?

Time will tell.  Cass County is tentatively slated for release in the fall of 2015.  Henley said at the preview that the album "is who I am."  Let's hope "who he is" is Texas country, not Nashville schlock. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Just a Lonely Bell Was Ringing

Category:  News/Obituary

It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the death of Jim Ed Brown.

One of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame died today (6/11), eight days after announcing that it had been discovered that cancer had returned in his body.  He had been treated for lung cancer last year and had announced he was declared cancer-free by his oncologists.  

Jim Edward Brown was the only male sibling in a family from Arkansas.  He and older sister Maxine began singing while younger sister Bonnie was still in school.  They signed with Fabor Records and immediately scored a hit with "Lookin' Back to See," a song inspired by baby sister Norma trying to explain something.  Another talent in Fabor Robinson's stable, Jim Reeves, played rhythm guitar on the recording.

Reeves played a significant role in helping the Browns achieve major success.  When he left Robinson's Abbott label for RCA the Browns soon followed suit.

Just as their career was taking off in earnest, thanks to an Ira & Charlie Louvin song called "I Take the Chance," Jim Ed was drafted.  He spent his leave time going to Nashville for recording sessions and making personal appearances with his sisters.  When he couldn't get away from the Army artists such as Bobby Lord, Red Foley, and Billy Walker filled in for Jim Ed.

Once Jim Ed was discharged the trio reformed but found things dramatically different in the music world, thanks in no small part to a truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi who was just starting his Army service.  Thinking their days as a music group were numbered they recorded a song in June 1959.  After that, they never worried about a music career again.

The song they recorded was "The Three Bells."

Thanks to Chet Atkins' brilliant production the song was a perfect fit for country and pop.  It hit #1 on both charts and was nominated for a Grammy award.

Jim Ed and Maxine Brown signing autographs at the
Midnite Jamboree's celebration of the 50th anniversary of
the release of "The Three Bells" in 2009.
c. 2015 K.F. Raizor
In 1967 the two sisters retired and Jim Ed began his second career as a solo singer.  His hits included "Pop a Top," "Morning," "Bottle, Bottle," and "Angel's Sunday."  He also had several hit duets with Helen Cornelius, such as "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You" and "Fools."

Brown took to TV as well, hosting Nashville On the Road and the travel show Going Our Way (where he and wife Becky toured the country in an RV).

Jim Ed Brown had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since he joined the Opry with the Browns in 1959.  On March 25 Jim Ed, Maxine, and Bonnie Brown were announced as new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  When it was discovered that Brown's cancer was too advanced for him to survive until the official induction ceremonies in October Bill Anderson presented him with his medallion in the hospital.

There simply are not words to describe what a loss this is.  If you ever had the privilege of meeting Jim Ed Brown you knew him to be a polite, gracious gentleman who always had time for you, even if it was 2 AM after the Midnite Jamboree (which was the last time I saw him).  He said once on a WSM interview that Jim Reeves once told him that, should anything ever happen to Reeves, RCA would make Jim Ed "the next Jim Reeves" thanks to that smooth baritone similar to Gentleman Jim's.  (Thankfully, RCA didn't tout Brown's solo career that way, because those were the days when each country singer had his/her own individual style and sound.)

That wonderful song that everyone knows painfully and sadly resounds today:

Just a lonely bell was ringing in the little valley town
'Twas farewell that it was singing to our good ol' Jimmy Brown
And the little congregation prayed for guidance from above
Lead us not into temptation, may his soul find the salvation
Of Thy great eternal love.

Jim Ed Brown was 81.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

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; RR=country act inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

June 1:

Pat Boone born in Jacksonville, Florida, 1934 (now 81). The legendary pop crooner married Red Foley's daughter Shirley.
Wayne Kemp (NS 99) born in Greenwood, Arkansas, 1941 (now 74)
Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn born in Coleman, Texas, 1953 (now 62)
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)
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 67)

Deke Dickerson born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1968 (now 47)
Jamie O'Neal born in Sydney, Australia, 1968 (now 47)
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 86)
Linda Martell born in Leesville, South Carolina, 1941 (now 74). 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 70)
Gail Davies born in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, 1948 (now 67)
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

June 6:

Joe Stampley born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1943 (now 72)
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 75). 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 59)
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 74)
Tony Rice born in Danville, Virginia, 1951 (now 64)
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 89)

Willard Cox of the Cox Family born in Cotton Valley, Louisiana, 1937 (now 78)
Jamie Dailey of Dailey & Vincent born in Corbin, Kentucky, 1975 (now 40)

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 63)
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 46)
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)

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 63)
Rebecca Holden born in Austin, Texas, 1958 (now 57)
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 84)
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 61)
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. 

Friday, May 29, 2015


Category:  News/Opinion 

Earlier this year Sony Records executive Gary Overton caused a commotion when he told a group of radio programmers in an attempt to overemphasize the importance of commercial radio stations, "If you're not on country radio, you don't exist."  He was fired a month later (the official word is it was a "mutual agreement" resignation)...probably not because of what he said but because he let a "trade secret" out.  That is the way the mainstream world looks at people from Dale Watson to Wayne the Train the Sturgill Simpson:  despite the sold-out concerts they aren't played on the radio so they "don't exist," meaning Nashville's "establishment" doesn't have to deal with people who are still making real, legitimate country music.

Oh, but that's nothing compared to the newest outrage.  Keith Hill, a "radio consultant," made comments earlier this week that said country radio stations need to stop playing female singers.

This began in Country Aircheck magazine, where Hill, who states on his web site that he "has unparalleled knowledge of all music scheduling systems" and "brings insight into the strategic strengths and weaknesses of every station in your market," said that country radio stations lose listeners when they play female singers.  His advice:  "If you want to make ratings in country radio, take the females out."  He then moved his foot from his mouth all the way down his throat when he added, "I play great female records, and we've got some right now.  They're just not the lettuce in our salad.  The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that.  The tomatoes of our salad are the females."

Rising Americana superstar Jason Isbell was blunt in a tweet:  "Country music's Idiot of the Year Award snatched away from Gary Overton by Keith Hill."  Given how Overton is now in the unemployment line, Isbell added, "Keep those interviews coming!", probably in hopes that Hill will soon join Overton there.

I don't know what's more upsetting:  the fact that this guy thinks women country singers are irrelevant or even detrimental to music, or that he uses sexist terminology like "tomatoes" to define women's roles in music in 2015.

Let me be clear on something:  I do not call 99% of the garbage they play on country radio today "country music."  Having said that, let's look at some facts regarding what is passing for "country music" today.  The only million-selling album last year was by a woman who used to be called "country" (Taylor Swift).  In 2014 Kacey Musgraves beat out three guys to win the "Country Album of the Year" Grammy for Same Trailer, Different Park.  Kevin John Coyne points out in his Country Universe retort that the only person to sell 5 million copies or more of an album in the past 20 years who wasn't a woman was Garth Brooks.

What Keith Hill said is reprehensible, and he shouldn't get a pass for it under any circumstances (and he portrayed himself as a "victim" of "social media"-fueled "emotion" in a feeble attempt to clarify his comments in RadioInk).  The bigger issue, however, is the fact that "radio consultants" have a job to begin with.

If radio stations would listen to the individuals who are actually listening to the stations and not some nationally-based numbers cruncher the stations would probably be more diverse and have more listeners.  But no, all the stations want to play the same songs every hour on the hour.  Most stations no longer have a request line to hear what their listeners want, basically allowing consultant firms to make that decision for them.

They get what they pay for.  And what they may be paying for is boycotts of the stations and the advertisers thanks to the ridiculous comments by their high-priced "consultant" who effectively just insulted 50-70% of their listening audience.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Midnite Jamboree's Return Slated for June 6

Category:  News 

The Ernest Tubb Record Shop's web site, which was missing in action for most of April, is back up and running.  The headline on the site says that the Midnite Jamboree will resume on Saturday, June 6, with Tubb's nephew Glenn Douglas Tubb hosting.  

Other hosts scheduled in the near future, per the site, include Hall of Famer Mel Tillis, Texas honky tonk great Justin Trevino, "the Survivors" (Tony Booth, Darrell McCall, and Curtis Potter), and Gail Davies.

The show will return to WSM, broadcast as usual at midnight.  However, the show will be taped, with taping beginning at 10 PM.  This may be an attempt to be more "family-friendly" to allow for bigger audiences than what the midnight starting time for a live show would provide.

In addition to the Midnite Jamboree, a special "Heart of Texas Records" show, featuring McCall, Norma Jean, Frankie Miller, Booth, Potter, and Bobby G. Rice, will be held at the Texas Troubadour Theater in July.

I'm thankful the 65-year-old show is coming back, and I hope it is around for another 65 years!

Friday, May 15, 2015

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 44)
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 63)
Grant Turner (CM 81) born in Abeline, Texas, 1912 (died 1991)
Paul Warren 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 73)
Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1948 (now 67).  The Oak Ridge Boys are one of the "class of 2015" Country Music Hall of Fame inductees.
Gary Scruggs born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1949 (now 66)

Tom Shapiro (NS 08) born in Kansas City, Missouri, 1950 (now 65)
George Strait (CM 06) born in Poteet, Texas, 1952 (now 63)

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 89)
Buddy Alan born in Mega, Arizona, 1948 (now 67)
Rich Alves of Pirates of the Mississippi born in Pleasanton, California, 1953 (now 62)
Dana Williams of Diamond Rio born in Dayton, Ohio, 1961 (now 54)
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 90)
Ken Irwin, co-founder of Rounder Records, born in New York, New York, 1944 (now 71)
Misty Morgan born in Buffalo, New York, 1945 (now 70)
Shelley West born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1958 (now 57)

Leroy Troy born in Goodlettesville, Tennessee, 1966 (now 49)
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 68)
Rosanne Cash born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1955 (now 60)
Billy Gilman born in Westerly, Rhode Island, 1988 (now 27). 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.

May 25:

Tom T. Hall (CM 08, NS 78) born in Olive Hill, Kentucky, 1936 (now 79)
Jessi Colter born in Phoenix, Arizona, 1947 (now 68)
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:

Lance LeRoy (BG 00) born in Tingall, Georgia, 1930 (now 85)

Randall Hank Williams Jr. (NS 07) born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1949 (now 66)
Richard Leigh (NS 94) born in Washington, DC, 1951 (now 64)
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 76)
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 70). 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 59)
Phil Vassar born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1965 (now 50)

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 55)
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)

Update on Bill Anderson

Category:  News 

Whisperin' Bill Anderson recently reported on his Facebook page that he had surgery for skin cancer (original post here), and that the surgery went very well.  Yesterday (5/14) he posted that his doctor is amazed with how rapidly the 77-year-old is healing following removal of basal cell carcinoma from his nose.

"Be assured," Anderson wrote, "your prayers were both heard and answered."  

Anderson said he hopes to be back on the Grand Ole Opry the weekend of May 30-31.

Prayers and best wishes for continued recovery and no complications to this great Hall of Famer!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Legendary Fiddler Johnny Gimble Dies

Category:  News/Obituary 

Johnny Gimble, the one-time member of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys who went on to work numerous sessions in country music, has died.

Gimble passed away Saturday (5/9) in Marble Falls, Texas.  He had been in poor health for years after a series of strokes.

John Paul Gimble was born in Tyler, Texas in 1926.  He was on the radio playing music before he got out of high school.  After high school he joined the Shelton Brothers' band before the Army took him to Germany during World War II.

Once out of the Army Gimble became a member of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys, where he worked for over a decade.  Following his stint in the Texas Playboys Gimble became an in-demand session fiddler for two generations of country music performers, from Marty Robbins and Connie Smith to a large majority of George Strait's 1980's albums.  He also was part of the Hee Haw "Million Dollar Band."

His son, Dick, told the Waco Tribune, "He's free of that worn-out body of his.  And what a life he had."

What a life, indeed.

Johnny Gimble was 88.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Sick Call: Bill Anderson

Category:  News 

Country Music Hall of Fame singer/songwriter "Whisperin'" Bill Anderson is recovering following surgery for removal of skin cancer.

Anderson reported on his Facebook wall that he underwent facial surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma on Wednesday (5/6).  "It was not as deeply rooted as first feared," Anderson wrote.  The doctors have ordered him to take it easy for the next two weeks ("read, watch TV, and rest" as Bill put it).

The 77-year-old country music legend hopes he can return to the Opry by the end of the month.

Here's wishing Whisperin' Bill a speedy and complete recovery!

Friday, May 01, 2015

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; RR=country act also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)

May 1:

Sonny James (ne James Loden) (CM 06) born in Hackleburg, Alabama, 1929 (now 86)
Rita Coolidge born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1944 (now 71). 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 50)
Sam McGee born in Williamson County, Tennessee, 1894 (died 1975)
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 in two days and killed nearly two dozen.

May 2:

R.C. Bannon born in Dallas, Texas, 1945 (now 70)
Larry Gatlin born in Seminole, Texas, 1948 (now 67)
Ty Herndon born in Meridian, Mississippi, 1962 (now 53)
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 58)
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 65)
Robert Ellis Orrall born in Winthrop, Massachusetts, 1955 (now 59)
Randy Travis born in Marshville, North Carolina, 1959 (now 55)
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 81)
Roni Stoneman born in Washington, DC, 1938 (now 77)

Wayne Carson (NS 97) born in Denver, Colorado, 1942 (now 73)
Glen Duncan of Lonesome Standard Time born in Columbus, Indiana, 1955 (now 60)
Tammy Wynette (CM 98, NS 09) born in Itawamba County, Mississippi, 1942 (died 1998)
J.D. Miller born in Iota, Louisiana, 1922 (died 1996)
Jerry Wallace died in Corona, California (congestive heart failure), 2008 (was 79)

May 6:

Jimmie Dale Gilmore born in Austin, Texas, 1945 (now 70)
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)

May 7:

Jerry Chesnut (NS 96) born in Loyall, Kentucky, 1931 (now 84)

Lorie Collins of the Collins Kids born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, 1942 (now 73)
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 73)
Del Anthony Gray of Little Texas born in Hamilton, Ohio, 1968 (now 47)
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) 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 71)
Bobby Lewis born in Hodgenville, Kentucky, 1946 (now 69)
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)
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) 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 81)

Mark Herndon of Alabama (CM 05) born in Springfield, Massachusetts, 1955 (now 60)
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 60)
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 60)
Lari White born in Dunedin, Florida, 1965 (now 49)
Jack Anglin born in Columbia, Tennesee, 1916 (died 1963)

Johnnie Wright born in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, 1914 (died 2011)
Gid Tanner died in Dacula, Georgia (unknown cause), 1960 (was 74)
Bob Wills (CM 68, NS 70) 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 74)
Eddy Arnold (CM 66) born in Henderson, Tennessee, 1918 (died 2008)
June Carter Cash died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from open heart surgery), 2003 (was 73)