Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, October 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=Country Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; WS=Western Swing; RR=country performer also in Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)

October 1:

Kelly Willis born in Lawton, Oklahoma, 1968 (now 47)
Skeets McDonald born in Greenway, Arkansas, 1915 (died 1968)
Bonnie Owens (WS 87) born in Blanchard, Oklahoma, 1932 (died 2006)

October 2:

Leon Rausch (WS 87) born in Billings, Missouri, 1927 (now 88)
Jo-El Sonnier born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1946 (now 69)
Tammy Sullivan born in Wagarville, Alabama, 1964 (now 51)
Gillian Welch born in Manhattan, New York, 1967 (now 48)
Chris LeDoux born in Biloxi, Mississippi, 1948 (died 2005)
Chubby Wise (BG 98) born in Lake City, Florida, 1915 (died 1996)
Gene Autry (CM 69, WS 89) died in Studio City, California (lymphoma), 1998 (was 91). The "Singing Cowboy" also owned the California/Anaheim Angels, who dedicated their 2002 World Series victory to his memory.
Elvis Presley played the Grand Ole Opry, 1954. Opry manager Jim Denny critiqued his performance by telling him that he was going nowhere and to "go back to driving trucks."

October 3:

Joe Allison (NS 78; DJ 76) born in McKinney, Texas, 1924 (died 2002)
Woody Guthrie (NS 77) died in Queens, New York (Huntington's disease), 1967 (was 55)
Del Wood died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1989 (was 69)

October 4:

Leroy Van Dyke born in Spring Fork, Missouri, 1929 (now 86)
Lloyd Green (StG 88) born in Leaf, Mississippi, 1937 (now 78)
Larry Collins of the Collins Kids born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1944 (now 71)
Greg Hubbard of Sawyer Brown born in Orlando, Florida, 1960 (now 55)
Jerry Rivers died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1996 (was 69)
A.L. "Doodle" Owens (NS 99) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1999 (was 69)
Tammy Wynette's kidnapped ordeal began, 1978

October 5:

Radio station WSM born in Nashville at 650 on the AM dial, 1925 (now 90)
Margie Singleton born in Coushatta, Louisiana, 1935 (now 80)
Johnny Duncan born in Dublin, Texas, 1938 (died 2006)
Johnny Vincent, founder of the Sally Mountain Bluegrass Festival and father of Darrin and Rhonda Vincent, died in Queen City, Missouri (long illness), 2014 (was 73)

October 6:

Tim Rushlow of Little Texas born in Arlington, Texas, 1966 (now 49)
Kendall Hayes born in Perryville, Kentucky, 1935 (died 1995)
Ted Daffan (NS 70, WS 94) died in Houston, Texas (cancer), 1996 (was 84)

October 7:

Jim Halsey born in Independence, Kansas, 1930 (now 85)
Kieran Kane born in Queens, New York, 1949 (now 66)
Dale Watson born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1962 (now 53)
Uncle Dave Macon (CM 66) born in Warren County, Tennessee, 1870 (died 1952)
Gordon Terry born in Decatur, Alabama, 1931 (died 2006)
Hugh Cherry born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1922 (died 1998)
Buddy Lee born in Brooklyn, New York, 1932 (died 1998)
Johnny Darrell died in Kennesaw, Georgia (diabetes complications), 1997 (was 57)
Jimmie Logsdon died in Louisville, Kentucky (unknown cause), 2001 (was 79)
Shelby Singleton died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2009 (was 77)
Jimmie Rodgers' first recording, "The Soldier's Sweetheart" / "Sleep Baby Sleep," released, 1927

October 8:

Susan Raye Wiggins born in Eugene, Oregon, 1944 (now 71)
Lynn Morris born in Lamesa, Texas, 1948 (now 67)
Jackie Frantz of Dave & Sugar born in Sidney, Ohio, 1950 (now 65)
Pete Drake (StG 87) born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1932 (died 1988)

October 9:

Goebel Reeves born in Sherman, Texas, 1899 (died 1969)
The Renfro Valley Barn Dance debuted on WLW, 1937

October 10:

John Prine (NS 03) born in Maywood, Illinois, 1946 (now 69)
Tony Arata (NS 12) born in Savannah, Georgia, 1957 (now 58)
Tanya Tucker born in Seminole, Texas, 1958 (now 57)
Don Pierce, founder of Starday Records, born in Ballard, Washington, 1915 (died 2005)
Cal Smith died in Branson, Missouri (unknown cause), 2013 (was 81)

October 11:

Gene Watson born in Palestine, Texas, 1943 (now 72)
Paulette Carlson of Highway 101 born in Northfield, Minnesota, 1952 (now 63)
Leigh Gibson of the Gibson Brothers born in Clinton, New York, 1971 (now 44)
Dottie West born in McMinnville, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1991)
Rex Griffin (NS 70) died in New Orleans, Louisiana (tuberculosis), 1958 (was 46)
Jack Rhodes (NS 72) died in Mineola, Texas (heart attack), 1968 (was 61)
Tex Williams (WS 85) died in Newhall, California (pancreatic cancer), 1985 (was 68)
T. Tommy Cutrer (DJ 80) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1998 (was 74)

October 12:

Shane McAnally born in Mineral Wells, Texas, 1974 (now 41)
John Denver died in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Pacific Grove, California (plane crash), 1997 (was 53)

October 13:

Anita Kerr born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1927 (now 88)
Lacy J. Dalton born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, 1946 (now 69)
John Wiggins born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1962 (now 53)
Rhett Akins born in Valdosta, Georgia, 1969 (now 46)
Hoarce Lee Logan died in Victoria, Texas (respiratory disease), 2002. The founder of the Louisiana Hayride also coined one of the most oft-repeated phrases in American popular culture: trying to calm down an audience after one Louisiana Hayride performer wowed the crowd, Logan announced, "Elvis has left the building."
Acuff-Rose Publishing Company founded, 1942
While presenting the CMA "Entertainer of the Year" award Charlie Rich set fire to the envelope after announcing that John Denver had won the award, 1975

October 14:

Melba Montgomery born in Iron City, Tennessee, 1938 (now 77)
Kenny Roberts born in Lenoir City, Tennessee, 1926 (died 2012)
Bing Crosby died in Madrid, Spain (heart attack), 1977. The legendary pop crooner has the distinction of being the first artist to have a #1 single on Billboard magazine's Country and Western charts, with his rendition of Al Dexter's "Pistol Packin' Mama," January 8, 1944.
Little Jimmy Sizemore died in Appleton, Wisconsin (natural causes), 2014 (was 87)

October 15:

Dean Miller born in Los Angeles, California, 1965 (now 50)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sick Call: Bonnie Brown

Category:  News

For the second time, the new Hall of Fame inductees the Browns have to deal with cancer.

Bonnie Brown announced yesterday (9/28) during a media luncheon featuring the new Country Music Hall of Fame inductees that she has been diagnosed with stage 4 right lung adenocarcinoma.  Eddie Stubbs reported this on his Facebook page, and the Tennesseean has also run the story.

The Browns were announced as one of the new Hall of Famers in March.  In June Jim Ed Brown lost his battle with small cell carcinoma, days after Bill Anderson presented him his Hall of Fame medallion.  

Please keep Bonnie in your thoughts and prayers.  

The Tennessean article

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Like The Ramones (Only Countrier, Of Course)

Category:  Concert Review 

Junior Brown has been around since the neo-traditional days, and his early 90's hit "My Wife Thinks You're Dead" was one of the last bastions of holding on to country sounds before pop and rock completely took over.  Despite that, and his cult following for decades thanks to his quirky humor in songs and blistering guitar playing, I had never seen him live until his appearance at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky on Thursday (9/24).

Big mistake on my part.

Junior Brown going to town on the steel portion
of his guit-steel at Southgate House.
c. 2015 K.F. Raizor
Brown turned the old church building on its steeple with a powerhouse set of country and rockabilly music that showcased highlights from his career and his exceptional work on his "guit-steel" double-neck guitar that is half standard six string and half lap steel.

Brown's performance reminded me of seeing the legendary punk band the Ramones (only countrier, of course):  from the moment he walked on stage until he left, Brown was playing music, going from one song to the next as if the management told him he only had 90 minutes to be onstage and he was going to take advantage of every second.  (When I saw the Ramones, they did 22 songs in one hour.  That's time management!)

Running through highlights from his career, Brown barely stopped to say "hi" to the crowd.  He didn't even stop actually playing when he introduced his wife, rhythm guitar player Tanya Rae Brown, who sang Norma Jean's hit "I Wouldn't Buy a Used Car From Him."

Aside from his marvelous baritone (which he showed off by dropping into a bass range that would make Richard Sterban sweat bullets) and lyrics that tickle your funny bone and country soul (such as the great "Phantom of the Opry," with its reference to Scooby Doo Where Are You! in the line "I said, 'if it wasn't for those meddling kids and their dogs'"), the primary reason to go see this man is his guitar playing.  It's indescribable.  While the albums and the You Tube videos might give you some indication of just how good Brown is, standing there watching him effortlessly move from guitar to steel and back again, throwing in a Jimi Hendrix lick or two along the way, is stunning.  Brown played a medley of "surf-rock" classics (including "Walk, Don't Run" and "Secret Agent Man," the latter of which the audience happily sang for him), "Yakety Axe," and "Sugarfoot Rag" between his songs such as "My Wife Thinks You're Dead," "Highway Patrol," "The Better Half," and "Broke Down South of Dallas."  He began his 20-minute long encore by singing the Connie Smith hit "Cincinnati, Ohio" in honor of the city right across the river from Newport.

The lyrics kept people smiling ("I've gotta get up early every morning just to say goodnight to you") and the guitar work kept them amazed.  After the show Brown signed autographs and posed for pictures, crowning the night with the polite Texas gentleman element.

Thanks for stopping by, Junior.  I'll definitely be seeing you again.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bob Wills Meets the Boswell Sisters

Category:  Concert Review 

Country music historian and WSM DJ Eddie Stubbs once told me that there are only three acts that he unequivocally endorses, and one of them is the Quebe Sisters.  It's certainly an oversimplification to describe the Texas trio as "Bob Wills meets the Boswell Sisters."  It's apt:  the three siblings' flawless fiddle work augment harmonies that are a throwback to the famed 1930's trio.  The comparison, however, might lead one to think that the Quebe Sisters are mimicking either (or both) acts, and nothing is further from the truth.  Their show at the Indiana University Southeast Ogle Center in New Albany on Friday (9/18) proved that they are one of a kind, leaving a packed audience delighted.

Simon Stipp on guitar backs the Quebe Sisters.
c.2015 K.F. Raizor

The three sisters -- Grace, Sophia, and Hulda -- all play fiddles.  Their three-fiddle attack was augmented only by the very capable rhythm section of Simon Stipp on guitar and Daniel Parr on upright bass.  They played two sets of extraordinary music, with the only complaint being it wasn't long enough.  They could have played for two days instead of two hours and it still would have been too short.

From their opening fiddle strains to the close of the encore ("San Antonio Rose") the Quebe Sisters had the audience in the palm of their collective hand.  Their performance meandered through American music classics, including Les Paul & Mary Ford's "How High the Moon" (which sounded as amazing with three-part harmonies as one might imagine), Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia on My Mind," Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart," and Connie Smith's debut hit, the Bill Anderson-penned "Once a Day."  Many of the songs in the two sets came from their most recent album, 2014's Every Which-a-Way, but they also included tunes from their other two albums.

The Quebe Sisters are dedicated to preserving the history of western swing and Texas-based music with their three-part harmonies and three-part fiddle work.  Do not miss this talented trio.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, September 16-30

Category: News

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

September 16:

David Bellamy of the Bellamy Brothers born in Darby, Florida, 1950 (now 65)
Bobby Randall of Sawyer Brown born in Midland, Michigan, 1952 (now 63)
Terry McBride of McBride & the Ride born in Austin, Texas, 1958 (now 57)
Ralph Mooney (StG 83) born in Duncan, Oklahoma, 1928 (died 2011)
Sheb Wooley died in Nashville, Tennessee (leukemia), 2003 (was 82)

September 17:

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

September 18:

Carl Jackson born in Louisville, Mississippi, 1953 (now 62)
Lydia Rogers of the Secret Sisters born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 1988 (now 27)
Ervin T. Rouse born in Craven County, North Carolina, 1917 (died 1981)
Priscilla Mitchell born in Marietta, Georgia, 1941 (died 2014)
Michael "Bea" Lilly (BG 02) died in Plymouth, Massachusetts (Alzheimer's disease), 2005 (was 83)

September 19:

Trisha Yearwood born in Monticello, Georgia, 1964 (now 51)
Clyde Moody born in Cherokee, North Carolina, 1915 (died 1989)
Danny Dill (NS 75) born in Carroll County, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2008)
Carlton Haney (BG 98) born in Rockingham County, North Carolina, 1928 (died 2011)
Clyde "Sonny" Burns born in Lufkin, Texas, 1930 (died 1992)
Red Foley (CM 67) died in Fort Wayne, Indiana (heart attack), 1968 (was 58)
Gram Parsons died in Joshua Tree, California (drug overdose), 1973 (was 26)
Skeeter Davis died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2004 (was 72)
Slim Dusty (ne David Kirkpatrick, the "Australian King of Country Music") died in St. Ives, New South Wales (cancer), 2003 (was 76)
Carl Smith married singer Goldie Hill, 1957

September 20:

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

September 21:

Dickey Lee (NS 95) born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1936 (now 79)
Don Felder, former guitarist/steel guitarist for the Eagles, born in Gainesville, Florida, 1947 (now 68)
Kenny Starr born in Topeka, Kansas, 1952 (now 63)
Daryl Mosley of New Tradition born in Waverly, Tennessee, 1964 (now 51)
Ronna Reeves born in Big Spring, Texas, 1966 (now 49)
Ted Daffan (NS 70) born in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, 1912 (died 1996)
Walter Brennan died in Oxnard, California (emphysema), 1974 (was 80). Among the actor's charted hits were "Old Rivers" and a version of Bill Anderson's "Mama Sang a Song."

September 22:

June Forester of the Forester Sisters born in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, 1952 (now 63)
Debby Boone born in Hackensack, New Jersey, 1956 (now 59). The "You Light Up My Life" singer is Red Foley's granddaughter.
James Roy "Pop" Lewis Sr. of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Pickens, South Carolina, 1905 (died 2004)

September 23:

Pat Alger (NS 10) born in Long Island City, New York, 1947 (now 68)
Don Herron Jr. of BR5-49 born in Steubenville, Ohio, 1962 (now 53)
Roy Drusky died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2004 (was 74)
Bradley Kincaid (NS 71) died in Springfield, Ohio (natural causes), 1989 (was 94)
O.B. McClinton died in Nashville, Tennessee (abdominal cancer), 1987 (was 45)
Jimmy Wakely (NS 71) died in Mission Hills, California (emphysema), 1982 (was 68)
Roy Horton (CM 82) died in Nashville, Tennessee (diabetes/congestive heart failure), 2003 (was 88)
First recording session for Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, 1935

September 24:

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

September 25:

Ian Tyson born in Victoria, British Columbia, 1933 (now 82)
Larry Sparks (BG 15) born in Lebanon, Ohio, 1947 (now 68).  Larry is one of the new inductees into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
Shel Silverstein (NS 02) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1930 (died 1999)
Royce Kendall born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1934 (died 1998)
Little Jimmy Dickens became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, 1948

September 26:

David Frizzell born in El Dorado, Arkansas, 1941 (now 74)
Carlene Carter born in Madison, Tennessee, 1955 (now 60)
Doug Supernaw born in Bryan, Texas, 1960 (now 55)
Marty Robbins (CM 82, NS 75) born in Glendale, Arizona, 1925 (died 1982)
Lynn Anderson born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1947 (died 2015)
The Beverly Hillbillies debuted on CBS, 1962. The program featured appearances by Roy Clark as Cousin Roy and Flatt and Scruggs as friends of the Clampetts, and the show was frequently sponsored by Kellogg's Corn Flakes with ads featuring Homer and Jethro.

September 27:

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

September 28:

Ronnie Reno born in Buffalo, South Carolina, 1947 (now 68)
Laurie Lewis born in Long Beach, California, 1950 (now 65)
Mandy Barnett born in Crossville, Tennessee, 1975 (now 40)
Joseph Falcon born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1900 (died 1965). Falcon is credited with the first Cajun recording, "Allons a Lafayette," in 1928.
Jim Boyd (of Bill Boyd and the Cowboy Ramblers) born in Fannin County, Texas, 1914 (died 1993)
Jerry Clower born in Liberty, Mississippi, 1926 (died 1998)
Tommy Collins (ne Leonard Sipes) (NS 99) born in Bethany, Oklahoma, 1930 (died 2000)
Johnny Mathis born in Maud, Texas, 1930 (died 2011). Because of the rise of a pop singer by the same name in the mid 1950's, Mathis became known as "Country Johnny Mathis."
Glenn Sutton (NS 99) born in Hodge, Louisiana, 1937 (died 2007)
Johnny Horton married Billie Jean Williams (widow of Hank Williams), 1953

September 29:

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

September 30:

Richard Bowden born in Linden, Texas, 1945 (now 70)
Johnny Burns born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1948 (now 67).  The son of Jethro Burns is a singer/songwriter/guitarist on his own, and worked for many years with country-folk icon John Prine.
Deborah Allen born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1953 (now 62)
Marty Stuart born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, 1958 (now 57)
Mary Ford died in Arcadia, California (diabetes complications), 1977 (was 53)
Uncle Josh Graves (BG 97) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lengthy illness), 2006 (was 81)
Ruby Wright died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart disease), 2009 (was 69)
Billboard magazine changed the name of the "Hillbilly and Western" chart to the "Folk Country and Western" chart, 1950. Ernest Tubb is considered by many to be one of the people responsible for this, as he claimed that "hillbilly" was a derogatory term.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Firing on All Cylinders

Category:  Concert Review 

There's good news, bad news, and great news about Robbie Fulks.

The good news is he has a new album in the can, titled Upland Stories.  The bad news is that it won't be released until the first quarter of 2016.

The great news, however, is that Fulks has been playing a few new songs on sporadic tour stops.  One of those stops was Friday (8/28) at Nashville's legendary Station Inn, where he and his band fired on all cylinders for nearly two hours of hot music, superb picking, and -- as is usually the case with Robbie Fulks -- good humor. 

Sharing the stage with Fulks were seven-time IBMA bassist of the year Missy Raines, her Helen Highwater String Band partner Shad Cobb on fiddle, and legendary (as in, played with Jethro Burns) wizard Don Stiernberg on mandolin.  As he usually does, Fulks made certain to highlight each band member.  Cobb sang lead on a song he wrote, "Fiddle and Bow," and Stiernberg sang lead on "Roving Gambler" and "I'm Head Over Heels in Love."  Raines provided background vocals for "Never Could," Fulks' song from his "much maligned" (his description) Couples in Trouble album.  

Shad Cobb (l) waiting to play behind
Robbie Fulks at the Station Inn.
c. 2015 K.F. Raizor

Fulks' songs are the stars of the show, however.  Granted, it's hard to concentrate on brilliant lyrics such as his comical "they say the Norfolk girls are fair and they all sing right on key, but I went down and I never found one who sang as good as me" (from "Long I Ride") while Cobb is sawing his fiddle in half, but the music-sensitive audience (including mandolin legend Roland White) caught the jokes in songs such as "I Just Want to Meet the Man" and laughed heartily.  

The three new songs that Fulks previewed from Upland Stories give every indication that the album will be a superb follow-up to his widely acclaimed 2013 Gone Away Backward.  Two of the songs were lighthearted in nature.  "Aunt Peg's New Old Man" is about his sole meeting (in the 70's) with his banjo-playing great-great aunt, who, after years of being a widow, remarried.  Her new husband was a fiddler, and the two (as Robbie detailed in the introduction to the song) "ganged up" on him as a 10-year-old aspiring banjo player to tell him his Scruggs-style playing was horrible.  "The Old Times Have Made a Wreck of Our Lives" was inspired by a jam session that Fulks sat in on before writing the song.  He said the musicians in the jam session seemed to be taking things far too seriously, so he skewered the notion of competition in something that should be fun in this song.  Lines such as "the fiddler just stares in the distance marking time till his liver explodes" indicate in a comical way the negativity he felt in this experience.

The best of the three, however, is "Fare Thee Well, Carolina Gals."  This stands a chance of being the new album's centerpiece.  It combines the not-so-wistful reminiscing of youth of "That's Where I'm From" with the caustic attitude of the protagonist of "I'll Trade You Money for Wine" (both from the last album).  The song, Fulks said, was inspired by attending his 35th year high school reunion ("big mistake" he quipped).  The lyrics meander through teenage years ("I made a medium to poor boyfriend and pretty good house painter") and first sexual experience ("that was lovemaking and it made me shout") and end in the present, with the narrator taking John Osborne's play title Look Back in Anger to heart, promising to "sell the farm after mama dies, get a Cadillac and just ride till the Pacific meets the bumper" but realizing "I'd be lucky to get a clunker."  There aren't sufficient words to describe the cinematic and literary beauty of this song, and it's not a stretch to say that Fulks has outdone himself with this gem.

And that's saying something, considering this is the man who gave us "She Took a Lot of Pills (and Died)," "Where There's a Road," "Long I Ride," "The Buck Starts Here," and "Let's Kill Saturday Night," all of which he performed in the show.

Fulks' tour dates throughout the remainder of the month will primarily focus on a two-man show with Merle Haggard guitarist Redd Volkaert, with a few bluegrass (or, as he puts it on his web site, "b***grass") shows thrown in.  If you need to whet your appetite for his forthcoming album, or just need to watch a great guitarist, singer, and songwriter, go see him.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, September 1-15

Category: News

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

September 1

Steve Goetzman of Exile born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1950 (now 65)
Maggie Cavender (NS 89) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1918 (died 1996)
Boxcar Willie (ne Lecil Travis Martin) born in Sterratt, Texas, 1931 (died 1999)
Johnny Mack Brown born in Dothan, Alabama, 1904 (died 1974). The western actor was the namesake of Lester "Roadhog" Moran and the Cadillac Cowboy's Live at the Johnny Mack Brown High School album.
Conway Twitty (CM 99, NS 93) born in Friars Point, Mississippi, 1933 (died 1993)
George Riddle born in Marion, Indiana, 1935 (died 2014)
Delia "Mom" Upchurch, the "Den Mother to the Stars," died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1967 (was 85)

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

September 2

Paul Wylie Deakin of the Mavericks born in Miami, Florida, 1959 (now 56)
Johnny Lee Wills born in Jewell, Texas, 1912 (died 1984)
Charline Authur born in Henrietta, Texas, 1929 (died 1987)
Grady Nutt born in Amarillo, Texas, 1934 (died 1982)
Fabor Robinson, founder of Fabor Records, died in Minden, Louisiana (unknown cause), 1986 (was 74)

September 3

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

September 4

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

September 5

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

September 6

David Allan Coe born in Akron, Ohio, 1939 (now 76)
Buddy Miller born in Fairborn, Ohio, 1952 (now 63)
Jeff Foxworthy born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1958 (now 57)
Mark Chesnutt born in Beaumont, Texas, 1963 (now 52)
Zeke Clements (NS 71) born near Empire, Alabama, 1911 (died 1994)
Paul Yandell, C.G.P. born in Mayfield, Kentucky, 1935 (died 2011)
Mel McDaniel born in Checotah, Oklahoma, 1942 (died 2011)
Ernest Tubb (CM 64, NS 70) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from emphysema), 1984 (was 70)
Autry Inman died (unknown cause), 1988 (was 59)
Roy Huskey Jr. died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1997 (was 41)

September 7

Ronnie Dove born in Herndon, Virginia, 1940 (now 75)
Mark D. Sanders (NS 09) born in Los Angeles, California, 1950 (now 65)
Buddy Holly (NS 94) born in Lubbock, Texas, 1936 (died 1959)

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

September 8

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

September 9

Freddy Weller born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1947 (now 68)
Rodger Dale Tubb died in Fredericksburg, Texas (car wreck), 1938 (was 7 weeks old)
Tex Owens (NS 71) died in New Baden, Texas (unknown cause), 1962 (was 70)
Bill Monroe (CM 70, BG 91, NS 71) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1996 (was 84)

September 10

Tommy Overstreet born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1937 (now 78)
Rosie Flores born in San Antonio, Texas, 1956 (now 59)
Luke Wills born in Memphis, Texas, 1920 (died 2000)
Joe (ne Walter) Callahan of the Callahan Brothers died in Asheville, North Carolina (cancer), 1971 (was 61)

September 11

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

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

September 12

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

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

September 13

Bobbie Cryner born in Woodland, California, 1961 (now 53)
Bill Monroe (CM 70, BG 91, NS 71) born in Rosine, Kentucky, 1911 (died 1996)
Wilma Lee Cooper died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2011 (was 90)
Roy Acuff postage stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service, 2003

September 14

John Berry born in Aiken, South Carolina, 1959 (now 56)
Mae Boren Axton born in Bardwell, Texas, 1914 (died 1997)
Don Walser born in Brownfield, Texas, 1934 (died 2006)
Vernon Dalhart (CM 81, NS 70) died in Bridgeport, Connecticut (heart attack), 1948 (was 65)
Beasley Smith (NS 83) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cerebral hemorrhage), 1968 (was 66)
Hank Williams arrived in Nashville and met with Fred Rose to discuss a record or publishing deal, 1946

September 15

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

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, August 16-31

Category: News

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

August 16:

Billy Joe Shaver (NS 04) born in Corsica, Texas, 1939 (now 76)
Kathie Lee Gifford born in Paris, France, 1953 (now 62). Gifford began her career as one of the "Hee Haw honeys."
Emory Martin born in Hickman County, Tennessee, 1889 (died 2006). Martin was the one-armed banjo player at the Renfro Valley Barn Dance.
Elvis Presley (CM 98, RR 86) died at Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee (heart failure), 1977 (was 42)
Vassar Clements died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2005 (was 77)
Patsy Montana recorded "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," 1935. The song would become country music's first million-seller by a female.

August 17:

E.W. "Bud" Wendell (CM 98) born in Akron, Ohio, 1927 (now 88)
Wayne Raney (DJ 93) born in Wolf Bayou, Arkansas, 1920 (died 1993)

August 18:

Bob Koefer (StG 04) born in Clay Center, Kansas, 1928 (now 87)
Allen Reynolds (NS 00) born in North Little Rock, Arkansas, 1938 (now 77)
Hank Penny born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1918 (died 1992)
Molly Bee born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1939 (died 2009)
Johnny Preston born in Port Arthur, Texas, 1939 (died 2011). Preston is best known for "Running Bear," the 1959 hit written by J.P. Richardson and featuring guitar work and backing vocals by George Jones.
Charlie Waller (BG 96) died in Gordonsville, Virginia (heart attack), 2004 (was 69)
The Louvin Brothers play their last official show as a duo (opening for Ray Price) in Watseka, Illinois, 1963. According to Charles Wolfe's biography, the duo that once commanded over $1,100 per show as headliners received $250 for the performance.

August 19:

Roger Cook (NS 97) born in Bristol, England, 1940 (now 75)
Eddy Raven born in Lafayette, Louisiana, 1944 (now 71)
Larry Sasser (StG 11) born in Gainesville, Georgia, 1947 (now 68)
Lee Ann Womack born in Jacksonville, Texas, 1966 (now 49)
Clay Walker born in Beaumont, Texas, 1969 (now 46)
Curly Ray Cline (BG 09) died in Rockhouse, Kentucky (illness), 1997 (was 74)

August 20:

Rudy Gatlin born in Olney, Texas, 1952 (now 63)
John Hiatt (NS 08) born in Indianapolis, Indiana, 1952 (now 63)
Ralph Stanley II born in Coeburn, Virginia, 1958 (now 56)
Jim Reeves born in Galloway, Texas, 1923 (died 1964)
"Sneaky Pete" Kleinow (StG 07) born in South Bend, Indiana, 1934 (died 2007)
Justin Tubb born in San Antonio, Texas, 1935 (died 1998)
Louis Innis died (heart attack), 1982 (was 63)
Leon McAuliffe (StG 78) died in Tulsa, Oklahoma (illness), 1988 (was 71)

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

 August 21:

Kenny Rogers (CM 13) born in Houston, Texas, 1938 (now 77)
Harold Reid (CM 08) born in Staunton, Virginia, 1939 (now 76)
Nick Kane of the Mavericks born in Jerusalem, Georgia, 1954 (now 61)
Sam McGee died in Williamson County, Tennessee (tractor accident on his farm), 1975 (was 81)
Murray "Buddy" Harman died in Nashville, Tennessee (congestive heart failure), 2008 (was 79)

August 22:

Rounder Records co-founder Marian Leighton-Levy born in Harrington, Maine, 1948 (now 67)
Holly Dunn born in San Antonio, Texas, 1957 (now 58)

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

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

August 23:

Rex Allen, Jr. born in Chicago, Illinois, 1947 (now 68)
Woody Paul of Riders in the Sky born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1949 (now 66)
Tex Williams born in Anvil, Illinois, 1917 (died 1985)
Leslie York of the York Brothers born in Louisa, Kentucky, 1917 (died 1984)

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

August 24:

Teea Goans born in Lowry City, Missouri, 1980 (now 35)
Fred Rose (CM 61, NS 70) born in Evansville, Indiana, 1897 (died 1954)
Jerry Clower died in Jackson, Mississippi (complications from heart surgery), 1998 (was 71)
Nat Stuckey died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 1988 (was 54)

August 25:

Elvis Costello born in London, England, 1954 (now 61). The punk pioneer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member has performed with numerous country legends including George Jones, Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, and Charlie Louvin. Johnny Cash recorded Costello's song "The Big Light" on Johnny Cash is Coming to Town.
Jo Dee Messina born in Holliston, Massachusetts, 1970 (now 45)
Jerry Rivers born in Miami, Florida, 1928 (died 1996)
Cliff Bruner died in Texas City, Texas (cancer), 2000 (was 85)

August 26:

Jimmy Olander of Diamond Rio born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1961 (now 54)
Don Bowman born in Lubbock, Texas, 1937 (died 2013)
Bob Miller (NS 70) died in Nyack, New York (unknown cause), 1955 (was 59)
Wilma Burgess died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2003 (was 64)
Harlow Wilcox died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (heart attack), 2003 (was 59)

August 27:
J.D. Crowe (BG 03) born in Lexington, Kentucky, 1937 (now 78)
Jeff Cook of Alabama (CM 05) born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1949 (now 65)
Carter Stanley (BG 92) born in Dickenson County, Virginia, 1925 (died 1966)
Oliver "Mooney" Lynn, husband of Loretta Lynn, born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, 1926 (died 1996)
Jimmy C. Newman born in Big Mamou, Louisiana, 1927 (died 2014)
Frances Preston (CM 92) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2012)
'David "Bunny" Biggs of Jamup & Honey died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown causes), 1948 (was 52)
Jim Denny (CM 66) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1963 (was 52). For his Hall of Fame career, Denny may be most infamous for telling a guest artist after an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, "You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck." The person on the receiving end of Denny's criticism was Elvis Presley.

August 28:

LeAnn Rimes born in Jackson, Mississippi, 1982 (now 33)
Billy Grammer born in Benton, Illinois, 1925 (died 2011)
Archie Campbell died in Knoxville, Tennessee (post-operative complications following June heart attack), 1987 (was 67)

August 29:

Don Schlitz (NS 93) born in Durham, North Carolina, 1952 (now 63)

Dan Truman of Diamond Rio born in St. George, Utah, 1956 (now 59)
Grady Cole born in Lafayette, Georgia, 1909 (died 1981)

August 30:

Kitty Wells (CM 76) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1919 (died 2012)
Jon Hagar born in Chicago, Illinois, 1946 (died 2009)
Jim Hagar born in Chicago, Illinois, 1946 (died 2008)

August 31:

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

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

A Wreath Upon His Door

Category:  News/Obituary 

Country music has taken a pounding the past week with the deaths of Buddy Emmons, Lynn Anderson, and Top Billing International president and noted Nashville executive Tandy Rice.  Add to that list the legendary producer Billy Sherrill. 

Sherrill, a 2010 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, died yesterday (8/4) after a short illness.

Although hailed as one of the most important producers in Nashville during the "countrypolitan" era of the late 60's and 70's, Sherrill was also a noted songwriter.  Among the award-winning songs he co-wrote:  "A Very Special Love Song," "Almost Persuaded," and "Stand By Your Man."

His work as a producer, however, will undoubtably be his lasting legacy.  From Elvis Costello's album of country covers, Almost Blue, to Tammy Wynette's legendary hits, Sherrill was simply a genius in the recording studio.  Nearly every act he recorded said as much.  The evidence is in the rich, full sound of the records that defined country music in the late 60's and early 70's.  

Then there was "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

The story is legendary, how George Jones balked at the notion of recording the Bobby Braddock song. "It's too damn morbid," Jones complained.  Sherrill held firm, in the end giving Jones a number one hit and country music what, to many, is its defining song.

Billy Sherrill was 78.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, August 1-15

Category: News

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

August 1:

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

August 2:

Ted Harris (NS 90) born in Lakeland, Florida, 1937 (now 78)
Hank Cochran (CM 14, NS 74) born in Isola, Mississippi, 1935 (died 2010).  Cochran is one of the members of the "class of 2014" Country Music Hall of Fame inductees.
Betty Jack Davis died in Cincinnati, Ohio (car wreck), 1953 (was 21)
Joe Allison (NS 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2002 (was 77)
Redd Stewart (NS 70) died in Louisville, Kentucky (complications from a head injury), 2003 (was 82)
The wreckage of Jim Reeves' plane discovered, 1964. The two-day search of wooded areas in and around Nashville for the plane included many country music performers. Eddy Arnold was among those in the party that found and identified Reeves' body.

August 3:

Randy Scruggs born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1953 (now 62)
Dean Sams of Lonestar born in Garland, Texas, 1966 (now 49
Dorothy Dillard of the Anita Kerr Singers born in Springfield, Missouri, 1923 (died 2015))
Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires (CM 01) born in Gleason, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2013)
Little Roy Wiggins (StG 85) died in Sevierville, Tennessee (heart disease and diabetes complications), 1999 (was 73)

August 4:

Vicki Hackerman of Dave & Sugar born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1950 (now 65)
Louis Armstrong born in New Orleans, 1901 (died 1971). The legendary jazz trumpet player and singer recorded with Jimmie Rodgers.
Carson J. Robison (NS 71) born in Oswego, Kansas, 1890 (died 1957)
James Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers (SG 97) born in Ackerman, Mississippi, 1919 (died 2002)
Scotty Stoneman born in Galax, Virginia, 1932 (died 1973)
Fiddlin' Doc Roberts died in Richmond, Kentucky (unknown cause), 1978 (was 81)
Kenny Price died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1987 (was 56)

August 5:

Bobby Braddock (CM 11, NS 81) born in Lakeland, Florida, 1940 (now 75)
Terri Clark born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1968 (now 47)
Hal Durham born in McMinnville, Tennessee, 1931 (died 2009)
Vern "The Voice" Gosdin born in Woodland, Alabama, 1934 (died 2009)
Sammi Smith born in Orange, California, 1943 (died 2005)
Tim Wilson born in Columbus, Georgia, 1961 (died 2014)
Luther Perkins died in Nashville, Tennessee (injuries from a house fire), 1968 (was 40)

August 6:

Billy Robinson (StG 96) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1931 (now 84)
Patsy and Peggy Lynn born in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, 1964 (now 51)
Lisa Stewart born in Louisville, Mississippi, 1968 (now 47)
Old Joe Clark (Manuel Clark), longtime Renfro Valley performer, born in Erwin, Tennessee, 1922 (died 1998)
Billy Bowman (StG 89) died in Columbia, South Carolina (cancer), 1989 (was 60)
Colleen Carroll Brooks died in Yukon, Oklahoma (throat cancer), 1999 (was 70). The former Ozark Mountain Jubilee singer was the mother of Garth Brooks.
Marshall Grant died in Jonesboro, Arkansas (brain aneurysm), 2011 (was 83)

August 7:

B.J. Thomas born in Hugo, Oklahoma, 1942 (now 73)
Rodney Crowell (NS 03) born in Houston, Texas, 1950 (now 65)
Raul Malo of the Mavericks born in Miami, Florida, 1965 (now 50)
Felice Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1925 (died 2003)
Henry "Homer" Haynes (CM 01) died in Hammond, Indiana (heart attack), 1971 (was 51)
Billy Byrd died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2001 (was 81)

August 8:

Mel Tillis (CM 07, NS 76) born in Tampa, Florida, 1932 (now 83)
Phil Balsley of the Statler Brothers (CM 08) born in Staunton, Virginia, 1939 (now 76)
Jamie O'Hara born in Toledo, Ohio, 1950 (now 65)
Webb Pierce (CM 01) born in West Monroe, Louisiana, 1926 (died 1991)
Dale Warren of the Sons of the Pioneers died in Branson, Missouri (heart failure), 2008 (was 83)
Chuck Seitz died in Cincinnati, Ohio (natural causes), 2012 (was 93).  In addition to serving as recording engineer at King and RCA Seitz co-wrote the classic "Before I Met You."
Hank Williams Jr. critically inured in a fall while mountain climbing on Ajax Mountain in Montana, 1975. Williams' head was split open, his face was shattered, and he lost an eye in the 500-foot fall.

August 9:

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

August 10:

Jerry Kennedy born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1940 (now 75)
Jonie Mosby born in Van Nuys, California, 1940 (now 75)
Gene Johnson of Diamond Rio born in Jamestown, New York, 1949 (now 66)
Delia Upchurch born in Gainesboro, Tennessee, 1891 (died 1976). Upchurch was known as "the Den Mother of Nashville Stars" because she ran a boarding house where struggling musicians and songwriters could stay and pay what they could afford.
Jimmy Martin (BG 95) born in Sneedville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 2005)
Jimmy Dean (CM 10) born in Plainview, Texas, 1928 (died 2010)
Alvin "Junior" Samples born in Buena Park, California, 1926 (died 1983)
Billy Grammer died in Benton, Illinois (long-term illness), 2011 (was 85)

August 11:

John Conlee born in Versailles, Kentucky, 1946 (now 69)
Don Helms (StG 84) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2008 (was 81)
Hank Williams fired from the Grand Ole Opry, 1952

August 12:

Mark Knopfler born in Glasgow, Scotland, 1949 (now 66). Knopfler, best known as guitarist and lead singer of Dire Straits, won a "Best Country Vocal Collaboration" Grammy with Chet Atkins in 1990 for the song "Poor Boy Blues."  He also recorded an album of country songs under the pseudonym the Notting Hillbillies.
Rex Griffin (NS 70) born in Gadsden, Alabama, 1912 (died 1958)
Porter Wagoner (CM 02) born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 1927 (died 2007)
Buck Owens (CM 96, NS 96) born in Sherman, Texas, 1929 (died 2006)
Linda Parker of the WLS National Barn Dance died in Mishawaka, Indiana (peritonitis), 1935 (was 23)

August 13:

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

August 14:

Connie Smith (CM 12) born in Elkhart, Indiana, 1941 (now 74)
Charles K. Wolfe (BG 09) born in Sedalia, Missouri, 1943 (died 2006)
Johnny Duncan died in Fort Worth, Texas (heart attack), 2006 (was 67)

August 15:

Ben Eldridge of the Seldom Scene (BG 14) born in Richmond, Virginia, 1938 (now 77)
Jimmy Webb (NS 90) born in Elk City, Oklahoma, 1946 (now 69)
Rose Maddox born in Boaz, Alabama, 1925 (died 1998)
Bobby Helms born in Bloomington, Indiana, 1933 (died 1997)
Don Rich born in Olympia, Washington, 1941 (died 1974)

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