Monday, August 15, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, August 16-31

Category: News

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


August 16:


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

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


August 17:

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

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

 
August 18:


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

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

August 19:

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

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


August 20:


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

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

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

 August 21:

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

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

August 22:

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

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

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

August 23:

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

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

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

August 24:

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

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

August 25:

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

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

August 26:

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

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

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

August 28:

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

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

August 29:

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

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


August 30:

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

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


August 31:


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

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, August 1-15

Category: News

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

August 1:

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


August 2:

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

August 3:

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


August 4:

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


August 5:

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


August 6:

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


August 7:

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


August 8:

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


August 9:

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


August 10:

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

August 11:

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


August 12:

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


August 13:

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


August 14:

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

August 15:

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

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

Heartfelt Congratulations

Category: News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, July 16-31

Category: News

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


July 16:


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

July 17:

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

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

July 18:


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

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

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

July 20:


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

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

July 21:


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

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

July 22:

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

July 23:


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

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

July 24:


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

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

July 25:


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

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

July 26:


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

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

July 27:


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

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

July 28:


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

July 29:


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

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

July 30:


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

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

July 31:


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

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

They Made the Night a Little Brighter Wherever They Would Go

Category: Obituary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Another Major Death

Category: News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, July 03, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, July 1-15

Category: News

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

July 1:

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

July 2:

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

July 3:

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

July 4:

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

July 5:

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

July 6:

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

July 7:

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

July 8:

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

July 9:

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

July 10:

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

July 11:

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

July 12:

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

July 13:

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

July 14:

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

July 15:

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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

O Death...

Category: News/Obituary 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Stanley was 89.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dates of Note in Country Music, June 16-30

Category: News

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


June 16:

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

June 17:

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

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

June 18:

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

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

June 19:

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

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

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

June 20:

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

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

June 21:

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

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

June 22:


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

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

June 23:

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

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

June 24:

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

June 25:

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

June 26:

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

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

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

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

June 28:

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

June 29:

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

June 30:

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