Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spider Man

Category:  Obituary

They called him "Spider."  And for over 60 years his guitar rang true in Nashville.

James "Spider" Wilson died today (2/26) of cancer in Nashville.

He came to prominence in 1947 when he worked with Little Jimmy Dickens (whom we lost eight weeks ago).  In 1953 Wilson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry staff band and remained there until 2006, when he quit over what he called "humiliating treatment" by the Opry management concerning the Opry staff band not being used on the televised portion of the Grand Ole Opry.  

In addition to working with Dickens and on the Opry, Wilson was a prolific session guitarist.  His beautiful guitar work can be heard on songs such as "The End of the World," the legendary Skeeter Davis hit, Bill Anderson & Jan Howard's cover of "Someday We'll Be Together," Faron Young's version of "Sweet Dreams (Of You)" "Stateside" by Mel Tillis, and Ray Price's "My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You."   

Wilson was one of the true unsung heroes of Nashville session work and Opry live performances, and his talent will be sorely missed.

James "Spider" Wilson was 79.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, February 16-28

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)

February 16:

Jo-Walker Meador (CM 95) born in Orlinda, Tennessee, 1924 (now 91)
Ronnie Milsap (CM 14) born in Robbinsville, North Carolina, 1944 (now 71)
Jimmy Wakely born in Mineola, Arkansas, 1914 (died 1982)
Smiley Burnette (NS 71) died in Encino, California (leukemia), 1967 (was 55)

February 17:

Johnny Bush born in Houston, Texas, 1935 (now 80)
Buck Trent born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1938 (now 77)
Jon Randall born in Dallas, Texas, 1969 (now 46)
Bryan White born in Shellman, Georgia, 1974 (now 41)
Billy Byrd born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 2001)
Gene Pitney born in Hartford, Connecticut, 1940 (died 2006). The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer recorded two albums of duets with George Jones.
Uncle Jimmy Thompson died in Laguardo, Tennessee (natural causes), 1931 (was 82)
Eck Robertson died in Borger, Texas (natural causes), 1975 (was 87)
Gus Hardin died near Claremore, Oklahoma (car wreck), 1996 (was 50)

February 18:

Juice Newton born in Lakehurst Naval Station, New Jersey, 1952 (now 63)
Dudley Connell born in Scheer, West Virginia, 1956 (now 59)
Julius Frank "Pee Wee" King (ne Kuczynski) (CM 74, NS 70) born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1914 (died 2000)
Tootsie Bess, owner of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1978 (was 61)
Johnny Paycheck died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2003 (was 64)

February 19:

Lorianne Crook born in Wichita, Kansas, 1957 (now 58)
Cedric Rainwater (real name: Howard Watts) (BG 07) born in Monticello, Florida, 1913 (died 1970)
Lowell Blanchard died in Knoxville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1968 (was 57)
Grandpa Jones (CM 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1998 (was 84)
Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton officially break up their act, 1974

February 20:

Kathie Baillie of Baillie & the Boys born in Morristown, New Jersey, 1951 (now 64)
Claire Lynch born in Albany, New York, 1954 (now 61)

February 21:

Mary-Chapin Carpenter born in Princeton, New Jersey, 1958 (now 57)
Don Reno (BG 92) born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1926 (died 1984)
Carl T. Sprague died in Bryan, Texas (unknown cause), 1979 (was 83)

Ray Whitley (NS 81) died in California (unknown cause), 1979 (was 77)

February 22:

Del Wood born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 1989)
George Younce of the Cathedrals (SG 98) born in Patterson, North Carolina, 1930 (died 2005)
Johnny Cash asked June Carter to marry him onstage during a concert in London, Ontario, 1968

February 23:

Rusty Young of Poco born in Long Beach, California, 1946 (now 69)
Buck Griffin born in Corsicana, Texas, 1923 (died 2009)
Penny DeHaven died in Atlanta, Georgia (cancer), 2014 (was 65)
Minnie Pearl married Henry Cannon, 1947

February 24:

Little Roy Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincoln County, Georgia, 1942 (now 73)
Don Law (CM 01) born in London, England, 1902 (died 1982)
Webb Pierce (CM 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1991 (was 69)
Goldie Hill Smith died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2005 (was 72)
Dinah Shore died in Beverly Hills, California (ovarian cancer), 1994 (was 77). The legendary pop singer and TV hostess was part of the family of live performers on WSM radio.

February 25:

Dr. Ralph Stanley (BG 92) born in Stratton, Virginia, 1927 (now 88)
Faron Young (CM 00) born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1932 (died 1996)

February 26:

Jan Crutchfield born in Paducah, Kentucky, 1936 (now 79)
Billy Jack Wills born in Hall County, Texas, 1926 (died 1991)
Johnny Cash (CM 80, NS 77, RR 92) born in Kingsland, Arkansas, 1932 (died 2003)
Tim Wilson died in Commerce, Georgia (heart failure), 2014 (was 52)

February 27:

Chuck Glaser of the Glaser Brothers born in Spalding, Nebraska, 1936 (now 79)
Joe Carson died in Wichita Falls, Texas (car wreck), 1964 (was 27)
Walter Bailes died in Sevierville, Tennessee (various health problems), 2000 (was 80)

February 28:

Jim Denny (CM 66) born in Silver Point, Tennessee, 1911 (died 1963)
Audrey Williams born in Banks, Alabama, 1923 (died 1975)
Don Helms born in New Brockton, Alabama, 1927 (died 2008)
Joe South (NS 79) born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1940 (died 2012)
Fiddlin' Arthur Smith died (unknown causes), 1971 (was 72)

Leap day, February 29:

Dinah Shore born in Winchester, Tennessee, 1916 (died 1994)
Vaughn Horton (NS 71) died in New Port Ritchey, Florida (heart attack), 1988 (was 76)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sick Call: Midnite Jamboree

Category:  News

I've thought that there was trouble at the long-running Midnite Jamboree, the free show held at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Saturday night following the Grand Ole Opry, for some time.  The show, which began in 1947, has undergone a number of changes in recent years.  Those changes include an unsuccessful attempt to tape the shows at 10 PM then play them back at midnight the following week and, most recently, weeks of archived shows instead of live broadcasts.

A post on the website of country singer Gary Hayes gives some indication as to just how severe the problem is.  Glenn Tubb, the nephew of Ernest Tubb, confirms that the Midnite Jamboree is in serious financial trouble.  Hayes reports that it costs approximately $2,500 per broadcast, which is money that the store on Music Valley Drive (where the show is broadcast from) is simply not recovering in sales.  Glenn Tubb states (per Hayes' quote), "The record shops can no longer support the MJ because people have quit buying records, thanks to the free downloads on the internet."  

The post goes on to say that a "Midnite Jamboree Association" is being formed.  Members will make an annual contribution in order to keep the radio show going.

I hate to say this, but I don't think this will help.  In the first place, most of the people who go to Nashville as a "country music tourist" no longer care for the history or traditions of country music.  This is why the Opry is in bad shape, and that problem is trickling down to the Midnite Jamboree.  Secondly, there are few artists who want to support the Midnite Jamboree.  When Charlie Louvin appeared on the show in 1993 he stated that the main artists did the show gratis.  I don't know if that's true anymore or not, but if it is, what artist is going to sacrifice a paying gig on Saturday night at one of the countless clubs in Nashville (or Branson, or Austin, or Pigeon Forge, or country music cruises or festivals) to do a free show?  Alan Jackson did a show downtown at the original store (more precisely, out in the middle of Broadway because of the huge crowd), but that was ages ago.  The superstars don't care, and the Opry stars don't care.  How can they attract an audience when the singers don't even show an interest?

There are other issues, too:  as the blog said, people can obtain music in other places far less expensively than the full list prices at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop.  Using a popular example, the new Garth Brooks CD is less than $12 at Amazon while nearly $13 at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop.  Digital download sights offer an even bigger discount.  Similarly, the wide array of country music at the stores holds little interest to modern country fans.

The February 14 show, featuring Glenn Douglas Tubb, is scheduled to be the last live Midnite Jamboree until after Memorial Day, well into the "tourist season."  Archived shows will run on Saturday night.

I hope the Midnite Jamboree can continue.  In order for this to happen, however, the stars and the fans have to band together and support the legendary program.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Louvin Brothers Receive Lifetime Achievement Grammy

Category:  News

Throughout their career the Louvin Brothers always seemed to be a day late.  People heard them on the radio and began covering their songs, to the point where Charlie Louvin told biographer Charles K. Wolfe people thought it was the Louvins doing the cover.  Their career took off right at the wrong time, too, just as Elvis and rock and roll changed the musical landscape.  None of that, however, undermined the influence the two men from the Sand Mountain region of Alabama had on country music -- or all music for that matter, given that rock acts such as Mark Knopfler and the Byrds have covered their songs.

This weekend, that influence was recognized and awarded when the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presented the Louvin Brothers a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 57th annual Grammy Awards celebration.

Ira's daughters, Kathy and Denise, and Charlie's son Charlie "Sonny," accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremonies on Saturday night (2/7).

Other Lifetime Achievement Grammys for 2015 went to the Bee Gees, Pierre Boulez, Buddy Guy, former Beatle George Harrison, Flaco Jimenez, and Wayne Shorter.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, February 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; OTF=Old Time Fiddler; RR=also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


February 1:

Don Everly (CM 01, NS 01, RR 86) born in Brownie, Kentucky, 1937 (now 78)
Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook born in Chicksaw, Alabama, 1937 (now 78)
Del McCoury (BG 11) born in Bakersville, North Carolina, 1939 (now 76)

Tom Gray of the Country Gentlemen (BG 96) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1941 (now 74)
Lisa Marie Presley born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1968 (now 47)

Scotty Wiseman (NS 71) died in Gainesville, Florida (heart attack), 1981 (was 71)

February 2:

Howard Bellamy of the Bellamy Brothers born in Darby, Florida, 1946 (now 69)
Emmett Miller born in Macon, Georgia, 1900 (died 1962)
Lester McFarland of Mac & Bob born in Gray, Kentucky, 1902 (died 1984)

Glenn Barber born in Hollis, Oklahoma, 1935 (died 2008)
Rusty Kershaw born in Tiel Ridge, Louisiana, 1938 (died 2001)
Jimmie Crawford (StG 00) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2005 (was 69)
Louise Scruggs (BG 10) died in Nashville Tennessee, 2006 (was 78)

February 3:

Dave Rich born in Briar Creek, Kentucky, 1936 (now 79). Ernest Tubb heard a recording of Rich's and hounded friend Ray Price throughout a game of golf to record the song. The song? "City Lights."
Matraca Berg (NS 08) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1964 (now 51)
Betty Foley, daughter and one-time duet partner of Red Foley, born in Chicago, Illinois, 1933 (died 1990)
Jiles Perry "J.P." Richardson ("The Big Bopper") died near Clear Lake, Iowa (plane crash), 1959 (was 28)
Buddy Holly (NS 94, RR 86) died near Clear Lake, Iowa (plane crash), 1959 (was 22)
James Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 97) died in Memphis, Tennessee (stroke), 2002 (was 83). He was the last original member of the legendary quartet.

February 4:

Clint Black born in Long Branch, New Jersey, 1962 (now 53)
Chris McDaniel of Confederate Railroad born in Rock Springs, Georgia, 1965 (now 50)
Vic McAlpin (NS 70) born in Defeated Creek, Tennessee, 1918 (died 1980)
Kenneth "Jethro" Burns (CM 01) died in Evanston, Illinois (prostate cancer), 1989 (was 68)
Tom Brumley (StG 92) of Buck Owens' Buckaroos died in San Antonio, Texas (heart ailment), 2009 (was 62)

February 5:


Sara Evans born in Boonville, Missouri, 1971 (now 44)
Shelby David "Tex" Atchison born in Rosine, Kentucky, 1912 (died 1982)
Claude King born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1923 (died 2013)
Henson Cargill born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1941 (died 2007)
Eddy Noack died (cerebral hemorrhage), 1978 (was 47)

February 6:

Dale Reno of the Reno Brothers born in Roanoke, Virginia, 1961 (now 54)
Richie McDonald of Lonestar born in Lubbock, Texas, 1962 (now 53)
Anita Cochran born in Pontiac, Michigan, 1967 (now 48)

Jim Bowles (OTF) born in Rock Bridge, Kentucky, 1903 (died 1993)
Violet Koehler of the original Coon Creek Girls born in Wilton, Wisconsin, 1916 (died 1973)

Merle Kilgore (NS 98) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2005 (was 70)
Frankie Laine died in San Diego, California (complications from hip replacement surgery), 2007 (was 93)

February 7:

Tony Booth born in Tampa, Florida, 1943 (now 72)
Garth Brooks (CM 12, NS 11) born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1962 (now 53)
Wilma Lee Cooper born in Valley Head, West Virginia, 1921 (died 2011)
Warren Smith born in Humphreys County, Mississippi, 1933 (died 1980)
Ambrose Allen of the Allen Brothers born in Sewanee, Tennessee, 1901 (died 1959)
Dale Evans died in Happy Valley, California (congestive heart failure), 2001 (was 88)
Molly Bee died in Oceanside, California (complications of a stroke), 2009 (was 68)
Patsy Cline's last recording session, Nashville, 1963. The last song she recorded was a cover of Moon Mullican's "I'll Sail My Ship Alone."
Jim Reeves recorded "Four Walls" in Nashville, 1957. This song is said by many to be the beginning of the "Nashville Sound."

February 8:

Don Wayne Reno of the Reno Brothers born in Roanoke, Virginia, 1963 (now 52)
Pappy Daily born in Yoakum, Texas, 1902 (died 1987)
Bob Dunn (StG 92) born in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, 1908 (died 1971). Dunn is credited as being the first country musician to use amplification for his instrument.

Dan Seals born in McCamey, Texas, 1948 (died 2009)
Merle Watson born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, 1949 (died 1985)
Lulu Belle Wiseman died (Alzheimer's disease), 1999 (was 84)

Pauline "Mom" Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) died in Washington, Georgia (illness), 2003 (was 92)
Keith Knudsen of Southern Pacific died in California (chronic pneumonia), 2005 (was 56)

February 9:


Red Lane (NS 93) born in Zona, Louisiana, 1939 (now 76)
Joe Ely born in Amarillo, Texas, 1947 (now 68)
Travis Tritt born in Marietta, Georgia, 1963 (now 52)
Ernest Tubb (CM 65, NS 70) born in Crisp, Texas, 1914 (died 1984)

Charles K. Wolfe (BG 09) died in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (complications of diabetes), 2006 (was 62)

February 10:

George York of the York Brothers born in Louisa, Kentucky, 1910 (died 1974)

Arthur Satherley (CM 71) died in Fountain Valley, California (natural causes), 1986 (was 96)
Kendall Hayes died in Louisville, Kentucky (cancer), 1995 (was 59)
Jim Varney died in White House, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2000 (was 50)


February 11:

Wayma "Pee Wee" Whitewing (StG 02) born in Reichert, Oklahoma, 1934 (now 81)

Wesley Rose (CM 86) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1918 (died 1980)

February 12:

Moe Bandy born in Meridian, Mississippi, 1944 (now 71)
Stephen Sholes (CM 67) born in Washington, DC, 1911 (died 1968)
Harley "Red" Allen (BG 05) born in Pigeon Roost, Kentucky, 1930 (died 1993)
Lorne Greene born in Ottawa, Ontario, 1915 (died 1987). The legendary actor hit the Billboard top 40 country charts in 1964 with "Ringo."

Barney Isaacs Jr. (StG 99) died (unknownd cause), 1996 (was 69)
Sammi Smith died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (emphysema), 2005 (was 61)

February 13:

David McLaughlin of the Johnson Mountain Boys born in Washington, DC, 1958 (now 57)
Tennessee Ernie Ford (CM 90) born in Bristol, Tennessee, 1919 (died 1991)
Boudleaux Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) born in Shellman, Georgia, 1920 (died 1987)
Jim McReynolds of Jim & Jesse (BG 93) born in Coeburn, Virginia, 1927 (died 2003)
Charlie Moore born in Piedmont, South Carolina, 1935 (died 1979)
Buddy Lee died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1998 (was 65)
Waylon Jennings (CM 01, NS 95) died in Chandler, Arizona (complications of diabetes), 2002 (was 64)

February 14:

Tom Bradshaw (StG 06) born in Skiatook, Oklahoma, 1935 (now 80)

Razzy Bailey born in Five Points, Alabama, 1939 (now 76)
Bill Nowlin, co-founder of Rounder Records, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1945 (now 70)
Harry Stone born in Jacksonville, Florida, 1898 (died 1968)
Lonnie Glosson born in Judsonia, Arkansas, 1908 (died 2001)
Buck Griffin died in Oklahoma (heart failure), 2009 (was 85)

February 15:

Wally Fowler born in Adairsville, Georgia, 1917 (died 1994)

Hank Locklin born in McLellan, Florida, 1918 (died 2009)
Louise Scruggs (BG 10) born in Lebanon, Tennessee, 1927 (died 2006)
Dorris Macon died (suicide), 1981 (was 71)
Nat "King" Cole died in Santa Montica, California (lung cancer), 1965 (was 45). The legendary pop crooner hit #1 on the Billboard country charts in 1944 (with the King Cole Trio) with the song "Straighten Up and Fly Right."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Charlie Farquharson Signs Off

Category:  Obituary

One of the constants throughout the 25-year history of Hee Haw was the spoof of tiny-town radio news reports presented by KORN newscaster, Charlie Farquharson.

The actor and writer behind that character, Don Harron, has died.

Harron died Saturday (1/17) of cancer at his home in Toronto.

The character Charlie Farquharson began in Harron's native land in the 1950's.  It was only one facet of Harron's career at the time.  He was also a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, an actor, and producer.  He took the classic book Anne of Green Gables and helped turn it into a musical for the Canadian stage.

In 1968 he landed a job on the CBS summer replacement show, Hee Haw, alongside fellow Canadian Gordie Tapp.  He brought the folksy Farquharson character with him, this time making light of small-town America instead of small-town Canada.  It fit perfectly (given that Harron once said that the Farquharson character was inspired by time spent working on a farm in Canada), and the "Charlie Farquharson, KORN news reporting" segments became some of the most popular skits on the long-running series.

Harron was also an author.  He penned 17 books, including his memoirs, My Double Life:  Sexty Years of Farquharson Around With Don Harn.

Upon being advised that he had cancer, he opted to not pursue treatment.

Don Harron was 90.

Farewell, Miss Dixie

Category:  Obituary/News


"I forgot her name, but not her figure."  It's hard to believe that line, from Dave Dudley's top five hit "Truck Drivin' Son of a Gun," was written by a woman.  But it was -- by the woman lovingly known as "Miss Dixie."

Miss Dixie, better known as Dixie Hall, died Friday (1/16) after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.

Along with her husband, Country Music Hall of Famer Tom T. Hall, Miss Dixie devoted her life to song.  A wonderful quote from Hall in the Nashville Tennessean pointed out the difference Hall saw between his songwriting and his wife's:  "She sees the trees, while all I can see is the forest."

The couple was married for 46 years.  In the mid-70's Tom T. "experimented" with a bluegrass album, 1976's Magnificent Music Machine.  Who would know that would turn into an obsession of sorts:  Tom T. and Miss Dixie were among the most prolific songwriters in bluegrass music over the past 30 years.  The couple hosted after-hours hospitality suites at the International Bluegrass Music Association's annual World of Bluegrass convention and showcase.

In 2004 IBMA awarded Dixie Hall the "Distinguished Achievement Award" along with her husband for their years of dedication to bluegrass music, as writers, performers, and supporters.

Nothin' Fancy performing "Once Upon a Road,"
written by Tom T. and Dixie Hall

Dixie Hall was 80.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, January 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; OTF=Old Time Fiddler; RR=also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


January 16:

Ronnie Milsap (CM 14) born in Robbinsville, North Carolina, 1943 (now 72)
Jim Stafford born in Eloise, Florida, 1944 (now 71)
Sandy Pinkard of Pinkard & Bowden born in Abbeville, Louisiana, 1947 (now 68)

Roy Lanham born in Corbin, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1991)
Ruby Falls born in Jackson, Tennessee, 1946 (died 1986)

Dizzy Dean born in Lucas, Arkansas, 1910 (died 1974). The legendary baseball player is credited with dubbing Roy Acuff "King of Country Music."
Carl Smith (CM 03) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2010 (was 82)
Bill Monroe seriously injured in a car wreck, 1953. Monroe was away from performing for six months while recovering.

Jimmy Buffett's private plane was shot at by Jamaican authorities, 1996.  The Jamaican police mistook Buffett's plane for one belonging to a drug kingpin.  No one on board Buffett's plane was injured.

January 17:


Steve Earle born in Fort Monroe, Virginia, 1955 (now 60)
Amanda Wilkinson of the Wilkinsons born in Belleville, Ontario, 1982 (now 33)
Walter Bailes of the Bailes Brothers born in Kanawha County, West Virginia, 1920 (died 2000)
Grady Martin born in Marshall County, Tennessee, 1929 (died 2001)
Cliffie Stone (CM 89) died in his home in Saugus, California (heart attack), 1998 (was 80)
Frank "Hylo" Brown died in Mechanicsburg, Ohio (natural causes), 2003 (was 81)
The street in front of Graceland renamed "Elvis Presley Boulevard," 1972

January 18:


Bobby Edwards born in Aniston, Alabama, 1926 (now 89)
Hargus "Pig" Robbins (CM 12) born in Spring City, Tennessee, 1938 (now 77)
Mark Collie born in Waynesboro, Tennessee, 1956 (now 59)

Linda Parker of the Cumberland Ridge Runners born in Covington, Kentucky, 1912 (died 1935)
Eddie Hill died (long-term illness), 1994 (was 74)

January 19:


Stu Phillips born in Montreal, Quebec, 1933 (now 82)
Dolly Parton (CM 99, NS 86) born in Locast Ridge, Tennessee, 1946 (now 69)
Stephanie Davis born in Bridger, Montana, 1958 (now 57)
Dennie Crouch of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Strawberry, Arkansas, 1967 (now 48)
Leo Soileau born in Ville Platte, Louisiana, 1904 (died 1980)
Ken Nelson (CM 01) born in Caledonia, Minnesota, 1911 (died 2008)

Oscar Sullivan born in Edmonton, Kentucky, 1919 (died 2012)
Charlie Waller of the Country Gentlemen (BG 96) born in Joinerville, TX, 1935 (died 2004)
Phil Everly (CM 01, NS 01; RR 86) born in Chicago, Illinois, 1939 (died 2014)
Ralph Peer (CM 84) died in Los Angeles, California (pneumonia), 1960 (was 67)
Vic McAlpin (NS 70) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1980 (was 61)
Carl Perkins (NS 85; RR 87) died in Jackson, Tennessee (complications of stroke/throat cancer), 1998 (was 65)

James O'Gwynn died in Hattiesburg, Mississippi (long-term illness), 2011 (was 82)
George Jones' first recording session (for Starday), 1954

January 20:

John Michael Montgomery born in Danville, Kentucky, 1965 (now 50)

Huddie "Leadbelly" Leadbetter (NS 80; RR 88) born in Mooringsport, Louisiana, 1889 (died 1949).  The year of Leadbelly's birth is open for debate, as is the actual day, with numerous sources citing January 20, January 21, or January 23, and years of 1888 or 1889.
George Burns born in New York, New York, 1896 (died 1996). The legendary comedian and actor had a top 20 country song in 1980 with "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again."
Slim Whitman born in Tampa, Florida, 1924 (died 2013)
Larry Butler died in Pensacola, Florida (natural causes), 2012 (was 69)

January 21:

Mac Davis (NS 00) born in Lubbock, Texas, 1942 (now 73)
Jim Ibbottson of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1947 (now 68)

Cedric Rainwater (BG 07) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1970 (was 56)
Jim Anglin died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1987 (was 73)
Colonel Tom Parker died in Las Vegas, Nevada (stroke), 1997 (was 87). In addition to Elvis, Parker managed Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, and Minnie Pearl early in their careers.
Patsy Cline appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts and won the talent show,1957

January 22:

J.P. Pennington of Exile born in Berea, Kentucky, 1949 (now 66)

Teddy Gentry (CM 05) born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1952 (now 63)
Dickie McBride of Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers born in New Baden, Texas, 1914 (died 1971)
Jimmy Day died in Buda, Texas (cancer), 1999 (was 65)
Janette Carter, the last surviving member of the Carter Family, died in Kingsport, Tennessee (Parkinson's disease/illness), 2006 (was 82)

January 23:

Etta May born in Bald Knob, Arkansas, 1962 (now 53)
Johnny Russell (NS 01) born in Sunflower County, Mississippi, 1940 (died 2001)
T. Texas Tyler died in Springfield, Missouri (stomach cancer), 1972 (was 55)

Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey (NS 79; SG 13) died in Chicago, Illinois (Alzheimer's disease), 1993 (was 93)
Art Stamper died in Louisville, Kentucky (throat cancer), 2005 (was 71)
Johnny Carson died in Hollywood, California (emphysema), 2005 (was 79). Carson had a number of country artists on The Tonight Show, including over two dozen appearances by Homer and Jethro, who Carson considered among his favorite guests.
The Winter Dance Party begins in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1959. Three of the headliners, Buddy Holly, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, and Richie Valens, would die 11 days later.

January 24:

Doug Kershaw born in Tiel Ridge, Louisiana, 1936 (now 79)
Jack Scott born in Windsor, Ontario, 1936 (now 79)
Ray Stevens (NS 80) born in Clarksdale, Georgia, 1939 (now 76)
Becky Hobbs born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1950 (now 65)
Keech Rainwater of Lonestar born in Plano, Texas, 1963 (now 52)

Warren Zevon born in Chicago, Illinois, 1947 (died 2001).  The folk-rock singer wrote "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," which was a hit on the country charts by both Linda Ronstadt and Terri Clark.  Zevon also had Dwight Yoakam on two albums and appeared in South of Heaven, West of Hell, which Yoakam directed and starred in.
Shot Jackson died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of stroke), 1991 (was 70)
Justin Tubb died in Nashville, Tennessee (aortic aneurysm), 1998 (was 62)

January 25:

Claude Gray born in Henderson, Texas, 1932 (now 83)
Farrell "Rusty" Draper born in Kirksville, Missouri, 1923 (died 2003)
Speedy West (StG 80) born in Springfield, Missouri, 1924 (died 2003)
Cactus Jack Call died in Kansas City, Missouri (car wreck), 1963 (was 39).  A benefit concert for the disc jockey five weeks later would be the final performances by Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Cowboy Copas.

Buddy Charleton (SG 93) died in Austin, Texas (lung cancer), 2011 (was 72)

January 26:

Dave Rowland of Dave & Sugar born in Sanger, California, 1942 (now 73)
Lucinda Williams born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, 1953 (now 62)

James O'Gwynn born in Winchester, Mississippi, 1928 (died 2011)
Clayton McMichen born in Allatoona, Georgia, 1900 (died 1970)
Goebel Reeves died in Long Beach, California (heart attack), 1959 (was 59)

Charlie Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) died in Wartrace, Tennessee (pancreatic cancer), 2011 (was 83)
Hillary Clinton 
disparagingly invoked Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" during an interview, 1992

January 27:

Buddy Emmons (SG 81) born in Mishawaka, Indiana, 1937 (now 78)
Lee Carroll of Exile born in Glasgow, Kentucky, 1953 (now 62)
Cheryl White of the Whites born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1955 (now 60)
Richard Young of the Kentucky Headhunters born in Glasgow, Kentucky, 1955 (now 60)
Tracy Lawrence born in Atlanta, Texas, 1968 (now 47)
Joe Callahan of the Callahan Brothers born in Madison County, North Carolina, 1910 (died 1971)
Claude Akins died in Altadena, California (cancer), 1994 (was 67). Among the actor's roles was Sonny on the TV series Movin' On, which featured the title song performed by Merle Haggard.

January 28:

Greg Cook of Ricochet born in Vian, Oklahoma, 1965 (now 50)
Bill Phillips born in Canton, North Carolina, 1936 (died 2010)

Skeeter Willis died in Nashville, Tennessee (lymph cancer), 1976 (was 58)
Al Dexter (NS 71) died in Denton, Texas (heart attack), 1984 (was 78)

Jim Bowles (OTF) died in Kentucky (pneumonia), 1993 (was 89)
Jimmy Fortune joined the Statler Brothers, 1982

January 29:


Patsy Sledd born in Falcon, Missouri, 1944 (now 71)
Irlene Mandrell of the Mandrell Sisters born in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1957 (now 58)

Lloyd Perryman of the Sons of the Pioneers born in Ruth, Arkansas, 1917 (died 1977)
Little Jimmy Sizemore born in Paintsville, Kentucky, 1928 (died 2014)

January 30:

Jeanne Pruett born in Pell City, Alabama, 1937 (now 78)
Norma Jean ("Pretty Miss Norma Jean") born in Wellston, Oklahoma, 1938 (now 77)
Harold Morrison born in High Lonesome, Missouri, 1931 (died 1993)
Melvin Endsley born in Drasco, Arkansas, 1934 (died 2004)
Ott Devine died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1994 (was 83)

January 31:

Lynwood Lunsford of Lost & Found born in Roxboro, North Carolina, 1962 (now 53)
Warren Smith died in Longview, Texas (heart attack), 1981 (was 47)

Doc Williams died in Wheeling, West Virginia (natural causes), 2011 (was 96)

Friday, January 02, 2015

There's Been a Death in the Family

Category:  News/Obituary

Never has a man who was just 4'10" stood so tall in the world of country music.

The legendary Little Jimmy Dickens died today (1/2) in a Nashville hospital of heart failure.  He suffered a stroke on Christmas day, just six days after his 94th birthday.  Two weeks ago he made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, performing in honor of his birthday.

James Cecil Dickens was born December 19, 1920 in Bolt, West Virginia.  He dropped out of college to pursue a career in country music.  He was signed to Columbia Records in the late 40's and joined the Opry in 1948.

The hits came early and often:  "Take an Old, Cold Tater (and Wait)" established him as a star and gave him his nickname of "Tater," courtesy of Hank Williams.  He mixed novelty songs (his biggest hit, 1965's "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," crossed over to the pop charts) and serious tunes (his recitation about a man who visited his daughter's grave, "(You've Been Quite a Doll) Raggedy Ann") with onstage humor (usually introducing himself on the Opry as, "I'm Little Jimmy Dickens, or Willie Nelson after taxes") to become one of country's most enduring performers.  WSM DJ and Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs frequently said that Dickens was the only person who could follow Garth Brooks during Brooks' heyday in the 90's....and Dickens was in his mid-70's at the time!

Dickens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983.  His "hits" may have ended by then, but his career was far from exhausted.  He continued to tour extensively into the late 1990's, headlining at Opry tours and his own shows.  Even after he retired from the road he continued as one of the most beloved members of the Opry.

In the past few years Dickens has suffered numerous health problems, including a subdural hematoma and throat cancer.  He managed to continue to perform, although with increasing infrequency, until the end.

Survivors include his wife, Mona, two daughters, and generations of fans who enjoyed the music and entertainment of Little Jimmy Dickens.

As the Bill Anderson song that Dickens recorded in the early 70's said, "there's been a death in the family."  Country music's family has decreased by one incredibly gigantic talent.

Rest in peace, Tater.

Dates of Note in Country Music, January 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, RR=also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

January 1:


Frank Kettering of the Hoosier Hot Shots born in Monmouth, Illinois, 1909 (died 1973)
Hank Williams (CM 61, NS 70) died in the back seat of a car between Knoxville, Tennessee and Oak Hill, West Virginia (cardiac arrest), 1953 (was 29)
Aubrey "Moon" Mullican (NS 76) died in Beaumont, Texas (heart attack), 1967 (was 57)
Floyd "Salty" Holmes of the Prairie Ramblers died (unknown cause), 1970 (was 60)
Townes Van Zandt died in Mount Juliet, Tennessee (heart attack), 1997 (was 52)
Del Reeves died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2007 (was 73)

Patti Page (Clara Fowler) died in Encinitas, California (long illness), 2013 (was 85)
Cousin Jody (ne James Summey) quit Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys (along with two other members), 1939.  Acuff replaced Cousin Jody with Beecher Ray Kirby, who was later nicknamed "Bashful Brother Oswald."
Johnny Cash played at San Quentin prison, 1959. Among the prisoners in attendance was Merle Haggard.

The first episode of The Porter Wagoner Show aired in syndication, 1961

January 2:

Harold Bradley (CM 06) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1926 (now 89)
Dick Feller born in Bronaugh, Missouri, 1943 (now 72)
Roger Miller (CM 95, NS 73) born in Fort Worth, Texas, 1936 (died 1992)
Red Smiley (BG 92) died in Richmond, Virginia (complications from diabetes), 1972 (was 47)
Tex Ritter (CM 64, NS 71) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1974 (was 68)
Wayne Walker (NS 75) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1979 (was 53)

Little Jimmy Dickens (CM 83) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure/stroke), 2015 (was 94)

January 3:

Nikki Nelson of Highway 101 born in San Diego, California, 1969 (now 46)

Leon McAuliffe born in Houston, Texas, 1917 (died 1988)
Elwood Goins (BG 09) born in Bramwell, WV, 1936 (died 2007)
Felton Jarvis died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1981 (was 46)
Doye O'Dell died in Northridge, California (complications of a stroke), 2001 (was 88)

Quanah Talmadge Tubb (better known as Billy Talmadge Tubb) died in El Paso, Texas (unknown causes), 2007 (was 81)
Phil Everly (CM 01, RR 86) died in Burbank, California (COPD), 2014 (was 74)
Grandpa Jones suffered stroke after performing on the Grand Ole Opry, 1998
Sam Phillips opened Sun Recording Studio, 1950

January 4:

Mike Henderson born in Independence, Missouri, 1955 (now 60)
Kathy Forester of the Forester Sisters born in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1955 (now 60)
Patty Loveless born in Pikeville, Kentucky, 1957 (now 58)
Deana Carter born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1966 (now 49)

Lorene Mann born in Huntland, Tennessee, 1937 (died 2013)
Clayton McMichen died in Battletown, Kentucky (unknown causes), 1970 (was 69)
Jake Hess (SG 97) died in Opelika, Alabama (complications of heart attack), 2004 (was 76)
First barn dance program in America airs on WBAP, Fort Worth, Texas, 1923

January 5:


Steve Ripley of the Tractors born in Boise, Idaho, 1950 (now 65)
Iris DeMent born in Paragould, Arkansas, 1961 (now 54)

Big Bill Lister born in Kenedy, Texas, 1923 (died 2009)
Sam Phillips (Sun Records owner) (CM 01) born in Florence, Alabama, 1923 (died 2003)
Tug McGraw, former baseball pitcher and father of Tim McGraw, died in his son's home in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2004 (was 59)

January 6:


Joey Miskulin ("Joey the Cow Polka King") of Riders in the Sky born in Chicago, Illinois, 1949 (now 66)
Jett Williams born in Montgomery, Alabama, 1953 (now 62)
Harry "Hap" Peebles born in Anthony, Kansas, 1913 (died 1993)

Earl Scruggs (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07) born in Flint Hill, North Carolina, 1924 (died 2012)
Autry Inman born in Florence, Alabama, 1929 (died 1988)
Bobby Lord born in Sanford, Florida, 1934 (died 2008)
Chubby Wise (BG 98) died in Bowie, Maryland (heart attack), 1996 (was 80)
Bobby Austin died in Camas, Washington (illness), 2002 (was 68)
Sneaky Pete Kleinkow died in Petaluma, California (complications of Alzheimer's disease), 2007 (was 72)
Ken Nelson (CM 01) died in Somis, California (natural causes), 2008 (was 96)

January 7:

Leona Williams born in Vienna, Missouri, 1943 (now 72)
Marshall Chapman born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1949 (now 66)
David Lee Murphy born in Herrin, Illinois, 1959 (now 56)
Bunny Biggs (Jamup of Jamup and Honey) born, 1897 (died 1948)

Jack Greene born in Maryville, Tennessee, 1930 (died 2013)
Owen Bradley (CM 74) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart ailment/complications of flu), 1998 (was 82)

January 8:

Christy Lane born in Peoria, Illinois, 1940 (now 75)

Holly Tashian born in New York, New York, 1946 (now 69)
Hoke Rice of the Rice Brothers born in Gainesville, Georgia, 1909 (died 1974)
Luther Perkins born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1928 (died 1968)
Elvis Presley (CM 98) born in Tupelo, Mississippi, 1935 (died 1977)
Randall Hylton born in Willis, Virginia, 1946 (died 2001)
Sara Carter (CM 70, BG 01) died in Lodi, California (lengthy illness), 1979 (was 79)
Maxwell Emmett "Pat" Buttram, died in Los Angeles, California (kidney failure), 1994 (was 78)

The U.S. Postal Service issues a 29c postage stamp featuring Elvis Presley, 1993. The stamp is the Postal Service's best-selling commemorative stamp of all-time, with sales of over 517,000,000.
Billboard magazine publishes first "Hillbilly Records" chart, 1944. The first #1 song was "Pistol Packin' Mama" -- the Bing Crosby & Andrews Sisters' version. Al Dexter's original would be the second #1 song in Billboard chart history.

January 9:

Henry Slaughter (SG 06) born in Roxboro, North Carolina, 1926 (now 89)

Roy Head born in Three Rivers, Texas, 1943 (now 72)
Crystal Gayle born in Paintsville, Kentucky, 1951 (now 64)
Jimmy Day born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1934 (died 1999)
Big Al Downing born in Lenapah, Oklahoma, 1940 (died 2005)

Jimmy Boyd ("I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus") born in McComb, Mississippi, 1940 (died 2009)
Richard Nixon born in Yorba Linda, California, 1913 (died 1994). Nixon was the first sitting U.S. president to attend the Grand Ole Opry (1974).
Jon Hager of the Hager Twins died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2009 (was 67)

January 10:

Curly Ray Cline (BG 09) born in Braisden, West Virginia, 1923 (died 1997)
Zeb Turner died (cancer), 1978 (was 62)
Loretta Webb married Oliver "Mooney" Lynn, 1948

January 11:

Naomi Judd born in Ashland, Kentucky, 1946 (now 69)
Robert Earl Keen born in Houston, Texas, 1956 (now 59)
Tommy Duncan born in Hillsboro, Texas, 1911 (died 1967)
Goldie Hill Smith born in Kanes County, Texas, 1933 (died 2005)

Max D. Barnes (NS 92) died in Nashville, Tennesee (pneumonia), 2004 (was 67)
Jimmy Griffin of the Remingtons died in Franklin, Tennessee (cancer), 2005 (was 61)

Margaret Whiting died in Englewood, New Jersey (natural causes), 2011 (was 86)
Stonewall Jackson filed $10 million age discrimination lawsuit against the Grand Ole Opry, 2007

January 12:

William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys born in Brewton, Alabama, 1939 (now 76)
Ricky Van Shelton born in Danville, Virginia, 1952 (now 63)
LaWanda Lindsey born in Tampa, Florida, 1953 (now 62)
Claudia Church Crowell born in Lenoir, North Carolina, 1962 (now 53)

Tex Ritter (CM 64, NS 71) born in Panola County, Texas, 1905 (died 1974)
Jack Rhodes (NS 72) born in Gedden, Texas, 1907 (died 1968)
Ray Price (CM 96) born in Perryville, Texas, 1926 (died 2013)
Paul Warren died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 1978 (was 59)
Charlie Collins died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2012 (was 78)
The film O Brother, Where Art Thou opened nationwide, 2001. The soundtrack won three Grammy awards: Album of the Year, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (Dan Tyminski, "Man of Constant Sorrow"), and Best Male Country Vocal Performance (Dr. Ralph Stanley, "O Death"). It also sold over eight million copies and sparked a brief resurgence in the popularity of bluegrass and traditional country music.

January 13:

Trace Adkins born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1962 (now 53)

Ezra Cline (BG 09) born in Gilbert Creek, VA, 1907 (died 1984)
Jenny Lou Carson (NS 71) born in Decatur, Illinois, 1915 (died 1978)

Stephen Foster (NS 10) died in New York New York (complications of fever and blood loss from cut), 1864 (was 37)
Doyle Holly died in Nashville, Tennessee (prostate cancer), 2007 (was 70)

January 14:

Joseph Henry "T-Bone" Burnett born in St. Louis Missouri, 1948 (now 67).  An Americana music performer and producer (of albums by Los Lobos and the BoDeans), he was the producer of the award-winning soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou.

Billie Jo Spears born in Beaumont, Texas, 1937 (died 2011) 

January 15:

Peter Kuykendall (BG 96), co-founder of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, born in Wasington, DC, 1938 (now 77)

David Lynn Jones born in Bexar, Arkansas, 1950 (now 65)
Kurt Howell of Southern Pacific born in Winter Haven, Florida, 1958 (now 57)

Billy Walker born in Ralls, Texas, 1929 (died 2006)
Jack Guthrie died in Livermore, California (tuberculosis), 1948 (was 32)
Vic Willis died in Hohenwald, Tennessee (car wreck), 1995 (was 72)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Country Music's Final Bows of 2014

Category:  Tribute

Here are the people from the world of country music who performed their final song in 2014:

Bud Andrews (August 30, unknown cause, age 74):  DJ who is credited with discovering country comedians Jerry Clower and Jerry Jordan, he produced Clower's early records as well as Jordan's "Phone Call From God."

Jeanne Black (October 23, Alzheimer's disease, age 76):  singer best known for her "answer song" to Jim Reeves' "He'll Have to Go," "He'll Have to Stay."

Joe Carr (December 15, stroke, age 63):  longtime bluegrass musician and video instructor.

Courtney Cash (March 19, murdered [stabbed to death], age 23):  granddaughter of country singer Tommy Cash.

Paul Craft (October 18, illness, age 76):  songwriter behind well-known tunes both serious ("Midnight Flyer") and silly ("It's Me Again, Margaret").  Craft fell ill while at his induction ceremony at the Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

Penny DeHaven (February 23, cancer, age 65):  singer who had some hits on her own ("Mama Lou," a cover of "Down in the Boondocks") and duets with Del Reeves ("Land Mark Tavern").

Mundo Earwood (April 21, pancreatic cancer, age 61):  singer best known for the 1978 top 20 hit "Things I'd Do for You."

Phil Everly (January 3, COPD, age 74):  the younger of the Everly Brothers, a duet that managed to delight both country and rock fans in the late 1950's and early 1960's.  Their reward was induction into both halls of fame.

Steven Fromholz (January 19, accidentally shot in hunting accident, age 68):  Texas' poet laureate and songwriter best known nationally for writing "I'd Have to be Crazy," which Willie Nelson recorded.

Stella Fulks (March 31, unknown causes, age 96):  grandmother of alt-country singer Robbie Fulks.

George Hamilton IV (September 17, complications of heart attack, age 77):  the "International Ambassador of Country Music" had numerous hits in his career, including the crossover hits "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" and "Abilene."

Larry Henley (December 18, long illness, age 77):  one-time member of the pop group the Newbeats ("Bread and Butter"), he went on to a long career as a songwriter ("Till I Get It Right," "Is It Still Over?," "He's a Heartache [Looking for a Place to Happen]").  One of his best-known compositions is "Wind Beneath My Wings."

Lois Johnson (July 7, long illness, age 72):  the "girl singer" on the Ernest Tubb Show, she charted with her own hits ("Loving You Will Never Grow Old") and singing duets with Hank Williams Jr.

Don Lanier (July 23, unknown cause, age 78):  one-time guitarist in Buddy Knox's Rhythm Orchids and songwriter whose song "Here We Go Again" was recorded by the likes of Ray Charles and George Strait.

Gregory "Kip" Martin (January 29, liver disease, age 61):  bluegrass bassist who played with Jimmy Martin.

Priscilla Mitchell (September 24, illness, age 73):  the widow of Jerry Reed was best known as a singer for her duet "Yes, Mr. Peters" with Roy Drusky in 1965.

Bob Montgomery (December 4, Parkinson's disease, age 77):  songwriter whose composition "Misty Blue" was a hit four different times, including once in pop.

Weldon Myrick (June 2, stroke, age 76):  a steel guitarist's steel guitarist, the Steel Hall of Famer wrote songs (recorded by acts ranging from Buddy Holly to the Wilburn Brothers) and contributed significantly to the country soundtrack of the 1960's, both as a session man and as a Grand Ole Opry staff musician.

Jimmy C. Newman (June 21, cancer, age 86):  a Louisiana native who came to the Grand Ole Opry on the strength of country hits such as "A Fallen Star" and "Cry, Cry Darling" but always highlighted the Cajun music of his home state.

Parker Rector (March 12, cancer, age 86):  the widow of bluegrass legend Red Rector and historian on his career.

George Riddle (July 19, throat cancer, age 78):  guitarist and songwriter who worked for years with George Jones.

Dawn Sears (December 11, lung cancer, age 53):  powerhouse female vocalist who sang with the supergroup the Time Jumpers, Sears died four days after her 53rd birthday.

Kevin Sharp (April 19, complications of stomach surgery, age 43):  country singer best known for his #1 hit "Nobody Knows" endured a long battle with various health problems, including bone cancer.

James Alan Shelton (June 3, cancer, age 51):  bluegrass guitarist who spent nearly two decades playing with Dr. Ralph Stanley.

George Shuffler (April 7, long illness, age 88):  bluegrass guitarist who is widely considered the father of bluegrass's cross-picking style of playing.

Little Jimmy Sizemore (October 14, natural causes, age 87):  an early country singer and Grand Ole Opry performer.

Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith (April 3, natural causes, age 93):  in addition to his namesake song "Guitar Boogie" (which he used in his name because of the number of people named "Arthur Smith" in country music at the time), he wrote "Feudin' Banjos," later known as the song from Deliverance, "Deuling Banjos."

Velma Smith (July 31, illness, age 87):  one of Nashville's first female session musicians, she played guitar on countless sessions in the golden era of Nashville.

Henry Strzelecki (December 30, hit by a car, age 75):  legendary session bassist who played with Dylan as well as Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins, Tom T. Hall, and countless others.

Jerry Sullivan (May 31, illness, age 80):  longtime bluegrass gospel performer in the Sullivan Family and with his daughter as Jerry & Tammy Sullivan.

Johnny Vincent (October 5, long illness, age 73):  the founder of the Sally Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Missouri was also the patriarch of bluegrass royalty:  children Darrin (Dailey & Vincent) and Rhonda are superstars in bluegrass.

Lou Whitney (October 7, cancer, age 72):  Springfield, Missouri-based musician, producer, and recording engineer who played on and produced, among others, Robbie Fulks' second album, South Mouth.

Tim Wilson (February 26, ruptured aorta, age 52): country stand-up comedian, singer ("Garth Brooks Has Ruined My Life," "Jeff Gordon's Gay"), songwriter ("The Twelve Redneck Days of Christmas," "Arab, Alabama") and record producer.

Chip Young (December 20, complications from heart surgery, age 76):  Thumbpicker Hall of Fame session guitar player who worked with the likes of Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, and Charley Pride.

Farewell, and thank you for the music.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dates of Note in Country Music, December 16-31

Category: News

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

December 16:

Jim Glaser of the Glaser Brothers born in Spalding, Nebraska, 1937 (now 77)
Jeff Carson born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1964 (now 50)
Shelby Singleton born in Waskom, Texas, 1931 (died 2009)
Jenny Lou Carson (NS 71) died in Torrance, California (unknown causes), 1978 (was 63)
Martha Carson died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2004 (was 83)
Gary Stewart died in Fort Pierce, Florida (suicide [gunshot]), 2003 (was 58)
Dan Fogelberg died in Deer Island, Maine (cancer), 2007 (was 56)

Ray Price (CM 96) died in Mount Pleasant, Texas (pancreatic cancer), 2013 (was 87)

December 17:

Frankie Miller born in Victoria, Texas, 1930 (now 84)
Sharon White Skaggs born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1953 (now 61) 
Tracy Byrd born in Vidor, Texas, 1966 (now 48)
Karl Davis born in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, 1905 (died 1979)
Spade Cooley born in Grand, Oklahoma, 1910 (died 1969)
Nat Stuckey born in Cass County, Texas, 1933 (died 1988)
Roy Huskey Jr. born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1956 (died 1997)
Rex Allen Sr. died in Tuscon, Arizona (accidentally run over by car), 1999 (was 77)
Commercial plane carrying Doug Stone crash-lands in Chicago, 1999. Stone was uninjured.

December 18:

Cledus T. Judd (real name: James Poole) born in Crowe Springs, Georgia, 1964 (now 50)
Wilf Carter (Montana Slim) (NS 71) born in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, 1904 (died 1996)
The Louvin Brothers' first recording session (they recorded "Alabama") at Castle Studios, Nashville, 1947

December 19:

Little Jimmy Dickens (CM 83) born in Bolt, West Virginia, 1920 (now 94)
John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Bang born in Long Beach, California, 1945 (now 69)
Janie Fricke born in South Whitney, Indiana, 1947 (now 67)
Jumpin' Bill Carlisle (CM 02) born in Wakefield, Kentucky, 1908 (died 2003)
Marion Worth died in Madison, Tennessee (emphysema), 1999 (was 69)
Hank Williams' last show, given at the Skyline Club, Austin, Texas, 1952
Johnny Paycheck shot a man outside a bar in Greenfield, Ohio, 1985

December 20:

Skeeter Willis of the Willis Brothers born in Colton, Oklahoma, 1917 (died 1976)
Jack Stapp (CM 89) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1980 (was 68)
Don Law (CM 01) died in LaMarque, Texas (unknown cause), 1982 (was 80)

Hank Snow (CM 79, NS 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (various illnesses), 1999 (was 85)

December 21:

Freddie Hart (NS 04) born in Lockapoke, Alabama, 1926 (now 88)
Lee Roy Parnell born in Abilene, Texas, 1956 (now 58)
Christy Forrester of the Forester Sisters born in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1962 (now 52)
Vito Pellettieri born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1889 (died 1977)
Floyd "Lightnin'" Chance born in Como, Mississippi, 1925 (died 2005)

Natchee the Indian (ne Lester Vernon Storer) died in Santa Clara, California (unknown cause), 1970 (was 54)
John Bailes of the Bailes brothers died (unknown cause), 1989 (was 71)
Harold Morrison died in Springfield, Missouri (illness), 1993 (was 62)


December 22:

Red Stegall born in Gainesville, Texas, 1937 (now 77)
Chuck Mead of BR5-49 born in Nevada, Missouri, 1960 (now 54)
Paul Martin of Exile born in Winchester, Kentucky, 1962 (now 52)
Harold "Hawkshaw" Hawkins born in Huntington, West Virginia, 1921 (died 1963)
Dave Dudley died in Danbury, Wisconsin (heart attack), 2003 (was 75)
Dennis Linde (NS 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung disease), 2006 (was 63)

December 23:

Murray "Buddy" Harman born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2008)


December 24:

Lulu Belle Wiseman born in Boone, North Carolina, 1913 (died 1999)
Zane Beck (StG 91) born in Clarksville, Arkansas, 1927 (died 1985)
Jake Hess (SG 97) born in Limestone County, Alabama, 1927 (died 2004)
Stoney Edwards born in Seminole, Oklahoma, 1929 (died 1997)
William J. "Billy" Hill (NS 82) died in Boston, Massachusetts (heart attack), 1940 (was 41)
Charlie Moore died in Maryland (illness), 1979 (was 44)

December 25:

J.R. "Curly" Seckler (BG 04) born in China Grove, North Carolina, 1919 (now 95)
Jimmy Buffett (NS 06) born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, 1946 (now 68)

Barbara Mandrell (CM 09, StG 09) born in Houston, Texas, 1948 (now 66)
Steve Wariner born in Noblesville, Indiana, 1954 (now 60)
Alton Delmore (CM 01, NS 71) born in Elkmont, Alabama, 1908 (died 1964)
Billy Nelson, Willie Nelson's son, died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide [hanged self]), 1991 (was 33)
Johnny Cash and family robbed and held at gunpoint in their Jamaica home, 1982

December 26:

Ronnie Prophet born in Calument, Quebec, 1938 (now 76)
Bob Carpenter of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1946 (now 68)

Travis Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Greenwood, South Carolina, 1958 (now 56)
Audrey Wiggins born in Asheville, North Carolina, 1967 (now 47)
Beecher Ray "Pete" "Bashful Brother Oswald" Kirby born in Sevier County, Tennessee, 1911 (died 2002)
Harry Choates born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1911 (died 1951)
Jimmie Osborne died in Louisville, Kentucky (suicide [gunshot]), 1957 (was 34)
Red Foley and wife Sally injured in a fire in their apartment in Nashhville, 1964

December 27:

Leonard T. "LT" Zinn (StG 05) born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, 1924 (now 90)
Scotty Moore born in Gadsden, Tennessee, 1931 (now 83)
Les Taylor of Exile born in Oneida, Kentucky, 1948 (now 66)
Darrin Vincent of Dailey & Vincent born in Kirkville, Missouri, 1969 (now 45)

John Hughey (StG 96) born in Elaine, Arkansas, 1933 (died 2007)
Bob Luman died in Nashville, Tennessee (pneumonia), 1978 (was 41)
Hoagy Carmichael (NS 88) died in Rancho Mirage, California (heart ailment), 1981 (was 82)
Kent Robbins (NS 98) died in Clanton, Alabama (car wreck), 1997 (was 50)
Vestal Goodman (SG 02) died in Celebration, Florida (complications from the flu), 2003 (was 74)
Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland died in Orange Park, Florida (staph infection), 2004 (was 74)

December 28:

Joe Diffie born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1958 (now 56)
Mike McGuire of Shenandoah born in Haleyville, Alabama, 1958 (now 56)
Marty Roe of Diamond Rio born in Lebanon, Ohio, 1960 (now 54)
Dorsey Burnette born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1979)
Mike Auldridge (BG 14) died in Silver Spring, Maryland (cancer), 2012 (was 73)
Hank Williams Jr.'s first recording session at age 14, 1963

December 29:

Rose Lee Maphis born in Baltimore, Maryland, 1922 (now 92)
Ed Bruce born in Keiser, Arkansas, 1939 (now 75)

December 30:

Melvin Goins (BG 09) born in Bramwell, West Virginia, 1933 (now 81)
Mike Auldridge (BG 14) born in Washington, DC, 1938 (died 2012)
Suzy Bogguss born in Aledo, Illinois, 1956 (now 58)
Joaquin Murphey (StG 80) born in Hollywood, California, 1923 (died 1999)
Bob Ferguson born in Willow Spring, Missouri, 1927 (died 2001)
Orville "Red" Rhodes (StG 05) born in Alton, Illinois, 1930 (died 1995)
Skeeter Davis (nee Mary Frances Penick) born in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, 1931 (died 2004)
John Hartford (BG 10) born in New York, New York, 1937 (died 2001)
Elsie McWilliams (NS 79) died in Meridian, Mississippi (natural causes), 1985 (was 89)

December 31:

Talmade Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincolnton, Georgia, 1934 (now 80)
Rex Allen Sr. born in Wilcox, Arizona, 1920 (died 1999)
Dale Noe born in New Boston, Ohio, 1927 (died 2005)
John Denver born in Roswell, New Mexico, 1943 (died 1997)
Rick Nelson died in DeKalb, Texas (plane crash), 1985 (was 45)
Floyd Cramer (CM 03) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 1997 (was 64)
Jim McReynolds of Jim & Jesse (BG 93) died in Gallatin, Tennessee (cancer), 2002 (was 75)
Charlie Louvin injured in car accident near Manchester, Tennessee, 2001
The original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum building closed, 2000