Monday, February 28, 2011

Dates of Note in Country Music, March 1-15

Category: News

(Country Music Hall of Famers in bold)

March 1:
Janis Oliver of Sweethearts of the Rodeo born in Manhattan Beach, California, 1954 (now 57)
Sara Hickman born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, 1963 (now 48)
Clinton Gregory born in Martinsville, Virginia, 1966 (now 45)
Cliffie Stone born in Stockton, California, 1917 (died 1998)
Pearl Butler died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1988 (was 61)
RCA Victor debuts a new format -- the 45 RPM record, 1949

Johnny Cash wed June Carter Smith Nix in Franklin, Kentucky, 1968
California governor Ronald Reagan issues a full pardon to Merle Haggard, 1972

March 2:
Doc Watson born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, 1923 (now 88)
Larry Stewart born in Paducah, Kentucky, 1959 (now 52)
Lonnie Glosson died in Searcy, Arkansas (natural causes), 2001 (was 93)

March 3:
John Carter Cash born in Madison, Tennessee, 1970 (now 41)
Jimmy Heap born in Taylor, Texas, 1922 (died 1977)
Kyle Bailes died (unknown cause), 1996 (was 80)
Harlan Howard died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2002 (was 74)
Ernie Ashworth died in Hartsville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2009 (was 80)
Benefit concert for the family of DJ "Cactus" Jack Call held in Kansas City, Missouri, 1963. Among those performing: Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, George Jones, and Billy Walker.

March 4:
Betty Jack Davis born in Corbin, Kentucky, 1932 (died 1953)
John Duffey of the Country Gentlemen and Seldom Scene born in Washington, DC, 1934 (died 1996)
Scotty Stoneman died in Nashville, Tennessee (overdose of prescription medication), 1973 (was 40)
Minnie Pearl died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from stroke), 1996 (was 83)
Eddie Dean died in Los Angeles, California (emphysema), 1999 (was 91)

March 5:
Raymond Fairchild born in Cherokee, North Carolina, 1939 (now 72)
Jimmy Bryant born in Moultrie, Georgia, 1925 (died 1980)
Patsy Cline died near Camden, Tennessee (plane crash), 1963 (was 30)
Cowboy Copas died 
near Camden, Tennessee (plane crash), 1963 (was 59)
Hawkshaw Hawkins died near Camden, Tennessee (plane crash), 1963 (was 41)
Randy Hughes died near Camden, Tennessee (plane crash), 1963 (was 34). Hughes was Patsy Cline's manager and Cowboy Copas' son-in-law as well as the pilot of the ill-fated plane.
Syd Nathan died in Miami, Florida (heart disease/pneumonia), 1968 (was 63). The Cincinnati record store owner founded King Records in 1943, making it the first all-country music record label in history.
Anna Carter Davis, original member of the Chuck Wagon Gang and widow of Jimmie Davis, died in Fort Worth, Texas (complications following a fall), 2004 (was 87)
Elvis Presley honorably discharged from the Army, 1960

March 6:
Red Simpson born in Higley, Arizona, 1934 (now 77)
Ray Walker of the Jordanaires born in Centerville, Mississippi, 1934 (now 77)
Doug Dillard of the Dillards born in East St. Louis, Missouri, 1937 (now 74)
Skip Ewing born in Red Lands, California, 1964 (now 47)
Cliff Carlisle born in Mount Eden, Kentucky, 1904 (died 1983)
Bob Wills born in Turkey, Texas, 1905 (died 1975)
Jean Chapel of the Coon Creek Girls born in Neon, Kentucky, 1925 (died 1995)
George Jones critically injured in single-vehicle accident, 1999
The siege of the Alamo ended, 1836. Davy Crockett, subject of legendary song, was among those who died during the battle. Johnny Cash would memorialize the fight in his song "Remember the Alamo."

March 7:
Townes Van Zandt born in Fort Worth Texas, 1944 (died 1997)
Jack Anglin died in Nashville, Tennessee (car wreck), 1963 (was 46). Anglin was on his way to Patsy Cline's memorial service at the time of his accident.
Pee Wee King died in Louisville, Kentucky (heart attack), 2000 (was 86)

March 8:
Jimmy Dormire of Confederate Railroad born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1960 (now 51)
Randy Meisner of Poco and the Eagles born in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, 1946 (now 65)
Johnny Dollar born in Kilgore, Texas, 1933 (died 1986)
Jimmy Stoneman of the Stoneman Family born in Washington, DC, 1937 (died 2002)
Lew DeWitt of the Statler Brothers born in Roanoke, Virginia, 1939 (died 1990)
Stuart Hamblen died in Santa Monica, California (brain tumor), 1989 (was 80)
Hank Locklin died in Brewton, Alabama (natural causes), 2009 (was 90)

March 9:
Mickey Gilley born in Natchez, Mississippi, 1936 (now 75)
Jimmy Fadden of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Long Beach, California, 1948 (now 63)
Ralph Sloan of the Ralph Sloan Dancers born in Wilson County, Tennessee, 1925 (died 1980)
George Burns died in Beverly Hills, California (cardiac arrest), 1996 (was 100). The legendary actor had a country hit with "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again."
Chris LeDoux died in Casper, Wyoming (bile duct cancer), 2005 (was 56)
Final Saturday night Opry at the Ryman before the opening of the new Opry House, 1974

March 10:
Ralph Emery born in McEwen, Tennessee, 1933 (now 78)
Norman Blake born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1938 (now 73)
Johnnie Allan born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1938 (now 73)
Daryl Singletary born in Wigham, Georgia, 1971 (now 40)
Kenneth "Jethro" Burns born in Conasauga, Tennessee, 1920 (died 1989)
Soul singer James Brown guests on the Grand Ole Opry at the request of Porter Wagoner, 1979

March 11:
Jimmy Fortune of the Statler Brothers born in Williamsburg, Virginia, 1955 (now 56)
W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel of the Light Crust Doughboys born in Malta, Ohio, 1890 (died 1969)
Jim Boyd of the Cowboy Ramblers died (unknown cause), 1993 (was 78)

March 12:
Marshall Wilborn of the Johnson Mountain Boys and the Lynn Morris Band born in Austin, Texas, 1952 (now 59)
James Taylor born in Belmont, Massachusetts, 1948 (now 63). The legendary pop/folk superstar wrote "Bartender's Blues" and sang with George Jones on Jones' recording of the tune.
Ralph Sloan died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown illness), 1980 (was 55)

March 13:
Liz Anderson born in Roseau, Minnesota, 1930 (now 81)
Jan Howard born in West Plains, Missouri, 1930 (now 81)
Benny Martin died in Nashville, Tennessee (nerve disorder/illness), 2001 (was 72)
Ezra Carter marries Maybelle Addington, 1926

March 14:
Michael Martin Murphy born in Oak Cliff, Texas, 1945 (now 66)
Doc Pomus died in New York, New York (lung cancer), 1991 (was 65)
Dale Potter died in Puxaco, Missouri (cancer), 1996 (was 66)
Tommy Collins died in Ashland City, Tennessee (emphysema), 2000 (was 69)
Jimmy Martin died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2005 (was 77)
Bill Bolick of the Blue Sky Boys died in Hickory, North Carolina (natural causes), 2008 (was 90)

March 15:

D.J. Fontana born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1931 (now 80)
Gunilla Hutton of Hee Haw born in Goteborg, Sweden, 1946 (now 65)
Ry Cooder born in Los Angeles, California, 1947 (now 64)
Carl Smith born in Maynardville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 2010)
The final Friday night Opry at the Ryman, 1974. The final song was the Opry cast singing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

He Hasn't Stopped Loving Her Today...Yet

CATEGORY:  50 Songs to Hear

SONG:  You Haven't Heard
ARTIST:  Stonewall Jackson
SONGWRITER:  Stonewall Jackson
ALBUM:  I Love a Song
YEAR/LABEL:  1963; Columbia

We're always happy when someone says they like one of our songs, but it's especially gratifying when it's a song I wrote.
(Stonewall Jackson, discussing "You Haven't Heard," October 25, 1992)

It happens all the time in Hollywood movies:  a singer with a dream waltzes into Nashville, gets signed, and is #1 almost immediately.  (Then they turn to drugs, booze, and/or violence and end up in the slammer, the hospital, or the morgue.)  In reality, people spend years, if not decades, making music before that "big break" comes along.

Then there's Stonewall Jackson.  Stonewall (that is his name!) was heard by Nashville executive Wesley Rose and brought to Nashville.  The buzz was so great about this young Navy veteran from North Carolina that he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry without having a record deal.  Once he did get that deal (with Columbia) he quickly validated the hype:  his first single, a cover of the George Jones-penned "Life to Go," made the top five.  His debut album was titled The Dynamic Stonewall Jackson, and the title was no exaggeration.  The next hit from the album was the John D. Loudermilk/Marijohn Wilkin composition "Waterloo," a song that became a massive country and pop hit and made Stonewall Jackson a superstar almost overnight.

Jackson's music leaned toward the traditional "honky tonk" sound popularized in the 50s at a time when the "Nashville sound" of Jim Reeves and Eddy Arnold made the Billboard pop chart look like a carbon copy of the country top ten.  In 1963 his album I Love a Song was released and gave him one of his biggest hits, the tragic "B.J. the D.J."  The highlight of the album, however, is a song that Jackson penned himself:  "You Haven't Heard."

Lost loves and "I'll love you till I die, honest" songs are nothing new in country music.  In fact, George Jones had addressed the issue long before "He Stopped Loving Her Today" with a song called "When the Grass Grows Over Me" ("I'll be over you when you're standing over me, and as you look down at the cold cold ground I'm sleeping in, don't expect to hear me say that I still love you then").  "You Haven't Heard" follows along a similar thought.  "You thought that I'd forgotten you, oh, how could I forget?" Jackson sings, then adds, "You haven't heard about me dying, have you yet?" to prove that his love is eternal.  There's no obituary "in the evening Gazette" and no mention that he "jumped in some river."  He confirms it with the line, "I'll love you even if I live forever."  It's a pure country music gem.

Jackson has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since arriving in Nashville in 1957, but in the late 2000s he sued the Opry for age discrimination, alleging that he and many other Opry performers who were over the age of 70 were being kept from appearing on the show regularly. The lawsuit has been settled.

Not only is Stonewall Jackson's name on the list of all-time great country singers, as "You Haven't Heard" proves he is also a very underrated songwriter.  Here's hoping that his name soon appears on the list of Hall of Fame inductees.


The entire I Love a Song album -- great covers ("No One Will Ever Know"), one of Stonewall's biggest hits ("B.J. the D.J."), and so many others make it one of Jackson's best albums...or anyone else's in the 1960s.

"Leona" (from The Sadness in a Song) -- country music, for better or worse, gets stereotyped because of all the "I love you but I'm going to kill you" murder ballads (see:  "Knoxville Girl").  Well, if the music is going to get the stereotype, it might as well come because of great songs such as this one.

"Smoke Along the Track" (from The Dynamic Stonewall Jackson) -- most people now are familiar with the covers of this song by either Dwight Yoakam (not bad) and Emmylou Harris (not good).  Stonewall Jackson had the first hit with it, and the aforementioned covers pale in comparison.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dates of Note in Country Music, February 16-28

Category: News

(Country Music Hall of Famers in bold)

February 16:

Jo-Walker Meador born in Orlinda, Tennessee, 1924 (now 87)
Ronnie Milsap born in Robbinsville, North Carolina, 1944 (now 67)
Jimmy Wakely born in Mineola, Arkansas, 1914 (died 1982)
Smiley Burnette died in Encino, California (leukemia), 1967 (was 55)

February 17:

Johnny Bush born in Houston, Texas, 1935 (now 76)
Buck Trent born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1938 (now 73)
Jon Randall born in Dallas, Texas, 1969 (now 42)
Bryan White born in Shellman, Georgia, 1974 (now 37)
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 59)
Dudley Connell of the Johnson Mountain Boys born in Scheer, West Virginia, 1956 (now 55)
Julius Frank "Pee Wee" King (ne Kuczynski) 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 54)
Cedric Rainwater (real name: Howard Watts) born in Monticello, Florida, 1913 (died 1970)
Lowell Blanchard died in Knoxville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1968 (was 57)
Grandpa Jones 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 60)
Claire Lynch born in Albany, New York, 1954 (now 57)

February 21:

Mary-Chapin Carpenter born in Princeton, New Jersey, 1958 (now 53)
Don Reno born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1926 (died 1984)
Carl T. Sprague died in Bryan, Texas (unknown cause), 1979 (was 83)

February 22:

Del Wood born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 1989)
During a concert in London, Ontario, Johnny Cash asked June Carter to marry him, 1968

February 23:

Rusty Young of Poco born in Long Beach, California, 1946 (now 65)Buck Griffin born in Corsicana, Texas, 1923 (died 2009)
Minnie Pearl married Henry Cannon, 1947

February 24:

Little Roy Lewis of the Lewis Family born in Lincoln County, Georgia, 1942 (now 69)
Don Law born in London, England, 1902 (died 1982)
Webb Pierce 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 born in Stratton, Virginia, 1927 (now 84)
Faron Young born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1932 (died 1996)

February 26:

Jan Crutchfield born in Paducah, Kentucky, 1936 (now 75)
Billy Jack Wills born in Hall County, Texas, 1926 (died 1991)
Johnny Cash born in Kingsland, Arkansas, 1932 (died 2003)

February 27:

Chuck Glaser of the Glaser Brothers born in Spalding, Nebraska, 1936 (now 75)
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:

Joe South born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1940 (now 71)
Don Helms born in New Brockton, Alabama, 1927 (died 2008)
Jim Denny born in Silver Point, Tennessee, 1911 (died 1963)
Audrey Williams born in Banks, Alabama, 1923 (died 1975)
Fiddlin' Arthur Smith died (unknown causes), 1971 (was 72)

And a leap baby:

February 29:
Dinah Shore born in Winchester, Tennessee, 1916 (died 1994)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The End of a Bluegrass Era

Category:  News

Cherryholmes is no more.

Jere Cherryholmes announced on the band's web site that the family act -- dad, mom and four kids -- are disbanding after their May 7th appearance at a bluegrass festival in Virginia.

According to the band's site, the combination of the children growing up and wanting to pursue their own musical interests and the marriage of others (notably, Cia) make it impossible for the band to remain together.

Cherryholmes rose to superstardom after their first two self-released albums earned them a record deal with Skaggs Family Records.  They quickly became a concert favorite, and in 2005 they were named the International Bluegrass Music Association Entertainer of the Year.  They have been nominated for six Grammy awards throughout their career, including one for "Best Country Instrumental" recording for this year's awards.

Anyone who ever saw them live know how much they will be missed.  Best of luck to Cherryholmes in everything they do.

Cherryholmes Announces They are Disbanding