Friday, October 25, 2013


Category:  Personal

It was October 24, a day I had circled on my calendar since I bought my Robbie Fulks ticket in August.  An hour before the show started I sat in my seat, feeling guilty.  

Two days earlier Fulks celebrated his 20th wedding, as he said, shipping off orders of his new album (Gone Away Backward, and I will repeat:  get it if you don't have it!), loading CDs in his van, packing, and heading to Nashville to start more tour dates.  Fulks posted on his blog that he and Donna would celebrate the anniversary "some non-travel week."

So there I sat, wristband on arm, feeling like a schmuck because Fulks was freezing his butt off in a northern Kentucky suburb of Cincinnati to sing for 75 people instead of being parked in Maui beach sand with his wife. 

Perhaps that's a little overdramatized; however, this did get me thinking about what the artists endure while out on "the road."  Sometimes we don't stop to think about such things on this side of the stage, but there's a toll endured to make us smile for a few hours.  Dale Watson mentioned a couple of times at shows I attended that he's been married four times; and, as the story goes, he was once served his divorce papers at a club he was performing at.  The Steve Goodman DVD Live From Austin City Limits...And More concludes with Steve, alone in a studio, singing "You're the Girl I Love," a song he wrote for his wife.  The clip was recorded on the Goodmans' anniversary, while Steve was in New York City and Nancy was in Chicago.  Anniversaries are missed, but so are birthdays, recitals, graduations, and even births and deaths (Charlie Louvin was on the road in West Virginia the day Ira was killed).  

Tom T. Hall's "Homecoming" expresses in explicit detail the things performers endure for our sake.  (The saddest line:  "I'm sorry that I couldn't be here with you all when mama passed away, I was on the road, and when they came and told me, it was just too late.")  In those days country acts toured in cars (as many bluegrass acts continue to do).  Buses were luxuries, and planes were unheard of (Homer and Jethro were among the first acts to utilize flight extensively for their personal appearances -- which numbered between 250 and 300 a year), so time was spent cramped in the car ("we were stacked eight deep in a Packard limousine," Don Helms sang in "The Ballad of Hank Williams" with Hank Williams Jr.), fighting sleeplessness and occasionally one another.  While Bill Anderson's story of the bass fiddle, normally on top of the car during the rides to shows, coming inside the car at the expense of everyone else's comfort once it started to rain is humorous now, that was reality in the 1950's -- for Anderson and just about every other performer.  For those of you who think being a country music star is "glamorous," ask yourself where the "glamour" is in that!

Guilt isn't the proper emotion, therefore; rather, gratitude.  Whether it's having fun at a Wayne "the Train" Hancock show where he outlasted most of the audience by playing for almost three hours, being mesmerized by the guitar skills of Deke Dickerson, or being literally moved to tears by the lyrics of "That's Where I'm From" (all of which I have experienced at concerts in the past four weeks) there is something about live music that feeds the soul of a music junkie like nothing else can.

Additionally, magic happens within the walls of a concert venue.  I have seen that happen so many times.  Last Saturday night in Chicago Joel Paterson joined Deke Dickerson onstage and burned the place to the ground with some amazing music.  I have yet to witness anything more astonishing than Mac Wiseman and Doc Watson sitting on stools at MerleFest in 1995, swapping stories and songs in an impromptu performance.  There's always the chance of a surprise, such as when Dale Watson joined Amber Digby onstage at the Station Inn in Nashville earlier this year. 

If you have ever enjoyed a live show, whether up close and personal with two dozen other people in a small bar (the way I first saw Dickerson) or lost in a sea of 50,000 (my first rock concert -- the Eagles -- in 1978), you have to be grateful that these individuals who have sacrificed a whole lot more than ten bucks and being bleary-eyed at work in the morning (which is about all we give).  So on a frigid October evening as I waited for the experience of that magic that can only be obtained at a concert, all I can say is thank you, Robbie and Donna, for postponing the celebration of your anniversary so Robbie could trudge down here and entertain me for a couple of hours.   

Thank you, too, to all the people I've seen through the years (going all the way back to my first show at the Grand Ole Opry in 1968) who have had their hearts elsewhere but came to town so they could put the joy of their music into my heart.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dates of Note in Country Music, October 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; WS=Western Swing)

October 16:

Jim Ed Norman born in Ft. Myers, Florida, 1948 (now 65)
Stoney Cooper born in Harman, West Virginia, 1918 (died 1977)
Doyle Wilburn died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1982 (was 52)
Don Reno (BG 92) died in Charlottesville, Virginia(post-operative complications), 1984 (was 58)
Danny Dill (NS 75) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2008 (was 84)
Naomi Judd retired from touring because of health issues, 1990

Ralph Stanley Museum opened, 2004

October 17:

Earl Thomas Conley born in Portsmouth, Ohio, 1941 (now 72)
Alan Jackson (NS 11) born in Newman, Georgia, 1958 (now 55)
Tennessee Ernie Ford (CM 90) died in Reston, Virginia (liver disease), 1991 (was 72)
Jay Livingston died in Los Angeles, California (pneumonia), 2001 (was 86). Among the songwriter's many credits were "Bonanza!," which Johnny Cash recorded, and "The Hanging Tree," which Marty Robbins recorded.
Bashful Brother Oswald (Beecher Ray Kirby) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2002 (was 90)

October 18:

Chuck Berry (NS 82) born in San Jose, California, 1926 (now 87)
Keith Knudsen of Southern Pacific born in Ames, Iowa, 1952 (now 61)
Harty Taylor of Karl & Harty died (stroke), 1963 (was 58)
Don Hecht died in Miami, Florida (heart attack), 2002 (was 72)
Hank Williams married Billie Jean Jones in Minden, Louisiana, 1952. After Williams' death, she would marry Johnny Horton.

October 19:

Don Parmley of the Bluegrass Cardinals born in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, 1933 (now 80)
Ebo Walker (ne Harry Shelor) of Bluegrass Alliance and New Grass Revival born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1941 (now 72)
Jeannie C. Riley born in Anson, Texas, 1945 (now 68)
Charlie Chase born in Rogersville, Tennessee, 1952 (now 61)
Arthur E. "Uncle Art" Satherley (CM 71) born in Bristol, England, 1889 (died 1986)
Grant Turner (CM 81) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure), 1991 (was 79)
The first CMA Awards were held in Nashville, 1967. The awards show was not televised.

October 20:

Wanda Jackson born in Maud, Oklahoma, 1937 (now 76)
Stuart Hamblin (NS 70) born in Kellyville, Texas, 1908 (died 1989)
Louis "Grandpa" Jones (CM 78) born in Niagara, Kentucky, 1913 (died 1998)
Merle Travis (CM 77, NS 70) died in Tahlequah, Oklahoma (heart attack), 1983 (was 65)
Rounder Records founded by Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin, and Marian Leighton, 1970. Mr. Nowlin says this "birth" of Rounder is based on the date of their first invoice.

October 21:

Steve Cropper (NS 10) born in Willow Springs, Missouri, 1941 (now 72)
Owen Bradley (CM 74) born in Westmoreland, Tennessee, 1915 (died 1998)
Bill Black died in Memphis, Tennessee (brain tumor), 1965 (was 39)
Mel Street born in Grundy, Virginia, 1933 (died 1978)
Mel Street died in Hendersonville, Tennessee (suicide), 1978 (45th birthday)
Sonny Burns died in Nacogdoches, Texas (unknown cause), 1992 (was 62)
Leona Johnson Atkins, member of WLW's Johnson Twins and widow of Chet Atkins, died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2009 (was 85)

October 22:

Shelby Lynn born in Quantico, Virginia, 1968 (now 45)
Curly Chalker (Steel Guitar 85) born in Enterprise, Alabama, 1931 (died 1998)
Leon Chappelear died in Gladewater, Texas (suicide), 1962 (was 53)
Dorothy Shay, the "Park Avenue Hillbillie," died in Santa Monica, California (heart attack), 1978 (was 57)

October 23:

Dwight Yoakam born in Pikeville, Kentucky, 1956 (now 57)
Junior Bryant of Ricochet born in Pecos, Texas, 1968 (now 45)
Mother Maybelle Carter (CM 70, BG 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (respiratory arrest), 1978 (was 69)
Merle Watson died in Caldwell County, North Carolina (tractor accident), 1985 (was 36). His father Doc's long-lasting tribute to his late son is the annual bluegrass event known as "MerleFest."
Rusty Kershaw died in New Orleans, Louisiana (heart attack), 2001 (was 63)

October 24:

Sanger D. Shafer (NS 89) born in Whitney, Texas, 1934 (now 79)
John Bettis (NS 11) born in Long Beach, California, 1946 (now 67)
Mark Gray of Exile born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1952 (now 61)
Jiles Perry "The Big Bopper" Richardson born in Sabine Pass, Texas, 1930 (died 1959). Among his songwriter credits are "White Lightnin'" by friend George Jones and Hank Snow's "Beggar to a King."
Kirk McGee died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 1983 (was 83)
Gene Sullivan (NS 71) died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (unknown cause), 1984 (was 70)
Rosey Nix Adams, daughter of June Carter Cash, died in Montgomery County, Tennessee (carbon monoxide poisoning), 2003 (was 45)

October 25:

Jeanne Black born in Pomona, California, 1937 (now 76)
Mark Miller of Sawyer Brown born in Dayton, Ohio, 1958 (now 55)
Cousin Minnie Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Colley Canon) (CM 75) born in Grinders Switch (actually, Centerville), Tennessee, 1912 (died 1996)
Johnnie Lee Willis died (heart ailment), 1984 (was 72)
Roger Miller (CM 95, NS 73) died in Los Angeles, California (throat cancer), 1992 (was 56)
Earl "Joaquin" Murphey (Steel Guitar 80) died in Los Angeles, California (cancer), 1999 (was 75)
Johnny Cash's last concert performance, Flint Michigan, 1997

October 26:

Neal Matthews Jr. (CM 01) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1929 (died 2000)
Hoyt Axton died in Victor, Montana (heart attack), 1999 (was 62)
Statler Brothers' final concert in their hometown of Salem, Virginia, 2002

October 27:

Dallas Frazier (NS 76) born in Spiro, Oklahoma, 1939 (now 74)
Lee Greenwood born in Southgate, California, 1942 (now 71)
Snuffy Jenkins born in Harris, North Carolina, 1908 (died 1990)
Floyd Cramer (CM 03) born in Campti, Louisiana, 1933 (died 1997)
Ruby Wright born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1939 (died 2009)
Allan "Rocky" Lane died in Woodland Hills, California (cancer), 1973 (was 72). He is mentioned in the Statler Brothers' "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott."
Hoyt Hawkins (CM 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1982 (was 55)
Grand Ole Opry moves to the Hillsboro Theater, 1934
The Anaheim Angels won game seven of the World Series and their first (and to date, only) World Series title, 2002.  The Angels were owned by Gene Autry until his death, and the team dedicated the championship to his memory.

October 28:

Mitchell Torok born in Houston, Texas, 1929 (now 84)
Charlie Daniels born in Wilmington, North Carolina, 1936 (now 77)

Brad Paisley born in Glen Dale, West Virginia, 1972 (now 41)
Bill Bolick of the Blue Sky Boys born in Hickory, North Carolina, 1917 (died 2008)
Jimmy Skinner died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1979 (was 70)
Mel Foree died (cancer), 1990 (age unknown)
Marijohn Wilkin (NS 75) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart disease), 2006 (was 86)
Porter Wagoner (CM 02) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2007 (was 80)

October 29:

Sonny Osborne (BG 94) born in Hyden, Kentucky, 1937 (now 76)
Charlie Monk born in Noma, Florida, 1938 (now 75)

Albert E. Brumley (NS 70) born in Spiro, Oklahoma, 1905 (died 1977)
Ramblin' Jimmie Dolan born in Gardena, California, 1916 (died 1994)
Fred Maddox died in Fresno, California (heart disease), 1992 (was 73)

October 30:

Timothy B. Schmit of Poco and the Eagles born in Sacramento, California, 1947 (now 66)
T. Graham Brown born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1954 (now 59)
Patsy Montana (nee Ruby Rose Blevins) (CM 96) born in Hope, Arkansas, 1908 (died 1996)
Billy Bowman (Steel Guitar 89) born in Johnson City, Tennessee, 1928 (died 1989)
Clifton Clowers born in Wolverton Mountain, Conway County, Arkansas, 1891 (died 1994)
Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright wed, 1937 

October 31:

Anita Kerr born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1927 (now 86)
Richard "Kinky" Friedman born in Chicago, Illinois, 1944 (now 69)

Dale Evans born in Uvalde, Texas, 1912 (died 2001)
Tom Morrell (Steel Guitar 01) born in Dallas, Texas, 1938 (died 2007)
Carl Belew (NS 76) died in Salina, Oklahoma (cancer), 1990 (was 59)
Bob Atcher died in Prospect, Kentucky (unknown causes), 1993 (was 79)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

So Long, Country Bumpkin

Category:  News/Obituary

Cal Smith has died.  The country music star died today (10/10) in his home in Branson, Missouri.

Calvin Grant Shofner was born April 7, 1932 in Gans, Oklahoma.  Performing professionally as Cal Smith, he worked in California as a DJ and a member of the California Hayride after his service in the Army.  

Smith first gained national fame in the early 1960's when he joined Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours.  Smith played with the Texas Troubadours most of the 1960's along with another member who later went on to solo success, Jack Greene (who died earlier this year).  One of the most notorious stories of Smith's tenure with Tubb was the time Tubb, under the influence, threw Smith off the tour bus.  According to Ronnie Pugh's outstanding biography of Tubb, Smith left with his clothes and got into a friend's car. (A little while later, Greene was also kicked off the bus.  Both men were rehired as soon as Tubb calmed down/sobered up.)

While still playing with Tubb Smith began recording songs on the Kapp label.  His first major success was "Drinking Champagne" (later a hit again by George Strait).  He left Tubb and signed with Decca in 1970.  His cover of the Free Movement's "I've Found Someone of My Own" was his first top ten single.  Bill Anderson's "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking" became Smith's first #1 hit, in 1972.

Don Wayne's song "Country Bumpkin" became the signature song for Cal Smith in 1974.  The song went to #1 on the country charts and won two CMA awards (Single of the Year and Song of the Year).  It remained Smith's best-known song through the years, even though his third #1 song ("It's Time to Pay the Fiddler") actually stayed on the charts longer.

The chart success waned after other hits (including "Bleep You," written by the great Bobby Braddock), but Smith remained a popular performer on country package tours.  In the mid-1980's he considered himself semi-retired and moved to Branson with his wife.

A suitable epitaph can be found in Smith's best-known song:

So long, country bumpkin
The frost is gone now from the pumpkin
I've seen some sights and life's been somethin'
See you later, country bumpkin

Cal Smith was 81.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

That's What I Like About Texas

Category:  Birthday Tribute

If you've been paying attention to this blog you know I have a fond appreciation for the music of Mr. Dale Watson.  If you are wondering why I would like to use the occasion of his 51st birthday on October 7 to pay tribute in the form of an explanation.

He is COUNTRY:  Let's face it, music is a form of entertainment geared to the ears.  I think one of the primary reasons folks my age have written Nashville off, and did so a long time ago, is because "Music City" wrote music off in favor of promoting an auditory industry as eye candy.  When I did my college internship in the mid-90's I came across an article titled "Sex and Country Music," in which an unnamed record company CEO said if he were given the option of signing someone with immense talent but not particularly good looks (think Lyle Lovett) or someone who was drop-dead gorgeous but had no talent the CEO would opt for the latter.  The past two decades proved the nameless CEO most astute from a business perspective, although this approach has created a quality vacuum of monumental proportions.  (Yes, it sucks.)  Commercial country music has become a beauty contest where talent is secondary -- if it ranks that high. 

That doesn't fly with Dale Watson on every level.  With songs like "A Real Country Song," "Nashville Rash" and "Country My Ass" it should come as no surprise to anyone that Watson doesn't think too highly of people who misuse the term "country music" in labeling what they do.  Dale Watson is unapologetically country, and if he's going to tell you he's singing the same music that his predecessors such as Marty, Hank and Lefty did then he's going to sing it.  Additionally, you aren't going to go to a Watson concert and hear some cover of Three Dog Night's "Shambala" or Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" the way some modern acts do.  No, Watson's covers come from the country catalog:  "Silver Wings" or "Hungry Eyes" by Merle Haggard, "The Window Up Above" or "Walk Through This World With Me" by George Jones, or "For the Good Times" or "Crazy Arms" by Ray Price.  Watson knows his hillbilly heritage.  (Someone called for "Wham Bam" at a recent show I attended and Watson immediately answered, "The Don Rich song?")

Lone Star band members Chris Crepps on bass and Mike Bernal on
drums back 
Dale Watson at a recent show at the Blues City Cafe in Memphis
c.2013 K.F. Raizor

His Songs:  At one show Watson mentioned the subject matter of songs on his most recent album, El Rancho Azul:  "Let's see, there's drinking.  And then there's.... (pause to think) drinking.  And then, there's....(another pause) drinking."  Some might think Watson has a one-track (or in this case, a six-pack) mind, and yes, he does have a number of songs about libations ("I Lie When I Drink," "Thanks to Tequila," "Whiskey or God," "Wine, Wine, Wine").  But remember, Bill Anderson has been writing about lost love since that warm night in 1957 when he went to a rooftop in Commerce, Georgia and composed "City Lights," yet he makes them fresh and different (compare "Still" and "Bright Lights and Country Music" if you doubt this).  Come to think of it, drinking has been a staple in country songs for decades.  Watson's songs bring a fresh approach to this and other traditional country themes.

However, don't let the fact that Watson has a lot of liquid refreshment in his song titles fool you.  If you think he cannot get past the bar then listen to "Daughter's Wedding Song," which will move you to tears, especially if you've ever walked your daughter down the aisle; the humorous ode to his home state "That's What I Like About Texas," recorded with Texas honky tonk legend Johnny Bush; or the dark and powerful "Justice For All," a song based on a true story of a child's murderer walking free on a technicality.  His 2001 album Every Song I Write is For You, chronicling the gaping hole left in his life following the death of his fiancee in a September 2000 car wreck, will leave you breathless.  This man is a good songwriter.

His Band:  In a recent blog I said I could literally see Dale Watson every night.  There are a number of reasons he commands that loyalty, and chief among them is his first-rate band, the Lone Stars.  Watson's band consists of just four people:  Watson on guitar, Don Pawlak on steel, Chris Crepps on bass and Mike Bernal on drums.  That's it.  They are about as tight as any band I have ever seen.  These guys are good.  Crepps is unbelievable on the upright bass with his almost Jerry Lee Lewis-like pounding on the strings.  And, given that Watson never plays with a set list, they know all of his songs as well as a wide repertoire of country classics.

The Man:  That's right, Watson doesn't use a set list.  His "set list" is requests from the audience.  He's not a DJ who says, "I'll try to get that on for you" or a superstar who completely ignores requests from the audience.  If someone calls it out, he's going to do it.  That shows the utmost respect for the people who paid money to come and see him.

Beyond that, Watson knows his audience.  By that, I don't mean "he knows what they want to hear;" rather, he knows a number of the people in the audience by name.  He frequently comes into the venue (not hiding out backstage or on the tour bus) before the show starts and talks to fans, many of whom have seen him numerous times before.  (One couple, from Wisconsin, were in the midst of a six-night trek of Watson shows when I saw him in Newport, Kentucky in August.)  He appreciates the fact that people not only buy his albums but take the extra effort to come see him live, and he shows it.  Women are greeted by name with a smile and a hug, and the men get a handshake.  This guy is as down-to-earth as they come. 

Additionally, the three men in the Lone Stars share their leader's enthusiasm to "shake and howdy" (as bluegrass acts call it) with the fans.  Understand something, these guys are their own roadies -- Bernal sets up his own drum kit and takes it down after the show.  Yet they have time for fans who want to just say hi and tell them how much they enjoyed the show or to ask a technical question about things such as Pawlak's steel guitar styles and influences.

Put these factors together and you have the complete package:  good music and good concerts from a group of good men.

Happy birthday, Dale.  I hope the joy you give fans with your music is returned to you a hundredfold. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Dates of Note in Country Music, October 1-15

Category: News

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

October 1:
Kelly Willis born in Lawton, Oklahoma, 1968 (now 45)
Skeets McDonald born in Greenway, Arkansas, 1915 (died 1968)
Bonnie Owens (WS 87) born in Blanchard, Oklahoma, 1932 (died 2006)

October 2:
Leon Rausch (WS 87) born in Billings, Missouri, 1927 (now 86)
Jo-El Sonnier born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1946 (now 67)
Tammy Sullivan born in Wagarville, Alabama, 1964 (now 49)
Gillian Welch born in Manhattan, New York, 1967 (now 46)
Chris LeDoux born in Biloxi, Mississippi, 1948 (died 2005)
Chubby Wise (BG 98) born in Lake City, Florida, 1915 (died 1996)
Gene Autry (CM 69, WS 89) died in Studio City, California (lymphoma), 1998 (was 91). The "Singing Cowboy" also owned the California/Anaheim Angels, who dedicated their 2002 World Series victory to his memory.
Elvis Presley played the Grand Ole Opry, 1954. Opry manager Jim Denny critiqued his performance by telling him that he was going nowhere and to "go back to driving trucks."

October 3:
Joe Allison (NS 78; DJ 76) born in McKinney, Texas, 1924 (died 2002)
Woody Guthrie (NS 77) died in Queens, New York (Huntington's disease), 1967 (was 55)
Del Wood died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1989 (was 69)

October 4:
Leroy Van Dyke born in Spring Fork, Missouri, 1929 (now 84)
Lloyd Green (Steel Guitar 88) born in Leaf, Mississippi, 1937 (now 76)
Larry Collins of the Collins Kids born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1944 (now 69)
Greg Hubbard of Sawyer Brown born in Orlando, Florida, 1960 (now 53)
Jerry Rivers died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1996 (was 69)
A.L. "Doodle" Owens (NS 99) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1999 (was 69)
Tammy Wynette's ordeal where she claimed to have been kidnapped and beaten began, 1978

October 5:
Radio station WSM born in Nashville at 650 on the AM dial, 1925 (now 88)
Margie Singleton born in Coushatta, Louisiana, 1935 (now 78)
Johnny Duncan born in Dublin, Texas, 1938 (died 2006)

October 6:
Tim Rushlow of Little Texas born in Arlington, Texas, 1966 (now 46)
Kendall Hayes born in Perryville, Kentucky, 1935 (died 1995)
Ted Daffan (NS 70, WS 94) died in Houston, Texas (cancer), 1996 (was 84)

October 7:
Jim Halsey born in Independence, Kansas, 1930 (now 83)
Kieran Kane born in Queens, New York, 1949 (now 64)
Dale Watson born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1962 (now 51)
Uncle Dave Macon (CM 66) born in Warren County, Tennessee, 1870 (died 1952)
Gordon Terry born in Decatur, Alabama, 1931 (died 2006)
Hugh Cherry born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1922 (died 1998)
Buddy Lee born in Brooklyn, New York, 1932 (died 1998)
Johnny Darrell died in Kennesaw, Georgia (diabetes complications), 1997 (was 57)
Jimmie Logsdon died in Louisville, Kentucky (unknown cause), 2001 (was 79)
Shelby Singleton died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2009 (was 77)
Jimmie Rodgers' first recording, "The Soldier's Sweetheart" / "Sleep Baby Sleep," released, 1927

October 8:
Susan Raye Wiggins born in Eugene, Oregon, 1944 (now 69)
Lynn Morris born in Lamesa, Texas, 1948 (now 65)
Jackie Frantz of Dave & Sugar born in Sidney, Ohio, 1950 (now 63)
Pete Drake (Steel Guitar 87) born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1932 (died 1988)

October 9:
Goebel Reeves born in Sherman, Texas, 1899 (died 1969)
The Renfro Valley Barn Dance debuted on WLW, 1937

October 10:
John Prine (NS 03) born in Maywood, Illinois, 1946 (now 67)
Tony Arata (NS 12) born in Savannah, Georgia, 1957 (now 56)
Tanya Tucker born in Seminole, Texas, 1958 (now 55)
Don Pierce, founder of Starday Records, born in Ballard, Washington, 1915 (died 2005)

October 11:
Gene Watson born in Palestine, Texas, 1943 (now 70)
Paulette Carlson of Highway 101 born in Northfield, Minnesota, 1952 (now 61)
Dottie West born in McMinnville, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1991)
Rex Griffin (NS 70) died in New Orleans, Louisiana (tuberculosis), 1958 (was 46)
Jack Rhodes (NS 72) died in Mineola, Texas (heart attack), 1968 (was 61)
Tex Williams (WS 85) died in Newhall, California (pancreatic cancer), 1985 (was 68)
T. Tommy Cutrer (DJ 80) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1998 (was 74)

October 12:
Shane McAnally born in Mineral Wells, Texas, 1974 (now 39)
John Denver died in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Pacific Grove, California (plane crash), 1997 (was 53)

October 13:
Anita Kerr born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1927 (now 86)
Lacy J. Dalton born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, 1946 (now 67)
John Wiggins born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1962 (now 51)
Rhett Akins born in Valdosta, Georgia, 1969 (now 44)
Hoarce Lee Logan died in Victoria, Texas (respiratory disease), 2002. The founder of the Louisiana Hayride also coined one of the most oft-repeated phrases in American popular culture: trying to calm down an audience after one Louisiana Hayride performer wowed the crowd, Logan announced, "Elvis has left the building."
Acuff-Rose Publishing Company founded, 1942
While presenting the CMA "Entertainer of the Year" award Charlie Rich set fire to the envelope after announcing that John Denver had won the award, 1975

October 14:
Melba Montgomery born in Iron City, Tennessee, 1938 (now 75)
Kenny Roberts born in Lenoir City, Tennessee, 1926 (died 2012)
Bing Crosby died in Madrid, Spain (heart attack), 1977. The legendary pop crooner has the distinction of being the first artist to have a #1 single on Billboard magazine's Country and Western charts, with his rendition of Al Dexter's "Pistol Packin' Mama," January 8, 1944.

October 15:
Dean Miller born in Los Angeles, California, 1965 (now 48)