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.


busgal said...

How did I miss Jeannie Black?

Raizor's Edge said...

I missed her, too. That one definitely should've shown up on my radar, given her connection to Jim Reeves.