Monday, June 29, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, July 1-15

Category: News

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

July 1:

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

July 2:

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

July 3:

Johnny Lee born in Texas City, Texas, 1946 (now 69)
Aaron Tippin born in Pensacola, Florida, 1958 (now 57)
Johnny Russell (NS 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of diabetes), 2001 (was 61)
Homer L. "Boots" Randolph died in Nashville, Tennessee (subdural hematoma), 2007 (was 80)

July 4:

Stephen Collins Foster (NS 10) born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, 1826 (died 1864)
Ray Pillow born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1937 (now 78)
Charlie Monroe born in Rosine, Kentucky, 1903 (died 1975)
Marion Worth born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1930 (died 1999)
Bill Vernon (BG 04) born in New York, New York, 1937 (died 1996)
Big Al Downing died in Leicester, Massachusetts (leukemia), 2005 (was 65)

July 5:

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

July 6:

Jeannie Seely born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, 1940 (now 75)
Nancy Griffith born in Austin, Texas, 1953 (now 62)
Justin Trevino born in Brownsville, Texas, 1973 (now 42)
Roy Rogers (CM 80; CM 88) died in Apple Valley, California (heart failure), 1998 (was 86)

July 7:

Randy Goodrum (NS 00) born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1947 (now 68)
John "Lonzo" Sullivan born in Edmonton, Kentucky, 1917 (died 1967)
Charlie Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) born in Section, Alabama, 1927 (died 2011)
Wallace Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincolnton, Georgia, 1928 (died 2007)
Doyle Wilburn born in Hardy, Arkansas, 1930 (died 1982)
George Morgan (CM 98) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of heart bypass surgery), 1975 (was 50)
Bill Porter died in St. Louis, Missouri (Alzheimer's disease), 2011 (was 79)
Lois Johnson died in Nashville, Tennessee (long illness), 2014 (was 72)

July 8:

Toby Keith born in Clinton, Oklahoma, 1961 (now 54)
Louis Jordan (a jazz artist who had two country #1 hits in 1944) born in Brinkley, Arkansas, 1908 (died 1975)
Ervin Rouse died (complications from diabetes), 1981 (was 64)
Kenny Baker (BG 99) died in Gallatin, Tennessee (stroke), 2011 (was 85)
Marty Stuart married Connie Smith, 1997

July 9:

Jesse McReynolds (BG 93) born in Coeburn, Virginia, 1929 (now 86)
David Ball born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, 1953 (now 62)
Eddie Dean born in Posey, Texas, 1907 (died 1999)
Molly O'Day born in Pike County, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1987)
Jim Fogelsong (CM 04) died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2013 (was 90)
The Country Music Association announced the largest Country Music Hall of Fame induction class ever -- a total of 12 inductees (Bill Anderson, Delmore Brothers, Everly Brothers, Don Gibson, Homer & Jethro, Waylon Jennings, Jordanaires, Don Law, Louvin Brothers, Ken Nelson, Webb Pierce, and Sam Phillips) -- to coincide with the opening of the new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 2001

July 10:

Randall E. "Hawk" Shaw Wilson of BR5-49 born in Topeka, Kansas, 1960 (now 55)

July 11:

Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Detroit, Michigan, 1947 (now 68)
Eddie Cline of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) died in Gilbert Creek, West Virginia (unknown cause), 1984 (was 77)

July 12:

Steve Young born in Newman, Georgia, 1942 (now 73)
Jimmie Driftwood died in Fayetteville, Arkansas (heart attack), 1998 (was 91)

July 13:

Louise Mandrell of the Mandrell Sisters born in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1954 (now 61)
Rhonda Vincent born in Kirksville, Missouri, 1962 (now 53)
Bradley Kincaid (NS 71) born in Level, Kentucky, 1895 (died 1989)
Tim Spencer (CM 80, NS 71) born in Webb City, Missouri, 1908 (died 1974)
Riley Puckett died in East Point, Georgia (blood poisoning), 1946 (was 62)

July 14:

Rory Michael Brook (NS 89) born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1942 (now 73)
William J. "Billy" Hill (NS 82) born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1899 (died 1940)
Woody Guthrie (NS 77) born in Okemah, Oklahoma, 1912 (died 1967)
Marijohn Wilkin (NS 75) born in Kemp, Texas, 1920 (died 2006)
Del Reeves born in Sparta, North Carolina, 1933 (died 2007)

July 15:

Johnny Seay born in Gulfport, Mississippi, 1940 (now 75)
Linda Ronstadt born in Tucson, Arizona, 1946 (now 69)
Mac McAnally (NS 07) born in Red Bay, Alabama, 1957 (now 57)
Lloyd "Cowboy" Copas born in Adams County, Ohio, 1913 (died 1963)
Hank Cochran (CM 14, NS 74) died in Nashville, Tennessee (pancreatic cancer), 2010 (was 74)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, June 16-30

Category: News

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

June 16:

Billy "Crash" Craddock born in Greensboro, North Carolina, 1946 (now 69)
Bob Nolan  (CM 80, NS 71) died in Newport Beach, California (heart attack), 1980 (was 72)
"Orange Blossom Special" recorded by the Rouse Brothers, 1939. Ervin Rouse co-wrote the legendary fiddle tune with Chubby Wise.

June 17:

Clyde "Red" Foley (CM 67) born in Blue Lick, Kentucky, 1910 (died 1968)
Dave Akeman (Stringbean) born in Annville, Kentucky, 1916 (died 1973)
Minnie Pearl suffered a stroke that ended her career, 1991
Ground breaking ceremonies held for the new Country Music Hall of Fame, 1999. Your blogger was a member of the "All-Guitar Marching Band," fronted by Chet Atkins, that led the Hall of Fame members to the site.

June 18:

Sir Paul McCartney born in Liverpool, England, 1942 (now 73). The legendary Beatle hit the country chart in 1974 with "Sally G." He was also introduced to a Friday Night Opry audience in 1974 by Roy Acuff, where McCartney proclaimed Nashville the "music capital of the universe."
Marty Haggard born in Bakersfield, California, 1958 (now 57)

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

June 19:

Glen Allred of the Florida Boys (SG 01) born in Monroe, Tennessee, 1934 (now 81)

Doug Stone born in Marietta, Georgia, 1956 (now 59)
Howard Dixon of the Dixon Brothers born in Darlington, South Carolina, 1903 (died 1951)
Lester Flatt (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07) born in Sparta, Tennessee, 1914 (died 1979)
Pat Buttram born in Addison, Alabama, 1915 (died 1994)
Bobby Helms died in Martinsville, Indiana (emphysema), 1997 (was 63)

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

June 20:

Anne Murray (Canadian Music 93) born in Springhill, Nova Scotia, 1945 (now 70)
Evelyn Mae Cox of the Cox Family born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1959 (now 55)
Jimmie Driftwood (ne James Corbitt Morris) born in Mountain View, Arkansas, 1907 (died 1998)
T. Texas Tyler born in Mena, Arkansas, 1916 (died 1972)

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

June 21:

Eddie Adcock (BG 96) born in Scottsville, Virginia, 1938 (now 77)
Leon Everette born in Aiken, South Carolina, 1948 (now 67)
Kathy Mattea born in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, 1959 (now 56)
Porter Howell of Little Texas born in Longview, Texas, 1964 (now 51)

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

June 22:

Kris Kristofferson (CM 04, NS 77) born in Brownsville, Texas, 1936 (now 79)
Peter Asher born in Williesden, Middlesex, England, 1944 (now 71). The former half of the pop duo Peter and Gordon was the producer of most of Linda Ronstadt's crossover hits.
Roy Drusky born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1930 (died 2004)
Elton Britt died in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania (heart attack), 1972 (was 58)

June 23:

Dallas Wayne born in Springfield, Missouri, 1956 (now 59)

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

June 24:

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

June 25:

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

June 26:

Gretchen Wilson born in Granite City, Illinois, 1973 (now 42)

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

June 27:
Lorrie Morgan born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1959 (now 56)
Elton Britt born in Marshall, Arkansas, 1913 (died 1972)
Rosalie Allen born in Old Forge, Pennsylavania, 1924 (died 2003)
Little Roy Wiggins (StG 85) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1926 (died 1999)
Joe Maphis died near Los Angeles, California (lung cancer), 1986 (was 65)
Bob Keeshan born in Lynbrook, New York, 1927 (died 2004). The Statler Brothers referenced Keeshan's best-known character in their hit "Flowers on the Wall:" "Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo."

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

June 28:

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

June 29:

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

June 30:

Dwayne O'Brien of Little Texas born in Ada, Oklahoma, 1963 (now 52)
Doyle Holly born in Perkins, Oklahoma, 1936 (died 2007)
R.W. Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 02) died in Clanton, Alabama (plane crash), 1954 (was 33)
Bill Lyles of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 02) died in Clanton, Alabama (plane crash), 1954 (was 34)
Chet Atkins (CM 73, RR 02) died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2001 (was 77)

Excuse Me While I Gloat

Category:  News/Opinion

Back in February Sony Nashville's CEO Gary Overton made a bold proclamation about country musicians: "If you're not on country radio, you don't exist."  He lost his job ("mutual agreement" resignation, officially) a month later after the uproar over a remark that was ostensibly designed to make commercial country radio stations feel far more important than they are.  (I say that because 99% of music [not just country music] recorded in America is never played on the radio, and yet all those artists are selling albums and concert tickets.  Robbie Fulks wrote in his "Career Day" essay in the book A Guitar and a Pen that his wife commented that musicians can have a devoted following and make a living wage "without ever gaining an ounce of celebrity."  Those who are part of that 99% are out there making music will never play a concert in the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, but they're doing just fine, thank you, with plenty of happy and loyal fans.)

And now what has happened to further rub salt in Overton's wound?  The #1 album on the Billboard country charts this week is Django and Jimmie by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson.  

Neither man has been played on commercial mainstream country radio in at least 25 years, maybe longer.  So they "don't exist," but they debuted at the top spot on the country album chart.

Excuse me while I gloat.

It's short-lived, of course.  They won't get radio airplay because you can't play two country legends after Florida-Georgia Line without a lot of people realizing that one of the two of them is not country music.  But oh, does it feel good today.

Congratulations, Willie & Merle.  And thanks.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rockers Gone Country, Part 3,402,746

Category: News/Opinion 

Back in the old days rock and roll was rock and roll, and those who played it wanted NOTHING to do with that "hillbilly music" that people like George Jones, Buck Owens, and Merle Haggard were doing. Now you can't swing a drumstick without hitting a rock singer who's announced that he/she is making a "country record."


Understand something:  this isn't the world of Brenda Lee, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jerry Wallace, or Conway Twitty, all of whom switched genres with varying degrees of success (Lee and Twitty ended up in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and "Little Miss Dynamite" is also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame).  This also isn't Gene Pitney's duet albums with George Jones, Ray Charles' Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, or Elvis Costello's Almost Blue album.  This seems to be people looking at Harlan Howard's legendary quote that "country music is three chords and the truth" and thinking, "'Three chords? I can do that!" 

Bret Michaels, the former lead singer of the 80's hair band Poison, has announced that he'll do a country album.  Aerosmith lead vocalist Steven Tyler is also going to do a country album.  And let's not forget "the Boss," Bruce Springsteen, who's reportedly had a country album in the can for nearly three years now.

The quote they are forgetting, however, comes from Hank Williams, who proclaimed, "You've got to have smelled an awful lot of manure before you can sing like a hillbilly."  He wasn't talking about the kind that road managers and booking agents give artists on tour, either.  

Fear not:  unlike rockers like Richard Thompson (who wrote the IBMA award-winning song "1952 Vincent Black Lightning") or Sir Paul (who had a minor country hit with "Sally G." in 1974) you aren't going to see Bret Michaels' name pop up in the "Dates of Note in Country Music."  Not even at gunpoint.

However, there is one rocker with a country album on the radar that's an exception.  At least at this point, not having heard the album, I would say he has has more legitimacy when it comes to making a country album than any of the others.  That person is Don Henley, the drummer, vocalist, songwriter, and co-founder of the Eagles.

Henley's first solo album in 15 years, Cass County (named after the county in Texas he was born and raised in), will be released later this year.  He previewed it to a group of journalists earlier this week in Nashville.

Why will I give the man who sang "Dirty Laundry," "All She Wants to Do Is Dance," and dueted with Axl Rose on "I Will Not Go Quietly" a pass while the others are only agitating me with their "hey, I'll slap a cowboy hat on my head and call myself 'country'" schtick?

Simply put, history.  Henley has proved he can sing country music.  Songs such as "The Best of My Love," "Lyin' Eyes," "Hollywood Waltz," "Saturday Night," and "Midnight Flyer" showed the country side of the Eagles.  When their second album, the concept album Desperado, came out fellow Eagle Glenn Frey referred to it as "a[n] (explicit deleted) cowboy record."  While nothing was further from the truth (seriously, "Out of Control" is only country if you're referring to the George Jones song by that title, NOT the song on the Desperado album), there were times in the mid-70's when the Eagles were doing as well on the country singles charts as they did on the rock charts.  They didn't particularly care for the term at the time, but they were considered the most successful of the "country-rock" acts that began in the late 1960's with the Byrds' landmark Sweetheart of the Rodeo album.

Henley's solo career, easily the most successful solo Eagle in terms of both commercial and critical success (I believe he's the only solo Eagle with a Grammy), left the "country rock" in the dust.  I Can't Stand Still was a rock album, start to finish.  Even his cover of "The Uncloudy Day," which he was inspired to include thanks to Willie Nelson's rendition, was reggae, not country.  The next album, Building the Perfect Beast, rocked even harder...and began to reflect the popularity of synthesizers.  

But there was a definite, undeniable country flavor to several Eagles songs in Henley's "first career."  Additionally, Henley grew up in eastern Texas, two counties away from Country Hall of Famers Tex Ritter and Jim Reeves' birthplaces in Panola County, where he was exposed to country music as a child -- real country music, not whatever Bret Michaels must think passes as "country music."  The 1969 album Shiloh, which first introduced the world to Don Henley, contained country elements (especially the hilarious "Down on the Farm," by future Pinkard & Bowden member Richard Bowden).  The Eagles formed while the various members did a stint backing Linda Ronstadt in her country era (remember, she covered Wayne Raney's "We Need a Whole Lot More of Jesus [And a Lot Less Rock and Roll]" on Hand Sown...Home Grown [let's see Mr. Michaels do a Wayne Raney song!]).  He may not have made every record a country record (if he had he certainly wouldn't be the subject of this blog!), but he does have far better credentials to present than anyone else in rock and roll currently making (or threatening to make) inroads into "country music."

The question now, which won't be answered until the album is released, is how country will this be?  One of the songs on the album is a cover of the Louvin Brothers' classic "When I Stop Dreaming" with Dolly Parton singing along, and other country singers including Vince Gill will be guesting on the album.  (He also has Mick Jagger guesting on one song, so the list of guest stars won't be an accurate indication.)  The problem is that there's a vast difference in what the Eagles were doing as "country music" in the 70's and what is comically presented as "country music" today.  There's not a country music station in America that would play "Lyin' Eyes" today.  It would be dismissed it as "too country."  Is that the country music we'll get from Henley, or will he be rehashing his ballads from The End of the Innocence (the title track to which could probably work well as a country song with different instrumentation backing it) and calling it "country" like the rest of the rock singers today?

Time will tell.  Cass County is tentatively slated for release in the fall of 2015.  Henley said at the preview that the album "is who I am."  Let's hope "who he is" is Texas country, not Nashville schlock. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Just a Lonely Bell Was Ringing

Category:  News/Obituary

It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the death of Jim Ed Brown.

One of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame died today (6/11), eight days after announcing that it had been discovered that cancer had returned in his body.  He had been treated for lung cancer last year and had announced he was declared cancer-free by his oncologists.  

Jim Edward Brown was the only male sibling in a family from Arkansas.  He and older sister Maxine began singing while younger sister Bonnie was still in school.  They signed with Fabor Records and immediately scored a hit with "Lookin' Back to See," a song inspired by baby sister Norma trying to explain something.  Another talent in Fabor Robinson's stable, Jim Reeves, played rhythm guitar on the recording.

Reeves played a significant role in helping the Browns achieve major success.  When he left Robinson's Abbott label for RCA the Browns soon followed suit.

Just as their career was taking off in earnest, thanks to an Ira & Charlie Louvin song called "I Take the Chance," Jim Ed was drafted.  He spent his leave time going to Nashville for recording sessions and making personal appearances with his sisters.  When he couldn't get away from the Army artists such as Bobby Lord, Red Foley, and Billy Walker filled in for Jim Ed.

Once Jim Ed was discharged the trio reformed but found things dramatically different in the music world, thanks in no small part to a truck driver from Tupelo, Mississippi who was just starting his Army service.  Thinking their days as a music group were numbered they recorded a song in June 1959.  After that, they never worried about a music career again.

The song they recorded was "The Three Bells."

Thanks to Chet Atkins' brilliant production the song was a perfect fit for country and pop.  It hit #1 on both charts and was nominated for a Grammy award.

Jim Ed and Maxine Brown signing autographs at the
Midnite Jamboree's celebration of the 50th anniversary of
the release of "The Three Bells" in 2009.
c. 2015 K.F. Raizor
In 1967 the two sisters retired and Jim Ed began his second career as a solo singer.  His hits included "Pop a Top," "Morning," "Bottle, Bottle," and "Angel's Sunday."  He also had several hit duets with Helen Cornelius, such as "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You" and "Fools."

Brown took to TV as well, hosting Nashville On the Road and the travel show Going Our Way (where he and wife Becky toured the country in an RV).

Jim Ed Brown had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since he joined the Opry with the Browns in 1959.  On March 25 Jim Ed, Maxine, and Bonnie Brown were announced as new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  When it was discovered that Brown's cancer was too advanced for him to survive until the official induction ceremonies in October Bill Anderson presented him with his medallion in the hospital.

There simply are not words to describe what a loss this is.  If you ever had the privilege of meeting Jim Ed Brown you knew him to be a polite, gracious gentleman who always had time for you, even if it was 2 AM after the Midnite Jamboree (which was the last time I saw him).  He said once on a WSM interview that Jim Reeves once told him that, should anything ever happen to Reeves, RCA would make Jim Ed "the next Jim Reeves" thanks to that smooth baritone similar to Gentleman Jim's.  (Thankfully, RCA didn't tout Brown's solo career that way, because those were the days when each country singer had his/her own individual style and sound.)

That wonderful song that everyone knows painfully and sadly resounds today:

Just a lonely bell was ringing in the little valley town
'Twas farewell that it was singing to our good ol' Jimmy Brown
And the little congregation prayed for guidance from above
Lead us not into temptation, may his soul find the salvation
Of Thy great eternal love.

Jim Ed Brown was 81.