Friday, July 31, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, August 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; RR=country performer also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

August 1:

Leon Chappelear born in Tyler, Texas, 1909 (died 1962)
Howard "Howdy" Forrester of the Smoky Mountain Boys died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1987 (was 65)
The AFM called a strike against record companies, 1942. The strike, combined with the shortage of shellac because of World War II, severely limited the record companies' output for two years.

August 2:

Ted Harris (NS 90) born in Lakeland, Florida, 1937 (now 78)
Hank Cochran (CM 14, NS 74) born in Isola, Mississippi, 1935 (died 2010).  Cochran is one of the members of the "class of 2014" Country Music Hall of Fame inductees.
Betty Jack Davis died in Cincinnati, Ohio (car wreck), 1953 (was 21)
Joe Allison (NS 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2002 (was 77)
Redd Stewart (NS 70) died in Louisville, Kentucky (complications from a head injury), 2003 (was 82)
The wreckage of Jim Reeves' plane discovered, 1964. The two-day search of wooded areas in and around Nashville for the plane included many country music performers. Eddy Arnold was among those in the party that found and identified Reeves' body.

August 3:

Randy Scruggs born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1953 (now 62)
Dean Sams of Lonestar born in Garland, Texas, 1966 (now 49
Dorothy Dillard of the Anita Kerr Singers born in Springfield, Missouri, 1923 (died 2015))
Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires (CM 01) born in Gleason, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2013)
Little Roy Wiggins (StG 85) died in Sevierville, Tennessee (heart disease and diabetes complications), 1999 (was 73)

August 4:

Vicki Hackerman of Dave & Sugar born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1950 (now 65)
Louis Armstrong born in New Orleans, 1901 (died 1971). The legendary jazz trumpet player and singer recorded with Jimmie Rodgers.
Carson J. Robison (NS 71) born in Oswego, Kansas, 1890 (died 1957)
James Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers (SG 97) born in Ackerman, Mississippi, 1919 (died 2002)
Scotty Stoneman born in Galax, Virginia, 1932 (died 1973)
Fiddlin' Doc Roberts died in Richmond, Kentucky (unknown cause), 1978 (was 81)
Kenny Price died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1987 (was 56)

August 5:

Bobby Braddock (CM 11, NS 81) born in Lakeland, Florida, 1940 (now 75)
Terri Clark born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1968 (now 47)
Hal Durham born in McMinnville, Tennessee, 1931 (died 2009)
Vern "The Voice" Gosdin born in Woodland, Alabama, 1934 (died 2009)
Sammi Smith born in Orange, California, 1943 (died 2005)
Tim Wilson born in Columbus, Georgia, 1961 (died 2014)
Luther Perkins died in Nashville, Tennessee (injuries from a house fire), 1968 (was 40)

August 6:

Billy Robinson (StG 96) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1931 (now 84)
Patsy and Peggy Lynn born in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, 1964 (now 51)
Lisa Stewart born in Louisville, Mississippi, 1968 (now 47)
Old Joe Clark (Manuel Clark), longtime Renfro Valley performer, born in Erwin, Tennessee, 1922 (died 1998)
Billy Bowman (StG 89) died in Columbia, South Carolina (cancer), 1989 (was 60)
Colleen Carroll Brooks died in Yukon, Oklahoma (throat cancer), 1999 (was 70). The former Ozark Mountain Jubilee singer was the mother of Garth Brooks.
Marshall Grant died in Jonesboro, Arkansas (brain aneurysm), 2011 (was 83)

August 7:

B.J. Thomas born in Hugo, Oklahoma, 1942 (now 73)
Rodney Crowell (NS 03) born in Houston, Texas, 1950 (now 65)
Raul Malo of the Mavericks born in Miami, Florida, 1965 (now 50)
Felice Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1925 (died 2003)
Henry "Homer" Haynes (CM 01) died in Hammond, Indiana (heart attack), 1971 (was 51)
Billy Byrd died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2001 (was 81)

August 8:

Mel Tillis (CM 07, NS 76) born in Tampa, Florida, 1932 (now 83)
Phil Balsley of the Statler Brothers (CM 08) born in Staunton, Virginia, 1939 (now 76)
Jamie O'Hara born in Toledo, Ohio, 1950 (now 65)
Webb Pierce (CM 01) born in West Monroe, Louisiana, 1926 (died 1991)
Dale Warren of the Sons of the Pioneers died in Branson, Missouri (heart failure), 2008 (was 83)
Chuck Seitz died in Cincinnati, Ohio (natural causes), 2012 (was 93).  In addition to serving as recording engineer at King and RCA Seitz co-wrote the classic "Before I Met You."
Hank Williams Jr. critically inured in a fall while mountain climbing on Ajax Mountain in Montana, 1975. Williams' head was split open, his face was shattered, and he lost an eye in the 500-foot fall.

August 9:

Merle Kilgore (NS 98) born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, 1934 (died 2005)
Hal Rugg (StG 89) died in Tuscon, Arizona (cancer), 2005 (was 69)

August 10:

Jerry Kennedy born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1940 (now 75)
Jonie Mosby born in Van Nuys, California, 1940 (now 75)
Gene Johnson of Diamond Rio born in Jamestown, New York, 1949 (now 66)
Delia Upchurch born in Gainesboro, Tennessee, 1891 (died 1976). Upchurch was known as "the Den Mother of Nashville Stars" because she ran a boarding house where struggling musicians and songwriters could stay and pay what they could afford.
Jimmy Martin (BG 95) born in Sneedville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 2005)
Jimmy Dean (CM 10) born in Plainview, Texas, 1928 (died 2010)
Alvin "Junior" Samples born in Buena Park, California, 1926 (died 1983)
Billy Grammer died in Benton, Illinois (long-term illness), 2011 (was 85)

August 11:

John Conlee born in Versailles, Kentucky, 1946 (now 69)
Don Helms (StG 84) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2008 (was 81)
Hank Williams fired from the Grand Ole Opry, 1952

August 12:

Mark Knopfler born in Glasgow, Scotland, 1949 (now 66). Knopfler, best known as guitarist and lead singer of Dire Straits, won a "Best Country Vocal Collaboration" Grammy with Chet Atkins in 1990 for the song "Poor Boy Blues."  He also recorded an album of country songs under the pseudonym the Notting Hillbillies.
Rex Griffin (NS 70) born in Gadsden, Alabama, 1912 (died 1958)
Porter Wagoner (CM 02) born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 1927 (died 2007)
Buck Owens (CM 96, NS 96) born in Sherman, Texas, 1929 (died 2006)
Linda Parker of the WLS National Barn Dance died in Mishawaka, Indiana (peritonitis), 1935 (was 23)

August 13:

Lee Roy Abernathy (SG 97) born in Atco, Georgia, 1913 (died 1993)
Dan Fogelberg born in Peoria, Illinois, 1951 (died 2007)
Les Paul died (pneumonia), 2009 (was 94). The legendary guitarist won a Grammy for his work with Chet Atkins on the album Chester and Lester.
Vernon Dalhart recorded "The Prisoner's Song," 1924. The song would sell an estimated seven million copies as country's first million-selling song.

August 14:

Connie Smith (CM 12) born in Elkhart, Indiana, 1941 (now 74)
Charles K. Wolfe (BG 09) born in Sedalia, Missouri, 1943 (died 2006)
Johnny Duncan died in Fort Worth, Texas (heart attack), 2006 (was 67)

August 15:

Ben Eldridge of the Seldom Scene (BG 14) born in Richmond, Virginia, 1938 (now 77)
Jimmy Webb (NS 90) born in Elk City, Oklahoma, 1946 (now 69)
Rose Maddox born in Boaz, Alabama, 1925 (died 1998)
Bobby Helms born in Bloomington, Indiana, 1933 (died 1997)
Don Rich born in Olympia, Washington, 1941 (died 1974)

Lew DeWitt (CM 08) died in Waynesboro, Virginia (complications from Chron's disease), 1990 (was 52)
Will Rogers died near Port Barrow, Alaska (plane crash with Wiley Post), 1935 (was 55)

Come Along And Share the Good Times While We Can

Category:  News/Obituary

For the second time this week, country music has suffered a significant loss of one who helped make it what it was.

Lynn Anderson, the woman who took Joe South's song "Rose Garden" to the top of the country and pop charts in 1970, has died.

Anderson died Thursday (7/30) in Nashville after suffering a heart attack.

Lynn Anderson, the daughter of songwriters Liz and Casey Anderson, was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1947.  Her career began to take off in the mid-60's when she signed to Chart Records.  Her early hits included "Ride, Ride, Ride" and "If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)," along with the duet, "Mother, May I" with Liz.  During this time she helped bring country music into millions of households on a weekly basis as a member of the cast of The Lawrence Welk Show.

Moving to Columbia in early 1970, Anderson's first hit for her new label was "Stay There Till I Get There."  It was dwarfed, as was everything else in 1970, by her version of Joe South's song "Rose Garden."  It stayed at #1 for five weeks, eventually winning Anderson a Grammy and a CMA award.  "Rose Garden" was the fifth biggest hit of the entire decade according to Joel Whitburn's Billboard book on country singles.

Anderson's last charted hit was in 1983, but she continued to release albums.  Her Bluegrass Sessions was nominated for a Grammy in 2004.  Earlier this year a gospel album, Bridges, was released to positive reviews.

In addition to her work in country music, Anderson was a dedicated horse breeder.  Her equestrian work centered around hippotherapy, the therapeutic use of horses for children with emotional and developmental disabilities such as autism.

Joe South's words in the song that made him and Lynn Anderson household names ring in memory today:

So smile for awhile and let's be jolly
Love shouldn't be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can 

Lynn Anderson was 67.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Listen to What the Blues Are Saying

Category:  News/Obituary 

Country music has lost another legendary session man.  The phenomenal Buddy Emmons has died.

Emmons, a Steel Guitar Hall of Famer who began work with Little Jimmy Dickens and moved on through generations of country music greats, died today(7/29).

Born in Indiana in 1937, Emmons joined the Nashville chapter of the Musicians' Union when he was 18.  His work on the steel guitar permeated many of the legendary recordings of the 1950's, starting with Little Jimmy Dickens in early 1956.  The steel he played on Ray Price's recordings has thrilled fans and influenced musicians who followed.  The haunting fills Emmons played on Price's classic "Night Life," written by Willie Nelson, still stands as one of the most admired and loved songs featuring steel guitar in country music.

Ray Price's "Night Life" with Buddy Emmons on steel

Emmons' influence didn't end on the recordings or the stage, either.  He co-founded Sho-Bud with Shot Jackson in 1956.  The company was the first to manufacture the upstart pedal steel guitar, now considered "standard" in country music.

Emmons continued to work with the likes of George Strait and Ricky Skaggs until no longer able to play full-time due to repetitive motion injuries in the early 2000's.

His legacy is long and far-reaching.  His playing was unique and influential.  There will never be another like Buddy Emmons.

He was 78.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's Not All Parties and Drinking Anymore

Category:  Album Review

At a concert in 2013 Dale Watson joked about the subject matter of the songs on his album El Rancho Azul by saying, "Let's see, there's drinking...and then (pause) there's drinking, and then...(another pause) drinking!"  People who are expecting more drinking and dancing along the lines of the favorites "I Lie When I Drink" and "Quick Quick, Slow Slow" won't find them on Watson's sterling new album Call Me Insane, but they won't be disappointed.  Watson has moved into a new level of songwriting while maintaining the hardcore traditional country music sound that makes him popular with the people who are sick of the pop, rock, and rap being presented as "country music" today.

Dale Watson's insightful new album, Call Me Insane
Cover Courtesy of Ameripolitan/Red House Records
Watson and his knockout band, the Lone Stars, keep the music country Ameripolitan (Watson is through with the word "country" after what Nashville has done to the term; and, based on comments hurled at his friend Amber Digby by fans thinking her straight-ahead country music is something other than country, who can blame him?), while the themes are adult and frequently gut-punching powerful.  Oh, sure, there's the obligatory "fun" songs ("Heaven's Gonna Have a Honky Tonk" and the play on the Waylon song title "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," "Mamas, Don't Let Your Cowboys Grow Up to Be Babies" ["let 'em drink that Lone Star Beer"]) because country music has always had an element of fun.  Watson will happily remind you of the motto of Luckenbach, Texas in the song "Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach, Texas." 

One of the best songs on the album is the bouncy "Bug Ya for Love," co-written with bassist Chris Crepps.  The song, with its Western swing feel, is an upbeat, innocent number about a man who promises he's going to do his best to become a single girl's steady beau.  Watson recently said at a concert that one critic misinterpreted the song, declaring it to be about stalking someone.  It's hard to take this happy song that way, however, unless someone has their mind deeply in the gutter.  Another highlight is "I'm Through Hurtin'," about a man who's finally over a failed relationship and promises that, with his new outlook ("an old leaf I'm burning, a new leaf I'm turning"), "I'll paint the town tonight, what color do you like?"

The ballads, however, make Call Me Insane one of the best albums in Watson's discography.  The title track, with its reminiscence of Waylon, is about a man who keeps going back for love even though he knows he's going to be hurt time and time again ("there's still hope in my heart, but that part is never smart 'cause it still ends the same"), pondering, "Is my destiny this insanity?"  "Crocodile Tears" shows a man who tires of the repeated false emotions his love emits.

The best thing on this album, and easily one of the best songs of 2015 thus far, is "The Burden of the Cross."  The song is deeply autobiographical, about Watson taking a nocturnal visit to the site on a Texas highway where his fiancee died in a car wreck to replace the memorial cross that was removed when the highway was widened.  "They don't understand a man's need to see his loss," Watson sings, "and the symbol that it carries: the burden of the cross."  The song will bring a lump to your throat, and you'll never look at those crosses on the side of the highway the same way again.

Watson just finished a five-week tour in support of the album on the east coast and in the Midwest.  He's scheduled to hit the west coast in September.  Don't miss him live, and don't miss this album.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Always On Our Minds

Category:  News/Obituary 

Wayne Carson, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer behind the classic "Always On My Mind," has died.

Carson died Monday (7/20) in Franklin, Tennessee after suffering with various health issues.  He had become a hospice patient in June.  

Wayne Carson Thompson (ne Head) was born in Denver, the son of professional musicians.  His list of songs included two rock classics:  "The Letter" and "Soul Deep," both by the Box Tops.  On the country side, hits he wrote or co-wrote include "She's Acting Single (I'm Drinking Doubles)" by Gary Stewart, "Slide Off Your Satin Sheets" by Johnny Paycheck, "I See the Want To In Your Eyes" by Conway Twitty, and "Somebody Like Me" by Eddy Arnold.

It was "Always On My Mind," however, that made Carson a legend.  From the stunning, heartfelt rendition by Elvis following his divorce from Priscilla to the well-known chart-topping version by Willie Nelson, "Always On My Mind" is considered by many to be among the best songs of the 20th century in any genre of popular music.  Carson took home a "Song of the Year" Grammy for the tune in 1982.

His induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame took place in 1997.

Wayne Carson, who'll be always on our minds, was 72.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I Should Have Known Better

Category:  News/Opinion

As the Beatles once sang, "I Should Have Known Better."

Last month I wrote about Don Henley's forthcoming album, Cass County, due out in September.  I had hopes that Henley, unlike the other 22 bazillion rockers who suddenly decide they have smelled enough manure to sing like a hillbilly (to paraphrase the great quote from Hank Williams), would actually stay true to his roots:  if not country roots, then the country-rock roots that the Eagles learned from people like Gram Parsons and Poco.

Henley's first single from the album, titled "Take a Picture of This," has been released.  It starts off almost identically to his 1989 hit "The Heart of the Matter," and musically carries that theme throughout the song.  

And, of course, it's not country.  It's soft rock.

Oh, it'll pass as "country," given everything else they laughingly call "country music" today.  However, if you're expecting country music from a man who claims the album is what he was raised on, you're going to be sadly disappointed (not to mention by what he does to "When I Stop Dreaming").  This sounds nothing like the country music of the 50's and 60's that Henley (who'll turn 68 on Wednesday) would have heard growing up.  His country music would've been Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, Faron Young, Buck Owens, and Webb Pierce.  Even the 60's "Nashville sound" era that orchestrated singers such as Jim Reeves, Dottie West, Glen Campbell, and Patsy Cline would've been more "country" than this is.

No, Henley is going for the typical 2010's definition of "country music," not the country music he grew up with nor even the "country-rock" he actually sang in the 70's in the Eagles with songs such as "Saturday Night" (from Desperado), "Best of My Love" (from On the Border), or "Hollywood Waltz" (from One of These Nights).  It has the feel of the ballads from his last two solo albums (as well as a riff or 20 borrowed from things such as "Busy Being Fabulous" off the Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden album).  

Bottom line:  Henley, like all the others, is looking to make a commercial killing, not a country statement.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, July 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; RR=country performer also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

July 16:

Ronny Robbins born in Phoenix, Arizona, 1949 (now 66)
Harry Chapin died in East Meadow, New York (heart attack resulting in car wreck), 1981 (was 38). Chapin, a folk music icon, wrote "Cat's in the Cradle," which gave Ricky Skaggs one of his last country hits.
Jo Stafford died in Century City, California (congestive heart failure), 2008 (was 90). The pop singer also did country, including appearing on Red Ingle & Natural Seven's hit "Tem-Tay-Shun."
Kitty Wells (CM 76) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2012 (was 92)

July 17:

Elizabeth Cook born in Wildwood, Florida, 1972 (now 43)

Woodrow Wilson "Red" Sovine born in Charleston, West Virginia, 1918 (died 1980)
Harry Choates died in Austin, Texas (head injury, possibly self-inflicted), 1951 (was 29)
Dizzy Dean died in Reno, Nevada (heart attack), 1974 (was 63). Dizzy was credited with giving Roy Acuff the nickname "King of Country Music."
Don Rich died in Bakersfield, California (motorcycle accident), 1974 (was 32)
Wynn Stewart died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1985 (was 51)
Ozark Jubilee debuted on KWTO radio, 1954

July 18:

Ricky Skaggs born in Cordell, Kentucky, 1954 (now 61)
Mark Jones of Exile born in Harlan, Kentucky, 1954 (now 61)

Barney Alvin Kalanikau Isaacs, Jr. (StG 99) born in Honolulu, Hawaii, 1926 (died 1996)

July 19:
Sue Thompson born in Nevada, Missouri, 1926 (now 89)
Bernie Leadon of the Eagles, Flying Burrito Brothers, and Run C&W born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1947 (now 68)
George Hamilton IV born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1937 (died 2014)
William "Lefty" Frizzell (CM 82, NS 72) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1975 (was 47)
George Riddle died in Indianapolis, Indiana (throat cancer), 2014 (was 78)

July 20:

Thomas "Sleepy" LaBeef born in Smackover, Arkansas, 1935 (now 80)
T.G. Sheppard born in Humbolt, Tennessee, 1942 (now 73)
Radney Foster born in Del Rio, Texas, 1959 (now 56)
Joseph Emmett "J.E." Mainer born in Weaverville, North Carolina, 1898 (died 1971)
Cindy Walker (CM 97, NS 70) born near Mart, Texas, 1918 (died 2006)

Velma Smith born in Eppley Station, Kentucky, 1927 (died 2014)
Ralph Rinzler (BG 12) born in Passaic, New Jersey, 1934 (died 1994)

July 21:

Sara Carter of the Carter Family
 (CM 70, BG 01) born in Wise County, Virginia, 1899 (died 1979)
Eddie Hill (DJ 75) born in Delano, Tennessee, 1921 (died 1994)
Hal Rugg (StG 89) born in New York, New York, 1936 (died 2005)

July 22:

Don Henley of the Eagles born in Gilmer, Texas, 1947 (now 68). In addition to the Eagles, Henley was in a band, Shiloh, in the late 60s with Richard Bowden (later of Pinkard and Bowden) and Jim Ed Norman.
Margaret Whiting born in Detroit, Michigan, 1924 (died 2011). Although primarily a pop singer, Whiting had a series of duets with Jimmy Wakely in the 40s and 50s.
Bob Ferguson died in Jackson, Mississippi (cancer), 2001 (was 73)
Jack Lynn, son of Loretta Lynn, died in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee (drowned), 1984 (was 34)
Ralph S. Peer arrived in Bristol to make recordings for RCA, 1927

July 23:

Alison Krauss born in Decatur, Illinois, 1971 (now 44)
Johnny Darrell born in Hopewell, Alabama, 1940 (died 1997)

July 24:

Donald "Red" Blanchard of the WLS National Barn Dance born in Pittsville, Wisconsin, 1914 (died 1980)
Lawton Williams born in Troy, Tennessee, 1922 (died 2007)
Max D. Barnes (NS 92) born in Hardscratch, Iowa, 1936 (died 2004)

Freddie Tavares (StG 95) died in Anaheim, California (unknown cause), 1990 (was 77)

July 25:

Roy Acuff Jr. born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1943 (now 72)
Marty Brown born in Maceo, Kentucky, 1965 (now 50)
Walter Brennan born in Swmapscott, Massachusetts, 1894 (died 1974). The actor had a major country hit with "Old Rivers" in 1962.
Steve Goodman born in Chicago, Illinois, 1948 (died 1984)
Tommy Duncan died in San Diego, California (heart attack), 1967 (was 56)
Charlie Rich died in Hammond, Louisiana (blood clot in lung), 1995 (was 62)

July 26:

Fred Foster born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, 1931 (now 84)

Jim Foglesong (CM 04) born in Lundale, West Virginia, 1922 (died 2013)

July 27:

Bobbie Gentry born in Chickasaw, Mississippi, 1944 (now 71)

Bill Engvall born in Galveston, Texas, 1957 (now 58)
Henry "Homer" Haynes (CM 01) born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 1971)

July 28:

Frank Loesser died in New York, New York (lung cancer), 1969 (was 59). The legendary pop composer was the "victim" of Homer and Jethro's first major hit, "Baby, It's Cold Outside," in 1949 (which featured a young June Carter singing the female part). Although RCA officials worried about Loesser's reaction, Loesser loved the parody and only asked that the songwriter credit read, "With apologies to Frank Loesser."  Loesser later wrote the liner notes for the Homer & Jethro Fracture Frank Loesser EP.

July 29:

Martina McBride born in Sharon, Kansas, 1966 (now 49)
Pete Drake (StG 87) died in Brentwood, Tennessee (lung disease), 1988 (was 55)
Anita Carter died in Goodlettesville, Tennessee (illness), 1999 (was 66)

July 30:

Dennis Morgan (NS 04) born in Tracy, Minnesota, 1952 (now 63)
Sam Phillips (CM 01) died in Memphis, Tennessee (respiratory failure), 2003 (was 80)

July 31:

Bonnie Brown
 of the Browns (CM 15) born in Sparkman, Arkansas, 1937 (now 77).  The Browns are one of the new inductees for the "class of 2015" in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Jim Reeves (CM 67) died in Nashville, Tennessee (plane crash), 1964 (was 40)
Dean Manuel died in Nashville, Tennessee (plane crash), 1964 (was 30)

Velma Smith died in Madison, Tennessee (illness), 2014 (was 87)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sick Call: Phil Leadbetter

Category:  News 

Reigning IBMA Dobro player of the year Phil Leadbetter announced on his Facebook page that his cancer has returned.

Leadbetter, 53, has been playing Dobro in bluegrass music since the 1980's when his band New Dawn performed at the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville.  Since then he has recorded several solo albums, recorded and toured as a member of J.D. Crowe & the New South, and currently performs with Dale Ann Bradley.

In 2011 Leadbetter was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.  He has been aggressively treated with chemotherapy and stem cell transplants; however, as he wrote on his Facebook page yesterday (7/10), "we've been hitting it really hard for four years now, and it seems to be getting more stubborn."  He has detailed his fight on his web site.

Leadbetter is one of only three Dobro players to ever win the IBMA "Dobro player of the year" award since the award's inception in 1990.  The other two are Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes.  Leadbetter was also the award's recipient in 2005.

Please keep this bluegrass great in your thoughts and prayers as he continues his fight against cancer.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Please Walk On Out of My Mind

Category:  News/Obituary 

Red Lane has died.

The Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame member died this evening (7/1) of cancer at approximately 7 PM central time in Nashville, according to his Facebook page.

Born in Louisiana in 1939, Red Lane was one of the great prolific songwriters in Nashville in the 60's through the 80's.  The long string of hits he wrote include John Conlee's "Miss Emily's Picture" (inspired by Lane's grandmother, Emily), "Country Girl" (co-written with and a hit by Dottie West), Conway Twitty's "Darlin', You Know I Wouldn't Lie" (co-written with Wayne Kemp, who passed away earlier this year), Eddy Arnold's "They Just Don't Make Love Like They Used To," and "New Looks From an Old Lover" by B.J. Thomas.

Two of Lane's best-known compositions were the haunting "Black Jack County Chain," recorded by Willie Nelson, about a group of inmates who beat a sadistic jailer to death with their chains, and the classic Waylon Jennings song "Walk On Out of My Mind," with its terrific chorus of, "Since you walked out of my life, out of my world, please walk on out of my mind."

Lane was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993.  He has been honored with presentations on his career at the "songwriters session" at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Red Lane was 76.