Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 13 September 2017

September 13th, 2017

NEWS 
Don Williams (1939-2017)
“The Gentle Giant,” Don Williams, died September 8 after a short illness. He was 78. Born and raised in Texas, he won his first talent contest at age three. The prize was an alarm clock. His first chart-topping song was “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me. Other #1s included “Tulsa Time,” “She Never Knew Me,” “I Believe In You,” and “If Hollywood Don’t Need You.” He retired from touring in 2006–but not for long. He returned to the road in 2010, the same year he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He retired again in 2016. The press release announcing his death quotes him as saying then, “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support.” Funeral arrangements are pending. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 30 August 2017

August 30th, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW – BILL ANDERSON
The Performing Arts Center in Sisseton, South Dakota, hosted the Bill Anderson concert Saturday night. Bill invited me to come up from Sioux Falls for the evening, and I took sister Kayo and friend Perry with me. The folks at Coteau Entertainment Company treated us well, complete with a delicious dinner of prime rib and sweet corn. Whisperin’ Bill is a popular person up there, with people getting in line at 4:30 for the 7 pm show. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 16 August 2017

August 16th, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW – TRAVIS TRITT
The Sioux Empire Fair brought Travis Tritt to Sioux Falls last Friday evening. It was the first time I’d seen him in concert. There was no opening act, and he came on stage singing “Put Some Drive in Your Country.” He then traded his electric guitar for an acoustic one, which he used for most of his 90-minute concert. He’d just come from three days in Sturgis, and he asked how many people had attended his concerts in the past. “I love repeat business,” he said. “Thanks for coming back.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 2 August 2017

August 2nd, 2017

NEWS 
In 1997, Garth Brooks performed at the Sioux Falls Arena, after selling 41,183 tickets. Now, when ticket sales opened for one show at the new Denny Sanford Premier Center in September, he sold out six shows in half an hour. Ticket sales opened several days later for an additional show. Within 20 minutes, there was a total of nine sold-out shows with 91,650 tickets. I have mine! Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 19 July 2017

July 19th, 2017

CONCERT REVIEW — JOHN ANDERSON AND TANYA TUCKER
The Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa, was the place to be on Friday, July 7. John Anderson and Tanya Tucker both put on fantastic shows. A person forgets how many hits a singer has had, until listening to one recognizable song after another for over an hour. With both shows, the band kicked off and the singer appeared. No openers or introductions, just the star singing a well-known song. The acoustics were great, the sound level just right, and the intimate theater setting enjoyable. Having third-row, center-aisle seats helped, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 5 July 2017

July 5th, 2017

NEWS 
The last surviving member of Roy Acuff’s Smoky Mountain Boys has died. Alden Johnny “A. J.” Nelson, age 94, of Hendersonville passed away June 22. He had served in the US Navy during WWII, and he performed on many USO tours during the Vietnam war. In addition to being an entertainer, he was a craftsman of stringed instrument repair. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 21 June 2017

June 21st, 2017

NEWS 
Norro Wilson, co-writer of “The Grand Tour,” “A Picture of Me (Without You),” and other classics, died June 8 at age 79. “Over the course of his career,” The Tennessean reports, “he was involved in nearly every aspect of the music business, working as a performer, a songwriter, a song plugger, a publisher, an A&R rep and a producer.” The son of a Kentucky factory worker, Wilson Norris “Norro” Wilson sang in a barbershop quartet in high school. He gave up his solo-recording career in the early 1970s to be a songwriter and music executive. He was a passionate advocate for songwriters. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 7 June 2017

June 7th, 2017

NEWS 
“All My Rowdy Friends” is returning to ESPN’s Monday Night Football on September 11. The Minnesota Vikings will be hosting the New Orleans Saints for the first Monday night game of the season. Hank Williams Jr. filmed a new video in Nashville with a new version of the song that calls out, “Are you ready for some football?” Read the rest of this entry »

Memorial Day Speech – 2017

May 29th, 2017

Memorial Day Speech by CAPT Diane Diekman, USN (ret)
May 29, 2017
American Legion Post 13, Willow Lake, South Dakota

If South Dakota hadn’t passed a law in the mid-1960s to allow only 12-year school districts, I wouldn’t be standing here today. I’d be a retired country schoolteacher instead of a retired U.S. Navy captain.

That law dashed my childhood dream of teaching in the same sort of one-room country school I grew up in near Clear Lake. Teaching in town schools didn’t interest me. So I enlisted in the Navy after college graduation. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 24 May 2017

May 24th, 2017

FEATURED ARTIST–LEONA WILLIAMS
When Leona Williams and I scheduled a phone conversation, she was in Phoenix, Arizona. She was visiting friends there in conjunction with playing several shows. Now she is off to Texas for two performances this weekend before heading back to Nashville.

Ron Williams, Leona’s son, sometimes tours with her. In addition to several duets, they each have a solo portion on their shows. They usually travel without a band. Mark Yeary, longtime pianist for Merle Haggard, arranged the band for their Phoenix shows. Ron is Leona’s middle child. Cathy is the eldest. Two sons, Ron and Brady, were born to Leona and her second husband, Ron Williams, Sr. Read the rest of this entry »