Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 26 October 2016

October 26th, 2016

Bobby Vee (1943-2016)
Robert Velline, 73, known as Bobby Vee, died October 24 of advanced Alzheimer’s disease, the Associated Press reports. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, he was 15 when a plane crash in Iowa killed Buddy Holly, and a call went out for local acts to do the scheduled show at the Moorhead National Guard Armory. Bobby’s brand new band volunteered. The emcee asked their name, Bobby glanced at his bandmates, saw their shadows on the floor, and said, “The Shadows.” In the following years, his hits included, “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Run to Him,” “Rubber Ball,” and “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes.” He performed his retirement show in 2011, without announcing his recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 12 October 2016

October 12th, 2016

Al Dean (1931-2016)
Al Dean, 85, leader of Al Dean & the All Stars, passed away in hospice care in San Antonio, Texas, on October 3. “Al had been battling cancer,” Heart of Texas Records president Tracy Pitcox announced. Al formed his first band in 1952 and played dances all over Texas. He is best known for “Cotton Eyed Joe,” an old fiddle tune he recorded in 1967. “It was a song I heard as a kid,” he once said in an interview. “I had a cowboy from South Texas come up to me and ask if I knew ‘Cotton Eyed Joe.’ I said I did, but I had not sung it in years. We sat down and taught the guys in my band, note for note, how I remembered the ‘Cotton Eyed Joe.’” Dancers began requesting the song, and it inspired a new dance. “It started to spread from there and now everyone does the ‘Cotton Eyed Joe,'” Al said. The song became a standard all over the United States and brought fame to Al Dean and the All Stars. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 28 September 2016

September 28th, 2016

Martin David Robinson was born September 26, 1925, in a shack on the desert at the edge of Glendale, Arizona. When he died of a heart attack in 1982, he was a 57-year-old country music star known as Marty Robbins. Now, on what would have been his 91st birthday, his hometown finally acknowledged its native son by renaming a street in his honor. The Glendale City Council held a ceremony the afternoon of September 26 at Murphy Park to unveil the new street sign and rename a one-mile stretch of Glendale Avenue. The new Marty Robbins Boulevard extends from 51st to 59th Avenues, through the heart of Glendale’s historic downtown and near the former ice cream shop where Marty met his future wife, Marizona. KPHO/KTVK reports Ronny Robbins, Marty’s son, as saying, “His memory will be around for a long time. His motto was, ‘I’d like to be remembered as a good entertainer or as a good person, and I’d rather be a good person.’ He just hoped people would not forget him.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 14 September 2016

September 14th, 2016

Hoot Hester (1951-2016)
Hubert Dwane “Hoot” Hester, a founding member of The Time Jumpers band and fiddle player with the Grand Ole Opry staff band, died of cancer on August 30. Born on a small Kentucky farm, he spent 43 of his 65 years making music in Nashville. In addition to being a session musician, he was a regular on television shows such as Pop Goes the Country, and he was the fiddler in the Nashville Now house band. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 31 August 2016

August 31st, 2016

Country Music Nation reports, “Only one day after her 59th birthday, we have some heartbreaking news to report about Holly Dunn. The country music icon has been diagnosed with cancer.” The article then quotes from a June 19 interview with Hallels and adds, “News about it didn’t really start circulating until August 22. Country Aircheck confirmed the news, saying Dunn has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments in New Mexico, where she lives.” But I’d emailed Holly a birthday greeting on August 22, and she responded with, “Thanks Diane! I’m doing very well and am hopefully at the end of the chemo. My last scan showed no detectable disease. God is good! Holly.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 17 August 2016

August 17th, 2016

Sherwin Linton is running for President of the United States. His slogan is “You Do Have a Choice” and his platform is “Stop Child Abuse.” He ran once before, in 1980, during the Reagan-Carter faceoff. Although not on the ballot, he received more than thirty write-in votes in his home state of South Dakota. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 3 August 2016

August 3rd, 2016

TG Sheppard reported on Facebook that last week’s “Stars Behind The Stars” benefit for the Dallas Police raised over $148,000. He posted this photo of himself and Randy Travis: Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 20 July 2016

July 20th, 2016

“One of the greatest things that ever happened to me” was time in the Marine Corps, Freddie Hart told me when I called him several weeks ago. He was 14 when his parents signed the papers for him to enlist in 1942. He’d already spent a year in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Times were tough for an Alabama sharecropper family with ten boys and five girls. Freddie’s formal education ended with the second grade in Phenix City, Alabama. As a member of the Third Marine Division during World War II, he participated in the battles for Guam and Iwo Jima. Except for combat, “I wish everybody could do one year and then go home,” he told me. “That was a wonderful thing.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 29 June 2016

June 29th, 2016

Ralph Stanley (1927-2016)
On June 23, Ralph Stanley, 89, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Coebun, Virginia. He had been suffering from skin cancer. Born and raised in southwest Virginia, Ralph and his brother Carter formed a group called the Stanley Brothers and their Clinch Mountain Boys. Carter died of liver disease in 1966, and Ralph continued to perform. Edward Morris writes on CMT News, “Initially recognized as the high-tenor, banjo-picking half of the Stanley Brothers bluegrass act (1946-1966), Stanley went on to build a distinguished and honor-filled career as a vocal stylist and leader of the Clinch Mountain Boys band. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 15 June 2016

June 15th, 2016

Chips Moman (1937-2016)
Lincoln Wayne Chips” Moman, 79, died June 13 in his hometown of LaGrange, Georgia. He co-wrote “Luckenbach, Texas” and “The Wurlitzer Prize” (Waylon Jennings), “Hey Won’t You Play Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” (B.J. Thomas), and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (Barbara Mandrell). He produced recordings for the Highwaymen, Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette and Ronnie Milsap. He also produced the Elvis Presley hits of “Suspicious Minds,” “In the Ghetto,” and “Kentucky Rain.”

Country Radio Seminar (CRS) will present Randy Travis with its 2016 Artist Career Achievement Award, during its Country Radio Hall Of Fame Dinner and Awards Ceremony next Wednesday in Nashville. The award honors an individual “who has made a significant contribution to the development and promotion of Country music and Country radio,” according to All Access Music Group. Read the rest of this entry »