Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 12 April 2017

April 12th, 2017

2017 inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame are Jerry Reed as the veteran era artist, Don Schlitz as songwriter, and Alan Jackson in the modern era artist. Vince Gill announced the winners at a ceremony at the Hall on April 5, 2017.

The National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress adds 25 titles every year to its National Recording Registry. This year’s list of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” recordings was announced on March 29. It included Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” Don McLean’s “American Pie,” a 1957 Brooklyn Dodgers/New York Giants game announced by Vin Scully — and the 1959 Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs album by Marty Robbins. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 29 March 2017

March 29th, 2017

After the long-running Flatt and Scruggs Grand Ole Opry Show ended in 1969, there seemed to be no surviving copies of the TV show. Twenty years later, an advertising executive discovered a box of 16-mm film in his garage. It contained 24 half-hour episodes of the show sponsored by Martha White Flour and starring Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and their Foggy Mountain Boys. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 15 March 2017

March 15th, 2017

Today would have been Carl Smith’s 90th birthday.

I’ve been trying to contact Tom T. Hall for a while now for an interview. Bill Anderson told me, “I have not spoken with Tom T. in quite some time, but Peter Cooper has been working with him on a book project. Why don’t you reach out to Peter at the Hall of Fame?”

I contacted the country music journalist and author, and Peter agreed to forward my request to Tom T.’s assistant. She responded, “Mr. Hall is very flattered that you would want to interview him but he no longer does interviews. He said you should interview Peter about Tom T. Hall, that Peter knows more about him than he does! And that you can believe anything Peter tells you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 1 March 2017

March 1st, 2017

Shania Twain is releasing her first album in 15 years–and her first since being diagnosed with dysphonia. She spent years in voice therapy to overcome hoarseness and speech difficulties caused by the vocal-cord disorder. Her voice is still recognizable, but deeper than it used to be. “I’m a different singer now,” she told Rolling Stone Country. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 15 February 2017

February 15th, 2017

Before calling Larry Cordle last week for an interview, I checked his website. His bio said he’d spent four years in the Navy. When I asked him what he’d done in the Navy, he said, “I was an aviation electrician in a squadron called VP-16.” I exclaimed. “I was in VP-16!” He’d been a P-3C flight engineer, and I was a maintenance officer. He left Patrol Squadron Sixteen in 1972, ten years before my arrival. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 1 February 2017

February 1st, 2017

At the Grand Ole Opry on January 21, Loretta Lynn inducted little sister Crystal Gayle as an Opry member, fifty years after Crystal made her Opry debut. At age 16, she had sung the Marty Robbins hit, “Ribbon of Darkness.” Loretta said, “It was the greatest moment of my life when they made me a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1962. I know she is just as happy as I was then.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 18 January 2017

January 18th, 2017

Roni Stoneman is recovering from her October knee replacement surgery. All those years of carrying around a 30-pound banjo had damaged it. She was back on the stage for the first time on New Year’s Eve when she and sister Donna hosted the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree. After three months of physical therapy, her therapist had told her, “You don’t have to come back anymore.” When I called her last week, she was resting at home. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 4 January 2017

January 4th, 2017

George Edwards (1937-2016)
Sherie Edwards reports the death of her father, George Edwards, on December 29, in Hendersonville, Tennessee, following a brief illness and 16 years after a stroke. “He loved playing steel guitar almost as much as he loved his family,” she wrote on the Steel Guitar Forum, “and his steel guitar friends all over the world were a big part of his life.” George Dungan Edwards IV was born in Philadelphia 79½ years ago. He learned to play steel guitar at age 12 and became a professional musician, touring with Kitty Wells for 25 years. Other bands included those of Faron Young and Hank Williams, Jr. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 21 December 2016

December 21st, 2016

Gordie Tapp (1922-2016)
CBC-Radio Canada reports the death of Canadian radio and television entertainer and former CBC broadcaster Gordie Tapp, 94. The Hee Haw country bumpkin Cousin Clem died December 18 in hospital, surrounded by family and friends. Born in 1922 in London, Ontario, Gordie hosted the CBC variety show Country Hoedown for 13 years in the 1950s and 1960s before moving to Nashville to work for CBS-TV on Hee Haw. He retired to LaSalle Retirement Home in Burlington, Ontario, with his wife Helen, and continued to perform until a month ago–on cruise ships, charity shows, and at local retirement homes. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 7 December 2016

December 7th, 2016

It’s been 34 years since a heart attack took Marty Robbins on December 8, 1982. Twenty years ago we heard the shocking news that Faron Young had shot himself; he died December 10, 1996. We miss them both, remember them fondly, and never tire of listening to their music.

Mark Eugene Gray (1952-2016)
Songwriter and former member of the group Exile, Mark Gray, died December 2 in Lebanon, Tennessee, at age 64. No cause of death has been reported. He joined Exile in 1979, where he and J.P. Pennington co-wrote two Alabama hits, “Take Me Down” and “The Closer You Get.” He co-wrote “It Ain’t Easy Being Easy” for Janie Fricke and had 190 songs as a BMI songwriter. He and Tammy Wynette recorded the duet, “Sometimes When We Touch.” Read the rest of this entry »