Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 22 November 2017

November 22nd, 2017

Mel Tillis (1932-2017)
Mel Tillis, 85, died of respiratory failure on November 19 at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. After colon surgery in Nashville in January 2016, he’d gone home to Ocala for medical care and physical therapy. He never recovered. Lonnie Melvin Tillis was one of the best, and best-loved, country entertainers ever. A Florida native, he began stuttering after a bout with malaria as a child. He served in the Air Force as a baker in the early 1950s. “People asked me if I served my country,” Mel once told Country Weekly. “I always tell them I sure did. I served cakes, pies and donuts.” His 1966 hit, “Stateside,” immortalized his Air Force time on Okinawa. After moving to Nashville in 1957, and finding success as a songwriter and singer, he named his band the Statesiders. Later awards included CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1976, induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976, and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. His family will soon release information about funeral services in Florida and Nashville. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 8 November 2017

November 8th, 2017

Billy Mize (1929-2017)
One of the last remaining founders of the “Bakersfield Sound” has died. William Robert Mize, 88, died October 28 at a nursing home in Pleasanton, California. He was a singer, songwriter, steel guitarist, and television host. The Academy of Country Music chose him as TV Personality of the Year three years in a row, 1965-1967. His most famous song was Charlie Walker’s “Who Will Buy the Wine.” He played steel guitar on recording sessions for Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Merle Travis, and others. For a time, he was one of Merle Haggard’s Strangers. A stroke in 1988, at age 59, kept him from speaking clearly for many years. Billy Mize regained his ability to sing and performed at his 80th birthday party. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 25 October 2017

October 25th, 2017

Jeannie Seely entertained for ninety minutes at the Performing Arts Center in Sisseton, South Dakota, on October 15. The audience in the almost-full theater chose to spend Sunday afternoon with this Grammy Award winner and 50-year Grand Ole Opry member. Jeannie was accompanied by Tim Atwood, Opry pianist and Nashville session musician. Tim played keyboard and sang a few songs of his own. They wrapped up with several duets. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 11 October 2017

October 11th, 2017

In his Saturday Night Live debut, Jason Aldean gave a tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. Cmt.com reports it was his first public appearance since the night 58 people were killed and 489 injured when a gunman opened fire on the crowd of 22,000 fans on Las Vegas Boulevard. Jason had been the headline act to close the sold-out three-day event. He canceled three shows in California following the shooting. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 27 September 2017

September 27th, 2017

We remember Marty Robbins on September 26, the 92nd anniversary of his birth.

My first memory of Garth Brooks is 1990. When I moved to Jacksonville, Florida, from Guam, the radio airwaves and nightclubs were filled with the sounds of his wonderful music. I bought his first two CDs, Garth Brooks and No Fences. The songs on them are still as familiar as 27 years ago. Some of his music since then I haven’t cared for, but if you want to attract the size of crowds he attracts, you have to cover a wide variety. It seems he always has another “Beaches of Cheyenne” in the wings, to counteract the non-country stuff. I’ve consistently admired him for trying so hard to fight scalpers and keep his tickets affordable. He could easily increase his bottom line by charging more than $78. He impresses me as a humble person who truly appreciates his fans. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 13 September 2017

September 13th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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 »