Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 18 April 2018

April 18th, 2018

On his 83rd birthday, Bobby Bare received a surprise from the Grand Ole Opry. He was on the Opry stage April 7, singing during the segment hosted by Jeannie Seely, when Garth Brooks walked to the microphone. Garth invited him to officially rejoin the Opry family. “I’ve got to tell you that this is quite a surprise,” Bobby responded. “I was a member of the Opry for 10 years, but then I just drifted away.” Bobby had joined the Opry in the early 1960s, but over the years his membership lapsed. His name was never removed from the list on the backstage wall at the Opry House. The Tennessean says Bobby performed on the Grand Ole Opry more than 10 times in the past year, as a guest. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 4 April 2018

April 4th, 2018

This year’s inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame are Johnny Gimble, Dottie West, and Ricky Skaggs. They were announced March 27 at an event in the rotunda of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood were the hosts. Western Swing fiddler Johnny Gimble from Texas was chosen posthumously as Recording/Touring Musician. He died in 2015 at age 88. His son and granddaughter performed his “Under the ‘X’ in Texas” during the ceremony. Dottie West, who lived her entire life in Tennessee, was named posthumously as Veterans’ Era inductee. The “Country Sunshine” singer and songwriter died in 1991, just before her 60th birthday, following a car accident on her way to the Grand Ole Opry. Ricky Skaggs is the Modern Era inductee. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 21 March 2018

March 21st, 2018

Ronnie Prophet (1937-2018)
Ronald Lawrence Victor Prophet, a native of Calumet, Quebec, died March 2 at age 80, following cardiac and kidney failure. Ronnie Prophet charted 23 singles during his 60-year career. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1966, playing in Memphis and Nashville. There is a Ronnie Prophet Waiting Room at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, in honor of his charity work. The Boots Randolph’s Carousel Club, where he got his Nashville start, later became Ronnie Prophet’s Carousel Club. He appeared on The Tommy Hunter TV show prior to hosting his own TV shows. He and his wife, Glory Anne, performed in Branson, Missouri, from 1997 until they retired in 2015 and moved to Florida. Ronnie was buried near his farm home in Quebec. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 28 February 2018

February 28th, 2018

The 2018 inductees to the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame are songwriters Tom T. Hall and Dixie Hall. The award ceremony will take place during the 44th Annual Hall of Fame and Uncle Pen Bluegrass Festival at the Bill Monroe Music Park in Bean Blossom, Indiana, in September. Bluegrass Today explains that Tom T. once wrote songs for Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs and Miss Dixie wrote with Maybelle Carter. The pair married in 1968 and wrote together until Dixie’s death in 2015. After retiring from Nashville life, they dedicated their energy to bluegrass — forming a publishing company and record label and actively promoting bluegrass artists who recorded their songs. After Tom dies, all their song royalties will be donated to the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 14 February 2018

February 14th, 2018

Daryle Singletary (1971-2018)
Daryle Singletary, 46, died unexpectedly on February 11 at his home in Lebanon, Tennessee. The cause of death is pending. He leaves behind a wife and four children. Daryle Bruce Singletary was born March 10, 1971, in Cairo, Georgia. An early Randy Travis fan, he moved to Nashville at age 19 and began playing nightclubs and doing demo work. Randy, while listening to demos, liked the singer. There’s also a report that Randy’s band members saw Daryle singing at the Broken Spoke in Nashville and urged Randy to come listen. Whatever the introduction, Randy Travis helped Daryle get a record deal and he co-produced the first single, “I’m Living Up To Her Low Expectations.” Billboard’s obituary states, “Singletary will no doubt be remembered as a torch-bearer for artists such as Lefty Frizzell and Keith Whitley to modern-day generations of fans and artists.” His two songs I’ve always really liked are “I’m Living Up To Her Low Expectations” and “Too Much Fun.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 31 January 2018

January 31st, 2018

One of Faron Young’s Country Deputies, Dave Hall, died on January 19. He was 76. Dave played bass and served as frontman from 1969-72. After leaving the music business, he worked with Royalty Department and Creative Team at HoriPro. I met him in Canby, Minnesota, in 1970 and saw him again when I held a reunion of the Deputies in 2000. He wrote two of the songs on Faron’s 1971 It’s Four In the Morning album: “It’s Not the Miles” and “Night Coach Out Of Dallas.” Dave told me he gave co-writer credit to bus driver Lewis Redding, because, “He and I rode down the road a lot at night, me with a guitar in my hand.” Graveside services for Dave were held January 27 at Mt. Juliet Memorial Gardens. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 17 January 2018

January 17th, 2018

Johnny Bush is still going strong, as he approaches his 83rd birthday. He records for BGM Records, owns a tour bus, and travels with his 6-piece band, the Bandoleros. “I’m working as much as I ever did,” he told me when I called him the other day. “And making a lot more money than I ever did.”

His first hit, in 1969, was the Marty Robbins song, “You Gave Me a Mountain.” In 1972, under a new contract with RCA Victor, he released his own composition, “Whiskey River.” Then his life changed. “It was the pinnacle of my career, when I was really rockin’ and rollin’, when it happened,” he says. “My voice just slammed shut.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 3 January 2018

January 3rd, 2018

Fifty-eight years ago, as our nation moved into 1960, “El Paso” was riding at the top of Billboard’s country AND pop charts. In 2016, the Library of Congress chose the Marty Robbins album, Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, as one of its 25 annual additions to the National Recording Registry. I was asked to write an essay about the album. You can find it here: https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/recording-registry/index-of-essays/ Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 20 December 2017

December 20th, 2017

Leon Rhodes (1932-2017)
The last early member of Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadour band has died. Leon Rhodes, 85, died December 9 at his Nashville area home. By age 16, the young Texan was already gaining acclaim for his precision guitar playing in the Big D Jamboree band. Lefty Frizzell and Ray Price hired him to play on their Texas sessions, before he joined Ernest Tubb in 1960, as lead guitarist with the Texas Troubadours. In 1966, he left the road to be an Opry staff musician. He stayed there until 2003, when management fired the legendary players in an attempt to update the Opry image and attract a younger audience. Leon also served as a session musician and spent 25 years in the Hee Haw house band. In 2014, he was profiled as one of the Nashville Cats by the Country Music Hall of Fame. His funeral was held December 12 in Old Hickory, Tennessee. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 6 December 2017

December 6th, 2017

When I called Ernie Reed, it was the day after Mel Tillis’s funeral and burial in Clarksville, Tennessee. “I was glad when yesterday ended,” he told me. The funeral was a private event for family, friends, and Mel’s band, the Statesiders. Ernie had known Mel for 50 years, having first played in the band in 1967. I asked if he’d seen Mel recently. “I saw him in the hospital here in Nashville,” he said. “He weighed about 120 pounds.” Mel was sleeping, so Ernie sat in a chair and waited. When Mel awoke and saw Ernie, his first words were, “We need some bookings.” Ernie responded, “When you get out of that bed, we’ll get some bookings.” Read the rest of this entry »