Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 14 February 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.”

Stu Basore (1937-2018)
Steel guitarist Stuart “Stu” Basore, 80, passed away on February 5, from Lewy Body Dementia complications. The son of a U.S. Air Force officer, Stu grew up as a “military brat” who traveled all over the world. He began playing the steel guitar at age 11. Stu served in the U.S. Air Force from 1956-60 and moved to Nashville in 1963 to pursue a career in music. He performed with artists such as Tex Ritter, Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, Faron Young, George Hamilton IV, Connie Smith, and Marie Osmond. He could be heard on numerous TV shows and record albums. He played steel guitar on Dolly Parton’s recordings of “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You,” as well as many other hit records. His funeral was Friday in Nashville. The family requests that any memorial contributions go to either AFM Local 257’s Musicians’ Relief Fund or to Alive Hospice. Stu, who was final steel player for Faron Young’s Country Deputies, filled that slot one last time during the Country Deputies reunion at my 2007 party for the release of Faron’s biography.

Loretta Lynn, 85, has canceled her scheduled May 17 performance at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Due to circumstances beyond our control” said a statement from her manager. A reason for the cancellation was not given.

Bill Anderson has been elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Other members of the Class of 2018 are Alan Jackson, Steve Dorff, John Mellencamp, Kool & The Gang, Jermaine Dupri, and Allee Willis. Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame enshrines and celebrates musical pioneers. The 49th Annual Induction and Awards dinner will be held June 14 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Tickets begin at $1,500. Net proceeds go toward the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs. Bill writes in his fan club newsletter: “This is the biggie…the one in New York where all the great writers from all genres of music are enshrined. From Irving Berlin to Bob Dylan and all the greats in between, I’ll be joining some very talented and exclusive company. The actual induction won’t be until June, so I’ve got several more months to let the news sink in and the excitement build, but I am certainly grateful and thankful for this honor. Who would have ever thought it on top of that little hotel in Commerce, Georgia, where I wrote my first hit song all those years ago?”

Layla’s on Lower Broadway in Nashville is the smallest venue Garth Brooks has played in nearly 30 years. He brought his six-piece band to the bar’s small stage for a surprise performance on February 5. It was an invitation-only show for 170 country radio program directors in town for the annual Country Radio Seminar. “Tell me a story of a song that you love, hopefully one of mine,” Garth encouraged them. He sang 21 songs, after which the crowd serenaded him with “Happy Birthday,” two days before his 56th birthday. Billboard reports Garth’s team picked the venue in part because of Layla’s December banner that read “Merry Christmas and thanks Garth Brooks.” The traditionally slow month of December was a busy one for Layla’s, due to Garth’s seven shows at nearby Bridgestone Arena that sold more than 100,000 tickets.

Taste of Country reports Willie Nelson, 84, has cancelled all eight scheduled February tour dates. He “requires a few extra weeks to recover completely from the flu,” according to a statement. “He is up and about and looks as healthy as ever but his doctor has determined that his voice needs more time to recuperate.” Willie plans to resume his tour in early March.

Donna Fargo is working with rehab therapists 3-5 days a week to recover from her stroke. Her walking and speech have improved. A recent fall put her back in the emergency room.

RCA Studio A has new life. The building at 30 Music Square West is once again turning out hit records. Nashville Scene reports producer Dave Cobb received Grammy Awards last month for Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 1, which won Best Country Album, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s The Nashville Sound, which won Best Americana Album. Both were recorded in the famous studio where visionary producers Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins had built the Nashville Sound. The Bradley-Atkins families in 2014 had tried to sell the building for $4.1 million, to a Brentwood developer who planned to tear it down and build condos. But preservationists didn’t want to lose another of Music Row’s historic studios. The fight to save the building was led by Ben Folds, who had been renting the studio. Chris Stapleton, hearing about the studio’s impending demolition, decided to use the facility to record his debut album, Traveller. If the building had been torn down, Traveller would have been the final album cut there. But philanthropist and real estate developer Aubrey Preston bid $5.6 million to save the building. He and his partners renovated it at a cost of more than $500,000. Preston occupies the former office of Chet Atkins, Jerry Bradley, and Joe Galante. The building is at full capacity, with Miranda Lambert being one of the tenants.

CMT News reports on a surprising #MeToo revelation when Vince Gill performed last week at the Ryman Auditorium during Nashville’s Country Radio Seminar. He introduced a song he’d written years earlier, “Forever Changed,” and said he had chosen to sing it because of its timeliness. “I was in 7th grade, and a young, dumb kid,” he explained. “I had a gym teacher that acted inappropriately towards me and was trying to do things that I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I was just fortunate that I got up and I ran. I just jumped up, and I ran. I don’t know why. And I don’t think I ever told anybody my whole life, but even what’s been going on has given me a little bit of courage to speak out, too.”

Steve Earle and his band, the Dukes, will hit the road in March for the Copperhead Road 30th Anniversary Tour. It begins in Arkansas and concludes April 15 in Peekskill, New York. The closest spot to Sioux Falls will be March 24 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City, Iowa. Then, in June, Steve will host his fourth annual songwriting workshop, Camp Copperhead, at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, New York. He thinks everybody should have somebody to believe in them; his camp matches aspiring songwriters and artists with seasoned professionals. Still, he says his work benefited as much from advice he didn’t listen to when a young songwriter. “Everybody told me my songs had to have choruses,” he told Rolling Stone Country. “I have three songs that are probably going to be around after I’m gone — ‘Galway Girl,’ ‘Guitar Town’ and ‘Copperhead Road’ — none of them have choruses.”

The more than 20,000 country music artifacts in the personal collection of Marty Stuart might finally be on public display. Marty wants to build a Congress of Country Music complex in his birthplace of Philadelphia, Mississippi. He and his band, the Fabulous Superlatives, recently gave a performance and press conference at the Mississippi State Capitol. They presented artist renderings of a project to build a museum, event space, and educational “Marty Stuart Center” in the historic Ellis Theater in downtown Philadelphia. According to Saving Country Music, “Stuart was first inspired to begin collecting and preserving country music artifacts when he visited Hard Rock in London while on tour in Johnny Cash’s band. Seeing all of the rock and roll memorabilia on the walls made Stuart wonder why similar places didn’t exist for country music. Back in Nashville as the old guard was being sifted out in the ’80s, so many of the stage clothes and personal items of country royalty were being thrown away in dumpsters and sold at second hand stores. Stuart began rescuing and buying up everything he could find. His personal collection is only rivaled by the Country Music Hall of Fame itself, and Stuart regularly donates items to the Hall of Fame’s exhibits.”

A Swedish fan of Garth Brooks will be getting a honeymoon experience bigger than her dreams, according to a report by Sounds Like Nashville. In a social media post, she praised Garth and then said, “My husband and I are going on a honeymoon part one. It’s going to be a road trip from Texas to Florida. And what shouldn’t we miss along that route?” Garth responded during his weekly Facebook show: “What would you think about you and your husband — why don’t you make a stop in Nashville and why don’t you come to our house and have dinner with me and Ms. Yearwood?”

Lynda Bush reports on husband Johnny Bush: “Major health issues cropped up just as we were preparing for road trip aboard the Norwegian Pearl, departing New Orleans for the six-day cruise sponsored by SiriusXM Outlaw Country. Under dr. orders, he was not to travel due to abnormal blood count(anemia) & ordered complete bed rest… had to cancel the SiriusXM Outlaw Cruise which he had been excited about, since many of his longtime friends were also due to perform acoustic sets with Johnny. He is on meds to build up his hematocrit #s. He had so many encouraging voice mails about looking forward to his participation in next year’s events! I will be in touch as pertinent info becomes available.”

Becky Hobbs writes from Nashville, “I always look forward to your Newsletters. Many times, you beat the Tennessean newspaper and Music Row magazine ‘to the punch’! Congrats! I’m sure you know about this, but Moe Bandy’s new Lucky Me autobiography with Scot England rocks! Moe and I had a Top Ten duet, ‘Let’s Get Over Them Together,’ back in ’83. We had a lot of fun playing shows together. Lucky Me captures Moe’s humble personality and great sense of humor. It’s loaded with great stories, from heartwarming to hilarious. The book is beautifully done, with lots of color pictures. Come take a ride in the honky tonk life… of Moe Bandy!” www.moebandybook.com

Jenny Jones writes from Grand Prairie, Texas, “Really enjoyed the latest copy of your Newsletter…you always have so much information…please keep up all news.”

Jessica Gonzales describes her discovery: “I JUST LOVE FARON YOUNG! I also love your book. I am 37 years old and really got exposed to Mr. Young’s music about two years ago. Lucky enough there’s just so much of it I have not got quite my fill yet, nor will I think ever. My boyfriend who is my senior by 15 years asked me to look up a song on my Music App–“Going Steady,” the faster upbeat cut. It blew my mind how many times one man could redo one song so many different ways. I told my boyfriend there was only one other artist I knew that had as many recordings as this FARON, and that was Elvis. This left me with such a curiosity. Off and away I was to learn everything about this dark and handsome man with the voice of an Angel. My boyfriend asked me how many recordings FARON had. I said I don’t even think Google has a clue. I was right; Google has not a clue. I bought your book and then lost it half way through. I could not stand it. I thought to myself if I don’t finish reading your book and leave this earth it would be such an unsettling feeling that would haunt me I am sure of it. I bought the Ebook. I thank you for blessing me with the knowledge I was so thirsty for in learning about this extraordinary human being. I like how you kept it real and made me relate to him and his faults in a real human connection. We all have regrets and mistakes, but we all have positive qualities that outshine the negative ones. I wish I could have been as fortunate as you in having the pleasure of knowing him. I used to have fear about when it will be my time. Now I have comfort by knowing I get to go on and meet FARON YOUNG. I hope he smiles down from heaven and sees he is not forgotten but can still reach people that he never imagined to be such a huge fan. That you and your book help make that happen. I am forever grateful to you for taking on the job of putting his life to print, in order to share it with others. GREAT JOB!! WELL DONE!
P.S. When I checked your favorite books, I was smiling to see we share the same favorite book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.

Les Leverett, retired Grand Ole Opry photographer, writes from Goodlettsville, Tennessee, “I haven’t written to you in a while, but I again want to thank you for keeping us informed of happenings in our business. Since October 7th, I’ve been recovering from a broken hip, a mild heart attack, and several other health issues, but things are good for me now….feeling good, and trying to deal with my
old ninety year old knees.”

Eric Calhoun in Los Angeles says, “Allen, congratulations on 50 years of deejaying.  Sorry to hear of the death of Lari White. Rest in peace.”

Johnny Western asks, “Did anyone let you know that Roberta Labour, wife of Fred Labour…Too Slim of Riders in the Sky, passed away last Friday in Nashville of cancer? Mark Abbott of The Sons of the Pioneers has been filling in on bass, for some road dates with the Riders.”

Ashley D’Silva in Perth, West Australia, writes, “Again, thanks for the very informative and entertaining Newsletter. Not only are we kept informed by your newsletter of the ’famous’ stars and their folk, but we are also kept up to date with the goings on of the guys and gals that contribute, in the background, to the famous. Here in Australia the news is not so plenty and your Newsletter is a very welcome email. Thanks for your wonderful and consistent contribution to the music we all love so much and please, keep on keeping on.”

Dominique Anglares says, “Thank you very much for that newsletter very informative as always. Some bad news, some good. Thanks for sharing anyway. Warmest regards from your French friend.”

Glenn Spain in Decatur, Illinois, says, “I would like to be added to your newsletter.”

Martha McCormick requests, “Please add me to your Country Music Newsletter.”

Marilynne Caswell writes, “As usual I enjoy your newsletters so much. So well informed. I wanted to mention that February 22 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the night Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter while on stage at the London Gardens in my hometown of London Ontario. I was in the audience. London Ontario was also the hometown of Saul Holliff, Johnny’s manager thru the ’60s and early ’70s. Saul was my mentor in business, and he and his wife Barb wrote a letter to the Musician Union on my behalf. I had no trouble in obtaining my Booking License (Feb 1972). I am forever grateful. To mark this anniversary, London is hosting a series of concerts and get togethers. I am honored to be guest speaker this Feb. 10th. There will be a large event on the actual date…Feb 22nd with guests Tommy Cash and Fluke Holland (Johnny’s longtime drummer). This will be held at the Jack Richardson’s Music Hall. Queen’s Ave London Ontario. In addition, I wanted to mention a recent book, The Man Who Carried Cash, written by Julie Chadwick. Too little has been written about the genius Saul Hollif. This is a great story of the Jewish Businessman from Canada and the Country Singer from Arkansas. A must read for all Country Music fans.”

Art Dubin asks, “How do I sign up for the newsletter?” And, “Would you please include my wife, Anita, in your newsletters?”

Connie Hester requests from Witt, Illinois, “Please include me on your Country Newsletter list.”

Jackie Allen Thomas says, “So enjoyable and thank you for the update regarding Faron Young’s suicide. I had always wondered why he took his own life. Depression is a bad disease. Thanks again for this wonderful newsletter with all the latest country music news.”

Moragh Carter writes from the United Kingdom, “I don’t know if you will have heard about the death of British Country Music Hall of Famer, Tony Best. His daughter Lynne has posted the details on his website, but no funeral arrangements have been announced yet: http://tonybest.co.uk/ I have known Tony for a number of years, ever since I joined the Lazyacre club, the country music concert club which was started by Tony in 1978. I believe the club is set to continue, steered by his daughter, Lynne.”

Bill Anderson and 11 other individuals or groups were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. It was a catch-up year. For men, that is. No women were included. The main inductee, Bill Anderson, is still going strong at age 80. He is the only songwriter ever to have had hits recorded in seven consecutive decades–from “City Lights” by Ray Price in 1958 to “Country” by Mo Pitney in 2015. I last saw Bill in Sisseton, South Dakota; you can find my report of his concert in my 8/30/2017 newsletter. I reviewed his most recent book, Whisperin’ Bill Anderson: An Unprecedented Life In Country Music, in my 12/7/2016 newsletter. (The newsletters are on my website.) See the NEWS section above for the announcement that Bill Anderson is in the Class of 2018 for the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City. He is a regular reader of my newsletter. I’m proud to know you, Bill. Your accolades are well deserved.

The other 11 honorees began with the Delmore Brothers, Alton and Rabon. The first of the great brother duos, the Delmore Brothers in the l930s were musically sophisticated and technically proficient. Songs such as “Blues Stay Away from Me” are still heard today. The brothers grew up on gospel music in northern Alabama. They joined the Grand Ole Opry in l933 and were the Opry’s most popular act by l936. They left three years later, due to disagreements with Opry management about bookings. In l943, they joined with Merle Travis and Grandpa Jones to form the gospel quartet, Brown’s Ferry Four. It was country’ s first really successful gospel quartet. By the late l940s, the Delmores were in Houston, where Alton became a full-time songwriter and Rabon was diagnosed with lung cancer. Rabon died in l952 at age 36. Alton continued to write and record some of his more than 1,000 songs. He died in 1964 at age 55.

The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, came next. They expanded the country brother harmony duo and became the first consistently successful rock & roll act out of Nashville. They learned from their father, Ike, a guitarist and contemporary of Merle Travis. He moved his family to Nashville in 1955, when Don was 18 and Phil 16. The brothers obtained a record contract in 1957 and quickly became stars. They ended their relationship with Wesley Rose in 1961 and moved to California. In July 1973, the brothers angrily split apart. Don returned to Nashville; Phil stayed in Los Angeles. In 1983, they resumed touring and recording together. They became charter members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Phil died in 2014, just before his 75th birthday, of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Don Everly, 81, lives in Nashville.

Don Gibson began his musical career in 1952 with a job at WNOX radio in Knoxville, Tennessee. By 1956, he had written and recorded “Sweet Dreams,” which Faron Young quickly covered and Patsy Cline recorded shortly before her death. In 1957, Don wrote two songs on the same day: “Oh Lonesome Me” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” He and producer Chet Atkins decided to record “Oh Lonesome Me” without steel guitar and fiddle, instead using guitars and piano. It became an early example of the Nashville Sound. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” has been recorded more than 700 times in many genres; it has sold more than 30 million records worldwide. Don was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973. Two years after his Country Music Hall of Fame induction, he died of natural causes in 2003 at age 75. He was buried in his hometown of Shelby, North Carolina.

Guitarist Henry Haynes and mandolinist Kenneth Burns met in 1932 when the two Tennesseans were both 12 years old and auditioning at WNOX Radio in Knoxville. During a show in 1936, the announcer forgot their names and introduced them as Homer & Jethro. They immediately decided to be Homer Haynes and Jethro Burns. Their act was interrupted by their military service during World War II. In 1949, Steve Sholes signed them to RCA Victor and encouraged them to write song parodies. They hit with “(How Much Is) That Hound Dog in the Window” in 1953. “The Battle of Kookamonga” (about Boy Scouts raiding a Girl Scout camp) won a 1959 Grammy for Best Comedy Performance, Musical category. Homer died suddenly of a heart attack in 1971, at age 51. Jethro started playing folk clubs and festivals as a jazz instrumentalist. Following a lengthy battle with prostate cancer, during which he continued to perform, Jethro died at home in his sleep in 1989. He was 68.

At age 19, Waylon Jennings left Littlefield, Texas, for a radio job in Lubbock in 1956. Buddy Holly hired him to play bass with the Crickets. After the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Waylon took years to recover. He was singing in a Phoenix, Arizona, bar when Bobby Bare heard him and called Chet Atkins. Waylon was signed to RCA in 1965. He starred in the 1966 movie, Nashville Rebel. He became known as an outlaw in Nashville, partly for demanding the right to choose his songs, his recording studio, and his session musicians. Wanted: The Outlaws, a 1986 RCA package of songs by Waylon, his wife Jessi Colter, Willie Nelson, and Tompall Glaser, became the first album in country music history to be certified platinum. Waylon and Willie began selling records like rock stars. The Nashville recording system began allowing its artists to share power with producers. Heart problems and diabetes forced Waylon to stop touring in 1997. He died in his sleep of diabetic complications in 2002, at age 64, a few months after his election to the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was buried in Mesa, Arizona.

My next newsletter will cover the remaining six 2001 inductees.

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