Archive for April, 2016

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 20 April 2016

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Merle Haggard (1937-2016)
Merle Haggard died at his Palo Cedro ranch in California on his 79th birthday, April 6. His youngest son, Ben Haggard, 23, posted on Facebook at 1:07 pm: “A week ago dad told us he was gonna pass on his birthday, and he wasn’t wrong. An hour ago he took his last breath surrounded by family and friends.” This newsletter has been keeping you posted on the Hag’s pneumonia and show cancelations, and we all hoped he would recover and perform those shows he expected to do in May. Born on April 6, 1937, in Oildale, California, to parents who migrated from Oklahoma during the Great Depression, Merle lived with his family in the abandoned boxcar his father converted into a home. He was nine when his dad died of a stroke. A youthful troublemaker, Merle was sent to San Quentin in 1957 on a burglary conviction, after he’d gained a reputation as an escape artist in his previous arrests. He was paroled in 1960, and Governor Ronald Reagan granted him a full pardon in 1972–because, by that time, he was a major star. He went into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1977 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. He wrote two autobiographies, Sing Me Back Home and Merle Haggard’s House of Memories, which I profiled in my 11/4/14 newsletter. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 6 April 2016

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

The newest member of the Country Music Hall of Fame is RANDY TRAVIS. The Country Music Association hosted a press conference March 29 to present the 2016 inductees for the Country Music Hall of Fame. Brenda Lee introduced the three inductees–Fred Foster in the non-performer division, Charlie Daniels in the veterans’ era artist category, and Randy Travis in the modern era artist category. All are natives of North Carolina. Fred Foster, the first one announced, concluded his remarks by saying he was honored to be inducted with Charlie Daniels and Randy Travis. “Well, since Fred has let the cat out of the bag,” Brenda said, “you can all go home.” Then she announced the remaining two. The Country Music Hall of Fame, created in 1961 by the Country Music Association, will now have 130 members. (more…)