7 March 2007

FARON YOUNG, EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO: During a Nashville Now appearance on March 3, 1989, Faron described his plans to market a bird feeder his friend Bob Lowe had invented. The two had just returned from Greenville, North Carolina, where they set up a manufacturing agreement with the Empire Brush Company. Faron described the bird feeder by saying, “It looks just like a little tree, and you take the top off, and pour the bird seed down in it, and the little cardinals and wrens and all, come. There’s little holes in there where they can reach in and get the bird seed and eat. So you put ’em out in the yard and thousands of little birds come and feed. . . . A lot of people buy little bird feeders to hang in the tree. But this you can actually decorate your lawn with. If you don’t have any trees.” The project excited Faron because he was a bird watcher and feeder and he subscribed to “all the Audubon magazines.” Sales had not yet begun in August 1990, when Faron told Ralph Emery, “We’ve done all the marketing on this tree. And it’s a fantastic thing, and it’s a guaranteed thing. . . . They’re gonna sell for like $79, and they’re guaranteed for like 15 years. . . . There’s 76 million people in America alone, not counting Canada, that feed birds. In Canada they don’t feed ’em until summer, cuz in the winter they all come down here anyway.” Whether Faron ever achieved a return on his investment or what happened with this effort I don’t know; I didn’t mention the bird feeder in the book.
Rick Thorn writes from Dallas, Texas, “Diane, I’m really looking forward to the book! I grew up in Northeast Mississippi in the 60’s and 70’s when that area was something of a crossroads in the country music world. . . . But I never really got into Country Music as a youngster growing up. It was all around me…although there was a fascination and a bond to it throughout those years…I never learned to appreciate the music and the fascinating people behind it. Faron Young was in the military with a guy from my hometown and my dad told me about Faron coming to see the guy a few times after his star rose in the early years. The thing that struck me was how everyone always talked about how down to earth he was and how he so easily fell into the ‘good ole boy’ routine, dining at the local burger place or doing coffee at a local café. About 2 years ago I stumbled onto your site and became reacquainted with the Faron Young story…and the greatest part of that encounter was the interest that it sparked in me for Country Music history. I almost get a panicky feeling when I think of Jones and some of the others either gone or going…before people really know about their life and times. I believe this to be the main reason that your work is foundational to the Country Music world. The stories and lives of these people are a main ingredient in the equation that will keep them and their music alive for future generations. Thank you for all your great information! Following your work is a great pleasure.”

Gary Presley, administrator of the Internet Writing Workshop that critiqued my work in progress (http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org), says, “That’s a really, really good marketing blurb, and, best of all, it includes the sort of comments that will earn you respect as a researcher, writer, biographer. You deserve it. I know a little of how hard you worked.”

Mona Leeson Vanek, another author in my critique group, says, “I’m marking my calendar now!! Hooray! Marvelously well written blurb. One of the best I’ve ever read.”

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