Author Archive

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 13 January 2021

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

NEWS

Ed Bruce (1939-2021): William Edwin Bruce Jr., known as Ed Bruce, died January 8 of natural causes in Clarksville, Tennessee. He was 81 years old. The singer, songwriter, and actor grew up in Memphis and began his music career on Sun Records at age 17. He moved to Nashville to be a songwriter, with one of his first hits being “See the Big Man Cry” for Charlie Louvin in 1965. He is best known for the song he wrote with then-wife Patsy Bruce, “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” which was recorded by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings in 1978. Tanya Tucker had hits with “The Man That Turned My Mama On” and “Texas (When I Die).” Ed had his own #1 single with “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had” in 1982. His other recordings included “My First Taste of Texas” and “The Last Cowboy Song.” (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 30 December 2020

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

NEWS

K.T. Olsin (1942-2020): The first female songwriter to win the CMA Award for Song of the Year, K.T. Oslin, died December 21 at age 78. She had been battling Parkinson’s disease and was diagnosed with COVID-19. Kay Toinette Oslin was born May 15, 1942, in Crossett, Arkansas. She was 45 when she released her debut album, 80’s Ladies, in 1987. The title track became her signature song. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 16 December 2020

Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

NEWS

Charley Pride (1934-2020): It is with great shock and sorrow that I report the unexpected death of Charley Pride on Saturday, December 12. His publicist said he died in hospice care in Dallas, Texas, due to complications from COVID-19. Charley, 86, made his last public appearance during the CMA Awards show on November 11, when he received the Country Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was still recording new music. I was thrilled in 2000 when friends Faron Young (posthumously) and Charley entered the Country Music Hall of Fame together. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 2 December 2020

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

NEWS

Hal Ketchum, 67, died November 23 as a result of complications from dementia. I reported in January that a tribute concert and fundraising campaign was held for him as he battled Alzheimer’s disease. The event took place at Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas, where he had given his final performance in 2018. Hal was born in 1953 in Greenwich, New York, and began his musical career as a drummer with a rhythm and blues trio at age 15. In 1981, he moved to Austin, Texas, where he worked as a carpenter. Visits to the Gruene dance hall influenced him to try singing and songwriting. He moved to Nashville in 1986. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 18 November 2020

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — BOBBY GOLDSBORO — PART II

My last newsletter gave an update on Bobby Goldsboro. This week, we’ll talk about his “after-65” career as an oil painter. When I asked if he still performs concerts, he said he hadn’t booked any for the past year because he wanted to spend time on his commissioned paintings. As a result, he wasn’t affected by pandemic shutdowns. “I’ve got several commissioned paintings still in the works that I’ve got to finish,” he says. “I don’t want to have to go out on the road for two weeks and let the paintings sit here. It’s been a blessing that I didn’t have to cancel any concerts, because I hadn’t taken any. I’ve put everything on hold as far as concerts were concerned.”

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 4 November 2020

Wednesday, November 4th, 2020

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — BOBBY GOLDSBORO — PART I

While waiting for my prearranged phone call from Bobby Goldsboro, I checked his website and read a recent article about the Florida native. Country fans will remember him best for his hits of “Honey” and “Watching Scotty Grow.” He also wrote “With Pen in Hand,” which reached the top ten for Johnny Darrell in 1968. In addition to songwriting and a solo recording career, which came after playing guitar for Roy Orbison in the early 1960s, Bobby hosted The Bobby Goldsboro Show on TV, ran a successful music publishing company, wrote children’s books, and created the music for various TV shows, videos, and audio books. He developed a children’s TV series in which he wrote the scripts, arranged the music, played all the instruments, and did the character voices. He has received six Grammy nominations, 27 BMI Songwriter awards, and he’s a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He is now a painter.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 21 October 2020

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

NEWS

Johnny Bush (1935-2020)

Texas Country Music Hall of Famer Johnny Bush, 85, died of pneumonia on October 16 in San Antonio, Texas. The Houston Chronicle reports, “John Bush Shinn III’s story began in northeast Houston in Kashmere Gardens in a house with no electricity or running water on a street paved with oyster shells. He remembers wandering the streets at night as a kid hearing the R&B sounds coming from the Bronze Peacock nightclub, sounds that would course through his young mind along with the Western swing favored by his family. Both would play a formidable part in the music he’d make years later.” He received his big break when Willie Nelson got him a job as drummer in Ray Price’s band, the Cherokee Cowboys. He had his biggest Billboard single (#7) with the Marty Robbins song, “You Gave Me a Mountain.” At the time he was reaching for stardom with his own song, “Whiskey River” (which became Willie Nelson’s signature number), he was hit with a neurological disorder, adductor spasmodic dysphonia, that took almost three decades to diagnose and recover from.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 7 October 2020

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

NEWS

Mac Davis (1942-2020)

Mac Davis, 78, died September 29, the day after his family tweeted that he was “critically ill following heart surgery in Nashville.” Born in Lubbock, Texas, in 1942, he belonged to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the National Songwriters Hall of Fame. My favorites of his hits were “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” “It’s Hard to Be Humble,” and “Texas in My Rearview Mirror.” When I lived in Los Angeles at the turn of the century, I always listened to his Sunday afternoon radio show. I enjoyed the portion where he’d make up songs from topics listeners sent him. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 23 September 2020

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

NEWS

The Country Daily reports on country music reactions to the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, on September 18. Dolly Parton tweeted, “She was small in stature but even the tallest looked up to her. Her voice was soft but her message rang loud and clear and will echo forever. Thank you, RBG. Rest In Peace. Respectfully, Dolly Parton.” Travis Tritt tweeted, “I’m so saddened over what has happened to open political discourse. Supreme court justices Scalia and Ginsburg disagreed on almost all political decisions and yet, they had a very close personal friendship. God, how I long for those days again.”

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 9 September 2020

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

NEWS

William “Bill” Pursell, Grammy-nominated composer and studio musician, died September 3 in Nashville at the age of 94. The Los Angeles Times obituary reports his death came after a “very fast, tough battle with COVID pneumonia,” according to his daughter, Laura Pursell. He had been in the hospital for a week. The California native, born in 1926, served in the military during World War II as an arranger for the U.S. Air Force Band. He moved to Nashville in 1960 at the invitation of Eddy Arnold. For two decades, he worked as a session pianist, recording with Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan, among many others. He became a composition professor at the Belmont University School of Music in 1980, retiring after 37 years. His students included Trisha Yearwood and Brad Paisley.

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