Author Archive

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 7 April 2021

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

HEART OF TEXAS COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL

For more than a decade, I’ve wanted to go to Texas to attend a Jody Nix dance. That finally happened when Kayo and I flew to Dallas and drove to Brady for Tracy Pitcox’s 32nd Heart of Texas Country Music Festival. We attended the final four days of the nine-day festival, which drew a crowd of 3,800 people from 19 states. We arrived in such a downpour I could barely see the lines on the road while driving into town. Someone later thanked us for bringing the rain, because it had been so dry.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 24 March 2021

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

NEWS

The Texas Rangers paid tribute to Charley Pride by naming a field at their spring training complex after him, reports Rolling Stone. “Introducing Charley Pride Field! You are greatly missed,” the team tweeted after unveiling the “Charley Pride Field” signage at the spring training site in Surprise, Arizona. Charley died December 12 from complications related to COVID-19. He was part of the ownership group that purchased the Texas Rangers in 2010, and he frequently visited the team at the spring training facility. He sang the National Anthem last July at the first game on the Rangers’ new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The stadium was empty due to coronavirus restrictions.

Larry Gatlin tested positive for COVID-19 on March 8, soon after receiving his second vaccination. “I made it 361 days without getting the virus,” he told Fox News. “Then I finally get it four days after getting my second dose of Moderna. What are the odds?” (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter –10 March 2021

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

IN THE SPOTLIGHT – RON HOGAN

Steel guitarist Ron Hogan is one of the plankowners of my newsletter list. He has been there since its beginning in 2005. I had interviewed him about his brief stint, during the summer of 1981, as one of Faron Young’s Country Deputies. While we’ve had email exchanges over the years, we caught up this past weekend during a phone call. He works for Cerner Corporation, the biggest medical software company in the world, as an “electronics guy” who maintains medical equipment in hospitals. He also plays two steel guitar gigs per week, working in three different bands in Nashville.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter –24 February 2021

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

IN THE SPOTLIGHT – LLOYD GREEN

When I read on the Steel Guitar Forum that legendary steel guitarist Lloyd Green was home recovering after major heart surgery, I decided to give him a call. It was good timing. He answered the phone, I asked how he was doing, and he said, “Today’s one of the first days I’ve been able to actually talk. This is the first time I’ve answered the phone when it rang.”

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter –10 February 2021

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

IN THE SPOTLIGHT – NARVEL FELTS

When Narvel Felts, 82, called me last week, after Dallas Wayne arranged our phone interview, I asked what he’s been doing to stay busy. “Right now, I’m pretty close to the house,” he said. He goes to the grocery store and Walmart once a week. He and his wife, Loretta, receive a weekly visit from their daughter, Stacia. “Every few days, on a pretty day,” he told me, “I’ll take Loretta for a drive. I enjoy driving Miss Loretta.” They will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary on April 30.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 27 January 2021

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

IN THE SPOTLIGHT – HOWARD BELLAMY

When I called Howard Bellamy for a chat, he was enjoying the 70-degree weather and the sunshine in Florida while I was waiting for a blizzard in South Dakota. He told me we Dakotans should come to Florida. He lives on the Bellamy family ranch near Darby, just north of Tampa. About forty years ago, he and younger brother David both built houses on the ranch. Their nephew lives in the original house where the brothers grew up, and that’s also where they have their offices.

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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…)