Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 13 December 2023

December 13th, 2023

This month, we especially honor the memories of Faron Young and Marty Robbins. Marty died December 8, 1982, at age 57. Faron died December 10, 1996, at age 64.


When Johnny Cash recorded “Hey Porter” in 1955 with Luther Perkins on guitar and Marshall Grant on upright bass, they called themselves “Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two.” In 1960, drummer W.S. Holland joined the group, and the band became The Tennessee Three. Now, twenty years after Cash’s death, his legacy continues with THE TENNESSEE FOUR.

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Veterans Day Speech 2023

December 8th, 2023

By CAPT Diane Diekman, USN (ret), at Deuel School, Clear Lake, South Dakota, November 9, 2023

Good morning. It’s always great to be back in my hometown. Thanks to Superintendent Schiernbeck for inviting me here today. I would like to talk about what is possibly the most amazing document ever written, the United States Constitution. And I’d like to describe a possible way you can help keep it vibrant and relevant.

Those who wrote the Constitution did a spectacular job of designing a product that has lasted over 230 years. Grounded in British law and attuned to the experiences that came from establishing a new nation, the Constitution has been tested and amended over the years and is stronger now than it was at the beginning.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 29 November 2023

November 29th, 2023


Fifty-year music industry executive and former CRB/CRS Executive Director Bill Mayne, 72, died November 28 after a long-term illness, reports MusicRow. I called him a year ago to ask if he would speak with me for Randy Travis’s biography; he told me his health was too poor for him to do interviews. He began in radio, launching KASE in Austin and leading KZLA/KLAC in Los Angeles and KSCS/WBAP in Dallas, and then joined Warner Bros./Nashville, where he spent 15 years and became Senior VP/General Manager and VP of Promotion. He was Executive Director of Country Radio Broadcasters (CRB) from 2009-2019. Memorial services have not yet been announced.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 15 November 2023

November 15th, 2023


The new CMA Entertainer of the Year is Lainey Wilson. She is the first female to win since Taylor Swift in 2009 and 2011. Lainey also won the most awards—five—at last week’s 57th CMA Awards show. “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do; this is all I’ve known how to do,” she said in her acceptance speech. “For all of you little girls watching and for the ones that are here tonight too. I’m getting up every single day and I’m looking at myself in the mirror and saying, I am beautiful. I am smart. I am talented. I am Godly. I am fearless. If somebody tells me I can’t do it, hold my beer and watch this. Us girls, y’all, we’ve been having to blaze trails from the very beginning. I just wanna say thank you so much for letting me be part of that. And here’s to all the ladies that blaze trails every single dang day of their life.” Chris Stapleton won his seventh Male Vocalist of the Year Award, breaking his own record. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 1 November 2023

November 1st, 2023

Happy 86th birthday to Bill Anderson — who was born James William Anderson III on November 1, 1937, in Columbia, South Carolina. Have a great day, Bill!


A Heroes & Friends Tribute to Randy Travis – 1 Night, 1 Place, 1 Time occurred in Huntsville, Alabama, on October 24. Lorraine “Kayo” Paver and Perry Steilow flew there with me to see the show. Thanks to Mary Travis for inviting us and to Terry Tyson for the backstage passes. We had a wonderful time. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 18 October 2023

October 18th, 2023


I’d planned to review and compare two concerts in this newsletter, Ricky Skaggs from Wednesday and Luke Bryan from Thursday. But I wimped out the second night because of the weather. With wind and temperature both in the 40s, and thunderstorms forecast throughout the evening, I couldn’t motivate myself for the several-block walk between my car and the Premier Center. So I stayed home and missed Luke Bryan, 47, who probably drew 7-9,000 people to Sioux Falls’s biggest event center.

Ricky Skaggs, 69, played the District in Sioux Falls, a theater-type venue with chairs placed on the main floor. The attentive crowd numbered approximately 500. Ricky is a Country Music Hall of Famer (2018) and member of the Musicians Hall of Fame (2016) who has been performing for half a century.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 4 October 2023

October 4th, 2023


When the Cowboy Sings website reports the death of Vernon Oxford, 82, on August 18 in Nashville, after a long battle with dementia and Parkinson’s disease. He was born in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1941 and grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where his father played traditional fiddle music. Vernon performed around Kansas during the early 1960s and moved to Nashville in 1964. Harlan Howard secured him a contract with RCA Victor in 1965, but his seven singles and the album, Woman Let Me Sing You a Song, didn’t succeed. He was rediscovered in the United Kingdom when a compilation of his best works was released in 1974. RCA then re-signed him for a tour in the UK. His top singles in the USA were “Shadows of My Mind,” “Redneck (The Redneck National Anthem),” and “A Good Old Fashioned Saturday Night Honky Tonk Barroom Brawl.” In the UK, they were “I’ve Got to Get Peter Off Your Mind” and “Field of Flowers.” He and Jim Ed Brown recorded a comedy duet titled “Mowing the Lawn.” Vernon turned to gospel music in 1981.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 20 September 2023

September 20th, 2023

This week we especially remember Marty Robbins, who was born Martin David Robinson on the Arizona desert, and would have turned 98 years old this September 26.


Saturday, September 17, 2023, marked one hundred years since the birth of Hiram “Hank” Williams. Celebrations were held around the country and online. One of those who paid tribute was Alan Jackson, posting his cover of “Your Cheatin’ Heart” on Twitter. He said, “Happy 100th birthday, Hank. I don’t think I’d be here without you.” The song was released posthumously in January 1953 and became one of Hank’s biggest hits. Hank’s death on New Years Day 1953 means he never saw his 30th birthday. The first record album I ever bought was Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits: 14 of Hank’s All-Time Best. I still have it.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 6 September 2023

September 6th, 2023


Friday night I went to the Denny Sanford Premier Center to see the Chicks, formerly known as the Dixie Chicks, because I’d never seen them in concert. I made the mistake of purchasing a ticket right at the side of the stage. Although a close, unobstructed view of the entire stage, it was obviously only a side view. And the sound might have been clearer out front, instead of mostly a cacophony of sound.

A man sitting near me noticed my Navy ballcap and asked about my military service. His questions told me he was Navy, and when he asked if I’d ever been in an AIMD, I knew we could have a lot to talk about. It was great to have a conversation after all these years and not have to explain any terms. He had been an avionics technician at Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department Miramar in the 1990s. His wife graduated from Augustana College a quarter-century after I did. They and their friends drove down from Fargo to see the Chicks.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 23 August 2023

August 23rd, 2023


Bluegrass Today reports Shoji Tabuchi, 79, died of pancreatic cancer on August 11. Born in 1944 in Ishikawa, Japan, he began playing the violin at age seven. As a college sophomore, he attended a Roy Acuff concert in Osaka, Japan. After meeting Roy backstage, he was inspired to pursue country and bluegrass music. In 1967 and with $500, he emigrated to the United States. He joined a western swing band in Wichita, Kansas, where he met Faron Young in 1972 and then joined Billy Walker’s band for five years. He moved to Nashville to reconnect with Roy Acuff, who brought him to the Grand Ole Opry. Read the rest of this entry »