Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 6 November 2019

November 6th, 2019


My sister, Kayo Paver, went with me recently to Sisseton, South Dakota, to see Doug Stone at the Sisseton Performing Arts Center. We talked to him briefly before the show. I told him my favorite song of his is “Fourteen Minutes Old.” He and his wife, Jade, had just driven in from Sturgis. He mentioned that he has been playing guitar since age five.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 23 October 2019

October 23rd, 2019


Bob Everhart invited me to come to Fremont, Nebraska, to talk about and sell my books at the 44th National Old Time Country & Bluegrass Festival. Bob and his wife, Sheila, who operate the nonprofit National Traditional Country Music Association, moved their festival from its previous location in LeMars, Iowa. The event covered four days (October 3-4-5-6) and three stages, with more performers than I could count.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 9 October 2019

October 9th, 2019


“I’m kind of in a new phase of enjoying my old age,” Kenny Sears told me during our telephone conversation last week. “I’m learning to do a pretty good job of it. I’ve learned to lay on the couch some.” Kenny, who was inducted into The National Fiddler Hall of Fame in 2017, plays the Opry with Jeannie Seely, plays Monday nights with the Time Jumpers, and does occasional recording sessions.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 25 September 2019

September 25th, 2019

This week we remember Marty Robbins, who would have celebrated his 94th birthday tomorrow.


My big news is that I signed a contract with the University of Illinois Press to write my third biography. The subject is Randy Travis. To begin the research, I headed east with my sister, Lorraine “Kayo” Paver. We spent several days with Kayo’s son and family, Casey and Becky Paver, in Concord, North Carolina. When we drove to Randy’s hometown of Marshville, we saw the welcome sign with his name on it.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 4 September 2019

September 4th, 2019


The 53rd CMA Awards show will be held November 13. For the first time since the Musician of the Year category was added in 1988, there is a female nominee. Fiddle player Jenee Fleenor, a member of Blake Shelton’s band, was nominated along with guitarist Mac McAnally (who has won 10 of the last 11 years), Ilya Toshinsky, Paul Franklin, and Derek Wells. “I just broke down in tears,” Jenee told The Tennessean. “It’s been a dream of mine since I knew what the CMAs were, to be named with all of my peers and heroes.” The Arkansas native moved to Nashville in 2001, immediately after high school graduation, and quickly joined Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time. In Blake’s band, she contributes fiddle, guitar, mandolin and background vocals, as well as writing songs. “The first time I stepped in the studio was when I was about 11 years old,” she says. “I’ll never forget that sound. Those headphones, and the way my fiddle sounded. I was like, ‘I want to do this.'” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 21 August 2019

August 21st, 2019


Ever since I interviewed Lacy J. Dalton for my May 15 spotlight, I’ve been waiting for her to come to South Dakota. It happened last Thursday evening when she did a show at the Sisseton Performing Arts Center. She was as friendly in person as she’d been on the phone. We chatted for a while backstage in the afternoon. Each time a new person entered the room, she would say, “Hi, who are you? I haven’t met you yet.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 7 August 2019

August 7th, 2019


Billboard’s Country Airplay chart had a solo female artist at the top for the first time in more than a year. “Girl” by Maren Morris jumped from #4 to #1 and dropped this week to #13 . Kelsea Ballerini’s “Legends” hit #1 on February 24, 2018. Miranda Lambert shared a #1 with Jason Aldean for “Drowns the Whiskey” on August 25, 2018. This report led me to do some research. In the 240 weeks of 2015-2019, I found eight weeks where Billboard’s Country Airplay chart was topped by a woman and ten weeks where a woman was featured with a man. Let me repeat: That’s 8 of 240 weeks for women and an additional 10 appearances with men.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 24 July 2019

July 24th, 2019


“Pig Robbins probably played more sessions than anybody ever did,” Lloyd Green told me during our recent phone conversation. He gave me Pig’s number so I could check in with the famous pianist and keyboard session player. When I called Hargus “Pig” Robbins, 81, and asked how he was, he said, “I don’t do as much as I used to, of course.” He enjoys listening to old-time radio shows through his computer. “I listen to old Gunsmoke, old Sergeant Preston, old radio shows, Life of Riley, stuff like that,” he says.

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Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 10 July 2019

July 10th, 2019


“For my age and condition, I guess I’m doing pretty good,” Les Leverett told me when I called him last week at his home in Nashville. “God’s been awful good to me.” Les is ninety-two years old and leads a busy life. One of his favorite events takes place the first Monday night of each month. A group from his church goes to the Maybelle Carter Retirement Home to sing for the folks who live there. Read the rest of this entry »

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 26 June 2019

June 26th, 2019


Thanks to Sharon Kenaston and Tracy Pitcox for a Thursday evening filled with high-quality traditional country music. Sharon hosted the 22nd annual Wahoo Country Music Show in Wahoo, Nebraska, this past weekend. Tracy Pitcox brought several Heart of Texas recording artists for a dance at the Starlite Ballroom.

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