Archive for the ‘Newsletter’ Category

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 16 November 2022

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022


Founding member and guitarist of the Country Music Hall of Fame group, Alabama, Jeffrey Cook died peacefully at his beach home in Destin, Florida, on November 7, at age 73. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012. Born in Fort Payne, Alabama, in 1949, he began playing in bands at age 13 and working as a radio disc jockey at age 14. He graduated from Fort Payne High School and earned a college degree in Electronic Technology. He loved that radio combined two of his favorite things, music and electronics. Over 50 years ago, Jeff Cook, along with cousins Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen, left Fort Payne for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where they formed Alabama. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 2 November 2022

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2022


When Kayo Paver and I drove to North Texas in 2016, we included Tioga on our route and an excursion to find the Randy Travis ranch—which we did. No one answered when I punched the call button at the gate, so we headed home to South Dakota. Never could I have imagined that the next time I approached that gate, I would have the code to open it. Or that I’d ever be running along that country road. But that’s exactly what happened 6½ years later.

This visit came as a result of meeting Randy and Mary Travis at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 19 October 2022

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022


While doing research for my Randy Travis biography, I called Bruce Williams (of Williams & Ree) to talk about their USO tours; he had emailed me his phone number. He and Terry were in Minot, North Dakota. “There you are, Diane, just calling me right out of the blue, like I knew you might,” he said as a hello. “We are sitting in the break room at the Norsk Høstfest.” They were giving five performances during the four-day event that had just started back up after its two-year pandemic hiatus.

Bruce Williams and Terry Ree met in 1968 at Black Hills State College in Spearfish, South Dakota, when a music professor suggested they perform together during freshman week festivities. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 5 October 2022

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022


Since the Statler Brothers retired in 2002, lead singer Don Reid has spent much of his time writing books. Last year he published The Music of The Statler Brothers: An Anthology. We talked about that book when I spotlighted him in my newsletter: Now, he has published a novel, thanks to the encouragement of his sons, Langdon and Debo, who reminded him it had been ten years since his last novel and therefore time for another one. He told them he’d see what he could do, and the result was Piano Days.


Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 21 September 2022

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022


Howard and David, the Bellamy Brothers, sang for a solid ninety minutes at the Sisseton Performing Arts Center on Saturday, September 17. That we recognized almost everything they sang shows how many hits they have had. David introduced himself by saying he’d celebrated his 72nd birthday the previous day. (Which means he was born two days before me.) Howard is 76 years old. I’d previously talked to Howard when I spotlighted him in my newsletter:

When they kicked off “Kids of the Baby Boom,” I felt as if, wow, this is actually real. I’d never seen them perform, and here they were in real life. That was their tenth number one song (1987) in the space of ten years. It was written by David, the songwriter for most of their songs.


Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 7 September 2022

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022


I finally met Randy Travis!! I’ve been his fan and have followed his career ever since first hearing “On the Other Hand” on my car radio while driving to Susie’s Nashville East in Virginia Beach in 1986 to go dancing. After getting my University of Illinois Press contract in 2019 to write his biography, I’ve corresponded with Randy and his wife, Mary, via email.

So I was excited to learn the Music of Randy Travis Show was coming to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, on August 28. (more…)

Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 24 August 2022

Wednesday, August 24th, 2022


My last newsletter mentioned the McCall family (Darrell, Dennis, Diane, and Dee Jee) had been inducted into the Ohio Country Music Hall of Fame, and that Dennis received his plaque during the Heart of Texas show we attended while we were in Nashville. I introduced myself to Dennis McCall that afternoon and asked if I could call him for a newsletter spotlight. He agreed. During our telephone conversation this past weekend, I said I’d often heard the story of Darrell and Donnie Lytle (Johnny Paycheck) moving from Ohio to Nashville. I asked how Dennis ended up in Nashville.


Diane’s Country Music Newsletter

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022


The day before flying to Nashville, I received an email from United Airlines that suggested changing my flights to avoid weather congestion in Chicago. But rescheduling before knowing there was a problem seemed like an unnecessary hassle. Kayo Paver, Perry Steilow and I showed up at the Sioux Falls airport on Friday morning and checked in for an on-time flight. Then it slid. And slid again. By the time we got off the ground, we knew we couldn’t make our connection in Chicago. However, our flight from Chicago to Nashville had also been delayed. We rushed from the far end of Terminal F to Terminal B and found our flight had been delayed even further. Time to relax. We arrived in Nashville only one hour later than originally planned.


Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 27 July 2022

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022


Janie Fricke came to the Sisseton Performing Arts Center in Sisseton, South Dakota, last Friday evening. Brother Keith and sister Kayo were there with me for the show. Janie came onstage at 8 p.m. and kicked off with “Somebody Else’s Fire,” a song she said came from “my new greatest hits album, called Complete Hits.” I looked it up later, and the title is It Ain’t Easy–The Complete Hits, released in 2019. The song was a top ten hit in 1985.


Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 13 July 2022

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022


The Deadwood Mountain Grand, a Holiday Inn Resort that overlooks Historic Deadwood, South Dakota, is the only hotel I can recall–and I’ve stayed in many of them around the world–that has no front entrance. We crossed the street from the parking lot and entered the casino, then took an elevator to the third floor and exited from the back side of the elevator to get into the hotel lobby. This made me curious to learn about the building’s history.