Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 11 August 2021


When Kayo and I went to Nashville several weeks ago, our first entertainment stop was at the Nashville Palace. Wendy Newcomer & the Good Ol’ Timers were making music on the stage. We were so impressed that I asked to spotlight Wendy in my newsletter.

“I loved reading about your Randy Travis trip, and meeting with his old band members,” she told me when I called for our interview, after I’d sent her my most recent newsletter. She was out in her garden, checking her tomatoes while we talked. Noting she was a North Carolina native, I asked if she’d ever been to the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. “I haven’t,” she said. “You’ve got me wanting to check it out. I’m from Asheboro, North Carolina, which is not too far from Marshville, where Randy’s from. He’s always been a hero to me, and pretty much anybody who comes from North Carolina. We’re all proud of him.”

Wendy has lived in Nashville since 1995. Her day job in North Carolina was working at a women’s hospital in Greensboro. She played on weekends in her Uncle Ronnie’s country band, which she’d joined as soon as she was old enough. “I realized that’s what I wanted to do,” she explains. “That’s what made me the happiest.” After two trips to Nashville, she says, “I realized I need to be here. This feels like home. So I moved here.” She got a job as a receptionist at Cashbox magazine, where she met people in the music business and started singing demos. She also started writing songs.

She then went to work for Country Weekly magazine as a country music journalist. “That was a really fun job,” she says. “I got to interview a lot of my heroes that way.” She continued doing demos and started playing shows around Nashville. One demo she did for some songwriter friends was a song about the Grand Ole Opry. This was in 2000, the year of the Opry’s 75th anniversary. Pete Fisher, the Opry’s general manager, heard the song and asked her to sing it on the Opry. “That was a dream come true, to be able to be on the Opry,” she says.

Wendy has long ago given up her day job to do music fulltime. She usually performs about four nights a week, mostly around Nashville. She sings occasional demos and sometime harmony or background vocals on recording sessions. Several times a year, she flies out to join Doug Allen Nash on his Johnny Cash Tribute shows, where she sings the June Carter Cash duets with him. They were in Iowa last month.

Her backing band, when she works as a solo artist, is called the Good Ol’ Timers. She is also the lead singer in Fifty Shades of Hay, a band with several singers; it plays at the Nashville Palace on Sunday nights. Although technically two different bands, some of the members are the same. People who see Wendy playing around town sometimes ask, “Is this Fifty Shades of Hay or the Good Ol’ Timers?” She told me it can be confusing, explaining, “When you saw me at the Palace, that was Wendy Newcomer & the Good Ol’ Timers.”

When I commented that David Spiker on upright bass plays in both bands, Wendy said, “Right, and he’s also my husband.” He plays with a lot of bands, both in town and on the road, and he currently tours with Pam Tillis.

I asked about Wendy’s plans for the future. “I would like to make another record, both with my band as a solo project, and also with Fifty Shades of Hay,” she responded. “I have been writing some songs, but it’s been a really slow process. When Nashville opens back up, right now my immediate plans are to book more shows and continue performing.”

Wendy has a website (wendynewcomer.com) and is also on Facebook (facebook.com/wendynewcomermusic) and Instagram (instagram.com/wendynewcomer). “It would be great if people would follow me, because I always do post about my shows and where I’m playing,” she says. “I would love for your readers to come see us and check out a show.”

Wendy and husband David at Robert’s Western World 3-26-21 – photo by Rick Roshto


Razzy Bailey, 82, died August 4 at his home in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. His five Billboard No. 1 hits in 1980-81 included “Midnight Hauler” and “She Left Love All Over Me.” Razzy grew up on an Alabama farm and played in his high school’s Future Farmers of America string band. While raising a family, he wrote songs and played in honkytonks. In 1966, he recorded his song, “9,999,999 Tears.” It was not a hit until Dickey Lee recorded it in 1976. Razzy was known for adding an R&B element to his music. I hadn’t heard anything about him since the November car crash in which his back was broken in two places. At the time, he was in the critical care unit at Skyline Hospital in Nashville.

The remaining member of Australia’s LeGarde Twins has died. Tom LeGarde, 90, died peacefully in his sleep on July 30 in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He and his twin brother, Tim, were born in 1931 and raised on a farm in Queensland, Australia. They quit school at age 15 and became rodeo riders, after which they began a successful recording career. Leaving Australia, Tom and Ted LeGarde hosted a TV series in Los Angeles, and then moved to Nashville in 1958, where they were popular entertainers for more than four decades. The LeGarde Twins were inducted into the Australian country Hall of Fame at Tamworth, and they were favorites at the Wembley Festival in Great Britain. MusicRow reports they operated the LeGarde Twins Country Music Theatre at Twitty City during the 1990s. Ted died exactly three years ago. Tom’s widow is Diane LeGarde.

Media mogul George G. Beasley, 89, died June 2 in Naples, Florida. Born in 1932 in Ararat, Virginia, he grew up in poverty, working on his grandfather’s tobacco farm in the Appalachian foothills of Virginia. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1953 to take advantage of the G.I. Bill. After serving as a sergeant in the Signal Corps, and then earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Appalachian State University, he moved to North Carolina and became a high school principal. His passion for radio led him to purchase a radio station in Benson, North Carolina, in 1961. His Beasley Media Group currently owns 62 stations. He was inducted into the Country Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2020, as well as earning the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He received an honorary doctorate from Appalachian State University, and a media complex on the campus bears his name. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ann, as well as five children, four of whom are employed by Beasley Media Group. Thanks to Carl Lamm for sending me the News In Review that acknowledged his long-time friend.

A Los Angeles County Court judge decreed that Kelly Clarkson must pay ex-husband, Brandon Blackstock, $150,000 per month in spousal support and another $45,000 for child support. According to The Blast, Kelly–who is a judge on The Voice–earns “an astounding $1,583,617 per month in income.” An unnamed source told PEOPLE that the support amount is temporary, until a final settlement is worked out.

A crowd of country music insiders gathered at the Country Music Hall of Fame on July 27 to celebrate the opening of a new exhibit, Martina McBride: The Power of Her Voice. According to Taste of Country, Martina McBride told the gathering, “When you’re that little girl back in Kansas, I had big dreams, obviously, but there’s some things you can’t even dream about, you know? You just don’t even have the capacity to know.” Martina Schiff (her maiden name) and her family had formed a country band during her childhood in Sharon, Kansas. The Hall of Fame exhibit contains a black satin jacket with the band’s name, the Schiffters, on the back. Martina’s high school yearbook and 4-H ribbons are displayed, along with the dress from the cover of her 2007 album, Wake Up Laughing, and several ACM and CMA Awards. Gretchen Peters provided her handwritten manuscript for “Independence Day.” Martina’s days of selling merchandise for Garth Brooks are mentioned, as is her work as a musical advocate for justice.

MusicRow reports two changes to the Ricky Skaggs band, Kentucky Thunder. Mike Rogers on tenor vocals and rhythm guitar is a multi-instrumentalist who plays drums, acoustic guitar, banjo, and steel guitar; he is also a songwriter and producer. Billy Contreras on fiddle is a session player, arranger, and producer; he also teaches at Belmont University. Paul Brewster retired from the band, and Mike Barnett is recovering from a brain aneurysm he suffered last year.

The second of two dogs Miranda Lambert found in a sleet storm in 2008 has died. Taste of Country reports two six-week-old puppies were on the side of the road in January when Miranda and her mother drove by. They were listening to a Jessi Colter album at the time, and they named the dogs Jessi and Waylon. Jessi died July 29, nine months after Waylon died. “We sent her off with the song ‘Storms Never Last’ from the same record she heard playing the first time I put her in my truck,” Miranda says. The puppies weren’t expected to survive, but they lived for 13 years. Miranda and her mother established the MuttNation Foundation a year after adopting Waylon and Jessi.

Whiskey Jam, an ongoing concert series, celebrated its 10th anniversary July 26 with a sold-out benefit show at the Ryman Auditorium, reports MusicRow. What is noteworthy about the event is that no list of entertainers was provided to ticket buyers. Founded in January 2011, Whiskey Jam takes place every Monday and Thursday night at Winners Nashville. It was founded by Ward Guenther, who also hosts a radio show on Apple Music Radio. Old Dominion, Chris Young, Cole Swindell, and Jimmie Allen are a few of those who performed. Randy Travis joined them to sing “Forever and Ever, Amen.” Proceeds will go to the newly established 501(c)3 Jam Fam Foundation, created to support organizations that help those in need in the creative community.

Severe thunderstorms in Nashville resulted in a postponement of the Garth Brooks concert at Nissan Stadium. Garth planned to open his show with the Grand Ole Opry. “A segment of the Grand Ole Opry show is gonna come right out of Nissan Stadium. This is gonna be classic,” he’d announced earlier on social media. It would be a surprise lineup of Opry talent in a segment running parallel to the regular Saturday night Opry. The Nissan Stadium performance wouldn’t be on WSM or Opry social channels. The Tennessean reports the Opry segment–with Chris Young, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, and announcer Bill Cody–had just begun when stadium officials announced a “lightning advisory.” The delay continued for more than an hour before a postponement was announced. Officials said they would reschedule the concert at a later date. Country Now reports, “Fans were asked to evacuate their seats as a storm approached the venue. Those who had not entered the venue yet were asked to remain in the cars throughout the storm. Initially, it was a weather delay.” A severe thunderstorm moved through downtown, with winds approaching 60 mph and lightening also prevalent. “Thousands of fans were forced to gather in the interior concourses of the venue and were not allowed to leave the building, per sources inside,” Country Now continues. “Finally, around 9:15 pm, officials made the call to postpone the event. Fans were then asked the leave the building and poured into the streets around Nissan Stadium.” Tracy Pitcox posted on Facebook that his wife, Charla Garner Pitcox, “wanted to join 84,999 others to attend the Garth Brooks stadium concert. After two songs from Emmylou Harris and Chris Young, the stadium was evacuated and the biggest rainstorm I have seen in a long time descended upon Nashville.”

The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona once owned by Marty Robbins did not sell at Mecum Auctions’ Orlando 2021 event. The NASCAR racer had a high bid of $475,000 but did not meet the seller’s reserve. It went into “bid goes on” status, which means interested bidders can try to make a deal with the seller. Autoevolution.com suggests that, since Dale Earnhardt’s 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR racer fetched $425,000 in 2020, Marty’s might sell and set a new record, adding “It just has to be discovered by the right buyer.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd canceled its performance at the Concert for Legends at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, because band member Rickey Medlocke tested positive for COVID-19. Opener Jimmie Allen agreed to extend his song list and play a full set, reports Cleveland.com. Brad Paisley was the co-headliner. The concert was held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on the campus. Tom Benson, the late owner of the New Orleans Saints, was a crew member on USS South Dakota (BB 57) during World War II.

Clint Eastwood’s new movie from Warner Bros Pictures, coming out in September, is Cry Macho. Deadline.com reports it is his first since The Mule in 2018. Eastwood, 91, stars as Mike Milo, a former rodeo star and horse breeder. Dwight Yoakam, 64, is Mike’s former employer, Howard Polk. In 1979, Polk hires Mike to bring his young son home from Mexico and away from an alcoholic mother. The movie is based on N. Richard Nash’s novel, Cry Macho.

In a recent TikTok Live video, Reba McEntire revealed she and her boyfriend, Rex Linn, have both recovered from COVID-19. “We were both vaccinated, and we still got it, so stay safe, stay home, and be protected the best you can,” she says. “We’re just gonna move forward, keep praying that everybody stays safe and healthy, and wear your mask and just be safe.”

Forbes Magazine has released its 2021 List of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. Dolly Parton is one of 15 newcomers to the list. “The newcomers range in age from 32 to 75 and hail from 7 states,” Forbes reports. “All are worth at least $225 million, the cutoff to make this year’s ranking.” Dolly Parton and supermodel-turned-entrepreneur Cindy Crawford are the two most famous ones. Forbes says Dolly “wrote a song inspired by her experience during the pandemic, released her first holiday album in 30 years and starred in a Netflix film, Christmas on the Square. Arguably her most important contribution: a $1 million donation that helped fund Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine research.” Forbes adds, “The biggest piece of her net worth is her stake in amusement park company Dollywood. That helped push her wealth up to an estimated $350 million.”

The title of the 50th anniversary album of Asleep At The Wheel is Half A Hundred Years. The nineteen-track album will be released in October and will feature the band’s friends, such as Willie Nelson, George Strait, Emmylou Harris, Lee Ann Womack, and Lyle Lovett. MusicRow reports three original band members–Chris O’Connell, Leroy Preston, and Lucky Oceans–returned after 40 years to contribute to the album. Ray Benson says he told Jamey Johnson, “Ya know it’s Asleep at the Wheel’s 50th anniversary!” Jamey looked at Ray and said, ‘That’s half a hundred years!'” Ray describes the title track by explaining, “I was trying to get across the sacrifices you have to make in 50 years on the road and the other positive side of it. The great experiences, the places I’ve been, and all the amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to meet and play music with.”


Bob Jennings writes, “Your Research Trip Report is excellent reading for all. It tells of the miles you must cover and the things you go through to get the needed info for your books. This information is for everyone to know the times and effort it takes to Write/Author a book. Thank you for sharing your Travels with us.”

Jim McQuisten in Sioux Falls says, “You totally outdid yourself with this latest newsletter. I will save and reread again so I make sure to get all the details.”

Rockin’ Lord Geoff in England says, “Great articles as per usual, felt I was alongside you on your 3,082-mile journey around middle America. Just a clarification please. The Conway Twitty house Gary Allan bought is that what was Twitty City? If he only had one home this was a big mansion within the grounds of Twitty City. Ironically my wife and I were on a fly drive and arrived at Twitty City the day after Conway died.”

Diane: I’m guessing this was an earlier residence in a regular neighborhood. Gary Allen had lived next door to the house since 2003.

Doug Starr in Sioux Falls says, “Wow!!! that’s a great detailed interesting account of the music activities and your reunion. I enjoyed reading it.”

Jackie Allen Thomas writes from Sun City, Arizona, “Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. I have never been to Nashville and now I really want to go. Appreciate all you do for good old country music.”

Sister Kayo in Clear Lake writes, “Got your newsletter and read it. It was so interesting, it made me feel as if I was there!!!”

Dean Mann in Sioux Falls says, “I just finished reading your latest Newsletter. Another interesting and very newsy paper. As I read about your trip to Nashville and parts close by, I felt Jealous. I have never been to Nashville as a tourist, but I need to go. You know how I love country music, so it has to be on my bucket list. I have tickets for Suzy Bogguss and Gene Watson in Sisseton, and I am going to go on the Country Family Reunion Cruse again. I should plan a trip to Nashville. Keep up your outstanding work on that Newsletter.”

Mike Johnson of Roughshod Records writes, “What a great Nashville story. Looks like you had a very wonderful and eventful time. To answer Diane Jordan’s question about the absence of Dianne’s [wow so many Dianes] name in their catalog, they have always been reluctant to display the names of non-BMI affiliated writers and publishers. The ‘NS’ means she is not a registered member and therefor will not receive any ASCAP royalties collected by them. I remember going round and round with them a decade ago for refusing to list publishing company Pata del Lobo Music. Their response was that I could register my company [for a fee] and it would be listed. My response was that even though I’m a registered songwriter member, my publishing should be listed so those scouting their catalog would know my songs were indeed controlled by a publisher, regardless of whether or not it was BMI-affiliated. After all, BMI, ASCAP, and the Harry Fox agencies were one of the first go-to places where people went to contact the legal owners of songs they wanted to record. Within a week or so, Pata del Lobo Music was being listed on new songs I was registering in my BMI catalog. It should be clear that as it wasn’t necessary for me to register my publishing simply because I only publish my songs and those of my co-writers, which meant I was already getting writer & publisher shares and paying any co-writers their 50%. If I were to open the door to other writers, then I would certainly join as a publisher member so they would be properly accounted for and paid any appropriate royalties due from BMI. The most important reason I didn’t become a ‘traditional’ publisher [open to all writers] is because of the extensive commitment involved. Music publishers are song supermarkets, and their main goal is to sign up good songs, create good demos, pitch them to every viable music user under the sun. That is their sole obligation. It’s a 24/7 job that would have severely limited my own personal music and literary endeavors, not to mention that I also was a full-time long-distance trucker [always had a day job] who often carried a brief case full of music endeavors on trips to work on in my spare time. The music industry is huge, diverse, and still an uphill climb for most. There is no one size fits all. While challenging, it can also be rewarding and satisfying, depending on how one approaches it and what the intended goals are. I wish Pejay Mirtschin a speedy recovery. Thanks again for your latest action-packed issue.”

Michael Green says, “Various obligations kept me from checking on your blog lately. I’ve really enjoyed both of your books and I look forward to the one on Randy Travis. Minor note or trivia: Wade Landry was the fiddler for Jimmy C. Newman, who of course was a good friend of Faron Young’s. Of course you remember the story of Jimmy, Faron, and the bull named Big Willie. Wade might have been with Cajun Country at the time that happened.”

Bruce Carlson writes from Naples, Florida, “As I was Googling Faron Young I came across your great newsletters. In your book about Faron that I have, I found a 2009 email from you that I saved. Since I have moved several times and changed email addresses and lost touch with you, is it possible I could be added to your newsletter distribution list, again?”

Diane: Welcome back, Bruce.

Dianne Harmon writes from Shreveport, Louisiana, “Great newsletter! Elvis Angels Fanclub celebrates the start of our 25th year on 8/14 (my 75th birthday). Would love to see you there again. Only going to be there the 12th & 13th ‘cause there is a big party for me the night of the 14th.”

Diane: Happy 75th, Dianne.

Donald Ewert says, “I have an email and address for Linda Martell’s granddaughter, Quia Thompson. I have a few emails from her and sent a letter to Linda in care of Quia. Feel free to give David Markham from England my email address.”

David Markham writes from England, “I’ve just this moment heard from Donald and he’s getting back to me ASAP. I want to thank you for your long newsletter, the places you went to driving. I’d been to those places. I’d been all over the major places in Memphis, Tennessee, Casey Jones Train Station, Kentucky, all around those towns, Nashville Palace. After the war you could only get Folk music local, it was only in the ‘50s you’d start getting Rock’Roll then Country, Hank Williams on MGM and then Hank Thompson at the Golden Nugget. I know my writing and spelling is not perfect but what I’ve been through you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I was on Valium for 26 years. And 3 strokes. I can understand what poor Randy Travis went through. Very sad my prayers go out to him. He’s young, I’m 80, in November. I can’t hardly walk but a few steps I drive ok.”

Mac Millen says, “I’m a country songwriter/singer/producer based in South Carolina. My friend, Jon Philibert, over in London, whom I’m looking at doing some song projects with, sent me your newsletter. It said to send you an email to get on the list, so that’s what I’m doing.”

Martha Moore of so much MOORE media writes, “American Idol alum Alex Miller joined legendary DJ and steel player Chubby Howard on air Saturday (8/7) to play mighty fine Country classics on Chubby’s show that airs on Real Roots Radio.

As of right now, their Facebook Live has garnered over 50 thousand views:

Chubby Howard, Alex Miller, Tyler Fairburn – Real Roots Radio studio in Xenia, Ohio


I don’t remember who told me about Tom LeGarde in 2002 or how I got his phone number, but I called him at his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, to talk about Faron Young. Our paths never crossed again.

When we arrived from Australia, and we were on tour up in Oregon, we went backstage to meet him. Faron Young was the kind of person he either liked you or he didn’t like you. In Australia we call it a fair dinkum. On the level. It means shooting from the hip. In Australia if we say we love you fair dinkum, we love you for real. We were playing the Wolf Restaurant in Seattle, around about ’72 or ’73. He was playing the auditorium. It was a packed crowd; he was hotter than a firecracker back then. We introduced ourselves. We said, “We’re the LeGarde twins. I’m Ted. This is my twin brother Tom.” He said, “How about you guys coming out and doing a couple numbers on the show?” He introduced us, and we went out there and we were able to plug the Wolf Restaurant. He was that kind of guy. He said whenever you guys come to Nashville, look me up. Which we did. We became good friends.

He was a good friend. And he was a hell of a singer. One of the best showmen. There’s lots of singers, but not a whole bunch of great entertainers. He was a singer and an entertainer.

When my first son was born, I named him after Faron Young. His name is Faron Cole LeGarde. I’m married to a former Miss Louisiana. I met Diane in 1960. We were on tour with Dale Robertson. We must have played every rodeo in this country, with Dale Robertson, cuz he was hotter than a firecracker. That’s how we met.

Marty Robbins was another dear, dear, wonderful friend of ours. Marty came all the way to Australia to do our national TV show.

When you lose the real star attraction–you can’t hold on forever–you go and you play a gig for $3,500-$5,000, and these young pups come along and they’re going out making 50,000 to 100,000 a night. But I said to him one night, “Faron, look, is it not true, when we all got into the business, the last thing we thought about–the very, very last thing we thought about–was money?” We didn’t get into the music business because of money; we got into it because we loved it. “Faron, you’ve had over 20 years of–all the things that you’ve done, the music you’ve made and created.” It’s time now to kind of slip over–I call it “changing pastures.” Have you ever been in a sheep station or cattle station, where you take ’em from the low lanes to the high ground, and back from the high ground to the low lanes? I said, “All we’re doing, Faron, we’re changing pastures. That doesn’t mean to say we have to retire. We’re not making the money we used to make, but we didn’t get in it for the money, so that’s no big trouble.” We tried to cheer him up a little bit. But he was down in the dumps. It was just sad the way he had to go.

Merle Haggard wanted him to go on tour with him. Faron said, “Shit, I ain’t gonna be any bloody opening act.” Who gives a shit who’s going to be the opening act? When Frank Sinatra worked with Bing Crosby, they didn’t argue over the billing. They just did their work. They didn’t have that kind of–I guess you could call it ego, I don’t know.

Alana was in the hospital. Hilda was there. Ted and I just arrived back here in Nashville. We went to the hospital to see her, and we spent 3 or 4 hours there. Faron was out on his boat. I said, “Hey, get your ass out of the boat and come on up and see your daughter.” One of the problems, and I was just as guilty of it as anybody else–the people that grew up in that era–our first love was show business. That meant the family came second. Like my boy Faron–he’s in California, he’s 28, he’s a college graduate, studying to be an actor. Damon’s 26. I was there when Faron was born. I was on the road; we came back for a week–he was three months old. The next time we got back he was six months old. He was a year. Pretty soon he’s 10, he’s 15–I was still on the road. They grow up without you.

Faron was such a–even though he was a hellraiser, he was a good man. He was an honest man. His word was his bond. That’s what I liked about him. Faron wasn’t a bullshitter. A lot of people didn’t like sometimes the way he verbalized his phrases, but he just it told it the way he saw it. That’s the way he was. Faron Young was not a phony. Faron was straight as an arrow. He was a hell of a performer, a good human being, and I think as the years kept up–and he got divorced from Hilda. That was kind of a devastating thing to him. We would come off the road, as soon as we hit town, Faron–we’d call him, or we’d meet at the Hall of Fame, and we’d be there till 2-3 in the morning. We just came off the bloody road. You’d think, well, I’m back in town; maybe you could spend a few nights with the wife and family.

I talk to Faron and Damon now, my boys, and I say I was never really a dad. The kids sense the truth. The truth was, we neglected our wives and our families–our kids. Frank Sinatra did the same thing. Look at Bing Crosby. He’d come home and whip their asses. Today it’s different. There’s a different attitude, a different circumstance.

We hit Hollywood in 1957. The only guy we knew was Hopalong Cassidy. He came to Australia in ’54. Ted and I were born in ’31, so we would have been 23. We did the tour in ’54 with Hopalong Cassidy. We took a ship over from Sydney, Australia, and landed in San Francisco, came down to Hollywood, and checked in at a little place across from Capitol Records. We lived in Hollywood from ’57 until ’62, went to Canada for a national TV show for one year, went back to Australia, then in ’67 came back to the States and did all the TV shows. From ’67 to ’78, we were still in LA. In ’78 we got a contract to move back to Nashville and been here ever since. We became citizens in ’76.

Faron always wore black socks, did you know that? He’d buy a dozen, never wash them, just throw them away. So they came to a railroad track when they were on their way to a gig. And there’s Faron, he jumped out of the bus and waved at the train. “C’mon, you bastard.” Cuz he could swear like a trooper, you know. But that was his way. And who are we to judge? Judge not, less you be judged. He was a great guy, a wonderful performer, and he was a dear, wonderful friend. A friend is a person you don’t have to wait for or measure words. They like you just for what you are.

I know a couple of people in town. I’ll help you any way I can. If I come across any goodies, I will certainly give you a call.


I’ll be joining Sherwin Linton at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron again this year. He and Pam and the Cotton Kings will be performing all week on the Centennial Stage, as they do every year. Thursday, September 2, is billed as Veterans Day, and Sherwin invited me to come onstage at 2 pm to talk about my books and my U.S. Navy career, along with an update on my research for Randy Travis’s biography.

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