Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 12 June 2019


I hadn’t heard anything about Lloyd Green in quite a while, so I called him Sunday evening to find out how he’s doing. He answered the phone on the second ring. “Life’s different for me these days,” he told me. “Dot passed away about three years ago. I’m still in the music business, I’m still recording some, I’m still playing live shows around here. But music is becoming less and less important.”

He considers himself the last man standing. “Everybody else is gone,” he says. “All the top steel players of my era, who were Nashville players, and most of my friends who were not–Tom Brumley, Ralph Mooney, people like that, Speedy West. I miss those people dearly. The guys I worked with, who were friends and also competitors–Weldon Myrick, Hal Rugg, Pete Drake, Buddy Emmons–they’re all gone now. It’s a rather lonely feeling. It’s another reason I really don’t care to be part of the music anymore.”

Lloyd frequently talks with one of the other A-team players of his era, pianist Pig Robbins, who “probably played more sessions than anybody ever did,” Lloyd says. “He still practices every day. I do, too. You gotta do that to keep your skills to the level to not embarrass yourself on a session. But it’s hard to keep motivated.”

One of his last commitments will be playing the Ernest Tubb Record Shop with Charlie McCoy on June 22. “I’ve got about two months more of stuff going,” he says, “and I’m going to bail out of this, and spend the rest of my life doing something else.”

At 81, Lloyd works out and walks two or three miles a day. Although he’s always been a runner, he quit running about five years ago, after knee replacement surgery. His surgeon suggested he continue running, but he decided that was enough pressure on the joints.

Dot and Lloyd were 19-year-old newlyweds when Lloyd took the gig as steel guitarist for Faron Young and the Country Deputies in early 1957. “The top three singers when I came to Nashville,” Lloyd recalls, “were Jim Reeves, and then Hank Snow and Faron Young. Nobody was bigger than those three. Patsy Cline was opening shows for us for $100 a night. George Jones was getting $200 a night to be on the show, and our band would back them. Faron was a big, big deal.”

About Dot, Lloyd says, “Without her, I never would have had a career. She kept pushing me and supporting me. She said you’ve got all this talent. We came back to Nashville the third time before I really got a break and got into the sessions.” They raised a son and daughter and were together 59 years.

Dot was extraordinarily healthy, an athlete who played in two different tennis leagues and was a runner. She was playing tennis one day in 2011 when she fell. An incredible disease had killed a nerve in her right ankle. It was a rare autoimmune disorder called ANCA vasculitis, one of the more insidious forms of the many types of vasculitis. It can strike any organ in the body when the immune system decides it’s being attacked by outside organisms and turns on itself. The specialist who treated Dot said he’d only seen four cases in his life. He told the family 18 months to two years was the normal survival rate, with a few people making it to five years.

Chemotherapy to suppress the immune system was the first treatment. Even being on chemo for 12-14 hours at a time, Dot sailed through that without losing her hair. “Dot was sick for five years,” Lloyd says. “I just gave up everything during that five years and focused on her and took care of her.”

When Dot could no longer recover enough to return home, Medicare cut off her health coverage. “You find out a harsh lesson about life,” Lloyd says. “Everything’s fine as long as Medicare is paying, but most people don’t know there’s this clause.” If an individual can’t be rehabilitated, Medicare stops paying. “If you don’t have any money,” he says, “Medicaid would kick in and pay it. But if you have money, you start getting bills for $7,000 a month for nursing home care.” Dot lived her last five months as a permanent resident in a nursing home.

As Lloyd was returning to the music business after Dot’s death, he arranged for a songwriter friend to guest on the Country Music Hall of Fame event called Poets and Prophets, which is held four times a year to honor prominent songwriters. The friend was Sharon Vaughn, writer of songs such as “Y’all Come Back Saloon.” She’s been nominated six times for the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and passed over six times. Lloyd wanted to bring this long-overlooked writer some attention.

He didn’t know his life would be changed that night in August 2017. One of the people in the audience was Saundra Steele. Lloyd had played on her sessions forty years earlier, when she was 18 years old and recording as Sandy Rucker. She went backstage to find Lloyd.

“We’ve been together pretty much ever since,” Lloyd tells me. “We were both very fortunate to find each other. She found me.” Saundra was also grieving. Her husband had been killed in a single car accident. “We have a lot of things in common,” Lloyd says. “She’s an incredibly fascinating person. She’s brilliant, and witty.”

Although Saundra lives in Nashville, she has a home in Florida, where they occasionally visit. They spent a month in Italy last year and will probably go to Istanbul and Paris this year. While Saundra still regrets not having had a singing career, Lloyd explains, “She was a great singer, but it was one of those situations where the right song just never crossed paths with the artist.”

Before we finished our conversation, Lloyd wanted to tell me about “a brilliant player–one of the better players I’ve ever heard.” He started by saying, “Overall, the general level of abilities of musicians in Nashville today far exceeds anything of my era.” Then he went on to talk about Travis Toy, who plays steel guitar with Rascal Flatts.

When Travis played for Lloyd seven songs he’d recorded himself in his home studio, Lloyd’s reaction was, “My god, it sounds better than any steel album I’ve ever heard.” Lloyd explains, “It’s not country music; it’s just art. It’s incredible. The production, the music, is way advanced.” He thinks it’s too bad nobody will hear the album. “Instrumentals are not at the top of the musical heap,” Lloyd says. “But his stuff is so good, I sure hope people will be aware of it.” He adds, “There are players like him around town, who are just unbelievable, and there’s no room for them anymore.”

Lloyd also admires Travis’s historical knowledge. “He knows the past, which is also important for any good musician,” Lloyd says. “I’ve never encountered one who really had extraordinary talent that is not totally and completely aware of how this thing developed.”

In conclusion, I wish Lloyd and Saundra all the happiness it’s possible to have. “It’s just a great place to be in life, for me at this station, and for her, too,” Lloyd states. “This is a lifetime commitment for both of us.”


Chuck Glaser (1936-2019)

Music Row reports the death of the last surviving member of The Glaser Brothers trio. Chuck Glaser, 83, died June 10. Born Charles Vernon Glaser in Spalding, Nebraska, Chuck and his brothers, Tompall and Jim, moved to Nashville in 1957 to work with Marty Robbins. When Chuck was drafted into the U.S. Army from 1959-61, fellow Nebraskan and friend Joe Babcock filled in for him. Chuck suffered a stroke in 1974 and eventually reclaimed his singing voice. In addition to performing with his brothers, Chuck was a record producer, music publisher, and songwriter. In 2016, he released his solo album, That’s When I Love You the Most. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has added Nashville’s historic Music Row to its 2019 “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list, reports The Tennessean. Disagreements have repeatedly delayed progress in making rules to guide development. Private efforts saved RCA Studio A from demolition for condos. Bobby’s Idle Hour tavern, frequented by local songwriters, recently moved to a new location to make way for a new office building. A current draft plan would concentrate tall, dense development near the northern Music Row roundabout while requiring smaller creative offices, retail and residential in the core. It would allow for cafes, coffee shops, bars, live music venues and restaurants that are currently restricted. Calling Music Row one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places should help bring national attention. “This designation is the happiest we’ve ever been receiving bad news,” said Elizabeth Elkins, vice president of the board of Historic Nashville, Inc. “We are glad that the rapid rate of destruction of Music Row will now be in the national spotlight.”

Euneta Orlene Kirby, 92, died May 28. She was the widow of Beecher Ray Kirby, better known as Bashful Brother Oswald. In her travels she met Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, President George H. W. Bush, President George W. Bush, and Tommy Lasorda. A Celebration of Life will be held in December in the chapel of Forest Lawn Funeral Home in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

During the 6th annual Country For A Cause at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley, T.G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang presented Deborah Allen, 65, with a proclamation from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, celebrating Deborah’s 40 years in country music. A press release explains the honor acknowledges not only her contributions as a singer, but also as a celebrated, successful songwriter. Deborah has written 2,000 songs, for hundreds of artists, and she has recorded 1980s hits such as “Baby I Lied,” “I’ve Been Wrong Before,” and “I Hurt For You.” She was inducted into The International Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2017.

Media reports have been saying Kenny Rogers, 80, is close to death and preparing for the end. His team posted May 31 on Twitter to correct the erroneous information. The statement said, “Kenny was recently admitted to a local Georgia hospital and treated for dehydration. He will remain there to complete some physical therapy to get his strength back prior to discharge. He appreciates the concern and well wishes he has received from his fans and can assure everyone he plans on sticking around through the years to come.”

The headliner at Nissan Stadium for the first night of the 2019 CMA Music Festival had to cancel. The Country Music Association cited a “personal family matter” as the reason Marty Stuart couldn’t be there. The Tennessean notes that Marty and his Fabulous Superlatives played late the night before as part of his 18th annual Late Night Jam. Tanya Tucker posted this really nice note on Facebook: “I’ll be filling in for my dear friend, Marty Stuart, as the opening act tonight at Nissan Stadium. . .. Take care of you and yours, and I’ll take care of this!”

Country Rewind Records has released three record albums: Johnny Russell, All You Gotta Do Is Act Naturally, Carl Smith, Mr. Country, and Jeannie C. Riley, The Music City Sessions. A press release says the tracks have not been heard for decades and were never commercially released. They were recorded in Nashville for broadcast use only. Thomas Gramuglia of Country Rewind Records rescued the master tapes, which have been in storage for nearly 50 years, and John Jungklaus handled the original master tape transfers. The albums are being distributed by Select-O-Hits, which was co-founded in 1960 by brothers Tom Phillips and Sam Phillips, the legendary founder of Sun Records.

Hundreds of people joined Miranda Lambert for her “MuttNation March” during CMA Fest in Nashville. The annual walk supports her MuttNation Foundation, an organization dedicated to animal adoption and rescue. CountryFanCast reports that all sixty of the dogs brought to CMA Fest were adopted. Miranda told ET Canada, “He loves all of us as a unit,” in response to how her new husband, Brendan McLoughlin, is handling her eight dogs, four cats, and five horses.

Tickets for the first-ever Garth Brooks concert in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, sold out within 59 minutes of going on sale, reports Global News. The August 10 concert is billed as the first country concert to be held at Mosaic Stadium, which can be expanded from 33,000 people to accommodate 40,000. CEO Tim Reid said, “We’re just really thrilled we’ve got this one date in Canada and it’s the only one right now. At this point we haven’t had any more discussions.” Three days later, Nash Country Daily announced an additional show has been added for August 9. Garth’s Stadium Tour has already performed in St. Louis, Glendale, Gainesville, Minneapolis (two shows), Pittsburgh, and Denver. Upcoming shows in Eugene (Jun 29), Boise (Jul 19-20), and Regina (Aug 10) are sold out.


Larry Cohn writes, “Nice to see mention of both Billy & Glenn. I was the head of CBS/Epic Records at one time and was privileged to be their ‘boss.’ Two of the greatest country songwriters of all time and Glenn, truly one of the very funniest. It was nigh on impossible to get angry at Glenn and some of his machinations stand memorable, as well as funny to this very day. I had great times with both of them and we’ll not see the likes of them for a long time to come.”

Marge Hemsworth in Nova Scotia, Canada, says, “As always, such an entertaining newsletter. Enjoyed the story about Lisa, as all are so interesting. Thank you for doing this and sharing your writing talent with us.”

Andy Williford writes, “I just got through reading your newsletter especially about Marvin Rainwater and if you would notice, ironically, that he made the statement, ‘They both looked like little puppy dogs.’ Well, as you know, Faron’s nickname growing up with us was ‘Puppy.’ It came about when Tommy Dean told Faron he looked like a little puppy dog.”

Kate Davis writes from Oregon, “Thank you again for a great newsletter. Always a highlight.”

Alan Potter in the United Kingdom says, “Again so much information in your column….we presenters are certainly blessed by your input.”

David Markham writes from the United Kingdom, “Thank you for a very interesting read on Lynn Anderson’s Rose Garden, another fine lady singer songwriter gone up the trail to join all her country music friends and family.”

Tom Wilmeth sends this information from Grafton, Wisconsin: “That’s a re-release for Hank’s complete H&H shows. The eight complete programs were first issued by Mercury in 1993.”

Frank Chilinski wonders, “I am a big fan of your newsletters, and I am also a voice over artist with a home recording studio, and a big fan of traditional country music. Have you ever thought of doing an ACCURATE bio of Patsy Cline? Do you know whatever happened to the Spade Cooley movie that was supposed to star Dennis Quaid?”

Diane: I prefer writing about those who haven’t yet had a biography. I don’t recall hearing about a Spade Cooley movie.

Dominique “Imperial” Anglares writes from France, “Thank you very much for that publication and to have given room to my words. If am sad to learn about Violette Mozelle Lord’s passing you bring me joy with Marvin Rainwater’s interview. I had the luck to meet Marvin in England on November 15, 1987, and we stayed in contact until his passing. Marvin was a lovely bloke and a heck of a songwriter and singer. Like Bobby Lord, he was an important artist for all of us who dig ‘50s country music with a beat. Yesterday, I was watching Elton John’s biopic Rocketman, and I was bluffed when he and his friend Bernie Taupin give a mention about Marty Robbins and go to sing ‘Streets of Laredo’ in a diner shortly after they meet around 1967.”

Mike Johnson says, “Another action-packed issue. Keep ’em coming! Lynn Anderson and Ann Murray were two of my all-time favorite female country singers.”

Red Freeman writes, “Really enjoyed Marvin Rainwater conversation. I had the good fortune of doing several shows with him in the years I was fronting for Sherwin Linton and he was so much fun to work with and a great entertainer and funny just to be around.”


I met Jean Shepard once in my life, at the Florida State Fair in Tampa in 2000. She gave me this interview about Faron Young. Jean died in 2016 at age 82.

I loved Faron, I did. He was one of a kind, one of a kind. He had his problems; everybody has their problems. I remember one Saturday night he come to my locker, and he was pretty well gone, and he walked by me, and he said something really vulgar. Of course, he would always apologize, y’know. I just looked at him and I said, “Faron, I love you.” And he looked at me like I’d slapped him. Roy Drusky was standing there, and he said, “You sobered him.” I guess cuz I didn’t come back with something smart. I could just tell he wasn’t expecting that. He was expecting me to really bless him out, and I just looked at him and I said, “I love you.” It sobered him.

I probably worked one of the last dates with Faron, up in Michigan. I don’t think he worked but just a couple shows after that. It was a couple years before he passed away. We sat in this little trailer they had for us to dress and everything, and Faron–it was one of the most wonderful days I have ever had in my life. Faron was completely cold sober, and we talked about old times, and things, and he didn’t–usually he was pretty loud, cussing and everything–but he wasn’t this day. He was just very mild mannered, and we sat and talked for–and I told him when we got ready to leave that night–I hugged and kissed him, and I said, “Faron, this day has just been wonderful. What a blessing. It was so wonderful to sit in that little ol’ trailer and talk to you, talk about our old times, 20-30 years ago.” I said, “Thank you so much. You’re just the old Faron that I knew thirty years ago.” It was just wonderful. And he just hugged me and said, “Aw, well, hell, Shep, you know I love you.” And I said, “Well, I love you, too.” And oh, it was just so good. I’ve carried that memory with me.

The day I heard that Faron–what had happened–I was pullin’ in my driveway. I backed over a concrete culvert. It just blew my mind. Faron wouldn’t return phone calls. I’d called him a couple times. I talked him one time on the phone. I said, “Faron, why don’t you come to the Opry? Come see us.” Cuz we all loved him. He said, “Aw, hell, if I come out there, y’all want me to sing.” I said, “Well, you could serenade us a little bit, if you would.” I called him on two or three occasions, but he hardly ever would return a phone call. I don’t think any of us realized Faron was that depressed.

I’ve seen Faron’s kids grow up. I knew Hilda. When I had my first child, 37 years ago, I looked up when I was coming out of the anesthetic, and there stood Hilda Young, with a big box of chocolates. I appreciated that so much. She was right there for me. Sweet lady, sweet lady.

A lot of times when we worked with Faron, he was really out of it. We worked this one show up in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the FOP, and he got into a fight with the police. I will tell you this, after this show–I haven’t told this too many times–Faron was really, really out of it. Grandpa Jones was on the show, Faron, us, it seemed like there was somebody else, but I can’t remember. Grandpa was pretty hot because he’d been on Hee Haw. They was servin’ booze, and I knew what was gonna happen. I said, let me tell y’all what I’d do. Let me go on, and whoever the other person was, then take your intermission. Let Faron open the second half and let Grandpa close. They said, no, we want Faron to close. I said, well, okay. We done three shows. The first show Faron was wonderful. The second show he was pretty good. The third show was disastrous. We were upstairs–I’d done got into my blue jeans, and the head of the Fraternal Order of Police come runnin’ upstairs and asked me, “Jean, can you go down and go onstage? There’s a riot down there.” I said, “What do you mean, a riot?” It scared me. I jumped up, and he said, “Oh, Faron’s out of it. He started a fight with a couple of policemen.” We got everything straightened out. I did go onstage, and we got things calmed down.

I waited about two days, and I called Faron. I said, “Faron, I want to tell you something. Before I say anything, I want to tell you I love you. You know how much I love you–just better than anything in the world. We’ve been friends a long time. But I’m going to tell you something. I have told Billy Deaton, and all of them that’s bookin’ the shows, to never book me on another show with you. Because I will not be embarrassed again by you, like I was.” “Ah, well, hell, Shep.” “Faron, I’m telling you, I don’t want to work with you no more. You’re an embarrassment to the whole music industry. I’m telling you this because I love you.” I told Faron, “You are an alcoholic. You have a problem. Realize this. You’re a drunk. I’m telling you this because I love you.” A few hours later, the phone rang, and it was Vic Willis. “Have you talked to Faron today?” I said, “Why?” He said Faron come by the office and he was really down in the dumps, “and when I asked him what was wrong, he said, ‘Ah, hell, Vic, somebody that I really love–a precious friend–just really made me take a good look at myself. Vic, I’m an alcoholic. I’m a drunk. I knew it, and I didn’t want to admit to it. But when she told me that, I realized she was right.'” Vic said, “You’re the only one that I knew would have the guts to tell him.”

There was quite a while he did straighten up. I think for a couple years he was pretty straight. I thought if I had anything to do with it, I’m glad. That’s the one story that I hold close to my heart. But I hold the memory of Faron close to my heart. He was one of us. We miss him. We miss him. There’s so many people that we’ve lost over the last few years. I’ve been at the Grand Ole Opry for 44 years, and I look around…..


The first time I heard “Remember When” was at Lloyd Green’s house. My daughters and I visited him and Dot in August 2003. I wanted to interview him for Faron’s biography because he started his career in Faron’s band. Lloyd played for us the soon-to-be-released Alan Jackson recording of “Remember When.” It prominently featured Lloyd’s beautiful steel guitar work. Alan wrote “Remember When” to honor his wife, Denise. The song, released in October, spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in February 2004. Every time I hear “Remember When” on the radio, I think of Lloyd Green.


Another book I found in the public library was John Carter Cash’s 2007 memoir, Anchored In Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash. The first part covers June’s life before his birth, and the second part is his story. When June married Johnny Cash in 1968, she was a single mom raising her two daughters: Carlene, daughter of Carl Smith, and Rosey, daughter of Rip Nix. When John Carter was born in 1970, he had six big sisters, including the four daughters of Johnny and his first wife, Vivian. During those first years, Johnny stayed sober and John Carter had a wonderful childhood. He was twelve when, he writes, “I was beginning to take more notice of the world around me, and I had even begun to consider that I might not be the center of the universe after all.” By then, it was the 1980s and Johnny was back on drugs. Most of the rest of the book describes how June loved her family and prayed for them to overcome their drug addictions: Johnny, John Carter, Carlene, and Rosey. June herself succumbed to drug addiction towards the end of her life. John Carter’s story takes his parents and himself through their ups and downs—and their music. He is carrying on the Carter family heritage of his mother.

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