Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 17 June 2015

Jim Ed Brown (1934-2015)
Jim Ed Brown died June 11 at the Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee, of lung cancer. He was 81. He last performed on the Grand Ole Opry in April, while his cancer was in remission. It returned June 3, and he began a second round of chemotherapy. James Edward Brown was born April 1, 1934, and grew up in Benton and Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He and Maxine and Bonnie, known as the Browns, joined the Opry in 1963. When his sisters retired from the music business, Jim Ed became a solo artist and a member of a duo with Helen Cornelius. The Browns were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame three months ago, with Jim Ed holding the distinction of being a hit maker as a trio, a duo, and a solo artist. His 90-minute funeral service was held June 15 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, with his flower-covered casket sitting in front of the stage. The Oak Ridge Boys provided the first musical tribute and Lady Antebellum the final one. Other performers and speakers included Jeannie Seely, Brenda Lee, Crystal Gayle, Craig Morgan, Vince Gill, and the Gatlin Brothers.

Diane and Kayo with Jim Ed Brown, backstage at the Opry, October 1999

Johnny Seay posted on Facebook, 6/14: “My latest update on Mary: Tomorrow will be four weeks since we almost lost our beautiful daughter and today through the miracle of prayer and great medical care the Doctors said she is a miracle girl. Three weeks ago they were talking to us about organ donations and what were we planning to do with her body? Well it’s hard to believe, but Mary was released from ICU last night. They wanted her to go to a care facility, but my wife, Star, said, ‘She is coming home. I’ll take care of her.’ ”

Django and Jimmie, the newly released album by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, debuted at Number One on the Billboard Country Albums chart. The album features 14 new recordings, is produced by Buddy Cannon, and honors jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and the Singing Brakeman, Jimmie Rodgers. The first single is “It’s All Going to Pot,” written by Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson, and Larry Shell.

The Dixie Chicks (Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire, and Emily Robison) announced on their website that they will be returning to Europe to tour in 2016. The first concert will be in Amsterdam in April, followed by five show dates in the UK and Ireland: Birmingham, Manchester, London, Glasgow, and Dublin. They last toured in Europe in 2014 and in the United States in 2006.

At the Brad Paisley concert on June 7 in Chula Vista, California, police and alcohol control officers swept the parking lot where concertgoers were partying. They arrested 85 teenagers for possession of alcohol and four adults for giving alcohol to minors. According to savingcountrymusic.com, all were released with misdemeanor citations. Most of the arrests were made in the Sleep Train Amphitheater parking lot before the concert began.

One-week-old Rumer Rain Rogers, daughter of Randy and Chelsea Rogers, died June 9 in Austin, Texas, of a rare brain condition. She was their second child. The Randy Rogers Band is popular on the Texas country scene and known for its Red Dirt style of music.

Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters is a bi-weekly podcast by writer and researcher Scott B. Bomar and songwriter Paul Duncan. The guest on their 12th episode is Bobby Braddock, the only living person to have written Number One country songs in five consecutive decades. Listen to this one-hour interview to hear from the man who thinks country music today has lost its sense of humor: http://songcraftshow.com/shows/. Bobby is being inducted into the National Songwriters Hall of Fame tomorrow.

The Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree has returned. Glenn Douglas Tubb, Ernest Tubb’s nephew, hosted the June 6th show at the Texas Troubadour Theatre. It commemorated the 68th anniversary of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and Midnite Jamboree, both started by Ernest in 1947. The Jamboree has been inactive since March, due to lack of funds. Glenn Douglas Tubb founded the Midnite Jamboree Association to raise money to preserve the show and its legacy. Mel Tillis hosted the Jamboree on June 13.

Bill Anderson says, “I’ve had your name added to my newsletter e-mail list, so you should be receiving them in your inbox from now on.”
Diane: Thanks, Bill. That was a great story you wrote about presenting Jim Ed Brown’s Hall of Fame medallion to him just before he died. Here’s the link for others to read it: http://billanderson.com/wired/journal.

Pamela Stevens writes from Louisville, Kentucky, “I first heard of you while listening to Eddie Stubbs on WSM, back when he was promoting your book on Faron Young. I have wanted to read it for a long time, but didn’t have access to it, because I am visually impaired. Well, it has finally shown up on the NLS web site as a Talkingbook, so I am very excited that I will finally have the opportunity to read it. Please add me to your newsletter list. I host a show on the Internet and it is just the kind of thing I’ve been looking for. One of my listeners forwarded it to me and it is great.”

Moragh Carter “from the UK” writes, “In response to the comments of Janet McBride and Alan Potter … It’s not only the older fans (in terms of the number of years of listening and following country music) who enjoy your newsletter. I admit to being older in years (I’m in my seventies), but I’m a comparative newbie as a fan, as I never listened to it until the end of 2004, when my son fixed me up on broadband. But since then, I have become a huge fan of the genre. I love reading about the history behind the music and the stars, and about the songwriters … and meeting them face-to-face, whenever possible. It is thanks to internet radio, and newsletters like yours and Doug Davis’s, that I have learnt so much about country music in a comparatively short number of years. BTW … Would the Terry Smith, mentioned by Mike Johnson of Roughshod Records, be the brother of Billy Smith? If so, then it was the Terry Smith I met last May when I was at the home of Tom T. Hall. One of the first recordings I got, after I started listening to country music, was of their covers of some of Bill Monroe’s songs. Thanks again for your hugely informative newsletters.”

And from Alan Potter: “You know as a country nut since the ‘40s & a country presenter (radio) since the ‘60s your newsletter full of info & incorporating fans views, etc., is a breath of fresh air. Long may it continue. A number of your readers have listened to my internet show & sent in great comments to the station, so thank you all AND keep it country.”

Linda Elliott Clark says, “It is nice to hear about Sammy Kershaw. I haven’t heard him in a long time, and he has always been one of my favorites. Wish I had seen the Ralph Emery show. My prayers are there for the Seays. So many sad things going on in the world. We have to really hold tight to our faith.”

Kathy Thomas writes, “I haven’t seen a newsletter lately, I hope I haven’t missed it! And I hope all is well! Looking toward to the next one.”

Marilynne Caswell also wonders: “I hope everything is okay with you. I haven’t received a newsletter since May 6, and have really missed them. Could you let me know if I have missed any?”
Diane: Kathy and Marilynne, I forwarded the two newsletters you missed. Somehow your addresses got dropped off my contacts list when I switched to Outlook.

Kathy Clague requests, “Please would you be kind enough to add me to your mailing list?”

Curtis Delzer of K6VFO in San Bernardino, California, writes, “Add me to the newsletter list, please. We interviewed you for “Books and Beyond” radio show, I was the audio engineer. I worked opposite Marty when he came to Sacramento, either in 1975 or 1976. His band members were friendly, but Marty would not talk to me. Could it be because I got as much of a response as he did from our 2000 person audience? I can sing. It did hurt my feelings because he not only snubbed me, he made sure that I couldn’t even get his autograph or a picture with him. It still is not a good representative of the Nashville performers in my memory to this day. All of the others who did tour through the El Rancho Hotel in those days were friendly, except maybe Tammy who seemed a little distant.”

Dominique “Imperial” ANGLARES says, “Thanks for that great Country Music Newsletter and greetings for the work done. Stunning to read about Don Hayes having 900 pictures from Louise Mayer. That stuff should make a very nice booklet with the best shots. That a real goldmine and a collection of pictures any country music fan would like to enjoy. It should be a wonderful gift to print some of these wonders. Warmest regards from your French friend.”

Mike Johnson of Roughshod Records writes, “We also enjoy your news column. And thanks for the Sherwin Linton plug.”

Joe Morrison of KXRB Radio in Sioux Falls says, “Enjoy your newsletter…thanks for the effort you put into it.”

Hailey Westrich, press and publicity coordinator with the Branson Terry Music Awards, sends this update: “Terry Beene had a triple bypass open heart surgery on May 18th. He is steadily getting stronger each day and is doing well. His surgery has not delayed the press conference which is scheduled for Thursday, July 9th. The 2015 Branson Terry Music Awards show will also remain on Sunday, October 11th at 7pm. The staff of the Branson Terry Music Awards asks that you will continue to keep Terry in your prayers during his recovery. The staff is also looking forward to seeing everyone who attends the Awards show in October. Tickets may be purchased by calling Starlite Theatre’s Box office at 417-337-9333 or All Access Branson at 866-810-3477.”

Dean Mann in Sioux Falls says, “Thanks for sending the newsletter. Yes, I would like to be on your list. I think I told you I went on that Country Family Reunion Cruise last February. It was great. I’m really into that old-time country music. Rhonda Vincent is tireless. She had a jam session every night on the cruise, and it was standing room only. Her band “The Rage” is outstanding. Two of the performers on “The Rage” are married to her daughters. I have the video of all the shows on that cruise.”

Wayne in Oklahoma City suggests, “I know you get a thousand letters a month about writing about different country singers and I have one, the perfect choice is Don Williams, he is a national treasure. Just thought I would put in my 2 cents, really enjoy the newsletter.”

Marlene Nord writes, “Super job as always. I was saddened to learn of Johnny Gimble’s passing. My former husband and I ran a Country Music production called “The East Central Minnesota Opry” in Mora, Minnesota, from 1986 to 1999. We had the distinct privilege of working with Mr. Gimble in the early ‘90’s. It was really great how we stumbled upon the idea of inviting him to perform. My stepson saw him on Nashville Now. He was impressed saying, “We should get him on our show.” Johnny was so humble and unassuming. We phoned the Grand Ole Opry to have them contact him on our behalf. About two days later, when I answered the ringing telephone, a voice said, “This is Johnny Gimble.” I nearly flew out of my skin! Being a musician myself, I knew the caliber of his musicianship, and was knee-knocking scared the first time our band played with him. The rehearsal turned into the niftiest, most fun jam session ever! He always had a huge smile in his voice and regaled us with numerous stories of all the stars he worked with. The two things I recall most were a bit of humor and philosophy. He said that when he was a kid growing up in Texas learning how to play fiddle, his mama said it sounded like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Can you imagine him ever sounding like that, smile! He also stated that if one goes to Nashville, Hollywood or any other entertainment mecca, he must be anchored strongly in the divine power or he’ll be gobbled up by the industry. He always gave everyone else credit for techniques and styles of playing he learned over the years, never elevating himself to the glory we all knew he deserves. But his humility, joy, and kindness are what really made him a shining star. I know he and Bob Wills are reunited, along with his buddy Chet Atkins in that ever-growing Country shindig in the sky.”

“Evening” is a song Faron Young intended as the title of a 1971 album—and its first single. The album cover was already being made. Then Faron and producer Jerry Kennedy decided to use “It’s Four In the Morning” as the title and first single. So “Evening” was demoted to an album cut. Faron said, “I carried it to Jim Ed Brown, and he put it out as a single.” It was the title cut from Jim Ed’s 1972 album. Unfortunately, as a single, “Evening” only reached 55 on Billboard, not nearly as high as his “Morning,” which had gone to number four in 1970.

One of my first purchases when I started researching Faron Young’s life was Ronnie Pugh’s Ernest Tubb: The Texas Troubadour. (I always checked indexes to see if Faron was mentioned in a book.) This objective and well-researched biography provides an excellent picture of Ernest Tubb. It is filled with detail about his life’s struggles and his importance to the music industry. What it lacks, in my opinion, is the Tubb family–only two family members were interviewed. Ernest Tubb’s story is one of long years of hard work and dedication to his music. He opened the Ernest Tubb Record Shop so fans had access to records, started the Midnite Jamboree so fans had access to the live music of Opry stars, insisted it was country music and not hillbilly music, modernized the Opry with Texas dance hall music, to mention a few of his achievements in over four decades of nonstop performing and leadership. His contribution to the country music industry might possibly be greater than that of any other individual.

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