Diane’s Country Music Newsletter – 25 March 2015

Jerry Brightman (1953-2015)
One of Buck Owens’s Buckaroos, Gerald “Jerry” Warner Brightman, 61, died at his home in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, on March 9. At age 14 he joined the Wheeling Jamboree staff band in Wheeling, West Virginia. After Buck Owens asked him to play steel guitar on some recording sessions, he became a member of the Buckaroos from 1972-75. He recorded 16 Owens albums, plus appearing on hundreds of other recording sessions and as a Hee Haw cast member, before turning to other business ventures. After years as a businessman in several industries, he returned to the steel guitar. In 2004 he began producing a line of professional steel guitars, and in his later years he continued to play some session dates.

The steel player for Mel Tillis and the Statesiders, when on the road, is now Johnny Cox. According to the Steel Guitar Forum, Terry Bethel will still play the Branson shows. He’s been with Mel for more than four decades.

Buddy Jewell has signed with Lamon Records, an independent label in Nashville, to record a classic country project in 2015. He was the first winner of the reality TV show Nashville Star, in 2003, after which he hit with “Help Pour Out the Rain” on Columbia Records. Carol Johnston Smith is celebrating with this Facebook post: Great news about Buddy Jewell going to Lamon Records Nashville — Aside from the fact that Buddy is such a good singer he is a great man — have known him for some years now and I think he is so deserving of all the good life has to offer — If you aren’t familiar with Buddy == check out his website at www.buddyjewell.com– might be a show nearby and you can hear his beautiful voice for yourself.”

A new exhibit opens this weekend at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats will feature 16 listening booths, one for each of the Nashville Cats: David Briggs, Kenny Buttrey, Fred Carter Jr., Charlie Daniels, Pete Drake, Mac Gayden, Lloyd Green, Ben Keith, Grady Martin, Charlie McCoy, Wayne Moss, Weldon Myrick, Norbert Putnam, Jerry Reed, Pig Robbins and Buddy Spicher. Each booth contains bios, photos, and audio samples of signature licks. The exhibit highlights the relationship between Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, and one of the items on display is their handwritten manuscript of “Wanted Man,” a song Dylan wrote for the 1969 album, Johnny Cash at San Quentin. Lloyd Green’s Sho-Bud pedal steel guitar was shipped from Texas on a private plane and is on display for the first time anywhere. Lloyd played it on the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968) album. Johnny Cash’s outfit and guitar from the network TV The Johnny Cash Show, which was filmed in the Ryman Auditorium, are among the hundreds of photographs, audio and video clips, and artifacts on display.

The 2015 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees are being announced today, March 25, at 10:00 am Central time. Go to http://www.cmaworld.com/events/country-music-hall-fame-induction to watch the announcement live online. This year’s categories are Modern Era, Veteran Era, and Musician. The Country Music Association chooses a panel of anonymous industry leaders each year to elect nominees based on significant contributions to the advancement of country music.

Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer and Bristol Palin (daughter of Sarah Palin) were engaged during a Rascal Flatts concert in Las Vegas. The group sang “Bless The Broken Road” as Meyer got down on one knee to propose.

The 50th anniversary ACM Awards will air on CBS Sunday, April 19th at 7 PM Central live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (home of the Dallas Cowboys). Tickets for the show sold out in 20 minutes, and it is expected to be the largest crowd ever for an awards show. George Strait, whose farewell tour concluded at AT&T Stadium last June, will premier new music that night. His recording contract requires five more albums, even though he has retired from the road.

Taste of Country reports that Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley renewed their wedding vows after 12 years of marriage. Brad arranged the ceremony–at a friend’s house–to surprise his wife, and Kimberly’s best friend bought a dress for her to wear. They did the traditional wedding march but did not exchange new rings. They have two sons, Huck, 8, and Jasper, 5. Kimberly credits regular date nights and the support of Brad’s parents for helping to keep their romance alive.

The Grand Ole Opry has begun a nine-month celebration to commemorate its upcoming ninetieth anniversary. During special shows, artists will share stories about performers during the Opry’s 90-year history. They will also discuss special instruments and artifacts, such as the fiddle Uncle Jimmy Thompson played on the very first Grand Ole Opry broadcast, the steamboat whistle used by Opry founder George D. Hay, and a guitar of Little Jimmy Dickens.

A British newspaper, Grazia Daily, published an article that Taylor Swift had insured her legs for $40M. Taylor responded by posting a photo of her leg on Instagram, after her cat scratched her, with the caption, “Great work, Meredith. I was just trying to love you and now you owe me 40 million dollars.”

According to The Boot, Hank Williams Jr. is supporting an Alabama bill to allow hunters to use corn and other bait when hunting deer. He says he doesn’t use bait, but it is helpful when hunting with children, disabled persons or injured veterans so they can have a successful trip. He appeared before the Alabama Senate Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Committee, and the bill was later passed by a 9-2 vote and sent to the Alabama state senate. Legislators in support of the bill say Alabama has an unusually large number of deer.

David Corne writes from the United Kingdom, “What I particularly like about your newsletter is when people like a Bill Anderson or Jerry Kennedy contribute. My favourite song of Bill’s is ‘That’s What It’s Like To Be Lonesome’ and my favourite versions are by Patti Page and Dave Dudley, both produced I believe and adorned by Jerry Kennedy’s guitar artistry. Another two of my favourite Dave Dudley recordings produced by Jerry are ‘Talk Of The Town’ and ‘Lonelyville.’ I’d just like the opportunity to thank both Bill and Jerry for their immense contribution to country music over many years and the enjoyment they have given me and countless others around the world. Regards from the UK.”

Aileen Arledge writes, “Love your newsletters as always. Wanted to say how terrible I feel about the passing of Richard Bass. I met him back when he performed with Faron on the same shows as my daughter Tracey Lynne. When my son decided to record, Richard and the group played on his album, too. They were all great guys. The last time I spoke to Richard was when Faron died, Richard called and told me what had happened. It was so sad. Richard was a nice man and a great musician and a tribute to Country Music for all time.”

Ron Hogan says, “Hate to hear about Richard Bass. He and I were roommates when on the road with Faron. What did he die from and I wonder why he moved overseas? Sad to hear all my buddies passing little by little. I guess we all have to do it. Rooming with Richard was a challenge as he didn’t want to sleep with the lights off. I’d wake up and he would have every light, TV and radio on, even lights in the bathroom. I would turn everything off and go back to sleep. I’d wake up and everything would be on again. Comical!”
Diane: Here’s the last note I received from him, in January 2014. He said, “I’m living a pretty simple life here in the Philippines. Built a house here last year in the town of Tanauan, about an hour from Manila. Needed to get off the beach, no services there and as I get older, 71 now, I want to be near doctors, hospitals etc. Health is still good but I slowed way down on the beer drinking. Still smoke a little bit. We go into Manila once a month or so to see some bands, no country here but some good pickers here mostly cover tunes but played well. And that’s my update. not very exciting but at my age I don’t want too much exciting.”

Andy Williford sends “sad news from Shreveport. Faron’s Hero, Idol, Coach, Mentor, and a man he admired and respected as a great individual, Coach Clem Henderson, passed away on Monday [March 9]. He was 92 years old. All of Faron’s inner circle of friends will attend the funeral or will serve as Pallbearers. I will be coming from Dallas but you can bet people who knew him will come from wherever they are. He was a definite role model.”

Moragh Carter sends this comment from the United Kingdom: “Thanks again for another really interesting newsletter. Regarding the problems people have been having with Firefox … I have used Chrome since I got my computer back with a new hard drive, and your newsletters open fine there. However, in Mozilla Thunderbird, on 14th January it opened fine; 28th January, no pictures, but the text was as it should be, with live links; 11th February, just the title; 25th February and 11th March, no pictures, one continuous paragraph and no live links.”

Stacy Harris says, “Thanks for the mentions in your newsletter. Regrettably, the Firefox issue remains, but fortunately I can switch to Opera to read your newsletter. It’s annoying to be sure, but if that’s my biggest problem I am truly blessed!”

Linda Clark writes from Virginia, “Thanks for the update. Sorry to hear about all the folks that have passed away. I just saw Tim McGraw on TV last night searching out his relatives from years ago. He traveled to several locations, including the Library of Congress in DC, and was able to come up with quite a bit of information on his family history. Very interesting show. Bill Anderson certainly has nice looking grandchildren.”

Robert Sells sends this request: “Billy has been passing your country music newsletter on to me here in Nashville. I live in both Branson and Nashville and appear where great classic music shows up. PLEASE add me to your mailing list.”

Sarah Brosmer of Lytle Management writes, “I can’t seem to find your last newsletter on Jerry Kennedy. I worked with Jerry back when he headed up Mercury and we still stay in touch so I’d sure love to read that newsletter if you don’t mind sending it to me. Enjoyed the recent one with Bill Anderson!”

Carolyn Babin wonders, “I am mainly writing to ask you if you have heard from David House in reference to Jewell House? I knew David when he was a little boy the couple times I was with his Mom Jewell in Texarkana, Ark…. Have snapshots of Jewell’s husband and those boys. A beautiful lady that wrote many songs for Hank Williams (for whom she wrote ‘My Son Calls Another Man Daddy’), Jim Reeves, Red Sovine…. others I imagine who failed to give her credit. Her son David has worked for years to bring light to her memory by writing a book about her and also has opened a couple of sites in her honor. Jewell died too young and just months after her husband expired at a very early age. David and his younger brother were too young to remember their Mother’s fame. They do however remember all the famous people that frequented their home in Texarkana, overheard many jam sessions, etc. Jewell was a private person about her home life, acquaintances and the already famous persons who sought her out for her songwriting. She did not leave behind much of anything for the boys or family. David is trying to get his Mom the remembrance she deserved. He and I would appreciate if any of your followers know anything at all about her to let David know. David especially wants info to post and write about on the sites he is creating for her.”

Terry Counts says, “I was shocked and so saddened to hear my buddy Richard Barish (Bass) had passed. I worked with him when he was a Deputy and kept in touch by email all these years…and the others you mentioned…some old friends…I am starting to feel very mortal. I watched the TV special on John Denver last night and I just got so upset. John was from the same area of New Mexico that Murrel was from…when they were in their teens, four of them got together and formed one of the blowingest bands that people still talk about…sadly… Glen Campbell is the last one to go. It was John , Murrel, Roger Miller and Glen Campbell. I was with Murrel for probably 5 years before he even mentioned he knew these guys…but it’s so so sad for me to see the last one crumble.”

“The Last Word In Lonesome Is Me” was a number two Billboard hit for Eddy Arnold in 1966 and a BMI-award winning song for writer Roger Miller. I always remember a comment Kris Kristofferson made about Roger’s talent. He said something like, “None of us knew the last word in lonesome was me until Roger put it in a song.”

For my second biography subject, I’d considered Roger Miller as well as Marty Robbins. I chose Marty partly because his lifestyle interested me more than Roger’s did. Neither story had yet been told. So I was glad to see Lyle E. Style come out with Ain’t Got No Cigarettes: Memories of Music Legend Roger Miller in 2005. It’s a collection of interviews, not a biography (which still needs to be written by someone). Style, who moved from Canada to Nashville to pursue music, writes, “I didn’t even know who Roger Miller was until 1998, six years after he died, but once I discovered him, things were never the same.” He spent four years traveling around the country and interviewing people about Roger Miller. The table of contents lists almost a hundred interviews, including discussions with Bill Anderson, Bobby Bare, and Merle Haggard. The book focuses more on the interview process then the subject, and there is unneeded author intrusion, especially with the question and answer format. Still, Style has documented stories about Roger, who died of cancer at age 56, and he’s preserved the words of the interviewees—at least fifteen of whom have since died.

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