Monday, April 21, 2014

Country Music News International Newsletter April 21. 2014

Country Music News International Newsletter April 21. 2014

Here is your Country Music News of the day from Country Music News International Magazine . Your Country Music News is supported by, Courtyard Nashville Downtown , Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau , Tennessee Tourism, , Lucy Malheur

You can publish the Newsletter to your websites or forward to your friends. If you want to publish some of the interviews, please contact me.

Hier sind jetzt Eure Country Music News des Tages von Country Music News International Magazin . Eure Country Music News werden unterstützt von Courtyard Nashville Downtown , Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau , Tennessee Tourism, , Lucy Malheur

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Don't mess with Willie Nelson

Here's a perfect reason to not mess with Willie Nelson's mascot armadillo.  You know, the one that has been stolen twice.....and returned.  Willie is about to turn 81 years old, and he's about to get promoted in martial arts.  Nelson will receive his fifth-degree black belt in the art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul, a Korean martial arts system, on April 28 in Austin, Texas.  Willie has practiced martial arts since he was a songwriter in Nashville.  He often practices on his tour bus.  Whoa, that must be a time when fellow musicians abandon to private quarters.

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

Alan Jackson a career that has spanned more than 20 years

Alan Jackson has earned dozens of awards and trophies in a career that has spanned more than 20 years, and now he has earned yet another accolade.  Prior to his recent performance on April 12th at the 50th annual Alpha Psi Rodeo & Concert in Auburn, Alabama, the city's mayor, Bill Harm, Jr., declared the entire day Alan Jackson Day in honor of the Georgia native's numerous accomplishments in music.  Jackson, who was given a plaque in honor of the occasion, is also nominated for a Billboard Music Award next month for Top Christian album for his 2013 record "Precious Memories, Vol II."  The 55-year old traditional country singer has already had a memorable year.  His latest album, "The Bluegrass Album" has logged in at an impressive four months at the number one spot, but the singer, who wrote eight of the 11 tracks, remains humble about his success.  "I'm just a fan of the music.  I didn't want to do something that disappointed the bluegrass world.  I didn't want 'em to think I'm just another country act wanting to make a bluegrass album.  I really wanted to try to write some songs that were a decent approach from a bluegrass perspective, and same way with the production and everything."  Jackson will be on tour in the next few months, and he will undoubtedly perform songs from both his Precious Memories album and his Bluegrass Album.

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

Glen Campbell with Alzheimer's disease

Glen Campbell has been moved into a health care facility following a 3-year battle with Alzheimer's disease.  "He was moved last week," a family friend told People Magazine.  "I'm not sure what the permanent plan is for him yet, we'll know more next week."  The 78 year old Country Music Hall of Fame member confirmed his diagnosis in 2011, and did a farewell tour that ended in 2012.  He said he wanted his fans to understand his medical condition before the tour began.  Despite occasional problems reading the song lyrics from an onstage video monitor, the shows were spirited and upbeat, and he was in excellent form as a guitarist.  His wife and children accompanied him on the tour, and helped him keep the play list straight.  He and his family were recently honored with the Alzheimer's Association first-ever Glen Campbell Courage Award during ceremonies in Los Angeles.  The award recognizes personal bravery for sharing their story with the public and calling attention to the disease.

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

Hank Williams on vinyl sounds so much better than digital

Did you notice, this Hank Williams project is going to be released on vinyl?  Why?  Because it sounds so much better than digital.  Digital may be easier, lighter, even cheaper (depending on who owns what), but vinyl sounds better. It's warmer, more pleasant to listen to, there is no indescribable 'hiss' like digital has, even though they hide, disguise, and immerse it.  In Iowa City, there's a small studio called Flat Back.  The owner is a young guy, Luke Tweedy, who recorded some 50 different local bands, some who couldn't even get the sessions out on record, because of lack of funds, or whatever.  To help get some of this original music out to the public (much of it rock, but some is terrific Americana, and even traditional country) Flat Back is releasing a "Comp" (I'm assuming that might mean compilation 12-inch vinyl disc for Saturday's Record Store Day).  That was yesterday.  I couldn't believe the lines waiting to get into record stores in Omaha and Des Moines, to guess what...BUY VINYL DISCS.  This particular project features 11 different tracks including some Iowa City bands like "Liberty Leg and Hugh Lewis" and even one track by Flat Back co-owner William Elliott Whitmore and Jenny Hoyston of the San Francisco punk band Erase Errata.  By the way, I still have some vinyl's of the six projects I recorded for Moses Asch, now owned by the Smithsonian Institution.

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

George Jones one-year anniversary of his death

George Jone's widow, Nancy, will mark the one-year anniversary of his death by planting trees in his honor.  She will plant two dogwood trees at the monument in Nashville's Woodlawn Cemetery on April 26th.  Nancy Jones says the day will be bittersweet but she wants fans to be there to keep her husband's legacy alive.  As for myself, being born in Nebraska, where Arbor Day was founded, I'd suggest she plant some trees all over Nashville.  

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, has doubled in size, but sill had no trouble packing the house as it celebrated the completion of its $100-million expansion plan.  Vince Gill was on hand to help out among hundreds who assembled in the museum's new Event Hall.  "I came here for the first time 40 years ago," Gill said, "and none of this stuff was here then.  I was a typical musician, I came here chasing a girl, and fell in love with this place.  Ricky Skaggs was also on hand to help out, and he drew from his own travels to talk about Nashville.  "You know, there are a lot of great cities in the world.  I've been to a bunch of them, but there's only one that can call itself Music City."

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

George Strait Top & Blake Shelton Down

After more than 30 years in the music industry, George Strait is still at the top of his game.  Nearly 17,000 fans showed up for his show in Des Moines.  He's had 60, yes that's right, SIXTY number one hits.  No wonder Blake Shelton is so 'down' on traditional and classic country music.  He wouldn't be able to do that if his life depended on it.  Anyway  back to the 'King of Country Music' these days, even though that is a tenable title in today's world, that is how he was known as he performed his "The Cowboy Rides Away" final tour.  "You know we had to come back here," Strait told the crowd after being greeted with a deafening roar.  "I hope you don't have anywhere to go anytime soon, because we have a lot of songs to do tonight."  And he did.  Strait has been playing more than 30 songs a night on this tour, which is still only half of the singer's 60 number-one hits.  We have some personal insight into the country career of George Strait too.  Paul Maloy, one of our regular attendees at LeMars, along with wife Mattie and the Horn Twins, contributed "Ocean Front Property in Arizona" for George Strait.  Paul is a great writer, as well as a gifted guitarist and vocalist.  Bob Everhart even had a 'relate' with George Strait in 1984.  We were both booked on a huge country music festival in Indianapolis during the Indy-500 at the Shriner's Temple there.  I was with Bluegrass Playground at the time, Danny McElroy's great band from Omaha (he and his band will be at the Oak Tree on May 16, come early for a special treat).  We actually 'followed' George Strait on stage when we played.  It was startlingly, to say the least to walk on the stage after him, and see the immense crowd of about 15 people in the audience.  apparently the Shriner's thought since there was so many people at the Indy-500 during the daytime hours, they could persuade many of them to come to a super-concert featuring tons of well known celebrities, in the evening.  Didn't happen, it was a complete flop.  Danny McElroy and I watched in utter amazement as the Nashville stars started screaming at the Shriner's for their money, as well as screaming on their phones to their attorneys in Nashville.  We never did get paid, nor did they I fear, but we had one of the best times of our lives, not only working with George Strait, but also with our favorite Bluegrasser Jimmy Martin.  Wow, what memories.  Good luck to George Strait as he slows down his musical career, in a couple of years he may even let us put him in our Hall of Fame.

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

Collin Raye not happy about Country Music

Collin Raye recently became the latest country singer to speak out about the country music genre and why he's not happy about its progression.  He says talking about the genre and what it has come to these days is something he's very passionate about.  "I'm passionate about it because I love our genre," he told Fox News.  "I got into country music not to make a buck, I did it because I love it.  I love the poetry.  I grew up at a time when Merle Haggard was writing stuff like "Mama's Hungry Eyes, "Sing Me Back Home" and Kristofferson was writing "Sunday Morning Coming Down," and "Me And Bobby McGee."  It was poetry.  Collin Raye is best known for "If You Get There Before I Do" says country music has been 'dumbed down' and that is depressing for him.  "I'm really depressed at how it has dumbed down to basically just a one dimensional 'let's party in the truck, gonna drink some cold beer.'  Raye says it is the record labels who are to blame.  "It's the gatekeepers... that we used to have in Nashville which are the label heads who used to decide what was good enough to put out and what was not.  And now they have just totally given in to that."  I really like Collin Raye's reference to country music song lyrics as 'poetry.'  That's exactly why we are going to endeavor to have some 'poetry' at LeMars this year.  We've even invited Iowa's Poet Laureate, Mary Swander, a professor at the University in Ames to be with us, and she has accepted. We want to build on this opportunity, so we'll not only have well recognized poets doing their thing, we'll have some amateurs too.  Add to that some Carl Sandburg readings, and a few other 'quiet' things, and we'll have another 'first' at our festival.  This will all take place in the tipi village at a very nice staging area just in front of the windmill and the old cement watering trough.  We'll also have a little time set aside for authors who have new books out, hopefully relative to old time music.  One for sure is Dr. Stuart Frank whose book "Jolly Sailors Bold - Ballads and Songs of the American Sailor should be very interesting.  It will be great fun, wish us luck.

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

Ray Price against Blake Shelton

The late Ray Price (who took a stand against Blake Shelton's outrageous discrimination against older country music genres and fans) titled his final studio recording "Beauty Is....." after an opening duet with Vince Gill that draws on the axiom about the eye of the beholder.  Music is similarly subjective, but it would be hard to imagine anyone not recognizing the sublime beauty of the late Ray Price's singing.  He owned one of the richest voices and most emotionally expressive styles in country music history.  Price died in December, and when he entered the studio earlier in 2013 with producer Fred Foster, he realized "Beauty Is...." quite likely would be his last.  At age 87, he had spent a couple of years battling cancer and other ailments.  Live, and on record, Price's voice had remained a remarkable instrument, yet there are moments on "Beauty Is...." where age, for the first time appears to limit his breath and range.  "Beauty Is...." for Sheila and myself was the incredible opportunity to open for Mr. Price on the RFD-TV television show "Midwest Country" which is televised in Sandstone, Minnesota.  Mr. Price was such a gentleman, talking and visiting with us, letting us have a photo, and even commenting later about how much he still liked old-time or traditional country music.  This was before the Blake Shelton scandal, when Shelton called Ray Price an old fart and a jackass because older generations of country music fans weren't buying Shelton's records.  At any rate, it's precious to me that Ray Price's very last recording, is graceful to the end, and Mr. Ray Price takes a final bow with an elegant collection that nicely extends a great musical legacy.

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

Allen Karl television show from Nashville

Allen Karl is thinking about bringing his entire television show from Nashville to LeMars this year. You might remember him, he's a gifted country singer from Baltimore, Maryland, but he also started a television show in Nashville.  He invited Sheila and I down to be on it, as did Joanne Cash and her husband Dr. Yates to be on their world-wide Cowboy Church radio program.  We tried like crazy to find a gig or two in the area, but that was next to impossible, so we are hedging on going down, we're still 'playing' musicians and that means we need help.

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

Slim Forsyth into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame

It's Easter morning and I just received a telephone call from Slim Forsyth who lives in Pittsburg, PA.  He's one of the distinguished traditional country artists that has been nominated for induction into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame by Howard Vokes, a mover and shaker of 'real' country music in Pennsylvania.  Slim Forsyth took his name 'Slim' from one of his heroes, Slim Bryant.  He not only knew Bryant well, he met him several times, photo ops, all that goes with meeting a hero.  Bryant if you might not remember, was the guitarist that recorded with Jimmie Rodgers, including the last session Rodgers cut.  He was also a very close friend of Juanita McMichen (Clayton McMichen's daughter) who was a good friend of Sheila and myself.  Clayton McMichen was a fantastic fiddler, formed a group called the Georgia Wild Cats, of which Slim Bryant played guitar in.  McMichen is also the guy who wrote "In The Pines," one super neat old-time country song.  Juanita came to our festival right up to the time she passed away.  Slim Bryant lived past his 100th birthday, but he too is now gone.  What fantastic memories these are of a musical art form that has been so maligned.  At any rate, Slim Forsythe is going to be at LeMars, Aug 29-30.  He also talked to me a little bit about one of his projects, a local television show in Pittsburg, devoted to traditional and classic country and bluegrass music.  He's been working with 'Kickstarter" to raise $10,000 to make the pilot, and apparently has raised $4,800 of his desired amount.  I'm not sure exactly how that works, but there must be some 'good' in it.  Expect to see a super good traditional Slim Forsyth at LeMars.

Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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