CURRENT NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF 5/21/01 thru 5/27/01
FREDDY FENDER-JOHNNY PAYCHECK-CHARLIE LAMB-MIKE BROOKSHIRE-BROTHER OSWALD-SHEB WOOLEY-SKEETER DAVIS-PIG ROBBINS-JUSTINE TILTON-REDD STEWART-CHICKIE WILLIAMS-LORI PERKINS-DR. JOHN ECKEL-GORDON TERRY-VICKY RUGG-LARRY ANDERSON-MIKE CUTRIGHT-GEORGE EDWARDS-BUCK WHITE-WILMA LEE COOPER
THE VERY FIRST THING IN MY NEWS TODAY, IS TO ASK EACH OF YOU TO REMEMBER OUR VETERAN'S AND ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN OF OUR ARMED FORCES, WHO GAVE THEIR LIFE'S FOR OUR COUNTRY, SO THAT WE CAN ENJOY THIS GREAT FREEDOM THAT WE HAVE. IF YOU KNOW A VETERAN, MAKE IT A POINT TO THANK HIM AND TELL HIM THAT OUR COUNTRY LOVES HIM AND HE IS NOT FORGOTTEN. REMEMBER ALL OF OUR VETERANS, LIVING AND DEAD, IN YOUR PRAYERS. I WILL DO THE SAME.
I realize how very long it has been since I have put my news online, but I have been working very hard on my show, "LEGENDS FEST," and instead of just putting up some news, I opted not to send junk to you. I also have this site under construction from my webserver who is making is into a mini-newspaper and I am anxiously awaiting his word that it is ready, so please bear with me. Much of the following news is what I have collected, but I will tell you it is time to get back on Pete Fisher's case, because once again the little idiot is playing Napoleon, and I think he might be nearing his own Waterloo. At least I hope so. The sooner they get this man out of the picture of the Grand Ole Opry, the sooner the Opry will move forward.
I have been to see Johnny Russell on 2 occassions in the past 3 weeks and what I am seeing is a man who is on his way to entering a new phase of his life. He has adjusted to his loss of legs, below the knees. I feel that he is mentally prepared to launch a brand new career and that we will all be the benefit of his great determination and his passion for life and his music. He attitude is super awesome, and he told me that his first appearance will be at the Grand Ole Opry and no other place. He said that when he is ready to return, he wants to come home to the Opry. Johnny has asked me to make sure that I tell everyone, that without their cards, letters and prayers, he could not have made it.
I hope all of you remember the name Little David Wilkins, who is a super songwriter, (I'M SORRY for Brenda Lee & GEORGIA KEEPS PULLING ON MY RING for Conway Twitty, and many, many more), plus his own many hit records. Little David is a very close friend of JR's, and I want all of you to know that this man has kept a vigil with JR from day one and continues to do so. He has been a savior as a friend to JR. In fact, I am booking Little David back on the road, and one of his band members is W.S. Holland, longtime drummer of Johnny Cash, and the man who played drums on the original Elvis, "BLUE SUEDE SHOES."
Please keep JR in your prayers.
During my 2 visits to JR, I also visited Wilma Lee Cooper and she is doing great. She is looking good and is beginning to have good movement in her left side. She told me that she is doing great with her physical therapy. I am here to tell you that when you call someone a trouper and veteran, you are saying they have done it all. Well who do you suppose was in attendance at last weeks Grand Opening Ceremonies of the Hall of Fame-Your right, WILMA LEE COOPER. She is a precious treasure. I have not heard from her daughter in months, not one thing, and don't see her when I go to see WL???????
Please also keep WLC in your prayers, because she has asked me to ask her fans to pray for her.
This coming Monday from 5-6 PM, CST, CMT will begin its' new program,
"MOST WANTED LIVE." It will be devoted to country music, its' artists and its' fans. It is about time. Please be a viewer so that we will not have the same thing happen to this show, as what happened to the former TNN, and all the lies that the ratings were down. Let's all check it out and stick with it. We have the opportunity to get back in the saddle again, so we all have to help, by watching.
This past week I spoke with Buck White, at the P.O., and he looked absolutely marvelous and said that he is feeling great. Buck is the one that told me that John Hartford was not doing good at all. I guess where there is good news, there is always some bad, but lets keep our prayer line for everyone on our list and of course on yours.
The past few months have seen me back on the road with Legends Fest. Along with Ralph Emery, Little Jimmy Dickens, Jack Greene, Stonewall Jackson, Dave Dudley and Jeannie Seeley, we have been to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Saskatoon, Sask., Tunica, Ms., where T.G. Sheppard really came to our rescue and filled in for an ailing Ray Price and Jeanne Pruett. Also Grand Casino Mille Lacs, with Ralph Emery, Don Williams and Roy Clark. I did not attend this show, but Ralph told me that it was sold out as usual and that it was super show. We also worked the Legends at Spirit Lake Casino in N.D., for my buddy, Harlan Eckholm, and had 2 sell-outs, with Jim Ed Brown, Bill Anderson, Johnny Countefit, Helen Cornelius and Jan Howard. It was a super great show, and the hospitality offered to us by Harlan and his staff was great. There are more Legends Shows on the way, so if we get in your area, please come to show, because you will not regret it. Also our thanks go out to Bill Anderson and his Po Folks Band for their great work on the shows they are on, and to Dick McVey and the Music City Show Band for all the great back-up they provide the artists.
A quick story from just a week ago. The following artists were scheduled to appear on May 19th at Grand Casino Tunica: Bill Anderson, Jeanne Pruett, Jack Greene, Stonewall Jackson, Ralph Emery and Ray Price. On Friday the 18th, as I was getting ready to depart for Robinsville, Ms., a day early, with my son Kris, the phone rang and it was Jeanne Pruett and she told me that she had lost her voice and had to cancel. I understood and continued to pack the care to leave. I called the casino and informed them that Jeanne would have to cancel and they understood. I left my office on the way to the casino, and when I was almost to Nashville, my mobile phone rang and it was Ray Prices' mgr.,informing me that Ray's blood pressure had soared up, and his doctor felt that he should cancel his performance. Two cancellations within 2 hours. I turned the car around and came back to the office, because I felt that working from the office would be my best way of solving the problem and getting someone that the casino would agree, as a replacement. Well it did not take long, because T.G. Sheppard, an old, old friend was available and he agreed to do the date. T.G. called his band, his bus driver, and everyone agreed that we had hit a home run. I arrived at the casino around 7 PM on Friday and proceeded to check in and get something to eat for myself and my son. The next morning when I got up, T.G. had already checked in, Jack Greene, Stonewall Jackson and Ralph Emery were on there way, along with Bill Anderson. Around noon, Bill called me from his mobile, because he was traveling by himself and the band was on the bus, and told me that he bus had broke down approximately 35 minutes from the casino. At this time, T.G. was standing right beside me listening to this conversation. He turned to his bus driver and said, get in the bus and go pick up Bill's band. He asked me to call Bill back and let him know that his bus was on the way. THAT IS THE OLD WAY OF DOING THINGS, AND THE GOOD WAY. Thanks to T.G. for an awesome show and for his help, and to all of his band for their unselfishness, and for hanging in there and being patient. Also to the production personnel at Grand Casino Tunica for their patience and understanding. The show was awesome and the crowd matched the show.
Incidentally, T.G. told me that he and Willie Nelson have just finished a duet, and that it will be ready for shipping very soon. From what T.G. is telling me, and from all members of his band, T.G. will be getting a record label call again, and will be back in the mix, where he deserves to be. Super singer, super entertainer and super person.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FRIEND, JIMMY SMART, AGE UNKNOWN-SUPER PERSON.
There will be a new show on Great American Country, a cable TV company, titled "LEGENDS & LEGACIES." The host is Jeannie Seely, and the first show was taped at the Gibson's at Opry Mills, last Tuesday, May 22nd. Jeannie's first guests were Ralph Emery and Lorrie Morgan. Denny Nelson, President of Real American Music Group, said that the show was super and that they have great things in store for the show. It will air sometime in mid-August in over 15 million homes, on cable. Keep checking your local listings or call (615) 248-4440, Real American Music, Gp., and they will give you more details. I hope that this show works.
Speaking of my friend Ralph Emery, he will be giving country music some great news in the coming weeks, and I can tell you that it is great news. If you might have been listening to WSM Opry Star Spotlight, which he originated many years ago, you heard Ralph this past Friday night, taking over the reins of the show once again, as a guest host, filling in for Mathew Gillian, who Dad had had a stroke. Ralph seemed like he never left the show. His guests were Jeannie Seely, Andy Griggs, Jim Ed Brown, George "Goober" Lindsey, and Costa's the songwriter and other writers. He had Jim Ed, Andy and Seely sing several songs with 3 part harmony and it was great. There was a full house inside Gibson's to welcome Ralph back to radio. Brown, Seely and Griggs did the Johnny Russell great song, "MAKIN PLANS," and the harmony just blew me away. Congrats to you Ralph, as you have not lost your GOLDEN TOUCH, AND TRULY YOU ARE THE MOSES OF COUNTRY MUSIC.
Sad news to report to you. Larry Lee, longtime music row fixture, passed away yesterday from heart failure. He was one of the great songwriters, 14 Carat Mind for Gene Watson. He also worked with Mel Tillis for many years. He will surely be missed in our industry. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE.
MARK O'CONNOR GETTING THE ACM AWARD FOR FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR, IS THE BIGGEST POLITICAL SHAM THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN OR HEARD OF, EXCEPT MAYBE FOR PETE FISHER. MARK DOES NOT EVEN LIVE IN NASHVILLE, DOES NOT PLAY ANY NASHVILLE SESSIONS AND IS DOING MOSTLY SYMPHONY TOUR DATES. THIS IS MY OPINION-HE IS A GREAT VIOLINIST AND USED COUNTRY MUSIC TO FURTHER HIS CAREER. IF I AM WRONG IT WILL NOT BE THE THE FIRST PIECE OF CROW PIE THAT I HAVE MUNCHED ON. WHAT A STUPID THING FOR ACM TO DO, WITH ALL OF THE TROUBLE THEY HAD WITH THEIR ROCK N ROLL SHOW. LEE ANN RIMES, WAS A JOKE, A TOTAL JOKE, SINGING ROCK N ROLL. And for the ACM'S to allow her to make jokes about her personal problems and the T-Shirt with Daddy on, just shows where this kids head is-and you know where. Can she sing-you bet she can, but it ain't country. And if I were her, I would be cautious as to what I continued to say regarding Curb Records. Mike Curb is a heavy duty dude in this industry. It would not surprise me to see him pull out of Nashville and move back to the coast, as long as they have power and electricity out there, and I mean that seriously.
As much as I love to hear Jo Dee Messina sing, and hear her records, I sure don't like to see any entertainer "TRYING TO DANCE," tiring themselves out, so that they cannot hold their notes, in front of a live audience and the millions watching. Wonder what network will have the ACM Awards next year. And who will get their pioneer award. Don't you think it should be someone like Little Jimmy Dickens, or does ACM play politics also. It will be interesting to see what happens out in California next year. Fran Boyd is a friend of mine, and I know how much she loves country, but this show just did not make it. Where were Reba, Garth, and others, and how come several of the big names did not perform. Oh yes, Toby Keith, didn't you take it a little too far????
PLEASE, NO MORE RIMES.
Fan Fair is just around the corner, and if you are coming, you probably need to get your tickets to Pete Fisher's Opry, because there are still seats, isn't there Peter? The Fan Fair will have a special show this year, no thanks to Fisher, on June 17th at Riverfront Stages, from 11AM to 2 PM. I am going to put all of the info on some upcoming shows on the bulletin section of my news, SO PLEASE GO THERE FOR THE INFO, PLEASE.
I received an invitation to a preview of the Country Music Hall of Fame, May 14th. I attended along with Dick McVey, Jimmy & Lorraine Smart. It was a great get together of the industry people, and trust me there were many there, but there were also, as usual, the regular free loaders, who come for the drinks and the food. Never ceases to amaze me how they get in. I must tell you that I witnessed rudeness at its' highest. DISRESPECT ON HALLOWED GROUND
After several minutes of everyone meeting and greeting and enjoyed the free drinks and wonderful food that The Hall of Fame had catered, both Kyle Young and Bruce Hinton were treated to many who were impolite and rude and would not shut their mouth, as both of these gentlemen, who have worked so hard to see this dream come true for country music, tried to greet the many who gathered in front of the stage. They spoke of the great efforts of Mr. Bud Wendell and others, but there were many in the crowd who would not give these gentlemen the respect that they or any speakers are entitled to. I was hoping that maybe Marty Stuart would go to the stage and ask them for quiet. Several times when Kyle arrived at the podium, he asked for everyone to please come closer to the stage area to hear his brief remarks concerning the new HOF, but to no avail, and finally Kyle just threw his hands up in the air and went on with his welcome and remarks. We were then allowed to go through the Hall of Fame and what we witnessed was truly awesome, and Kyle and all of his staff are to be commended on their great work. Our town has some real lushes, who evidently do not have the money for cocktails or sandwiches and were there to mooch off of the what was offered. I am not the only person who noticed what was happening. I guess things will never change on music row until we get rid of the ones who do not have respect for this industry. But this is just one instance, and as you will read on my Editorial on the opening of the HOF, you will see that there are so many more who treasure this structure that carries the history of country music.
May 19th at the Grand Ole Opry was a night where the Opry payed tribute to the Hall of Fame members, and on this particular Saturday night, the Opry gave their Grand Ole Opry Award to Little Jimmy Dickens and Charlie Pride. This award was given to Brad Paisley on his induction as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. It is a beautiful award made from the wood of the benches of from the Ryman. The 2 recipients were much deserving. Also on the show on this night was Kitty Wells and her husband Johnny Wright. SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME, WHY THE OPRY HAS NOT ASKED MISS KITTY TO JOIN, SO THAT SHE AND JOHNNY CAN SPEND THE REST OF THEIR LIVES AS MEMBERS OF THE GRAND OLE OPRY, WHERE THEY DESERVE TO BE. Maybe there are reason that none of us know about. Put her on the early show, and the first portion of the second show, so that she can get home early.
I don't think that she will be like Little Jimmy Dickens, because Mr. Dickens loves to get to the Opry early and be with his band and his friends. At any rate lets join the Queen of Country Music, Gene Watson and Janie Fricke. It is time. There is no place on the Grand Ole Opry at this time for the Trick Pony's, with all due respect to the group.
Opry Backstage was super this past weekend if you watched. It had a great feature by, the one and only real country reporter, Roxanne Russell, on Jan Howard, and her thoughts on when she lost her son in his service to this country. A very, very touching story. Great work Roxanne, but knowing Jan, you were the person who could talk to her about her grief, which she still has. I have come to know Jan Howard a little better over the past couple of months, and I feel that she will back up anything she says and she stands up for what she believes in.
The Grand Ole Opry Live TV portion was hosted by Jim Ed Brown and his band the Gems. He once again did a great job, and sang a song that he had put music to from a poem given to him. It also was a touching story. One of his guest for the evening was Lee Greenwood and he did sing the song that has brought him so much fame and gave out country one of its' strongest patriotic songs ever, "GOD BLESS THE USA." It brought the Opry House fans to their feet to sing along and acknowledge our veterans. Great job Lee.
I hope that everyone saw the piece about the veteran's who are members of the Grand Ole Opry-Charlie Walker, Charlie Louvin, Jessie McReynolds, Stonewall Jackson and Jim Ed Brown.
Loretta Lynn opened her new museum at Hurricane Mills yesterday, and it brought a super crowd to view all of her memories. George Jones, Naomi Judd and Crystal Gayle were just a few to join Loretta on this great day. Loretta is over her bout with pneumonia and just finished 4/5 days on tour. If your coming to Nashville, make it a point to visit the new Country Music Hall of Fame and then take the 70 mile trip west on I-40 to Hurricane Mills to visit Loretta's Museum. I guarentee you will not be disappointed. Friends these are true country music buildings, where the heart and soul of traditional country music live, and will continue to live on.
I have been doing the news live in Northern Ireland, from my office, every Tuesday evening, with Eamon McPhilomey, an Irish Country Music D.J., and they are real country music lovers over there. Hoping that we can bring the Legends overseas.
I am hearing reports that Lori Smith is close to getting a big record deal. Michael Martin might be releasing his first single from his new CD on a major independent record label, here in Nashville. Michael has some great songs to let country music fans hear and I still believe that this young man will make it. Seantelle (aka-Jana Garren) may be moving to Nashville in the coming months. We are still shopping her session to the major labels. Taylor Bellow and Maegan Lee still doing their homework, and getting closed to a new record session. They are both sounding great and I look for big things for both of them. They are still young and moving forward with great anticipation. Look for Darnell Miller to release a new song to radio in the next few days. Darnell is one of the last true country singers in our business. I wish that I could get him a guest shot on the Opry, but with Pete Fisher at the helm, no one gets a chance except his favorites, and you can take that to the bank. Pete carries a helluva grudge toward great singers, unless they are young with tight jeans and you can view their belly buttons.
Hank Sasaki, the Japanese country singer is making a name for himself overseas in Germany and the Scandanavian countries. He is one of the hardest working artists that I have ever known. This month will put him in front of his country through a TV Special filmed on him about a month ago, here in Nashville, when they came and followed Hank around, when he appeared on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree and the allnight show with Johnny K, which follows the ETMJ. He is also a super person, and he is another that deserves to get a shot on the Opry. I have sent material to Fisher, and because of his grudge with me, he will not allow Hank to get a guest appearance on the Opry. What a shame we have such a dictator running the Opry, with no compassion for those thousands of artists who beg to get a guest appearance on the Opry, and others get it that do not deserve it, but evidently Pete owes someone a favor.
Another tradegy in our business is to have someone who loves our music, works so hard at it, offers so much to unknown indie artists and gives everyone so much opportunity to further their careers, and they don't seem to take advantage of it. His name is Dick Shuey, and in my eyes a man that country music owes a great debt to. This past week in his daily news, Dick issued the news that the Festival in August that he worked so hard at, had to be cancelled due to lack of ticket sales.
I am once again going to speak my piece on this subject and it will be short and sweet. Dick, if I were you, which I am not, I would tell all of the indie artists to go to hell, and let them continue on their wayward way of waiting for someone to come along and make them a star. They should take a lesson from Sheila Fredrickson and Hank Sasaki and Darnell Miller and others, who constantly strive to make their careers better, by "WORKING AT IT THEMSELVES." Dick Shuey has worked his tail off for the indie artists and in my mind they have let him down. Hey Dickie my friend, I am sure that you did not expect me to say these things, but I am back in the loop and ready to roll. It don't get any better than the Dick Shuey's of this world.
Many people have asked me for updates on Johnny PayCheck. Sorry to tell you, I have none. JP has opted to stay in his bed and enjoy the services of the health care, food, clothing and a roof over his head. What a true waste. I think it would be a great idea to have him come and see Johnny Russell and Wilma Lee Cooper, and that might jolt him back to reality.
Hey, have you heard Darryl Worly's new record, "TILL I GET MY SECOND WIND." Friends, Brad Paisley better not look behind him, because this young man is moving fast. With Brad and Darryl, country music is starting to move forward. Get Darryl's new record and watch his new video. They are both great. It would do the Opry great to get this young man on the Opry as soon as possible, if his management does not get in the way. Incidentally, regarding management, Chalee Tenisson, must have some weirdo's working with her, because I hear tell she gave her word about a certain show, then pulled off with a lame excuse from her management company. Be careful Chalee, you don't get many chances in this town.
Well finally the Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw thing is over and the final results were as I expected. NOT GUILTY. Buffalo, New York has added another things to its' list of what they have to live down. No super bowls and now they have embarrassed their city with charges that they could not bear out as truth. Congrats to Mark Russo, Tim and Kenny. Let's move on now everyone and put this behind us.
Now that ACM has screwed up with their awards show, here's hoping that the TNN Country Weekly Awards Show will have a segment, that is in their magazine, "CATCHING UP WITH THE PAST." Wouldn't it be nice to have a three or four of the Legends or veterans do a verse and chorus of their big hits, that they are still performing on the road. Who knows, maybe it might happen. But I will say this for both Country Weekly and the new guys in town, Country Music Live, that they devote print to the veterans of country music. Congrats to both magazines
David Frizzell is going great guns with his new CD, "YOU'VE JUST BEEN ROBBED BY JESSE JAMES." Please go get a copy if your country and you WILL NOT REGRET MONEY SPENT. Congrats to you David for keeping it country.
There are a lot of great things going on here that give me the hope that we are seeing a change in format and having more country records coming out of Nashville. I hope it continues, and we now have some great indie record labels with great product being played on the radio stations. Great records always seemed to get played. You can't stop a great singer and song.
I am sure by now that you all know that The Possum, George Jones is back and running on a new record label, with Evelyn Shriver, formerly of Asylum. Evelyn has her own label, Bandit Records and George is his first artist signed and they are getting ready to release new product on George soon. I heard some of the songs and they are great. We have even pitched some songs to George that I am hoping he hears what we hear. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
Good news for Pat Garrett, owner of Pat Garrett's Music Park in Pa., where our Legends Fest will be appearing on July 28th. Pat will be guesting on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree on June 23rd, and then as soon as he is finished there, he will go over to WSM for a great interview with Johnny 'K', where he will preview his new single. He is a great singer and one of our strongest supporters of traditional country music. Take a listen to the Midnight Jamboree on June 23rd.
Jimmy C. Newman getting awards for his Cajun music and his achievements in that music. He is a great person, one of the our true legends and a great asset to country music and the Grand Ole Opry. We are working on getting a deal for him, so that he will re-record his hits. I will keep you posted.
Stonewall Jackson is looking great and sounding as good as ever. A standing "O" along with Jack Greene on their recent appearance for the Legends Fest Tour, at Grand Casino Tunica, in Robinsville, Ms.
Charlie Louvin getting ready to receive more Hall of Fame Awards in Arkansas in the very near future. Charlie will keep me posted and I will let you know. I am hoping that the CMA Awards will see Ira & Charlie Louvin, Webb Pierce, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, The Delmore Bros., Ferlin Husky, and Carl Smith inducted into the Hall of Fame. Keep your fingers crossed. They were supposed to put 10 new members into the Hall at the Grand Opening, but they felt that it would take away form the ceremony, and maybe they were right. Each of these people should be recognized during the awards show.
The tour season is picking up now and Legends Fest is off and running like we knew it would. 2001 will be great, but 2002 will blow the lid off of the ceiling on Legends Fest. If you do not know who is a part of Legends Fest, then go take a look at our site: http://msptalent.com, then click on "HOME OF THE LEGENDS FEST."
Please check out our BULLETIN SECTION for a listing of several dates that we feel are very important in country music, and if you are in the area when these shows are appearing, please make it a point to get a ticket and support traditional country music. And we ask you to continue to watch and listen to the Grand Ole Opry. My feud with Pete Fisher has no bearing on our love for the Grand Ole Opry and its' veteran members. I have more news, but it is late and I want to get the info into the BULLETIN SECTION. I will write the Editorial tommorrow.
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE BULLETIN, I THINK THAT YOU WILL ENJOY THIS NEWS. WE ARE VERY EXCITED ABOUT LEGENDS FEST II. I have received copies of some great stories for you, so please check out The Features and Editorials. Many of you have asked, why I am not doing editorials as much as I once did. Well do not fret, I am storing my opinions and thoughts for many editorials in the future months.
Well that is the news for this past week. Hope you enjoy and I always am ready to view your comments, good and bad.
I will have the feature and the editorial on the editorial page from here on out, so please go to the editorial page. Have a great week and drop me an email when you can. Ask you friends to join our news and I will be more than happy to put them on the mailing list. It does not cost a penny.