FEATURES & EDITORIALS
THIS WEEKS FEATURE:
"THE PRICE OF FREEDOM HAS BEEN HIGH"
"HONOR THEY VETERANS"
Everyone of us has thoughts and feelings about our Veteran's, so I will give mine. They will be brief and as usual just my opinion.
Everyday when I read a newspaper, I wonder how people in other countries make it through each day, when they are subjected to governments that control their everyday life's. Not enough food, no freedom, no chance to live the life that each of us here in the USA have become accustomed to for all of these years. This all comes from those that gave their life's for this country, so that we can continue to enjoy this wonderful freedome and the opportunities to be whatever we wish to be.
Is there any way that we can ever repay our men and women who gave so much to make the United States of America what it is today. Scorned by many, needed by more, and ridiculed by the masses of other countries, who only wish they could live as we do. I know of no way to repay these veteran's than to just keep them in your prayers, the living and the dead, and to take a minute to just stop and think of all the good things we have, and in some way pay our respects to them in whichever way we feel we need to, but most of all, we need to remember them on this day and everyday. Remember, everyday is freedom. Freedom is not free, it has been paid for in many way.
Please enjoy this holiday and give thanks for being able to celebrate it in any way that we see fit. May God Continue to Bless our Nation and our people.
THIS WEEKS EDITORIAL
"THE NEW COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME"
THE CIRCLE WILL NEVER BE UNBROKEN
I thought I would like to walk you through what I witnessed on the morning of May 17, 2001. I arrived early at the site of the new Country Music Hall of Fame. After seeing many old friends and talking over how great this day was going to be, I was escorted to the area where we had been assigned our seats. Directly in front of the stage area. There was an electricity in the air of what was happening. Our own Ch. 5 TV with Harry Chapman and his staff were bringing us updates as the ceremonies were beginning to take place, first from the Grand Ole Opry House and several of the Opry members beginning their procession to the Ryman Auditorium, where several of the living Hall of Fame members were gathered to meet and be drivin in the limo's to the staging area of the Hall of Fame. There were the last artifacts that were being transferred from the Old Hall of Fame site to the new. One being the old WSM microphone and the guitar of Mother Mabelle Carter, which would be used the ceremonies by Marty Stuart.
The first order of business were for the dignataries to arrive, be announced and walk down the red carpet to the stage. The Grand Ole Opry members that were not out touring were very much in attendance. Martina McBride, Trishia Yearwood, Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson, Charlie Louvin, Jack Greene, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, Charlie Walker, Billy Walker, Ernie Ashworth,and don't you know who came in her wheelchair, direct from her hospital room, Miss Wilma Lee Cooper. What a great feeling it was to see her, and I could Vince Gill watching her come to the stage and standing up to welcome her. Miss Kitty Wells and her husband Johnny Wright were in attendance, as was Jimmy Dickens, Charlie Pride, Earl Scruggs, Brenda Lee, George Jones,Roy Horton and so many more. Oh yes, Vince and Amy and the baby were there for the complete ceremonies.
I want to say something here, that was very important to this ceremony being so great. The announcers for the ceremony for the the WSM Grand Ole Opry DJ's, Hairl Hensley, Kyle Cantrell, Eddie Stubbs and Keith Bilbrey, and my friends they were awesome in their coverage and introductions of the events that were taking place. Eddie and Keith were right on the money in not forgetting those that could not attend, and they made mention of Johnny Russell, Bashful Brother Oswald and Johnny PayCheck. These guys were at their very best on this day, and I congratulate each and every one of them for their super presentation of this great day.
The welcoming speeches came from Kyle Young who is the head man at the Hall of Fame, his former boss, Bill Ivey, Bud Wendell, Bruce Hinton, Gov. Sundquist and the Master of Ceremonies, Tony Brown. I must congratulate Tony on a superb job of carrying this program on with no hitches. With all of the negative things I have had to say about Tony Brown over time, I have come to commend him on his comments on what is going wrong with country music and putting himself out there on that small limb that sometimes breaks, and then taking the reins of this wonderful event and carrying the torch to make this day a success. Our Gov. Don Sundquist was eloquent with his words, and we all know that he is a true country music traditionalist and made no bones about the fact that he would like radio to play more of the veterans music, which drew thunderous applause from the capacity crowd.
Now to the performances during this ceremony. EmmyLou Harris with her great, great band, paid tribute to the Louvin Brothers, with Charlie sitting and listening, as she really unwound an awesome performance of the Louvin Bros. hit, "IF I COULD ONLY WIN YOUR LOVE." She was absolutely looking beautiful and she made us believe every word she said and sang.
One of the most touching performances, and there were a couple, was the rousing rendition of "Amazing Grace" by Vestal Goodman and George Jones. There were tears to many eyes in the crowd. I will tell you this, Vestal Goodman made George Jones bring his best voice with him on this day, and friends he did bring the Jones voice that we have come to be accustomed to hearing. They were both awesome.
Vince Gill sang "The Key To Life," and before he sang the song, he spoke of his father, and turned to acknowledge his feelings for Jimmy Dickens and what he meant to him and his Dad, and to all of the other members of the Hall of Fame and just country music in general. Vince Gill is Vince Gill and when he sings, we listen, because he gets right into your heart with his music. What a great man he is and for sure he has a space reserved in the Hall of Fame.
The Legendary Earl Scruggs came front and center with his great group of musicians, and I mean great, including Marty Stuart on mandolin and gave the crowd an awe inspiring version of "FOGGY MOUNTAIN BREAKDOWN," and I can tell you this, at his age, his fingers were flying and you could tell he was enjoying every minute of his time on stage with all of these great musicians that play with him, and just being part of the festivities. I know that Lester Flatt must have been watching on high. Another great moment during this super day.
Our Mayor Bill Purcell and former Mayor Bredesen were in attendance and we thank former Mayor Bredesen for his insight in seeing that the Country Music Hall of Fame found its' new home in downtown Nashville, where it will serve as the focal point of why Nashville and the State of Tennessee is known as the home of country music. We thank you Mayor Bredesen. And let us not forget how hard our present Mayor Purcell has worked to make sure that the success of the New Country Music Hall of Fame continues for the 100's of years in the future. You would have had to been there to see how proud both of these mayors were as were all of the dignitaries were, to have this great building open for all of the world to enjoy, not just country music lovers, but all music lovers. This is the cornerstone for all Hall of Fame's. We are so proud of it. Please make it a must to come see it. It is worth every penny and minute you will spend in this historic building.
To me the most touching moment of this entire ceremony, was when Marty Stuart came front and center, picked up Mother Mabelle's guitar, and pointed to the sound holes in the guitar, and said, "INSIDE HERE, IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF COUNTRY MUSIC." He then proceeded to play the "WILDWOOD FLOWER," made famous on this guitar by Mother Mabelle and the Carter Family. After playing the song through, he invited everyone to stand and join him in singing, "WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN," and after doing this for a verse and chorus, he called out to Vestal Goodman to come up to the microphone with him and join him in singing the choruses with him and the crowd. This brought a tear to Vestal's eyes and to all of us. Vestal and Marty sang their hearts out to the crowd and I am sure that A.P. and Mother Mabelle had to be listening and watching. It was a very, very special moment to make sure that this new Hall of Fame brings the old and new into one building and with Marty and Vestal singing this great song, the building was blessed by tradition, which opened its' doors in the beginning, and the hallowed halls of the new Hall of Fame will carry the past, present and future into this new era, but the history will be there with each step you take, when you visit this Holy Place of Country Music. This was surely a great moment in country music. Congrats to Marty Stuart for all of his hard work, and be sure when you come to see the Hall of Fame, do not miss the Marty Stuart Exhibit. It could be the best of the best.
Let me say something about Kyle Young, the head man of the Country Music Hall of Fame. They could not have given this job to a better man. His love for our music is full of pride and respect for this hallowed ground of country music. He is to be commended on his unselfishness for this project, his time, effort and love of the music and what this building means and will mean to country music in the years to come. He has put together a staff of workers that he is very proud of and when you walk through these halls, you will see why he is the man for this job, and we sincerely hope that he never leaves.
The time had come for Kyle, Tony Brown to open the doors of the Halls. So Charlie Pride, Brenda Lee, The Gov., Kyle Young and all of the dignitaries proceeded from the stage to the steps of the doors to the Hall of Fame, and cut the ribbon to officially open the Country Music Hall of Fame. There was a brunch which I did not attend, but my friends I hope that this gives you an idea of how it was on May 17th, 2001 at the opening ceremonies of this great historical building. This is what I was privileged to be a part of, what I seen and what I heard. The cream of the crop were in attendance. I did not see the Garth Brooks and many of the ones who probably will be in the Hall of Fame in years to come. Did not see Reba, Dolly, Hank Thompson, etc. I know their schedules were probably conflicting, but surely they knew in advance when this was going to take place. THEY WERE NOT THERE. I will tell you who was there that I was glad to see there, was Pete Fisher, and I mean that with all sincerity, because if there is any place where he could and should learn about what country music really is, what it stands for and those that have made it what it is today, this is the place.
I have enjoyed telling you what I was honored to be a part of and I hope you have enjoyed it.
Well that is it for this week. Hope you enjoyed and I will have more news soon. Have a great week. Remember our sick and shut-in friends and those on the prayer line.
I would still like to see Floyd Tillman get a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.
I know for a fact that Floyd Tillman was put on list for a guest appearance on the Opry. He is truly one of our great, great legends and pioneers in all of country music. He is 87 years old I believe and he still sings great. PETE, DON'T YOU THINK HE DESERVES A GUEST APPEARANCE ON THE GRAND OLE OPRY, MORE SO THAN COWBOY COUNTRY, ETC. I hope you will honor the Grand Ole Opry with a guest appearance by FLOYD TILLMAN.