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News - Past Weeks

CURRENT NEWS FOR THE WEEK OF 3/20/00 through 3/26/00


Mar. 16-RAY BENSON (Asleep at the Wheel)
Mar. 20-DOUG GREEN (Riders in the Sky)-JERRY REED





Not much of an update this week. The man is here and I have spent several hours with him. He is doing great, and he is finally just taking his time getting back into the swing of things, and that is something that he has not done in many years. He knows now that he has dodged another bullet, so he has to be really healthy this time, for all the things that he is planning to do. Recording, writing, and touring. It was good to spend some time with him and his wife. They are situated and love their new home.


Although I was not backstage, I did listen to the TV portion of the show, on radio. Johnny Russell introduced his new CD which is dynamite. He had his friend and the legendary banjo maestro, Earl Scruggs on with him to play on his song, which he recorded with Johnny on his new CD. Buy the CD as soon as it is out. Also on the TV show were, Ray Pillow (Glad to hear Ray on the TV Show),Holly Dunn and B.J. Thomas. It was a great show, and B.J. sounded awesome. He has a new CD which will be out very shortly and I will be having some great news on B.J., from my friend, Denny Nelson, who has been very instrumental in the resurgence of B.J.'s career, which really has never died. He still sings as great as ever.

Others on the Opry Saturday night were Mandy Barnett, Rick Skaggs, Chalee Tennison (Super Singer if they keep her country). She has a great, great record being played at this time, "SHE DON'T LOVE HERE." Brad Paisley was on the Friday Night Opry. This young man needs to be inducted as part of the Grand Ole Opry. He wants to be a member, so I wish the Opry would quit dragging their feet.


Brooks & Dunn often use lots of bells & whistles in their energetic live show, but now they are adding cannons. Ronnie says he and Kix will be shot out of 2 cannons, made to look like a gigantic double-barreled shotgun, to start their live shows. But things have not been going really smooth. "We're $250,000 into it, and it's not working yet," Ronnie says. "We put a couple of dummies in, and it blew em in half," he said. "hope this doesn't happen to us real dummiies." LISTEN YOU GUYS, I KNOW OF TWO PEOPLE INPARTICULAR THAT YOU COULD USE FOR TESTING. THEY'RE BOTH DUMMIES. OF COURSE WE ALL KNOW SEVERAL MORE.

Faith Hill And Donna Summers, both from right here in Music City USA, will join Mariah Carey for VHI Divas 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross. The show is slated to debut at 8 PM, CST, April 11. Worth seeing.

Country comedian, Gilbert 'Speck' Rhodes dies at the age of 84. Also, Pat Boone's Mother, Margaret Pritchard Boone, passed away this past week at the age of 90. Her husband, Archie Boone died this past Jan. 27th. Our prayers and condolences go out to both families in this their time of sorrow. MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN PEACE.

John Tesh who used to co-host ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT w/Mary Hart, is crying the blues because he will not host the DOVE AWARDS this year. Kathie Lee Gifford will be the host. I am not sure which is the worst, to hear Tesh crying to listen to Kathie Lee all night. There is not happy medium here.

Chely Wright's "SINGLE WHITE FEMALE," took 10 months to gain Gold Status, Sara Evan's "NO PLACE THAT FAR," took about a year and half to sell a half million units. Now she is going pop and you can bet it will be many months before she sees another Gold award. She will be off label. One country record and she goes Pop. I have no sympathy for her. SHeDAISY went gold in 6 months last year, but Mark Wills' latest went gold this year in only about a month on the strength of his hit, BACK AT ONE. Remember me telling you last year how stupid the country radio seminar was in stating that they didn't feel that Mark had the talent to be a star. They had just viewed him on the New Faces Showcase. That's how much they know, little of nothing. Mark is ready for some awards.

The Grammy Committee put some 49 recordings into the Grammy Hall of Fame, including HELLO WALLS-FARON YOUNG, I'M MOVIN ON-HANK SNOW, PISTOL PACKIN MAMA-AL DEXTER, and WICHITA LINEMAN-GLEN CAMPBELL. Congratulations to our country music legends and we thank the Grammy Committee for recognizing these individuals.

George Beverly Shea one of the greatest Gospel singers of all time, played to a sell-out audience at the Opry House today, Sunday, March 26th. He is 91 years old and still records and tours with The Billy Graham Crusade, which will be here in Nashville at the Adelphia Coliseum June 1 thru 4. Mr. Shea just completed his 72nd record, "IF THAT ISN'T LOVE."

Loretta Lynn travels on a custom touring bus with her name painted on the side. So when the bus pulled into a fast-food restaurant this past Friday in West Monroe, La., fans inside clamored for her. "When they pulled up, I ran over and told the bus driver that if he could get her off of the bus, I'de buy her breakfast," said restaurant manager Rose Searcy. Nothing doin. "Sorry, she's got not makeup on," said the driver. "You know how you women are." HEY WASN'T THAT NICE OF THE MGR. TO OFFER TO BUY HER BREAKFAST. CHEAP SKATE. WHY NOT THE BAND, DRIVER, ROAD MGR., AND EVERYONE ELSE TRAVELING ON THE TOUR.

Toby Keith is finally nominated at the ACM Awards. Long, long overdue and I hope the hell he wins it. He is nominated for best male vocalist. Well deserved.


Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.

Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says. OR IS IT SCAREY?

Funny how someone can say "I believe in God" but still follow Satan (who, by the way, also "believes" in God).

Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of Jesus is suppressed in the school and workplace.

FUNNY, ISN'T IT? Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week. ARE YOU LAUGHING?

Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them. (It's going to all of my friends.)

Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me = than what God thinks of me. ARE YOU THINKING?

Wow!! how true, how sadly true this is for a lot of us!

Dear Marty,
If you are interested in news from INDEPENDENT music business, at all, I would appreciate a mention in your internet newsletter.... A lot of people here in Nashville, both major and indie...know who I am, as I have worked for NSAI, Country Music magazines (Modern Screen Country and Country Chart Analyst and New Country Magazine) music publishers, etc, as well as being a Producer and Promoter and Booking agent here.

HREF="">Nashville Music by Ruthie Steele A&R Records.

It was I who brought Max D. Barnes' songs to Nashville in 1969 and got him started in the music business by getting him a recording contract and also a writer's deal with Cedarwood Publishing Company.

I am back in Nashville now, and doing Artist promotion/Radio promotion for Higgins Music Group (HMG) They also have the Christian Country Music Association.and POWER SOURCE Magazine. We work with 6 types of music, including country. I would love to hear from my old friends in the music business.

My contact info:
Ruthie Steele
PO Box 101336
Nashville, Tn. 37224

HREF=" /index.html?cc=english"


New Production added to say thanks to the fans

Nashville, Tennessee (March 20, 2000)- At the end of 1999, BNA recording artist Kenny Chesney embarked on his first headlining tour and the dividends are paying off. Chesney kicked off his 2000 touring schedule by selling out Billy Bob's Texas in Ft. Worth which is a true rarity for the 6,000 seat venue. He then continued the trend by selling out shows in San Antonio, Panama City, Pensacola, and Tulsa to name a few. This year, Kenny has fully upgraded his show to include new staging and lighting which involves the addition of a new bus and two tractor trailers to haul the tremendous amount of gear and people to produce the shows. Kenny has a loyal and growing fan base and he wanted in part to say "thanks" to all that have followed him through his career and bring his shows to a new level. By headlining his own tour, he is finally able to do just that. "The fans' response to this new show has been overwhelming to me and that's the ultimate payoff that I was looking for from all of this," enthuses Kenny. "With all the costs involved in a production of this scale, it means not bringing home as much money as we were, but it's all been worth it to know that I can say 'thanks' to my fans and have them go away seeing the best show possible from us."

His biggest sell out of the year so far came from Knoxville, TN at Thompson Bowling Arena. Kenny had the crowd of 10,000 fans on their feet the entire time with his incredible new stage show. And weekend before last, Kenny played to a sold out crowd at the Rialto Theater in Joliet, IL just outside of Chicago. As soon as the crowd heard the introduction to "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" he received a 5 minute standing ovation BEFORE he ever sang a note of the hit song.
,br> This spring Kenny will be taking a break from his own tour to hit the road again with the George Strait Music Festival which kicks off April 29th. He will also be performing on the ACM awards on May 3rd. "What I Need To Do," the 3rd single from his platinum album Everywhere We Go, is currently No. 17 on the Billboard chart and No. 20 on R&R.

Lonestar Displays Hidden Talents On National TV

NASHVILLE, TN (3/20/00) - While guesting on "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" this morning, Lonestar's drummer, Keech Rainwater, displayed more than his talent with sticks. In spite of the fact that he regularly keeps the band and crew entertained on the tour bus with his extensive repertoire of imitations and sounds, few people were aware of his vocal acrobatics. The researchers on the nationally-syndicated show discovered his talents and asked Keech to demonstrate. After dead-on imitations of the Steve Irwin a.k.a The Alligator Hunter on "The Animal Planet" and The Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz," Keech was asked by Joy Philbin, who was subbing for Kathie Lee Gifford, to do his "Regis" imitation. Keech was happy to comply, much to the affable host's amazement. The band is in New York today to tape segments of CNN Showbiz Today and The TV Guide Channel as well as appearing live on "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee." They have also been confirmed to perform on the Academy of Country Music Awards in May.


Listen to The "Opry Star Spotlight" - Sunday Night 9 April

Johnny "K" will let the world hear "The SURVIVOR"for the first time on WSM 650 Radio....Home Of The Grand Ole Opry.... Hear the Song and the full story.....and the great Country Music Legend's singing "THE SURVIVOR" the one and only Johnny "K" can present it... Mark your calendar....Sunday Night...9 April 2000

I read and heed Bill Littletons' words every week and I think that the following email I received is short but to the point and needs to be read by everyone, including myself.

The whole point of starting my newsletter, thebridgeworks, in June '98 was to provide a forum to which ANYONE who cares could have access. The topic at hand is possibly out of hand, yet the more perspectives, the larger the vision.
,br> Bob Ferguson checked into the website called Napster the other day and, before he left, he had an excellent version of Ferlin Huskey singing "Wings Of A Dove" ensconsed on his hard drive without a penny changing hands. His understandable question is that if he can literally steal his own song, who else can? The scary answer is ANYBODY. The argument he has heard already is that the "free" recordings on the internet are promotionally healthy for the CD, "But I don't need promotion," Ferg responds; "I just need to be paid for my property." During the next two weeks, the April issue of thebridgeworks will be completed and will inclose at least Bob's perspective. Yours is welcome. I appreciate your time.

Bill Littleton

Artists Confirmed for Straitland Festival Area

"Nokia Presents the George Strait Chevy Truck Country Music Festival"


NASHVILLE -- After an incredible opening weekend at the box office (Charlotte 4-29 and Nashville 4-30) for the "Nokia Presents the George Strait Chevy Truck Country Music Festival" and a Number #1 country album chart debut for Strait's new greatest hits CD, Latest, Greatest, Straitest Hits, the anticipation for the hottest tour of the year is building.
,br> The tour's main stage line up stars Strait with Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney, Mark Chesnutt, Lee Ann Womack and Asleep at the Wheel. And now confirmed for the "Straitland" Jack Daniels Lynchburg live stage are Jerry Kilgore, Clay Davidson and Lace. Each of the "Straitland" artists will perform twice a day with Straitland festivities beginning at 11am and the main stage concert commencing at 1pm.

"Straitland" is the largest festival area ever associated with a music tour and will feature vendors and lifestyle exhibits as well as recreational fun & games. Several of the artists on the tour will sign autographs at the Pemmican beef jerky Autograph Pavilion in Straitland.

About the artists:

Clay Davidson (Virgin Records) is one of the fastest-rising artists on the country music horizon. His first single and video from his forth-coming April 11 debut is the album's title track, "Unconditional" which leaped into the Billboard top 30 this week. "USA Today" has already labeled Davidson as "one of 2000's most promising country debuts," and the "Nashville Scene" declared "with his deep, soulful delivery, he is the missing link between country and Southern rock."

Jerry Kilgore (Virgin Records) is carrying on the torch of country music. After many years of absorbing music in the honky-tonks where he performed, the Oregon native finally found himself in Nashville and got serious about his career. His first break came when "Love Lessons," a song he co-penned went Top 10 for Tracy Byrd and then a year later, Kilgore saw John Michael Montgomery take another one of his songs, "Cover You In Kisses," to the Number 3 spot on the charts. Today, Kilgore is proud to have written or co-written 7 of the 12 cuts on his debut CD release titled Love Trip.

Tim McGraw Surprises Anheuser Busch Convention with Bread & Water show

New Bud Light Commercial starring McGraw Premiered at Convention

NASHVILLE - Tim McGraw filmed his fifth commercial for Bud Light, his tour sponsor of the last few years, at the end of February just after the Grammy's in Los Angeles. This commercial was premiered yesterday morning during the Anheuser Busch convention in Atlanta. Tim made a planned appearance at the convention on Tuesday morning but gave a "Bread & Water" concert for the wholesalers attending the conference on Monday evening. The "Bread & Water" show, held at the Buckhead Saloon in Buckhead, a suburb of Atlanta, is the sixth of its kind. Five "Bread & Water" shows were held during the 1999 George Strait Country Music Festival and all raised money for local charities. Conference attendees were treated to four straight hours of music at the Buckhead by Tim and his band (7:30-11:30pm) and they also helped to raise money for the Cobb County Children's center. Tuff Hedeman, the world champion bull rider, made a guest appearance on stage to sing with Tim. Tim's father Tug McGraw, who came to the convention with Tim, also hit the stage to perform a song and apparently rendered a very long version of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."

Tim's latest Bud Light commercial co-stars Tug. The spot opens with Tim being pulled over by a trooper for speeding while driving his tour bus. When the officer asks for Tim's driver's license the officer states, "I know who you are. Yeah, you're Tug McGraw's son." Much to Tim's disbelief the officer did not recognize him as a famous singer, much like the bar patrons in the last Bud Light commercial who only recognized Tim as Faith Hill's husband. The closing scene of the commercial is set outdoors on the side of the road. Tim is playing catcher, Tug is pitching and the trooper is squatting by Tim's side clocking Tug's speed with a radar detector. The commercial ends as the trooper states, "Man, he's still got it," (meaning Tug's arm can still throw fast) and Tim shakes his head.

The national commercial will be coming to your TV set soon!

WSM's polls

'Is today's country music too pop?'
Total votes: 304
Yes: 247 votes (81.2%)
No: 57 votes (18.7%)

Second question I looked at:
'Do you like the song "Murder On Music Row"
' Results:
Total votes: 108
Yes: 100 votes (92.5%)
No: 8 votes (7.4%)

Now, if only label executives would get a look at those kinds of figures, I think Country music could reclaim its now lost identity.

WSM 650 Radio News Reports... "Big" Joe Talbot has passed away due to Cancer... Joe would have been 73 today. This is a tremendous loss. Joe was outspoken in his love of country music and we will surely miss his input. MAY HIS SOULD REST IN PEACE. We send our prayers and condolences to his family in this their time of sorrow.

Maegan Lee, the young lady from Texas that I am managing, has finished her first recording session, and we have just completed mixing the songs, and I am here to tell you that she has something here and we are ready to show it to the majors. I have high, high hopes for Maegan. She has all of the tools to be a superstar in country music.

Lori Smith still getting great airplay in Europe, and also Darnell Miller, Ernie Ashworth and my good buddy Narvel Felts continues to light up the European Charts.

We are now selecting songs for Michael Martin's recording session. I am really looking forward to this session, because I feel that Michael has a different edge on his music and this is what Nashville is looking for, so both Michael and myself are really looking forward to completing this project.

John Welch and Debbie WhiteCloud will both have a single release on the Hot Disc from England.


by L.Fryer

Well, folks…..I've just read the most interesting article….it appears in the current (April 4) issue of "Country Music Weekly" magazine. "Country VS Pop" (Bob Paxman), pg. 30…..and I'm telling you, I'm not sure what to say first! But, you know me…..I'll find the words…just give me a moment………..Ok, found em………………………….first, lets take miss Shania…….I know, I've talked about her before..and not very long ago, either (but she's such an EASY target)….and this article just screams for a response, and I'm gonna give it one! or two…………yep, here we go again.

First, lets get one thing straight…ok? country, by its very definition, means laid back, informal, gentle, "outside the city limits" ……What it does NOT mean, is slick, polished, pushy, loud, or pretentious………sooooo, lets take a look at the real "country" singer………shall we begin with one of the greatest? Why not………lets take (and I'll stay current for the sake of the "kids" reading this) Alan Jackson…….his lyrics:….pure country…his style:….purer yet…….his demeanor:…allll country…. …. …all heart….quick smile….and proud…..humble….a little shy………..his music? Well, if you don't know he's country, after hearing the very first note, then you haven't really heard country music!

Ok, …..Now, lets take miss Shania….(I'd rather not, but I just HAVE to) …..her lyrics…..well, they're not bad…even I, cant argue with good writing…..her style? ….well, I don't know if I really have to tell you, but if I do, you'd better be prepared for some ugly stuff here……..because in my opinion, her style is cheap…..yep, it costs a LOT of money…but its still CHEAP (and no, not like Dolly) ….her demeanor…….POP singer…wanna-be rocker….no heart…no sincerity….all about herself… humor, not REAL humor, anyway…..not down-home, comfortable, humor…….and….humble?? Well, she says she is….so, who am I to call her bluff? ………but………lets call a spade a spade, folks.
,br>Now, we know that there's COUNTRY …..and we know there's POP……both are great….both have good quality music…..different….but good! My question is……why is pop music, suddenly being called COUNTRY? hmmmmmmm…lets think about it…..Oh, yes…now I remember! it's the "new guys", the ones who took over music row….you know, the ones who MURDERED it! the ones that bought up the major labels, radio stations, TV networks…. and then fired the folks who had worked in Nashville for years….and replaced them with younger Hollywood, New York city types. Types that had been trained to believe that if it doesn't sell BIG, it isn't worth selling at all….As Randy Travis so eloquently put it, in the article, "We've gone from a hit album being 300,000 units, to when you sell 300,000 units now, you're dropped from the label!" Country music, PRE-Murder….was a tradition….it had roots….the men and women who performed and wrote country music, KNEW the lyrics, INSIDE themselves….they had lived it…or they knew someone who had……they wrote and sang with their very souls……..and you could FEEL it…..and BELIEVE it…"….in the early 90's we got away from the traditional music and started hitting more crossover stuff…..that's OK, but in SMALL doses…I don't want to see it get to the point where rock and pop just PERVADE country music….." says Randy…….but of course we all know, that's EXACTLY what's starting to happen.

Once upon a time, you could watch the performances on stage at the Grand Ole Opry…without being uncomfortable…without wincing at the sight of a young woman standing on the stage, legs planted firmly apart, the width of her shoulders, tight black leather skirt, (so short it didn't really have a reason for being all!) belly button starin us in the face, Madonna style….hair in a zillion braids…..drums pounding….electric guitars screaming…..lightening bolts blasting……..and your ear drums ringing almost as loudly as the cymbals clanging! Oh, sorry…. a little toooooooo visual? I guess……but I think you get my point……And then there's the bands like Lone Star….remember when they first started out? Remember that first album? They sounded great….and they LOOKED country….yeah…COWBOY hats, even……but……not anymore….gone are the hats….(ok, so hats aren't a requirement for country artists, I know that) …but, when they decided to cross over, well, it just seemed to me that the cowboy hats weren't pop cool enough for them, anymore……so poof! Out they went!! c'mon….that was sooooo obviously a sell-out!

Now, moving right along….…..The article in CMW, had a lot to say….and quoted many of today's artists, as well as some of the legends. Faith Hill had this to say "…..A lot of people didn't listen to country radio, but do so now…….that's really cool….its bringing them over into our world a little bit" …..Well, it may be "cool"….but its NOT bringing anyone into OUR world…even a LITTLE bit, Faith……nope…..Its bringing "them", to radio stations that are now going to so- called "new country" ….pop country…….the fans who listen to these stations, don't want to hear the traditional country….they want to hear "Shania country", and all the others that are following in her footsteps……they have absolutely NO desire to hear George Jones…Loretta Lynn…..or even Lee Ann Womack! Nope, Lee Ann is waaaaay "too country"…….oh sure, she had a couple of hits…and won an award or two…..but how long did that last? and if its gonna happen again, for her, you can bet your bippy, that it'll be with a "newer sound…..something kinda…well… know…..POP!

The new artists who are trying to climb their way to the top in country music, are having to sell their souls! That is, if they want to get any air play on the biggest country stations….. Listen to what Toby Keith had to say, "I'm definitely country all the way. But the big numbers come when you get some POP play along with country" ….Doesn't that about say it all? He's right, you know……and yes, years past have also had battles with newer sounding music……but country music still remained country music…..and yes, purists will always be critical of any kind of change being forced on them…….but…..lets get REAL, folks….this isn't just a little change…this is a HUGE change…..and its so visible, that EVERYONE is talking about it….and people are losing their jobs over it…..and legends are being cast aside because of it……..Shania isn't adding her talent to other country artists…she's REPLACING them!! She's moving them over……she's changing the very face of what we have loved….of tradition….of country roots……….Shania Twain (and I'm sorry if I keep harping on her, in particular, but who stands out more than Shania, in this battle?) …Shania says "honestly, I would be disappointed if I was not being recognized by the country world." …….awwwwwww..couldn't ya just cry for her? …..I want someone to tell me what/when/how/and why, Shania Twain can be called country……..Is it because she moved to Nashville, from Canada, to write? Is it because she worked with country songwriters and performers, early in her career? Is it because she couldn't catch a break in the rock world, so she decided to sliiiide on into country while she had the contacts? What other reason could there be???? She has NEVER, EVER, had a song that sounded even a tiny bit country…*well, maybe an occasional "pity" song, just for us real country fans)..Her videos have never told a country story… fact, her videos tell only ONE story…..the story of SHANIA….her face…her hair….her body…Shania Twain is NOT a country singer….NO WAY in H ---!!…….and it is totally unfair for her to be placed in the same awards categories as Reba or Randy Travis or Patty Loveless…these are country artists!!

The article in CMW also made reference to some country singers who "covered" a pop song, now and then, and made it a hit…and even, occasionally got some backlash from the country music purists….but hey, ….this is a totally different thing, than being a pop artist, and "covering" a country song, but presenting it in such a way, as to appeal to the POP charts, and not even TRY to bring the country sound into it…yet calling it COUNTRY!

Well, I guess I should wrap this up …but let me just say this…….I don't have a problem with a country artist, who occasionally records a pop song, and has fun with it…..Any artist who has the talent to sing or play several styles of music, has a perfect right to do so….and they should……..But that is a very long way from simply singing pop music, and CLAIMING to be country…and I also agree that music is music, and the more people that it can reach, the better……but..…I think a singer should be honest with their fans…and with themselves……….after all, what's WRONG with being a pop singer? Not a thing, as I see it………but if that's who you are, then claim it…..and don't hide behind a cowboy hat and guitar (that you'll throw aside anyway) ………the fans of country music, deserve to be able to listen to the great legends, and to hear traditional country music on their country radio stations….they deserve that respect………….it's a sad day when the CMA loses a great legend like Waylon Jennings…who, I've been told, just pulled his membership……because he no longer wants to be associated with "this period of country music". I wonder what Hank Williams, Sr. would say, if he were alive today……..One thing is for sure, you wouldn't be hearing him say it!……because today's radio, wouldn't carry it !! ……………….well, guess that's all for now, folks……take it as you read it….it is, after all….just "An Independent View"

Written by:
Linda Fryer, BMI Music/Entertainment Journalist

Hi Marty,

Well said....I couldn't have said it any better... It's the old story....everybody is against change... Just like time.... it's going to change...the old to the new... Good change is great...if it's in the interest of Country Music... The real issue is ... the new power's to be... want us to believe what country is...hell they wouldn't know country if it set down at their dinner table.

You and I know country Music when we hear it... And so does the Country Music Fan... These people are not paying attention to what is happening here...encluding many of our friends.

If you listen to the Radio right now... The Record Companies aren't releasing Country Product...I'm hearing more and more mix of traditional country 5 & 10 years old...because the Record Companies are not releasing new good country product....they are shipping pop and in a quiet way...the Radio Stations aren't playing it....they are digging back into their library....if they got it...and programing Traditional Country into their mix...and it sounds great when they do... We'll see if the Indie's are smart enough to fill the void...hopefully they will....and promote it as such... In short...the New CEO's are trying to kill Country Music for what they believe is bigger and better Profit's...$$$$$$ satisfy the Stockholders.

Their job's are at stake....and I personally believe you are going to see some very interesting changes....Many of these Guy's {CEO'S} need to call the mover's...they ain't gonna' be in town very long... I have seen it happen isn't anything new... Let's hope the Indie Label's capitalize on a great opportunity... They can be hero's and save Country Music..... And they should take the credit if they do...they certainly will deserve it.

When I hear Music on the Radio recorded 10 & 20 years ago...and it sounds better than the current releases...and with all the Hi-tech involved... the new stuff sounds pretty darn crappie... What's that tell you....???? You don't have to be a Rocket Expert to know that Country has got to have Twang in it... This vanilla stuff with enforcement of electronic inducement has Country Music losing it's identity and personality.... They are sniffin' & smokin' the wrong stuff.... Do you think that E.T....Hag....Jones...Jackson... Acuff...Shepard..Loretta...Twitty... ever took a voice lesson...Ha-Ha-Ha...!!!! I forgot Willie n' Waylon...Sorry guy's... Now that's a They all sound alike today....Blaaaaah....!!!! When Martel & Shuey start sounding good on old records...10 to 20 years old...the business is in trouble....big trouble...!!!! {Smile} And you have my permission to quote me.

Have a good one
Your Buddy
Dick Shuey

Where's the Country Music on TNN?
,br> .c The Associated Press


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - These days, the folks at TNN tend to downplay the words behind their abbreviation: The Nashville Network.

No wonder. Country music no longer dominates the cable station built on the backs of Nashville's singing stars.

There's wrestling on Friday nights, action shows on Wednesday nights, old TV movie-of-the-week tear-jerkers on Mondays nights.

Reruns of ``Matt Houston,'' ``Alice'' and ``The Dukes of Hazzard'' dominate the daily schedule. The original programming is a mix of roller derby, bowling, rodeo and the weekly ``Eighteen Wheels of Justice'' (a combination of ``Knight Rider'' and ``The Fugitive''), with G. Gordon Liddy as the bad guy.

``We kind of take a tongue-in-cheek approach to the whole thing,'' said Brian Hughes, head of TNN programming. ``This is not brain surgery. We're in the business of entertaining people, and it's kind of lighthearted entertainment.''

During its first two decades, TNN was the network that featured low-key songwriter Bobby Bare talking shop with his famous friends, Ricky Skaggs playing hot licks at the Ryman Auditorium, and Ralph Emery having meandering conversations with country stars on ``Nashville Now.''
,br> The programming shift, which got under way in earnest in January, was the result of several factors that threatened the network. Chiefly, the audience for the country music programming was older than advertisers prefer. There was also a growing problem getting top country music stars to appear on TNN shows and the need for TNN to differentiate itself from sister network CMT (Country Music Television).

``I think to a great degree this network was taken for granted (by the country music industry) for a long, long time,'' Hughes said. ``I don't mean any disrespect with that. ... This surge of popularity for country music beginning in the late 1980s, it opened up avenues for people in network television, syndicated television and other cable outlets. They had this plethora of opportunity out there, which was good for everybody.

``But we saw them less.'' So, out went ``Prime Time Country,'' country music's daily ``Tonight Show'' knockoff, and in came a series of theme nights mostly directed to attracting males ages 12 to 34. Friday's lineup is monster trucks at 8 p.m. EST, ECW Wrestling at 9 p.m., RollerJam at 10 p.m. and Rockin' Bowl at 11 p.m.

Hughes said that although the number of viewers overall has dropped by about 20 percent from last year, corporate parent CBS is pleased with improvements in demographics.

``We had success stories all around the network with regard to ratings and demos, but the country music-related things had a tendency to skew old for a long period of time,'' Hughes said.

TNN isn't out of the music programming business, Hughes insists. The Grand Ole Opry is still given an hour each Saturday. A new music series is under development that is mostly country, but will incorporate other styles to attract a broader audience.

Concerts by classic rock acts will probably be broadcast at some point, Hughes said.

``Music is going to be an element on this network,'' he said. ``As it relates to the country music side of things, I think we're more focused on quality than we are quantity.''
,br> So, as TNN seeks its new identity, what grand theme unites roller derby, ``The Waltons,'' Daisy Duke in short-shorts, The Grand Ole Opry and Championship Bull Riding? ``Uniquely and distinctly American,'' Hughes said. ``The great outdoors to the American West in the rodeo element that we have, to American music, to even RollerJam and wrestling.

``They are a part of American culture, whether you're real proud of it or not.''

> Well.....It's plain to see what has happened to Country Music....I can > give you a list if you like....starting with the major record companies > hiring people younger than Waylon's hat to promote country music and > make high level decisions based on nothing but a college degree in > management and/or music....That doesn't make you a producer or a good > promotion person. What MAKES you a good producer and/or a promotion > person is to have been out of diapers when T.G. Shepherd had his hit of > FINALLY. Or when Webb and Faron used to close down the honky tonks on > lower Broadway... (For those of you who weren't out of diapers then, > thats WEBB PIERCE AND FARON YOUNG). You have to live this business, > have to know the difference between a digitally enhanced > session and a session that blood was sweated over. Back in the old > days, when a record was cut...if they made a mistake at the very end of > the stopped and went back and sang the whole thing over from > the start....there was no 'punching in'...there was no digital > enhancement. What you need to do is hang out with some of the older > folks along the row...learn by listening to something other than your > own press. I've been in this business too long to not just laugh > hysterically when I hear the young guy from the Opry talk about the > great line-up they are going to have and the only one on there you ever > heard of was 'Tator. (Once the diaper people...That's Little > Jimmy Dickens.)

Let me tell you....the GREATEST thing that could happen > to this song, MURDER ON MUSIC ROW, is to have George and Alan cut it. > It will be heard.... And to quote a really great song writer, Ben > Peters, "Honey, they can't cut 'em if they don't hear 'em". It works > the same way with this don't understand...yes the writers > would like for their version of the song to be heard...I'm a > songwriter..wrote for Acuff-Rose for years...I know this...but 50% of a > hit is a lot better than 100% of nothing...

K. Phyllis Powell

The following is comments made from George Lee Jr. and he is very candid about this feelings and I do respect this man for airing his comments so that we can print them.

> A VERY INFORMED and astute statement. Man, do I agree----in our 24 track > dinosaur analog studio, we're not offended that we have to play the song > RIGHT for three minutes! It ain't that hard, and a little rehearsal, sweat > equity and discipline go a long way toward a recording you can be proud of > forever. I get a giant kick every time Mutt Lange "flys in" an "impromptu" > "ooh" or "ahh" from Shania----you can literally hear the zeroes and ones > lining up on the screen to create that calculated exclamation of cyberjoy.

> > Moving along to the next comment:I don't mean to pound this into the ground, > but: I THINK "murder On Music Row" is a GREAT SONG, A GREAT PERFORMANCE BY > TWO FABULOUSLY TALENTED ARTISTS, AND A WONDERFUL DEVELOPMENT FOR THE WRITER!!

> > I'm only saying that these two guys are safely entrenched in the arms of > Nashville and Music Row, and that they did not take the perceived BIG RISK > everybody's howling about. I love George ( The Cowboy Rides Away may well be > among my top three favorite songs of ALL TIME) and AJ (His remake of Pop A > Top is one of the classiest and most respectful tributes I've ever heard, and > AJ's voice is pure honey on fresh toasted bread) but c'mon----they're made > guys----this will not jeopardize their standing on Music Row in any way. They > dominate Music Row. Anything that's happening there that is not to their > liking is merely an annoyance, compared to the folks who are locked out. > Folks are blowing the "risk" factor way out of proportion---I'm pretty sure > neither guy has been out of the top ten for more than a few minutes in the > last ten years. They earned the right to be there, I won't deny that. > That's all this humble analog cyber-challenged old boy is saying!

> Respectfully Yours, George Lee, Jr.

I was in town over the 3/16 and 3/17 weekend and agree with with your assessment of this weekends opry however a few points:

The mall they're building next to the Opry house looks like the backside of a bad place in Vegas
The ushers at the Opry act as if they could care less about the fan
The ticket windows for early pickup of tickets don't open until 10am
Trying to park in the downtown area was impossible We went to both of the shows on Friday and Saturday and enjoyed them tremendously. Couldn't the artists or some of them become a little more in touch with the fan after the shows?
Television or radio doesn't do the Carol Lee singers any justice.
This past weekend they were GREAT

Hi Marty,

Hey did you ever stop and read your news letter? On one hand you talk about the older stars being left off the opry and how they aren't being treated right and how you are for old country. Then you turn right around and give praise to the new ones that are being on the opry. They sing the country rock that you are against, but you still praise them. By that you are going along with Fisher for he is putting people on that I have never heard of and they are taking the older peoples place on the opry. Marty you can't have it both ways for you have to stand on one side of the fence or the other. I have had a lot of people tell me they don't read you anymore for this reason. Take care and I hope you stop and see what I have said for I still think of you as a friend but you wanted what people think so that is what I and a lot of others think.

As Always



Recordings: Hits album features some Strait shooting
Tuesday, March 14, 2000
By Jerry Sharpe

Country's two top traditionalists figure Nashville is drifting too far from its roots. So George Strait and Alan Jackson voice their protest in a first-ever duet titled "Murder on Music Row."

It's the most talked-about song on the new MCA album "George Strait: Latest, Greatest, Straitest Hits," in stores today. Strait invited Jackson to join him on the song because they share a belief that traditional country music is being shortchanged by country radio, the major labels and the Nashville establishment. The lyrics say it all:

"Someone killed country music, cut out its heart and soul.
"The almighty dollar and the lust for worldwide fame slowly killed tradition.
"Haggard wouldn't stand a chance on today's radio,
"Since they committed murder down on Music Row."
,br> The reference is to country legend Merle Haggard, who still performs but has been given the cold shoulder by mainstream radio.

The song has been simultaneously released by songwriter Larry Cordle on his album, which carries the same name as the song. Cordle, who records for Shell Point Records, has written songs recorded by Diamond Rio and Ricky Skaggs.

Strait, 47, has been a consistent presence on the charts, mixing traditional country and western swing, since he debuted in 1981 with "Unwound." Jackson, 41, who has the biggest fan club in country music and has been on top, too, since "Here in the Real World" took him there about a decade ago. His million-selling albums are always rooted in traditional themes and instrumentation.

Together, Strait and Jackson have taken aim at the pop forces that seem to control the country music industry.

Another verse from "Murder on Music Row" is nothing less than blunt:

"Steel guitars no longer cry, and fiddles barely play .
"But drums and rock 'n' roll guitars are mixed up in your face."

As if to emphasize the opposite, Strait's new disc is filled with plenty of steel guitar and fiddle music. One other new song on the album, "The Best Day," is an uplifting story of a deepening love between father and son. The rest of the 15 songs are from Strait's 25 previously released albums, many of which achieved hit status. Among them: "I Can Still Make Cheyenne" and "One Night at a Time."

Jerry Sharpe covers country music for the Post-Gazette, in Pittsburgh, Pa.

I hope that this weeks news will be informative for you. It is late and I am just now getting used to my new contacts. My eyes are very sore, so I am off to "Z" World. Have a great week everyone and please do not forget the prayer line.