BULLETIN August 12. 2013

Quite
a bit of ‘reaction’ to Tom Petty’s statement when asked what he thought
of today’s country music.  He said, “it’s bad rock and roll with a
fiddle.”  Another rocker, and I forget his name but he’s apparently
pretty popular seemed to agree with Petty saying also that he sure
didn’t see any Hank Williams or George Jones in today’s line-up, nor did
he expect there to be anyone that good in ‘country’ music today.

 

Country music legend Loretta Lynn will be among 16 people that President Barack Obama
will venerate later this year with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 
The White House made the announcement this week.  Loretta Lynn was born
in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and chronicled her life in an
autobiography and song, both titled “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”  President
John F.
Kennedy created the medal 50 years ago.  It’s the highest honor the
U.S. bestows on civilians.  In the five decades since, more than 500
people have been recognized for contributions to society of all stripes.
 
Had a lady in California look at our website www.ntcma.net
and became quite critical about it.  She thought perhaps we needed a
whole new website, and she had a ton of suggestons, but quite frankly I
only have so much time, and I don’t spend a lot of it on a website.  I
also kind of like the website the way it is, with a real “Iowa’ farmland
scene, with trees, corn, etc growing, and then a lot of brown earth
beneath that photo.  That is where the ‘roots’ of everything is, and
that’s what I am all about.  I probably antagonized her by telling her I
wasn’t interested in flashing lights, photos jumping in and our up and
down, or anything that distracts from the reason for the website in the
first place.  She dropped out, and I didn’t mean to sound
unappreciative, but I think I’ll just leave it as it is.
 
I’m sure I’ve clued you in that Dale Eichor can’t play and
Local, Statewide, or Regional recording artists that are not already in
the ‘computer’ at KWMT Fort Dodge radio.  I complained a little when I
placed our advertising for this year’s LeMars Festival, and my
accountant there called me to tell me that she thought I had a good
case, and had forwarded my letter to the general manager.  I don’t
really expect much to happen, in today’s America everything is sort of
‘we’ll do it our way whether you like it or not.’  Anyway the song I
wrote “Dear Grand Ole Opry” created a bit of stir through the whole
ordeal, and though you can’t hear it on KWMT you can hear it here.. http://youtu.be/3xDswcKKVhU hope you like it, Sheila put the whole thing together. 
 
We’re inducting Boxcar Willie into America’s Country Music Hall of Fame this year, his son Marty
Martin will be accepting for his dad on Sunday, September 1, which is
Boxcar’s birthday, he would have been 82 years old. Anyway, I received a
nice little ‘memory’ from Lucy Jackson about Boxcar.  This is where I
think ‘true’ real-deal country artists are so different than other
genres of music, and even in so-called country of today…..”While I
didn’t know Boxcar Willie personally, only met him a couple of times, I
knew a young man from Shipman,
Illinois, who was about 30 years old, and mentally retarded to the
point that he was about 10 years old in reality and his ability to do
anything.  Boxcar Willie was his hero.  He absolutely idolized Box, and
had learned to do the train whistle, just as Box did it.  His parents
took him to Branson,
to see Boxcar’s show.  They had front row seats, so that the little guy
could see his hero, up close and personal.  When Boxcar saw him sitting
there, he went down and got him and brought him up on stage, talked to
him, finding out that he could do the train whistle, and did a song
featuring this young man doing the whistle.  this was the highlight of
the trip, and probably his entire life.  At our jams in Arkansas, we
would always do a train song, so this slow learner could do the special
Boxcar Willie train whistle.  Box’s little friend passed away several
years ago, but all the way to his death, he loved to tell about his
experience on stage with his hero.  What a blessing Boxcar Willie was to
this young person, who loved him so.”
 
One of Sheila and my favorite mandolin pickers and bluegrassers is Jesse McReynolds.  He’s still a member of the Grand Ole Opry
and also a member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame as well as America’s
Country Music Hall of Fame.  anyway, this bluegrass performer par
excellence, is at home and wearing a heart monitor after being diagnosed
recently with an irregular heartbeat.  He still maintains a touring
schedule, after celebrating his 84th
birthday in July.  His doctors have asked him to keep a low profile
while they determine whether he needs to have a pacemaker installed. 
Jesse’s wife Joy tells us that he is feeling well.
 
While on the subject of bluegrass, our favorite young grassers is the Roys
They took their high-lonesome sound to the 2013 Wisconsin Country
Thunder Festival in July, where over 30,000 ‘country’ music fans and
lovers were introduced to the traditional as well as contemporary sounds
of bluegrass music.  Festival organizers tapped Lee and Elaine Roy as
Bluegrass Ambassadors and had invited the talented brother/sister duo to
host the inaugural “The Roy’s Pickin
Porch Stage.”  According to Lee, “Turns out ‘country’ music lovers are
bluegrass music lovers too, and we love it.”  I think so too, perhaps a
blend of traditional country, you know ‘real’ country blended with
bluegrass will find the real-deal country music back in the mainstream. 
Where it’s at today is just about at the bottom of the pit.
 
Sure hated to see Sharon Kenaston
stop her quarterly newsletter.  She has access to a lot of folks,
especially those that still like to dance, that I can’t get close to, so
we will definitely be missing that source of information.  In the
meantime we will be looking forward to hearing the Kenastons as they perform on their own at LeMars, as well as backing LuLu Roman, Kenny Seratt, Barbara Fairchild, Joanne Cash and Dr. Harry Yates.  Mickey Gilley
is bringing his own band, and what a ‘chore’ that was to get him to do
this acoustically, but I think we have it worked out.  Don’t get too
angry with me if he won’t do what he’s supposed to do.
 
The LeMars Festival is looking especially good this year, the scheduling is now done, we always have some TBA’s
some of which I place in specific locations just to take care of
over-run by an act, or the need for a spot by a late comer.  With the
incredibly high number of performing artists with us, there inevitably
are no-shows popping up when someone can’t make it.  So, we just fill
them in at the festival.  Our one ‘hole’ this year stage-wise is the Dobrotorium.  The Swatzells
will not be with us this year due to surgery, but they will definitely
be back next year.  We have a couple of ideas on how to use that stage,
like a ‘sign-up’ for a couple of shows, maybe an ‘original music’ show
or two, or just about anything we can think of.  If you have some ideas,
let us know, it’s a nice comfortable room, not large, but there’s
a neat stage.  We don’t have any ‘sound gear’ for it, so if there is
still someone out there who might want to do that, please let us know.
 
We’re sure looking forward to the adventure this year, so
come early stay late, and bring all the friends and relatives you can. 
We just signed a new 5-year contract so that means we have to keep
attracting more and more fans.  So, with the baby-boomers coming on the
scene, this is the place you need to direct them.
 
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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