Rodney Crowell will be back in Ireland this month for a lengthy tour which begins at Queen’s University, Belfast, on Oct. 14th, and heads South to Killarney for a show on the following day Oct. 15th, before heading up country again to the Mermaid Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow, on Oct. 16th. Oct. 19th & 20th, will see him at the Seamus Ennis Centre, Naul, Co. Dublin, and then it’s back up North again to Mc Grory’s, Culdaff, Co. Donegal on Oct. 21st. Oct. 22nd. it’s the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh, Co.Tyrone, and finishing up at the Hawk’s Well Theatre, in Sligo Town on Oct 23rd. I hope he’s a good traveller because he’s certainly going to do his share of it on this tour.
The last big festival of 2011 SLIGO LIVE, Ireland’s folk, roots and indie music festival returns for its seventh year and will present an exciting programme over 6 days over the October Bank Holiday Weekend, October 26th – 31st bringing together established Irish and international acts with some of the best emerging talent on the scene. KT Tunstall with special guests Rozi Plain and Sam Lewis, Seamus Begley & Tim Edey plus Maurice Lennon, Hayseed Dixie & Festival Artists will be the star attractions on Friday Oct. 8th. Always pushing boundaries in extreme and often absurd ways, Bluegrass Rockers Hayseed Dixie return, full of pith, vinegar and a redneck appetite for destruction. Having bluegrassed the hell out of AC/DC and Kiss, to name but a couple of mighty desecrated rock institutions, the Appalachian Hellraisers aim to “drink, cheat, kill and earn our place in hell”. Hayseed Dixie created the musical genre “Rockgrass” fusing hard rock covers from the likes of AC/DC, Kiss and Motorhead with seriously good Bluegrass picking and harmonies. Hailing from the Appalachian Mountains of the Southeastern United States, the band consists of Barley Scotch – vocals, guitar and fiddle; Reverend Don Wayne Reno – bango and vocals; Deacon Dale Reno – mandolin, guitar and vocals, and Jake “Bakesnake” Byers – bass and vocals. Having sold over 500,000 records worldwide the band has played almost every major European festival, including a Main Stage appearance at Glastonbury. The perform a mixture of cover versions of hard rock songs and original compositions in a style that is a unique fusion of bluegrass and rock music. Their set ranges from the Metal bands listed to Queen, The Beatles, and their own original music which is a whole different and very funny take on life.
Glen Campbell who was diagnosed earlier this year with Alzheimers Disease is currently on a worldwide farewell tour which will include three dates in Ireland, Nov. 11th. Convention Centre, Co.Dublin, Nov. 12th. I.N.E.C. Killarney and Nov. 13th T.F.Royal, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
Congratulations to RTE regular country music presenter Sandy Harsch who was surprised by Brad Paisley in Dublin with the presentation of the CMA International Broadcaster Award for 2011. Sandy has been presenting her weekly country music show called Country Time on RTE Radio 1 every Friday night for quite a long time now.
National Ploughing Championships.
Country music was certainly to the fore at the recent National Ploughing Championships. The weekly publication The Farmers Journal, which now includes a very impressive Country Music supplement by Michael Commins, had a huge pavilion on the site at which some of our top Irish artists among them Paddy O’Brien, Robert Mizzell, C.C.Cooper and Mike Denver performed and signed autographs for the many fans who were present. Georgette Jones also made an appearance at the stand. This is certainly a new and innovative way of promoting country music and proved just how popular country music is here in Ireland.
Gina & The Champions will make a welcome return to the Cork Opera House on Oct. 23 where she is assured of a very warm welcome from her many fans.
Delightful, Delicious, Delectable Dolly.
Dolly Parton played one show in Dublin recently as part of her worldwide tour. She came on to the strains of Better Day and moved on to Walking on Sunshine, She was a vision in Rhinestones and told us “It cost a fortune to make someone look this cheap!” Her voice was fabulous, she sang all the favourites Jolene, Coat of Many Colours, Stairway to Heaven. Little Sparrow showed perfectly the pureness of her voice. She did a brilliant Bluegrass medley with the band who were excellent. Her rendition of River Deep Mountain High was powerful and she played at least 8 different instruments. Her Queen Latiffa Rap piece was very amusing. She sang beautifully and interspersed music and chat very well. A very slick show, where nothing was left to chance. She sang maybe 3 songs from the new album but it was the old favourites that the packed out O2 audience came came to hear. Good sense of humour and a powerhouse of energy, dancing in heels. Islands in the Stream sounded as good as it did all those years ago, with one of her backing singers doing the Kenny Rogers piece. The backing singers were brilliant. Working 9 TO 5 got everyone on their feet and it all ended with ” I will always love you” for which she thanked Whitney Houston for making her so much money!
Golden Note Awards.
ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) will honour country music star Don Williams with the prestigious ASCAP Golden Note Award during its 49th Annual Country Music Awards, taking place on Sunday, November 6, 2011 at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland. The invitation-only event will also honour the songwriters and publishers of ASCAP’s most performed country songs from April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011. Grand Ole Opry Legend Wilma Lee Cooper passed away recently of natural causes at the age of 90. She was at her home in Sweetwater, Tennessee. With her late husband, Stoney, Wilma Lee created some wonderful music including classics like “Big Midnight Special” “Legend of The Dogwood Tree” “There’s A Big Wheel” “Sunny Side of The Mountain” and “Walking My Lord Up Calvary’s Hill.” Wilma Lee had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1957.
Johnny Wright Dies.
Johnny Wright, a country music pioneer who had hits as a singer in the duo Johnnie and Jack and guided the career of his wife, Kitty Wells, died early on Tuesday Sept. 27th. He was 97. Close family friend Eddie Stubbs, Chief Announcer on WSM Radio and the Grand Ole Opry, said Wright died of natural causes around 1.00 a.m. at his home. He had been in failing health for some time. Stubbs said that as a lifelong Nashville resident, Wright was a witness to most of country music’s greatest moments. Wright remembered WSM going on the air in 1925 and heard the first broadcast of Uncle Jimmy Thompson, an event that would evolve into the Grand Ole Opry. Later he started his own career and married Kitty Wells, the first woman to break through as a star in country music, in 1937. Johnny came to fame as a member of the country duo Johnnie and Jack, which recorded hits such as “Ashes of Love,” ‘’I Get So Lonely,” ‘’Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight” and “Poison Love” in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Georgette Jones has completed a very extensive and successful tour of Ireland in which she was the star attraction and also featured as her guests some of the top names from the Irish country music scene among them Brendan Quinn, (who proved excellent on some duets with Greorgette), Gloria, louise Morrissey & Trudi Lalor. During her visit here Georgette received extensive coverage both on National and Local radio and also performed on the top rated weekend TV show, The Late Late Show, and on Hot Country TV which is shown all over Europe every week. Georgette is planning to get married at the Hall Of Fame in Nashville later this month and she has invited several of her friends from Ireland to attend. Based on the success of this tour, it’s a safe bet that she will be back again next year.
The star-packed lineup for “The 45th Annual CMA Awards” continues to grow with last week’s announcement that co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will perform their duet “Remind Me” on “Country Music’s Biggest Night.” This will be their first live performance of the No. 1 hit song on national television. “The 45th Annual CMA Awards,” hosted by Paisley and Underwood, will be shown live from the Bridgestone Arena in Downtown Nashville, on Wednesday, Nov. 9 (8:00-11) on the ABC Television Network. Previously announced performers include Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban with lots more to be added. Paisley, who was also previously announced as a performer, is CMA’s reigning Entertainer of the Year. He received five nominations in 2011 for Entertainer; Male Vocalist; Album for This is Country Music; and Musical Event and Music Video of the Year for “Old Alabama,” featuring Alabama. Paisley has won 14 CMA Awards to date, including three consecutive Male Vocalist awards (2007-2009) and Album of the Year (in 2006 for Time Well Wasted). He is No. 5 for the most career wins in CMA Awards history, behind only George Strait (22), Brooks & Dunn (19), Vince Gill (18), and Alan Jackson (16). Underwood is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year in 2011, an Award she has won three times (2006-2008). If she wins the Award this year, she will tie with Martina McBride (1999, 2002-2004) and Reba McEntire (1984-1987) for the most wins in the category. Underwood has received a total of five CMA Awards thus far, including the Horizon Award (2006) and Single of the Year (2007 for “Before He Cheats”), and has a total of 14 CMA career nominations to date.
Death of Wilma Lee Cooper.
We are saddened to learn of the the passing of Wilma Lee Cooper, one of traditional country music’s greatest singers. She died of natural causes at her home in Sweetwater, Tennessee on September 13, 2011. Born Wilma Lee Leary, songwriter and singer Wilma Lee Cooper was raised in a well-known musical group that sang at local churches and festivals, billing themselves as the Leary Family. At one point, the Learys were even invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to perform at a national folk festival. Near the same time she graduated high school, she met and married guitarist Stoney Cooper. In fact, most of you probably best remember her for their duo work. Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper and their Clinch Mountain Clan specialized in traditional, acoustic Appalachian music long after honky-tonk and other more modern forms had taken over country music. Their early Columbia releases featured a lot of sacred material like “Thirty Pieces Of Silver” and “Legend Of The Dogwood Tree.” They moved over to Hickory records and scored with three straight top 5 hits, “Come Walk With Me,” “Big Midnight Special,” and “There’s A Big Wheel.” They came to the Grand Ole Opry in 1957 and starred together there for twenty years, until Stoney Cooper’s death in 1977. Wilma Lee carried on with her strong, direct vocal style and her continued loyalty to old style roots country music. In 2001, Wilma Lee suffered a stroke on-stage that forced her to cease performing, although she would grace the stage at the Ryman Auditorium one last time in February 2005 during an Opry set hosted by Emmylou Harris. Upon her passing, Wilma Lee and the family requested there be no memorial service, only that she be remembered for her faith and her music.