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Last week in Country Music

Fresh
off their successful effort to prevent the demolition of a Nashville
Studio that once recorded the likes of Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson,
Waylon Jennings, and a host of other country superstars, advocates want
to now include all of the city’s “Music Row” area in their preservation
efforts.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that it
is placing Music Row on it’s ‘National Treasure’ list of historically
significant sites threatened by development.  The Washington DC based
non-profit is joining the Music Industry Coalition, Mayor Karl Dean’s
office, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Center, as well as state
and city historical preservation groups to draw attention to Music Row’s
cultural heritage.
 
Back in 1941, a young man in Iowa bought an acoustic guitar
for $30, but forgot about it for 50 years.  Now it is worth over
$25,000, a Gibson J-35 which the company began making in 1936 during the
depression.  The young guy in 1941, whose name has not been released,
bought it shortly before shipping off to fight in WWII in the Pacific. 
He left the nearly mint-condition instrument at home, and put it away so
his young children wouldn’t damage it.  Those same children (now
grandparents themselves) found the guitar when the were helping their
father clean house in 2012.  They searched the Internet to find a shop
that specialized in refurbishing vintage instruments, and found Folkway
Music in Ontario, Canada, owned by Mark Stutman, who purchased the
guitar for $25,000.  According to Stutman, “The guitar was introduced
during the Depression.  They didn’t get treated as something that was
bought with an entire month’s salary, and most of them were well used.  I
certainly paid what needed to be paid for the guitar.  It’s nice in
this day and age to make these kinds of finds.  Most collectible things
have been found already.  For all intents and purposes the guitar has
been sold to us for $25,000, but we’re still hammering out the
paperwork.  Still, even if the deal falls through, its certain to fly
off the shelf pretty quick.”  Stutman said he didn’t feel comfortable
identifying the man or his family without their permission.
 
Bob Dylan is certainly not known for being the best
vocalist in the world, but he is threatening to mumble and bumble his
way through a new album of tunes made famous by Frank Sinatra.  Entitled
“Shadows In The Night” Dylan cut 23 songs, with 10 of them making the
final album.  The engineer behind the session, Al Schmitt who recorded
the album at Capitol Record’s historic Studio B, said, “Dylan picked
some obscure Sinatra songs that are great songs.  People who have heard
it broke down crying, listening to the record.  It’s like nothing you’ve
ever heard Dylan do.”  Once the session was in play back, Dylan told
Schmitt, “I never heard my voice sound this good before.”
 
If you like old-time rag-time music, the Great Plains
Ragtime Society meeting will take place on Sunday, January 25th at 2pm
at Durham Booth Manor, 923 N 38th St. in Omaha.  It’s even better if you
‘play’ rag-time.  Call Jim Boston at 402-556-3340 if you need more
information.
 
The Bristol, Virginia, City Council has voted to give the
Birthplace of Country Music Museum a break on its taxes.  The Council
passed an ordinance giving the museum an exemption from real estate
property taxes.  Councilman Jim Steele says it was a way of thanking the
museum for all it has done to help the downtown business area and keep
Bristol’s downtown economy thriving.  “We are helping the museum all we
can and downtown is thriving and we want it to keep thriving.”
 
The museum dedicated to George Jones, in Nashville, will
open almost two years to the day since his death, says his widow,
Nancy.  The museum will open April 24th in downtown Nashville.  That
weekend will also mark the launch of “White Lightning Moonshine”
developed in a partnership between Jone’s estate and Silver Trail
Distillery.  “White Lightning” was Jone’s first number one country hit
in 1959.
 
Internet reception is not always the best here in
California, sometimes it takes forever for anything to download, however
Al Hixson one of our NTCMA folks, sent me  a most entertaining and
interesting you-tube video of the Cheese Festival in Monroe, Wisconsin. 
Some yodeling, which was great, but I was impressed with the 137
accordion players that showed up.  Pee Wee King was always one of my
favorite accordion players, so if you’re not busy, you might enjoy
this.  And don’t forget the incredible Las Vegas act Johnny Ray Gomez
and his accordion will be at the Oak Tree Opry in Anita on May 29th,
7pm  http://youtu.be/7FTCJohm54U
 
Dolly Parton is teaming up with NBC as a producer of a
slate of 2-hour movies.  Dolly says she wants it to be fun,
inspirational with a family audience in mind.  The movies will
apparently be based on the songs, stories, and inspiring life of Dolly
herself.
 
A singer-songwriter, Corey Smith, a former social-studies
teacher has made Rolling Stone Magazine, mostly for a song he wrote
called “Fast Track.”  He’s pretty outspoken about the state of country
music today…..”For a guy like me (he’s been playing for ten years),
it’s tough to be a critic because people automatically label me as a
hater.  That I’m just jealous because I don’t have a hit song on the
radio or I’ve never won any awards.  That’s not the case.  The reality
is that country music has swung too far into this fake plastic place
that is the antithesis of what country music is.  I’ve known this stuff
first hand.  I’ve been out there slugging it for awhile and have had
many artists, without naming names, tell me, “We’re going to do it like
you, the slow methodical way and earn one fan at a time.” and then 3
months later they’re on the top of the charts and they are
everywhere….shortcuts?”
 
During his 30-year career as Director of Folklife for the
Tennessee Arts Commission, Robert Cogsville always found time to carry a
camera around with him.  Beginning in 1984, photography was his
passion, and throughout his career he documented scores of craftsmen,
artists, and musicians who keep Tennessee’s folk traditions alive.  Some
22,000 photos including those of fiddler Clyde Davenport, and blues
singer Jessie Mae Hemphill and a host of other old-time country
artists.  January 16 through March 13, they will be on display, or at
least 4,000 of them in the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery in
Nashville.  Sure would be interesting to look into.  My, how I wish Iowa
would take more interest in the music the pioneers, settlers, and
homesteaders played in our state.  I don’t like the loneliness of being
the only one trying to do anything about saving it.
 
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International Magazine

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