LeMars, Iowa…..”When the ‘Rural Roots Music Commission’ was organized in 1980, we had no idea we would be able to expand the purpose, or the interest, into such a large arena of music appreciation.”  Bob Everhart is President of the National Traditional Country Music Association.  “We started what might be called our ‘music protection’ society in 1975, which eventually became the NTCMA.  We quickly realized that the very slow process of placing recognition and honor on those that have made a lasting impression on country music, was leaving a huge amount of worthwhile contributors without recognition.  That was the beginning of the Rural Roots Music Commission.  We also had to find a way to distinguish what we do, so we began labeling the musical genre ‘rural country,’ so as not to be confused with present day country music,” Everhart said. “Only a handful of those that have made significant contributions to this particular kind of music, were being honored.  We decided to seek out recording artists, performers, instrumentalists, songwriters, producers, promoters, even media specialists, that have been successful in ‘rural country music’ by making annual awards at the convention and festival promoted by the National Traditional Country Music Association.  And, we decided to do this on several different levels of interest, Local, State-Wide, Regional, National, and International.  In other words, we were, and are, dedicated to finding the very best participants in all areas of this genre of music.”
     Everhart went on to say, “We honor contributors to ‘rural country’ music in two ways now.  Some are inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame which is located in the Pioneer Music Museum in Anita, Iowa. Others, especially those active in ‘recording’ rural country music, receive recognition from the Rural Roots Music Commission.  The latter process requires a review of CDs recorded and made available to the public, one year prior to the festival which takes place August 29-September 4th, 2011, at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in LeMars, Iowa.  CD’s received are reviewed in Tradition Magazine, the house organ of the NTCMA, and then forwarded to the Rural Roots Music Commission who decide the awards to be made.”
     “There are a number of categories for these honors,” added Everhart.  “We are extremely pleased to announce that Sherwin Linton, of Minneapolis, Mn., has been selected for “Best Country Tribute Album of the Year” award.  Sherwin Linton has worked with just about every popular country music artist in the business,” Everhart added, “he got his first big break with a song he recorded called “Cotton King.” This placed him within the ear of the King of Country Music, Roy Acuff, who was quick to put Sherwin with his friend Wesley Rose, who became Sherwin’s manager.  This amazing experience led him to many doors, some he opened, some he didn’t.  Working for the Acuff-Rose Company in Nashville, opened the most doors.  Sherwin was soon on national television shows, and performing coast to coast.  He was among the top nominees for ‘Entertainer of the Year’ by the Country Music Association in 1972 and 1973, and again nominated by the Music City News, the Academy of Country Music, and several other organizations for similar honors.  In 1975, he released “When She Cries,” which won ‘Single of the Year’ award, and through the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s Sherwin was on the road playing everywhere from the Grand Ole Opry to Las Vegas, and keeping his country music ‘country.’  He became a mainstage act at state and county fairs throughout America, eventually working with the legendary “Hap” Peebles, perhaps the most accomplished country music booking agent in the business.  Sherwin’s release of “Hello, I’m Not Johnny Cash” was perhaps his most successful tribute to a friend and a legend.  His newest CD however, may be the ultimate follow-up to all of his previous work.  “Hillbilly Heaven” is a massive undertaking, utilizing the time and talents of a huge number of country music celebrities.  It is this work that best describes the ‘nature’ of Sherwin Linton’s musical career.  His devotion to country music as a musical artform that came from, and still represents, rural America is  also ‘true’ to Mr. Linton.  His many accomplishments are wrapped up in this one project, that will inevitably go down in the history books of country music, as perhaps the best ‘tribute’ to the shining stars of country music in our lifetime, and in our very own heaven.”
      The festival Sherwin Linton and his wife Pam, will attend, has been going for 36 years.  Sherwin will be honored on Tuesday, August 30, 9:30pm, on the main stage, following the Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius Grand Ole Opry Show.  “We will have well over 600 country music performers at this event throughout the week,” said Bob Everhart.  “We have ‘ten’ sound stages running for seven days to accomodate them.  9am-midnight every day for seven days seems like a huge production, and it is.  Getting everyone to the proper stage at the proper time can be a scheduling nightmare, however the end result is an absolutely unbelievable gathering of like-minded fans and participants who like their country music to be ‘rural’ in nature.  That means it’s ‘real’ country music, not rock and roll called country, not heavy metal called country, not jazz called country, not rap called country, not blues called country.  We call it like it is…and it’s ‘rural’ country, the real-deal.  We’re also very pleased we are able to provide a clean non-alcoholic non-drug venue for the fans of this music to come to.  The Plymouth County Fairgrounds in LeMars, Iowa, is large, and level.  Huge air conditioned buildings for shows, as well as outdoor stages.  Great country cookin’ and some of the best Iowa corn-fed beef steaks anyone is likely to ever eat.  LeMars is also home of Bluebunny Ice Cream, the largest ice cream manufacturer in the world, so we combine all the ‘best’ of everything.  Country music, country food, and country ice cream.  You just can’t beat a deal like that, not at the prices we charge.  General admission is $15 per day per person, a seven-day gate pass is just $60 per person.  This includes everything, all ten stages, and all celebrities.  This year, Jim Ed Brown, Helen Cornelius, and Jeannie Seely will be with us from the Grand Ole Opry.  Bonnie Guitar, the legendary recording artist of “Dark Moon” will also be with us, and well over 600 pickers, singers, players, musicians, and performing artists.  We have excellent RV camping facilities too, with 30-amp hook-ups at $12 a day (no reservations).  A Tipi Village in an old ghost town setting is a great place for ‘jammers’ to gather, and throw in six old time dances in the Dance Hall, and it’s a pretty good deal for the dollar.  Workshops, contests, open stages, even the front porch of an old log cabin become focal points of entertainment interest, done much the way it was done when homesteaders started settling Iowa.  We keep telling folks, don’t put all your money in your gas tank to drive hundreds of miles to see one show, come home, be with us, and see a thousand.”
     More information about the NTCMA and the Rural Roots Music Commission, the Pioneer Music Museum, and the annual festival of Agricultural Arts, Crafts, and Rural Lifestyle is available at their website at

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