Rogers has received an honorary Master of Photography Degree from the
Professional Photographers of America during their convention on January
14 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Rogers has a new photo book out called “Places
I’ve Been, Things I’ve Seen.”

Our favorite mando-picker, Jesse McReynolds had a minor
cardiac procedure at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, for an
electrophysiological (yes, that’s a real word) study to determine the
cause of dizzy spells and accelerated heart beats.  Jesse will be 85
this summer.  We extended an invitation for him to be with us in LeMars this year, but haven’t heard anything back yet.
The Oak Ridge Boys have never had a ‘live’ album of their
hits, even after 60 years in music, but it’s coming out now, on vinyl no
less, along with CD too, but what’s interesting is they managed to get
some really good portable recording equipment and taped every show they
did recently while on the road, and then pulled the best takes off for
an album, simply called “Boys Night Out.”  Should be good.
For those of you who have worried about Clay Walker, and
the lady in charge of a huge radio station in Australia, both of whom
have said country music is dead in urban areas….  listen up!  Rural
Rhythm Records is releasing a Heritage Collection series which includes
‘authentic’ old-time and traditional country music, bluegrass, folk,
even waltzes, fiddle tunes, and Lord Bless them, Gospel music too.  All
performed by many legends and pioneers.  To be sure, ‘so-called’ country
music today is dead.  So what’s so bad about that, they have never been
alive, they are just actors ‘pretending’ to be country.  You can find
Rural Rhythm Records easy on the Internet.
Speaking of the wanna-be ‘so-called’ country artists of
today, one of them, Eric Church responded to a reporters query about
what he thought of reality singing competition shows.  His response was,
and I quote…”Honestly, if Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green turn around
in a red chair, you got a deal?  (What he means here is that if
these two  ‘judges’ turn around in their red judges chairs, it means
they have a winner??? and a shortcut to fame and fortune? for that
 Continuing with Eric Church… “That’s crazy.  I don’t
know what would make an artist do that.  You’re not an artist.” 
Shelton’s wife, Miranda Lambert fired back, and I quote…. “Thanks Eric
Church for saying I’m not a real artist.  Or Kelly Clarkson, or Carrie
Underwood, or Keith Urban.”   WELL, DUH!  You’re right Mrs. Blake
Shelton, you are NOT a country music artist, real or otherwise, well
maybe in your dreams.
Even though California is going through a drought, Southern
California is beautiful.  Roy Orbinson’s great song, “California Blue”
is true almost every day.  Drought we have, and without large quantities
of rain, we have conflict all the time.  For instance, reading the San
Diego Union Tribune, there’s a stunningly beautiful ad announcing the
certain possibility of experiencing (and this is in huge red letters)
The American Dream.  On the other side of the same page is a huge story
about the 8,000 homeless living in the streets and gutters of the same
town.  Aaaaa California.
Willie Nelson is known for his outlaw image, and he got a
little philosophical when asked about Justin Bieber’s recent drunk
driving arrest.  “He’ll be all right.”  Willie said of the 19-year old
pop star.  “Let him grow up and then we’ll talk about him.”  Willie has
been picked up several times for marijuana possession, and just appeared
last week on the Grammy Show in Los Angeles.  I always thought the
Grammys was about good music.  Now it’s about gay marriages. Whaaaat?
Music from Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, will be featured
at the Old Avoca (NEBRASKA) Schoolhouse, Wed-Fri, March 12-14, beginning
at 9am each day.  This is a Celtic Fiddling Camp led by championship
fiddler and author Deborah Greenblatt.  More info at:
“Hee Haw The Musical” is headed for Broadway, produced by
Gaylord Entertainment of course.  Robert Horn wrote the script with
music and lyrics by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally.  Gaylord
Entertainment said, “Our writing team is extraordinary and perfect for
this original work.  We will hold readings in New York City and received
a wonderful and very encouraging response from the Broadway
community.”  Don’t forget, if you want to see some of the ‘real’ Hee
Haw, all you have to do is come to LeMars this year and listen to LuLu
Roman sing some of her beautiful gospel songs.  She’s scheduled for
Tuesday, August 26.
Ronny Cox is going to be at LeMars this year.  He’s the
actor/guitarist that played “Dueling Banjos’ in the movie
“Deliverance.”  You can see this at 
You may, or may not, know this, but the footage as it appeared in the
movie was not staged, it was pure accident.  The film company had
stopped at this old gas station for refreshments.  Ronny Cox took his
guitar out and began to strum, and much to his amazement, the 15-year
old autistic boy (Billy Redden) joined him on the banjo, completely
unrehearsed.  Through the entire three minutes you can see the happy
thrill of this boy who can’t even talk, and pay attention to the end, he
reverts back to his autistic being.  The Director and Camera Operators
were smart enough to catch it all on film, adding some cameos while it
all happened.  This was Ronny Cox’s first movie, and he went on to more
super-good roles.  The autistic boy, Billy Redden, lives in Georgia,
where he now works at the Wal-Mart loading and unloading freight, and
sometimes as a greeter.  Snopes has a different version of this story,
so we’re going to ask Ronny Cox straight out, how did that song all come
about in that film.  Snopes also went on to say that Billy Redden
appeared in several more films too.
Our buddy Johnny Houser, who used to play Dobro for us at
the Oak Tree Opry ( I believe he still lives in Red Oak, Iowa) will be
doing some filming in February for the History Channel.  He’s not saying
what show yet, but he’ll let us know when it’s a done deal.  Can’t
Urban-Country is a contradiction of terms, thereby invalidating anything on the so-called Top-Ten Country Charts.
If you are a guitar picker, you have a choice.  Martin or
Taylor.  Well yes, of course Gibson, Fender, etc etc etc, but if you’re a
serious acoustic player, it’s Martin or Taylor.  I picked a Martin
12-string (Sheila got it for my birthday a long time ago) because I
believe the low notes and range sound a bit better than the Taylor.  Be
that as it may, Bob Taylor, the founder of the company was in Washington
DC recently to accept the State Department’s prestigious ward for
Corporate Excellence (ACE) for fundamentally changing the entire ebony
trade with an ebony mill it co-owns and operates in Yaounda, the Capital
of the African country of Cameroon, one of the last places on planet
Earth where they still harvest ebony.  Secretary of State John Kerry
made the award, himself a guitarist (I didn’t know that?) and praised
Taylor for its sensitive use of ebony, a prized and increasingly
endangered material in guitars.  He also credited Taylor for making the
ebony trade safer, more ethical, and more lucrative than ever, and for
encouraging other guitar manufactures to come on board, and  for also
offering educational opportunities and improved working conditions to
ebony mill employees.
John McCutcheon, a very gifted hammer dulcimer player, as
well as guitar, fiddle, banjo, and a few others along the way, will be
doing a concert for LAFTA in Lincoln, Nebraska at the 7th St. Loft,
Friday February 7th at 7:30pm
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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