back on my heroes in country music, it’s almost a weird miracle that
Johnny Cash and his awesome twosome brother backers with Luther Perkins
setting the thump-a-thump rhythm for Cash, remains even today, way more
vital, way more moving, way more transcendental, and way way way more
‘real’ country, than the so-called country chart artists.  There’s a new
documentary out called ‘My Father and the Man In Black.” about Cash’s
relationship with his manager Saul Holiff.  The film is put together by
Holiff’s son, after he found a treasure trove of Johnny Cash stuff in
his father’s personal files.  His dad committed suicide in 2005.  Not
sure when this is coming out, or if it is already out, but watch for it,
should be good.
Twenty two years ago, Bob Dylan (a big hit on Johnny Cash’s
television show) teamed up in Madison Square Gardens with Johnny Cash,
Neil Young, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Kris Kristofferson, Lou Reed,
Eric Clapton, Roger McGuinn, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, John
Mellencamp, Booker T & The MG’s, and many other music super stars to
sing Dylan’s songs and share the stage with him.  Hosted by Columbia
Records, it was broadcast on Pay-Per-View television, however come March
4th, if you missed the bash and would like to see it, 22 years older,
copies of the CD and DVD-BlueRay will be on the store shelves.
The Americana Music Association announced it will remember
Phil Everly with a tribute to the Everly Brothers during a celebration
of American ‘roots’ music.  all takes place at the Troubadour in Los
Angeles January 25th.
Paul Williams, one of the most dynamic bluegrass performers
(guitar, mandolin, high lonesome tenor voice) to ever perform bluegrass
music, after 60 years on the road is retiring.  Well not entirely,
mostly the toll taking road gigs.  He will still do an occasional gig
with J D Crowe and Doyle Lawson, an unbeatable trio in bluegrass music.
If you like your Martin Guitar, you may be interested to
know this entire year, there will be an exhibition of Martin Guitars at
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  35 rare and special
guitars will be on display, from the company itself as well as a number
of collectors.  A pair of special programs including “How Did They Do
That?” Early American Guitars” for all ages on March 8 and 9 and a
special “Sunday at the Met” on March 16.
This is pretty fantastic news I picked up here in
California.  Remember Ken Burns?  Sure you do, he’s the guy that did
such a spectacular job with the PBS television show “The Civil War.’  I
know you remember “Ashokan Farewell’ the song from that series written
by Jay Ungar (who I had on my television show, and also performed
with).  It’s amazing what Ken Burns next project is.  It’s simply called
“Country Music,” but it won’t be out until 2018.  It will chronicle the
history of what I have always described as a unique American musical
art form.  His TV show will present the music rising from the
experiences of remarkable people in distinctive regions of the USA. 
From Appalachian songs of struggle, heartbreak and faith, to incredible
Texas swing.  From California honky-tonk to the Grand Ole Opry.  It will
be a series and will follow the evolution of country music over the
course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s
very own music.  The show will review the origins of country music, in
minstrel music, ballads, hymns, and the blues, even chronicling the
music when it was known as ‘hillbilly music.’  The series will focus on
the biographies of fascinating singers and songwriters who created it,
from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, and Bob Wills to Hank Williams,
Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, even EmmyLou Harris and many
many more.  “Country Music” will tell unforgettable stories of the
hardships and joys shared by everyday people.  Burns also intends to
include the  bluegrass music of Bill Monroe, the forming of rock from
rock-abilly, and how Nashville became ‘Music City USA.’
Happy Birthday to You!   Wow!  Did you know this song is
still under copyright, now owned by Warner Music Group, and they want
$1,500 every time you use it.  It wasn’t even ‘Happy Birthday’ when
sisters Mildred and Patty Hill wrote it in 1893.  It was ‘Good Morning
To You’ and re-written by folk artists as a birthday song.  Warner is
collecting $2-million a year by their wickedness, and you will rarely
hear the song on any TV, radio, internet, movie, or cable show, but
rather a substitute of sorts.  Warner claims rights to the song until
2030.  Where does the legitimacy of demanded payment for singing the
sing end?  The sisters have been dead for a very very long time, and the
song itself is actually used in nearly every household in  America at
one time or another.  WHY should Warner Music be able to retain the
copyright to the song in perpetuity.  What ever happened to ‘public
Some of you know that Larry Long from Minneapolis,
Minnesota, is going to be at LeMars this year.  Larry records for the
Smithsonian Folkways label, where he created “The Elder Wisdom” facet of
his artistic endeavors.  He is coming to LeMars to be inducted into our
Hall of Fame, and recently (according to a story in Sing-Out Magazine)
has created a musical ‘Mother’s Day” card in memory of his recently
passed mother.  All of the lyrics were inspired by his mom, and the
first and last verses to the song are on the card he simply calls
“Mother’s Song.”  Robert Robinson, “Minnesota Master Male Vocalist”
sings the verses on the card, a gift to all mothers.  Might be hard to
find one, but certainly worth the effort if you’ve been lax in letting
your mom know you love her.  First off try Larry’s website at or Soderbergs Floral for wholesale orders 612-724-3606….AND if you are looking for that ‘special
‘ Mother’s Day’ treat, please don’t forget Mike Johnson’s
great “Have You Hugged Your Mom Today” song and songbook and special
Mother’s Day gift.  I think you can get to Mike by simply typing in his
name on the internet.
Our buddies that performed at the Oak Tree Opry, the Okee
Dokee Boys (Grammy winners for best children’s album) will be performing
at the opera house in Pella on Saturday, March 1 at 11am.  This is a
great kid’s show, and it’s also great for anybody who ever was a kid.
Thank God, Blake Shelton WILL NOT be on the Kicker Country
Stampede in Manhattan, Kansas, June 26-29 at Turtle Creek State Park. 
They call the performers that are on ‘super-stars’ of country music.  I
would call them simply ‘super non-country’ twinkles.  WOW! get this,
Sheila just showed me the ad.  You can get Blake Shelton’s Deluxe
Edition Album CD at the Wal-Mart for $5.  Whaaaaat $5?   Yeessssss $5! 
Rick & Harriette Andersen charge more than that.
Another legend’s house nearly lost to the wrecking ball. 
Bob Wills, probably our best and best known Western Swing artist had a
house located in Fresno, Calif.  It was on the Triple B Ranch, where
Wills had his California travel home.  this was in the 40’s of course,
and today the house was scheduled for demolition, except for the Central
California Music Association who has made plans to move it forty miles
Northeast to Prather, California, where they hope to create the Bob
Wills Ranch House Museum.  Wills sold over a million records in 1940
alone with his great song “San Antonio Rose.”
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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