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TRADITION BULLETIN MAY 5. 2014

We
just had a stunning show at the Oak Tree Opry, Friday night, standing
room only to see Dale Eichor and Bobby Awe.  As you read “On The Road”
at the end of the bulletin, you can get a bird’s eye view of what’s
happening at the Oak Tree.  It was a remarkable show to say the least,
for the Eichor-Awe show, and as I asked in “On The Road” IS TELEVISION
REALLY THAT BAD?  For such a long time, we’ve been sitting in front of
the tube, most of the time watching some pretty interesting and
entertaining programs, but today, and the beginning of this TV season, I
have to admit some of the stuff they have on television is pretty
stupid.  At any rate, that has seemed to ‘up’ the attendance at the Oak
Tree, standing room only is a significant indication of what the folks
who are willing to drive so far to see a good show are telling us. 
Sheila and I are going to join Bobby and Dale in a special concert at
the City Auditorium in Tekamah, Nebraska, on Saturday, May 31.  Showtime
is 7pm, and this should be a nice presentation of terrific styles of
country music.  Sheila and I pretty much play traditional or old-time
country, Bobby Awe is without a doubt one of our very best Classic
Country artists, Dale Eichor is also classic country with some nice
cosmopolitan country tunes included, and joining the duo is world
champion fiddler Jay Kelly.  Put that all together in one beautiful
concert, tickets only $10 at the door, and you have what we’d call a
‘winner.’  Mark your calendars and come see us in Tekamah.  The next
day, June 1 at Lally’s Restaurant in LeMars, you’ll catch the same show
beginning at 2pm, minus Bobby Awe, who has commitments elsewhere.  Paul
Burnett is going to open that show with some ‘outlaw’ country, so once
again, it’s going to be one super neat matinee program.  No night
driving, no hurry up hurry up, and delicious broasted chicken for
lunch.  You’ll have to mark your calendars, I’ll probably forget to tell
you about it again.  OR, just give us a ring and we’ll fill you in, 712-762-4363

 

Sheila, Bobbie Lhea, and I went to Fairfield, Iowa last
night to see the Showcase of Bands and Jam Session, hosted by the
Bluegrass Music Association Iowa.  Three groups were on, and one in
particular we wanted to see “Truckstop Souvenir” who was at LeMars a
couple of years ago.  I wanted to see them there, but got side tracked
taking care of other things, and missed their performance, so we made up
for it by going to Fairfield.  This is the town that the Maharishi from
India bought large pieces of property to build a university.  It’s all
still there, one huge building is up for lease, but not much activity on
a Saturday anywhere.  We could have gotten by with a ‘Budget Lunch’ be
dining at the Paradise Pizza Parlor, and I must say, the pizza was
definitely good.  Sheila likes India food, and there is a restaurant in
town serving that, but it was closed.  So was the Instanbul Restaurant,
so you can pretty much guess how things were going.  We got to the
Fairfield Middle School in time for the program, and first act on was
Truckstop Souvenir.  If the audience was expecting an all bluegrass
show, they were disappointed, it was not.  Truckstop Souvenir is a very
nice folk duo (with the addition of an upright bass now), Lauryn Shapter
plays a very nice violin, and writes much of their material, husband
Dennis James is a super nice acoustic guitar picker, both lead and
rhythm, but no bluegrass here.  We enjoyed them very much, and will hope
to see them back at LeMars sometime in the future.  The second group on
had a banjo player to be sure.  The group, named Milltown after the
deciphered French name of Moline, which means the same thing, I would
have to say this group leans a little more toward a Celtic sound then
they do bluegrass.  We had a three hour drive ahead of us to get back to
Anita, so we didn’t get to see ‘Barton’s Hollow,’ with mandolin picker
Ian Kimmel (I’m sure this is Dick Kimmel’s son) showcasing.  All in all
it seemed a nice gathering, we thought we’d see a lot more people in the
audience since it was a ‘free’ show, but be that as it may, the only
other negative might have been the sound.  Not because of the
system, the sound bounces off a back wall that makes it difficult to
understand vocals from the audience level.  We have the same problem in
the Dance Hall of LeMars, so we know how that works.  Hopefully a new
system in the Dance Hall, from the very talented Michael Thoma, should
help make that a lot better.  Thanks BMAI for the showcase, long drive
for us, but we’re glad to be dues paying members of your organization,
and of course we hope we get some dues paying members in the NTCMA from
that experience.
 
Sheila and my old camper is on it’s last wheels, so we are
going slow with it.  In the meantime however, the 1983 Eagle customized
tour bus belonging to Willie Nelson is up for sale on Craigslist.  They
say it’s in excellent condition, and as of Friday they had a price
listed at $36,000.  I’m a little surprised they didn’t put it up for
sale on E-Bay, where it would probably escalate in price far above
that.  I guess that might have come up in conversation with the owner,
but he said he doesn’t really need the money and he wants to get rid of
the bus fast???  I think I might have mentioned this once before, but if
it’s about Willie, here it is…. He was the first performer on the TV
show ‘Austin City Limits’ back in 1974, and now he’s part of the first
class of the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.  Willie says, “This honor
means a lot because Austin is the music capital of the world.” 
Whaaaaaat?  What happened to Nashville?  Anyway, actor Matthew
McConaughey introduced Willie, saying simply, “There would  be no Austin
City Limits without Willie Nelson.  Willie just turned 81 if you didn’t
know.
 
I was so fortunate to receive the DVD of Steve Parry’s “The
Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance.”  Some of it is
narrated by Garrison Keillor, it tells the story of a changing America
through the lens of one of early radio’s most popular and influential
programs.  The sound-track features over 70 songs, spanning from the mid
1920’s to the Great Depression, through World War II.  The radio show
was a melting pot of Americana music; listeners could hear everything
from mountain string bands and polka trios, to folk balladeers and
cowboy crooners. I especially enjoyed watching and listening to Patsy
Montana, who was a dear friend.  I had her on our festivals nearly every
year, had her at the opera house we owned in Walnut.  I remember so
well, while she was on a visit when I was still ‘re-constructing’ the
old showhouse, it looked horrible.  She said, “Now Bob, when you get
this done, I want to be the first one to do a concert for you.”  She
wasn’t exactly the first one, we had to do a lot of ‘benefit’ shows to
get the money to fix it up, but she was the first ‘celebrity’ we had
there.  She was playing her Fender acoustic guitar at that time too, I
thought it was truly incredibly good.  That’s the same guitar that was
stolen from our Pioneer Music Museum.  Patsy autographed it for me, and
there it was for years and years.  Now it’s gone, along with Johnny
Cash’s harmonicas.  I can’t believe how disgusting it makes me feel that
someone would ‘steal’ Patsy Montana’s guitar.  It’s part of our Midwest
rural music heritage, and now it’s I don’t know where.  Anyway, back to
the “Hayloft Gang” Patsy talks about the trip from Arkansas with her
uncle to show and sell watermelons.  I never heard her remark about that
experience once the watermelons were gone, but she explains in this
wonderful program that she auditioned for the National Barn Dance, got
hired, and never went home again.  Patsy’s daughter Beverly Losey tells
some good stories about her mom too, not available anywhere else. 
Another super personality I really liked in this film, is Slim Bryant.
He just passed away about a year ago, another friend I met through the
good graces of Juanita McMichen, the daughter of Clayton McMichen,
founder of the Georgia Wildcats.  Slim was McMichen’s guitarist, and
was also the guitarist for the recordings of Jimmie Rodgers, including
the last session.  I thought Slim was an incredibly gifted musician, and
so did a lot of other folks.  He taught music well past his 100th
birthday in Massachusetts, I believe, and will be sorely missed. 
 Anyway, this remarkable documentary is incredibly well done.  I highly
recommend it to anyone who has a love for America’s early roots and
rural music.  It’s a delightful ‘honest’ approach to the music so
beloved by many of us, and it’s a permanent record of the contributions
made by so many gifted artists.  You can get this DVD by going to http://www.hayloftgang.com
and I can assure you, you will not be disappointed.  I wish Stephen
Parry, who created it, would take a look at a script I wrote some years
ago, “Blue River Blues” the life story of Jimmie Rodgers, another very
important person in country music, whose life story has never been told
on film.
 
Not very country related, and then again maybe it is. 
“Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was a very beautiful song written by Paul
Simon, and recorded by Simon & Garfunkle.  Super duo singing if
there ever was, except maybe by the Everly Brothers, or the Louvins,
or… now you got me started.  This is apparently how this story goes. 
Last week, police were called to the home of Paul Simon and Edie
Brickell, after Simon called 911.  According to the police report,
Brickell confronted her husband, Paul Simon, and he did something to
“break her heart.”  He subsequently shoved her, she slapped him, it
became a knock down drag out, and he called 911.  Police said, upon
reporting to the scene, that Simon had a superficial cut to his ear, and
Brickell who smelled strongly of alcohol, had a bruise on her wrist and
asked the police to feel the lump on her head.  BUT she would
definitely not let them photograph the injuries.  Following all of this,
the couple wound up in court and proceeded to deny anything more
serious than an ‘atypical’ argument took place.    Simon said “Both of
us are fine together,” and Brickell said “He’s not a threat to me at
all.”  Well lo and behold, less than a week after all this ‘celebrity
brawl’ kind of media attention, Simon and Brickell announced they are
releasing a new duet CD.  Whaaaaat?  “Like To Get To Know You” is an
oddly ambivalent love song on the new release. Wow, it is country
related after all.
 
Talked to John Carter Cash Wednesday morning, he’s all set
for LeMars, we’re trying to work the airplane schedule out, not easy. 
He’s going to be with us on Wednesday, August 27th, so that should be a
real mid-week treat for all of us.  With all the other stuff going on at
LeMars this year, I’d sure get it on your calendar if I were you.  LuLu
Roman told us last year (after she canceled to be with her son who was
in an accident) that she would be with us on Tuesday, August 26th, add
to that the presence of David Davis and the Warrior River Boys (from
Alabama), and Larry Gillis and Swampgrass (from Georgia) on Monday,
August 25th, it’s looking like the whole seven days are going to be
worth the stay.  Come early and stay late, but most important of all,
have a terrifically good time.  Just got word from Miami, Florida that
Bernie Worrell the most beautiful bones player on planet earth is going
to be with us along with husband Tommy Worrell.  You remember him he’s
the guy who wears a tuxedo to emcee the most incredible country music
variety show in the upper Midwest.  Expect a visit from the Cumberland
Trio from Tennessee early on, along with Dave Wilburn and Ron
Wilburne…AND…. the HARMONICATS on Thursday.  Whaaaat?  So, it is
looking good huh?
 
There’s so much flack going on about ‘modern’ country music
today, especially the Blake Shelton kind of music, which is obviously
not country, even mainstream major network television is adjusting. 
Jimmy Kimmel ‘Live’ is gaining in popularity points.  He had on his
program, a week ago Saturday, the “Sleepy Man Banjo Boys.” Whaaaat? A
young bluegrass sounding ‘ACOUSTIC’ country act on national television
without Shelton’s approval or agreement. How can that be?  Anyway, the
‘Boys’ did “By My Side” (this is their new album) to an incredibly
enthusiastic audience.  The album is going to be released June 24th, so
be on the lookout for it, you’re in for a treat.
 
Another ‘winner’ in the real-deal country music world.  “At
The Feed & Seed” is a venue in Fletcher, North Carolina, that
features down-home bluegrass, old-time country, and folk music acts. 
It’s actually an old hardware store that was converted to a church some
time ago, along with a music hall owned by Philip Trees.  April Janow
and Dax Cuesta were production accountants on something called “The
Hunger Games,” that was filmed nearby in Asheville, North Carolina. 
April and Dax stayed in the small village of Fletcher while working on
this movie.  I think Bobbie Lhea dragged us to the theater to see that
film, but I don’t remember much about it, except it moved along real
fast.  Anyway, April and Dax quit their work with “The Hunger Games”
production company, and went to work on their own, doing a documentary
film called “At The Feed & Seed.”  The documentary captures the
culture of small town America, the charm of the folks who live in
Fletcher, and their love for the old time music, especially bluegrass. 
Lo and Behold, the documentary won “Audience Award for Best Documentary”
at the 15th annual “Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival.” 
According to April, she said, “We are thrilled that our documentary
connected so well with the Bare Bones Film Festival organizers and
attendees.  Being able to bring something as special as the traditions
of the Feed & Seed and bluegrass music to new audiences and have it
so well received is what makes filmmaking a success.”   ooooooooooh,
please Mr. Shelton, do not apply.   By the way, the last couple of shows
we have done at the Oak Tree in Anita, have been rehearsals for a
‘live’ (yes of course, taped) recording for a radio pilot.  We have the
audience down pretty good, now we have to get the best songs by the
regulars ready to go. We’re kind of letting the audience decide that
too, judging from the applause the regulars get.  Come and be part of
that.
 
This just in from Nashville’s RFD-TV’s “Larry’s Country Diner,” ATTENTION Bob Duff
While Sheila, Bobbie Lhea, and I were down in Fairfield, Iowa,
Saturday, guess who was on Larry’s Country Diner?  That would be May
3rd.  Ok, give up?  How about Bill & McKenna Medley.  Wow!  Here’s
the deal.  Bob Duff is one of our dear friends, lives in
California, owns most of that state, and was born and raised (well for
awhile anyway) in Anita, Iowa.  He headed west with 38-cents in his
pocket and made a beeline for California.  He’s going to be at LeMars by
the way, to do an auction to raise money for our continual ‘fix the
roof’ on both the Oak Tree and the Pioneer Music Museum.  Anyway, some
of you already know who Bill Medley is.  He is the tall ‘basso’ voice of
the Righteous Brothers.  His partner passed away a few years back, but
Bill is still a mighty music maker, and he’s bringing his daughter
McKenna into the game.  Bill Medley lives next door (or close to it
depending on the size of the house) to Bob Duff.  And guess what?  McKenna tends to favor country music,  real country music.  Bob Duff
has hurt my arm twisting it to let them come to LeMars, and once he had
me down on the ground at Knott’s Berry Farm, I had to relent, and say
‘sure bring her on.’  Who knows what will happen, but Saturday and
Sunday is still open at LeMars ATTENTION Bob Duff.  We
haven’t picked our ‘Rising Legend’ award for this year yet either, so if
dad Bill Medley will come along and sing….errrrr. sing a couple…..
errr great gospel songs, we’re on the right track.  What fun that would
be to have the Kenastons back Bill with acoustic instrumentation doing
some terrific gospel.  Yep, that’s a go, even though my arm still hurts,
lets see what happens here ATTENTION Bob Duff.
 
I’ve always liked Kris Kristofferson.  He’s not the world’s
greatest singer, but he very well may be among the world’s greatest
country music songwriters.  He’s also a pretty darn good actor, being in
some good movies.  He’s 77 years old now (wow, same age as me), but
he’s suffering from a mild form of dementia called ‘puglistica.’  Well, I
don’t have ‘puglistica’ but I’ve been demented pretty much all my
life.  Anyway, back to Kris.  I want, dearly, to induct him into
America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame this year, can’t find a
direct connect anywhere.  Anyway back to Kris. He has severe memory loss
from years of head injuries from boxing and football when he was
younger.  He still remembers his songs and is able to play them pretty
well.  He knows his family, but memories of his music career are almost
gone.  When he sings though, unlike Glen Campbell, he remembers his
words.  Well, we didn’t get to induct Campbell, but I’m still hopeful we
can induct Kristofferson.  Need some help getting to him.
 
One of our regional country music super-stars, Sherwin
Linton, has been recently contacted by the “Legends of South Dakota
Country Music Association” and the “Nebraska Country Music Foundation”
to inform him that he will be inducted into each of their “Halls of
Fame” in 2014.  Sherwin and his wife Pam were inducted into our
“America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame” a number of years ago,
and Sherwin will be with us in LeMars this year, backing one of his
protégés Delaney Johnson, who is going to receive “Young Country CD of
the Year” from the Rural Roots Music Commission.  She has recorded a
‘mighty’ country CD using Sherwin and his band the Cotton Kings.  She
has an incredibly pretty young girl voice, you’re going to like her a
lot.  This is all going to happen on Monday, August 25th, another reason
to come for the whole 7-day shooting match this year, LeMars is
definitely going to be fun.  Sherwin will do a set of music for you too,
so get ready for a good time.  Sherwin and his wife Pam are still hard
at work on the documentary for Pioneer Public TV called “Sherwin Linton –
Forever On the Stage.”  Sherwin is one of the longest touring musicians
in the upper Midwest, a Living Legend, and a favorite of his thousands
of fans.  Good going Sherwin, keep it up!
 
Crystal Gayle (Loretta Lynn’s sister) will debut her “When I
Dream” at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, beginning May 2,
and will go through November 3rd this year.  “When I Dream” recounts
Gayle’s unique rise to stardom.  She became a young dreamer emboldened,
but nearly pigeon-holed, by the pioneering success of Loretta, but
determined to make her own mark, she grew into a superb vocalist whose
signature glamour and pop-infused hits charmed the entire country, as
well as county fans
 
Hangnails hurt like crazy, I think we can all agree on
that, but do they hurt enough to have surgery?  Well, some of you know
Janet McBride.  I don’t think she gives a hoot about hangnails, but one
of the super stars of country music who got her start on Janet’s
“Mesquite Opry” seems to think so.  This is from her tweet last Monday,
“Seriously painful hang nail.  About to have surgery at the derm.  This
is not going to  be very enjoyable.” and later after the evil deed was
done, “OMG that hurt! Numbing shots on the fingers are no bueno! At
least I don’t feel any pain right now, or for my hand for that matter.” 
Wow, sure glad she’s not a guitarist.  Anyway, still like ‘Blue.’
 
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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