We really enjoyed the ‘big’ show at the Oak Tree in Anita. 
The Johnson Strings and Betty Rydell put on a super show for us.  If
you’ve seen these acts, you already know that they are both super
talented music makers.  The Johnson Strings is mom and dad and six kids
who all play bowed instruments.  They come together to play classical
music, but they also play super good country music.  Orange Blossom
Special is especially good.  Betty Rydell will be at Fremont on Oct
4-5-6, and her show at the Oak Tree was also superdelicious.  She’s a
great performer, and so is her “Judge” husband.  They do some terrific
comedy songs.  Our regulars were up to their normal good music, though
they had to shorten up a bit to get everyone on.  You will read in the
“On The Road” column about our adventures out looking for new ideas and
things for LeMars, so I won’t repeat that here.
I get a lot of these ‘we need this’ kind of musical
information, and I’m never very sure just how ligit it all is,  but
sometimes it is.  So, for those of you who are composers, here’s the
latest tidbit I’ve received.  The Music Ops Board (Music Industry
Opportunities for Musicians) you can find them on the internet, is
paying $4,000 for a ‘country’ song for a motion picture company who is
looking for a few original melancholy acoustic songs.  Hey hey hey did I
read that right “acoustic” song???  Well, yes, that’s what they said,. 
The song should include no electric instruments, a minimal arrangement
(one or two instruments) and be available in a high quality recording. 
The lyrics should touch on ending and avoiding personal relationships or
persevering through challenges.  Male and female vocals preferred by
they are also considering an acoustic guitar track for the film.  No
cover songs, has to be original, no explicit lyrics.  Well, if you have
something that might fit that you have to get in gear, they want
something by September 27.
Here’s another one.  I’m pretty sure these are legitimate
inquiries, so pursue with caution just in case they ain’t.  This one is
calling for female lead singers to open for Martina McBride at one of
her shows in 2014.  The audition dates are Sept 25 through Nov 15, 2013
in Nashville.  You perform live in Kingston Springs, Tenn., with one of
three acts selected by the audience to advance to the next level.  This
is from the ReverbNation team, so I suppose you can find out more
information from them, or check out Martina McBride Decked Out Selection
Most of you know that I traveled as a solo artist all over
Europe for many years, and then with Sheila for quite a few more years. 
One of the places that I went that was a really thrilling experience
was to the Shetland Islands.  I got to go there several times, and
enjoyed every minute of it working for the Shetland Country Music Club. 
They provided round-trip air, a beautiful hotel accommodation,
wonderful food, a really neat ‘tourist trip’ around the island every
time I went there, and decent pay.  It was one of my favorite stops, and
I hate to see what just happened there.  Apparently a shady promoter
from Ireland, James McGarrity, had arranged for concerts by Ricky Skaggs
in February, and Hal Ketchum this October.  Apparently the club sold
over 800 tickets to see the two stars.  McGarrity said the club should
never have sold the tickets since his management never confirmed the
dates.  Sheila Manson, the club chairwoman said’ The committee had smelt
a rat after speaking to Englis music promoters who said Ketchum had no
plans to visit Britain next month.  They then contacted his U.S. manager
who confirmed their fears, as did Skaggs management when asked if the
February date was likely to happen.  McGarrity was paid a deposit for
the two acts, and the club is demanding their money back.  McGarrity
says no, simply because the funds had already been transferred and he
was not responsible for the cancellations.  He went on to say “Hal
Ketchum changed management and I had made a deal with his previous
management.  Also, Skaggs would only fly to the UK if He secured six
concerts which he was not able to do.”
Better news down Oklahoma way.  I’ve been a fan of Woody
Guthrie nearly all my life.  I know he had very liberal leanings, but he
was never a Communist which some people claimed, especially some of
those Okemah, Oklahoma, folks who lived in the town where Guthrie grew
up.  They disliked him so much they tore down his dilapidated boyhood
home in the 1970’s, the demolition reflecting the strained relationship
between conservative folks and the native son who became very famous for
his folk singing.  Those tensions persisted for more than a
generation.  Marjorie Guthrie (Woody’s widow) was a very close friend of
mine, and she spoke often of the terrible way Woody was treated in his
boyhood home.  But attitudes are now apparently changing in Okemah.  Now
developers, working with the blessing of some of Guthrie’s relatives,
have announced plans to rebuild his 1860-era boyhood home in Okemah, a
time-worn town of 3,300 people that is desperately seeking tourism
dollars.  Wow, what a change that is.  They ran Woody out of town, and
now they want to make money off of him.  Anyway, Johnny Buschardt is a
spokesman for the project, and he said, “If you were to put a Mount
Rushmore of American music here in Oklahoma, the first two artists would
be Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie.  Without Woody there wouldn’t be a
Bob Dylan, or even a Bruce Springsteen.”  High sounding words, but
probably both of those artists would have made it anyway. Although
revered as one of the best songwriters in American history, he was
rarely acknowledged, let alone honored by his home state, let alone his
home town.  Another spokesperson, Ric Denney said, “When I was going to
school, it was almost like his name wasn’t supposed to be mentioned, and
when it was brought up in class, the teacher would change the
subject.”  So, it took over 30 years, but Okemah now celebrates Guthrie
with an annual music festival.  The estimated $500,000 reconstruction of
Guthrie’s childhood home will use original planks salvaged from the
run-down property they demolished.  The guy that saved the lumber, Earl
Walker, said “In the early 70’s and 80’s Woody was still a bad name
among some residents.  You had some old-timers here in Okemah who were
just against Woody, but there’s maybe a handful still alive.  The town
is coming around,” he added, “most people understand the home is a draw,
something that is part of history.”  Wow, half a million dollars, and I
can’t raise enough money to fix the roof on the Pioneer Music Museum,
which houses a guitar Woody Guthrie once played on, given to me by his
widow Marjorie Guthrie.  Maybe I could sell the guitar to Okemah for
enough money to fix the roof, but I wouldn’t count on it.
One of our Hall of Famers, Maynard Zipf who lives out North
Platte, Nebraska, way, was inducted into the Nebraska Country Music
Hall of Fame last October.  I didn’t know that, so thanks to Yvonne for
sharing that.  Maynard, who used to play for our nightly dances at
LeMars, still plays the keyboard and sings.  He played at the Rail Fest
Celebration in North Platte this weekend (Sept 21 & 22).  Good going
The banjo, invented some 400 years ago by enslaved Africans
in the Caribbean, proved to be remarkably adaptable after it found a
home on the North American mainland.  “Classic Banjo” a 30-track
anthology released last month on Smithsonian Folkways (the same label we
record for) draws on artists as varied as Pete Seeger, Elizabeth
Cotton, Bill Keith, and Tony Trischka to trace the instrument’s spread
into minstrelsy, ragtime, bluegrass, and other musical forms.  “The
banjo is not just a stereotype anymore,” says Greg Adams, who compiled
the album with archivist Jeff Place.  “It is a gateway to understanding
the American experience.”  You can go to Smithsonian Folkways on your
internet, simply type in ‘classic banjo’ and it will go directly to that
information OR you can just type in Bob Everhart, and you can go to the
six projects we have recorded for the Smithsonian.  You might even like
one well enough to buy it?
Did I mention “ragtime?”  Yes, I did, a couple of times. 
The Johnson Strings did a beautiful version of “Beaumont Rag” and the
banjo is also related to ragtime.  We also hear some delightful ragtime
on the player piano Gary Meschk plays for us at the Oak Tree just before
the show begins.  It’s terrific, you would really enjoy that if you
could just take a few minutes out of your busy life to come see one of
our shows.  Next one John Rex Reeves, October 11th, 7pm. Anyway, the
Great Plains Ragtime Society is going to have their next ‘meet’ on
September 29th at 2pm, at the First Central Congregational United Church
of Christ, 421 S. 36th St., Omaha. The meet will be held in Memorial
Hall and will run until 4pm, after that participants are invited to eat
out with the hosts at a neighborhood restaurant.  Promoter is Jim Boston
at 402-556-3340
He’s like to know if you want to participate so he can delegate time. 
Are you knowing about this Calvin Duhasek????  It’s a super good time
for authentic rag-time on the piano.  We might be there.
Dolly Parton may be a senior citizen at age 67, but there’s
nothing retired about her upcoming work schedule. She’s expanding
Dollywood Theme Park to the tune of $300-million.  Wow, and I can’t even
raise enough money to fix the roof on the Pioneer Music Museum?  She’s
going to go on tour to Australia in February and Europe in June.  About
the Dollywood Park.  She’s been asked by several foreign countries to
build similar parks in several countries.
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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