Super terrific festival coming up in Fremont, Nebraska,
USA.  This is the Rural Roots Music Gathering, and features well over 60
great performers over three days commencing October 4th at noon.  Goes
all day on Oct. 5th, and again on Oct. 6th.  Headliners include Terry
Smith the fantastic writer of “Far Side Banks of Jordan” for Johnny and
June Carter Cash; John Rex Reeves the incredible nephew of Jim Reeves,
carrying on the Reeves tradition of classic country music; Betty Rydell
the flamboyant and glittering country singer from Minneapolis; Bob &
Sheila Everhart great Smithsonian Institution recording artists; Curt
Shoemaker that fantastic steel player that does the recordings with
Martina McBride; Dale Eichor the DJ Hall of Famer from KWMT Radio Fort
Dodge; The Kenaston Family super terrific dance band as well as
unplugged; Bobby Awe the Midwest’s best classic country singer, and at
least 60 more great performers making it an incredibly fun ‘end of the
season’ festival.  The Culver Restaurant will be on hand with their
regular menu, along with special breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. 
There’s ample RV hook-ups with electricity and water hook-ups, and some
arts and crafts too.  The ‘jamming’ room is always well attended, and
the all around good feel of the venue is super nice.  All indoors in
climate controlled beautiful room.  Come early and stay late, it’s going
to be a special time together.
A larger than life bronze statue of John Denver is being
relocated.  It’s being moved from a property the singer donated for a
foundation near Aspen to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in the city of
Denver.  The foundation is selling the land, so the statue had to go. 
Denver was the first person inducted into the Colorado Hall of Fame when
it was formed in 2011.
Loretta Lynn is adding another date to her fall tour,
October 29th at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer.  Bart
Hansen (former resident of Remsen, Iowa) is her opening act, and has
been for some time now. He will be only a short ways from home when
Loretta performs in Spencer.  We still need to get Loretta into
America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.  She is so deserving, and
somehow there must be a way to get her to come be with us in LeMars for
an opportunity to get this done.  Those close to her need to help, I
haven’t been too successful so far, so maybe we need some extra oomph.
You must surely remember Mickey Gilley’s appearance at the
LeMars Festival this year.  He had a full house, and put on one wallop
of a show.  He gets tired very easily and went to the bus to lay down
right after the show was done, but we thought he did a terrific job
considering all the suffering he has gone through with his paralysis. 
He appeared more recently on September 21st at the casino near Tama,
Iowa.  Storm Seymour lives there, another of our very gifted
entertainers, reported that the Gilley show was a complete sell-out. 
That’s really good news.  Storm went on to say that he had done shows
with Johnny Lee when he was in Los Angeles, and also in Nashville, but
his first time doing a show with Gilley was at the LeMars Festival.  I
say go Storm go!
I told you last week about the town of Okemah, Oklahoma,
rebuilding Woody Guthrie’s house there.  It bothered me a little, that
they practically ran Woody out of town, calling him a Communist (which
he wasn’t) and a worthless folk singer.  Woody left all right, but the
boyhood home pretty much deteriorated.  The city gained control and/or
ownership of it, and immediately tore it down.  One of the wrecking crew
members managed to save most of the timbers, so now thirty years later,
the city wants to rebuild the house and make some money off of the guy
they ran out of town. That doesn’t sit all that well with me.  Anyway,
I’m glad to report that my recording company “Smithsonian Folkways” had a
press release out about the 3,200 albums in their collection (and
growing), with detailed liner notes, all of them contain vast knowledge
about human expression around the world.  What you might not know is
that Smithsonian Folkways is not federally funded.  The collection (that
would include my six projects) is only made available as a result of
member support through the purchase of recordings, grants, and
donations.  So, you can make a donation. Several ways.  You can buy some
of my recordings and that in turn gives the Smithsonian additional
income.  Or, you can make a donation (all tax deductible) and if you
give $100 or more you get a neat poster of Woody Guthrie from the Woody
Guthrie Foundation and Archives.  It includes Guthrie’s iconic guitar
inscribed with “This Machine Kills Fascists” and features his famous
quote “left wing, right wing, chicken wing, it’s all the same to me.”
I found this fascinating in our world of ‘real’ classic and
traditional country music which is so unlike the ummmm country music
called country today.  Former CBS evening news anchor Dan Rather,
visited Franklin, North Carolina, recently to interview and ‘introduce’
legendary country music singer Merle Haggard.  It’s part of a piece
Rather is working on for his new show “Dan Rather Reports,” Rather
interviewed Haggard before his performance at the Smoky Mountain Center
for the Performing Arts.  Rather, who was an anchor for the CBS Evening
News for 24 years, as well as the face of CBS’s 60-Minutes, posted on
his website “I’m off to North Carolina, working a story and an interview
to talk with the great Merle Haggard, among others.  I have long
listened to much Haqggard, one of the all time country music greats. 
Among my favourites of his, “Mama Tried” “The Fighting Side of Me” “Okie
From Muskogee” and of course “Sing Me Back Home.”  However I like
almost everything Merle has recorded.  I think country music is still
(always has been) an underestimated reflection of American culture and
society, and our nation’s people.  Elites tend to dismiss it, if not
outright ridicule it, but I’ve said it before and say it again, if you
want to know what’s really on a lot of American minds (and in many ways
in their hearts) listen to country music.” Rather surprised the sold out
crowd when he took center stage to introduce Haggard…..”A legend, and
iconic poet of the common man, champion of the American underdog, and
when it comes to standing up for country music and being true to his
roots, the last outlaw, ladies and gentlemen, the one, the only, the
great…Merle Haggard.”  Wow, super terrific, huh?
Willie Nelson put out an S.O.S. hoping fans can help him
catch the thief who stole a band member’s toy armadillo from a stage in
Westchester, where he was performing at.  The stuffed critter, nicknamed
Ol’ Dillo, was snatched as Nelson’s roadies packed the band’s equipment
after a show at the Capital Theatre. A grainy surveillance video shows
the suspect, a woman wearing a tank top- boldly walking on the stage and
grabbing the toy animal before casually stepping away.  The theatre’s
manager said the armadillo is a treasured travel companion of the band’s
monitor engineer.  Now there’s good news and there’s bad news.  Well
the good news just came in, the toy armadillo has been returned to it’s
proper owner.  The bad news is that Willie has been forced to pull out
of the Southern Ground Music & Food Festival in Nashville, as well
as three other shows.  Willie is under a doctor’s orders to rest his
shoulder for a week, meaning he will miss shows in Carmel, Indiana,
Charlotte, Michigan, and Springfield, Illinois.  Whew, I wish Willie
would put out the same S.O.S. for our missing Patsy Montana guitar and
Johnny Cash harmonicas which low life thieves took from our Pioneer
Music Museum.  Sounds like the same person?
Interesting story out from the Pasadena Star News in
California…..”TV and the music scene must have been crazy good and
crazy bad all at the same time in the 60’s.  Country and western music
was jumping, and TV in combination with the country music of the day
must have been a nice combination if you wanted to sell cars.  Cal
Worthington did exactly that on KTLA from 1959 to 1972.  The 3-hour
concert called “Cal’s Corral” ran on Sundays.  Not only did it help
Worthington move cars, the program was also a prime showcase for country
acts in the era before Hee Haw but at a time when country performers
dominated the networks.  The story goes on to talk some about Jerry Lee
Lewis, and then Spade Cooley.  We have a guitar in our museum that
apparently belonged to the rhythm guitar player in Cooley’s band.  Back
in those days, western swing was very popular, and that’s exactly what
Cooley played, extremely well.  Cooley was convicted of murder in 1961
for killing his wife, and sentenced to life in prison.  At trial, his
teen daughter told a jury, “she watched in terror as her father beat her
mother’s head against the floor, stomped on her stomach, then crushed a
lighted cigarette against her skin to see whether she was dead.”  It’s
an amazing story, Cooley had his own show on KTLA called the “Hoffman
Hayride.”  That same program apparently changed ultimately to “Cal’s
Corral,” which became a show-case for artists like Buck Owens, Glen
Campell, Johnny Cash, Roger Miller, and a ton of other great country
Next act up at the Folk House in Omaha is Barnaby Bright
& Liz Longley from the east coast.  Lots of travelling folk artists
at this venue, so locals need not apply. 
If you’d like to perform at the Canadian Music Week in
front of thousands of industry worldwide leaders, here’s another of
those invitations I’m not so sure about.  At any rate this all takes
place in Toronto, May 6-10, 2014.  They expect to fill at least 100
slots of auditioning artists at this event called Canada’s Largest New
Music Festival.  It costs $25 as a submission fee to see if you will be
selected, and if you are that is applied to a complimentary pass to
attend the entire festival a value of $799 Canadian dollars?  You get a
chance to appear on the ‘Artist Spotlight” with lots of other stuff. 
You have to be over age 19.  More information at
Super big show at the Oak Tree Opry in Anita on October
11th.  John Rex Reeves (nephew of Jim Reeves) performs a very personal
and intimate concert, show begins at 7pm.  On October 12th he will be at
the Rec. Center Theater in Carroll, Iowa for a 7pm show; and on October
13th he’s at the Wieting Theater in Toledo for a 2pm matinee.  Try to
catch one of them at least, he’s a super tremendous performer, and Bob
& Sheila Everhart will be opening the show for him.  Great fun with
super terrific classic country music.
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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