There’s an incredible story out in Jett Williams latest
newsletter about the death of her father Hank Williams Sr., as well as a
new movie out entitled “The Last Ride,” also about Hank.  It seems
there’s a lot more to Hank’s death than any of us remember or realize. 
Jett Williams is married to a very successful attorney, Fletcher Keith
Adkinson, who managed to not only prove Jett’s relationship to Hank
Williams Sr (his daughter), he also managed to get her the rightful
inheritance she was entitled to.  He is one super attorney, even serving
on the bar of the Supreme Court of the U.S. and he’s married to Jett
Williams.  He came with Jett to our festival (when we were located in
Missouri Valley), and I was quite impressed with him.  He watched
everything going on while we had Jett on stage, and I would constantly
glance at him about how we were doing, and he nodded his head
approvingly, so apparently it all turned out OK, and now we are quite
satisfied with his abilities as well as Jetts.  This time around
however, the story of Hank’s death is starting to show some interesting
conflicts about the entire episode.  We just had June Webb at our little
performance center in Anita.  She was Hank’s opening act on that West
Virginia/Ohio last two shows he never showed up for.  June was also an
avid fan of Hank Williams, so much so that when he disappeared, so did
she, for nearly 35 years.  She’s back, and she’s got a great new CD
coming out.  Back to Hank.  According to Jett, there was a lot of
contradiction, lies, and misinformation swirling around Hank’s death. 
More recently, she’s asking “Why would someone in Oak Hill close to the
investigation of the death of Hank Williams want to meet Keith and me in
the middle of the night to tell us my dad’s death, in his opinion, was a
homicide?”  Wow, that is indeed an incredible statement. Here’s the
rest…”What happened to Hank if he didn’t die of natural causes at 29
years old, and who did what, and why?  A quick recap suggests that we
have a 17-year old driver of a new Cadillac, on New Year’s Eve, with a
hitch-hiker (apparently a military man) that vanished, then with a
relief driver (another 17-year old) that denies the hitch hiker ever
existed, trying to get to Charleston when they were supposed to be going
to Canton, Ohio.  The show at Charleston had been canceled.  And then
there was the Highway Patrolman, the magistrate, and the waitress who
maintain that Hank was alive or dead when they allegedly saw him. 
Include a detective who was denied the ability to investigate, a blood
sample that turned up negative for alcohol or drugs, a bruised and
battered body, and you have yourself an Agatha Christy mystery.”  Indeed
indeed!  We won’t even go into the aftermath and all the incredible
‘incidents’ that took place, because that is a story in itself.  It’s
the ‘death’ of Hank Williams that is now shrouded in mystery.
It’s definitely going to be an interesting ride, just
received this most interesting press release.  “Celebrate the Legend of
Hank Williams – THE LAST RIDE – The intimate look at the final days of
one of the greatest singer-songwriters in American Country Music
History.   According to the press release, “Ride off into the sunset
with the most legendary country music artist of all-time when “The Last
Ride” arrives on Blue-ray and DVD June 4th, from Twentieth Century Fox
Home Entertainment. Based on the controversial life story of
singer-songwriter Hank Williams, the Last Ride tells the powerful tale
of country music’s original bad boy.  The man, the myth, and the music
come together when Williams travels from Alabama to a series of New
Year’s shows in West Virginia and Ohio.  This remarkable journey leads
straight into the heart and soul of the legendary performer, as he takes
one last shot at redemption. Featuring all-new versions of Hank
Williams’s greatest songs, this emotional tale of hope and truth is one
you’ll never forget. With 11 number one songs throughout his career,
Williams’ music continues to touch people’s lives long after his passing
60 years ago.  Former President Bill Clinton has said of the Last Ride
that ‘it takes us back to rural America in the 1950’s, tells the story
simply, and uses the music deftly, both to intensify the drama and to
remind us of the timeless genius of Hank Williams.”  Former Arkansas
Governor Mike Huckabee added, “it’s a beautifully crafted and creative
vehicle for telling the story of almost every gifted musician or actor
who must reconcile the desire within to simply be a great artist and the
demands of the public to be an accessible and accommodating
celebrity.”  OK, so how does all this connect to Bob & Sheila
Everhart and their love and admiration for this ‘rural’ genius, Hank
Williams? Yes, please do listen to us doing one of his songs “My Sweet
Love Ain’t Around” on our fan-based website in England.  Please go to www.responda.co.uk/bob/ click up music and then click up “My Sweet Love Ain’t Around.” Hope you like it.
Minnesota lover of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Jimmie
Rodgers, and a ton more, Sherwin Linton, is excited about inviting
friends and fans to join him in Nashville Oct 15-21.  Joining forces
with Hart Travel, Sherwin and wife Pam, have set up a seven-day tour in a
luxury coach.  Four nights at the Fairfield Inn within walking distance
of the Opry Land Hotel, a Night Life Dinner Theater welcoming them with
a show by Sherwin and Pam. Included in this trip  is your lunch, show
and cruise ticket on the General Jackson, tickets to tour the country
music hall of fame museum. Also the Grand Ole Opry, and much much more. 
Price per person is $850 with more info at LintonEnt@aol.com
Country music star Jimmie Rodgers will be celebrated at the
annual Mississippi Picnic in New York City, where Brott Gully will play
songs recently recorded using a guitar once owned by Rodgers.  Gully
used Rodger’s custom Martin guitar in February to record a tribute album
at the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, Mississippi, Rodger’s
hometown.  The museum owns the guitar.  It was the first time the
instrument had been played in a recording session in years.  Gully, who
is from Kemper County, Mississippi, said the guitar is valued at
something like one-million dollars.  Jimmie Rodgers died in 1933, and
according to Gully, “It was an honor just to get to touch it, much less
play it and record an album with it.  That’s the Holy Grail for me.” 
The guitar has been kept in a safe in recent years at the museum
dedicated to Rodgers, who is considered the father of country music and
was also known as the ‘Singing Brakeman’ from his time as a railroad
worker.  Gully said another country music star, Ernest Tubb, played the
guitar for years after Rodger’s death, but it hadn’t been used for a
recording in decades.”  We don’t have much information about the album
Gully performed, but if you want to see a picture of the guitar being
held by Ernest Tubb, you can find it at http://youtu.be/3xDswcKKVhU 
You’ll have to wait until I sing part of my original song “Dear Grand
Ole Opry” and then watch the photos during the break.  Ernest and the
guitar are toward the end of the break.
Most of you remember that Michael Martin Murphey was with
us at our annual Convention-Festival in LeMars, Iowa, last year. He
promised to be with us again this year (Aug 26-Sept 1) at the Plymouth
County Fairgrounds.  It was recently announced that Red River
Entertainment launched its Nashville division.  Chuck Rhodes who will
head up the Nashville office for the label says the first releases
scheduled are Murphey’s “Live From The Archives” which features his WSM
appearances, as well as his “Red River Drifter” album which will have a
July 9th release date.  Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan join with a release
of “Dos Divas.”  Along with Michael Martin Murphey at our Iowa
Festival, this year, we expect to have LuLu Roman (from Hee Haw); Ed
Bruce (Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys); Kenny Serrat
(the voice behind the voice of Merle Haggard); Terry Smith (wrote Far
Side Banks of Jordan for Johnny and June Carter Cash); Rev. Dr. Harry
Yates (founder of Cowboy Church) and Joanne Cash (Johnny Cash’s younger
sister), and more for this year’s celebration.
Speaking of Johnny Cash, a new Johnny Cash Forever stamp
has gone on sale at the post office.  The stamp is based around a
promotional shot for the 1963 album “Ring Of Fire: The Best of Johnny
Cash.”  According to Johnny & June’s son John Carter Cash, “It looks
like a 45 or 78 RPM record cover and is unlike the usual offering,
matching his father’s legacy.  It just truly embodies my father’s
spirit, who he was.  It’s different.  That’s one thing: It stands out to
me as being unique.  It’s very commanding when you see the stamp.”  A
decade after his 2003 death, Cash remains a popular figure with
million-dollar sales.  A celebration of what would have been his 80th
year started last spring and efforts to preserve his legacy continue in
Nashville and his birthplace in Arkansas.  The Johnny Cash Museum
formally opened in downtown Nashville, and efforts are underway to save
Cash’s childhood home in Dyess, Arkansas.  Joanne Cash, his younger
sister, will be at LeMars to be inducted into America’s Country Music
Hall of Fame, which Johnny was inducted into a number of years ago.
Everybody knows that Blue Bunny Ice Cream is located in
LeMars, Iowa, where our annual festival is held.  What some might not
know is that Sue Bee Honey is located in Sioux City, Iowa, just 19 miles
south of LeMars.  It was recently announced that the Henningsens, a
rapidly rising country trio, have a new partnership with the popular and
classic American brand Sue Bee Honey.  Both the recording group and the
company value referencing family, honest and hard-working American-made
values and traditions.  These values are also displayed in the trio’s
new video for their Top-20 debut single “American Beautiful.”  Clara
Henningsen said “When we were approached about the partnership with Sue
Bee Honey, we were so excited because our farm has been in our family
for seven generations here in Iowa.”  Clara’s dad Brian also spoke up
“We have a really large family.  My wife and I have 10 children.  We
love the multi-generation aspect of farming and music, and that was a
really good fit for us in partnering with and becoming friends with the
folks at Sue Bee Honey.  The farm we live on (1,700 acres) has been in
my family for 142 years.  The history, roots, and grounded-ness that it
provides is very special to us.  It’s a very special thing, a very
American thing, to value that kind of multi-generational relationship
and to want to build something that can be passed to your children as a
heritage.”  The Henningsen Trio is made up of father Brian, and his son
Aaron and daughter Clara.  The trio is currently on tour with Brad
Paisley, presented by Cracker Barrel, and they have been invited to
appear at the 38th annual National Old-Time Country-Bluegrass-Folk
Festival and Contest & Pioneer Expo of Rural Lifestyle in LeMars,
Iowa, Aug. 26-Sept. 1 at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.
Neil Young’s summer European tour with Crazy Horse
beginning in Berlin covered a Bob Dylan song “Blowin’ In The Wind” at
the tour opener.  Young sang it solo acoustic, with harmonica.  Young
said…”I’m going to do my best  Bob Dylan imitation.  I will go out
there with an acoustic guitar and harmonica. No electric. This will be a
folk approach, based on story songs with lots of words and verses.  I
will be like a ghost from the past, totally a throwback to another
time.  It’s funny, I call it a Bob Dylan imitation, but Bob never does
it.  I suspect it would be too lonely and singular for him, no band to
hang with or friends to see every day when he gets off the bus.”
What is it with CMT Awards.  The “CM” supposedly stands for
“COUNTRY MUSIC” or that is what I’ve been told, and that is what they
espoused to get their television license.  So how come….Lenny Kravitz
and Nelly are performing on this so-called award show, joining his
co-host Jason Aldean, while the rapper Nelly teams up with Florida
Georgia Line.  Good Lord….WHAT IS ‘COUNTRY’ ABOUT ANY OF THIS?

Bob Everhart

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