UPPER MIDWEST & NATIONAL COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS

UPPER MIDWEST & NATIONAL COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS

Wow, I just can’t believe it.  Last week I was talking
about the amazing discoveries made by Keith Adkinson (husband of Jett
Williams, daughter of Hank Williams) about the death of Hank being a
homicide.  Apparently the evidence was enough to make him re-open the
case about Williams’ death, and then lo and behold, Mr. Adkinson dies of
a heart attack last Wednesday.  You can read the latest on that in the
“Last Page” edition of this issue.
 
I don’t know exactly WHY I get some of this information, I
suppose because I ‘collect’ information about country music, but this
one is kind of interesting, and you might even be able to help.  You
have to go through me to get the contact, but there is a film company
looking for a historic saloon in the time period of 1880-1890, located
somewhere in central Iowa.  They are planning a film that needs this
kind of location, and hopefully some old-time country music to go with
it. If you know of such a place somewhere in central Iowa, let me know
and I’ll pass it along. bobeverhart@yahoo.com will get directly to me.
 
Young guy from Iowa, Jared Finck, is coming to LeMars, just
finished a recording with Ricky Skaggs.  Jared works occasionally with
the Johnson Strings, who are also coming to LeMars, so I’m especially
looking forward to both of these acts.  The Johnson Strings are also
going to do a show for us at the Oak Tree Opry on September 20th, so
we’re in for a real treat.  Jared Finck, who just recorded with Skaggs
is also looking forward to LeMars.  I haven’t heard the record yet, but
Ricky Skaggs has certainly been staying busy.  He’s set to release, for
the first time, the story of his life with his personal autobiography. 
It’s called “Kentucky Traveler” and will come out on August 13.  OK,
someone close to Skaggs must invite him to LeMars on Aug 26 to sell the
book.  Anyway, according to the press release, “Kentucky Traveler” is an
honest, deeply American story of the power of faith, family, and music
from one of America’s most beloved bluegrass and country artists. 
Unlike other farm boys growing up in the small town of Cordell,
Kentucky, Skaggs learned to play the mandolin at the age of five years. 
It’s true that in this same time frame and location, other mountain
boys played guitars or fiddle, and even learned old songs that
grandfathers passed down, but few tried to master the mandolin.  By the
time Skaggs was six years old, his talent was clear enough that his dad
knew he had to get Ricky on stage.  When bluegrass master and mandolin
virtuoso Bill Monroe rolled into a nearby small town, Ricky was there. 
As the crowd cheered “Let Little Ricky sing one” so began a storied life
in music. With Monroe as a mentor and with a family who supported him
at every turn, Skaggs joined the Clinch Mountain Boys band a became a
professional musician by age fifteen. The rest of the story is history,
and it is accurately portrayed in “Kentucky Traveler.”
 
We just returned from the Wahoo Country Music Festival in
Wahoo, Nebraska.  Did the people ever roar when seven-year old Ricky
Buller joined his dad Tommy Buller (just back from Nashville where he
works as a studio musician among many other roles).  Ricky Buller sang
‘Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” to a roaring
audience who didn’t want him to stop.  So dad Tommy, pulled out the
plugs and let him sing a couple more great classic country songs.  When
it was all over, we asked Tommy if he’d like to bring his 7-year old to
the LeMars festival, and which side of Ed Bruce would he like to be
performing.  Opening act, or following act.  Tommy didn’t seem to be too
concerned, but when asked if he knew what song Ed Bruce wrote, he said
he didn’t know.  When he learned that Bruce had written the “mama and
cowboy” song, he was startled.  “Well he said, I dunno, you’ll have to
figure that out.”  Ed Bruce will be at the LeMars Festival on Friday,
August 30th.
 
Did you hear what happened out Tommy Overstreet way? 
Overstreet is one of our very good supporters, has been with us three
times now I think, and is considering coming again from his home in
Oregon.  A mid-morning fire leveled a barn on the north edge of
Hillsboro and the blaze was reported by Tommy, cause it was his barn. 
Tommy lives on a beautiful ‘in the country’ kind of place, closest fire
hydrant being nearly a half-mile away, so they were able to bring the
flame under control by setting up a water shuttle.  Took about 20
minutes to get it all out.  75-year old Overstreet told investigators he
had stepped outside the home he leased to allow his dog to get some
exercise.  He heard some popping and went to investigate and found
flames crawling up the side of his barn located about 75 yards from his
home and in a grove of trees.  He retreated to his house and called
911.  He was unhurt in the incident and there were no animals in the
barn, but a van, pickup truck and a horse trailer also suffered
considerable damage from the radiant heat of the fire.  Come see us
Tommy, we need a good singer.
 
Michael Martin Murphey is still on line to be at the LeMars
Festival, and Red River Entertainment is proud to announce that July
9th will be the release date of Michael’s “Red River Drifter.”  In
recent years, Michael has been exploring the similarities between
bluegrass and American cowboy music.  But for Red River Drifter, he
brought in some very eclectic and unexpected elements to the writing
process.  “I wrote songs that drew from what is inspiring me at this
point in my life,” he says.  “Every style was fair game.  We
intentionally did not follow formulas or rules.”  Michael has won
multiple Grammy nominations and performs as many as 150 shows a year.
One of the singles from the CD project “Shake It Off” is being released
as a bluegrass single.
 
I’ve written before about one of our favorite bluegrass
bands, “The Roys” which is Lee and his sister Elaine who make such
incredibly good music together.  They have appeared at our Oak Tree Opry
three times now, and are waiting to come back again.  Their newest
project “Gypsy Runaway Train” has already taken them on a tour of Sweden
and a few other European destinations, and now the duo’s new video made
its world premiere on ZUUS Country’s Americana Program June 17th.  This
fast-paced piece was shot over three days while the Roys were ‘on the
road’ They did some shoots in Washington DC, in North Carolina,
traveling on their big black bus, and finally an appearance on the Doyle
Lawson festival in Denton, NC.
 
Had a few people ask me (and Dale Eichor, DJ on KWMT Radio,
Fort Dodge, Iowa) to play my song “Dear Grand Ole Opry,” at the Wahoo
Festival.  Dale said he would comply and play it on KWMT.  The Grand Ole
Opry honored Patty Loveless on her 25th anniversary as an Opry member
this past weekend with memorable performances by Loveless and fellow
Opry members Vince Gill and Loretta Lynn.  In talking with Mary Schutz
at Wahoo, who is in communication with George Hamilton IV, it appears
the Grand Ole Opry might be planning on adding a Wednesday night show. 
Hopefully this will allow more traditional, classic, and old-time
country music to get on their stage.
 
This is late news, but you should get it anyway.  I’m a
member of R.O.P.E. in Nashville, and the show this group of professional
entertainers put on for the opening of the CMA Music Week was pretty
incredible.  Just so you know, Mel Tillis opened the festivities with an
awesome show, followed by superlative shows by Charlie Pride, Bill Anderson, Jean Shepard, Mac Wiseman, Jim Ed Brown, Jeannie Seely, Jan Howard, Razzy Bailey, T. Graham Brown, T G Shepard, Tommy Cash, Helen Cornelius, Jim Glaser, Rhonda Vincent, George Hamilton IV, Stan Hitchcock, Georgette Jones, Bobby G Rice, Bobby Lewis, Leona Williams, Donna Cunningham,
Rattlesnake Annie, LuLu Roman, and Karen Wheeler, and a whole bunch
more.  Wow, what a show this must have been, an actual real honest to
goodness true country music superstar show.  Better than anything else
that happened in Nashville on this particular occasion.  Also, look at
that list.  A huge number of these performers are in America’s Old Time
Country Music Hall of Fame. I’ve taken the liberty of underlining those
that have made the trek to Iowa to make that happen.  Wow, that’s unreal
isn’t it?
Bob Everhart – www.ntcma.net

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