I were to tweet, I would add
"me, too." Like KARI REEVES, DIANE JORDAN and others
(many of whom have relayed similar experiences in private
conversation), I have never been afraid to
names, sparing some whose inclusion would require
explanations too complicated to summarize.
fairness to anyone who is accused, an accusation is just that.
I do not believe everything I am told nor that I read.
Some well-meaning people misunderstand, others,
unfortunately, refuse to take responsibility for their own, sometimes
provocative actions. Others lie or
reflecting on events to which I am not a
party are perfectly capable of speaking for
paraphrase: I report, you decide. In matters of
opinion, I believe mine is informed, but where, mine is not a personal
experience, my views are only as good as the sources that inform them.
My readers are equally capable of distinguishing between
speculation and fact; of separating the proverbial wheat from
the chaff. Whether they choose to do so is up to them but
it's an important, long overdue, entertainment industry conversation.
am confident in my reporting of what I have experienced (and have had
the occasion, as a
plaintiff, to testify to it in open court) re: these matters over the
past four decades: For instance,
JERRY LEE LEWIS'
response to an impromptu request for an interview was to grab
and French kiss me. (As with the following documentation,
I mention it because current events, which may cause a sea
change, make the reporting as timely as ever. If not now,
have been on the receiving end of boorish behavior from Music
Row veterans ranging from CHIC DOUGHERTY to MARK WRIGHT.
WAGONER's publicist, assigned the task of damage control at
the time of Porter's metaphorical dustup with ELLIS NASSOUR, I never dreamed,
years later when I returned to music journalism, that Wagoner had other
ideas when he agreed to an interview at Fireside
scariest of these intimidating situations was perpetrated by "Colonel" TOM ANTHONY.
was not a colonel. Though I didn't know it at the time, his
real name was JOHN CALVIN BECK.
(undoubtedly less like JOHN CALVIN than [DAVE]
BECK), was a record
I'm not sure he was a job-creator, as I had been led
to believe he was by an employment agency I contacted in
response to "Colonel" Tom's telling the agency, I thought had checked
him out before referring me to him, that he wanted to hire a "talent
scout" for a major label. (Anthony/Beck likely did not
disclose to the
agency- and he certainly didn't tell me- that his previous employment
had been as an evangelist and carney. I assume these were two
idea that I could be, what today we would call, a tastemaker
intriguing to a recent graduate who was job-hunting and liked the idea
of taking in the club scene, having my judgment as a live performance
critic trusted and getting paid for this "glamor job."
in a million years did I think meeting with Anthony/Beck would put me
danger, let alone how lucky I would be, on what I gambled (as I was
being overpowered by "Colonel Tom"'s 250-pound frame), would be my
ability to talk him out of his intentions, if only his worst
intentions. ("Colonel Tom" was later the subject,
for different, but equally nefarious reasons (he was a
federal parole violator), of a MIKE WALLACE 60 Minutes investigation).
colleagues are expecting me to name at least one other name:
I believe I've covered reasons for that omission(s), as
working on another
BALSAM RANGE fans don't have to
wait for Santa Claus: The group's
six-song EP, It's Christmas Time may be
RICKY SKAGGS will be on hand for
the October 29, 2017 Music City For MARSHA (BLACKBURN)
fund raiser at the home of JOYCE
and WILLIS JOHNSON, 1301 Moran Road,
Franklin, Tennessee 37069.
Those interested in attending are encouraged to "bring the whole family
for a Sunday BBQ lunch and gospel music."
Door open at 12:30 p.m. The event begins at 1 p.m.
RSVPs and campaign contributions ("$50 per person, $100 per family
maximum") should be made here.
HALL is first with news, for those whose late
October, 2017 plans include being in Nashville, of
where to catch ERIN RAE and KASHENA SAMPSON.
Kashena plays The Basement October 23rd while
Erin gives her fans two admission-free opportunities to see her.
First, Erin joins an all-star lineup in
concert on Heal the Music Day (October 20) at
Centennial Park. A
week later Erin greats fans at Third
Man Records during a 5 p.m. October 27th in-store
KISSI BLACK has issued an
invitation to a "private screening" of the October 24, 2017
"full-length Director's Cut" screening of A Tribute to John D. Loudermilk at
Theatre (the same venue where it was filmed in March, 2016
for a PBS
The special screening, a benefit for MusiCares,
features "a live Q & A with the film's producer, DIXIE GAMBLE, and the event's
musical director, JOHN JORGENSON," a
first-round, 2018 Grammy nominee, whose credits
include the engineering and mastering of the PBS special's "companion
possible apologies to THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS, it's time
to go California Dreamin (sic)
with DENNY STRICKLAND. California Dreamin is Denny's
latest album (featuring the title song and with nine or 10 others,
depending upon whether the acoustic version of the same
song, Close My Eyes, counts).
The occasion is "a private album launch party," according to KELLI WASILAUSKI's
invitation to "join us for an open lounge party, complimentary
catering + open bar" on October 19, 2017 at 3rd
Point Cancer Support (formerly the MINNIE
PEARL Cancer Foundation, before it inexplicably
removed the Grand Ole Opry comedienne's name
from its marketing after her passing) is apparently not above
having second thoughts, if not remorse: "Let's Put Cancer
through the Grinder Switch" (sic) is the message being sent
potential PearlPoint donors: "Honor the legacy of Minnie Pearl, and put
cancer through the Grinder Switch (also Minnie Pearl's hometown), with
the purchase of a limited edition (sic) print of Minnie's iconic hat.
"The limited edition print, from artist CHRISTINA CRUIKSHANK,
is available now. A portion of the proceeds benefit Pearl
Point." (Don'tcha love the lack of precision?)
LEROY VAN DYKE is celebrating his
88th birthday as the voice of Subway's current TV advertising
campaign. An excerpted version of Van Dyke's smash recording of The
Auctioneer provides the soundtrack
for the ad.
In other news about Leroy, noting Van Dyke's October 19, 2017
celebration of what would/should be Leroy's 55th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member, KIRT
WEBSTER is befuddled about Van Dyke's Opry status.
Kirt writes: "I have included the letter from WSM's OTT DEVINE kicking Van Dyke out of
the Opry membership, but if you go backstage today... his name appears
on the gold plates of the Opry members.
"Very confusing, I know... The coming [October 19, 2017] appearance
would allow him to celebrate 55 years since becoming a member of the
Opry... now, wait a minute, is he a member or not? I was told
membership into the Opry is like being a cast member of Saturday Night Live, although
the cast members may change you are always part of the cast."
Devine sent his November 25, 1965 pink slip, written on official
letterhead, to the singer who, two years, later would
host the very first CMA Awards, by certified
mail after it became mathematically impossible for Van Dyke to meet the
minimum number of appearances then annually-required by Opry members to
remain in good standing. Ott conceded that Leeroy was not
the only Opry member to fall short of expectations and to receive such
I'm happy to send a copy of Devine's letter to Van Dyke, as an email
attachment (replace "at" with "@"), to anyone interested in receiving
it, in exchange for putting Opry
Pink Slip in the subject line and the
full name, city and state (province and/or country if outside
the U.S.) in the body of the email.
October 3, 2017 proved to be a very special
evening for PAUL BOGART’s media friends,
courtesy of ZACH FARNUM and BEV
was on hand at The Studio in Nashville
for a listening party performance preview of songs from Paul's new
including the album’s first single, All That Cowboy Jazz.
for a review of
subscribers are aware of a post-Mandalay Bay Music City
murder not being publicized as indirectly affecting a well-known member
of the music industry, my observations
about DON WILLIAMS’ funeral and other
wish to be repetitive, I did not broach the subject of Don's death
and its aftermath here. As it turned out.
needn’t have run such a
risk. There was
reporting because network news virtually ignored Don's passing, not to
mention the sendoff that followed.
of that made the “reserved seating” at
Williams’ “Celebration of Life” especially presumptuous. But,
in fairness, given
the venue, there was probably an internal battle among organizers on
to assure a production not become a circus.
Ultimately, a late afternoon time slot was chosen,
minimizing the turnout to a respectable number of mourners/celebrants.
emcee BILL CODY appeared to have
phoned in his apparently pre-recorded introductions of event speakers
performers, apparition-style. (Why are these "events" ALWAYS
emceed by men? This is, after all, the 21st century!)
were advised the “memorial service”
would be “commencing promptly at 4:30 p.m.”
late, I arrived just as I thought the
doors to Country Music Hall of Fame’s CMA
Theatre were about to close.
An audiovisual retrospective had already
begun, but I arrived in time to see whatever I had missed in the way of
the slide show, if not the musical accompaniment of Don's hits that
wouldn't have been new to me, through to
In reality, I needn't have worried, because
BOB McDILL, ALLEN REYNOLDS, KEITH
URBAN, LLOYD GREEN, RAY STEVENS, MARTHA
MOORE, RORY FEEK , THE ISAACS and all the rest of us
warming chairs until 4:45.
pushed the ending of the service close to
the preacher (Don was a Church of Christ elder), whose
initial remarks focused on Don rather than bible-thumping,
chose to make a return appearance to pick up where he apparently left
to Nashville's GEORGE
museum (which recently offered free
admission in celebration on the day of what, had he lived, would have
Possum's 85th birthday), will notice that among the tourist
memorabilia is a great article written by my late colleague, BRUCE
a copy of Jones' delayed birth certificate.
Delayed birth certificates were mostly issued during the mid-twentieth
when Americans, born before it became a legal requirement that the
which they were born issue birth certificates, had to verify
identity in order to obtain employment, apply for Social Security,
passport or enlist in the military.
The state of Texas has issued birth certificates since 1903, so why was
no official recording of George's birth some 28 years later?
because George was not born in a hospital.
informs me that, 14 years after JOHNNY CASH's passing, JOHNNY WESTERN is
the focus (no pun intended) of a British TV film crew filming a new
Western reveals "We filmed for over five hours of my four
life on the road" with the Man in Black.
"The director, PATTY, and the cameraman, GREG,
wonderful to work with, the whole time being directed from London on
the executive producer.
"My life on the road with Johnny [is] among my fondest memories.
miss him every day!"
AMATO for the invitation to attend BARRON RYAN's September 22, 2017
Nashville showcase at Rudy's Jazz Room.
the emailbag: ZACH FARNUM and BEV
MOSER write: "We would love it if you would join us on
[September 19, 2017] in Nashville for a celebration with LOGAN MIZE and Budweiser
with a BIG announcement."
ROGERS and JANICE GRAY handled the
invitations and RSVPs to join THE OAK RIDGE BOYS and
DAVE COBB at RCA
Studio A September 13, 2017 for a unique opportunity to hear
the Oaks "perform songs and discuss their new Dave
Cobb-produced album at the studio
where it was recorded."
PETER COOPER moderated the
conversation with the five-time Grammy-winning group about their,
as yet, untitled gospel album (to be released in early 2018).
probing led me to wish I'd brought a tape recorder instead of a
notepad. I thought I knew the ORB's history like the back of
my hand but, given this "newest"
incarnation's collection of stories and anecdotes (not to mention the
career retrospectives freely volunteered in response to Cooper's
questions), interspersed between album sneak peeks, I conceded it's
impossible to ever know it all.
always, DUANE ALLEN
spoke with warmth, great candor and gratitude about the Oaks' ability
to change with the times while remaining true to themselves. RICHARD STERBAN
shared his experience touring with my late neighbor J.D. SUMNER and the STAMPS QUARTET, as they sang
backup for ELVIS
listeners were treated to the Oaks' unorthodox recordings of BRANDY CLARK's Pray
to Jesus (Play the Lotto), WILLIAM LEE GOLDEN
singing lead on Brand
New Star and a "live" a cappella performance of Life's Railway
to the festivities, multi-talented Cooper entertained KATHY
HARRIS, DEBBYE SCROGGINS,
gregarious JOE BONSALL
and yours truly with Peter's hilarious LOUISE SCRUGGS impersonation.
(Yes, there was context but, as it turns out, you
didn't need to be there. Peter provides the
background in my fellow author's latest book, Johnny's Cash and Charley's Pride: Lasting
Legends' Untold Adventures of Country Music.)
has graciously honored my request for a review copy, so look for my
take on Peter's findings here shortly.
CHARLIE DANIELS is never lost for
topical words. Most recently he echoed comments RAY STEVENS expressed to BILL CODY's audience nearly a year
before (September 28, 2016) during a radio/TV simulcast.
"I think the world needs DONALD TRUMP," Stevens proclaimed at
Referencing ISIS' ongoing purging
of the Middle East's ancient
monuments, Daniels, likens the August 2017 copycat
destruction of Confederate statues to "what ISIS is doing... There were
pieces of history that they didn't like, they were tearing them down...
Where does it stop?"
After Daniels advised RITA COSBY, "You don't have to
condone what happened in the Civil War. ... ROBERT E. LEE, for instance was
one of the most honorable people in our history... He fought for the
confederacy against the union, but he was also asked to lead the union
"I walk past movie posters I don't like... I'm not going to go over and
tear 'em down... I just don't look at 'em."
Similarly, Charlie defends the 45th president of the United States
against increasingly harsher criticism: "The guy's a human
being, and he's not a politician... he's not a diplomat.
"I just wish you'd give the guy a chance," Daniels adds,
citing the president's handling of North Korea's agitation.
"That's the first time I've seen KIM JONG UN, or any of these
Jungs... ever back down from anybody."
"The black chairs are for the adults," explained the young woman
guiding me into a dimly lit entrance to the Centennial Boulevard
recording studio within Nashville's CTK Management/NOVE
Entertainment office complex, where I was invited to attend a
DOLLY PARTON news conference
on the afternoon of August 15, 2017.
The directive made more sense once I saw light in front of the black
on which increasing numbers of adults seated themselves after arriving,
as instructed, around 3:30 p.m. for the press event scheduled to begin
a half-hour later. Closer to the makeshift stage set, on
which Dolly would appear in front of the controlled flames
of a fireplace, were semicircles of, to that point,
unidentified small children.
The hush-hush agenda (even the venue was secret, revealed to invited
media only after each accepted an invitation knowing only the time,
place and that Dolly would be on hand), hinted at by youngsters'
presence, became clear once, introduced, Parton made her entrance at
At that point, Dolly greeted the crowd, proudly announcing the
September 29, 2017 digital release of a children's album she has
written and recorded. I
Believe in You, (not to be confused with DON WILLIAMS' classic recording
of the same name) with its 14 songs meant to teach and
encourage the younger set, is a departure for Parton, whose
first album was released 50 years ago. These topical songs
address children's concerns, ranging from bullying to chronic illness,
in a positive,
Parton told those gathered- including local school children
sitting on the studio floor stage right of Dolly while
Parton's nieces and nephews were seated stage left- that the children's
first- will be available in CD form worldwide on (Friday) October 13,
With all proceeds from I
Believe in You, earmarked for Parton's
two-decade-old Imagination Library, Parton noted
the album's success will increase the number of children with access to
books, noting that her once hometown (Sevierville, Tennessee) project,
having gone state, national and now worldwide, has already "seen 100
million books get into the hands of children."
Prior to and after reading her Coat of Many Colors book to the
little ones- and we once-little ones- Dolly debuted three of her songs
from I Believe in You (the title song, Makin' Fun Ain't Funny,
and Brave Little Soldier),
taking a few media questions before taking family photos with her
youngest fans and their parents.
to break the logjam of the photo line, in order to make my exit to
another engagement, at one point my patience gave way to the necessity
of finding an alternate means of departure, preferably one as close as
to a restroom. As I found my way back to the
building's entrance, I asked for both permission
Once the receptionist provided both, I saw that my
destination was a restroom large enough for only a single stall.
It's closed door was covered by a photo of Dolly, a star
befitting a luminary of her stature and a terse
instructions noting that the facilities were for Dolly's use
When I balked at the intimidating written warning, I was assured that I
should ignore it. At that point, I didn't have much choice,
but was grateful for the encouragement I received from one of the
company's employees: "It's OK. There's nobody in
There are some additional details that might be of interest but, in the
interest of space, I'm making those available, on request, to readers via the email address listed here.
Please put the PARTON
POTTY in the SUBJECT LINE
and include your name, city, and state (or country, if outside the
United States) in the BODY
of your email.
Attention OAK RIDGE BOYS fans:
Want to support the Oaks, gift yourself AND contribute to a
Then place your bid on a Hatch Show Print Poster
autographed by all of the ORB. But you'll have to do it
quickly: This one's going fast!
Place your bid here.
News Journal Correspondent
LINDA A.B. DAVIS (not to be
confused with LINDA DAVIS- I am reasonably sure
neither is familiar with the other), citing her "soft spot for one-hit
wonders," is guilty of a bit of overreach.
The writer prefaces her mention of JEANNIE C. RILEY as a "Southern
one-hit wonder," citing her source as a 2016 list "at the al.com
website, where all things relating to the state of Alabama are
covered." And then some. Obviously...
Davis reports that her source defines "a one-hit wonder as any song
belonging to an artist or group that only had one single hit in the Top
list of the Billboard Top 100 chart."
Indicating that "This list from al.com is a lot of fun,"
Linda A.B. Davis confuses her readers by missing the
point: While Riley meets the list's criteria, Harper Valley PTA was not marketed
by a pop division of a record company. It was a
country song, that like several other country songs released prior to,
during, and after the time, managed to cross over to the pop charts.
No one ever suggested Riley was not a country singer, though, once
established as such, Jeannie did enjoy modest success
But, to call the singer a one-hit wonder, by any standard, misleads
anyone accepting that designation, as it diminishes Jeannie C. Riley's
country chart success that includes five other Top 10 country singles
as well as
nearly 20 other chart singles.
Thanks to C-Suite Network Chairman,
Primetime Television and Podcast Host JEFFREY HAYZLETT
for including me among his contact list of "leading venture
capitalists and corporate investors, along with the
most successful entrepreneurs" Jeff's invited to this year's C-Suite Investors Summit at Silicon Valley,
in partnership with The Hero Club, to be held at The
Glass House in San José, September
The event, an opportunity to meet over 100 corporate investors, will
begin with an evening cocktail reception. "Then, get started
with us early" the next morning, "as the conference will begin at 8
a.m. and include interviews, panels and breakout sessions until 5 p.m.
The Summit will conclude with a last evening reception until
How does a
rich and famous Nashville songwriter, who turns 60 in November, 2017,
spend her money?
PETERS, the Caucasian, cis-gender mother of a 33-year-old
transgender son, tells ERIC PATTON that she donates to
favorite organizations including the "ACLU,
Planned Parenthood, Transgender
Law Center [and The] Southern Poverty Law Center."
seating available- first-come, first-served."
So reads the invitation from one of Nashville's top publicists, DON MURRY GRUBBS to "media
The occasion? "RICKY SKAGGS & KENTUCKY THUNDER
will be performing at the Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman
on Thursday, July 27 at 7:30 P.M....
"We welcome your coverage."
Nashville's music media are marking their calendars for October 25th,
2017- and now we know why.
A month shy of his 79th birthday, KENNY ROGERS' grand entrance at a
10 a.m. news conference precluded Rogers' partaking in a sumptuous
continental breakfast awaiting invited guests (then under a media
embargo) at WME (lead anchor in Nashville's
Demonbreun Street office tower) July 18, 2017.
The Gulch summons, answered with an elevator ride up to the 15th floor,
turned out to be, after some introductory remarks by Blackbird
Presents CEO KEITH WORTMAN, for the purpose of
Kenny's taking a limited number of questions about plans for
the 7 p.m. CDT Wednesday evening staging of All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers'
Farewell Concert Celebration at Nashville's Bridgestone
With guests yet to be announced (Rogers says just about every
entertainer he's ever worked with has been invited), the confirmed
lineup includes at press time includes DOLLY PARTON, ALISON KRAUSS, THE FLAMING LIPS, LITTLE BIG TOWN, JAMEY
JOHNSON, ELLE KING and (JOHN TRAVOLTA's "favorite,") IDINA MENZEL.
Kenny, in fact, credits Dolly as having inspired the singular
celebration of Rogers' 60-year career. Noting that "it had
been 13 years since she and I had been on stage together, " Kenny said
Dolly's response was "Are you really
doing your farewell tour? You can't leave without me and you
going on stage for the very last time and singing something."
The news conference seemed like deja vu all over again since
it marked a decade since Webster PR issued an invitation to
a Nashville news conference at which Rogers announced the lineup
for Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years.
Like the MGM Grand tribute concert
announced at the 2007 news conference, the Bridgestone event
is also being filmed in anticipation of a commitment from one of the
The former event ended up on GAC
and it remains to be seen if a major network will see what is sure to
be a sold-out concert as a potential ratings winner. In any
case, multi-platform distribution is being planned "for distribution
throughout traditional media (worldwide broadcast,music and digital)."
And event promotion doesn't stop there: Press conference
attendees received a regulation-size playing card. While it
wasn't missing from THE STATLER BROTHERS'
"deck of 51," on one side of this delightfully
unique collectors' item was the concert's logo and website, while the face side
features a K
above a red
heart in the upper left-hand corner and an upside
down R below an upside down red heart in
the card's lower right-hand corner. In between an image of
upper torso is painted behind scrolls announcing the concert's date and
a guitar neck in Kenny's left hand and a couple of aces (spades and
hearts) in his right hand above the motif's reversed image of Rogers.
Proving, if proof is needed, that K(enny) R(ogers) and amiable
event host KIRT (WEBSTER)
are never "out of aces!"
reminds us that JEANNIE C. RILEY's recording of Harper Valley PTA "sold over six
million copies as a single" making Riley "the first woman to top both
the Billboard Hot 100 and U.S. Hot Country Singles charts
with the same song."
positions are verifiable. Pre-SoundScan sales stats, even those
repeatedly quoted, not so much...
So should we take Robyn at her word that "the single's jump from 81 to
7 in its second week on the Billboard Hot 100 in late August 1968 was
that decade's highest climb into the Top Ten"- without looking at every
weekly chart from the dawn, to the close, of the '60s?
I ask because Collins writes that TOM T. HALL "got the idea for the
name of the song when he passed the Harpeth Valley Elementary School
in the affluent Nashville suburb of Bellevue, Tennessee."
While Tom links the idea for the song to a trip that took him past the
school, a description of Bellevue at that time as being "affluent"
would probably be true only when contrasted with the Tom's net worth
during those days.
Further, Collins credits Hall with the writing of Riley's 1984
recording of the sequel song, Return to Harper Valley.
While the melody of both the original and the sequel are the
same (i.e., Tom's), it is clear from "Return..."'s lyrics
that Riley is correctly credited on the vinyl label as
"Save the date."
So reads the beginning of BRIAN
of media credentials for the Academy of Country Music's ACM
be held at the Ryman
Auditorium on August 23, 2017. The event
will be taped for broadcast at a later date on CBS-TV.