"Are you a Grand Ole Opry member?"
That's the question an usher asked of me, in all seriousness, as I arrived to pay my respects at LYNN ANDERSON's funeral.
The usher. apparently not a country-music fan. seemed to be relying on the honor system. As I gave the honorable answer, she informed me that I should use an adjoining entrance.
As I walked out the door, I saw DUANE ALLEN, walking toward the entrance the usher ushered me toward. Extending my hand, Duane was quick to indicate he favored a hug.
As I obliged, I informed Allen that there was a reserved seat for him at the other entrance.
Undeterred, Duane indicated that he was present to honor Lynn's memory and, as far as the celebrity treatment organizers offered him, "I don't trade on that."
Further, spotting what appeared to be standing room only as we entered the non-celebrity entrance, assuming we could find adjoining seats, Duane invited me to sit with him: "You'll be my guest."
As we briefly stood, the service about to start, someone recognized Allen and indicated there were seats in the "reserved section" upfront.
As Duane followed the man to the front of the chapel, I stayed behind- standing.
I don't trade on "who I know."
Folowing the service, as I left to find my car, I ran into JOHNNY COUNTERFIT. We spoke for a few minutes- possibly more than a few minutes, because as we were about to leave, much of the crowd had thinned out.
Still, in my concern that, running late, I arrive on time for the service, I didn't pay much attention to where I parked my car. A true gentleman, Johnny suggested we walk to his car, where I could grab a ride around the cemetery and, in the process, one of us could spot my vehicle.
****HANK WILLIAMS, JR.'s first cowboy boots (complete with white top stitching and yellow butterflies at the top) are on display at the Tennessee State Museum, where admission is always free!
If you're wondering why DOLLY PARTON was not on hand to cheer on her Steel Magnolias co-star, SHIRLEY MacLAINE, during MacLaine's first Nashville performance (as I was, see below), it's because, when questioned at an August 1st, 2015 news conference, Parton replied that she didn't know MacLaine had been in town two days earlier.
The news conference followed Dolly's late afternoon sound check preceding Parton's road show, same evening, performance at the Ryman Auditorium. The gig (following Dolly's August 1, 2015 stage show at the same venue) was a benefit for the controversial Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund (the controversy rooted in the fund's administration- relative to potential recipients' aid applications- and as old as conversations about the subject I'm had with CHARLIE DICK, TEDDY WILBURN, among others).
Dolly sang Islands in the Stream and 9 to 5 (the latter became an audience sing-along during the show) at the sound check, two of the dozens of hits she sang during the Saturday evening show that, judging by reviews of her Friday song set list, was not all that different, including the quirky, but well-received, PMS Blues.
The news conference was uneventful. These things, by definition, don't generally break news, especially when orchestrated.
There was time to kill when what was intended as round-robin querying (even if the stock questions didn't appear to be any different than the ones asked of Dolly before here Friday performance) was cut off before I had the chance to ask anything. I spent much of that "layover" schmoozing with my media colleagues, then talking substance with JEANNIE SEELY and Jeannie's husband, GENE WARD, T.G. SHEPPARD and KELLY LANG, who were apparently on hand to cheer Dolly on.
Dolly could still be the entertainer of this or any year as, during the Saturday show, she demonstrated why she is a seasoned pro. To be sure, some of Dolly's one liners remain the ones she got laughs from decades ago, but the important thing to remember is they still get laughs and are interspersed with other stories and stage banter that are newer and fresher, the formerly seemingly relied upon as a signal to here crew as she maintains a pacing of her show not unlike that of a well-oiled machine.
What audience can resist the bluntness of admissions like "I like the attention" (of Dolly's appreciative fans) or Parton's joking that "I don't do that many charity shows. I just keep the money for myself."
Dolly's self-deprecating humor extended to the bond she developed with her audience and her explaining the inspiration of her autobiographical hits. Recounting an upbringing as one of 12 children, Parton informed her audience that her prolific Pentecostal Parton parents, ages 17 and 15 when they married, "weren't Catholics. Just a bunch of horny Baptists."
Dolly's performances reminded the crowd that the singer/songwriter is also a multi-talented instrumentalist. As Parton introduced Coat of Many Colors, she indicated that the 1971 hit, nearly forty-five years later, is receiving a second life, as it serves as a theme song for anti-bullying campaigns.
Eschewing an encore that she knows she surely would have not only received but deserved, Dolly closed the show with I Will Always Love You. (What could possibly follow such a torcher?)
It marked the last of several poignant moments during the show when Dolly brought the house down.
last saw LYNN
ANDERSON (with her
dad, CASEY) at the opening of the GEORGE JONES Museum.
Lynn had a story to tell-one has never been told- and over the years we had discussed collaborating on a book project, my having gained Lynn's trust long ago when she arranged for me to interview her daughter, LISA SUTTON. (About that same time, Lynn's parents, LIZ and Casey, recruited me to assist in the promotion of Christopher, the Christmas Seal.)
Lynn was frustrated that the earliest reporting of her personal problems (not to mention excesses that escaped scrutiny in the pre-Internet era), by an entertainment press that did not understand the many forms and manifestations of abuse, took the focus off of her string of hit recording and potential to sustain her status as a headliner.
The singer was a big supporter of Animaland (during one of earliest of Anderson's court summonses, the late DIXIE HALL testified (as a character witness) on Lynn's behalf.
Lynn Anderson now joins the list of county-music stars who planned to write a book- someday.
We are all the poorer that Lynn's someday never came.
RATZMAN, KATHY SHANNON,
Kathy's husband, BOB and I
headed the Music Row
contingent cheering on SHIRLEY MacLAINE
as the veteran actress
(star of 65 movies) and author (14 books), known as America's spiritual
took the stage of Nashville's Schermerhorn
July 30, 2015 for an interactive "intimate evening" with her fans.
ANN PATCHETT introduced Shirley to her Nashville fans who were spellbound by MacLaine's narrative and hour-long multimedia career retrospective, the compendium highlighted by footage, photos and behind-the-scenes stories the first-time visitor brought to Music City.
Not that Shirley lacks ties to our Nashville area icons: "I know DOLLY (PARTON- MacLaine's Steel Magnolias co-star), REBA (McENTIRE) and NICOLE (KIDMAN)." She also knew ELVIS PRESLEY. MacLaine called the Country Music Hall-of-Famer "innately charming" and the DALAI LAMA "a big flirt," whose otherwise calm demeanor Shirley attributes to the fact that the spiritual leader "doesn't watch the news."
Shirley took audience questions and, when it was my turn to take the microphone, I informed the singer that, after meeting and corresponding with PETER LAWFORD, I offered the actor my services as ghostwriter for an autobiography he was planning. Noting that this was not long before "Petah" died and that the project never materialized, I asked Shirley is she had any reminiscences about the least remembered of her fellow Rat Packers, Lawford and JOEY BISHOP.
Apparently none she wanted to share, indicating the two were "better to be forgotten."
Noting that I have been cast as a paid extra in seasons one through three of ABC-TV's Nashville and wanted her advice on how to land a speaking role on Season Four, Shirley drew yet another laugh from the crowd when suggested I "break an ankle." (Shirley, at age 19, was an understudy in the Broadway production of Pajama Game. When one of the other stage actresses broke her ankle, MacLaine got her chance to shine to rave reviews that led to Shirley's being signed to her first movie contract.)
Thanks to JONATHAN MARX for honoring my last-minute request for comp tickets for the latest in a series of events expanding the Nashville Symphony's core audience. It's no secret that the country music community was instrumental (no pun intended) in the symphony's receiving a cash infusion some years ago when it was on life support. Thereafter, symphony supporters have expressed appreciation by inviting name country artists to become part of the symphony's performances, which they have done to great box office success.
I met LOU CHRISTIE years ago backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, oddly enough.
These days Lou reports he has "decided to add a little Cajun spice to my new single and enlisted the help of my good friend, DOUG KERSHAW.
"That's right, the 'Ragin' Cajun' himself has added his famous fiddle to my song."
You can download your copy of the Cajun collaboration, the Drive In-Dreams remix, here.
BYWORTH alerts us to Heart
of a Fan, TOM BAKER's
newly-published biography of BOB
Bob's time as editor of Country Music People preceded my years writing for the monthly and I was never fortunate enough to hear the late, legendary broadcaster's shows from across the pond, so I will look forward to reading Tom's book (and reviewing it here, should I receive a review copy).
Media Relations' guest July 23, 2015 at SuperGroup
Records/Nine North Records artist BOONE's
"exclusive industry release
party" on the 3rd floor of Acme
Feed & Seed.
Upon entry, invited guests were issued VIP laminates and, as we awaited the guest-of-honor, many seized the opportunity to grab a light bite and partake of the open bar.
Once Boone arrived, in the absence of BARRY JOSEPHSON (who was thought to be "circling the airport"), he received an introduction in the form of his Summer Girls music video on Jumbotron-like screens. Then the singer/songwriter/instrumentalist ascended the stage to perform selections from his forthcoming debut EP, American Young Hearts.
Another exclusive was the media announcement Josephson had been expected to discuss his American SuperGroup reality series (currently in production) set to air in 2016.
KACEY MUSGRAVES is the subject of a cover story in the July, 2015 issue of Country Music People.
From the Are You Sure TONY ALAMO Done It This Way? department: If you plan on dropping by his business establishment, prepare to be "greeted" by a sign in MANUEL's window reading "We reserve the right to refuse business to anyone."
The Bell Tower is the place to be July 15, 2015 as it will be the scene of the global launch of BONNIE ROSE launch event. NIKKI LANE is set to lead the list of the evening's featured performers at "the exclusive event, called The Whiskey Room," including MISTY LOGGINS, ASHLEY McBRYDE, and several of "Nashville's finest country stars."
My fellow broadcast veteran RON HUNTSMAN and yours truly (we both started in radio about a half-century ago- Ron a little over, me a little under- ago) were guests of ERICA NICOLE and the singer/songwriter's publicist, MARTHA "SKATES" MOORE at a July 13, 2015 Union Station Prime 108 media luncheon.
Erica is excited about the forthcoming album release of I'm Making Mine, the title song of which is doing so well on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart that it could well become Erica's third consecutive top-20 single (following the the chart successes of I Listen To My Bad Girl and It's Comin' Down).
Erica, the Nashville Independent Music Awards' (NIMA) reigning Best Country Artist-Female, was so well-received by broadcasters attending CRS 2015, that she could very well win up to all four (4) of the 2015 NIMA Awards for which she is nominated. (We'll find out if Erica wins in any or all of the four categories- including what would amount to a repeat win in the evidently-retitled Best Country Solo Artist-Female category, as well as Best Live Country Performer(s), Song of the Year and Artist of the Year- on August 29, 2015.
(No truth to the [self-generated] rumor that, if she cleans up at this year's awards, I'll be pressuring Erica Nicole to use her clout to secure a 2016 NIMI nomination for STACY'S MUSIC ROW REPORT- in NIMI's Best Media Outlet category. Of course, Erica Nicole is welcome to put her B.A. degree in business (and her more recently received- December, 2014- MBA) to such purposeful use and, if successful, while you didn't read it here, Erica is even welcome to stuff the ballot box on my behalf!)
Produced by KENT WELLS (DOLLY PARTON, REBA McENTIRE), Erica, a Western Carolina University alumna, is a Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fan and an ECAD supporter.
If you haven't already taken in one of DEBBIE MATHIS WATTS’ July, 2015 performances (as BETTIE BAUGH RYMAN) in The Ryman Diaries at the Nashville Public Library, don’t wait until Debbie’s final summer (July 31st) appearance in the multi-media musical stage play to do so.
Co-starring with gifted actor TOM DOLAN (as Captain TOM RYMAN) and a handful of supporting players featured in brief video recreation, Debbie has orchestrated an absorbing production, complete with an able technical and developmental support (including the assistance of the Metro Archives and CHUCK WHITING) and production and marketing consultants.
If you can't make any of the remaining July afternoon performances, don't despair. Debbie and Tom will reprise their performances at a September 16, 2015 performance at the Cumberland River Compact, before returning for several morning and afternoon performances at the Main Library in October, 2015.
For a complete schedule of performances and ticket prices click here or call (615) 397- 8259.
Report reader JAMES REESOR sends copies of his books, The E Factor and The Man from Tennessee: A Book by the World Famous Anonymous Author along with "miscellaneous info pertaining to the possibility of you embarking on a 'potentially profitable' project if interested after evaluation."
A profit was immediately realized with Reesor's enclosure of a dollar bill (negotiable even as James has circled the words "In God We Trust" with a red marker). As James' views are quite different than my own, he and I will profit most by giving other Report readers the opportunity to contact Reesor via social media, by email or by writing him c/o Post Office Box 201412, Nashville, Tennessee 37221..
Trending on amazon.com: LOCASH's energetic single I Love This Life.
I received a blank review copy of LUCAS HOGE's Power of Garth (yes, Hoge is a self-proclaimed GARTH BROOKS fan) but the first 50 folks who arrived at the Grand Opening of the Bellevue Goodwill fared somewhat better: Each received a complimentary copy of KRISTIAN BUSH's solo debut, Southern Gravity.