Home | Music Row Report | Music Reviews | Book Reviews | Paid Content | Contact  

 
The Official Website of Stacy Harris

If a product mention peaks your curiosity, please consider making a purchase through its Amazon text link.  Commissions I earn through your purchases make updates possible.



Copyright 2022
Stacy's Music Row Report All Rights Reserved    


WALKER HAYES will want to know that, according to the Social Security Administration's newly-released list of the currently most-popular names for newborns, while it fails to make the SSA's Top Ten list of names for male babies, Walker is the #1 "trending" name for boys- at least the ones born in Minnesota!


****



I did not
know NAOMI JUDD as well nor as long as I knew TOM T. HALL.  I only knew Judd professionally, but the suicides of each beg the same question: What was s/he doing with a gun? 

Gun ownership- responsible and otherwise- runs rampant in the country-music community, as it does in society at large.  Years ago, when the Nashville Banner ran an investigative report naming the names of prominent Nashvillians who were registered gun owners (much to the dismay of ROY ACUFF, PORTER WAGONER, JOHNNY COUNTERFIT and others), during an era when its regular listings of DUIs arrests also alienated much of Music Row, the outrage was enough to squelch further reporting of either.

As I have previously written in this space "
I sounded the alarm in this Report back in January, 2017, when Naomi canceled a Nashville Public Library booksigning three days before the event.  When no one in a position to know would tell me why, on or off-the-record, it seemed obvious, due to the subject matter, that Naomi had relapsed.  My educated guess was confirmed when the promise that Naomi's appearance would be rescheduled was broken."

I assumed at that time that someone closer to her and more knowledgeable about the particulars of her distress was standing up to Judd in a manner that was more forceful and less presumptuous than anything of which I was capable, beyond what I had already done.  That is asking too much of those who are too close to the situation to see it clearly, but it is not asking too much of the sycophants who are as easily employable elsewhere should they pay the price of having a backbone.

I've also previously written of confronting Tom (however ignorantly and therefore improperly) with his alcoholism years before he chose to be anything other than defensive about his addiction, as well as the fact that, though I'd known Hall was a hunter decades ago, I didn't realize all these years later that he still owned a firearm. 

My not knowing Tom still had access to a Ruger 44 Magnum (and assuming otherwise) will always be on me. If I had known Tom possessed a gun at the time he was declining physically and mentally, if I had not been in a position to confiscate the weapon myself, I would have gone public about any refusal on the part of the people in a position to do so to address the issue if prior attempts to sound the alarm privately fell on deaf ears.

After all, the reason those of us who try to successfully multitask fail so miserably is the fact that the mind is only able to focus on one thought or objective at a time.

Naomi and Tom were not the first country stars to die by suicide.  Unfortunately, they will not be the last.

The copycat syndrome is alive and (not) well, but the silver lining is that all of us in the industry have eyes and ears and those who are most closely connected to artists, songwriters and their families- maybe you're just a neighbor and not even in the business- who are now aware of the preventable, profound loss will have learned the lessons- albeit, in some cases, indirectly- of keeping silent and, regardless of any feared outcome, when they next notice something they will say something.


****

Thanks to DOUG HALL for the invitation to attend AVI KAPLAN's May 21, 2022 showcase at 3rd & Lindsley (in support of Avi's SHOOTER JENNINGS' produced EP, Floating on a Dream) and to JEREMY WESTBY and SCOTT SEXTON for offering media passes to DON McLEAN's May 12, 2022 Ryman concert.


****


When it comes to meeting not only country-music royalty, but British Royalty as well, being a member of the Nashville press corps has its privileges.


I was fortunate to meet PRINCESS ANNE and PRINCE EDWARD, on separate occasions, when each visited Nashville, but I was never able to meet their aunt, PRINCESS MARGARET

BBC Radio’s ROY PLOMLEY did have that privilege.  He interviewed Princess Margaret for Desert Island Discs on January 18, 1981. 

At that time, HRH contributed to the playlist by remembering a record “that cheered me up very much in a traffic jam.  We were all in a traffic jam. We were all listening to the wireless and it had this wonderful tune called Sixteen Tons by TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD.  And instead of everybody looking absolute daggers at each other like everybody does, everybody was banging in rhythm on their steering wheels.  We all caught each other's eyes and laughed."

****

In the wake of his May 7, 2022 death, my memories of MICKEY GILLEY differ markedly from SCOTT FARAGHER's- but then Scott had a closer working relationship with Mickey.

The Mickey Gilley I knew was the one I encountered on two separate occasions.  I first saw Mickey when Nashville was first getting to know him during a taping of Pop Goes the Country, but I don't remember speaking with him then.

My first memory of Mickey was backstage at Fan Fair when I asked him for an interview.  Gilley graciously obliged but indicated my spontaneous request would only be honored once the equally spontaneous group of fans who had suddenly surrounded the stage received an autograph and/or the opportunity have then pictures taken with Gilley.

The other occasion was when I phoned the Pasadena, Texas honky tonk that bore Gilley's name.  I was calling to learn the lineup of artists who would be performing at the club that summer as well as the dates Mickey would be appearing so that I could advise Report readers.

Much to my surprise, the voice of the man who answered was unmistakable:  It was that of Mickey himself!

Gilley's passing came two days after the country-music industry lost ALLEN PACE, 12 days after SUSAN JACKS' death and a week to the day after NAOMI JUDD's suicide.


****


Reacting to Tennessee's new law that makes camping out on public property a felony offense, with homeless violators being fined $50 per offense and facing up to six years in prison, Nashville political strategist JASPER HENDRICK III points out that "JIMMIE ALLEN was homeless when he came to Nashville."


****


NAOMI JUDD knew me before I knew her.

We met circa 1983 at Candyland, a soda shop located at 2916 West End Avenue in Nashville.  The occasion was a media event introducing the newly-signed RCA mother-daughter duo billed as THE JUDDS.  Of course, prior to that meeting, like many Nashvillians I had seen Naomi and WYNONNA in performance on RALPH EMERY's early morning local TV show where, because he couldn't remember their names, picking up on the fact that Naomi made her own lye soap, Emery dubbed the duo "The Soap Sisters."

That was all the information I needed to introduce myself to Naomi, but, as I extended my hand to her and began to identify myself, Naomi interrupted: "I know you.  You write for Country Song Roundup." 

Judd went on to tell me what a big fan she was- of CSR and mine. 

While our paths would cross during the years thereafter, it was the first and last time I would observe Naomi as being anything close to unassuming.

Press conferences were tense affairs.  Mother and daughter were upstaging each other, alternately sticky and shticky even when they clearly were clashing.  

If fame produces caricatures, these ladies were extremely vulnerable.  Being always ''on" is no way to live.

But the only real criticism directed Naomi's way came during the October 1990 Nashville news conference announcing the Judds' farewell tour.  It didn't come from me.  I wasn't there, but some of those who were didn't believe Naomi's explanation.

That perception clearly surprised and bothered Naomi. It exacerbated a lifelong series of hardships that are well-known to her fans as Naomi wrote and, when prompted, spoke about them.

I sounded the alarm in this Report back in January, 2017, when Naomi canceled a Nashville Public Library booksigning three days before the event.  When no one in a position to know would tell me why, on or off-the-record, it seemed obvious, due to the subject matter, that Naomi had relapsed.  My educated guess was confirmed when the promise that Naomi's appearance would be rescheduled was broken.

The Judds' final performance on the April 11, 2022 CMT Awards did not include any stage banter. (It was pre-taped).  That was no accident.  The victory would be getting through the song as it was becoming apparent that the pressures of that "historic reunion," the (ironic) May Day 2022 Judds' Country Music Hall of Fame induction (when she would have to speak) and the Final Tour thereafter were just too much for someone in the throes of relapse.  (The commemorative plaque, unveiled at the May 1, 2022  induction ceremony, inscribed with Naomi's birth date was not updated to include the singer's date of death, as it presumably will be as it hangs in the Country Music Hall of Fame rotunda.)

No one dies from mental illness nor the associated depression, anxiety and pain.  Mental illness was the secondary cause of Naomi Judds' death.

Suicide was the culprit and while the other explanation may bring comfort, it is unfortunate in that euphemisms further stigmatize the very cause of death that took Naomi Judd's life.

****


GARTH BROOKS, reportedly second only to THE BEATLES in record sales, remains humble about being able to have walked away from a successful career, while he was still at the top of his game, only to return to recording and touring, years later, still in demand.

As Garth puts it: "How many people get a career?  How many people get two?... And then how many people get two and still kind of do what you want to do when you like to do it?"

That said, Brooks is a realist about aging and the degree of fan commitment: "You'd love to leave on your own terms, but I'm going to have to be dead for that to happen."

Time will tell, but, in anticipation of his opening a 40,000 square-foot honky tonk in downtown Nashville, amid the increasing arrests of rowdy tourists and locals alike who patronize the neighboring bars bearing the names of country stars who got into the tavern ownership "game" before him, Garth is apparently not reading the police blotter:  It remains to be decided how practical/necessary it will be for bouncers and servers to run a tight ship at Brooks' establishment, in Garth's absence, but Brooks remains optimistic: "Everybody's got good manners."

  .****


Loyal Report reader ICEBERG reflects on some of this column's recent content (Legal note: As always, the syntax and views expressed are uniquely the 'Berg's own.): "Guess SARA EVANS is learning Karma is a B, she tried to frame and destroy her first husband.

"DOLLY PARTON KNEW before ballots went out she was on it, wasn't till backlash she tried to pretend didn't want it.  That woman is an egotist supreme, she likes waving Southern and Christian around.  But she removed every vestige of Civil War, when she bought Dixie Stampede & Pigeon Forge.  You can't miss either one, their the ones with empty parking lots in tourist towns.

"As to Christian, am sure you heard she is supporting BLM.  Ignoring part of Bible says Jesus died for all mankind's sins.  She picks and chooses which dog the flea land on.

"Someone has a cousin who worked for Dolly, they are made to sign a non-disclosure agreement, before signing you are informed how many lives they have ruined who dared speak out about the goings on.

"ERNEST TUBB Record Shop, guy in Fort Worth Stockyards bought rights to open one.  He wanted to retire sold it to a worker, she never paid a dime of what she was supposed to.  Law still looking for her. they should have closed them after ET passed."  

On a related note: Echoing a message sent by the presentation's dismal ratings (though they were above those of the 2021 telecast) PATRICK HOWLEY is howling about the 2022 ACMs.  While Howley is correct that "so many Black celebrities have nothing to do with country music,"  if he'd watched the ACMs since the awards' inception he'd know, particularly as it extends to "The Hat"'s presenters, most of the Caucasian presenter have had nothing to do with country music."

Additionally, Howley's reference to "chicks," in tandem with an equally provocative language/logic along the lines of "some of my best friends are..." call whatever legitimacy he has with an audience beyond his own into question.

****


TANYA TUCKER has sold her four bedroom, four and one-half bathroom two-story Brentwood home for $2,275,000.  Tucker purchased the Camelot Road abode on April 25, 2019 for $1,510,000.

The Vaden Group manages Tanya's financial affairs.



****


UPDATE
: There's been a delay in
SARA EVANS' quest for justice.  Following Evans' August, 2021 divorce filing and Sara's estranged husband JAY BARKER's subsequent January 15, 2022 arrest on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on Sara, Barker's criminal defense attorney, SHYANNE RIDDLE,  requested that Jay's original March 22, 2022 court date, before Judge ALLEGRA WALKER, be postponed.

Barker's trial is now set for 9 a.m. on June 9, 2022 in
Birch Building Courtroom 4C, Judge ANA ESCOBAR presiding.



****


If you suspected media cut-and-pasting of press releases haven't revealed the whole truth re: the demise of the ERNEST TUBB Record Shop you're not alone.

Apparently, DREW HUTCHINSON wasn't buying it all either.  But Drew's detailing of allegations of "civil conspiracy" are just the latest developments in the sad story that began with the Broadway property (not to mention later locations) transferring from Tubb family ownership to store manager (GARY) DAVID McCORMICK and, most recently, to "current owners" JESSELEE JONES and EMILY ANN COUSINS
.

How much of this soap opera saga COLTON GIBBS knows or, at his tender age, is able to absorb, has yet to be determined/disclosed, but, prior to the August 6, 2021 lawsuit, with controversial (and soon to be retiring)
probate court judge RANDY KENNEDY presiding, McCormick's present "deteriorated... mental and psychological condition" resulting from "his bipolar disorder" was undoubtedly precipitated by the trauma of at least one previous lawsuit and an assault that was reported so as not to make public the circumstances of David's private life preventing McCormick's ability to live authentically.

On November 19, 2011 McCormick suffered a seizure at the Texas Troubadour Theatre and was reportedly hospitalized for several days thereafter.

The assault, a head-bashing so brutal that David required physical therapy upon his release from the hospital, came at the hands of an "intruder" (a somewhat misleading description) who whacked McCormick with a railroad spike McCormick kept in his Donelson condo's spare bedroom.

****


If you're wondering why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame refused DOLLY PARTON's request to rescind her inappropriate nomination, forget  the reasons you've read, the truth follows: Dolly didn't protest before the ballots went out.

But even if Parton had immediately asked to have her name removed from consideration, the fact remains that life for the Hall would have remained messy as the organization is desperate to make up for its historic lack of gender parity in nominees.  Then there's GREG HARRIS' tone deafness re: the continued proportional lack of inductions of pre-British Invasion American rockers, whose accomplishments are completely lost on an increasingly younger group of (primarily male) selection committee voters who do not know the history of the genre on which they purport to be experts, simply because the former were singers rather than singer/songwriters.

This historic desperation resulted in WILLIAM SMITH MONROE's 1997 induction into the Rock Hall, though Monroe was not only unfit, he had no interest (to put it mildly) in rock 'n' roll music and was little more of an "early influence" than that other famous native Southerner also named BILL MONROE.

There's also the ridiculous and sufficiently unregulated "fan voting" component to the industry awards, which means that, while the public has no say in the initial slate of nominees, it could determine the inductees whose names will be announced in May, 2022.

****


Speaking (writing?) of awards, JESSE KNUTSON has resurfaced.

It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.  Consider that one of the broadcast networks' "Big Three" morning show anchors recapped the 2022
Academy of Country Music Awards the following morning by referring to it as "country music's biggest night."

If that phrase sounds familiar it's because the presumably proprietary slogan has been attached to the Country Music Association Awards for years.

I've also heard both the ACMs and the CMAs referred to as "the country music awards," probably to the consternation of both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.

All this to say that the 2022 ACMS were sold to the highest bidder.

There was only one bidder?

Ever since the first CMA Awards show in 1967, every successive annual presentation has been televised.  However low the rating of all awards show these days, the reasons for, and importance of, that remain.

If Amazon Prime got "ratings," I suspect there'd be much less hoopla about the 2022 ACMs and its purported significance.

Again, only one bidder.  Have media's emperors no clothes?

Who's going to turn the lights out on the country-music industry once the various poseurs, imitators and frauds- who can't hold a candle to the genre's icons, most of whom have been forcibly chart-retired or are otherwise literally dead- are revealed for their disposability?

****

Loyal Amazon Prime subscriber ICEBERG watched the 2022 ACMS and was, to put it mildly, displeased.  The 'Berg writes from an undisclosed location: "Hi, Stacy, I just wanted to tell you what the ACM Awards did to Dolly's three background singers, VICKIE HAMPTON, JENNIFER O'BRIEN and RICHARD DENNISON.

"They have been with Dolly since 1989.  I wondered why they were in the dark during Dolly's production number on the show.

"I only got a quick glimpse of them twice, and they were just shadows.  The lighting people were told not to light them and, if they did, they would be fired!

"The reason?  They were too old!

"Dolly didn't even defend them.  She should have threatened to walk off the show and call a press conference!

"Maybe Dolly doesn't have the self-confidence at age 76 that she would have us believe, and she was afraid to make waves.

"What happened to having 'more diversity' on award shows?  Apparently diversity means including more blacks. (Sic)

"What an insult!"


****

Nearly fifteen months following CHARLEY PRIDE's passing HAROLD FRIES of Superior, Montana (kin to BILL FRIES?) indicated that he had just become aware of Pride's passing.  Harold indicates that Charley was not only one of Harold's and Fries' mother's "favorite artists," when Harold's mother was "the masseuse" at Billings, Montana's "Northern Hotel steam bath and massage parlor" over a half-century ago, Pride was one of her clients..


****


WARNER MACK's passing prompted curiosity about his personal life.

The erstwhile hitmaker kept his off-stage interactions close to the vest, but his estate includes Mack's Brentwood home; a six-bedroom property built in 1950 that Mack purchased, as a single man, on December 1, 1981.

Warner's property, which he bought for $25,000, was most recently appraised in 2021.  In 2022 and beyond, the value of the home, and the land on which it sits, to Mack's beneficiary, in a "seller's market," will doubtlessly appraise well above the $231,200 price tag the property assessor affixed to it the prior year.


****


Column's thanks to MARTHA MOORE for the skinny on
AMERICAN BLONDE's March 10, 2022 "free show" at Nashville's The Back Corner...

... and to LORI LOUSARIAN-HAKOLA and TRACY COLE for the invitation to join FOUR KING + COUNTRY March 4, 2022 at The Mulehouse in Columbia, Tennessee.  The occasion is "special sneak-peak, intimate fan and industry experience to talk about, and perform music from" the Aussie brothers' new album, What Are We Waiting For?.


****



UPDATE
: Barker will be represented by criminal defense attorney SHYANNE RIDDLE.

JAY BARKER has an 8:30 a.m. March 22, 2022 court date following Barker's arrest on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on SARA EVANS.  Barker's January 15, 2022 arrest on the felony charge was likely precipitated by Evans' August, 2021 divorce filing.

Barker, who posted a $10,000 bond, will appear before Judge ALLEGRA WALKER at the public hearing in Birch Building Courtroom 4C.


****

From the emailbag (and used with permission): DOTTIE WEST chronicler PAUL PATTON writes: "Hi, STACY: How are you doing?

"I haven't spoken with you in a long while.  I notice you made a lot of news about revealing the truth that TOM HALL killed himself- such a shame.

"I was pretty close to his wonderful wife; she helped me so much with Dottie.

"I had her personal assistant's number.  I could call any time.

"One time I called I needed files being picked up.  DIXIE was right in the middle of having her hair done.  She sent her assistant straight down to the county court to get them for me. 

''What a wonderful woman she was!"

Paul would love to hear from fellow Report readers who knew Dottie and can help him with his ongoing research.  As I've informed Patton, Dottie West died about a block from where I lived at the time and I famously photographed West and her granddaughter backstage at the Grand Ole Opry a week before Dottie's death.



****

Would you like to receive a share of the royalties for LUKE COMBS' certified platinum She Got the Best of Me?

The seller is "motivated," so give this listing a look (call 1-800-718-2269 if you have any questions), then submit your best offer!

****

SYLVIA always goes the extra mile.  When a review copy of Sylvia's Nature Child- A Dreamer's Journey arrived, along with it was a handwritten note of thanks from Sylvia herself! 

Now how many recording artists- not to mention the rest of us- take the time to write handwritten notes of appreciation?

But I am not the only beneficiary of Sylvia's generosity.  Fans who pre-order the album using this link before February 22, 2022 will be invited to an exclusive live, March 10, 2022 Zoom event: A Close-Up Conversation on the Making of Nature Child featuring Sylvia and her friend, co-writer and co-producer JOHN MOCK.

But that's not all: CDs ordered before February 22, 2022 using
this link will be autographed and high-resolution digital album download purchasers, using this same link before February 22, 2022 will receive the first song, Avalon immediately upon purchase!

Once you've placed your order, send an email to NatureChildCloseUp@gmail.com, indicate that you have pre-ordered from Stacy's Music Row Report and you'll receive an invitation to the exclusive March 10, 2022 event.

Spread the word- and mark your calendar!

.


Yes, you could be speaking with MAGGIE McGRAW, daughter of FAITH HILL and TIM McGRAW if you're a constituent and you call my lame duck CONGRESSMAN JIM COOPER's Nashville office.

Legistorm's KETURAH HETRICK advises that Maggie serves as the congressman's staff assistant and legislative correspondent.

 

****


DON GIBSON's widow, the former BOBBI PATTERSON is my neighbor. 

On January 27, 1965, following an altercation,  Don's second wife, the former ROSALENE ANN VARDEEN called the police on her husband.  Once Metro's finest arrived at the Gibsons' Nashville home and assessed the situation, Don was arrested on a charge of assault and battery.

On January 29, 1965 Rosalene was hospitalized for treatment of a laceration above her eye. 

The couple's reconciliation evidently didn't take, and on Friday, December 30, 1966 ROSALENE filed for divorce in Knoxville, Tennessee, describing Don as a heavy drinker and accusing him of threatening to kill her.

I'm not sure if Gibson had yet been served- and/or was overserved, but, on Saturday night- New Year's Eve- at the stroke of midnight Don rang in 1967 having undoubtedly seen a wire story that ran on Page 16 of that morning's Tennessean titled "Singer's Wife Seeks Divorce." 

Don married Bobbi on June 4, 1967.

Rosalene also remarried.  She died in her native Canada on June 8, 1972.



****

From the emailbag (and used with permission): DIANE JORDAN  writes "Hi, STACY, I watched the 1990 All-Star Tribute to RALPH EMERY.

"I had never seen it and didn't even remember the show!  I found it very touching, and it was evident that Ralph was touched by their outpouring of love for him.

"He was certainly instrumental in all of their careers.  He was a powerful voice in the music business...

"Ralph could have helped me, but he never did.  One morning, probably in 1972 or 1973, I was rehearsing with the band; I had appeared on The Ralph Emery Show the day before, as well.

"Ralph sauntered over to me and said  'You'll never guess who called me, after yesterday's show, wanting to know ALL about you.'   Then he said the caller was CHET ATKINS and that Chet was looking for a girl singer for his next tour.

"I could hardly contain my excitement!  Then, Ralph went to say, "But when I told Chet how happily married you are he wasn't interested anymore!"

"Ralph punctuated it with a roaring laugh and walked away.

"Ralph had a chance to give a good recommendation of me to Chet; he could have encouraged him to use me on tour.

"Why couldn't he let Chet find out on his own that he wasn't going to bed me?  Who knows, maybe Chet would have been impressed with my talent, besides my physical attributes, and may have offered me a recording contract or more tours?

"It was a big joke to Ralph, but it was my life.  It's still not funny to me.

"Ralph never even asked me to do a guest spot on Nashville Now.  The two times I was on it, Ralph had nothing to do with it."

****


Who's your favorite songwriter?  ROBERT KENNEDY, JR.?

****


Thanks to HEATHER BLANKENSHIP for the media invitation to attend the January 21, 2022  performance of Midnight Rodeo in Springfield, Missouri. featuring performances by CHANCEY WILLIAMS and AARON WATSON.

****


RANDY HUSTON fans will want to check out Randy's latest album, a 14-song collection titled TIMES LIKE THESE.

Randy wrote, or otherwise had a hand in the writing of, every song on the collection.  From the poignant to the wryly humorous to the philosophical, Huston draws his listeners into a shared "cowboy way" experience, enlisting co-writers KRISTIN HARRIS, DUKE SUNDT and JIM JONES  for good measure.

****


I "met" RALPH EMERY when, as a suburban Minneapolis teenager listening through the static to a certain Nashville clear-channel radio station, I called into Ralph's late-night radio show, chatting with him "live" on the air.

I got to know Emery while hanging out at WSM Radio and TV during the early '70s.  Given my Radio-TV degree, at a time when college graduates were scarce among WSM hires,  I hoped to land a daytime air shift on the former or an entertainment reporter position with the latter's news division.

At the time women weren't even considered for such positions, though Ralph put me to work during Opry Star Spotlight, answering the request line on those nights when JOHN RIGGS (a/k/a "Ralph Emery's John") wasn't available.

I have many fond memories of stayin' up with Ralph and having a "front row seat" when country-music's A-listers came to Knob Road to plug their latest recordings.

I remember one occasion during those years when Ralph agreed to an interview.  It would be on Emery's clock, which meant after Ralph signed off from his overnight radio shift and before he signed on to the early-morning WSM-TV show bearing his name.

One of my (less than) brilliant questions concerned what Ralph did between those (ungodly) hours.

Emery's response?  "I wouldn't ask you that question."

Then there was the Opry Star Spotlight farewell party (where I joined CONNIE SMITH, TOM T. HALL and JEANNE PRUETT) following Emery's retirement from late-night radio, a Ralph Emery roast, the June 22, 2014 Nashville Now re-enactment at the Nashville Public Library- tons of memories really.

Ralph's kindnesses were legendary.  He not only served as a reference, he wrote a letter of recommendation on my behalf at a time THE TENNESSEAN had an entertainment reporter opening.

There was also a time when Ralph granted me access to his syndicated radio archives.  (I was researching an article on MEL STREET and assisting Street's biographers, DENNIS SCHULER SR. and LARRY J. DELP.)

Most recently, Ralph graciously contributed a blurb for a book for which I served as TOMMY CASH's ghostwriter, he (along with Tom and Tommy) was a reference for my 2021 Country Radio Hall of Fame nomination and, of course, Ralph and I were in touch in the wake of Tom Hall's death.

Much more to say- but this is not the time.

****

No reaction (so far) from LUKE BRYAN following a December, 2021 presidential assassination threat that resulted in JASON LAWRENCE LIND being held on a federal warrant in the Metro Nashville jail.

Lind is alleged to have called the FBI's National Threat Center, boasting of his threat to the Center's operator, indicating Lind's intention was based on the fact that "I just sold my soul to Luke Bryan."

According to United States Secret Service Agent Special Agent GRIFFIN WILCOXON's Statement in Support of Criminal Complaint, the suspect, insisting he had no interest in harming President JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR. unless directed to do so by Bryan, indicated "I will shoot (President) Biden if Luke Bryan asks... I will commit treason for him."

Wilcoxon notes "Based on the content of the conversation... it appears that if Lind was contacted [sic] by someone claiming to be Luke Bryan" or, "if Lind felt that he (Lind) heard a voice which he interpreted as Luke Bryan, he would act on those orders."

The additional explanation, rationalization or excuse for such deviant behavior may stem from a September 17, 2021 Luke Bryan Miller Family Farm concert in Baltimore, Ohio where, after initially grinning from ear-to-ear when inexplicable chants of  "F (spelled out) Joe Biden" rang out, Bryan told the chanters "Well, that's not nice," plucking his guitar to the beat of the chants before adding "Oh, I love you all."

 

****


RICHARD COURTNEY reports that a seven-bedroom, 13,831 square-foot home- complete with a commercial elevator, vault room, sauna and putting green - on land once owned by EDDY ARNOLD closed in December 2021 for $10.3 million! (The price tag represents the sale of the home alone- not the lot on which is sits, one of several lots overseen by Arnold's grandson/record label owner/ real estate developer SHANNON POLLARD.)


****


Does VINCE GILL know that his wife, AMY GRANT and JOHN KENNEDY JR. were both born on the same day in the same year- November 25, 1960?

****

UPDATE: As I previously reported here, I have been withholding some information that I confirmed to my own satisfaction in August, 2021.

Now that I have the official results, I am sadly (with a mixture of frustration, anger and disbelief, though, honestly, not shock) the first journalist to confirm that TOM T. HALL's grisly cause of death was a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head (via the mouth).  

Suicide runs in families, including Hall's, but there were other reasons for Tom's decision.  One of the biggest, in my opinion, was Hall's beginning to lose his mobility.   (Tom died less than three months after his 85th birthday.  I wonder if Hall was aware that, according to the most recently available data- compiled in 2017- from the Society of Actuaries and the Social Security Administration, the average life expectancy for a person who is alive at age 85 is 92 years of age.)

Beyond that, if you're looking for reasons,  there were any number of them stemming from Tom's acknowledged history of mental illness.  Hall's depression, in turn, impacted the way Tom lived his life.  He chose to surround himself with a host of sycophants who apparently saw him as a meal ticket affording them "bragging rights" and, in their estimation, nothing more.     

There were others in his life to whom Tom chose not to listen (including approximately a handful of well-meaning, caring people, some of whom should have put themselves first long before they did) that had me relying on my intuition (my having known Tom, one of my mentors- though he preferred to introduce me to others as his "friend"- all of my adult life and the majority of his) before I received the facts.  (Efforts to do what Hall's enablers did best- hide- in this case, what turned out to be the first hints of Tom's slowly-developing mild cognitive impairment- began during the 2015 LOUISE SCRUGGS Memorial Forum, before a diagnosis could be confirmed.  Again, given Hall's peculiarly unexplained absence, and my presence, at the event that featured a video of an interview Tom granted for the occasion, replete with jump cuts, I was on to the staging secrecy, if only that, and so noted publicly at the time.)

Then there are those uninvestigated (for what seems like obvious reasons) thefts from the Country Music Hall of Fame Library's Tom T. Hall vertical file...

Here is a G-rated summary of nine (9) pages of otherwise lurid, disgusting and graphic details (and methodology sadly familiar to Tom and what remains of  his family), that Report readers would expect from a thorough investigation, and to which I am privy:  The 911 call was placed at 11:15 a.m. on August 20, 2021 and paramedics arrived 18 minutes later.

The toxicology report suggests that at, at the time of his death, at least one (metabolizing) drug designed to aid in alcohol withdrawal and anxiety management was in Tom's system.  (I earned Hall's ire nearly a half-century ago when, naive and otherwise barely out of my teens, I wrote him an ill-advised, but well-meaning and heartfelt letter, beginning "It's not my place to tell you this but, since those whose place it is will not do so, you are an alcoholic.")

As if I was giving Tom information he didn't already know and he would abstain forevermore as a result.  Right?

Hey, no one knew what an "intervention" was in those days, let alone how to plan one.  And I'd never heard of Al-Anon nor suspected a Vitamin  B-12 deficiency, not to mention the relationship between chronic anxiety and the buildup of amyloid plaques.

As I noted, apparently erring, in a Legacy.com remembrance (ever mindful of posting guidelines, with which, given the delay in publication of the post, I thought I had unintentionally violated, I posted another memory), I thought Tom had succeeded in recovery. It never occurred to me that he may have lapsed decades later, and, even though I knew Hall had been on hunting trips in the distant past, that he owned a gun.

Those who did know about such a lethal combination should have sounded an alarm.

That said, as those who knew him best would expect, Tom left no note. 

I never believed that the 2012 incident (not to mention earlier, suppressed incidents at his former Brentwood, Tennessee office) occurred as it was reported and subsequently adjudicated, given Hall's organization's prior history with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.  (I was very public about my feelings in my reporting of the Fox Hollow shooting at the time.  Had that incident, and prior incidents, been responsibly handled, sans enabling, Tom would have been forced to make better decisions.) 

As a 2021 graduate of The Davidson County Sheriff's Office's Citizens Academy, my skepticism has been reinforced by the WCSO's evasion and lack of responsiveness in its handling of Tom Hall's death, beginning with an unwillingness/inability to explain why, given the findings I have reported (which it does not dispute) as it informed me, most recently on November 24, 2021, the investigation remains "open."  [Editor's Note:  The WCSO has since closed the investigation.]

It must be noted that there is a possibility that Hall was aware of an informal (and subsequently botched) investigation (having nothing to do with the WCSO) that was underway in the months prior to his death, the details of which will likely surface during an upcoming election cycle, perhaps as opposition research.  If that is the case, voices more powerful than my own will establish that there are bungling enablers with (if only figuratively) blood on their hands.

****


Reaction continues to roll in re: the explosive revelations detailed in  KIRT WEBSTER, THE DEMISE OF WEBSTER PR:  AN UNPRECEDENTED INVESTIGATION, SEX SCANDAL & UPDATE: The Status of Austin Rick's Book,  Venmo Prostitution?, A Leaked WTVF-TV Internal Memo, Veiled Threats...

Your thoughts?


TELL ME MORE



Home | Music Row Report | Music Reviews | Book Reviews | Paid Content | Contact