As I predicted, TONY BROWN's trial date has been continued.
I neglected to mention, prior to the November 20, 2013 date in JUDGE GLORIA DUMAS' courtroom, that the assignment
of the case to Judge Dumas might result in her recusal (Judge Dumas is
KEN LEVITAN's wife).
As it stands, Tony, still represented by criminal law attorney GLENN FUNK, is now set to appear before JUDGE GALE ROBINSON (whose cousin, retired Judge MURIEL ROBINSON, is my former Windsor Tower neighbor and TANDY RICE's ex-wife) once again at the A. A. BIRCH Building, Room 3B, this time at 9 a.m.
on February 7, 2014
Fresh from my Season One debut in
two episodes (count 'em) of ABC-TV's
NASHVILLE, you can now see me on TVGN's (JOHN) RICH
at Night. And, I'm back for Season Two (episode 9) of NASHVILLE, this time as a courtroom
The Rich special was taped at John's "Mount Richmore"
home the day after I was asked to return to (BIG) KENNY (ALPHIN)'s home for yet another media
event. (In interviews promoting the program, John joked about
recruiting friends and folks off the street, but there was nothing left
to chance in the selection. Those of us "cast" as John's
"friends" were shuttled from a Vanderbilt
parking lot to
Rich's Love Circle mansion on a hill. Fortunately, I had my
identification with me as all of us were welcomed only after we were
carded. (In fairness, we were fed pizza presumably to lessen the
effects of an open, well-stocked bar.
(On a tenuously-related note, it's ironic that, having mentioned in
column several years ago that I was invited to one of John's political
fund raisers- an event I did not attend- at a time when I had yet to
John, some anonymous- naturally- reader posted to a blog, in an
attempt to disparage me, that I was a friend of John's who couldn't be
too credible because I shared his political beliefs!)
(Wrong- on both counts!)
Then, once again, courtesy of KIRT WEBSTER, it was on to the events of GEORGE JONES week, including the unveiling of a
monument at Woodlawn Roesch-Patton Funeral Home and Memorial Park
and the announcement of an MTSU scholarship established in the Possum's
memory (despite the fact that, Jones, who never got beyond high school,
at best, had a tenuous connection with the institution of higher
learning), preceding an all-star tribute concert.
Ironically, just hours before I joined NANCY JONES (who is providing the scholarship seed
money, an undisclosed amount), JEANNE PRUETT (who reminisced with me about my
late neighbor, JOHN VOLINKATY before coming to my rescue when I
managed to fall backwards as I attempted to stand from a seated
position, courtesy of the wires that have yet to be
surgically removed from my kneecap, presenting occasional balance
issues in the meantime) JIM
ED BROWN (my publicity client of some 35 years ago), DIANE SHERRILL,
a frail and almost unrecognizable BILLY SHERILL, JETT WILLIAMS, AUDREY
WINTERS (my Music City News colleague of nearly 40 years
ago) BEVERLY KEEL (who shares a WALTER CRONKITE connection with Audrey) and a
couple of Scottish tourists (who accepted my invitation to photograph
them with the obliging Opry stars), I granted the HENRY EDWARD
TOWNES' request for a telephone interview
Henry, a promising MTSU senior, is
taking a music publicity class. His teacher "assigned a project
where I have to interview an entertainment journalist" and I'm
flattered that Henry chose me!
Thanks to DOUG
GLEAVES and BILL OATES for alerting me to the Nashville Business Journal's awarding me
"Honorable Mention" in its photo caption contest. Doug thought I was
"robbed" and Bill thought the winning entry was "lame," but I'm
happy to be nominated, as they say (especially since the prizes were
the same), and that Gleaves and Oates took the time to write.
Life's recent whirlwind has also included a missed meeting with BILL O'REILLY, an unexpected meeting with DR. MEHMET OZ and the receipt of an unexpected
book plate autograph from CAROLINE KENNEDY. (Perhaps she enjoyed the
photograph I took of her with TOM T. HALL? I should write a book. Oh yeah, I already have... Several
books, actually, but I digress...)
And, as long as I'm name-dropping and extending thanks, I should add PETER COOPER
to the luminaries list. 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of
the brutal murders of DAVID "STRINGBEAN" AKEMAN and his wife, ESTELLE and Peter was
kind enough to mention me in a Tennessean retrospective. I was even
more amazed (contemporary accounts of the events preceding the murders
often omit my unique positioning, admittedly a fluke) that an
accompanying video included a shot of one of my books (one that included a chapter on
Stringbean) on top of a mantle in the Akemans' cabin.
There should be a slight correction to Peter's superb coverage: Stringbean's final
interview occurred between
the first and second Grand Ole Opry shows.
Due to that fact, David
Akeman was not at all
rushed nor preoccupied. The irony of the interview was that
mundane observations about the impending Opry move from the Ryman to the
"new" Opry House posthumously became significant. For, when
'Bean spoke of why he favored the move- more dressing rooms, places to
state-of-the-art staging and a building with central heat and air- with
star's death came the stark realization that he wouldn't be around to
perks of the improved working environment.
Because I was (and
remain) a news junkie, I
was probably one of the first members of Nashville's
general public to learn about the Akeman murders. I was watching Meet the
Press when Channel 4
supered a crawl across the screen indicating that the
couple had been shot and killed, with more details to come on WSM's early
announcements of "breaking
news" surround stories that are, in many cases, neither particularly
breaking nor news, in November 1973, there was not only no thought of
sweeps month, programming was rarely totally interrupted (so as
alarm viewers unnecessarily unless the "Big Three" networks gave the
authorization to do so).
I was barely up that
Sunday morning when I
received the news. My first reaction was that it couldn't be true
I had just interviewed Stringbean hours before. When I realized
be true, it dawned on me (no pun intended) that I must have been
person to interview Stringbean. My otherwise trivial interview
My first call was to
newspaper's skeletal staff member told me that my exclusive,
account, which I would have to hand-deliver, would arrive too late for
newspaper's Monday deadline. That's why the
next day's Nashville Banner
scooped the Tennessean. The article was subsequently excerpted in
City News and in Warren Causey's 1975 book, The Stringbean Murders.
Fortunately, I always
taped my interviews, so
I also had an historically valuable cassette. That was not lost
Carter, Jr. Carter, whom I did not know, cold-called me
much I wanted for the tape.
I was taken aback by
the request. I've
never been opportunistic (that's why I'm a writer and not an
attorney) and I told Fred that I appreciated his interest, but the tape
for sale. (I had no wish to profit by the Akemans' deaths and so
instructed the Banner- for which I had never freelanced to that point-
receive no special consideration; that I be paid solely commensurate
it paid freelancers.)
My intention was to
donate the tape to the
Music Foundation Library. A library employee advised me that
would be better served (for reasons that only later became clear) by
the Foundation to copy the tape, returning the original to me.
That allowed me to
share the original audio
when I became a
production consultant for its Digest '79
affairs program. Nearly 20 years later, in 1998, when I was
interviewed by producers for A & E's City Confidential series (the Murder
in Music City
segment), the tape was once again excerpted.
If anything good
could come out of this
tragedy it is that, thanks to preservationist Alan Stoker,
anyone who wants to
hear Stringbean's final interview, in its entirety, has only to
appointment with the Country Music Foundation Library.
As we learned that a tourist was assaulted near Music Row by a Nashville cabbie, of the death of a
veteran music publisher and of a police investigation (which began on
November 8, 2013) involving a country star, the singer's family
members, some surreptitious and potentially illegal actions
(potentially resulting in a Class C misdemeanor charge) that are under
investigation, having evidently backfired on a concerned parent,
Nashville's entertainment journalists received better news in the form
of three invitations for November 12, 2013.
MULLINS invited us to the Northstar Studios where, from 10 A.M. to
5:30 P.M., we could watch the taping of a bluegrass version of Country's Family Reunion co-hosted by BILL ANDERSON and RICKY SKAGGS. Featured performers include DIERKS BENTLEY, PAUL BREWSTER, SAM BUSH, LARRY CORDLE, DAILEY & VINCENT, THE GIBSON BROTHERS, THE GRASCALS, SIERRA HULL, CARL
JACKSON, RAMONA JONES, DOYLE LAWSON, DEL MCCOURY, BOBBY OSBORNE, RONNIE RENO, THE ROYS, DAN TYMINSKI, RHONDA VINCENT, THE WHITES and MAC WISEMAN.
Not to be outdone, CLAIRE
RATLIFF issued a "private invitation" to an "exclusive media
event," notably THE GRASCALS' 5:30- 7:30 P.M. CD (When I Get My Pay) and Listening Party at Antique
Archacology. The Grascals' album includes American Pickers
featuring DIERKS BENTLEY and MIKE WOLFE.
MARTHA MOORE capped off a full day of festivities
with an invitation to JAY JOLLEY's 7:30 p.m. showcase at the Mercy Lounge's High
Watt Room. A native Michigander, Jay is grabbing attention with
his current single, God Save Us All From Religion