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


The Official Website of Stacy Harris 


Copyright 2021
Stacy's Music Row Report All Rights Reserved

Didja know that BRIE BELLA, star of E!'s Total Bellas, calls GEORGE STRAIT "my go-to for country music?"  

The December 25, 2020 suicide bombing outside AT &T's downtown Nashville corporate campus (that injured three, but, miraculously, claimed no lives other than that of the suspect) not only left the telecommunications giant's phone, internet and TV customers throughout the Southeast without service, in some cases, past the weekend, the explosion destroyed area businesses and condos, also damaging the Wildhorse Saloon and knocking Circle TV off not only cable stations, but some OTA systems for the better part of the weekend.  

The frightening spectacle will never enable those who were traumatized to hear PETULA CLARK's Downtown (or CONNIE SMITH's cover, for that matter) with quite the same abandon.

BTW, Realtor STEVE FRIDRICH, one of the tipsters who once hired the suicide bomber to do some IT work, was a childhood friend of MARK ALAN CASH.

After CHARLEY PRIDE's appearance on the 2020 CMA Awards I was waiting for someone to speak up about his performance, which was not up to Pride's own standard of excellence.

Possibly as a kindness, even usually caustic critics were silent.  (Or, like most of America, they were not watching the fiasco- with all-time-low ratings to match.)

Pride cited nerves, but it was evident that could not stand up straight.  Given his age, it is entirely possible Charley had osteopenia or even osteoporosis.

Given the unreliability of COVID-19 testing and all that we have yet to learn about the virus, it is possible that Charley was asymptomatic, but not COVID-19 free, the evening of the Awards and that upon his return to Dallas where, according to the CMA, which likely "doth protest too much," Charley was supposedly retested MULTIPLE times.  (Insert the rhetorical "Why? Wouldn't a single test upon landing suffice?"

All of that said, let's remember Charley Pride for how he lived.

I first met Charley when I interviewed him for a Country Song Roundup cover story (May 1979 issue.)

Pride and I shared an interest in astrology, which surprisingly made for an awkward moment during that first meeting when, as happened with anyone who met the singer for the first time going on to spend quality time with him, Charley played what came to be known as a Pride parlor game of trying to guess, in this instance, my sun sign. 

When I broached the subject of our mutual interest, Charley assured me that his passion for the occult hadn't waned, but that RCA frowned upon his discussing a subject that wouldn't win him many fans but one that was likely to offend his base.

But Charley couldn't contain his enthusiasm, and I couldn't contain my curiosity, so we forged ahead.  Astrology and religion (other than Christianity) were just too of the socially off-limit subjects we left on-the-record.

Though Pride and I reconnected several times thereafter- the last time was when Charley asked for help remembering the name of a former Tennessean entertainment reporter- of which there had been several to that point- based on a description that was-- well, not too descriptive.

But at this time of great loss to the country-music community, not to mention Charley's family and close friends, perhaps my most timely memory was of, several years ago, watching Pride perform at an afternoon rehearsal preceding that evening's award show.

I was one of a handful of people, including the crew, observing Charley in an otherwise "empty house."  But what stuck with me was the memory of Pride, who needed no rehearsal, performing his hits with all of the focus and enthusiasm someone who has paid their hard-earned money to hear him sing- or who would be watching the evening's telecast- would expect to see.

Where other performers would treat the glorified sound check as nothing more that an excuse to "phone it in," Charley never gave less than 1000%.


JOHNNY CASH 's Nashville-area fans, who can't get enough of three decades' (plus) reruns of the Man in Black on on Get TV, are being treated to a double dose of the Country Music Hall of Fame member when NPT-HD airs Bitter Tears (November 19, 2020) and Johnny Cash: A Night To Remember on  December 4, 2020.

Up until now it's largely been a social media secret, but SOUTHERN HALO is now AMERICAN BLONDE

Sisters NATA and TINKA MORRIS are celebrating the rebranding with a new producer (CLIFF DOWNS) and the release of new music, (Somethin' in the Water).


DIERKS BENTLEY and KETCH SECOR are set to join MANEET CHAUHAN November 14, 2020 as emcees of the
annual Nashville Public Library Literary Awards.   This year's "stay at home gala" begins at 7 p.m. Central time.

HANK LOCKLIN: Timeless Tenor, a production of WSRE-TV, airs on NPT-HD at 8 p.m. November 12, 2020.  The program will air three hours later  on NPT2 with repeat broadcasts on NPT2 on November 16th at 8 p.m. and on November 17th at 1 p.m.  All times Central.

Consult your local PBS station in order to find out if and when the program commemorating the 60th anniversary of Hank's 1960 Grand Ole Opry induction airs in your area.
  (Check out a sneak preview here.) 


GENTLE JONES, of Prices Corner, Delaware, brings word of a "song I think you'll enjoy."

Check it out here.


The Country Music Association routinely bullies a largely lapdog press, but the Associated Press has had enough.  It refuses to cover the November 11, 2020 CMA Awards.


CARLENE CARTER, who filed for divorce from her fourth husband, soap opera actor JOSEPH MICHAEL BREEN in Davidson Country Circuit Court on March 26, 2019, was officially granted that divorce on
October 14, 2020.


"Being fascinated with names, I'm willing to bet that one of the first questions I asked MAC DAVIS when I originally interviewed him... while a student at the University of Maryland, was about his name.  I thought I remembered the answer, but many years and miles removed from the Cole Field House locker room (which doubled as Davis' dressing room) where we met after Mac's concert at College Park, his answer seems to be different."

So read the opening paragraph of an article I wrote titled Mac Davis: Song Painter, published in the the June, 2003 issue of Country Music People "some three decades-plus" after I relocated from College Park to Nashville. 

"Indeed, nowhere in my preparation for a reunion with [Davis] did I find his correct name," I informed CMP readers, revealing that Davis' full name,
Morris Mac Davis, (as became better known to the rest of the world following Mac's September 29, 2020 passing).

Not as well known, even following Mac's passing, is how the singer/songwriter/actor became universally known by his middle name.

During that second early afternoon 2003 interview, following Mac's same-day morning Nashville Songwriters Association International news conference,  the son of THOMAS JEFFERSON DAVIS and the former EDITH IRENE LANKFORD confided "Legally... I don't use the 'Morris' anymore because it's too confusing to people who think illegally that I'm Morris McDavis."

Any author planning on writing a book about Mac's life would do well to refer to my CMP article- the first of a two-part series that concluded with CMP's July, 2003 issue, in that the career retrospective uncovered many interesting facts about Davis' life.

Mac not only spoke candidly, for the first time and possibly last, time publicly about his relationship with GLEN CAMPBELL- or tabloid lack thereof (which after both men's deaths, by Davis' account, continues to be mischaracterized) he revealed some little-known facts about his life an career.  Among these were that when Mac's singing career began at Lubbock, Texas' Cumberland Presbyterian Church choir ("pretty much because my daddy made me"), the boy soprano "insisted that I sit with the men... I sang the bass line an octave up, or even two octaves up in some instances, because I refused- 'Mr. Macho'- to sit and be a soprano."

More?  The first in his family to attend college, Mac enrolled at Georgia State University at age 16!  "I told everybody I was going to study law but... I didn't know anything about the law."

The college dropout returned to music and, as a prolific songwriter, pitched a song called The Phantom Strikes Again to Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs' producer. "I don't remember the producer's name but I saw him go to the restroom and I had him pinned.  He had no place to go 'cause I got him while he was standing at the urinal and I started singing the song to him. 

"I had a captive audience, but he didn't like it.  I cut him a tape the next day and he did record it (on the quintet's 1966 L'il Red Riding Hood album)...

"I never did get paid the money I should have..."  Davis estimated his total royalties were "50 or 60 bucks," so [STAN KESLER] had some fun with me."

More?  Had BILL MEDLEY not passed on In the Ghetto (subtitled The Vicious Cycle), a song that came to be, partly through the courtesy of a FREDDY WELLER guitar lick, ELVIS PRESLEY might never had made Mac's song The King's own.


Who says no one sends handwritten notes anymore?  An autographed copy of THE LLOYD CARTER BAND's new CD, Nothing to Lose, just arrived via snail mail with the following note card: "Hi STACY!, I hope this package finds you well. 

"I wanted to send you some tunes to hopefully brighten your day.  This is my debut project and not only includes the title track, but two previously recorded singles titled Autumn Leaves and Come Dance With Me, not available digitally. 

"I would love to hear your thoughts and am available to chat at your convenience.

"Stay healthy and well!, LlOYD."

My thoughts?  What a terrific debut effort!  Lloyd, his writing partners GARY DiBENEDETTO (kin to ANTHONY BENEDETTO?) and HENRY McGILL  (with an assist from COLT FORD) have outdone themselves with an eclectic array of songs that will reassure listeners who wonder if the country music being written and produced today is still country.

Check 'em out and see if you don't agree!


If you haven't already heard SCOTT GERBER's music, you'll want to check it out.  Scott was the subject of my fellow IMDB polymath BONNIE BURT's 2002 documentary short, Songs of a Jewish Cowboy.

The 18-minute film is an intimate portrait of the California chicken ranchers' descendant, who bridges the unlikely gap between Yiddish and cowboy cultures.  Scott, carrying on his agricultural inheritance, is shown riding the range and singing his repertoire of cow and Yiddish songs at Simcha Sunday and at an Irish bar.

Along the way, he's hoping to meet a nice Jewish girl....

Can't stand the suspense?  Click here.


Music Row's residents of Nashville's 20th state senate district are taking note that one of our own (not me, though on June 17, 1998 I was sworn in as a member of the Davidson Country Democratic Party Executive Committee, representing voters of Nashville's 25th council district) is seeking to become our district's next state senator: Oak Hill Mayor HEIDI CAMPBELL.

Mayor Campbell's music business career résumé dates back to the 1990s when "I was the lead singer and writer for a band called The Keep."

The Nashville band had a "Triple-A rotation on our music, toured the Eastern U.S. and Germany and opened for the DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, CAKE and a lot of other really cool alternative acts.  Our music also got picked up for several TV shows, and I started getting interested in licensing music to film and television through that.

"I started a company called All About Music and we licensed music for other independent artists, and on a consultation basis for Vanguard Records and Warner Brothers' alternative division.  While I was doing this I also was pursuing a full-time MBA at Vanderbilt.

"After I got my MBA, I moved to St. Paul for a period to be with my husband while he finished his JD/MBA, and to have a couple of kids, and worked with Innova Records, the record label of the American Composers Forum

"As with most people in the music industry, I wore various hats during this period of my life- I actually managed a band called Big House (amazing band) for a couple of years and was the promotional director for a Warner Brothers project called Groovegrass (a funk/bluegrass hybrid). 

"And I wrote a lot of songs and played a lot of gigs" before moving on to a career of public service.


You may have read where TIM McGRAW and FAITH HILL made a much-maligned list of prominent recipients of the U.S. Treasury Department's Paycheck Protection Program, thought not to need their share of the $520 billion in loans doled out by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the goal of helping businesses to keep their employees employed as we all weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

The list also includes The Country Music Foundation, Starstruck Entertainment, Big Loud Records, GARY ALLAN Tours, LORETTA LYNN's Ranch, RASCAL FLATT's Touring Inc., OAK RIDGE BOYS, Inc.  and Show Dog, LLC.

Stacy's Music Row Report premium members know that a paid subscription has its perks.  Most recently, amid the COVID-19 pandemic pandemonium, I was glad to point the way for gig workers, independent contractors, freelancers etc., and those of us taxpayers who were ineligible to receive a stimulus check to receive free money, (or a loan if needed) that purposely wasn't publicized because the feds realized simple word-of-mouth would exhaust the supply of Benjamins available. 

Now when does the government (or most people, for that matter) offer free money (if you're in the tax bracket I'm in, it's actually your own money) with no strings attached?  Glad everyone who responded to my alert got their checks or loans as needed.


From the Music Row Report job bank:  If you've dreamed of becoming a senior producer for RFD-TV, here's your chance: The network seeks to fill this "senior editorial position" with a "true renaissance person" who has a degree in journalism or agricultural communications (a "Master's Degree is a plus") and who has four (4) years' experience in agribusiness.

The successful candidate must have the "ability to work non-traditional hours... in a fast paced, high pressure environment" and will be producing
"5 1/2 hours of stellar content."

This "natural leader" must, as a condition of employment, be willing to submit to a background investigation and find a salary of $40,000- $60,000 acceptable.

Interested?  Let me know and I'll provide further details and contact information.

What would HARLAN HOWARD have said about this?


Does GEICO's use of the opening bars of RICKY SKAGGS' recording of Heartbroke (written by GUY CLARK), in the company's current ad campaign, constitute a big pay day for anyone other than WARREN BUFFETT and the Oracle of Omaha's favorite insurance company?


For those who are paying attention (BOBBY BARE is probably not among them), I have not heard from AUSTIN RICK and SANDY BOONSTRA nor further from JESSE KNUTSON and ZACH FARNUM.

It is imperative that I do if any of the four want to be represented in what began as an effort to make some sense of limited media handling of one music industry scandal that seems to be turning into media suppression of quite another.

On a related note, it's amazing to me that coverage of massive staff reductions at the Country Music Hall of Fame do not finally bring attention to the culture that contributed to its board's determination of salaries and essential employees.

The investigation continues.


Column's congrats to OSM Audio and WNYC Studios (WNYC) - the latter, flagship station of one of my favorite radio programs, On the Media- on their prestigious (GEORGE FOSTER) PEABODY Award nomination for "DOLLY PARTON's America."

UPDATE: The Navex Global inquiry has concluded, and frankly, it's gotten rather snarky and otherwise ugly.

Before I elaborate, I'm still hoping to reach
AUSTIN RICK, and to hear from JESSE KNUTSON on where Jesse has landed, as well as to determine the true victims and villains (if possible) in the drama that has resulted.


Sometimes engaged couples have wedding jitters but the outcome is usually a literal different than the following: NATALIA ROSE MOUNT, a veteran of the Nashville club scene (prior to its current lockdown), got the year off to a great start with the New Year's Day release of City.

Unfortunately, the 23-year-old singer songwriter who has entertained crowds ranging from patrons of Honky Tonk Central to Virginia Beach, Virginia's Cutty Sark Marina (not to mention the National Wild Turkey Federation) was arrested on March 22, 2020 in West Nashville.  There Mount was charged with domestic assault following an incident that evidently began as a lovers' quarrel. 

As a result, Natalia Mount and her
fiancée MICHAEL DREWS (originally from Virginia Beach) may be rethinking their engagement.

Police were summoned to a domestic disturbance at a Cabot Drive residence where Natalia informed them that she and Mike had been arguing.  Both parties admitted that a verbal argument became physical.  Natalia's version was that, as Michael was attempting to hold her, she pushed his face.

But Mike says Natalia hit his face and nose, bloodying Drews' schnozz.

After observing Michael's injuries, the police arrested and booked Natalia on a charge of domestic assault on a $1,500 bond.


The Country Music Association is feeling the heat.

The 2020 CMA Music Festival will not go on as scheduled.  Unofficially, that's a no-brainer.

Historically, the "official" word from the Country Music Association about anything of interest to its membership, media and country-music fans always follows the obvious.

CMA Fest 2020, as planned, is dead on the water.  To paraphrase my fellow Minnesotan, WALTER MONDALE: They (in this case, the Country Music Association), won't tell you, I just did.  


Covid-19 is not deterring S.G. GOODMAN from showcasing The Way I Talk at the Cannery Ballroom on March 20, 2020.

Thanks to DOUG HALL and LUCY VOLPE for the invitation to attend this media event.  


Opining (see below) on my mention of
AARP: The Magazine choosing SHANIA TWAIN as its "cover girl," JOHNNY COUNTERFIT writes (in an email used with permission) "As per your Shania piece, I'll take a great looking 50 year-old like Shania over a tattooed 'inked' 25 year-old... anytime!"


Was it something I said?  (See below.)

As instructed, Nashville supporters and undecided voters gathered at Public Square Park at 2 p.m. February 29, 2020 for an opportunity to hear Presidential Candidate PETE BUTTIGIEG ask for their vote, but it wasn't until over an hour later that Mayor Pete finally arrived.

In the meantime, the crowd listened to what could best be described as a mix tape of TIM McGRAW (My Next 30 Years), BRAD PAISLEY (Country Nation) and nearly a score of non-country singers' hits while waiting for the man of the hour.  (I didn't make AMY KLOBUCHAR's Nashville rally of a day earlier because I only found out its time and location after the fact.  I wonder what Amy's reaction would have been if I'd been able to show her a satirical column her famous father JIM KLOBUCHAR wrote about me when Amy was only seven years old!)

I've met and covered presidential candidates (and later presidents and former presidents) without regard to political affiliation since 1967 and was pleased to have the opportunity to shake hands with both Pete and CHASTEN BUTTIGIEG.  Given the opportunity, I couldn't resist doing something I rarely do:  Offer (Mayor Pete) a little unsolicited advice.

No known connection but on March 1, 2020- one day after we met- Buttigieg dropped out of the race.  (If you want to know what my words of wisdom were, you know the drill: Email me with ADVICE FOR MAYOR PETE in the subject line and your name, city and state [or province/country is outside the U.S.A.] in the BODY of your email request.)

Undeterred by all the mishigas, on Monday, March 2, 2020 the day before Super Tuesday, I made it a point to be on hand for an ELIZABETH WARREN rally at the Exit In

It was great to see one of Warren's biggest boosters, ASHLEY JUDD, again after several decades.  Years ago when I was backstage waiting for an interview with Ashley's newly/about-to-be-famous mother and half-sister, I struck up a conversation with a stranger, making small talk as I awaited being beckoned away.

The stranger was giving me some anecdotal information I hadn't seen in any of THE JUDDS' publicity materials or in what few articles I'd read about them. 

"Oh, do you know them (personally)?" I asked.

That's when the otherwise unknown teenager- and future Hollywood star- introduced herself to the embarrassed entertainment writer.

After Ashley gave her stump speech at the Warren rally and I watched the candidate's other boosters, DELTA RAE perform, I was ready to watch, listen to and perhaps meet the candidate.  I won't tell you how long I waited or why I was oblivious to what everyone else there apparently knew from the git-go, but not only was Elizabeth Warren not present, rally organizers never said that she would be on hand.

I obviously didn't get the memo, but I've never heard of a rally for a (major) presidential candidate at which the candidate did not at least intend to appear. 

Again, no known connection, but, as with the other candidates for whom I turned out (or intended to) at Nashville rallies (I've been to three Donald Trump rallies but none have been yet scheduled for Nashville in 2020), Elizabeth Warren officially dropped out of the race after the Super Tuesday results were announced.


SHANIA TWAIN graces the cover of the February/March issue of AARP: The Magazine.  The cover story's byline belongs to one of my favorite writers (and fellow authors), ALANNA NASH

UPDATE: (See below and for possible future reference.) Here's the time line: I forwarded a copy of my original email to JESSE KNUTSON and SANDY BOONSTRA to Jesse and Sandy on February 18, 2020, with the query "Did you receive this?" 

On February 20, 2020, having received no response to that point, and because of some other information I will disclose if and when I'm am able to authenticate it and confirm its relevancy, if any, to what, if true, will be a larger story, I contacted Navex Global during business hours.  (E.W. SCRIPPS Company, WTVF's parent company outsources risk management and compliance issues, relying upon Navex to conduct independent investigations.)

I was asked by Navex's intake screener if I wanted to provide my name.  (He told me I could remain anonymous.)

Obviously, I provided my name, limiting my inquiry to the desire to hear from either Jesse or Sandy.  I was provided a report key and password. (A little too cloak-and-dagger for me, but I don't make the rules...)

Wouldn't you know it?  As sure as Mercury is in retrograde motion, at 5:24 p.m. Jesse emailed me, in part, "I saw you posted on your website about this... I have not applied for a job at 117 Entertainment nor been extended an official offer from 117.  So the information you have been given is false, and I'd appreciate it if you [would] remove it so any potential employers don't think I'm unavailable."

I'm happy to reiterate Knutson's availability to potential employers, as a result of excerpting his email to me as a part of this update. (I have several email accounts, and since I didn't see Jesse's email until close to midnight, my immediate response is a next-day reply.)


Speaking (writing?) of politics, didja know that, like yours truly,  ZACH FARNUM has a political background?  Zach was once a candidate for state senate in his home state of Rhode Island.

I've always explained my career change by saying I found my fill of politics in the music industry.  I'm feeling that same sensation as I try to track down AUSTIN RICK (who seems to have done a disappearing act after reaching out to me not long ago- assuming I was not dealing with an imposter). 

It's a crazy business: On February 15, 2020 I received, via first class mail, what appears to be a photocopy of an internal memo on "Newschannel 5 HD Network" letterhead.  The mailing did not include a return address nor any other evidence of its origin, save for a Nashville postmark.

I receive tips all the time, and obviously prefer, and give more credence to, those that are not sent anonymously, but this memo, dated January 13, 2020, was one I wanted to check out.  The process, I reasoned, was easy enough as the communication, which appears to have originally been an email reads "To: NewsChannel5 Staff, From SANDY BOONSTRA, Re: JESSE KNUTSON.

"Jesse Knutson is leaving NewsChannel 5.  Jesse has done a remarkable job covering the music industry in Nashville.  He owned it!  No one could surpass his passion for the entertainment beat.  So much so, that Jesse has decided to leave broadcasting to pursue a career in the music industry.  Jesse's last day will be March 9th.  We wish him all the best!"

I emailed Zach Farnum "I understand Jesse Knutson will be joining the 117 Group next month.  Could you confirm that for me and, if my information is correct, the day Jesse will be starting his new career, his job title, etc.?"

My question
received an unexpected reaction, including Zach's advising "This is inaccurate information."

Upon contacting Zach, I simultaneously emailed Boonstra and Knutson, with whom I have, at separate points in time, interacted in the past.  Where Farnum responded right away, I have yet to receive a response from neither Sandy nor Jesse re: clarification of Knutson's professional plans. 

As we say in TV, "Stay tuned."

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