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Mark your calendars!  The long-anticipated GEORGE JONES Museum is set to open the weekend of April 24, 2015.

Jones' widow, NANCY was on hand January 12, 2015 at Nashville's Riverfront RTA/MTA station, unveiling plans and drawings for the museum, following JEREMY WESTBY's media invitation affording a sneak-peak at Nancy's plans for the legacy destination.

As if on cue, the rain stopped as Nancy spoke of what fans will see at 128 and 130 Second Avenue North (formerly the site of Graham Central Station), the downtown destination of a 44,000 building containing not only the Jones museum, but a gift shop, fourth floor (rooftop) bar, event space and live music venue.

The  museum's opening coincides with the launch of White Lightning Moonshine.  (Fans will note that this is the second licensing of Jones' name with a brand paying homage to George's 1959 signature song.  Anyone remember the introduction, to similar fanfare, of George Jones' White Lightning Tennessee Spring Water?)

Nancy tells me that the price of admission to the museum has yet to be announced. 

She adds that a George Jone biopic is in the work with the lead actor to be announced.  





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Report reader MICHELLE BROUSSARD HONICK is rallying fans and music industry friends of veteran entertainers DIANE JORDAN and LARRY FULLAM, hoping these good people, and anyone else who is living the spirit of the season, will continue to support the couple now, at a time they need it most.

Diane and Larry celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary on December 19, 2014, knowing that it is likely their last due to Larry's deteriorating health.  (Fullam was diagnosed in September, 2014 with pancreatic cancer, an extremely debilitating painful disease.)

I've known the couple for years and each has been a source of strength in my time of need.  They are hard-working people who have saved what they can but it has not been enough to afford the kind of care Diane believes would prolong Larry's life.  (Michelle has done an excellent job of summarizing Larry's and Diane's career achievements and you can read more about them here.)


While Diane believes Larry is receiving the best care possible under the restrictive circumstances, bills associated with catastrophic illness, even for those who have Medicare, can be astronomical.

And unexpected household expenses don't take a holiday when someone gets sick, either.   At a time when Diane has had to take time off from her temp job to care for Larry, the couple's HVAC went out.  And anyone who has HVAC knows what repairs cost...

Still the Fullams endure, their load lightened by the kindness of those who have given generously to a Medical Fund for the Fullams Michelle set up here.  No donation is too small, so, please, if you are able to "pay it forward" it will be money well spent.



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Here's a mental image for you: KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, at the height of his fame, stealing socks!

The Band of Thieves leader is guilty as charged, according to MARK EVANS' and ROBERT NOTT's new book, SAM PECKINPAH And All of Our Friends
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CRYSTAL GAYLE appeared at the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce's TASTE at the Musician's Hall of Fame on October 19, 2014.

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The Stand Up With Hillary political action coalition has produced a country-music video in support of HILLARY CLINTON's prospective 2016 presidential campaign.



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ROSS TURNER reports that 100 per cent of the proceeds from the 99-cent download of Nashville singer songwriter MEGAN LEE's new Christmas release, Love From Home, is a fund raiser for CreatiVets, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit providing disabled veterans with the tools to "use art therapy, music and creative writing to address the psychological and emotional needs" arising "from combat-related trauma."

CreatiVets Executive Director/Founder RICHARD CASPER,  a former United States Marine and veteran of the Iraq war, is also an artist, songwriter and guitarist.

Funds are urgently needed to continue CreatiVets' work of combating veterans' suicide (which I am told occurs at a rate exceeding 22 per day), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other war-related injury our veterans often encounter when transitioning from war zones to home.



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The Stand Up With Hillary political action coalition has produced a country-music video in support of HILLARY CLINTON's prospective 2016 presidential campaign.




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TRISHA YEARWOOD, the subject of Country Music People's December, 2014 issue's cover story, indicates that performing mundane tasks keep her grounded: "We go shopping, we do our own laundry, for us it's odd to think otherwise, and I think it's probably true for most people in country music."

Indeed it is, for instance it's not unusual at all to find JAN HOWARD grocery shopping at the Belle Meade Kroger.


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If your favorite Grand Ole Opry star hasn't performed for some time on the stage of the longest running musical radio stage show in the history of mankind, consider that performance actors closed out the final (11 p.m.) portion of the December 6, 2014 show.  I'm the last one to criticize the benefit of ABC-TV
shooting NASHVILLE in Music City- the TV series has generated sporadic demand for my services as a paid extra, my most recent role as a tourist/pedestrian will be among the scenes in an episode that will air in late January, 2015- but I can't help but feel that the line between fantasy and reality continued to blur, while Grand Ole Opry members have to fight for available slots, when AUBREY PEEBLES, SAM PALLADIO and CHALEY ROSE continued the Opry's new tradition of giving over an entire segment of the musical show to actors (as opposed to just occasionally featuring those who can actually sing, as Peebles, Palladio and Rose do). 

      
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Were it not for instantaneous social media, TY HERNDON's Nashville fans might be as out of the loop as the folks who used to joke that they lived they so far out in the country that they didn't hear the Saturday night Grand Ole Opry
until Tuesday night. 


I think it's fair to say that Ty essentially outed himself publicly years ago, speaking, when indirectly questioned, as entertainment media was wont to do at that time, in the accepted code of the day.

For all of the timidity of the time, the message was always clear- except when Ty muddied it by suggesting he was rescued from his wayward public behavior- that which variously resulted in his being arrested and in the loss of his teeth- by curiously publicly embracing Christianity (of the variety that preaches homosexuality is a sin) and Christian music as country music all but abandoned him.

The intended message to his public - though Herndon never directly verbalized it- was that, for all of his internal struggles, Ty had prayed the gay away.

At a time when even some of the most zealous of those who once believed that was possible, indeed necessary, to pray the gay away now reject that belief, Herndon is making a calculated choice in an effort to revive his country-music career.

But Ty's story is incomplete, and there is not much to learn from it, without disclosure of the depth and scope of the singer's betrayal from the ex-wives who apparently continue to be satellite personalities in Herndon's reality show. 

Conversely, A fair assessment of BILLY GILMAN's career would be that going through puberty killed the momentum of what the public considered to be a little boy's overnight success.

Billy was a victim of that unfortunate timing. The musical landscape is littered with one-hit wonders, most of whom did not retain essential momentum for reasons other than Gilman's unfortunate fate, or more accurately, the timing of Billy's morphing from charmed boyhood to awkward adolescence in what, outside the world of music, is greeted as a natural progression.

After Gilman emerged from his management-imposed musical hiatus, his resultant growth spurt and deepened voice essentially transformed him, in the minds of a fickle public with a limited memory and attention span, from a known quantity, in effect, to a new, unproven artist with plenty of competition for limited slots.

Billy's absence made his fan base's hearts grow fonder but country-music's larger audience, by that time, was looking for the next big thing. I'll concede Gilman has a point- Billy is hoping for acceptance from an audience that traditionally has either embraced or had no problem with homophobia- but he should be careful that he doesn't play the gay card to the point where it is an excuse for an unpleasant outcome that is just as easily arrived at due to other factors, some of which would be equally beyond Billy's control.

Again, on balance, I don't think Gilman's sexuality has much to do with what Billy perceives as resistance to Music Row taking him seriously as an adult. 

The reality is Billy Gilman, while still a prodigy,  is no longer a child and, since resenting it will get him nowhere, Gilman would be best served by welcoming the opportunity to have to prove himself again.

I met Billy backstage at the height of his fame. As my colleagues and I clamored for what limited time he had available as his publicist led him around by the nose, Gilman saw none of the pecking order that sometimes comes into play in such situations. As a result, when he saw me being mistreated in an effort to accommodate a "more important" competitor, Billy respectfully reminded his (now former) publicist of who signed her check and spoke up in my defense and took charge of the situation.

That I remember Billy's kindness all these years later speaks to what I believe is the strength of Gilman's character.

Billy can hold to that strength as he deals with whatever blowback comes his way as a result of taking charge and outing himself on his own terms.

Perhaps some smart promoter can put together a package show, the Out and About Tour, with Billy, Ty Herndon and Chely Wright sharing the same stage now that the floodgates are opening with such force that, even among those who might desire it, it's past too late to turn back now.


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