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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
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
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
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
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
"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.
says no one sends handwritten notes anymore? An autographed copy
LLOYD CARTER BAND's new CD, Nothing
to Lose, just arrived via snail mail with the following note card:
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
"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.
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.
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."
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
"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.
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
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).
I wrote a lot of songs and played a lot of gigs" before moving on to a
career of public service.
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
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.
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
"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-
Interested? Let me know and I'll provide further details and
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?
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
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.
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
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
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!"
something I said? (See below.)
As instructed, Nashville supporters and undecided voters gathered at
Square Park at 2 p.m. February 29, 2020 for an opportunity to hear
Candidate PETE BUTTIGIEG
ask for their vote, but it wasn't until over an hour later that Mayor
In the meantime, the crowd listened to what could best be described as
tape of TIM McGRAW
(My Next 30 Years),
and nearly a score of non-country singers' hits while waiting for the
the hour. (I didn't make AMY KLOBUCHAR's
Nashville rally of a day earlier because I only found out its time and
after the fact. I wonder what Amy's reaction would have been if
to show her a satirical column
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
presidents) without regard to political affiliation since 1967
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
(Mayor Pete) a little unsolicited advice.
No known connection but on March 1, 2020- one day after we met-
dropped out of the race. (If you want to know what my words of
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
your email request.)
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.
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
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.
you know them (personally)?" I asked.
when the otherwise unknown teenager- and future Hollywood star-
introduced herself to the embarrassed entertainment writer.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.?"
received an unexpected reaction, including Zach's advising "This is
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
As we say in TV, "Stay tuned."