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The Official Website of Stacy Harris 

 

Copyright © 2019
Stacy's Music Row Report  All Rights Reserved


Music Row isn't exactly famous for role models, but, if you want my take on the subject check it out here, courtesy of Your Health Journal.com.

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 SHERE… SPOLTOR… sure knows how to throw a party.  She proved it yet again most recently at the December 5, 2019 Global Songwriters Connection mixer (celebrating the GSC's Members Choice 2019 LORNA FLOWERS Community Ambassador Winners) at CMA Event Room.


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Following a November 4, 2019 settlement hearing (see below), and with Mercury in retrograde motion, 
RANDY TRAVIS' 23-year-old stepson, RALEIGH DAVIS BEOUGHER, has received a continuance. 

The District Attorney is now set to try the consolidated cases against Beougher on December 12, 2019 at 9 a.m. in 
Davidson County General Sessions Court (courtroom #4C) before Judge GALE ROBINSON.

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From the e-mailbag (and used with permission),  Women's Health Interactive's ALISON HUFF writes:  "Dear STACY... I wanted to reach out and let you know that my recent article about pretty privilege has been published.  You'll find your quotes near the end of the 'Advantages of Being Attractive' section and the 'Disadvantages of Being Attractive' section.

"Here is the link.

"We put a lot of time and effort into crafting this article and feel it really hits the mark- in no small part thanks to your contribution!  I really, really appreciated your thoughtful responses..."

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SCOTT ADKINS has invited me to "join J.T. HODGES for a private screening of the Lifetime film Christmas Stars on November 25, 2019 at the Franklin Theatre.

Lifetime will air the special (including "never before heard Christmas tunes from  Hodges") on December 13, 2019 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

J.T.'s newest EP, All Through the Night: A Christmas Collection, may be ordered here.

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Updating (see item below)
 KATHIE LEE GIFFORD's appearance at the inaugural event benefiting the Nashville Pops Orchestra, JENNIFER O'NEILL joined Gifford at the head table for the $350-a-plate dinner.

The dinner was delicious, the wine befitting Kathie Lee's selection and the view of the head table/stage perfect.

Gifford, recipient of the Orchestra's Lifetime Achievement Award, expressed her gratitude by taking time to visit every table and greet each guest personally.  As we discussed our Kennedy family connections, I told Kathie Lee that her step-daughter's late husband's brother-in-law is on my family tree.

"I don't know MARK BAILEY," Gifford confessed, "but, of course, I know RORY."

When I responded that I've never met Mark, nor Rory, but I did meet Rory's parents, several of her siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, Kathie Lee suggested "You have that Kennedy look."

As I pondered that non sequitur, I thought back to all of the fascinating conversations I had during the exciting evening including chance meetings with Highline Vocal Jazz's lead singer JARED GRAVELY (among the evening's entertainers) and JAY McDOWELL

Having recorded six CDs before transitioning to film and video, Jay, the museum's curator since 2008, shortened my wait for the festivities to begin  (I arrived early at the gala, having spent much of a busy day downtown taking in a literary event at Hume-Fogg), giving me a guided mini-tour of the museum.  (Jay's knowledge of the artifacts is nothing short of amazing and I can't wait to return when I have the time to take in all that the spacious repository of JOE CHAMBERS acquisitions has to offer.)


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In my, admittedly-limited, experience, Fox News' motto "We report, you decide" hasn't exactly proven true.

The "fair and balanced" network's website has a comments section below SASHA SAVITSKY's article titled DOLLY PARTON called out by sister for posing with axed publicist KIRT WEBSTER at CMA Awards.

You would have thought I had dared to mention in the comments section that the 2.0 rating for the November 13, 2019 telecast was down 1/10  from the 2018 awards show's 2.1 rating, marking the newest in a series of steadily declining all-time low ratings for the CMAs.  I didn't, but the remarks I did post were censored anyway.

They were as follows: "It's been two years since the dissolution of Webster PR and the concomitant awareness of #MeToo on Music Row.  There hasn't been much aggressive reporting and fact-checking by those who have the resources to do so, above what led up to the event.

"There have been scores of allegations (many, if not most, anonymous) and the ghosting of fair-weather friends, but no proof.

"The Country Music Association should have been transparent about all aspects of its 2019 awards show including how many guests each attending and participating artist was allowed to bring, assuming these were comped guests. 

"As STELLA PARTON is aware, there is no way that KIRT WEBSTER would have been backstage at the November 13, 2019 CMA Awards without SARAH TRAHERN's approval and, by extension, that of the CMA Board.  Stella isn't necessarily aiming at the wrong target, she's just not shooting arrows at the bullseye.

"Parton also writes "I certainly don't want to be around known predators."

"I don't have to tell Stella about the 'code of the road.'

"Stella may be bound by it, but I'm not.  I certainly have never hesitated to "name names" and I'll continue to do so, even if it causes websites like Rolling Stone Country to delete its reader comments section (as appears to be a growing, troublesome trend among websites that eliminated comments sections), People to delete its paid subscribers' letters to the editor section prior to its encouraging- hopefully permanent- return (to its November 25, 2019 issue) though the factual corrections to its reporting People received in the interim have yet to be addressed by any updates, retractions etc.

"If AUSTIN RICK has falsely accused Kirt Webster, virtually every trial lawyer in Nashville would love to assist Kirt in what would be a high profile case with the potential to restore the reputation that brought Webster PR a client roster, at any given time, most of Kirt's competitors could not match.

"Rick has made several statements about going public, suggesting the preparation of a book manuscript titled Surviving Possession: Inside Kirt Webster's Twisted Toy Chest, 
including making media appearances (that Rick apparently has not made) during which Austin would presumably further substantiate his claims.

"If Austin has written a book I should have, at minimum, received the galleys, if not a review copy, by now."

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Two-count 'em- two separate invitations ("two events, two opportunities!" from BEV MOSER.

The first,  an  evening with KATHIE LEE GIFFORD, "an inaugural event at the Musicians Hall of Fame" on November 16, 2019 "will benefit the Nashville Pops Orchestra allowing the chosen student and their choir director [sic] to receive The Bright Horizons Award," including an all expenses paid trip to New York "for three nights and two days to study on Broadway."

Didn't score a comped media invite?  Tickets are available here.

The following evening Gifford performs with the Nashville Pops Orchestra's 1,000 Voices of Christmas at the Ryman Auditorium.

Didn't score a comped media invite?  Tickets are available here.
 
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So reads CAROLINE FIELDS' invitation, indicating that 3rd & Lindsley will be the place to be November 5, 2019.  And not just because "Music industry guests will receive two complimentary drink tickets."

No, the real draw is "marine turned country artist ADAM WARNER" in performance.

Adam's showcase will feature his newest release (appropriately-titled Semper Fi.) The track is from Warner's Can't Get Enough album. 

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RANDY TRAVIS' 23-year-old stepson, RALEIGH DAVIS BEOUGHER, is set to appear at a settlement hearing in Davidson County General Sessions Court before Judge GALE ROBINSON November 4, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.

Arrested on October 27, 2019, Raleigh faces charges of assault, domestic bodily injury (bond $5,000)  false imprisonment (bond $2,000) and vandalism $1,000 or less (bond $1,000) resulting from allegedly beating his girlfriend, SKYLAR MADISON TALLEY (no relation, I presume, to LEAH RAE TALLEY HALL).

Skylar told police Raleigh's mother, MARY asked her to "apologize for making a scene"  but JASON STEEN reports Mary's unnamed publicist confirming Mary was referring to both her son and his girlfriend. 

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HOT SPOT NASHVILLE's DONNA CALDWELL and MATT "MT. MATT" ALVAREZ, joined BETH GWINN, yours truly and a host of CONNER McKIEVER's other invited guests at Nashville's Agency for the Performing Arts' (APA) downtown headquarters October 28, 2019.

The occasion?  The 25th anniversary celebration of the opening of APA's Music City office.

Special guests JIM MESSINA, DAVID NAIL and THE SCOOTER BROWN BAND joined the fun as STEVE LASSITER, APA's co-head of Worldwide Music proposed a (spiked, if partiers so chose) apple cider toast to "another 25 years."

(APA, with offices not only in Nashville, but also London, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, began in 1962 with MCA's divestiture of assets.)

From APA's offices the invited flocked to join host JOEY AMATO for a benefit performance of THE HIT MEN at City Winery.   An undisclosed portion of the profits are earmarked for the Nashville's W.O.  SMITH Music School.  


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"LPs outsell CDs."

That's one of the teased cover story headlines from the October 22, 2019 edition of the Washington Examiner offered free (along with the magazine's sturdy pens) to registrants at Politicon, the annual two-day Unconventional Political Convention, celebrating, October 26-27, 2019, its fifth year, in a new location: Nashville. 

The Music City Center played host to the nonpartisan event featuring a lineup of Music Row's favorite partisan pols, former pols, impressionists, impersonators, Sunday morning talk show talking heads and other media types as well as the C-SPAN bus

LADY LIBERTY, ABE LINCOLN and UNCLE SAM could be seen meeting and greeting registrants carrying blue or red bags (or, as a comped press person, in my case both!)   And where else could you watch a live podcast, get your picture snapped next to a RICHARD NIXON cardboard cutout or standing in front of a podium speaking into a microphone against a backdrop replicating that of the White House press secretary?   Or a look at Baby Trump?

But it wasn't just the Democrats and Republicans who were vying for the Independents' attention.  The Green Party was also on hand as was U.S. Term Limits, whose supporters were handing out bright pink checklist notepads, with the first order of business listed being "Pink slip Congress."

1 in 3 Campaign representatives were handing out booklets informing takers that "1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime.  these [sic] are our stories."

Speaking of swag, you couldn't beat the C-SPAN 2020 water bottles, the official C-SPAN pocket-size copy of the Constitution of the United States (not necessarily in that order), a Women for Tennessee's Future Koozie, a copy of the Fall, 2019 issue of Sword & Scales, a Pacific League Foundation combination bottle opener and key chain or (my favorite) a Keep It Kind button.

And we "VIPS" were treated to a spacious press room and an invitation-only after-hours ("open bar") "VIP Party" at Honky-Tonk Central.

After hobnobbing with YAMICHE ALCINDOR, it felt like old home week when my fellow Minnesotan (and STEVE FRANKEN's cousin), AL FRANKEN (who would have been my classmate had he not attended private school) shared memories of growing up in St. Louis Park.  Security was tight at all of the of forums, debates and book-signings but it was especially appreciated when Al Franken was accosted by a heckler- who was subsequently ejected.

No hecklers, just an otherwise jaded, gushing fan (yours truly) who never dreamed in a million years she would ever meet her fellow published author (and longtime celebrity crush), JOEL STEIN (at Politicon- nor anywhere else).  I brazenly told Joel (the only concurrently-scheduled Politicon speaker for whom I would miss the opportunity to hear JAMES COMEY speak) of Stein's status, suggesting that if I were 20 years younger... 

Joel was a good sport.

On the other hand, SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS played it cautiously safe when JAMES CARVILLE, frustrated by Sarah's repeatedly failing  to back up her broad statements of opinion, kept on insisting she provide specifics when he questioned her for the better part of a half-hour.

During the audience Q-A time that remained, I stepped up to the microphone asking Sarah what she would say directly to the Country Music Association and/or JASON OWEN about her father's ouster from the CMA Foundation Board

MIKE HUCKABEE opined on April 7, 2018 "I got booted off the CMA Foundation Board because my faith conflicted with some people in the music industry who were anything but tolerant of my faith and certainly didn't think diversity was all that good of an idea."

Mike's daughter's response to my question was that she was so proud of her father and his contributions to music education over the years and that she thought it unfortunate that the Board would not be the beneficiary of his expertise and passion for the cause.

When I followed up by asking specifically what she would say to Owen and/or the CMA Board, as Sarah indicated she wasn't going to go there, prompting Carville to interrupt her, advising "She's not going to answer your question."   

If you couldn't make it, check out the following glimpses of what you missed


All in all, I really enjoyed the "convention for political nerds" and I hope Politicon will return to Nashville in 2020.

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Like "The Possum" himself, GEORGE JONES' siblings have passed on, leaving a bunch of estranged nieces and nephews.

One of Jones' nephews, BRYANT, the son of George's brother, HERMAN misses his departed family members and is reaching out to George's children:  "Although I do not have hardly anymore family left, I do ask that if anyone reads this to please reach me at (409) 550-7210...

"SUSAN, GEORGETTE, BRYAN and JEFF, if you ever read this, you were all blessed as a family.  Would love to hear from anyone... Thank you.

"Until the concert happens for me in Heaven, I will continue to play my drums and hope that one day I will see all of you in Heaven."


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Column's congratulations to JOHNNY COUNTERFIT, cast as a Grand Ole Opry announcer introducing LORETTA LYNN  (played by JESSIE MUELLER) in  Patsy & Loretta, premiering October 19, 2018 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Lifetime.  (Had Director CALLIE KHOURI worked with a scriptwriter knowledgeable of the subject matter, rather than ANGELINA BURNETT GARRETT KRUITHOF's repo man character would have been named ANYTHING other than "Delwood." 

(Thirty years after her passing, DEL WOOD, the Opry's own "Queen of the Ragtime Pianists" and music's first female million-selling instrumentalist; a woman who, unlike Lifetime's production team, actually knew PATSY CLINE and Loretta Lynn, is likely spinning in her grave.)


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From the Music Row Report  job bank: SONY/ATV Music is seeking to fill a Coordinator, North American Copyright position.  For a full list of responsibilities and application information for this full-time Nashville-based position, contact me.  


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October, 2019 continues to be a big one for media invitations.  CONNER McKIEVER extended an invitation for me to check out TYLER HILTON's October 20, 2019 performance at City Winery.

Not to be outdone, ZACH FARNUM wrote "I would personally like to invite you out to see HONEY COUNTY at the Wildhorse Saloon on Monday, October 21st."

October, 2019's email also contained JEREMY WESTBY's invitation to attend the OAK RIDGE BOYS October 4, 2019 news conference in Tulsa as the quartet unveils a public service announcement; part of a social media campaign calling attention to attempts to defraud the elderly, while BEV MOSER has requested my backstage presence at the annual DOTTIE WEST (posthumous) birthday bash (benefiting the Nashville Musicians' Association's Musician Emergency Relief Fund), this year on October 9th at 3rd and Lindsley.

Since this year the West birthday bash honored BILL ANDERSON, it was only fitting that Bill's musical legacy be acknowledged.  Anderson, still  actively performing less than a month before his 82nd birthday, was perfectly capable of performing- and did perform- his own songs but Bill watched in appreciation as TIM ATWOOD treated the crowd to his version of the Anderson-penned, VINCE GILL hit, Which Bridge to Cross (Which Bridge to Burn).

Before the show, Tim told me that his fourth album It Matters To Me is about to be released.

Also during the time set aside for backstage interviews prior to show time at the West tribute, after receiving a hug from the multi talented PETER COOPER (another of the evening's performers) I spotted JIMMY CAPPS.

I told Jimmy how much I enjoyed reading his recently-published autobiography  (ghosted by SCOT ENGLAND) and Capps told me that he had known Dottie since she sang in a house band long before West became a star.  That memory was not Jimmy's favorite.  As he put it:  "If you read my book then you know my favorite Dottie West memory."

This is true.  Capps, noting that he played on "all of Dottie's duets with KENNY ROGERS and on all of her solo albums," backed up all of the stars in this West birthday bash tribute lineup, including his wife, MICHELLE

During yet another pre-show interview, Dottie's granddaughter, TESS FRIZZELL (ALLEN FRIZZELL's and SHELLY WEST's daughter),  gave me the scoop that she would be singing her grandmother's sassy hit, Lesson in Leavin'  with Dottie's original backup singers, NANETTE BOHANNON and VICKIE CARRICO.

Tess' favorite memory of her grandmother was not the photo I took of the two backstage at the Grand Ole Opry a week before Dottie was tragically killed in a wreck en route to the Opry (she'd never seen the unpublished photo), but of Tess' first national TV appearance.

Ironically, millions will remember the event, but, strictly speaking, not Tess, a native Nashvillian, who was only a day old at the time.  For Shelly having not yet given birth when Dottie left for Los Angeles to host the 1982 Academy of Country Music Awards.

That meant Dottie's first glimpse of her granddaughter came when a videotape of Shelly holding Tess to the camera from a hospital bed was rushed so that Tess' national network TV debut, and resulting emotional surprise for her first-time grandmother, was available by airtime to be incorporated into the "live" ACM Awards show!

After I spoke briefly with birthday bash sponsor GUS ARRENDALE,  about the joy that he receives from traditional country music and helping the Musicians' Fund (joking with him about Vice-President MIKE PENCE's touring Tyson Foods' Nashville processing plant a couple of days earlier), the Springer Mountain Farm president was clearly dreaming big when I suggested that next visit Springer Mountain Farm's headquarters. 

His response?  "Yes, or even President Trump!"  (BTW, Gus, thanks for the unsolicited gift of high-dollar Springer Mountain Farm coupons.)

Arrendale's company's three-year West birthday tribute sponsorship is equaled only by JEANNIE SEELY's three-year tenure as host of the show.  In fact,  Dottie's birthday tribute show exists because of Seely's effort to honor her friend in that manner, not to Jeannie and RON HARMON's tireless campaign to right a wrong that ended only when West was finally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Jeannie stressed that, unlike the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund (of which she is also a tireless supporter) and MusiCares, the Musicians' Fund enables a musician in need to receive a check "right now."  She adds that people should realize that even if a musician becomes sick with the flu,  which could be, as it is with non musicians,  a pretty common occurrence, "it could mean the end of a tour." 

Seely added that apart from sporadic individual donations and the union itself, proceeds from Dottie's birthday bash keep the musicians' fund afloat as its primary source of income: "There's no other outside funding of this magnitude."

During the show, Jeannie performed, sang background and led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Dottie.  Egos, to a large extent, were checked at the door.   KELLY LANG cheered T.G. SHEPPARD on as he summed up the evening's vibe, singing his hit, Party Time with RUDY GATLIN (one of the evening's auctioneers) singing backup, while JOHN RANDALL (who sang Whiskey Lullaby) took a turn backing Peter Cooper's performance of 3 A.M.

Why even BUDDY CANNON and his wife, MELANIE sang backup for JAMEY JOHNSON.

Surprises included MO PITNEY's filmed tribute to Bill Anderson and and performances by JOHN SCHNEIDER and STEVE DORFF.

DAVE POMEROY noted that the Musicians' Emergency Fund is able to make individual grants for up to $2,500 and, thanks to the collectively generous funding, the "third largest union in the United States, despite Tennessee being a right-to-work state" has distributed more than $409,000.

The auctioning of three celebrity-signed guitars and posters, along with the evening's ticket sales, have already added $28,000 to the emergency fund's coffers with, according to Bev Moser, an "exact amount still being counted as last minute donations came in."

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Reaction to KEN BURNS' Country Music has resulted in a spike in music sales of several of the artists featured in the documentary and an anticipation of a boost in tourism by those who are attuned to such possibilities, coinciding with the September 2019 publication of  Country Music: An Illustrated History.

No doubt Nashvillians who were in agreement with the tax incentives provided Florentine Films feel vindicated; that Music City has and will continue to receive its money's worth- and more.

The May 23, 2016 announcement of the funding, in an unspecified amount, resulted in my publicly-stated opposition to the move, given that these incentives were "proposed after Burns committed to produce a country music documentary."

In a Letter to the Editor a tennessean.com copy editor chose to title Burns should seek balance for documentary, I went on to write "It is impossible to cover country music's history without covering the tax-exempt lobbying organizations that have shaped it- and not always for the better. 

"Burns can't do that unless he is directed to knowledgeable sources, which would be counterproductive to the desires of not only the mayor's office and Nashville Chamber of Commerce, but, more importantly, to the Country Music Association and the Country Music Hall of Fame...

"Word is Burns is already being led by the nose as he navigates what, for him, are uncharted waters.  He's not receiving production incentives without the expectation of further control over the project."

I suggested that Ken Burns and his production team "will retain their integrity and resist such temptations if they understand the manipulation and actively seek out voices to balance the agenda-driven recommendations they assume they're receiving in good faith."

At the time I wrote those words I was the same big Ken Burns fan I remain today and was frustrated by my inability to obtain direct contact information to inform Burns (or someone else involved in the production) of same, as well as my interest in serving as one of the series' advisers given the knowledge I've accumulated over my five decades of observation and involvement; my tenure as the "Doyenne of Music Row."

When I heard that interviews for the series had begun, I latched on to a couple of names and, on September 26, 2017 I sent a generic email with the names KATY HAAS and CHRISTOPHER DARLING in the subject line, sent to their attention requesting corresponding email addresses. Receiving no response, but not sensing time constraints, having heard no more about the project from anyone, I waited awhile before asking an industry colleague, whose interview had just been filmed, for a better email address for Haas, with whom she had worked. (Any footage obtained was ultimately not used and- unless I missed it- as the credits rolled each time over successive installments of the series, my associate never received any credit; an omission not remedied in the acknowledgments nor index found in Country Music: An Illustrated History - the hardcover book based on the series).

Once the industry veteran gave me Katy's direct email address I used it to contact the series' associate producer on September 4, 2018.

Having yet to received a response to that email, on September 26, 2018 I reluctantly used another generic email address.   It was at that point that I first heard of DAYTON DUNCAN- the person whom I should have contacted all along!

Dayton (as my fellow native Midwesterner prefers to be addressed) was responsive from my first contact.  Unfortunately, by the time I was able to reach him, in February, 2019, Duncan informed me that production had concluded.

But Dayton saw the value in copying JOE DePLASCO, "which has handled the promotion of our films... He can provide you with a fuller description of the film."

Maybe so, but DePlasco chose not to, so I was glad when Dayton gave me permission to quote him as we continued our email correspondence in advance of the country-music series airing. 

Anticipating the criticism that come from those who were not aware of the writer's (and production company's) self-imposed limitations on the scope of the documentary, Dayton clarified that the series was "eight episodes. 16 and a half hours in length and it covers the history of the music from its roots to the late 1990s.

"We're historians and not journalists, so for a series like this (as with Jazz, Baseball, and even National Parks) we need to have a better feel between what might seem popular and important in moment, versus what emerges as the important milestones over time.

"Ours is a story-telling narrative, not an encyclopedic list of names and songs, and our series is our best collective effort at telling the history of a uniquely American art form that itself tells stories through songs; and we try to focus as much as possible on the lives of people who made the music, and give some breathing room as well for the songs themselves (and sometimes the stories behind those songs.

"We fully realize that others might make different choices, and we fully anticipate that some folks will have complaints about what's not there (probably more than what's there).

"With passage of time, maybe Florentine will return to [the] topic (we did that with Baseball, not in any others), but there's plenty of opportunity for someone else to bring things into the the 21st century as well."

With male-dominated program advisers beginning with the buddy-buddy "Oermax twins," not to mention BILL IVEY and PAUL KINGBURY, it became obvious why the otherwise unaware Burns crew (like most "outsiders" who approach the familiar 501s, admittedly the seemingly logical place to start), relied on those they did, to the exclusion of people and source material that would have otherwise been available.  (These industry-directed detours are by design.)

And while that is disappointing (industry bullies continue to be emboldened), I will be the first one to say that I thought the result was so good that once the series concluded, as with past Florentine productions, I was the closest I'll ever be to a drug addict forced to go cold turkey.

So what might have been different had STACY HARRIS been consulted?  

Well, a promotional reel referencing The Singing Brakeman (to whom Ken Burns referred as Burns was being interviewed by JEFF GLOR on the September 14, 2019 edition of CBS This Morning Saturday) might have shown him rather than the Honeycomb singer.

I refer to my notes on the series, beginning with the first episode (OAD September 15, 2019). 

During the opening sequence, in which KATHY MATTEA reminisces about her time as a Country Music Hall of Fame tour guide, a photo of FRANK JONES (my ex- GARY's dad)  and DOROTHY RITTER appears.  I appreciate that there wasn't time to identify either by explanation, but a photo caption might have at least sent the curious to Google.

My reaction was the same when clearly identifiable images of an otherwise unidentified ROD BRASFIELD appeared in separate episodes of the series.

My wish list would have included some mention of our industry's characters, ranging from JERRY SEABOLT to HENRIETTA DARR-JOHNSON, but, here again, the episodes had to have continuity and conform, to some extent, to viewers' attention spans.  

I was curious about the inclusion of BETTY JOHNSON, especially since Betty demonstrated that she didn't know the words to I'll Fly Away...

And why was DAVID COBB, who was referenced, not identified by name?

By Episode Four viewers learn that PATSY CLINE appeared on a Washington, D.C. TV show, but why wasn't the show's host, JIMMY DEAN identified by name?  Additionally, I imagine that any description of Cline's famous cigarette lighter  (found at the scene of her storied death, chronicled by Burns and Duncan) would have ignited- no pun intended- yet another discussion that music historians under time constraints might dismiss as a digression.

And, why within the context of the previously oft-told story of WILLIE NELSON's Family Bible, was CLAUDE GRAY not identified by name?

Amid detailing of the founding of the Country Music Association, viewers should have been introduced to JO WALKER (rather than JO WALKER MEADOR  as Mrs. CHARLES WALKER, as she was known during the time of the narrative, later became), the documentary's depiction of the organization's first and only member made it appear that Jo's ascendancy was an industry nod to feminism that would have, historically, been ahead of its time.

The truth was exactly the opposite.  As I wrote in my 1998 CMA chronology The Country Music Association: What Is It Afraid Of?, "CMA Executive Director HARRY STONE, who had assumed his position in February, 1959, left his post later that year, most likely due to a combination of ill health and the fact that the cash-poor CMA couldn't afford to pay both his salary and Jo Walker's.

"Funds were so scarce that, during at least one board meeting, the hat was passed in order to pay Walker, who, after Stone left, assumed the executive director's responsibilities for some time before she ever received the job title."

Some random thoughts: Where was some sort of context, or otherwise an explanation of, color home movies of LORETTA LYNN at a time when the lower middle-class, of which the singer was then a member, could not afford pricey movie cameras and the expensive color film that was  part of the equation?

And why was there no effort to identify BILL ANDERSON'S "wife of a dear friend" (and her spouse)? 

I was pleased that by Episode 5 an early identification of BUD WENDELL as the (insurance) salesman that he once was, was updated to reflect the reasons why the Grand Ole Opry's parent company eventually named a building after him. 

A rare factual error about ROY ACUFF occurred in that same episode: "When Acuff was in his mid-60s," it was said, his days of having "big hits were behind him." 

While an anomaly, Back in the Country peaked at #5 in Billboard on April 6, 1974, only slightly more than five months before the King of Country Music's 71st birthday.  

Surprisingly, Burns documentaries' requisite narrator, veteran actor PETER COYOTE (whose dulcet tones remind me of HENRY FONDA) had a penchant throughout the country-music documentary for mispronouncing the given middle name (and stage surname) of the First Lady of Country Music during episodes six and seven.  That's understandable given that it's the same mistake made by, among the proverbial "many others",  a former First Lady of the United States who famously apologized to TAMMY WYNETTE (but, like Coyote, not for her mispronunciation of the phonetically-correct Winnett as Why-net.) 

Episode six also referenced EUPLE BYRD, but not by name.  Any husband of Tammy Wynette's worth referencing is worth being identifying by name.  Historians need to take the time.

The mention of Wynette's alleged "kidnapping " should have opened up a can of worms.  As someone who was in Green Hills at the time, and close to the scene of the alleged attack, I can affirm that the police were not interested in what I had to say about the incident at the time and it stands to reason that anyone with knowledge of the facts was also dismissed in favor of the more convenient explanation (which wasn't really cited in segment seven either).

A decade or so ago, JOHNNY CASH's niece/office manager, KELLY HANCOCK told me that Cash's erstwhile ABC series would likely never air on 21st century televisions since getting clearances would be a bureaucratic nightmare; Sadly, many of the guest stars had passed by that point, which would mean dealing with their estates, not to mention company mergers and takeovers which produce other rights issues.

That's why I was surprised when GET TV added the Cash show to its Sunday night nostalgia lineup a couple of years ago.  But then it's clear that GET doesn't own (or is otherwise not exercising its right to licensing rights of) the entire series, because it keeps airing, and re-airing, the same handful of episodes.  Enter Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, whose country-music documentary featured excerpts from the Cash show that apparently had not aired since the original air dates.  

And when detailing Columbia Records' (chief RICK BLACKBURN's) decision not to renew Cash's recording contract (displaying BOB OERMANN's headline worldwide exclusive detailing same), an opportunity was missed to tell the story of how only an intervention by Oermann's boss, JOHN SEIGENTHALER (and a forced apology from Oermann for violating basic journalistic principles), along with considerable ego massaging, convinced a furious and self-described ambushed Blackburn and an equally angry, embarrassed and humiliated Man in Black to cease pressure they were piling on Seig to fire his entertainment writer.

Burns' team did not mention, if it knew, the questionable, if not downright sordid, country music-related history of the Evangel Temple,which Coyote referenced by way of touching on JIMMIE SNOW

A mention that Hee Haw spent three years of its quarter-century run on CBS deserved some context, beginning with the fact that the show was inspired by the success of NBC's Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In

It was interesting to see JAN HOWARD's shocking comments in the aftermath of her son JIMMY's death reprised in Burns' country-music documentary (a sequence that first aired in The Viet Nam War), but in the portion of the interview reserved for the PBS country-music documentary, Jimmy's brothers, CORKY and DAVID, who were referenced should not have gone unnamed.

Episode seven touched on the dissension within the country-music community caused by the Country Music Association bestowing its honors on  OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN's (Female Vocalist of the Year)  and JOHN DENVER' s (Entertainer of the Year) without even a mention of the Association of Country Entertainers (ACE) that formed as a result, to say nothing of the story behind ACE's subsequent dissolution. 

HAZEL SMITH's being identified as a "journalist" and presumed authority figure was interesting in light of Smith's glaring grammatical lapses, to say nothing of her mispronunciation of SHEL SILVERSTEIN's surname. 

The doc gets high marks for its explanation of TOMPALL GLASER's contribution to country's music first platinum-selling album, but there was no mention of his status as the lead singer of the highly-successful country-music trio, TOMPALL and the GLASER BROTHERS.

Kudos to Dayton and Ken for omitting the "goat story"from their JOHNNY RODRIGUEZ segment, thus not further propagating (the myth of) an event that never happened).

Episode eight marked the conclusion of the most ambitious project of its kind, to date, but not without a bit of hyperbole that seemed credible (unless examined) if only because of how well, overall, each episode of the presentation delivered what it promised.  I refer to the "over the top" presumption of the assertion, presented as fact, that REBA McENTIRE "would come to speak for women everywhere."

I hope Messrs. Burns and Duncan will return to Nashville and not so much update what they've done as focus on the history of the country-music business, the end of handshake agreements, the demise of country-music's print media, the endless abuses of power, the abandonment of Music Row as the industry's business district, the fizzling of #MeToo as quickly as it surfaced (despite some historically significant, pre-Internet disclosures dating back decades that were dismissed because they were ahead of their time),  etc.



 ****

ALLEN FRIZZELL's son, CAGNEY ALLEN FRIZZELL, is a country-music singer in the family tradition of his famous father and Frizzell uncles LEFTY FRIZZELL and DAVID FRIZZELL and half-sister, TESS MARIE FRIZZELL (daughter of Allen Frizzell and SHELLY WEST).

Unfortunately, Cagney, 25, is the latest Frizzell to make unfortunate headlines.  He has a January, 2020 court date, having been charged September 10, 2019 with a DUI; his second.

First charged with DUI while in Dickson County, Tennessee during November of 2012, Cagney's court date early next year stems from being   caught driving 90 mph (the interstate speed limit was 70 mph).   . .

This time around, claiming he drank two beers, Cagney failed a sobriety test.  Refusing a blood alcohol test, Cagney was then taken into custody by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the trooper adding speeding, violation of the implied consent law, and a traffic violation (crossing the fog line) to the DUI charge.

After being booked in the Wilson County Jail, Cagney was released on a $3,000 bond.


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