Mervin Shiner was a native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, born to Algier and Jennie Newton Shiner in 1921.
He wrote in a 1955 article that he was just thirteen years
old when his mom began teaching her son the art of
showmanship, performing in front of audiences, the fundamentals
of singing in close harmony. She was an accomplished singer in her own right.
And she also taught him another lesson - to always smile and be humble.
It was April of 1936, the Calvary Evangelical and Reformed Church of Bethlehem, PA held
a reception to welcome 38 new members, 22 by confirmation, and 16 by letter and reprofession.
Over 100 people attended the event. It was reported that Mervin did a vocal solo
with banjo accompaniment along with his mother. He was also heard on two duets, presumably with
We happened to have the good fortune to speak with Mr. Shiner in June of 2006
to learn a bit more about his career. We'll share some of that conversation along
with what we've learned from articles in the past.
Mervin mentioned that they were successful in singing duets together
and for a time, one of the few such acts was around a son / mother act.
It was known as "Mervin Shiner and his Mother".
In 1949, Merv and his mother made their first television appearance together on a talent show
and compete against three other acts on "Hometown Frolic" over WATV channel 13 in Newark, New Jersey.
They were doing to do a cowboy ballad, "Madonna Of The Trail," with Merv providing the guitar
We should interject here a bit of Merv's career as he told the readers
in 1955 when he was with the RCA Victor label. He attributes his first
big performance break to his mom when they auditioned at a country-style
music show on a Sunday night for radio station WEST out of Easton, Pennsylvania.
Merv tells the readers he couldn't forget how nervous he was that night. But
mom always knows how to calm those nerves and told Merv that things
would go alright for the two of them.
They must have did okay and soon became favorites and regulars on that show.
In 1942, he moved out west to Los Angeles, California where he worked
in a defense plant and managed to do various spots as a single act, too.
Merv maybe felt His career was in rut, so he went back to Pennsylvania and his career
began to happen a bit. He made a number of radio appearances over
radio station WFIL in Philadelphia and WCBA out of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
He was able to also appear on several television shows out of New York
City and that landed a recording contract with Decca records.
During his time at Newark, he was given a business card and told to call
a song writer in New York who was working with the Southern Publishing Company. A fellow
by the name of Vaughn Horton. (Mr. Horton is in the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.)
Vaughn helped the young singer out and was instrumental in Merv getting a recording
contract with Decca Records.
Another opportunity came Merv's way in early 1951. He had completed a three month stint
over radio station WSAN in Allentown, PA. He was going to start touring with the Camel
Caravan on January 6, 1951, touring military camps across the country and overseas.
Ozark Ed Burton wrote in his disc jockey round-up column back in 1950 that Decca
considered Merv one their highest rated artists based on that record and were
expecting big things from him.
Cowboy Songs wrote a review of Merv's recording with Grady Martin for Decca. They
described the tune, "Let's Take A Trip To The Moon" as a "...hustling bouncy tune
with a cute set of lyrics; and it's taken for a merry spin around the wax
by Mervin." The other side of that disc was a tune called "Almost" which the column
duly noted that Merv "...delivers warmly and with plenty of feeling."
Merv wrote in 1955 that he got word that Dave Miller over at WAAT-TV in Newark,
New Jersey was looking for talent to appear on his television show. Merv and his
mother auditioned and earned themselves a spot on the show. Merv proudly notes
that at that time, his mother was already 61 years old. He told the readers
that she had a beautiful contralto voice and as some things do, her voice
got better as she grew older. Merv writes that his mom passed away in 1953, just
about the time he had signed a recording contract with RCA Victor. It was common in that era
for hit songs to be 'covered' by other artists. "Peter Cottontail" was recorded by such
artists as Guy Lombardo, Frank Luther, Johnny Lee Wills, Gene Autry, Two Ton Baker, Roy Rogers,
and Jimmy Wakely to name a few. For several
weeks in April, it was listed as one of the Top 10 selling sheet music songs.
One day, his producer at Decca, Paul Cohen, gave him a tune to listen to. It was just
a guy and his piano. At first Merv didn't want to do the song, he thought of himself
as a country singer, not a singer of kids' tunes. But his producer told him, you cut
this and we'll have a hit. The tune was the timeless tune, "Peter Cottontail."
In its February 25, 1950 issue, Merv's recording of this famed tune was one of four "The Billboard Picks". That is,
the magazines's music staff felt the records they listed there were most likely to achieve popularity. The wrote of
his version, "Engaging bit of kids' fare with the market set on Easter is much in the vein of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed
Reindeer." Shiner does it spiritedly and is supported immeasurable by a catch orking. The only problem is, Billboard
spelled his name "Mervin Shriner." By the March 11, 1950 issue, they got the spelling right when they reviewed
Merv's recording. They gave it an overall rating of 88. They wrote, "Easter-time follow-up to "Rudolph,
The R. N. Reindeer, could score in pop, folk and kidsk field, with this sound rendition leading the way.
The flip side of the recording was "Floppy." By March 25, 1950, the song was appearing in the Top 10 picks
by Disc Jockeys, Retailers, Operators, and Country & Western Disc Jockeys
As a result of that hit, Merv appeared on the Grand Ole Opry on April 8, 1950.
In a November 1953 article, Mervin is shown on the move to radio station WWVA in Wheeling
and becoming a member of the famed World's Original Jamboree show. At that time, he
had also switched from the Decca records label to the Coral label.
In 1954, the Cleveland, Ohio area had a popular show for the fans in that area
known as the Hillbilly Jamboree that was held at the Circle Theatre. Two of the local
artists, Glen Campbell (not the latter day entertainer) and Tex Clark often wrote
of this show. In 1954, they wrote that each week the show would bring in an out of
town performer as part of the regular program. It seems that quite a few of the WWVA
Jamboree stars made their way to Cleveland as they mentioned Merv and others such
as Big Slim and Roy Scott and his Country Harmony Boys,
Hal Lone Pine, Betty Cody and Hawkshaw Hawkins.
Pee Wee King noted in 1954 in his Country Song Roundup column that his regular television
show over WEWS-TV in Cleveland included an appearance by Merv as well among
other guests that included stars from the WLS National Barn Dance and the Grand
Another tidbit about Merv shows up in Max Henderson's 1954 column when he mentioned
that he had just heard that Merv was going to record one of Max's tunes for
Coral Records, "Heartbreaking Waltz".
In early June of 1954, a the local Club Elena in Allentown was reporting that Merv was to begin
appearing at the club. It was reported that he had just finished a 21 week engagement at Shorty Warren's Copa Club in New Jersey.
In the summer of 1955, Merv was going to be one of the first headliners at
a new Country and Western music park known as the A-Bar-C Ranch in Lakewood, New Jersey that was owned
by a former entertainer, Al Coombs. Smokey Warren, famed New Jersey artist, was
to be the mainstay every Sunday along with Rusty Starr and his Western Ramblers.
In fact, Bobby Gregory wrote in his regular "Your Favorites and Mine" column
in Cowboy Songs that Merv was going to be the opening act. Bobby also mentions
that Smokey was handling the booking of the acts at the venue.
Smokey Warren and Merv must have kept in touch during this era. Smokey made mention
of Merv and his doings several times in his columns. Smokey tells his readers
in 1955 that Merv completed an eight-week engagement at the Bermuda Tavern
in Toronto, Ontario in Canada and had also appeared at the Brass Rail for four
weeks in London, Ontario.
Smokey again wrote in 1956 that Merv was again in Toronto starting December 17, 1956
and was to entertain the folks at the Le Coq Dor until Smokey's group was to
start on January 14, 1957.
Merv continued to perform and tour the country. Max Henderson told his readers
in a September 1957 column for Rustic Rhythm that he had worked with "...that
personable, friendly showman, Merv Shiner" at the Sunshine Club in Flint during
Merv's swing through the area and later Merv went on to entertain the folks
up in Saginaw as well.
In the summer of 1965, Country Music Review reports in a news release that the Hawkins
Country Memorial Hospital Auxiliary was going to avail itself of the talents of
some Nashville entertainers to help raise funds as part of its annual benefit
festivities. Scheduled to appear on July 3, 1965 in Rogersville, Tennessee
were Archie Campbell, George Morgan and his band, the Candy Kids, Delores Smiley
and 'extra attraction', Merv Shiner. The release cited some of Merv's big hits
up to that time and his appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and the Jubilee USA
show hosted by Red Foley. Merv also appeared in the movie, "Second Fiddle
To A Steel Guitar".
Merv issued his share of singles over the years. The early music industry magazines usually contained reviews of those
recordings. Here are a few of those reviews.
I Won't Go Huntin' Jake, But I'll Go Chasin' Women b/w Anticipation Blues(Decca 46203) -
Cash Box December 31, 1949 (Bullseye of the Week) - "If you've ever
before heard a folk tune that's gonna wake up the countryside and set toes to tappin' hands to clappin' and that will have everyone
hummin' the melody and singing the lyrics, better grab yourself a box full of Mervin Shiner's grand novelty, "I Won't Go Huntin' Jake,
But I'll Go Chasin' Women." It's real juke box material. It's got plenty of nickels, dimes and quarters pressed right
inside of it and will spin itself white in juke box after juke box all over the plains and in the hills. This is one of the liveliest,
liltingest melodies with the most humorous lyrics that's ever yet been cut. Lots of applause for Mervin
and the grand manner in which he sings this side to a fare-thee-well. On the flip, Mervin doesn't let up for even
an instant, and with just as droll fare for the nation's juke box listeners, produces another side regarding
a daddy waiting for the arrival of his first baby that'll flop'em into the aisles. It's a socko disk. Get next to
it quick &mdahs; this is a nifty for '50."
Peter Cottontail b/w Floppy (Decca 46221)- Cash Box March 11, 1950 - "Homespun-folksy platter by Mervin Shiner has the
earmarks of a juke box winner about tit. Both sides of this platter weave an enticing tale, especially suited for the Easter season.
Titled "Peter Cottontail" and "Floppy", Mervin tells the story of the everlovin' Easter rabbit, with the clever lyrics
holding the listeners attention from start to finish. Wax is the sort of that has to be heard in order to be fully appreciate&emdash;and
that is just what we recommend."
Francis The Talking Mule b/w Me And My Teddy Bear (Decca 46321) - Cash Box April 15, 1950 - "Mervin Shiner moves in on
the heavy flack surrounding the "Francis" cinema opus to rack up a ditty designed around the pic of the same name.
Wax has kid disk appeal and cute moments such as the mention of "Bing." "The Talking Bear" reminds very much of Shiner's sensational
"Peter Cottontail" but doesn't look to give the bunny too much competition."
Slippin' Around With Jole Blon b/w Steppin' Out (Decca 46253) - Cash Box July 22, 1950 - "The rendition of the rising hit
"Slippin' Around With Jole Blon" should win more than its fair share of the juke box silver. Mervin Shiner's vocal work on
the side is smooth and relaxing all the way, with instrumental accompaniment to match. Coupling is a comer too, and has Merv at his
best. Disk rates a spot in ops machines."
Santa, Santa, Don't Be Mad At Me b/w Fee Fi Fiddle EE I O (Decca 46280) - Cash Box December 2, 1950 - "Still another
entry in the Christmas race shows up here with Mervin Shiner doing the vocal. It's a cute novelty on which Merv gets some
help from a first rate accompaniment. Flip is a circus song which kids will be strong for. Ops with the proper spots
will do very well with this."
Sonny, The Bunny b/w Bunny Round Up Time (Decca 27482) - Cash Box March 17, 1951 - "Two sides tailor made for the Easter trade are sung
on this platter by Mervin Shiner. The top deck is a new number that's getting a real big push and could easily make it. The second side
is another cute items which the kiddies especially should love. Ops with the right spots will want to hear this."
If Teardrops Were Pennies b/w Let's Live A Little (Decca 46337) - Cash Box July 14, 1951 - "Mervin Shiner does the ballad
on the upper lid in his appealing crying manner. This boy really pours everything into a tune and makes it sound right
for the boxes. The bottom half too is a slow thing with some grand guitar work. Ops should take a look."
If Teardrops Were Pennies b/w Let's Live A Little (Decca 46337) - Billboard July 21, 1951 -
country ballad gets an effective chant from Shiner. Flip - Typical Shiner chanting makes this coverage waxing a good one."
Ball And Chain Boogie b/w Memories Of Mockin' Bird Hill (Decca 46345) - Cash Box August 25, 1951 - "Here is a hard hitting
boogie beat that is carried through by Merv Shiner. Both vocal and instrumental backing help set this number in the proper mood.
The bottom end is a recent success that has been given a new face with some clever new lyrics. Watch that lower side carefully."
The Rabbit With The Two Buck Teeth b/w Egbert The Easter Egg (Decca 27977) - Cash Box February 16, 1952 -
"With the Easter season just around the corner Mervin Shiner comes to the wire with two cute novelties. The
upper level is a catchy ditty with Mervin carrying the vocal and Jimmy Carrol handling the sound effects. The combo makes it
an ok disking. The lower deck is a similar number delivered by the same artists effectively. The kiddies may go for these sides."
The Rabbit With The Two Buck Teeth b/w Egbert The Easter Egg (Decca 27977) - Billboard February 23, 1952 -
"Shiner submits a plaintive warble of a likable kiditty for the Easter season. Tune, with exploitation,
could take on seasonal significance. Flip - Another Easter kiditty done with similar simplicity
and good taste, has an appealing quality for the tykes."
Let's Take A Trip To The Moon b/w Almost (Decca 28121) - Cash Box May 3, 1952 (w/Grady Martin) - "A hustling bounce
married to a cute set of lyrics is taken for a merry spin around the wax by Mervin Shiner. Shiner's polished chanting of the romantic
tune is setup by the grade A orking of Grady Martin and his Slew Foot Five. The underend is a moderate beat that Shiner
delivers warmly and with feeling. Ops should be interested."
Let's Take A Trip To The Moon b/w Almost (Decca 28121) - Billboard May 17, 1952 (w/Grady Martin) - "Bouncy novelty
about a trip thru space is sold nicely by Shiner with the help of the Martin ork. Flip - Shiner is capable on this coverage
waxing of the tune that is now creating action via the George Morgan disk. This one is probably too late to make much of a dent."
The Man In The Moon Cried Last Night (B+) b/w Your Heart Is Too Crowded (B) (Decca 28220) - Cash Box June 7, 1952 -
"A slow tune with sad romantic lyrics is sung hauntingly by Mervin Shiner. The chanter is set up with string
support and the total effect makes for a potent contender. Flip is a slow ditty that Shiner sings in his usual smooth and
Slippin' Around With Jole Blon (76 overall) b/w Steppin' Out (67 overall) (Decca 46253) - Billboard July 22, 1950 - "ALtho the initial
impact of the novelty may have been spent, Shiner's robust rendition could pick up some stray coin. Flip - Lack of originality rends
this one insignificant."
My Bucket's Got A Hole In It b/w Take A Little Silver (Decca 46195) - Billboard December 3, 1949 - "Effective rendition of the
Clarence Williams' blues which has caught on in the country market. Shiner sounds like a comer on this idiom. Flip- Slight ditty
centered around the entry of the 49th State into the United States."
I Think I'm Gonna Cry Again b/w Ace In The Hole (Decca 46260) - Billboard September 2, 1950 - "Shiner registers with a slow,
sob-toned warble of a simple sentimentalizer. Group harmony and guitar in back enhance mood. Flip - Warbler, group,
and Yukon piano get off a pleasant if unexceptional job of this old fave."
Won't You Let Jesus Take Your Hand (73 overall) b/w Get Together With The Lord (73 overall) (with The Jordanaires) (Decca 14592) - Billboard - October 13, 1951 - "A typical
religious ditty is given an expressive run-thru by Shiner and the mixed voice chorus. Flip - A trim, rhythmic chant by Shiner
and the vocal group could attract the parlor disk buyers."
Settin' The Woods On Fire b/w Our Love Isn't Legal (Decca 28424) - Billboard October 11, 1952 - "Powerful ditty
about a night on the town is given a rollicking run-thru by the chanter and the Martin combo. Tune is a big one
and there should be a bundle of spins left for this entry. Flip - ANother fine country ditty that's getting plenty
of action is given the Grady Martin treatment behind the able chanting of Shiner. Good wax that should earn plenty of spins."
Me Without You b/w Landslide of Love (Decca 28466) - Billboard November 29, 1952 - "Country weeper is sung movingly by Shiner.
The sorrowful item says life is hardly worth living without a mate, and Shiner's tearful warbling makes the message convincing.
Country beer joints should find it a good juke entry. Flip - Here's another fine warble effort by Shiner, delivered at a pleasant
bounce and to neat backing by the string band."
The Candy Man b/w Candy Round-Up (Decca 28808) - Billboard September 12, 1953 - "Tho numbered as a regular release, this is strictly
for the kids. It's a cute one too, with Shiner selling the lyric well and the ork setting a pleasant bouncy beat.
Play this for "mama" and it could easily be a sale. Flip - Same comment on this side."
Mister Sandman b/w Penny Candy (Victor 5938) - Billboard December 11, 1954 - "The country's top pop tune receives a
good reading here form the country warbler and it has a chance to pick up loot and sales in the country field. A bright,
happy record. Flip - The cute ditty about a pretty lassie with a sweet tooth is sung neatly here by Shiner. Tune has been
out for a while without much happening but this is worth spins."
Lord, I'm Coming Home b/w Pass Me Not (Decca 29363) (with The Jordanaires) - Billboard January 8, 1955 - "Shiner is teamed with
the Jordanaires in a fine reading of a lovely sacred tune. Flip - Here's another old favorite done in fine style
by the same singer and group."
I AIn't Much Of A Hand At Lovin' b/w Don't Believe (Victor 6171) - Billboard June 25, 1955 - "Shiner portrays himself as a
shy fellow, but willing to learn the art of love-making. A cute novelty that the singer reads brightly to a fast fiddle
and guitar backing. Flip - Pleasing with his girl not to believe the gossip going around about him, the singer reassures
her of his love. A pleasant effort, tho not the strongest material."
We're Off On A Race b/w You're Free To Go (Victor 6328) - Billboard November 19, 1955 - "Shiner belts out a rollicking novelty, and he's
backed by lively instrumentation. Merits good exposure. Flip - This ditty is a weeper of quality, and Shiner sings it with tenderness
and style. Fine coupling."
Love With No Tomorrow b/w It's Nothin' (Victor 5983) - Billboard January 29, 1955 - "Shiner warbles warmth and feeling on this
appealing weeper. Should get spins. Flip - This amusing novelty about a little-disk-that-wasn't-there gets a bouncy, spirited
Teach Your Children b/w Protest (Certron 10012) - Billboard August 1, 1970 - "The Crosby,
Stills, Nash & Young pop hit ballad is given a strong country treatment that has all the potency for the country
charts. Top Shiner performance."
And while we're on the subject of songwriting, Merv did a fair share of that
as well in his career. Perhaps one of his best known tunes is one he co-wrote with
Jerry Monday, "We Had All The Good Things Going" that was a hit for Jan Howard back in 1969.
He also co-wrote "Woman Of The World" that Loretta Lynn had a hit on. Another tune he co-wrote was
"If You Had Only Taken The Time" with Kent Westberry that was recorded by Charley
Pride on one of his early albums.
In reviewing some of the personal appearance ads of Merv's career, we have seen him advertised as 'folk song singer',
'western music star', 'rock and roller', 'comedian', 'disc jockey' (WXYZ), 'recording star', 'rock and roll guitar',
'great guitarist and recording star' and on it goes. This may indicate that Merv was quite versatile in entertaining
audiences as his career evolved.
As we turn the pages of history, we find that Hank Williams, Jr. tells readers
in a 1967 article that Merv was managing his own publishing company at
the time, Ly-Rann.
In October of 1969, Aubrey Mayhew started changing his life - he bought a $50,000 house near Music Row, severed
ties with another record company and was in the position of heading the music division of Certron Corporation
in Nashville. Certron started as a bulk tape processor. Then expended to other areas, but over time started to
focus on the tape and computer tape industry. It purchased the Vivid Sounds record label, then the House of Falcon, which
specialized in Latin music. At the end of 1969, Certron divided into three divisions operating out of Chicago, Anaheim
and Nashville. Mayhew headed up the music operations in Nashville, including recording, publishing and distribution.
Merv Shiner was hired on to be the A&R director.
Merv told us of the fun he had recording an album of love songs that he did just
for his wife back around 2004 or so. He went to Nashville for about a week back
then and stayed with his friend Jack Clement. He told Jack what he wanted to
do and Jack let him have the run at his studio. Merv told Jack on one tune
he thought he needed a dobro sound and Jack himself picked up the dobro
and added the background for Merv.
During that visit, Merv and Jack decided to record a conversation of the history
they were a part of in the hey day of country music's history and how they
were a part of it in one way or another. Merv tells us of his visit to the famed
Studio B that RCA Victor had in Nashville and telling the folks there that he
was actually a part of that history. They had the wise ability to make sure
Merv didn't leave before they got him to tell them about his times in that
We included several comments about how likable and friendly Merv was in this commentary
and after talking with Merv, we can say in this instance, those weren't just some
press release someone put together. Merv is a genuinely, friendly down-to-earth
person that you would enjoy sitting around your kitchen table with and sharing
a cup of coffee or tea and a few stories for a few hours. The biggest kick we
got was getting a voice mail from him while we played phone tag before talking
with him and hearing him do a line or two of "Peter Cottontail".
During our conversation with Merv, he notes that he's never done an interview
without mentioning his mom, who taught her son well. Merv noted in that 1955
article he wrote as part of a big RCA Victor salute that he owed all his success
and happiness to his mom and she was his favorite partner. And we would be willing
to bet his wife would be not too far behind.
Merv turned 99 in February of 2020. The Nashville Musicians Union's January magazine published
a photo of Merv and his wife, Marilyn, who still perform together.
His father was Algier Shiner (Born: November 11, 1889; Died: October 19, 1961)
His mother was Jennie Newton Shiner (Born: July 27, 1887; Died: May 28, 1953)
Merv had three brothers, William, Charles and Robert.
Merv Shiner at the Martin Guitar home with his Martin Guitar doing the tune he made famous - "Peter Cottontail".
On September 30, 2011, Merv Shiner appeared as a guest at the Pinellas Performing Arts Center and did a couple of tunes - "Peter Cottontail" and "One Day At A Time".
On August 27, 2014, Merv Shiner returned to his home town of Bethlehem, PA
He did a concert, accompanied by Dick Boak at the Wesley Church.
Credits & Sources
Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Merv Shiner himself for graciously
allowing us to interview him to help document his career.
The Morning Call; New Members Are Welcomed; APril 16, 1936; Allentown, PA
The Morning Call; Mother-Son Team To Appear On Television Program; February 24, 1949; Allentown, PA
The Billboard; February 25, 1950; Cincinnati, OH
The Billboard; March 11, 1950; Cincinnati, OH
Country Song Roundup No. 5; April 1950; Charlton Publishing Corp.;
The Morning Call; Bethlehem Singer Gets Network Radio Spot; April 10, 1950; Allentown, PA
Country Song Roundup No. 7; August 1950; Charlton Publishing Corp.;
Country Song Roundup No. 8; October 1950; Charlton Publishing Corp.;
The Morning Call; Radio Entertainer Leaves Local Station For Tour Of Camps; December 23, 1951; Allentown, PA
Cowboy Songs; Issue No. 22; September 1952; American Folk Publications;
Hoedown; November 1953; Vol. 1 No. 3; Artist Publications, Inc.;
Cowboy Songs; Issue No. 33; May 1954; American Folk Publications, Inc.;
Cowboy Songs; Issue No. 34; June 1954; American Folk Publications, Inc.;
The Morning Call; Club Elena Now Offers Continuous Entertainment; June 4, 1954; Paterson, NJ
Country Song Roundup No. 34; September 1954; American Folk Publications, Inc.;
Country & Western Jamboree; April 1955; Country and Western Jamboree, Inc.;
Country & Western Jamboree; June 1955; Country and Western Jamboree, Inc.;
Country Song Roundup No. 39; July 1955; American Folk Publications;
Cowboy Songs; Issue No. 42; August 1955; American Folk Publications, Inc.;
Country & Western Jamboree; November 1955; Country and Western Jamboree, Inc.;
Country & Western Jamboree; December 1956; Maher Publications, Inc.;
Rustic Rhythm; Vol. 1 No. 6; September 1957; Rustic Rhythm, Inc.;
New York, NY
Country Music Review; September 1965; Cal-Western Publications,
Inc.; Anaheim, CA
Country Songs & Stars; Issue No. 89; July 1967; Charlton Publications Corp;
The Billboard; Nashville HQ for Certron; April 25, 1970; Cincinnati, OH
The Nashville Musician; January - March 2020; Gallery; p. 16 (photo); AFM Local 257; Nashville, TN