Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Zydeco loses a giant (Kermon Richard)

From The Opelousas Daily World (LA)
St. Landry Parish suffered a big loss in the music business Sunday with the death of zydeco impresario Kermon Richard of Lawtell.

Richard, 63, who owned and operated Richard's Club, located on U.S. Route 190 in Lawtell, died of a heart attack in his sleep just before midnight Sunday. His club has been a part of St. Landry Parish entertainment for 57 years.

Established in 1947 by Richard's father Eddie, the club began as a family amusement and developed into one of the most famous zydeco clubs in the world. Film and documentary makers have made the pilgrimage to the little wood frame dance hall on the edge of the highway.

Richard said his family has not even thought about what will happen to the club. Lovers of zydeco music are worried that a piece of local history may vanish with the death of one of zydeco's most intelligent and zealous promoters.

"This is a big loss to the culture of zydeco," said Cheryl Castille, assistant director of Louisiana Folk Roots, an organization dedicated to nurturing local music and culture. "His club is a social center that helps preserve zydeco music for locals and travelers alike. It is just such a wonderful thing to do on Saturday night. Talk about preserving the culture, his club stayed to how it always has been and he has such great history there."

Paul Scott of Opelousas, who has been involved in zydeco and Creole music for years, said Richard had an excellent reputation among musicians and his club was one of a handful of establishments that stand as the backbone of zydeco music.

"His death leaves a chasm in zydeco," Scott said. "There just so much history, so many great memories and his contributions are just so many. He was an innovator in promoting zydeco music, he went through hard times and made it. He gave a lot of musicians their first break and he always treated them fairly. When we promoted the zydeco festival, we were always welcome in his club. Whenever someone in the community needed him, he let them throw a benefit. They would say, 'my baby's hurt' or 'my momma's sick' and he would help with a fund-raising dance. Richard's Club is one of those clubs that hits a zone. Many a long leaf pine floor board has been worn thin in Richard's Club."

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Opelousas Daily World


Fun abounds at Peanut Butter Festival

From The Messenger (Troy, AL)
Birmingham has City Stages; Montgomery has Jubilee and Brundidge has the Peanut Butter Festival.

Of course, the Peanut Butter Festival can't compare with the big-city festivals in size and scope, but it has something those glitz and glitter festivals are lacking - a hometown atmosphere in a down home setting.

The Peanut Butter Festival will be held on the grounds of the historic Bass House in downtown Brundidge on Saturday. But this year, the Peanut Butter Festival will be able to boast two stages.

On the Peanut Butter Festival Stage at the Knox Ryals Pavilion, the entertainment will begin at 8 a.m. and continue until around 4 p.m.

In the morning, the festival stage will feature the Monticello Bluegrass group, the Old Southern Gospel group and the Lighthouse String Ensemble. All groups are outstanding and very popular with the locals.

Kathy Till will entertain with country and gospel music.

Lenny Trawick will perform country classics including top hits by Hank Williams, Jim Reeves and Ray Price. He will be joined by Carrie Barrow, whose voice continues to "blow away" sold-out audiences at the town's We Piddle Around Theater.

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The Messenger


Loretta Lynn makes first appearance at MerleFest

From The Winston-Salem Journal
Loretta Lynn, still basking in the success of her comeback album Van Lear Rose, is scheduled to appear at MerleFest for the first time.

The festival's stage lineups and performance times are scheduled to be posted today on the MerleFest 2005 Web site. Tickets will go on sale Tuesday.

Also making a first appearance will be The Chieftains, headlining two nights of performances.

Returning will be festival favorites Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, as well as Alison Krauss and Union Station.

The 18th MerleFest, which will run from April 28 to May 1, will features dozens of other artists, including such local groups as The Kruger Brothers, who will be the host of the Midnight Jam.

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Winston-Salem Journal


Bluegrass Festival marks silver anniversary

From The Wickenburg (AZ) Sun
This weekend's Four Corner States Bluegrass Festival will mark its 25th anniversary in Wickenburg.

Sponsored by the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce, the three-day festival Friday through Sunday (Nov. 12-14) is one of the oldest in the Southwest.

Chairman Mike Wallace, returning for his eighth year, said he and his crew are "ready to go" and expect this year's event to draw the biggest crowds ever.

"We expect record crowds on a daily basis," he said. "At least a couple thousand people. Most of our competitive events are sold out."

The festival will be headlined by three host bands during its three-day run, led off by one of the most popular bands to appear here over the years -- The Bluegrass Patriots of Ft. Collins, Colo.

Wallace said the Patriots have been one of the Bluegrass Festival's biggest supporters over its 25-year history and are one of the top hammer-type and tight harmony groups going.

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Wickenburg Sun


Sullivan dentist pays homage to legendary guitarist Atkins with book of hymn arrangements

From The Journal-Gazette Times-Courier (Mattoon / Charleston, IL)
In 1963, young Jerry Ozee got a new record titled "Chet Atkins Plays Back Home Hymns." That struck a chord.

It also began the Sullivan native's lifetime love affair with a playing style the music world gives Atkins credit for perfecting.

According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine in "All Music Guide," Atkins was a guitarist "without parallel. Atkins' style grew out of his admiration for Merle Travis, expanding Travis' signature syncopated thumb and fingers roll into new territory."

Ozee has been a dentist for 30 years in his hometown. But much of his time outside of the office has been devoted to music, playing and performing. And his admiration of the artist led Ozee to transcribe the "Chet Atkins Plays Back Home Hymns" album.

Now a book published by Mel Bay, it was printed with permission of Atkins, who died just a week before its 2001 publication.

Not only did Ozee transcribe the well-known hymns, he also includes notation and tablature, fingerings and performance notes.

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Journal-Gazette Times-Courier


Kermon Richard Dies at 63

From KLFY (Ch. 10, Lafayette, LA)
The zydeco world has suffered a great loss with the death of Kermon Richard.

Richard owned and operated a historic music club in St. Landry Parish that became the focal point of zydeco fans around the world.

It's been said that Richard's club is to zydeco what Grande Ole Opry is to county.

Film and documentary makers have made the pilgrimage from as far away as France and Canada to the little wood frame dance hall on the edge of Highway 190.

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Over 34 Country Music Stars Volunteer to Rock the Morale of Troops on U.S. Bases as part of Unprecedented Spirit of America Tour

From Press Release Newswire
On Veteran’s Day at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, the Spirit of America Tour will bring country music star Clint Black to play before an estimated crowd of 15,000 men and women in uniform and their families. By volunteering his time and talent, Clint Black is adding his name to the list of celebrities who have volunteered to boost the morale of troops on domestic US military bases as part of the unprecedented Spirit of America Tour, the only one of its kind to bring free headliner concerts to domestic US military bases.

Stars who have volunteered their time and talent include Bill Ray Cyrus, Charlie Daniels, The Bellamy Brothers, The Oak Ridge Boys, Riders in the Sky, Dennis Miller, Travis Tritt, David Clayton-Thomas and Blood Sweat and Tears, Mel Tillis, Patty Loveless, Jo Dee Messina, and Lee Greenwood, to name just a few.

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Press Release Newswire


Country music is common language in famed town

From Canoe (Canada)
They like to say around here that you can't find a place more laid-back without being unconscious.

Drive down a single-lane road, turn a corner, and there it is: Downtown Luckenbach, in all its glory of three buildings -- a ramshackle tavern/general store, a blacksmith shop and an old-time dance hall.

Clustered under giant oaks, this aging Western trading post-turned-country music mecca is the stuff of myth. On any given night or weekend, musicians in cowboy hats and jeans sit around picking steel guitars, thumbing washtub basses and singing country classics. Step into the general store and floorboards creak.

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Happy 40th Birthday Broken Spoke

From KXAN (Ch. 36 Austin, TX)
A South Austin institution marks 40 years of boot scooting good times Wednesday night.

They're having a big birthday bash out at the Broken Spoke in South Austin.

If you could define the heart and soul of South Austin and the local music scene, it would require only two words -- Broken Spoke. Some of the biggest names in country music have played at the Broken Spoke, and Wednesday night they'll celebrate 40 years of good times.

In the days before rock and roll, country was still king.

"Well, at first it was just local bands. But the first big star that I booked right here at the Broken Spoke was Bob Wills -- Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys," White said.

"They had to be country to play at the Broken Spoke. You know, we always wanted to have a fiddle or a steel guitar in the band and all, and that's what we got. We wanted real country music, and that's the way we keep it, up until today," White said.

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Thursday, November 04, 2004


Herman 'Jiggs' Lemley

Herman 'Jiggs' Lemley

From the archives:
Jiggs was the original steel guitar player for Hawkshaw Hawkins and later with the WWVA Jamboree and elsewhere. He is also a member of the Florida Country Music Hall of Fame

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Herman 'Jiggs' Lemley


(Merle) Haggard lawsuit dismissed

From the San Antonio Express-News
A judge on Friday dismissed a suit brought against Merle Haggard by a music promoter over the singer's failure to appear at a 2001 concert in Fredericksburg.

Haggard attorney Nelson Nease successfully argued that Kathy Schroeder, the Fredericksburg promoter who claims to have lost about $80,000 on the show, lacked legal standing to bring the suit she filed in 2002.

Haggard cited health woes in canceling one day before the performance. Schroeder's suit contended Haggard wasn't ill.

At the 20-minute hearing Friday, Nease said recently unearthed evidence showed Schroeder had no ownership interest in Pedernales Music Productions (PMP), the firm with which Haggard had contracted to appear for $25,000 at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds.

Nease said evasive and misleading responses by Schroeder to questions had long obscured the fact the company is a sole proprietorship of Roger Moon, a business associate of Schroeder.

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San Antonio Express-News


Robert Randolph and The Family Band found salvation in Sacred Steel — the pedal-guitar blues they discovered in church

From Newsday (New York, NY)
The trip from Avenue B in the East Village to the Roseland Ballroom in midtown Manhattan, is fairly straightforward for the diligent commuter, but for guitarist Robert Randolph the journey has been a three-year, highlight-filled whirlwind.

Randolph who plays Roseland tomorrow night with his group, The Family Band, was playing Lakeside Lounge on Avenue B as recently as 2001, but things began happening quickly, and he and his band spent this summer touring arenas with Eric Clapton, guesting on such all-time classics as "Layla," "Sunshine of Your Love," "Everyday I Have the Blues" and "Got My Mojo Workin'." But the 23-year-old guitarist was unfazed by the experience.

Randolph is from Irvington, N.J., and his hardscrabble background includes lots of skipping high school, and narrowly missing being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

However, his parents and several relatives were involved in the House of God in his hometown. These churches, part of an African-American Pentecostal denomination, often used pedal steel guitar -- an instrument more common to country and Hawaiian music -- instead of an organ. Guitarists from these churches often play in a genre called Sacred Steel. When he was 16, Randolph took up the guitar and began staying off the streets so he could practice. He met masters of the Sacred Steel and within two years, was wowing crowds at church-related conventions.

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Young acoustic musicians rising to the top

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle (MT)
Two young solo artists combine forces for a special evening of acoustic music at Pilgrim Congregational Church, as the Bozeman Folklore Society presents Mark Erelli and Jake Armerding in concert on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 p.m.

All tickets will only be available at the door, which open at 7 p.m. General admission is $15, and $13 for BFS members and seniors. For more information contact Rik James at (406) 586-4123.

Earlier this year Erelli released his fifth solo album, "Hillbilly Pilgrim," garnering rave reviews. Paste magazine said it, "does Western swing proud, as it's brimming over with wry, heartfelt songcraft, invigorating tempos, and pedal-steel guitar dazzling as an Arizona sunset." And No Depression magazine described it as, "shot through with music that could've sat comfortably inside a country jukebox from the 1930s or '40s. Finger-snapping, jukebox ready stomp."

When a kid grows up in Massachusetts, you'd think he'd be safe from stuff like bluegrass music. Fortunately for his audiences, this wasn't the case for Compass Records recording artist Jake Armerding. Thanks to a mandolinist father who spent his weekends touring the region with newgrass group Northern Lights, Jake was doomed from the start.

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Bozeman Daily Chronicle


After 25-year absence, movies will return to Arlee in downtown Mason City

From the Lincoln Courier (IL)
Movies have returned to the Arlee Theater for the first time in nearly 25 years, beginning Friday with the 2003 production of "Peter Pan," starring Jason Isaacs and Jeremy Sumpter.

"This will be a big weekend for us, because, in addition to showing our first movie on a new big screen Friday, we will have nationally known comedian Royce Elliott here for a live show Saturday night," said John Maxson of the Arlee.

Elliott - dubbed America's funniest clean comedian - has left his audiences sore from laughing, from Bally's in Las Vegas to Harrah's in Atlantic City to Mickey Gilley's in Branson, Mo. He will appear with fellow funny man Mike Dentino and gifted country music impressionist Bobby Mack and his band.

The Arlee has morphed into a combination of its predecessors. From 1936 until about 1979, moving pictures flashed across the Arlee's big screen. For a few years, it was used for community theater, and then for 16 years it showcase live country music performances as the Nashville Sound Country Opry.

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Lincoln Courier

From The Daily Dispatch (Henderson, NC)
Henderson native Kaine Riggan has entered a new phase in his career, that of director of his own new musical comedy.

Grand Ole Opry stars Jeannie Seely and Helen Cornelius are the stars in a Nashville production of Riggan's "Could It Be Love."

Riggan wrote both the score and the script for this comedy which closes its premier production run today at The Shoney's Family Dinner Theatre in Nashville. A tour of the production is also scheduled for 2005.

"I have never had a more enjoyable and fulfilling experience," Riggan said of seeing the production come together.

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The Daily Dispatch


(Doug) Helm gets chance he might not get to take

From The Kootenai Valley Press
Doug Helm, 75, Bonners Ferry, penned a song when he was 14 or 15 years old, and all these years later, it’s attracted the attention of the National Traditional Country Music Association.

But whether he’ll be able to take advantage of the offer he received is up in the air.

Helm wrote the a cappela song, “Haunted Falls,” after reading the book, “Dark and Bloody Ground,” about a homestead family in Kentucky that met tragedy. While the husband was in town to get the mail, a long and lengthy trip in those days, Indians killed his wife and children and burned their cabin to the ground.

Helm said it didn’t take him long to come up with the basic lyrics, but it took over a year of adapting them before the song finally clicked into place.

Until last spring, he’d never even thought to do anything else with the song, but on a whim, he sent it to Bob Everhart, publisher of the National Traditional Country Music Association’s magazine, “Tradition.”

Last week, Doug received a heavy packet in the mail, a copy of the latest issue, in which Everhart gives the song a great review, and in which he gives Helm an open invitation to come to the 30th annual National Old Time Country and Bluegrass contest and festival August 29 in Missouri Valley, Iowa.

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Kootenai Valley Press


Edmonton To Wish Upon A Nashville Star

From ChartAttack (Canada)
Country crooner hopefuls had better get their unusually large hats on and start a-walkin’. The latest season of American Idol-esque talent search Nashville Star is gearing up and the only Canadian audition stop will be taking place in Edmonton on November 13. That’s right, this is the one and only Northern stop — maybe the USA Network were a little miffed that we came so close to kicking their butts the last time around.

When the second season of NS wrapped up this spring, George Canyon — a country singer-songwriter and proud Nova Scotian — was in the final three. Unfortunately, when the dust settled, U.S. contestant Brad Cotter was the one left standing.

The Edmonton auditions will be held during the Canadian Finals Rodeo Week, with show producers only setting aside six hours — so it’s the first 500 people to show up that will get seen. Unlike Idol, Nashville Star is only available to wannabes 18 or over and the lucky selected singers will get a call-back for the following day.

If you plan on being one of those 500, you’ll have to mosey on over to the Nashville Star website, where you’ll find a list of approved cover songs. Performers will only get one minute to perform the song (it’s your choice whether to sing a short clip or to do the whole thing chipmunk-style). Other than several hundred Dixie Chicks selections, NS hopefuls can choose from a surprisingly broad list of tunes by artists from Bruce Springsteen to Sheryl Crow to John Mellencamp — whose "Jack And Diane" may be a favourite for drunken singalongs, but it’s not exactly country.

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First Wife of Johnny Cash Wants Bench in Texas

From Reuters Canada
The first wife of late country music icon Johnny Cash wants a bench where he carved their names 53 years ago, but the city of San Antonio will keep it.

Vivian Distin, 71, asked if she could have the log bench after finding it two weeks ago in the same place along the San Antonio Riverwalk where they sat in 1951, Ron Smudy of the city's parks department said on Friday.

On it was "Johnny Loves Vivian," carved by Cash, then 18, in a romantic moment with Vivian, who was 17.

"We escorted her down to the river and lo and behold, the same bench in the same place was there," Smudy said.

Cash was an Air Force trainee stationed at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio at the time of the carving.

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Reuters Canada


Country superstar (Con) Hunley returns to charts

From the City Paper (Nashville, TN)
Country music superstar Con Hunley has always insisted on musical integrity and independence. That refusal to make music by committee led Hunley to simply turn his back on the industry in the mid-'80s, though he never stopped performing. But one of the genre's genuinely soulful stars and great natural voices has thankfully returned to the scene.

Hunley's new release Sweet Memories (IMMI) has already generated widespread fan and radio response, thanks to his masterful reworking of Bill Anderson's 1963 smash "Still."

"I wouldn't have released the song if Bill had a problem with the way I did it," Hunley said. "It's been done a bit differently, but Bill heard it and said he loved it. He also said that I was introducing it to a whole new generation that never heard the original and that has proven the case."

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City Paper


Johnny Cash Tops Country List

From WCOH (Newnan, GA)
Late music legend Johnny Cash has topped the ultimate poll of country men.

The "A Boy Named Sue" singer beat legends like Hank Williams and George Jones to be crowned the Greatest Man of Country in a new Country Music Television (CMT) list.

Note: Article includes the Top 10 list.

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Carter Family's music comes to life at Stockton

From the Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ)
The songs and tales of the first family of country music - the Carter Family - come to the Stockton Performing Arts Center in Pomona on Thursday.

The Virginia Barter Theatre's production of Keep on the Sunny Side tells the story of the Carters, who wrote and recorded countless hit records and made a style of guitar-playing, "Carter-picking," the dominant technique for decades.

"It's a wonderful story," says Eugene Wolf, who portrays patriarch A.P. Carter and is the show's musical director. "It tells not only the story of their music, but the story of their lives, which ties in so beautifully with the music."

"The Carter family's music is so needed in today's times," Wolf said. "They reached for something that music today doesn't really reach for - something that's very gorgeous and very lasting."

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $40 and $30. Call (609) 652-9000 for tickets.
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