Monday, January 03, 2005


Kentucky Opry to hold gospel night Jan. 21

From the Marshall County Tribune Courier
The Kentucky Opry will hold another Gospel night on music at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21, The concert wil be free to the public but a special love offering will be taken. Regional and local talent will perform traditional and Southern Gospel music.

Heading the list of talent is the acappella quintet Holy Ground from Benton. There will be two gospel bands: The New Harmony from Southern Illinois will be joined by Bob McClellan on the sax and Divine Appointment from Murray. The Gospel Three, also from Murray, will be singing hymns. The Soul Seekers from Earlington, Ky., will perform featuring a stirring rendition of Beulah Land. A young Christian soloist, Hayden Rogers, will be accompanied by Kathy Higgins for two songs. They are also from the Benton area.

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Tribune Courier


Long-running band to play their last song soon

From The Grand Island Independent
An entertainment era will come to an end soon.

Mike Nuss and the Country Oaks will play their final Auld Lang Syne at the Morrill American Legion on New Year's Eve before bidding a fond farewell to a side-career, which has spanned three decades.

Mike and Jan Nuss will hang up their traveling band boots while bass player Rick Bahr and drummer Scott Fernau, both of Chadron, will pursue new gigs.

"It will be different not having the band," said Mike Nuss. "But it's time for us."

Mike and Jan Nuss began their country and western band playing days as a young couple in the early 1970s.

The name Country Oaks reflected their country/western sound.

"We stayed pretty busy back then," Mike said, explaining that the band played about 45 weekends a year at its peak.

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Grand Island Independent


Hank Williams' life celebrated on New Year's Day

The Messenger
People from all over the world descended on Montgomery this weekend to celebrate the life of country music legend Hank Williams on the anniversary of his death.

Williams, who is considered the greatest country musician of all time, died on New Year's Day 1953, at the age of 29 but his music continues to live on, said Beth Parker, manager of the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery.

"At Hank Williams' funeral here at Oakwood Cemetery Annex in Montgomery, Dr. Henry Lyons said that as long as we have America, we will have Hank Williams' music to inspire us," Parker said. "So far, 52 years have proven that to be true."

Parker said the annual celebration of Williams' life brings people around the world to Montgomery on New Year's Day.

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The Messenger


Paying homage to Hank

The Free Lance Star
Fifty-two years ago Saturday, country music legend Hank Williams was pronounced dead at the age of 29 in Oak Hill, W.Va.

Officially, a heart problem, "acute right ventricular dilation," took Williams' life as he lay in the back of his white Cadillac en route to a performance in Ohio.

Folk musician Cathy Fink had thought for many years that someone somewhere should play a concert of Williams' music near the anniversary of his death. Eight years ago, she put her money where her mouth was.

She rounded up her musical partner Marcy Marxer and other musician buddies Bill Kirchen and Robin and Linda Williams for an evening of country music that's become an annual tradition at the Birchmere in Alexandria.

"It was so much fun and so successful, the next day there was a call from the Birchmere saying, 'Let's put next year's date on the calendar,'" Fink said in a phone interview.

This year's tribute to Williams will take place Saturday night. The concert comes perilously close to selling out each year, Fink said, so advance tickets are recommended.

The performers begin the show together and then take turns revisiting the Hank Williams catalog, which includes such favorites as "Lovesick Blues," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Long Gone Lonesome Blues."

"One of the things that I think is so potent about this repertoire is that it's not disposable," Fink said. "His songs have stood the test of time. He figured out how to squeeze the essence of loneliness into the least possible number of words with these haunting melodies."

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The Free Lance Star


Homage to Hank: Passion leads fans on journey halfway across globe

Bluefield Daily Dispatch
Ryns Boschma followed his ears and his heart to southern West Virginia on his way to fulfilling a pilgrimage that started two decades earlier and culminated this week at a small Mercer County bridge named in honor of the legendary Hank Williams Sr.

No one actually knows where Williams drew his final breath in the late night of Dec. 31, 1952, or early morning hours of Jan. 1, 1953. Williams was 31 at the time of his death. He was on his way to a concert date in Ohio when his driver stopped in Bluefield to pick up a relief driver between 10 and 10:30 p.m., on Dec. 31. He was found dead in the back seat of his vehicle at the old Pure Oil Station in Oak Hill about six or seven hours later.

He was at the Mercer County bridge near Spanishburg named for Williams Tuesday afternoon.

"I first became curious about Hank Williams in the 1980s when I saw his photograph on the cover of an album I saw at a library," Boschma said in near-flawless English. "I was curious about his looks. His white suit and white hat made him look different. It wasn't very hip to look like that in the '80s."

Boschma borrowed the record from the library and was immediately moved by Williams' music. "I liked the emotion and I liked his words," he said. "I liked how he worked his phrases and sentences and the simplicity of his music. His music made me very quiet. When I was 20 years old, I was a little wild."

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Bluefield Daily Dispatch


Jamboree returns to Huntington

The Herald Dispatch (Huntington, WV)
Although Saturday signified renewal for thousands of Tri-State residents, nearly 800 people at the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium in City Hall took a nostalgic trip to a bygone entertainment era.

Katie Owens, 13, performs during the Saturday Night Jamboree and Salute to Veterans, a Grand Ole Opry style show featuring 14 local country music performers held at the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium. Saturday's event marked the return of the Saturday Night Jamboree, a live show that aired in Huntington from 1953 to 1964.

A capacity crowd filled the auditorium during the Saturday Night Jamboree, a throwback to the "WSAZ Saturday Night Jamboree." That program aired live from 1953 to 1964 and featured an array of local and national talent.

Saturday Nigh Jamboree host Allen Sturm, son of the show’s original host Dean Sturm, was so pleased with the turnout that he was beaming backstage while resting between acts.

Huntington resident Matt Gould said he has attended the Grand Ole Opry show in Nashville and was impressed with the breadth of talent at the Saturday Night Jamboree.

"I think it’s great," he said. "I like the old country. This is just like the Grand Ole Opry."

In addition to music, Saturday’s show also featured square dancing by the New Haylofters and an appearance by original square dance caller Harry Mills.

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The Herald Dispatch


Shorty Kaye keeps rambling on

From The Asbury Park Press
In the 1950s, hundreds crammed Rac's Hut, a Jackson tavern-restaurant, to hear country-western music stars: Patsy Cline, George Jones, Ernest Tubb, Ferlin Husky and Little Jimmy Dickens.

Later, in the 1960s, Shorty Kaye, whose real name is Milton Kovacofsky, would "go around (performing) and somebody'd come up and say, 'You still around?' " said Kovacofsky's current wife, Ginny, 74.

Imagine what these folks would say now, realizing Shorty Kaye has been musically rambling along all these years. And, at 78, the Lakewood resident, says he has no retirement plans.

Today, Kovacofsky on accordion fronts the Shorty Kaye Kombo, with Andy Stapinski of Little Egg Harbor on saxophone and clarinet and Vinnie Mazza of Little Egg Harbor and Bayonne on drums. All three sing, too The Shorty Kaye Kombo plays mainly for senior citizen functions.

Shorty Kaye and the Jersey Ramblers -- Big Bashful Bill Kubeck on guitar, Morris "Pee Wee" McConnell on bass fiddle, Emil Arias on the fiddle and later Eddie "Corn Cob" Connors on mandolin, Jimmy Starr on guitar and Walker "Buddy" Farmer as the square-dance caller -- were in the right place at the right time.

Country-western stars, generally living in the South, would travel to New York City to record. George Rac, the tavern-restaurant's enterprising owner, "got them between recording sessions," Kovacofsky said.

The country-western stars arrived at Rac's Hut alone or with one of their regular accompanying musicians, in need of a band to back them.

"We fell right in, no rehearsal or nothing," Kovacofsky said.

Read the article
Asbury Park Press

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