Thursday, April 28, 2005


Life keeps getting better for 100-year-old

From The Waynesboro Record Herald (Waynesboro, PA)
Sitting in the living room of his apartment at Somerford House, Clyde Huntsberry bubbles with enthusiasm and excitement.

"I'm really happy to be 100," he chuckles. "It's great, but I feel as though I'm only 60."

And he seems even younger.

Born April 8, 1905, in Boonsboro, Huntsberry has a firm handshake, a warm smile and the energy of someone half his age.

Huntsberry loves country music and entertains himself - and those around him - frequently as he strums on his steel guitar while listening to recordings of his favorite country musicians with the stereo cranked up loud.

"Music isn't any good if it isn't loud," he says.

Huntsberry looks the picture of health, but his eyesight has been slowly deteriorating due to macular degeneration. At 95, when he was no longer able to drive, Huntsberry decided to sell his home and move to an assisted living facility.

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Waynesboro Record Herald


All-Star Tribute To Jimmy Martin

The Dixie Beeliners
On Saturday night, April 30th, New York's vibrant roots music community will pay tribute to a living legend. Through songs and anecdotes, the city's brightest emerging bluegrass and country stars will come together to celebrate the colorful legacy of Mr. Jimmy Martin.

Known as "The King of Bluegrass" and "Mr. Good 'N Country," MCA recording artist Jimmy Martin is a character like no other in the annals of bluegrass music. Jimmy's aggressive rhythm guitar added a fierce drive to the sound of bluegrass music, and his strong, high vocal range helped create what has become known as the "high lonesome" sound.

Featuring a truly amazing lineup of guests, the April 30th tribute is not to be missed. Expect to hear from Brandi and Buddy of acoustic whiz kids The Dixie Bee-Liners, as well as The Cobble Hillbillies, Zane Campbell, Red Molly, Astrograss,
Straight Drive's Jen Larson and Terry McGill, Mary Olive and Danny from Reckon So, Sheriff Uncle Bob, Trip Henderson, and many more! A number of these talented performers appeared together on the legendary Alphabet City Opry, so the show will represent a reunion of some magnitude!

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Dixie Beeliners


Saving grace

From The Columbia Daily Tribune
Robert Randolph credits the steel guitar with saving his life. Randolph said that while growing up in Irvington, N.J., he witnessed his neighborhood slowly deteriorate from a pleasant one to a place riddled with violence and drugs.

And Randolph says there was a time when he was part of it.

"We’d go to parties. A fight would break out. A couple of guys would get shot," Randolph said of his high school years in his official bio. "I was a bad kid, on my eighth life with only one left to go."

But Randolph also was a member of House of God Church at Orange, where his father was a deacon and his mother a minister. And it was there that he first played the steel pedal guitar.

"I spent hours practicing it," he said. "It became my everything."

Read the article
Columbia Daily Tribune


Wisconsin Weekend Package

From the Duluth News Tribune
"She's been singing since the time she was able to walk," is the way Lori Sawdey describes her sister, Jennifer O'Brien.

O'Brien is a backup singer with Dolly Parton and she has sung with several famous country music stars such as George Jones, Charlie Pride and Porter Wagner since she moved to Nashville in 1970.

"I've always loved to sing," O'Brien said. Always ready with a big, broad smile, she bubbles with excitement about the career she's selected.

O'Brien remembers moving to Nashville and her awe when she walked off the plane for the first time in "Music City."

"There was so much music. All kinds of music." Her face literally lights up as she thinks about the visit that soon turned into a love for the city she's called "home" for 35 years. "There was a potpourri of music."

Read the article
Duluth News Tribune


Chrystal Opry House events set for April 21 and April 23

From the North Texas e-News
The Chrystal Opry House will have two events this week. On Thursday April 21, there will be a country jam for all interested musicians and singers. Come on out for an evening of socializing and jamming. Doors open at 6 and things get underway at 7:00 P.M. Listeners are invited also. Donations are accepted to defray expenses.

On Saturday, April 23, Marshall Ray Ashby and Wild Fire will entertain us with country music. This band includes Ashby on guitar and vocals, from Bonham, Texas, Jessica Munn lead guitar, from Prosper, Texas, Jason Banks on bass and vocals, from Denison, Texas and Alan Smith on drums, from Ogden, Utah. Polly Ashby will perform as Minnie Pearl.

The public is invited to all events at the Chrystal Opry House. Donations are accepted to defray expenses at the music jams. Regular programs are $4 per person with children under 12 admitted free.

The Chrystal Opry House is located 2 miles west of Tom Bean and a half mile south of highway 902 on White Mound Road. Doors for all events will open at 6:00 P.M. with the event beginning at 7:00 P.M. No alcohol is permitted and there is no smoking inside the building.Refreshments are available.

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North Texas e-News



From New Hampshire Public Television
DeFord Bailey was one of the first solo stars of the Grand Ole Opry. He played twice as often as any other musician, and his music inspired the show's famous name. Considered one of the most controversial and mysterious events in Grand Ole Opry history, DeFord Bailey left the stage in the early 1940's and refused to perform professionally. His music was lost until nearly 30 years later when a history student at the local university, David Morton, met and befriended him and arranged for him to return to the Opry stage for four more performances before his death in 1982. DeFord Bailey died never knowing his place in history and American music. This documentary not only tells his story, but also the little known story of how much black musicians influenced many of country music's legends.

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New Hampshire Public Television


Charlie Louvin headlines festival

From the Weekly Post (Mobile, AL)
One of Sand Mountain’s favorite sons returned home Monday morning, much to the delight of those in attendance at the Tom Bevill Enrichment Center in Rainsville.

Music legend Charlie Louvin, who grew up in Henagar and now makes his home in Manchester, Tenn., was in town to help promote the upcoming Crossroads Family Festival, scheduled to be held in the Rainsville City Park Saturday, May 21.

At Monday’s press conference, led by Dr. David Campbell, President of Northeast State Community College, and Sen. Lowell Barron, gracious words were spoken of the illustrious music career of Louvin, who will be the featured artist at the event.

In 1955, the Louvin Brothers became members of the Grand Ole Opry, enjoying immense popularity. The duo had 20 BillBoard Top Hits.

Campbell spoke of how, in the early going, Elvis Presley was the opening act of the Louvin Brothers. And also, about Johnny Cash once saying how he stood by the side of the road just to catch a glimpse of the duo passing through his town.

In 1979, the Louvin Brothers were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2003, they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“I only wish Ira could have hung around to witness all of this,” said Louvin.

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Weekly Post


W.Va. could be home to Mountain Music Heritage Center

From WKYT (Lexington, KY)
Tennessee has the Country Music Hall of Fame. Kentucky's got the International Bluegrass Music Museum. And if U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall gets his way, southern West Virginia will someday be home to the Appalachian Mountain Music Hall of Fame.

But the definition of "mountain music" depends on who's talking. It can be bluegrass or blues, string band or Swiss, gospel or guitar. Those who study it say it's a little bit country and a whole lot of soul.

"I would like to call mountain music that which originates in the mountains, whatever nature it may be," says the Rev. Thomas Acker, who will be part of a yearlong effort to document the state's musical culture and history, then shape the vision for a regional music heritage center.

Initial research will be done by the West Virginia Humanities Council with a $97,000 federal grant obtained by Rahall, D-W.Va., whose district includes southern West Virginia.

The first step is to survey what resources are available. Rahall says the hope is to build a tourist attraction in the Beckley area, possibly featuring a concert hall, exhibits and access to historical documents, photographs and recordings.

"This heritage center will become the first stop for all those interested in the wonderful music that has come from our hills over the years," he says.

Read the article


Hidden talent

From the Hickory (North Carolina) Daily Record
He’s big. At 6 feet 2 inches tall and 245 pounds, Levi Jones could easily be mistaken for an intimidating NFL linebacker.

When he sings his love ballads, Charley Pride, the only true black country music superstar, comes to mind.

At 47, Jones worries his age will hold him back when it comes time to sign record contracts. Those in the music business think otherwise.

“His talent is equally as good as any artist who has come out and made it in country music,” said Bunnie Jones, country music record label owner and promoter from her Bossier City, La., home. “First of all, he’s a black guy singing white. But Levi has that little niche that’s different from all the rest. You can tell he’s a major label talent.”

“This is one big black guy singing country music,” Jones said. “That’s not something you can forget.”

Mills, a 57-year-old veteran of country music, saw the same glimmer in Pride’s eyes. It would be much tougher for Jones in those days, she said.

He’s good with his hands, but he’d rather be known for his voice.

“I know I’m good at this, and I can do other things well, but anything less than music would not be as fulfilling,” he said.

Jones travels to Nashville about six time a year to sing in clubs. Locally, he fulfills his dream every Thursday at Pappy’s Cafeteria in Conover, honing his songs for anybody who comes to hear, and for a free meal.

“I call it a love offering,” he said. “They pay me in tips, but I just do it because I love to sing.”

Read the article
Hickory Daily Record


Grand Ole Opry celebrates 80th year

From the Hollywood Reporter
His Grand Ole Opry debut? Charley Pride remembers it well.

"It was 1967, January 1," Pride snaps. "Ernest Tubb brought me on, and I was more nervous than a cat on a hot tin roof."

That's how most performers feel about the Opry, the folksy live radio show that's helped define country music for eight decades. The stage with the red barn backdrop is hallowed ground in Nashville, and entertainers still consider their first performance there a milestone.

The show turns 80 this year, and while the anniversary doesn't have the bang of a 75th or a 100th, the Opry is planning a big to-do, including a rare broadcast from New York's Carnegie Hall in November.

Read the article
The Hollywood Reporter


Little opry brought in the big stars

From the Louisville Courier-Journal
Lincoln Hamilton was just a boy when his parents, Dwayne and Esther Hamilton, joined five other investors 30 years ago to create a country-music hall outside Nashville.

"When they'd get on the phone to try to book somebody like Loretta Lynn or Conway Twitty and find out they cost $3,500 or $4,000, it was like, 'Oh, my God.' Back then, that was a lot of money," Hamilton recalled.

"At the time, just about everyone wanted to be paid in cash before the show," he said. "They didn't even believe there was such a place. 'The Little Nashville Opry? You say it's an old horse barn where?' "

The old horse barn west of Nashville went into business on April 4, 1975, with country star Cal Smith as the headliner and a little-known up-and-comer named Mickey Gilley opening the show.

Thirty years later, the auditorium is still going strong. And no veteran country-music artist or fan needs any reassurance that The Little Nashville Opry is the real deal.

Misenheimer said opening for Twitty, Rogers and Alabama stand out as some of his best memories.

"That was back when artists had staying power," the veteran player observed. "Nowadays the business is kind of shallow. Hit it while you're hot and don't worry about quality. Stars come and go real fast these days."

Hamilton talks about a changing business as well. "Some artists today, you could offer them a million dollars and they wouldn't come because they don't play places that can't hold 10,000 people," he complained. "I don't get it, frankly. But they just won't do it. You say 2,000 seats and that's the end of the conversation."

Read the article
Louisville Courier-Journal

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Jerry Byrd

Jerry Byrd

From the archives:
Jerry Byrd - a member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. If you're a steel guitar fan, don't miss this one.

Read more about:
Jerry Byrd

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