Monday, January 16, 2006


New place on dial for radio show - Carl Fitzgerald's 'Remember When'

From the Meridian Star
Carl Fitzgerald’s radio program, “Remember When,” has found another home this month, just in time for its 23rd anniversary show.

Fitzgerald, 77, who started as a radio broadcaster in 1952, has produced “Remember When” since 1983.

The show is primarily Fitzgerald reminiscing with guests. Some music is included, such as country classics, big band, gospel, bluegrass, pop standards and 1950s rock.

“Remember When” has aired monthly on several different radio stations over the years, most recently on WYLS, 670-AM, where it had a 28-month run starting in August 2003.

On Friday, Jan. 27, WMER, 1390-AM, will broadcast Fitzgerald’s anniversary show of “Remember When,” which will include highlights from previous shows aired over the years. Fitzgerald said he has produced about 180 episodes.

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Meridian Star



From the Tyler Morning Telegraph
The Gladewater Opry House, 108 E. Commerce St., offers its weekly Saturday Night Opry at 8 p.m. Saturday.

This week's show includes performances by Megan Wellborn, Chad Show, Chelsea Ogden, Bobby Worsham, Jaye Heller, Katelyn Sweet, Anthony Perry and Stoney Jackson. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 and free for children under 6. For tickets, call (903) 845-3600.

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Tyler Morning Telegraph


SWINGIN' STEEL - East Texas Steel Guitar Association

From the Tyler Morning Telegraph
The East Texas Steel Guitar Association is scheduled to present its monthly music program beginning at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Tyler Public Library, 201 S. College Ave.

The program will feature steel guitarists Lee Pettijohn from Big Sandy and Jack Matthews from Magnolia, Ark., in an afternoon of "good country and western swing music," ETSGA spokesman Charles Tilley said.

Admission is free, and audiences of all ages are invited. For more information, call Tilley at (903) 360-1111.

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Tyler Morning Telegraph


Obituary: Gerald K. Olson, Played Guitar With Charley Pride

From the Helena Independent Record
Gerald K. "Jerry" Olson passed away at his home on Jan. 5, 2006, of natural causes.

Jerry was born Oct. 17, 1944, in Helena. He attended elementary school at Canyon Creek. His family moved to Butte, where he completed his education. As a young man Jerry served his country in the Army Reserve. Jerry moved to Seattle, where he worked for Boeing and enjoyed many days on the ocean in his fishing boat. Returning to Helena, Jerry worked at Helena Upholstery and Armor Metal. He then began a lifelong career as a flooring contractor, working for Finstad Flooring and the Floor Show until his recent retirement. His immense knowledge and experience as a floor mechanic earned him great respect from his co-workers and clients. Jerry also owned and developed Wheel Estate Trailer Park, which he later sold.

Jerry's many hobbies and interests included: cooking, fishing, boating, spending time with friends and family and as a young man, playing guitar with Charley Pride. As a licensed pilot, Jerry enjoyed flying and the challenge of building his own airplane. ...

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Helena Independent Record

Monday, January 09, 2006


On the other side: Blue Moon Rising finds its way to Bismarck

From the Bismarck Tribune
For too long, the grass has been bluer on the other side. Of the Missouri River. Cross Ranch State Park has hosted the Missouri River Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival for 15 years. Meanwhile, over here on the east bank, we've got brome, foxtail barley and even big bluestem. But bluegrass? Hardly.

Enter Blue Moon Rising, a Tennessee-based bluegrass band that considers outreach part of its mission. The band played last summer at Cross Ranch, and called one of the event's promoters afterward to see about a Bismarck concert.

"We were a host family for them and got to know them really well," said Jill Wiese, bass player in Cotton Wood, a bluegrass band from Washburn. "Their bass player called me in August and said 'Jill, do you ever do shows in that town we flew into?'"


Blue Moon Rising will play at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 in the Sidney J. Lee Auditorium at BSC. Tickets are $15, available at the college, Eckroth Music, String Bean and at the door. The band also will play a free concert at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 13 at the Washburn school.

In addition to the concerts, members of the band will give hands-on bluegrass workshops from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at BSC. There will be workshops for fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, banjo and songwriting. Tickets for the workshops and the concert are $20.

"We love it there. We had a great time at Cross Ranch and thought this would be a good opportunity to come back and play in Bismarck," Blue Moon Rising's bass player, Tim Tipton, said. "Hopefully we'll get to play to more people and get a chance to introduce the music to a broader audience."

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Bismarck Tribune

Monday, January 02, 2006


At The Library

From the Shreveport Times
A compilation of books found at the local library...

"Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams" by Paul Hemphill (nonfiction). Hank Williams died alone on New Year's Day 1953. He died much as he had lived -- drunk, forlorn, suffering from a birth defect, wondering when the bubble would burst. Having sprouted out of nowhere, he was gone at the age of 29. This book will take you on a journey through his life and times: his dirt-poor beginnings as a sickly child, learning music from a black street singer, refining it in raucous honky-tonks during the Depression, emerging as a star of the Grand Ole Opry, uneducated, virtually fatherless, an alcoholic in his teens, unlucky at love, Hank mined his experience to write songs that will live forever.

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Shreveport Times


Here's your "save the date" list for 2006: Indiana Fiddler's Gathering

From the Lafayette (IN) Courier-Journal
An event of interest from this article:

June 23 -- The Indiana Fiddlers' Gathering will once again fill the Tippecanoe Battlefield Park with the sounds of old-time country and bluegrass music starting at 8 p.m. June 23 through 5 p.m. June 25. The Battle Ground festival draws dozens of performers and thousands of music fans every year. The Colorado all-female string band Uncle Earl will return as headliners.

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Lafayette Courier-Journal


24th Annual Ray Austin Memorial Winter Bluegrass Festival

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The 24th Annual Ray Austin Memorial Winter Bluegrass Festival will begin with contests on Friday night; continue with workshops and concerts on Saturday. Jammers welcome. 5:30 p.m. Friday (Jan 6) and 10 a.m. Saturday (Jan 7) at Holiday Inn Six Flags, Interstate 44 and Six Flags exit, Eureka. Tickets are from $10 to $28. 314-504-2900.

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Strumming on the old banjo

From the Baltimore Sun
Consider the evolution of the humble banjo.

It morphed from a hollow gourd, strummed by African slaves, into an elegant toy for Victorian society ladies. Later, it grew into one of the mainstays of bluegrass music.

This story is told in a new exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. Picturing the Banjo brings together 72 works of art with a sampling of actual instruments.

Among the artists are Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, Thomas Hart Benton and William Wegman. Some of the instruments are themselves elaborate works of art, adorned with inlaid designs and carvings of gargoyles, Masonic emblems and discreet nudes.


Earl Scruggs brought the five-string banjo alive on stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

Current banjo masters include Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks and jazz-bluegrass instrumentalist Bela Fleck.

The exhibit can be seen in Washington through March 5. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and U.S. military and $4 for students. It will travel to the Palmer Museum in Philadelphia for a show March 30-June 25, and to the Boston Athenaeum for display July 26-Oct. 21.

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Baltimore Sun


Boston music college strikes new chord with bluegrass

From the Denver Post
At Berklee College of Music, a school founded as an incubator of jazz and steeped in the syntax of cool, the pluck of the banjo was once a sound disdained. The bluegrass instrument was considered the stuff of Appalachian Mountains, not urbane Boston.

But cool shifts. And next semester, bluegrass will become a sanctioned subject at Berklee.

The 3,800-student school will permit students to major in mandolin and banjo, signature instruments of bluegrass. Big names in bluegrass have come to play and teach. Banjo icon Earl Scruggs recently was awarded an honorary degree. ...

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Denver Post


Organizers set September target date for (Hank) Williams museum

From the (WV) Herald-Dispatch
Hank Williams fans across the nation hope to gather at a museum dedicated to the late country-western singer’s memory next September.

The specific target date is Sept. 16, the day before what would have been Williams 83rd birthday.

Hank Williams fans across the nation hope to gather at a museum dedicated to the late country-western singer’s memory next September.

The specific target date is Sept. 16, the day before what would have been Williams 83rd birthday. ...

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KNET celebrates 70 years on the air

From the Palestine (TX) Herald-Press
As much a part of a city’s history is the media that records and shapes the community’s legacy. Such is true for Palestine’s KNET 1450 AM radio, which is celebrating 70 years on the air Monday.

The station’s earliest broadcasts can be traced back to 1935, before the formation of the Federal Communications Commission. But KNET’s birth as a bonafide AM station occurred on Jan 2, 1936.

“KNET and another station, KDOT of Tyler, were the first radio stations in East Texas,” KNET’s current news director Gary Richards said. “That was a good thing for a town the size of Palestine.”


Marvin Crain, now 84, started his career at KNET in 1945 and worked there for 23 years before a brief stint at another East Texas station. He returned to Palestine in 1970, where he worked at another local station for 20 years.

“I was an announcer for a while and then got into the sales end of it,” Crain recalled. “The last 15 years I spent as a local reporter.”

According to Crain, radio has changed tremendously over the past 70 years, particularly in the area of technology.

“I remember when I first started we were using 78 rpm records,” he said. “If you dropped one of those it broke like a cracker.

“We also played lots of different kinds of music — not just a single format like we see today,” he added. “My two favorite shows were ‘Cowboy Roundup’ and ‘Jive ‘til Five.’”

Several famous musicians, including then-popular country artist Hank Williams, visited the station to perform or just plug their latest single.

“Eddie Arnold did a program for us and Loretta Lynn came by for a few minutes,” Crain said. “Lyndon B. Johnson also stopped here to do a broadcast when he was running for senator.”


Read the article
Palestine Herald-Press


Country music buff stays true to roots

From The Livingston Daily Press and Argus
Though he has lived in Brighton for most of his life, John Morris has never strayed too far away from his roots.

Morris, 67, grew up in a large family in the eastern part of Kentucky. His father worked as a sharecropper and coal miner. The family didn't have a lot of money, but what made the situation somewhat bearable was listening to country and bluegrass music.


These days, Morris has a radio program on WCXI (1160 AM) in Fenton from 6 a.m. until noon on Saturdays featuring classic country. Morris continues to find old records and cassettes at Salvation Army or Goodwill stores. He admits that finding good music these days is getting harder to do. Even finding good country music has become a chore.

"Country music is suffering from an identity problem," he said. "They try to get pop and rock 'n' roll crossover hits."

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Daily Press & Argus (Michigan)


Hank's Music Lives On

From The Montgomery Advertiser
His voice has been stilled for more than half a century, but those mesmerized by Hank Williams aren't about to forget a man who wrote about lost love, sleepless nights and purple skies.

Many turned out at Williams' gravesite Sunday morning to remember him and the music he left behind at the age of 29 when alcohol, drugs and physical problems proved just too much for his heart.

Williams died in the back seat of his new baby blue Cadillac on Jan. 1, 1953, as he and Charles Carr, his teenage driver from Montgomery, tried to get to a concert engagement in West Virginia.

Carr was one of those who attended the memorial service at the Oakwood Cemetery Annex. He rarely misses the event or an opportunity to speak about Williams, whose meteoric career spread far beyond the country songs he made famous. ...

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Montgomery Advertiser


National Music Museum: Barbara Mandrell Crutch Steel Guitar

From the National Music Museum
In 1984, Barbara Mandrell was in a car crash that left her severely injured. Moseley, Mandrell’s close friend, devised a creative get-well gift; an electric lap-steel guitar built as a functional crutch and finished in a bright blue metallic lacquer. When Moseley delivered the instrument, he fitted the instrument to her height in Mandrell’s husband’s basement workshop. ...

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National Music Museum


Revolutionizing pedal-steel guitar

From the Newport News Daily Press
It takes a mighty musician to rescue an instrument from the scrap heap of the uncool.

That's exactly what Robert Randolph has done with the pedal steel.

Once this type of electric slide guitar was associated mostly with less-than-hip country acts Conway Twitty and Kenny Rogers. Decades later, alternative country bands like Uncle Tupelo and the Jayhawks tried to rehabilitate it, but could only put a bit of polish on a tarnished - even rusted - image.

Along came Randolph and everything changed. The young churchgoing man from New Jersey has single-handedly upended the concept of pedal steel.

Randolph, who plays The NorVa in Norfolk on Thursday, was in the studio in Nashville last week recording a new album for release next spring. Eric Clapton is set to contribute to the disc. Other possible collaborators include Lauryn Hill, Maroon 5, The Roots and Gretchen Wilson, according to Rolling Stone magazine. Producer Daniel Lanois is to work on the new album as well as Mark Batson, known for his production for Dave Matthews.

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The Daily Press


Pedal steel guitar players set the record straight

From the Newport News Daily Press
Know what it's like to be picked apart by dozens of angry pedal steel guitar players?

I do.

It's not a sensation I recommend.

In Tuesday's Life section, I wrote a short (and I thought sweet) story about Robert Randolph, an African-American musician who is bringing new life to an old instrument, the pedal steel guitar. Randolph, who played The NorVa on Thursday, comes from the "sacred steel" tradition, meaning he plays a high-energy gospel-based form of music. His sizzling style has made him popular with rock fans - some of whom wouldn't have known pedal steel from pedal pusher before Randolph emerged from the wilds of New Jersey.

None of this presumably offended the pedal steel community at large. It was the nerve-touching lead sentence of my story that caused conniptions all the way to Nashville and back. "It takes a mighty musician to rescue an instrument from the scrap heap of the uncool," I wrote.

Once that sentence began flying around in cyberspace, a crowd of dedicated pedal steelers was ready to burn me in effigy - or worse. Before noon on Tuesday, the e-mails were hitting hard and heavy.

Personal insults and accusations of racism aside, some of these guys had interesting things to say.

"You should come to St. Louis during the Labor Day weekend and see the International Steel Guitar Convention at the Millennium Hotel," suggested one e-mailer. "The pedal steel guitar is far from the junk heap or the closet for that matter ... I'm sure to you rock 'n' roll is the most outstanding music but the steel guitar is not pigeonholed into only country music."

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The Daily Press


Freddie Roulette's guitar gambols

From the Contra Costa Times
Freddie Roulette may be a soft-spoken man, but his guitar speaks volumes.

Notes swell and glide, jump, strut and boogie as thin, tapered fingers pick out a blend of country-western twang, funky urban rhythms and tropical ululations. The sound tells you all you need to know about the Berkeley musician -- or at least as much as he'd like you to know.

In person, the 65-year-old renowned lap steel guitar player is remarkably humble -- you might even call him shy. But onstage, he comfortably shares the limelight with other well-known Bay Area musicians. In fact, Freddie and Friends (guitarist Michael Hinton, bassist Michael Warren and drummer and producer Michael Borbridge) will be playing a spate of gigs in Berkeley and San Francisco this month.

Roulette, who's been playing the lap steel since childhood, has lent his unique sound -- which draws on country-western, Hawaiian guitar, blues and funk -- to a bevy of well-known musicians, including Frank Zappa, John Lee Hooker and blues great Earl Hooker. Still, he's not a name-dropper. Roulette prefers to talk about the good music coaxed out of the weathered wood body of his vintage mid-1940s lap steel guitar rather than who he's jammed with.

Read the article
Contra Costa Times


Gail Rich Awards: Bob Brozman

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel
Of all the artists who get their mail in Santa Cruz County, none has more international reach than guitarist and ethno-musicologist Bob Brozman. The longtime Ben Lomond resident rarely gets to sleep in his own bed, however. Since being struck by the power of the delta blues as a young player, Bob has been on a constant mission to expand his musical horizons to all corners of the globe. One of the world's leading authorities on the National steel guitar and a lifelong devotee of the traditional music of Hawaii, Bob regularly performs all over the world from the cultural centers of Europe to the villages of Papua New Guinea.

Read the article
Santa Cruz Sentinel

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