Sunday, September 24, 2006


Book Captures Life, Times of Doc Williams

From The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register
Growing up in East Wheeling back in the ’50s and ’60s I was too young and too busy playing cowboy and Indians to realize that my neighbors were Country Music stars and legends Doc and Chickie Williams.

Also at such a young age, with absolutely no interest what-so-ever in girls, I didn’t really pay attention to their three lovely daughters Madeline, Barbara and Karen, Pooch, Peeper and Punkin as they were called, let alone their respective musical talents. Well, musicians keep time while performing and Doc Williams to this day keeps time and has recorded for friends and fans the times of his life, Chickie’s and the family’s in a new book titled, “A Country Music Legend Doc Williams Looking Back”.

Starting in 2002 at the age of 88, Doc started to record his memoirs on tape and daughter Barbara organized the material into the newly released book. Madeline wrote in the Preface, “How do you write about a lifetime?”

“It has to be a labor of love,” Doc said about the book, which was published by James Thornton, owner of Creative Impressions in Wheeling. The 184-page book contains stories and close to 200 black-and-white photographs which help tell the story.

Relaxing on his front porch and sporting black pants, a red shirt, bolo tie, suspenders, boots and a Stetson and with guitar in hand Doc said, “You might say I’m running out of steam, but I have enough steam left to sit down and talk.” He estimates that they traveled well over a million miles while performing, taking their Doc Williams Show to small towns, “in nearby and faraway places.”

The book is available by contacting Doc Williams, Wheeling Music and Publishing Co., P.O. Box 902 Wheeling, WV 26003, or by calling the publisher James Thornton at Creative Impressions in Wheeling at (304) 232-9623.

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The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Steel yourself: six-string festival slides into town

From The Globe and Mail
Vancouver Steel Guitar Festival

Just over a century ago, a Hawaiian musician found that by raising the six strings of his instrument and sliding a small metal rod over them, he could produce a harmonious glissando. Thus, the steel guitar was born. The new style of playing caught on quickly, especially in North America, and inspired guitar makers to develop ingenious variations on the basic box.

"The main types are the Dobro, the Weissenborn, the lap steel and the pedal steel -- all of which you'll be able to hear at our event," says Kat Wahamaa, co-founder of the Vancouver Steel Guitar Festival, which starts on Sept. 21. "I've always loved the sound they make because it's so much like the human voice. You can play all the notes between the notes, and bend them around."

There will be concerts on Thursday and Friday nights, and workshops on Saturday for learners. Highlights include performances by ShinyBuckle with veteran pedal-steel player Hank Rodgers, Dobro master Doug Cox with Todd Butler, Juno-Award winner Steve Dawson, and the Gang of Five -- an all-steel-guitar band led by local luthier and gypsy-jazz player Michael Dunn.

The Vancouver Steel Guitar Festival runs Sept. 21 to 23. Workshop tickets are $10, concerts are $20 and festival passes are $40. WISE Hall, 1882 Adanac St., 604-254-5858,

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The Globe and Mail


Honky Tonkin’ at the Civic Theatre

From the Albert Lea Tribune
Country music fans will find lots of their old favorites and those who aren’t necessarily country fans will find lots of laughs in the Albert Lea Community Theatre production of “Honky Tonk Angels.” The musical review opens Thursday at the Albert Lea Civic Theatre.

“Honky Tonk Angels,” which was written by Red Swindley, is a musical tribute to the women of country music. Featured in the show are Lisa Sturtz and Stephanie Erdman, both of Albert Lea, and Kelly Huff of Medford.

“Honky Tonk Angels” is the story of three women who leave their hum-drum lives to pursue a singing career in Nashville. They meet on a bus and end up forming a musical group.

The review features more than 40 songs, including “Harper Valley PTA,” “9 to 5,” “Ode to Billy Joe,” “Fancy,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Stand by Your Man,” “Rocky Top” and more.

“Honky Tonk Angels” opens Sept. 21 and continues Sept. 22 and 23 and Sept. 27 to 30 at 7:30 p.m. There is a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sept. 24. Tickets for the public go on sale Monday at 3:30 p.m. The box office number is 377-4371.

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Albert Lea Tribune


Jazzabillies: ‘Show Me’ western swing

From The Lake Sun Leader
International acclaim has launched the Jazzabilies to the helm of western swing music. But in order to delve into a Texas-born genre, the band had to present not only their unique sound and harnessed talents to listeners and promoters, but also bring it to the table with a kick.

That's why the group's original tune, "Show Me," boasts the Jazzabillies motto, "kickin' western swing," and allows avid enthusiasts of the genre to give kudos to Missouri musicians.

"When we did {our} CD, we wanted to explain who we were and what our group was about, so we titled [our tune and CD], 'Show Me,' which is also our state's slogan," said lead vocalist and composer Starla Queen. "It's similar to the bluegrass song, 'Mama Don't Allow,' in its set-up. It's a vocal song, but it gives several instrumental breaks to introduce each band member.

At that time, the band included Queen, Jimmy, Dave Owens on bass, Tony Smith on fiddle, Matt De'Peiro on accordian and Matt Wallace on drums. Jazzabillies played regularly at Kula Bay, in Hurricane Deck, for sometime, but when the summer season drew to a close, the musicians pursued their own projects.

Steel guitar and vocalist Scotty Henderson as well as Dave Owens, also played in that country ensemble, belting out a lot of the same rockabilly, jazz and western swing tunes the Jazzabillies play today. The quartet now makes up the current Jazzabillies with drummer Ronnie Blecher and appearences by vocalist and guitarist Lonnie Patteson.

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Lake Sun Leader


Roy Clark to perform

From Myrtle Beach Online
The Brunswick Little Theatre will present country singer Roy Clark tonight at Odell Williamson Auditorium at Brunswick Community College in North Carolina.

Clark is most well-known for hosting one of the first nationally televised country variety shows, "Hee Haw," from 1969 to 1992; on the show, he played both the banjo and guitar. He also made many guest appearances for Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show."

Clark's popular hits are "Yesterday, When I was Young" and "Thank God and Greyhound."

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Myrtle Beach Online


Country star Emmylou Harris brings flair for harmony to Wharton

The Lansing State Journal
Emmylou Harris reaches the Wharton Center tonight, bearing a sturdy reputation.

She's been a pioneer. She's trampled borders and boundaries.

And that wasn't what you'd have expected in her teen years.

"I wasn't much fun," Harris recalled by phone. "I was a good little girl. I obeyed the rules."

Maybe that's natural in a military family. Harris was valedictorian, getting straight A's for five straight years.

"Emmylou Harris did what had been previously unthinkable," Robert Oermann wrote in "A Century of Country Music" (TV Books, 1999). "She united hip country-rock fans and hard-line country conservatives."

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Lansing State Journal


Get Out: The Carolina Opry

From Myrtle Beach Online
THE CAROLINA OPRY, northern intersection of U.S. 17 and U.S. 17 Bypass, Myrtle Beach, The Carolina Opry Show. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Preshow begins at 7:45 p.m. "Good Vibrations" musical variety showtimes are at 8 p.m. today and Tuesday. Tickets are $33.95 for adults; $39.95 for premium seats; $21 for students with ID; and $16 for children 3-16. 913-4000, 1-800-843-6779 or

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Myrtle Beach Online


Lorrie Morgan is Right Where She Wants to Be

From KTWO Radio (Wyoming)
Lorrie Morgan was born into the country music business, so it should be no surprise that she's had the longevity she has.

Starting her career on the Grand Ol' Opry stage in Nashville in 1972 at age 13, she has been a part of country music all her life.

The daughter of well-known country band leader George Morgan, she took over his band when he died in 1975 and led it for three years before striking out on her own.

Eventually she became a vanguard of county music's video revolution in the late '80s and early '90s, scoring more than a dozen No. 1, including the songs "Five Minutes," "What Part of No" and "I Didn't Know My Own Strength."

Morgan is still going strong, touring and playing benefit shows. Though it hasn't always been easy, she said in a recent interview that she's happy with where she's at.

Morgan released her 12th disc, "Show Me How" in 2004 and scored with the hit "Do You Still Want To Buy Me That Drink?" But she's been known to throw a few curves, as she did with her foray in pop music, the 1998 CD "Secret Love."

"I wanted this album to be what made me fall in love with music and that was country music," Morgan says. "I wanted to make sure that people knew that country music was and still is the love of my life. That's what this album is about. It's about what kind of music I love, and that's country."

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KTWO Radio


Opry lands in low-rent spot on new Monopoly

From The Tennessean
Bill Anderson, country traditionalist, master songwriter … and owner of the Grand Ole Opry?

He laughs at the notion, but if he has enough play money and lands on the right Monopoly square, he could buy the grand old radio institution for $1 million.

Anderson kind of bristles at the notion that the Opry — where he's been a cast member for 45 years — can be bought and sold for such a relatively small price by those playing the new Monopoly Here & Now, which substitutes modern landmarks for the old-time favorites such as Boardwalk, Marvin Gardens and Park Place.

After all, he says, O'Hare International Airport is $2 million. Disney World is $2.4 million. And Wrigley Field is $3 million.

"I think, based on the comparative prices, that the Opry is priced too cheap," Anderson said.

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The Tennessean

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Hillbilly Jazz: From the Blue Ridge to Blue Note

From All About Jazz
If you were to take the entire purview of American music, trace each form back to its roots, and compare those roots side-by-side, you would notice several very interesting things. For one, just how easy it is to manipulate you into undertaking a detailed, time-consuming activity with just a single sentence. You'd also notice that virtually all American music can trace their roots to Dixie. The blues, arguably the primer for the lion's share of our collective music, sprang from the fields of the agrarian South. From that source sprang jazz, R&B, rock-and-roll, and that song from that beer commercial that I really like.

Meanwhile, in the Appalachian mountains of the South, the common balladry of the Scotch-Irish settlers who had been settling the region since the early seventeenth century had been undergoing a slow process of assimilation and was developing into a distinctive form unto its own. Known as mountain, or country music, the form was primarily vocal and strings but did not yet closely resemble its modern form because canned beer, mobile homes and pickup trucks were yet to be invented.

With the advent of recording technology at the beginning of the twentieth century, traditional country music expanded beyond its established boundaries and found an audience all over the country wherever blue collars and red necks were allowed to roam free. Early pioneers of the recorded form included Virginia's legendary Carter family who rose from the hardscrabble coalfields to become internationally renowned thanks mostly to the talents and determination of Mother Maybelle Carter, one of the first strong female figures in music. It might be said that she was the Madonna of her age, except without the media whoredom, the crackpot views, and (thankfully) no book of featuring Mother Maybelle posing in erotic situations with Sidney Bechet and Hattie McDaniel.

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FAll About Jazz


Trek to Wheeling brings back fond memories of Jamboree

From the Newark Advocate
Once a year I make my annual deposit at one of West Virginia's dog tracks. This year I decided to travel to Wheeling over the long Fourth of July weekend.

While sitting in the Terrace Dining Room at Wheeling Downs, I saw a large white building a few yards beyond the dog track fence. The building triggered my memory. I believed this boarded-up, theater-like structure was a part of Wheeling's entertainment past. The dining room host who was forty-something remembered the building as a skating rink when she was in high school in the early eighties.

I was certain that I was looking at the once-famous jamboree hall, home to the WWVA weekly radio hoedown. A quick trip online confirmed my suspicions. The jamboree is still in existence, though not weekly. It originated at a downtown Wheeling movie theater but moved to the exhibition hall on Wheeling Island in the 1960s. Later, the show returned to the Capitol music hall in the downtown area.
I attended the jamboree one Saturday in the '60s. The jamboree originated in 1933 and became the second largest weekly country music show. Unfortunately, WWVA has adopted a talk news format, so the country music show is only heard on FM. The AM radio broadcast was audible on the 50,000-watt giant for over 500 miles on Saturday nights.

Jamboree Hall held 3,000 country music fans and was sold out most Saturday evenings. Tickets ranged from $8 for the best seats to $2 for the back of the hall. The show I attended featured many of the regulars plus the headlining Osborn Brothers and Little Jimmy Dickens.

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The Newark Advocate


Hall of Famers push drive for Buck O’Neil Center

From The Kansas City Kansan
They came from coast-to-coast and border-to-border to give a helping hand to one of Kansas City’s legends this week.

Baseball Hall of Famers Robin Roberts, Ozzie Smith, Joe Morgan and Lou Brock showed up. Ex-Brooklyn Dodger great Don Newcombe and Willie Wilson flew in from the East Coast, Amos Otis came from his home in Las Vegas, former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson made the trip from Dallas.

Boxer Riddick Bowe was hand and country and western singer Charley Pride even showed up - all to take part in a reception at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum prior to the 2006 Buck O’Neil Golf Classic at Shoal Creek Tuesday.

Unfortunately, Buck couldn’t make it. At 94 years of age, the years are catching up with Buck and he’s run into some health problems of late.

This year’s event was made a little more special because Buck was not voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by a special committee judging the merits of more than 30 former Negro League players, managers and administrators.

That exclusion has made for a more determined effort than ever that Buck’s name be forever enshrined for his efforts on behalf of the many Negro League players who were denied the opportunity to play in the major leagues by establishing the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center.

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The Kansas City Kansan


Cowboys of Color to enshrine nine, including Charley Pride

From the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Country-Western music star Charley Pride is among nine notables who will be inducted tonight into the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame.

Pride, who lives in Dallas, is scheduled to perform at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The concert kicks off the three-day Cowboys of Color Extravaganza of concerts and rodeo performances.

Other 2006 inductees include educator Ken Pollard, horseback riding activity organizer Patricia Kelly and riding camp organizer Rosieleeta "Lee" Reed. The list also includes historical figures from the 1800s and 1900s: U.S. deputy marshal Bass Reeves, Native American fugitive Jackson Sundown, Texas politician and military hero Col. Juan Seguin, Oregon bronc rider George Fletcher and trick rider Knox Simmons.

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Ft. Worth Star-Telegram


Lost & found: Hank Williams' notebook

From the Chicago Sun-Times
Country music archivists Stephen Shutts and Robert Reynolds (bassist for the Mavericks) curate a traveling Honky Tonk Hall of Fame ( featuring more than 1,000 items, among them Elvis' Presley's white underwear (circa 1970) and a piece of the wing from the Patsy Cline airplane crash, which have appeared at events such as the Brooks and Dunn Neon Circus and Wild West Show tour. They even bought the Zippin Pippen in Memphis, which is the nation's second oldest wooden roller coaster and was Elvis' favorite amusement park ride.

But while traveling the lost highway, Reynolds and Shutts came across a Holy Grail of American music. Earlier this summer they purchased a notebook consisting of 20 handwritten, unpublished Hank Williams lyrics and song fragments from May 2, 1947 through 1949. Seventeen of them were never recorded.

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Chicago Sun-Times

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