Sunday, September 28, 2008


Willie Nelson Earns Everything But the Panties at Radio City

Over the course of his 30-song sing-along at Radio City Music Hall last night, Willie Nelson proved he's nothing if not generous. When the man says he's about to play a Hank Williams tune, he's actually about to play three Hank Williams tunes. And don't try to clap, or whoop, or yell "WILLLLLLLIE!" when he's done crooning "On the Road Again" because you'll miss the opening couplets of "Always on My Mind." Nelson dashed from song to song to song, braids hanging to his belly, pausing only occasionally to fling red bandannas into the crowd.

Given the screams coming from the audience, you'd think a few undergarments might come flying onstage in return for this generosity. But that never happened, and the 75-year-old had to earn his own laughs. (He made it look easy with a new ditty called "Superman" — it starts with the punch line, "Too many pain pills, too much pot / Tryin' to be something that I'm not … I ain't Superman.")

Read the entire article in New York Magazine: Willie Nelson Earns Everything But the Panties at Radio City


Deal paves way for Hank Williams treasure trove

It took a fortuitous find and years of legal wrangling, but some of the lesser-known recordings by country great Hank Williams will soon be available for mass consumption.

"The Unreleased Recordings" includes performances from the "Mother's Best Flour" radio program, which Williams hosted on the legendary WSM-AM Nashville in 1951, two years before his death.

Time Life will release the 143 recordings in various packages in the next three years through an exclusive agreement with the Williams estate. The first set is due October 28.

Williams and his band prerecorded 72 shows to run while they were on tour. The shows were recorded on 16-inch acetate discs that were later thrown into the trash during a station move in the '60s but salvaged by WSM employee Les Leverett.


Williams said that even devotees of her father's music will find something new here. "Unless you were listening that morning in 1951, you've never heard that version of 'Cold, Cold Heart,'" she said. "You may have heard the master, but you've never heard the February 3, 1951, version of Hank Williams singing it.

"The fidelity of these recordings (is) better than his MGM masters," she said. "These have not been enhanced or tinkered with. It's as if it was 1951 and my dad was recording it right then. It was a one-time take."

In addition to Williams' best-known material, the recordings include 40 songs he was never known to have performed and others he never recorded commercially, including "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," "Cherokee Boogie" and "On Top of Old Smoky."

Read the entire article: Deal paves way for Hank Williams treasure trove -- Tuscola County Advertiser (Michigan)


Music for the sake of the kids

When the Refugio Country Opry was started seven years ago, the organizers wanted it to be about more than music. More than $32,600 given out in scholarships later, board member Jay Monrad believes it is.

“We do this mainly for the kids in the community. It’s a way to listen to great music but at the same time, support our local students as much as we can,” he said.

The opry, a nonprofit organization, puts on a show the first Thursday of every month, showcasing both local and out-of-town talent in genres such as country, gospel, rhythm and blues and comedy. At the end of the school, the opry takes the money they received from their $5-per-person admission price and searches for deserving students from the high schools in Refugio, Woodsboro and Tivoli.

“We don’t go by top grades necessarily when picking students to receive the scholarships. We’ve made it more of a habit to pick children that are the most deserving,” Monrad said. “The top students are getting a lot of other scholarships already, so we go more by why they want the scholarship.”

Monrad added that depending on how much money they made over the year will determine how much they give out in scholarships. For example, last year, they gave out 18 $500 scholarships.

“Every penny above our expenses all goes toward the scholarships,” he said.

Read the entire article: Music for the sake of the kids -- Victoria (TX) Advocate


GA State Route 378 dedicated to Roy "Pop" Lewis

State and local officials honored a music icon in a big way, Monday afternoon. Friends and family gathered in Lincolnton to dedicate a highway to James Roy "Pop" Lewis.

It’s a music legacy that started more than 50 years ago.

"He stole Mamma from a second story window in 1925. They eloped. They had all of us. We bought a bus and started singing," said “Little” Roy Lewis, Son.

Little Roy Lewis is the youngest son of James Roy "Pop" Lewis. He remembers the musical foundation his father laid down to create the First Family of Bluegrass Gospel music. It all unfolded in Lincolnton.

"I remember getting into a Model “A” Ford and going to our piano lessons. My grandmother was in the other room listening to opera. We would hear the guitar and fiddle and knew we wanted to do something other than play the piano,” said Lewis.

But this bluegrass gospel group wasn't always a Christian band.

"We use to play hillbilly music back in the '40s. But we got booked on a Christian Radio station. My mamma said you can't sing what you've been singing. So that day we started to sing religious songs,” said Lewis.

After that switch, the rest was bluegrass gospel history. To this day, the Lewis family carries on Pop's legacy. His hometown of Lincolnton is paying tribute to the man who never forgot his roots. Just take a drive along State Route 378 in Lincoln County; you'll see a sign dedicated to remember this music legend.

Read the full article: GA State Route 378 dedicated to Roy "Pop" Lewis -- NBC Augusta, GA

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