ORTHOPHONIC JOY • LITTLE BIG TOWN • TYLER FARR • BILL AND LAUR A PURSELL
OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF AFM LOCAL 257 JULY– SEP TEMBER 2015
NJO L IVE with VICTOR WOOTEN
RHYTHM MAKERS DRUMMING LEGENDS TELL THEIR SECRETS
JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 1
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2 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
CONTENTS Official Journal of the Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257 | JULY—SEPTEMBER 2015
STATE OF THE LOCAL
HEARD ON THE GRAPEVINE
Details on the next membership meeting scheduled for Monday, Aug. 24, 2015, which will include a Funeral Fund Bylaw proposal, as well as meeting minutes.
President Dave Pomeroy talks about a variety of exciting recent developments that will have a positive impact on professional musicians.
Secretary-Treasurer Vince Santoro discusses balancing the big picture and attention to detail when it comes to responsible financial management.
The notable comings and goings of Nashville Musicians Association members.
Multiple awards shows honored a host of Local 257 winners.
Member milestones, gigs and events.
COVER STORY: SAM BUSH
Our writer Warren Denney interviews mandolinist and fiddle player Sam Bush — a pivotal figure in the rebirth of bluegrass — on origins, transformation, and the joy of roads still untraveled.
CDs from a variety of artists, plus book, product, and live gig reviews.
24 JAZZ & BLUES BEAT
16 SAM BUSH
A roundup of cool shows, festivals, and other happenings in the jazz and blues community.
26 SYMPHONY NOTES
Laura Ross gives a retrospective of the long and impressive history of the Nashville Symphony.
28 FINAL NOTES
We bid farewell to Joe B. Mauldin, Bobby Emmons, James Edward “Spider” Wilson, Chuck Sagle, Robert Arthur “Tut” Taylor, Don Davis, Joseph William “Joe Bill” Culp, and Doyle Nelson.
34 DO NOT WORK FOR LIST Cover Photo by Shelly Swanger
SYMPHONY NOTES Amerigo Marino leads the NSO at the 1985 Summer Lights Festival. Photo: Harry Butler courtesy of Nashville Symphony archives
JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 3
ANNOUNCEMENTS Next General Membership Meeting Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 OFFICIAL QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF THE NASHVILLE MUSICIANS ASSOCIATION AFM LOCAL 257
PUBLISHER EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR ASSISTANT EDITOR CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Dave Pomeroy Vince Santoro Kathy Osborne Leslie Barr Austin Bealmear Warren Denney Roy Montana Kathy Osborne Laura Ross Steve Wayne
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Rick Diamond Steve Green Donn Jones Dave Pomeroy Laura Ross Vince Santoro ART DIRECTION Lisa Dunn Design WEB ADMINISTRATOR Kathy Osborne AD SALES Leslie Barr 615-244-9514 LOCAL 257 OFFICERS PRESIDENT Dave Pomeroy SECRETARY-TREASURER Vince Santoro EXECUTIVE BOARD Jim Brown Jimmy Capps Beth Gottlieb Andy Reiss Laura Ross Tom Wild Jonathan Yudkin HEARING BOARD Michelle Voan Capps Tiger Fitzhugh Teresa Hargrove Kent Goodson Dave Moody Kathy Shepard John Terrence TRUSTEES Bruce Radek Biff Watson SERGEANT-AT-ARMS Steve Tveit NASHVILLE SYMPHONY STEWARD Laura Ross OFFICE MANAGER Anita Winstead
ELECTRONIC MEDIA SERVICES DIRECTOR ASSISTANT DATA ENTRY RECORDING DEPT. ASSISTANT
Steve Tveit Teri Barnett Robert Sieben Ashley Worley
DIRECTOR, LIVE/TOURING DEPT. Leslie Barr AND PENSION ADMINISTRATOR MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR & Rachel Mowl LIVE ENGAGEMENT/MPTF COORDINATOR MEMBER SERVICES/RECEPTION Laura Birdwell @ 2015 Nashville Musicians Association P.O. Box 120399, Nashville TN 37212 All rights reserved. nashvillemusicians.org
4 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
The next General Membership meeting will be Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 at 6 p.m. An important bylaw proposal regarding the Funeral Fund Benefit is on the agenda, along with a number of other important issues. Please make plans to attend and get involved in the business of your local. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Funeral Benefit Bylaw Amendment proposal Whereas, the Local 257 Funeral Benefit is governed by the fiduciaries of the Funeral Fund, and Section XII of the Local 257 bylaws that outline how the Fund is to be distributed and funded; and, Whereas, Article XII, Section 8, defines a formula designed to replenish the fund through an annual assessment to all members, based on the total amount over a threshold, which was adjusted to $200,000 in 2012, that is paid out in the previous calendar year to beneficiaries of the Fund; and, Whereas, in recent years, we used insurance company policies to help fund the benefit, but the financial climate has changed to the degree that this process has become untenable, so we have cancelled this insurance policy; and, Whereas, accordingly, we have returned the Funeral Fund to its previous method of replenishing itself through the Funeral Benefit Fee of $15 plus a yearly assessment based on the benefit payouts exceeding the threshold; Therefore, Be it resolved, that Article XII, Section 8, be amended as follows (New language in bold): Section 8. If during any calendar year Funeral Benefit Fund payments exceed $200,000, $100,000, the local Fiduciary Trustees shall levy an additional Funeral Benefit Fund assessment upon each member, a minimum amount of fifty cents ($.50) for each additional $1,000 in benefits paid. The exact amount of the assessment will be determined annually by the fiduciaries of the Funeral Fund, with the approval of the Local 257 Executive Board. Submitted by the Funeral Benefit Fund fiduciaries â€“ Dave Pomeroy and Vince Santoro. Board Recommendation: Favorable
DO WE HAVE YOUR CURRENT
Local 257 sends important advisories to members by email, including updates on our annual NAMM pass giveaway, and invitations to Local 257 events. Don't be left out of the loop! Notify the front desk of any changes to your contact information, including phone number, address and beneficiary.
Call 615-244-9514 to make sure we have your correct information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNOUNCEMENTS Minutes of the Executive Board Meeting May 15, 2015
4) New promo film for Ryman is in discussion regarding musicians payments.
PRESENT: Jimmy Capps (JC), Tom Wild (TW), Jim Brown (JB), Laura Ross (LR), Andre Reiss (AR), Jonathan Yudkin (JY), Vince Santoro (VS), Dave Pomeroy (DP)
6) Office has new staff member to replace Lydia Petritto. Ashley Worley started last week.
5) Scales and Lower Broad Committees will meet next week.
ABSENT: Beth Gottlieb (BG) President Pomeroy called the meeting to order at 8:35 a.m. MINUTES: Minutes from Apr. 8, 2015 EB meeting were distributed. MSC to approve. TW, AR.
1) Immigration issues have come up and we’ve written letters on behalf of AFM members who request help with their P-2s and O-1s. 2) Our air conditioner in the rehearsal hall needs attention. 3) In an effort to install a new (Sears Outlet) fridge, we ran into some issues with an icemaker line, but as of today, everything in the kitchen is in good shape.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: 1) CMT lawyer finally set dates for negotiation first or second week of June. 2) With the loss of the Rockettes at the Opry House we’ve reached out to the new people in charge there to see if live musicians will be used for the new show. 3) Use of studio tracks onstage is a continuing issue.
4) Our efforts to get our Funeral Benefit Fund on a sustainable path is ongoing and will require several steps that the board will address over time. MSC to approve new member applications. LR, JY. Unanimously approved. Motion to adjourn. LR, TW Meeting adjourned at 9:20 a.m TNM
AFM LOCAL 257 HOLIDAY CLOSINGS
CONCERTS AT A GLANCE
Monday, Sept. 7, 2015
N A S H V I L L E SY M P H O N Y & YO U
TCHAIKOVSKY'S FIRST PIANO CONCERTO
& Guitar Legend Manuel Barrueco
& John Adams' Homage to 9/11
October 2 & 3
POKÉMON: SYMPHONIC EVOLUTIONS
September 10 to 13
with the Nashville Symphony
FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS
THE BEST OF BROADWAY
with the Nashville Symphony
with the Nashville Symphony
September 24 to 26
October 15 to 17
VIVALDI'S FOUR SEASONS
BACH'S BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS
with the Nashville Symphony September 27
October 22 to 25
Mention promo code AFM for 10% off Aegis Sciences Classical Series tickets! JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 5
STATE OF THE LOCAL
BY DAVE POMEROY
nother excellent Summer NAMM has come and gone, and more Local 257 members than ever before attended the musical instrument manufacturers and dealers convention. Despite the heat, there were many cool events and activities going on in the Music City Center and around town. The American Eagle Awards, presented at NAMM by the National Music Council, honored our members Kris Kristofferson and Jim Lauderdale for their contributions to America’s musical heritage. The Nashville Public Schools “Music Makes Us” program was also saluted for their work in raising the bar for music education in our public schools. NAMM’s emphasis on music education is a cause we can all get behind. Thanks to all of you who are already involved in teaching our children music and volunteering in any way you can in our community. This is one of the things that make Nashville special, and we are in a unique position to demonstrate by our example that music makes the world a better place.
Respect has no expiration date Local 257 member Taylor Swift recently caused a big sensation by standing up to Apple and refusing to allow her music to be used as part of a three-month “free” trial of their new streaming service. In the wake of all the publicity her statement generated in just a matter of days, Apple changed their mind and agreed to pay all artists — not just Swift — for the use of their music during the trial period. Swift used her leverage as one of the biggest stars in music today to help not just herself, but other musicians as well. This is a great example of how standing up for yourself not only helps you, but also creates the rising tide that lifts all boats. Thanks, Taylor, for doing the right thing. The concept of respect for music and those who create it is not new, in fact it is a theme that resonates back a long way. This issue’s lead album review is Orthophonic Joy, a tribute to the 6 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
Taylor Swift used her leverage as one of the biggest stars in music today to help not just herself, but other musicians as well. This is a great example of how standing up for yourself not only helps you, but also creates the rising tide that lifts all boats.
Bristol, Tenn., sessions referred to as the “birth” of country music. In 1927 Ralph Peer, a music publisher with experience in “hillbilly” music, went to New York City and convinced Victor Records to finance a road trip to the crossroads of Virginia and Tennessee to record regional artists. As Eddie Stubbs details in the album’s commentary, when musicians from the areas surrounding Bristol found out that Peer was not only paying $100 apiece to artists such as Pop Stoneman for their recorded performances, he was paying royalties of 2.5 cents per copy sold, they started coming from miles around. Peer was establishing an intellectual property residual stream, long before there was a name for it. As word quickly spread throughout the region that Peer was paying fair wages and royalties, iconic artists such as Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family came out of the woodwork to make their recording debuts, and the rest is history.
Fair pay for AM/FM radio play Meanwhile, here in 2015, the important fight for performance rights continues. I recently had the privilege of attending the announcement of the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act in New York City. It was introduced to Congress by U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler, John Conyers, Ted Deutch and Marsha Blackburn. We nearly got this passed in 2009, and hopefully this time the failure of AM and FM broadcasters to pay royalties to artists and musicians will be duly noted and corrected at last. Almost every civilized country except North Korea, Iran, China — and the U.S. — pay performance rights, but the National Association of Broadcasters has kept this at bay for 60 years. The AFM along with Sound Exchange and the Music First Coalition are part of a broad consortium that supports this long overdue legislation. It’s time to fix this inequity at last, and when the time comes, we will be asking you to reach out to your representatives in support of this important issue.
On Broadway For many years, the musicians of Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville have dealt with many challenges and are seldom treated with the respect they deserve. Local 257 began our efforts to help them in 2011 when we convinced the city to create Musician Loading Zones. Since then, we have built relationships with the downtown police commander, the taxi commissioner, and Metro government. We have been exchanging information and ideas and helping to keep taxis with little or no concern for anyone but themselves from taking over the streets. Over the past couple of years I have personally gone to court with seven musicians who were unfairly given parking tickets when taxis were parked in the MLZ, and so far we are 100 percent successful in getting these tickets dismissed. Public Works is about to unveil a new plan for Lower Broadway, which will widen the sidewalks and create a new loading zone lane on either side from 5th to 1st Avenue. We have been invited to be part of the vetting process for these changes and have created two Lower Broadway Musicians Facebook pages. One is a closed discussion group with over 200 musicians and the other is a public page where we can post our conclusions. We are discussing many issues internally and with Metro, including affordable parking ideas, and will be working towards getting the clubs who pay the lowest wages to share the wealth. This is a great exercise in communication, and Metro government has made it clear that they want to hear the musicians’ side of the story. Local 257 is the conduit for that information. My door is always open, and my philosophy of leadership is to find workable solutions to problems rather than simply complaining about them. That approach brought me to this job over seven years ago and remains unchanged. All of us at Local 257 stand ready to help you in any way we can. We are always stronger together than we can ever be separately, and it is an honor to represent all of you. TNM
The better we deal with our vendors and all of our expenses, the better off our local will do fiscally — just as we do better when we continually update our AFM recording agreements and renegotiate rates which become out-of-date.
I settle into my position here at AFM Local 257 I begin to see how my job entails more than I was aware of upon being sworn in. Issues that arise can cover the gamut from the seemingly small, all the way to the very large, and I can’t let my view become myopic while I’m staring at the big stuff. Even small issues have a tendency to teach me brand new lessons.
It’s the little things — and the big things too The soap dispenser in the men’s room at the union building delivers one droplet of soap to each person at the sink. It will not dispense more than one droplet regardless of how many times a person depresses the pump-action fixture. The amount it does provide is just enough to wash one’s hands and, by my calculations, we are socking away a king’s ransom in soap expense every day! Of course, this issue is one that allows me to smile and be reminded that I can’t let the big stuff get me down. The building that houses our local was built in 1978 and needless to say, it must be maintained like any other 40-year-old structure. Styles in construction change all the time and I’m sure we would do some things differently if we were building today. It is brick — a solid construction choice — but it has skylights and a flat roof. Although I love the natural light that the skylights provide to the lobby area, they and the flat roof present complicated challenges in water and moisture control. In June we became aware that our roof had sprung some leaks. Unfortunately, the company that installed the roof is now defunct. We have found an outfit — Empire Roofing — to do repairs, and our warranty on materials is still in effect. Our air conditioning went out a few weeks ago. We opted to patch and repair, knowing that we face replacing the system in the not-toodistant future at the estimated cost of $25,000
— $50,000. Also, we recently renewed our contract with Windstream for the office telephone service at a savings to the local of around $200/ month. That adds up to a cool $2400/year. As stewards of Local 257, we are constantly re-evaluating contractor agreements and monitoring systems performance in order to minimize the likelihood of an emergency breakdown or a failure that could hit us hard in our union pocketbook. The better we deal with our vendors and all of our expenses, the better off our local will do fiscally — just as we do better when we continually update our AFM recording agreements and renegotiate rates which become out-of-date.
Putting the solid in solidarity I like to think of Local 257 membership as if it were a band that we all joined. Our band is quite diverse with members young and old who all have talents they bring to the table. When I look at a list of late work dues payments it becomes clear fairly quickly who is and who is not pulling their weight in the group. Those members who are consistently responsible and reliable must think it’s pretty unfair that one or two bad apples spoil their efforts since the band can’t operate without everyone chipping in. If you’re a session player, try to imagine finding out another player on the card hasn’t paid his or her work dues for months or even years, while you’ve been making it a point to stay up to date. It boggles the mind seeing the disparity between those who “get it” and those very few who don’t. Our president, Dave Pomeroy, is focused on and fully engaged in big picture issues. While I am involved with these issues to some degree, I am now focusing on small ball and finding ways to do a better job in minimizing losses. I’ve been a member of Local 257 for 25 years — long before I became secretary-treasurer. Many of you don’t know me (yet!) but those who do, know how tight I am with a buck, notice the funky, old car I drive and the frugality that I apply to everyday life. I don’t want to owe anyone anything —
BY VINCE SANTORO
especially my union whose bottom line depends on membership support. Paying annual and work dues promptly has always been a priority for me just like paying any other bill. At the same time, I know that members can face circumstances that make it difficult to meet their obligations the way they planned. If that is the case, please contact me. We can work something out.
Bringing it I’ve had the privilege of playing drums with fellow Local 257 member, Felix Cavaliere, for 15 years and he still brings his A-game to every performance. So, when I kick off the first song, I feel compelled to bring my A-game, too. It’s inspiring in that way. Here at Local 257, I see Dave and the rest of our staff bring their A-game every day. I am inspired to work hard to try and lift the level of our game as an entire membership. I realize that my little column in our quarterly magazine may not bring overdue work dues flowing like mad into union coffers, but these are pressing issues that must be talked about. For those of you who are square with us, my column is to say, “Thanks,” and for those of you who take advantage of our nice-guy nature, I hope you decide it’s way past time to get with the program and pay your fair share. We’ll keep doing our jobs to see that membership receives their due. We hope you’ll TNM do the same.
Next General Membership Meeting Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting will start promptly at 6 p.m.
JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 7
HEARD ON THE GRAPEVINE Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System to help veterans with conditions like PTSD, substance abuse, and other traumatic disorders. Daniels’ 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam Aug. 12 will benefit the Journey Home Project as well as The Predators Foundation. Performers at the Bridgestone Arena event will include Lee Greenwood, Alabama, Trace Adkins and many others. “These artists and friends of mine have all come together out of the goodness of their hearts to put on a night of entertainment all for the purpose of honoring our nation’s veterans,” Daniels said.
WAYLON JENNINGS A legendary lineup of artists performed at a tribute to Waylon Jennings July 6 in Austin, Texas. Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings featured his songs and the talent of Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Eric Church, Toby Keith, Sturgill Simpson, and Jessie Colter, among others.
TRISHA YEARWOOD The creative journey of singer and author Trisha Yearwood is the subject of a new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibition that opened July 3 and will run through December 2015. Trisha Yearwood: The Song Remembers When chronicles the singer’s life, career and critically acclaimed musical achievements, which include multiple platinum records and three Grammys. Yearwood has also established herself as a best-selling author with three cookbooks to her credit and an Emmy award-winning TV show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, currently in its sixth season. The exhibit will include a wide range of artifacts and memorabilia from Yearwood’s small-town roots to her life as a country star and author.
CHARLIE DANIELS The Journey Home Project, established in 2014 by Local 257 life member Charlie Daniels, his personal manager David Corlew and others, helps provide funding for veteran assistance programs. The non-profit group serves 31 counties in Tennessee, and works in conjunction with the 8 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
Jennings was a 30-plus year member of AFM Local 257. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, and the recipient of multiple awards over the course of his career, including two Grammys. He died in 2002 of complications from diabetes. The show will air at a later date on Austin City Limits; a portion of the proceeds will support central Texans affected by the Memorial Day flooding.
JO DEE MESSINA Multi-platinum artist Jo Dee Messina has cowritten a Chicken Soup for the Soul book with author and publisher Amy Newmark. Thanks to My Mom focuses on the beauty and challenges of motherhood. Messina wrote the introduction and first chapter, which tells the story of her mother’s “lifelong mantra, that there would always be a string connecting their hearts regardless of time, distance, or even death.” She also credits her mom with teaching her to always persevere. Before she was old enough to drive, Messina said her mother would drive her to shows. “I
HEARD ON THE GRAPEVINE
JO DEE MESSINA
JOHN OATES AND JIM LAUDERDALE
didn’t get it then. I get it now ... I’d fall asleep in the car, and we’d get home after midnight. My mom would get up at 5 o’clock and get up for work the next day... She’d sit all night just to watch me sing one song.” Newmark and Messina personally selected 101 stories for the book that pay tribute to the writers’ mothers through funny anecdotes as well as more serious entries. The book also includes the lyrics to Mes-
sina’s song “Me” and a link to a special performance of the song, which paints a picture of the challenges many mothers face. “There’s a line in there that says ‘I have to be perfect even when I feel bad/And I have to keep giving when I gave all I had.’ And it’s so true,” Messina said.
BENEFIT CONCERTS Several Local 257 members were part of two concerts held in May at City Winery in Nashville
to help fund relief and recovery efforts in Nepal after the devastating April earthquake, which reportedly killed over 8,000. Performers at the charity event included John Oates, Jack Pearson, Kathy Mattea, and Jim Lauderdale, who joined Loudon Wainwright III, Joan Osborne and other musicians, poets and fine artists. Events were also held at City Winery in New York City. Fundraising TNM numbers totaled over $20,000.
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c 615.300.6181 o 615.371.1544 RickEliasRE@gmail.com JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 9 JULY–SEPTEMBER
ocal 257 was well represented at a variety of award shows held earlier this year. At the Academy of Country Music Awards held April 19 in Arlington, Texas, Blake Shelton took home Entertainer of the Year, Little Big Town earned Vocal Group of the Year, and Dierks Bentley was honored with Video of the Year for “Drunk on a Plane.” Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, and Brooks & Dunn received ACM Milestone awards.
Taylor Swift was a multiple winner at the May 17 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, taking home honors for Top Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album for 1989, Top Billboard 200 Artist, and Top Female Artist. Meghan Trainor was awarded
10 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
twice; winning Top Hot 100 Song and Top Digital Song for “All About that Bass.” At the MusicRow Awards held at ASCAP June 23, Breakthrough Songwriter went to Michael Carter, Jay Joyce won Producer of the Year, and Top 10 Album All-Star Musician Awards went to Jimmie Lee Sloas (bass), Greg Morrow (drums), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle), Ilya Toshinsky (guitar), Charles Judge (keyboards), and Russ Pahl (steel). All-Star awards go to musicians who performed on the most Top 40 country albums in the past year. TNM
NEWS RUSS PAHL AND CHARLES JUDGE
JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 11
1. Esteemed bassist and educator Rufus Reid (l) hangs out with the Nashville Jazz Workshopâ€™s Roger Spencer after his clinic and performances at NJW.
4. Guitarist Bill Hullett celebrates reaching AFM life membership. Hullett joined Local 257 in 1978.
2. Roland Barber wails on the conch shell while bassist Jon Estes holds down the groove at the Nashville Jazz Workshopâ€™s Snap on 2 & 4 concert series at the Jazz Cave.
5. Filmmaker Denny Tedesco and legendary bassist Joe Osborn discuss The Wrecking Crew documentary with Local 257 members including (from left) Sam McClung, Tom Smith, and Sheldon Bissell
3. Ed Russell, producer and longtime CEO/President of Castle Records, receives his life member pin from Secretary-Treasurer Vince Santoro.
6. Longtime Waylon Jennings sideman Jerry Bridges receives his life member pin from President Dave Pomeroy. Bridges joined Local 257 in 1980.
12 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
GALLERY 1. Rahsaan Barber honors the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme with a tribute concert at Fisk University’s beautiful chapel, with Joe Davidian, Jon Estes and Nioshi Jackson. 2. DeWayne Pigg stops by the local to visit and receive his life member pin. 3. The legendary Tom T. Hall proudly shows off his AFM 50-year pin at his home studio. continued on page 14
JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 13
continued from page 13
1. The CMA Theater hosts a “Nashville Cats” concert featuring (L-R) David Briggs, Norbert Putnam, Deana Carter, Kenny Malone, Charlie McCoy, Wanda Vick, Mac Gayden, Wayne Moss, and Lloyd Green. 2. Trombonist and educator Gary Miller held a CD listening party for his Williamson County Jazz Orchestra students and their parents at Local 257’s Cooper Hall.
14 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
3. Musician, author, and In The Heat of the Night actor Randall Franks receives his 25-year pin from President Dave Pomeroy, who is holding Franks’ book Encouragers II.
JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 15
SAM BUSH PHOTO BY SHELLY SWANGER
16 16 THE THE NASHVILLE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
SAM BUSH A LIFETIME OF CHANGE BY WARREN DENNE Y
Children of the 1960s understand change better than most. And, from the volatile politics of the Vietnam War, to Freedom Marches, to Woodstock, popular music often sounded the call to arms. When Sam Bush was growing up on a cattle farm outside Bowling Green, Ky., coming of age at the time of great cultural and musical revolution, change was embraceable. Change is local. It comes to the farm — and in the case of the celebrated Father of Newgrass, it came in the form of music. It came through his family, who loved music, and who loved to play. It came through the windows. It came through school. It came over the airwaves. And, of course, it came through fingers on a fretboard. Today, Bush is the subject of a documentary film, Revival: The Sam Bush Story, co-directed by Kris Wheeler and Wayne Franklin, an award-winning effort at the Nashville Film Festival, and is set to release a record of original material later this year. Like change, Bush is constant. “Looking back it was such a great place to grow up,” Bush said recently. “There, on the farm, and because of our proximity, we got the Nashville TV stations. I grew up watching the stars from the Grand Ole Opry. My dad loved country music. He’d climb on the roof and we’d tune in Channel 4. Ralph Emery. The Eddie Hill show. I’d get up in the morning and we would have it on and I’d get home from school and the Bobby Lord show would be on.”
It is an important point in Bush’s life, that proximity to Nashville. “I grew up listening to records that were being cut here in Nashville,” he said. “My father had an old Martin mandolin that we thought was worn out. Later, we found it just needed new frets. I was eleven and somehow talked my parents into getting me a Gibson if I’d learn how to play. I had a $100 savings bond that had matured and I put that toward a Gibson A-50 mandolin and my parents put in the other $63, and we bought it. That would have been December, 1963.” Sam Bush had a new mandolin in his hands, and was growing up in an America beset by change. President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. American involvement in Vietnam was escalating at an alarming rate. “At 13, my father greatly wanted me to be a fiddle player and so I played fiddle also,” Bush said. “I played mandolin more in bluegrass bands, and fiddle at square dances. It was playing fiddle at square dances that I found out I liked playing long tunes. Ten minutes. You had to get tough. The dancers like a strong bow arm throwing out the rhythm. They wanted something to dance to.
“In growing up and hearing the great Nashville musicians, I also feel fortunate that it was during the age when I got to see the Beatles and the Stones perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, the folk boom, and Hootenanny.”
continued on page 18 JULY–SEPTEMBER JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 17
continued from page 17
PHOTO BY JIM MCGUIRE
“Flatt & Scruggs marketed themselves as folk. You could watch Hullabaloo for the rock & roll, and Shindig! The backing bands were incredible on those shows — Leon Russell and Glen Campbell on Shindig!.” These were days that shaped him. And, it was a time, now more understood, in which country and rock & roll, R&B, folk and pop, were reflecting the American scene like never before. Each had something in common — change. And, as Bush grew, his life became defined by his music, and the music around him. “Being raised in a household with parents that loved music was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Bush said. “By the time I was 13, I was in a bluegrass band. I played in a high school rock band, and I played drums in marching band. I played upright bass fiddle in the school orchestra, and I took violin lessons for a little while.” The environment that would produce Sam Bush was present, peculiar to the time. Even outside Bowling Green, the world was in the living room. “I do feel fortunate I got to grow up close to Nashville,” Bush said. “I got to come down to the Grand Ole Opry as a kid and stand backstage. I watched how people went about their business and worked, and I realized early on that this is serious. This music business is not a party — the good musicians didn’t get that way by not working. They worked hard and
“This music business is not a party — the good musicians didn’t get that way by not working.” especially by watching the country music entertainers of the ‘60s — when they’d pull up to Bowling Green for a show, they’d be driving five in a Pontiac. You know, it was never a thought for me to want to play music for a living. I love to play music and that love of music led me here.” Within the life of a Kentucky teenager, one who had music in his blood, change came looking for Bush. He was working at the Holiday Inn in Bowling Green at 18, and friends from the Louisville-based band Bluegrass Alliance asked if he wanted to join the band. “And that was a big ‘hell yes!’ Bush said. “A year earlier, I had taken the Greyhound to Louisville to join the union. [Bush later joined Local 257 in 1983.]I felt like I was a real musician. I had sat in with them [Bluegrass Alliance] at their gig on Washington Street in a bar, and I jammed with them that night and went home the next day. I had no hesitation when they came to me later. It was one of the greatest times of my life.” The scenario lasted roughly a year. Bluegrass Alliance broke up and those that remained — Bush, Courtney Johnson on banjo, bassist Harry “Ebo Walker” Shelor, and Curtis Burch on guitar and dobro — formed the first version of New Grass Revival in 1971. This was not his father’s, nor Bill Monroe’s, bluegrass. Long hair and long jams. They would release the debut album New Grass Revival in 1972 on Starday Records. John Cowan joined in 1974, and became the group’s solo vocalist, a powerful tenor to combine with Bush’s high-octane mandolin. “Through Nashville I had the advantage of seeing players who had already introduced a new kind of bluegrass,” Bush said. “The Osborne Brothers were incredibly progressive in the ‘60s. Jim and Jessie had long departed from the traditions of bluegrass. I saw John Hartford performing on the Wilburn Brothers Show. “We’d already seen a lot of change in bluegrass. So, Bill Monroe’s hair in the ‘60s was long by Opry standards then, over his shirt collar. I remember some looking down on Bill Monroe and his scruffy way. The first 18 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
NEW GRASS REVIVAL CIRCA 1974: COURTNEY JOHNSON, CURTIS BURCH, SAM BUSH AND JOHN COWAN
goatee in bluegrass was definitely Sonny Osborne. So Sonny already had a little bit of a freak flag flying. Then The Osbornes started growing a little bit of longer hair, and they were the first to plug in their instruments in the world of popular bluegrass.” Even the golden firmament of country music could not stand against the wave of change that had washed over American culture. “That’s why we called our band the New Grass Revival,” Bush said. “We felt there already was a kind of newgrass. We didn’t start it. We were actually reviving the style and we were bringing more rock & roll song influence into it.” “Take a listen back to Flatt & Scruggs later records, they had nothing to do with the way they played early in their career. They had Kenny Buttrey on drums and they were cutting Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan songs. Young Randy Scruggs was in there. We were already listening to all this stuff and they had already long departed from tradition. The Earl Scruggs Revue was going before we started New Grass Revival. Look at the Dirt Band and Will The Circle Be Unbroken. It was important in exposing Jimmy Martin, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, and Mother Maybelle to rock & roll audiences.”
“We felt there already was a kind of newgrass. We didn’t start it. We were actually reviving the style and we were bringing more rock & roll song influence into it.” The scene in Nashville had exploded and country music was still in the process of wrapping its collective head around it all. Dylan had come to Nashville. Kristofferson was here. Outlaws were on the horizon. Boundaries and old ways were being pushed back. “And, I have to say this — Area Code 615,” Bush said. “Those musicians that played on those two records — when those records came out, young bluegrassers went nuts. Bobby Thompson was playing this outrageous stuff within a rock & roll rhythm section. ‘Classical Gas’ on the banjo was like primal to us. Bobby, and Hartford, and all those guys were inspiring us. We carried on what was happening.” And, as if an unseen hand was pushing the envelope — Bush and mates along with it — the band was moved off the planet and into the
PHOTO BY JIM MCGUIRE
waiting arms of none other than Leon Russell and the Shelter People. “In 1973 we wound up getting this job because of Butch Robins playing five-string banjo and dobro on a Leon Russell record — Hank Wilson’s Back. He made friends with Leon, who was looking for a group to come out and back him. He would open his show as Hank Wilson. At the time Leon was the No. 1 box office attraction in the world. Billboard certified 25,000 a night. It was insane. New Grass Revival had two records we totally loved as a band — John Hartford’s Aereo-Plain and Leon Russell and the Shelter People. “We had the same booking agency as John Hartford … and we were doing a small tour with John. We were thrilled. We had just returned from three weeks with him. We walk in our pad in Louisville at 4:30 in the morning and Butch called, saying that Leon Russell wanted us to back him. I about fell over! I was twenty. Later that same day we were at Leon Russell’s house in Tulsa. We’d gone from one hero — John Hartford — to another, in the course of one day. It was a crazy feeling.” Ultimately, Russell decided against opening his shows as the countrified Hank Wilson.
“I’d like to keep playing and singing on the road until I’m at least seventy-five,” “He didn’t want to stand there with an acoustic guitar,” Bush said. “So, Leon asked us to open the tour. For 2 1/2 months we were on his private plane, where they stayed, rock & roll hysteria, it was amazing. “The very next day after the tour, we were off to Lafayette, Ind., for three weeks, six nights a week at Arnie’s Pizza King. You know, we went right back to earth. Back to our regular lives. But, we had gotten to stand and listen to Leon and the Shelter People for those 2 1/2 months. It was just outrageous.” The New Grass Revival may have returned to earth, but they were on the map. And, Bush’s incendiary intensity and musicianship had been unleashed on the world. He would lead the band for 18 years, forging change and with an electrified, emotional style. The group reconnected with Russell in 1979, bouncing between Nashville and Los Angeles, recording with him, before becoming his backing band through 1981. The relationship produced The Live Album on Paradise that year, and Rhythm & Bluegrass: Hank Wilson Vol. 4, released in 2001 by Russell after years in the vault. Johnson and Burch left the band in 1981, and were replaced by banjo master Béla Fleck and guitarist Pat Flynn. They moved collectively to Nashville, and released many records in the 1980s on Flying Fish, Sugar Hill, and Capitol, but eventually dissolved in 1989 in the face of the coming
PHOTOS BY SHELLY SWANGER
hot country storm. Bush released his first solo album, Late as Usual, in 1984. He later joined Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas, and Mark O’Connor in 1989 to record as Strength in Numbers, before throwing in with Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers from 1990 through February 1995. “It was an interesting time in Nashville,” Bush said, referring to the early 1980s. “A bunch of progressive blugrass players moved here about the same time. I’d like to think that helped change Nashville a little bit.” Bush has remained a stalwart session player, whose credits range from Doc and Merle Watson, to Hartford, to Crystal Gayle and beyond. He is the undisputed King of Telluride — having played an amazing 41 consecutive times at the Colorado festival as of this June — and an enduring figure at Merlefest. He has been a Sugar Hill artist since 1996 and has released six solo albums in his career, with the seventh on the horizon. His previous Circles Around Me was released in 2009, the same year he received the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The current film has been a confirmation. “Watching my friends talk about me — it was really overwhelming,” Bush said. “It’s very cool they would do that. The filmmakers are sincere and trying to explain what I do to a larger audience. It raises the visibility for me, and the music I like to play. “I still love to play live and I have a five-piece band who I love — Scott Vestal on banjo, Steve Mougin on guitar, Todd Parks on bass, and Chris Brown on drums — I’m in a highly productive state. The movie and the record, and I’m going around and playing festivals. I’ve never enjoyed playing more than now, and part of that is I’m so happy playing with the guys I have in my band.” The Grammy Award-winning instrumentalist counts himself lucky in music, and in life. “I’d like to keep playing and singing on the road until I’m at least seventy-five,” he said, and laughed. “I’ve been through cancer twice. Just things I had to deal with. Maybe I learned a little earlier than some not to sweat the small stuff. I haven’t worked as hard as my parents did. My dad was feeding cows when he was 88. I haven’t weathered the hard winter days, and the rain and snow. I have had an easier life.” Possibly. But, to many, change doesn’t always come so naturally. TNM
JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 19
Orthophonic Joy Various Artists (Sony Legacy)
This remarkable collection celebrates the legacy of Ralph Peer’s historic recordings of regional artists in Bristol, Tenn., in 1927, an event that is often referred to as “The Birth of Country Music.” Impeccably produced by Carl Jackson, this double-CD set features iconic artists like Dolly Parton and Vince Gill alongside relative newcomers such as Ashley Monroe and The Shotgun Rubies. The release features reinterpretations of 18 songs made famous by artists like Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, both of whom made recording debuts in Ralph Peer’s traveling Victor studio. The musical performances alone would be more than worth the price of admission, but this project takes the historic angle one step further with the inclusion of longtime WSM disc jockey and Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs, who prefaces each song with a short narrative written by Cindy Lovell, over excerpts of the original recordings. Stubbs, a longtime Local 257 member, shares anecdotes and background information about Peer and the original artists, as well as the songs themselves; his distinctive delivery makes the listener feel as if he is speaking directly to them, setting up each track perfectly. Beginning with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver’s faithful rendition of “I’m Redeemed,” Orthophonic Joy takes the listener on an authentic musical journey into the past that perfectly illustrates the lasting and timeless power of great songs performed with emotional conviction. Highlights include Emmylou Harris’ bittersweet “Bury Me Beneath The Willow Tree,” Marty Stuart’s rollicking “Black Eyed Susie,” a beautiful version of “Where We’ll Never Grow Old” by the Church Sisters, and Keb’ Mo’s bluesy take on the spiritual hymn “To the Work.” Larry Cordle sings “Train on the Island” with his 20 20 THE THE NASHVILLE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN MUSICIAN
CARL JACKSON AND VINCE GILL
trademark soulfulness, and Ashley and Shannon Campbell deliver a propulsive take on “The Wreck of the Virginian.” Producer Jackson, the MVP of this project, plays guitar and banjo on nearly every track, sings harmony on many songs, takes the lead vocal on a grassy version of “Pretty Polly,” and duets with Brad Paisley on the classic “In the Pines.” Jackson also provides a salient historical moment with his mentor, Jesse McReynolds, on “Johnny Goodwin,” also known as “The Girl I Left Behind.” Carl and Jesse’s camaraderie is obvious as they banter back and forth about the evolution of the tune. This performance is made all the more special by Stubbs’ revelation that Jesse’s grandfather, Charles McReynolds, played fiddle on this song on the original sessions, and that Jesse is playing the very same fiddle 88 years later, bringing this unique project full circle. The playing throughout is stellar, and features many of Local 257’s finest, including Rob Ickes, Kevin Grantt, Aubrey Haynie, Adam Steffey, Catherine Marx, and Andy Leftwich. The album closes with “Shall We Gather at the River,” sung by the Chuck Wagon Gang with the Orthophonic Choir, comprised of virtually every artist who contributed to the project, followed by Stubbs’ summing up of the historical significance of these sessions in the history of the American roots music that became known as country music. This is a landmark project that more than lives up to the daunting legacy of its predecessor. – Dave Pomeroy
Little Big Town Pain Killer Capitol
Pairing Little Big Town with producer Jay Joyce is about as good as it gets — combining an edgy sound with intricate harmonies is a slam-dunk. Joyce and engineer Jason Hall have worked together for years and are the same formidable team behind Eric Church’s music. Joyce plays multiple instruments on the project including electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, bass and pump organ. Some of my favorite cuts are “Quit Breaking Up With Me,” “Tumble and Fall” and “Turn the Lights On.” Also, did anyone who had a problem with “Girl Crush” actually listen to the lyrics? This band has been at it for years and has weathered all the ups and downs the industry has to offer. Thank goodness for us they have endured. Each new project they release continues to push the boundaries of their music. Everyone in LBT writes or cowrites — they also enlist the talents of top writers Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsey, to name a few. The entire CD is as good as the singles already released. You owe it to yourself to check it out. – Steve Wayne
Bill and Laura Pursell
The Very Last Dance Hall Left in L.A. Netcom Music This album shines a light on the considerable talents of longtime Local 257 member Bill Pursell, who collaborates with his daughter, vocalist Laura Pursell, on this beautifully executed jazz/pop project. Keyboardist, arranger and composer Pursell has had a long and distinguished career in Music City, including a Top 10 pop single as an artist, “Our Winter Love,” and a hit album of the same name in 1962. He went on to play keyboards on countless records by Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, Joan Baez, J.J. Cale, Dan Fogelberg and many more, and has taught at Belmont College since 1980. Laura Pursell’s liner notes spin a fascinating tale of family history intertwined with happenstance, culminating in this full-circle project, with Bill’s brother Ray Clawson acting as executive producer. This album brings the Pursells together with producer Steve Mauldin, who Bill Pursell first met in the ‘70s in South Carolina when he was arranging for the Singing Mauldin Family when Mauldin was just 17 years old. The songs they chose for the album create a timeless feeling, from the title track — a look-back at a bygone era of ballroom dancing and elegance — to reimagined covers of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline that cross musical borders effortlessly. The arrangements, eight by Bill Pursell and two by Mauldin, are lush yet intimate, allowing Laura Pursell plenty of room for her sincere, expressive vocal style. Classic tunes such as “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “For All We Know,” and “You Don’t Know Me,” sound fresh and new, and “I Wanna Look Good for My Man” has a seductive feel — one can imagine a dancer slinking across the stage at the Moulin Rouge. The rhythm section of Paul Leim (drums) and Jim Ferguson (bass) with Dave Cleveland, John Willis and Pat Bergeson (guitars) is classy throughout, with excellent dynamics and sensitive interaction with Pursell’s melodic keyboard work and the strings, led by Carl Gorodetsky. String players include Local 257 members Conni Ellisor, David Davidson, Mary Katherine VanOsdale, David Angell, Janet Darnall, Stefan Petrescu, Karen Winklemann, Betsy Lamb, Kris Wilkinson, Anthony LaMarchina, Carole Rabinowitz, and Julia Tanner. This is excellent work by all concerned. – Roy Montana
Suffer in Peace Columbia Tyler Farr gives a nod to every totem that country music holds dear on his latest CD, Suffer in Peace. Trucks, beer, guns and heartbreak are all featured prominently here, and this alone should be enough to burnish his burgeoning stardom — as it has for many of his peers. But what may set him apart from those artists who already define what country music is these days could be the honesty and authenticity with which he presents the conventional keys of the genre. It rings true when he sings in “Suffer in Peace” that his dog, his guitar, his .22-caliber rifle and his rod and reel are things that he would want within reach at his ideal hideaway. In “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.,” when he says he bleeds in John Deere green, I picture that iconic tractor in his shed. I believe he isn’t just grandstanding for the boots-and-hats crowd. It sounds like he actually lives this stuff. The aural landscape of the recording is powerful yet holds a sensitivity in reserve for use on the more delicate cuts. Make no mistake, though — this collection is well thought out and keeps the listener engaged while traversing tempo and theme changes. I was impressed with Farr’s voice, which clearly doesn’t need tricks and effects to make it powerful and pleasing. His vocal sits nicely in the mix and when the track melts away from time to time leaving the voice naked, Farr acquits himself admirably. The man has got some pipes! The record has a hometown feel, and Derek Wells, Adam Shoenfeld, Miles McPherson, David Labruyer, Troy Lancaster, Jeff Roach and Dan Dugmore are AFM Local 257 members who all lend their ample talents to the finished product. You won’t confuse Suffer in Peace with “easy listening” — this record is purely today’s rockin’, hardcore country — but I think it’s one easy as hell record to enjoy. – Hank Moka
The Nashville Jazz Orchestra presents Victor Wooten Ingram Hall
Blair School of Music’s Ingram Hall was the setting for a great night of collaborative music in April that featured the Nashville Jazz Orchestra, led by Jim Williamson, and iconic electric bassist Victor Wooten performing together for the first time. The NJO has been in the forefront of the Music City jazz scene for many years, and recently started a monthly big band series at the City Winery in downtown Nashville. Wooten is perhaps best known for his tenure with Béla Fleck and The Flecktones, as well as his many solo albums, but is also renowned for innovative “Bass and Nature” education programs he conducts at his camp — Wooten Woods — west of Nashville. The camp offerings feature an international cast of excellent teachers and eager students. The program was wide-ranging and the results of the collaboration were stunning — their version of Jaco Pastorius’ “Teen Town” was brash and exciting. Few bassists would have the nerve to attempt such an iconic tune, but Wooten pulled it off with ease and with the sense of joy that permeates continued on page 22 JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 21
REVIEWS a common denominator throughout, and many other important Music City drummers and musicians are mentioned as well. All in all, this book is a powerful portrait of the creative ethos of these great musicians and their huge contributions to Music City, and also serves as an insider’s guide to the fascinating world of the session musician. Artimisi is also a fine drummer, and has done a great job in connecting the dots with humanity and soul. This book should have a broad appeal to music lovers far beyond the Nashville drum community. Well played! – Roy Montana
continued from page 21
VICTOR WOOTEN continued from page 21
his playing. Highlights included a 3/4 version of “Chameleon” arranged by Jamey Simmons, and Jobim’s “Dindi” arranged by Williamson. Wooten’s epic version of “Amazing Grace,” enhanced by the NJO’s tight counterpoint was a showstopper. The second half of the show began with a stunning solo performance by Wooten, demonstrating why he is regarded as one of the world’s finest, followed by “The Lesson,” a duet with his brother Roy “Future Man” Wooten on cajon. The arrangements passed around the solos equitably among the NJO’s stellar players — Doug Moffett, Matt Davich, Cole Burgess, Evan Cobb, and Robbie Shankle on reeds were joined by special guest Jeff Coffin; Jim Williamson, Steve Patrick, Mike Casteel, and Bernie Walker on trumpets, as well as Barry Green, Roy Agee, Bill Huber and Josh Scalf on trombones. The NJO rhythm section of Steve Kummer (piano) Bob Mater (drums) and Mike Rinne (acoustic bass) were dynamic, sympathetic and propulsive throughout, and the musical chemistry between Wooten and the NJO was obvious. All in all, it was an amazing night of Music City jazz for the ages. – Roy Montana
BOOK REVIEW Tony Artimisi
Rhythm Makers The Drumming Legends of Nashville in Their Own Words Rowman & Littlefield Rhythm Makers is an informative and compelling book that profiles the lives and careers of five of Nashville’s finest drummers and percussionists – Eddie Bayers, Jerry Kroon, Kenny Malone, Tom Roady, and Tommy Wells. Artimisi is a former Nashville resident and currently a professor of music at Winston Salem State University in North Carolina. He brings a broad historical and musical perspective to his questions and dialogue with these excellent players. Sadly, Wells and Roady passed away before the book was published, which gives their individual segments an added poignancy. The interviews give fascinating insight to the musical history, personality and playing style of each player and the ever changing Nashville recording scene. Bayers’ chapter explains his unlikely musical evolution from piano player, singer and songwriter to one of the most recorded drummers in history. Kroon tells the story of his journey from South Dakota to Music City and his major contributions to countless hit records with characteristic modesty and understatement. Malone is not surprisingly the most esoteric and unconventional of the bunch, and eloquently illuminates his unique approach. Roady’s versatility and joy for making music comes across loud and clear, as does Wells’ passion for straight ahead drumming and the essence of rhythm. The legacy of the late, great Larrie London and his influence on Nashville drummers is 22 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
Zymol Guitar and Musical Instrument Polishes
Can the same technology you use for polishing your Porsche keep your Precision Bass looking sharp? Can a Les Paul and a Lamborghini share the same cleaning technology? According to Zymol, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” The polishes used date back to carriage works in 19th century Germany. Long a staple in the automotive polish world, Zymol has turned their technology to polish for fine musical Instruments. Make no mistake, this isn’t the $5 bottle of polish you pick up at your local guitar shop, nor is it furniture polish. It’s applied with a microfiber applicator and wiped down with a microfiber polishing cloth. Microfiber technology has found its way into modern hospital operating rooms to keep things clean to the closest tolerances, and it will also yield a superior shine on wood products like guitars. I tested the GBC# Guitar Polish and the Bridge Fingerboard Polish on a venerable Carvin LB76 Fretless Bass from 1992. The fingerboard hadn’t been seriously cleaned in two decades (don’t judge!) and the body was looking pretty streaky as well. The GBC# Polish is applied with the microfiber applicator and is polished to a high sheen with the supplied microfiber cloth. The quilted maple under Emerald Green really came alive, showing lots of definition in the wood I hadn’t seen in decades. The Bridge Fingerboard Polish was applied in a far more intimate way than I was prepared for. I was directed to dab a bit of the fingerboard wax on my fingertips and work it into the wood. As this was a 23-year old piece of ebony subjected to round wound bass strings I was understandably skeptical. Nonetheless, the ebony really drank up the wax and the ebony not only showed the luster of a new piece of wood, but after wiping down it played with an ease rivaling my new polymer coated fretless fingerboard on my brand new Carvin Kiesel RV69K Roy Vogt Signature Fretless Bass. There are also polishes for drum kits (Solo) and pianos (Edge). This is a somewhat labor-intensive product, but the results are worth the extra work. If you’re going to sell that vintage guitar or bass, giving it a once-over with Zymol may put that special sheen on it that may bring the buyers running, but your old instrument may look so new again that you won’t want to part with it after all. – Roy Vogt TNM
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JULYâ€“SEPTEMBER 2015 23
JAZZ & BLUES BEAT
It’s a good time to remember that our union represents all forms of music. BY AUSTIN BEALMEAR
here we are at the back end of the summer festival season. All kinds of music has been enjoyed by tourists, locals, and the professional members of AFM 257. It’s a good time to remember that our union represents all forms of music. And while I’d like to think a column on jazz and blues is helping this music survive, in truth its survival is insured by the musicians who play it, and experiment with it because they love it, in spite of the slim chance of financial reward. The best I can do is hope this column is motivating you pros to get out and see what your fellow artists are doing, even if (and especially if) it’s not your own style.
NJO brings big band jazz to City Winery The Nashville Jazz Orchestra is now presenting big band jazz on Sunday nights from 6-8 p.m. at the City Winery, 609 Lafayette St. Most Sundays feature the NJO, led by Jim Williamson, with a variety of vocalists and other guests. Some Sundays — about once a month — feature other groups like the Duffy Jack-
Big Band to Bluegrass
all true, all real
son Big Band. City Winery is a unique facility, combining a fully functioning winery with intimate concerts by a variJIM WILLIAMSON ety of world-class musicians, food and wine classes, private events, and fine dining. Check out the events at www.citywinery.com/nashville
TJBS hosts Sessions at Steinway The Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society has found an interesting concept for a series of afternoon concerts at the Steinway Piano Gallery of Nashville at 4285 Sidco Dr. One Saturday a month at 1:30 p.m. Sessions at Steinway features a Nashville jazz artist with his or her band. The space is like a living room, and in between tunes the artist is interviewed about his life and music, with questions from the audience. Each session is hosted by a different interviewer, chosen specifically for that artist. On Aug. 1 the featured artist is trombonist Roland Barber, and on Sep. 12 it’s vocalist Annie Sellick. Also, check out their website at jazzblues.org for a series of Jazz Conversations — interviews with local jazz artists like pianist Bruce Dudley and vibraphonist Jerry Tachoir.
Big names at the Schermerhorn On Friday, Aug. 28, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. three-time Grammy-winning contemporary bluesman Keb’ Mo’ makes his first appearance at the Symphony Center. Over two decades of singing and playing guitar, Keb’ has emerged as a masterful interpreter of American roots music. He’ll be presenting new tunes from his latest Billboard chart-topping album, “BLUESAmericana.” On Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. 10-time Grammy-winning jazz legend George Benson takes the Schermerhorn stage. After a decade as an acclaimed soul-jazz guitarist, Benson began singing more and in 1976 became the first jazz artist to have an album (Breezin’) go triple platinum. His playing style and songs have been copied by guitarists all over the world, and he remains a jazz fan favorite.
Odds and ends
www.tom shed.com 24 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
The Nashville Jazz Workshop is offering a variety of recorded performances from its long-running series of Jazz Cave concerts, streamed at nashvillejazz.org under the heading NashvillejazzRadio. In the 1940s the unlikely combination of country & western music and big band jazz became hugely popular under the name Western Swing, and that classic sound is MIKE HENDERSON alive and well in Music City. On Monday nights choose between The Time Jumpers at 3rd and Lindsley (9 p.m.) or John England and the Western Swingers at Robert’s Western World from 6:30–10 p.m. On Saturdays, Sliced, a deli at 103 White Bridge Rd., offers Rick Jobe & The Wonderin’ Cowboys, 5:00–8:00 p.m., no cover. Hot guitarist Mike Henderson is still putting the blues in the Bluebird on Monday nights with his band featuring Michael Rhodes and Kevin McKendree, 9:30 p.m. His latest CD Come On In My Kitchen was released last May. Another exciting guitar slinger in a more Americana/rock/fusion vain is Guthrie Trapp. His band presents “Trapped Above Ground” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. at Acme Feed and Seed, 101 Broadway. TNM
EXHIBIT OPENS AUGUST 28 #CosmicSamPhillips
STEP INSIDE The Cosmic
CountryMusicHallofFame.org JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 25
BY LAURA ROSS
Celebrating Milestones: Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the Nashville Symphony
one more season the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the Nashville Symphony will celebrate milestone anniversaries — 10 and 70 years. The Nashville Symphony, established in 1946 by Walter Sharpe, began as a community orchestra under the baton of William Strickland — two previous attempts failed to create a Nashville Symphony with staying power. Guy Taylor succeeded Strickland from 1951-59 and Willis Page led the orchestra from 1959-67. Thor Johnson was music director from 1967 until his death in 1975, and during that time established a smaller chamber orchestra called the Little Symphony with a grant from the Ford Foundation. While most organizations used these grants to expand their seasons, the NSO was unable to raise the necessary three-to-one matching funds required, so the grant was returned a few years later and the Little Symphony was disbanded. During Michael Charry’s tenure (1976-82) the orchestra created a 38-member core orchestra that performed education concerts and runouts in addition to Classical and Pops Concerts. Kenneth Schermerhorn (Hong Kong Philharmonic; formerly Milwaukee Symphony & American Ballet Theater Orchestra) was appointed music director in 1983, and Associate Conductor Amerigo Marino, formerly the music director of the Birmingham/Alabama Symphony, was hired in 1984. Both were hired to build the Nashville Symphony and take it to the level of a major orchestra. Because executive director Matt Maddin was hired in May 1984, musicians agreed to a “play-and-talk” agreement. But management’s proposals did little to honor its promises or to increase the core salary of $8,600, so musicians 26 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
1. 2001 Kenneth Schermerhorn and the NSO open the downtown Public Library. Photo: Larry McCormack courtesy of The Tennessean 2. 1947 Josef Szigeti performs Brahms with the NSO, conducted by William Strickland. Szigeti owned the Stradivarius violin loaned to the NSO by Jennifer and Bill Frist in late 1990s–early 2000s. Photo: courtesy of Nashville Symphony archives 3. 1968 Thor Johnson and the NSO Little Symphony played at Town Hall in New York City. Photo: Herb Peck, Jr. courtesy of Nashville Symphony archives 4. July 4, 1982 Before Riverfront Park was built, the NSO performed at Centennial Park. Photo: Dan Loftin courtesy of The Tennessean
SYMPHONY NOTES went on strike for seven weeks from February to April 1985. The resulting four-year agreement increased the core salary to $17,500 by the 198788 season and expanded the core from 38 to 70 musicians with a full orchestra of 86. Following a failed attempt to renegotiate the final year of the agreement, the Nashville Symphony Association (NSA) halted fundraising efforts after the stock market dropped over 250 points in October 1987. In late January 1988, the board voted to shutdown the orchestra after its Feb. 5, 1988 series concert, because musicians rejected the board’s only “proposal” to immediately cut salaries by 26 percent and freeze salaries for the next two years.
Bankruptcy and the long climb back Musicians and staff were laid off Feb. 6, 1988; the shutdown lasted eight months. The NSA filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in midJune, and the Extension to the Master Agreement (1988-90) that allowed the orchestra to exit bankruptcy included a reduced season from 43 to 35 weeks, reduced wages from $17,500 to $14,200 for core, and reduced orchestra size from 86 to 76 musicians. The orchestra returned to work the final week of October 1988. There were additional cuts in orchestra size — the core dropped from 70 to 55 and full orchestra to 73 musicians total — during Steven Greil’s term as executive director. Still struggling with bankruptcy debt, the NSA demanded additional salary cuts in 1993. A federally mediated one-year agreement included a five percent wage cut ($1,000 per core musician) and workweek reductions. [The next agreement (1994-97) did not restore the core salary until year two.] The cuts were a good start, but it was benefit concert income courtesy of Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Vince Gill and Ronn Huff, plus donated services by the musicians, that wiped out any remaining bankruptcy debt. These initial benefit concerts later morphed into the Gaylord — now Bridgestone — Arena inaugural concert, which then toured the country between Thanksgiving and Christmas as A Tennessee Christmas with Amy Grant. Stephen Vann replaced Greil in 1994 and as the orchestra entered its 50th season (199697), the NSA finally mounted a new endowment campaign. The 50th season was so successful that the orchestra’s annual campaign ended with a $250,000 surplus. The NSA’s failure to recognize the impact of 10 years of cuts imposed on musicians set the stage for the 1997 negotiations. With the assistance of
AFM-Symphonic Services Division negotiator Chris Durham, a federal mediator (again), and a damning 10-year financial analysis by CPA Ron Bauers, management was forced to significantly increase their financial proposal. Musicians were dissatisfied with the end result but ratified the agreement.
Ch - ch - ch - changes Alan Valentine replaced Vann as executive director in 1998 and within a few months, Valentine convinced the NSA board to give each musician a bonus payment from a portion of a recently received bequest. Signs in 1998-99 were pointing to major growth during the upcoming contract: Kenneth Schermerhorn began increasing the size of the string section by adding 16 new full-time players, there were new and expanded concert series, and the endowment campaign had exceeded 20 million. Additionally, the NSO began a brief East Coast tour that wrapped up with a Sept. 25, 2000 performance in Carnegie Hall. There were also assurances that musician salaries were a top priority from the board and management. Musicians voted to join ICSOM and the AFM Strike Fund in 2000, signaling that significant salary increases were expected. The resulting six-year agreement (2001-07) included significant salary increases, elimination of a third-tier contract — making it a two-tiered orchestra of 84 musicians, the addition of seniority pay, and increased pension, work and vacation weeks. The agreement would expire after the first season in a new concert hall yet to be built, that would be a major focus of the NSA. In 2005 the Association agreed to upgrade most of the long-contract musicians to full-time. In a non-financial reopener that summer, the rest of the long-contract musicians became full-time in exchange for reducing the orchestra size to 82. The season was extended to 43 weeks, which returned us to the number of weeks in the 1987-88 agreement, and the orchestra continued increasing the number of classical and pops series concerts in anticipation of the move into the new hall. Kenneth Schermerhorn, NSO Music Director for 22 years, died suddenly in April 2005, a yearand-a-half prior to the opening of Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Everyone always expected he would conduct the first performances in the hall, conduct another season or two, announce his retirement and become music director laureate. A Music Director Search Committee that included six musician representatives — half the committee — was formed immediately to begin looking for a successor, but the orchestra had no artistic leader as it prepared to move into the new hall.
A new home and leadership Leonard Slatkin accepted a three-year appointment as music advisor that began during the 2006-07 season, the first year in the new hall. During his tenure the NSO won three Grammy Awards in 2008 for Joan Tower’s Made in America, and the music director search was completed. Giancarlo Guererro became NSO music director during the 2009-10 season, and his contract — which was renewed in 2012 — continues through the 2019-20 season. The contract, ratified in May 2007, added the assistant librarian to the bargaining unit; there were further salary and pension increases and an additional vacation week.
More recent history Following the 2008 financial crisis, musicians agreed to open the contract to ratify two sixmonth wage and pension freezes — pension returned to its previous level during the second reopener. Additional years were pushed back by one season so the agreement would now expire in 2013. Then on May 1-2, 2010, the rain came and the orchestra vacated its home after the basement filled with 25 feet of water. Management relocated to three different offices, dealt with losses, and worked hard to assure that the schedule continued without a hitch in venues around town for our performances. On Dec. 31, 2010 —42 million and eight months later — the NSO returned to Laura Turner Hall in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The NSO returned to Carnegie Hall performing as the final orchestra during the weeklong Spring for Music festival on May 12, 2012, and in the 2012-13 season, musicians’ annual wage was $60,000; but it didn’t last. The settlement between the NSA and banks — that guaranteed the municipal bonds owed on the Schermerhorn — drained the endowment and drastically reduced the staff. The musicians, whose portion of the budget was not the cause of the financial crisis, took a 15 percent wage cut for the 201314 season, cut a section percussion position, and greatly increased their participation in education and community engagement services. Negotiations last spring did not restore musicians’ salaries, but musicians expect better results in the upcoming financial negotiation during the 2015-16 season, since ticket sales and contributions have recently enjoyed some promTNM ising positive trends. JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 27
“[the gig was] the defining moment not only of their lives…but in the history of rock & roll, for this was the prototypal band that helped invent the sound of rock.” – Ellis Amburn
Joe B. Mauldin 1940 – 2015
oe B. Mauldin, bass player for the seminal rock & roll band The Crickets, died Feb. 7, 2015 at the age of 74. The 30-year Nashville resident was a life member of the AFM who joined Local 257 in 1978. Born in Lubbock, Texas, on July 8, 1940, Mauldin started playing the upright bass at 14, and was first the member of a band called The Four Teens. He met fellow student Jerry “J.I.” Allison in 1957 on a smoke break from study hall, and the drummer invited Mauldin along to play at an Elks Lodge dance with a lead guitarist and singer who wore distinctive, black horn-rimmed glasses — Buddy Holly. Holly biographer Ellis Amburn said the gig was “…the defining moment not only of their lives…but in the history of rock & roll, for this was the prototypal band that 28 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
The Crickets: Jerry Allison, Joe. B. Mauldin, Sonny Curtis
helped invent the sound of rock.” British rocker Keith Richards called The Crickets “probably the first global, international rock band of all time,” and said there would be no Beatles or Rolling Stones without them. Success came swiftly to The Crickets — who were performing on The Ed Sullivan Show less than a year after their first gig. From 1957 to August 1958, seven of their Texas rockabillystyled songs hit the Top 40, including “That’ll Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” and “Well All Right” which was co-written by Mauldin. The band parted ways with Holly several months before the artist’s death in a 1959 plane crash. Afterwards, the band continued to perform and record, backing the Everly Brothers and releasing several albums. From 1964-66, Mauldin served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany. Upon his return he worked as an engineer in
Los Angeles at Gold Star Studios, and performed occasionally with Allison. More recently, The Crickets appeared on Nanci Griffith’s 1997 album Blue Roses from the Moons, and accompanied her on an international tour. In 2004 they released The Crickets and Their Buddies, with guests that included Griffith, Waylon Jennings, Rodney Crowell, John Prine, and Eric Clapton. The Crickets were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Mauldin and the band are also honored on the West Texas Walk of Fame and the Music City Walk of Fame. Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Jane Mauldin, and two daughters, Jennifer Mauldin and Melody Stephenson. Funeral services were private. Donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the American Cancer Society.
FINAL NOTES BOBBY EMMONS
Bobby G. Emmons 1943 – 2015 Legendary keyboardist and songwriter Bobby Emmons, 72, died Feb. 23, 2015. He was a 2007 inductee to the Musicians Hall of Fame, and a life member of the Nashville Musicians Association, which he joined in April 1973. Born in Corinth, Miss., on Feb. 19, 1943, the largely self-taught player got his start in a high school band, and by 1959 landed a gig with rock & roll pioneer Bill Black. He performed hundreds of concerts with Black and appeared in two major films before joining the Memphis Boys, the fabled house band responsible for helping to create a myriad of hits throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s. Among the hundreds of songs Emmons played on were classics like Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” “Suspicious Minds,” for Elvis Presley, and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” After Emmons relocated to Nashville, his work as a session player continued, and he also wrote a number of hit songs for artists such as Waylon Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas,” and “Wurlitzer Prize (I Don’t Want to Get Over You).” He also wrote “Help Me Make It to My Rocking Chair,” recorded by B.J. Thomas, and the Tanya Tucker single “Love Me Like You Used To.” Over six decades Emmons’ piano and organ playing has been heard on a staggering number of records, including everyone from Wilson Pickett to Garth Brooks, and Townes Van Zandt to Roy Orbison. Emmons was known as a quintessential team player throughout his long career. Fellow Memphis Boys member Reggie Young said “If an artist came in, we became their band and not our band. We always did what was best for the singer and the song. Bobby was good at bringing all that together. He was an amazing musician, but I can’t stress [enough] how decent a person he was as well. That came through in everything he did.” Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Dorthy “Dot” Emmons, two daughters, Laurie Shinbaum and Sherry Brugman; one brother, Joseph Emmons; and one grandchild. Funeral services were conducted Feb. 27 at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home with Jim Taylor officiating. Entombment was in Williamson Memorial Gardens Remembrance Mausoleum. Memorials may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Wilson also worked with Ray Price before joining the Opry staff band in 1953 as house guitarist when he was 18. Members of the staff band played with many of the artists who performed on the Opry. “We would work with anybody who came in and didn’t have a band,” Wilson once said. “You always had to be there and ready to go, you know — a very complex job, really.” Wilson, who was given his nickname — reportedly by drummer Louis Dunn — because of his thin frame, was admired as a master of the Opry gig by his fellow musicians. Steel guitarist Robert Kramer said Wilson had an “archival memory.” “Spider would learn the intros, solos and backup parts on all the current records and be ready to back any artist,” Kramer said. “Spider had one of the greatest ears I’d ever seen,” guitarist Jimmy Capps said. “He was absolutely like a brother to me, and in all the time we worked together, there was never a cross word between us. He was a true gentleman in everything he did.” In addition to his more than half-century of work on the Opry, Wilson recorded with Dickens, Price, Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins, Faron Young, Bill Anderson, Buddy Emmons and many others. He also appeared with host Ralph Emery on his long-running WSM-TV show. Survivors include his wife, Shirley; two sons, Darryl and David Wilson; one daughter, Julie Hannah; one sister, Jo Ann Ferguson; four grandchildren; one great-grandchild; two nieces; and a host of other family and friends. A celebration of life service was held March 2 at Woodbine Funeral Home with interment at Woodbine Cemetery.
James Edward “Spider” Wilson 1935 – 2015 James Edward “Spider” Wilson, Opry guitarist for over six decades, died Feb. 26, 2015, at the age of 79. He was a life member of the Nashville Musicians Association who joined the local in October 1954. Wilson was a Nashville native, born June 9, 1935. He said he taught himself to play by slowing down 78 rpm records, and reportedly stood outside an open window of the Ryman listening to Hank Williams perform. His first career break came in the early ‘50s when he joined Little Jimmy Dickens’ ground-breaking Country Boys band. “It is an understatement to say that Spider Wilson’s twin-guitar harmony work in the ‘50s with Howard Rhoton gave the defining touch to the best damn band Little Jimmy Dickens ever had,” multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs said. “No one had quite that sound before and I’ve never heard it the same since.”
SPIDER WILSON continued on page 30 JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 29
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computer programming, and worked in that field for 10 years prior to his retirement at 67. A man of multiple interests, Sagle also taught a class on Jewish music at the West End Synagogue, and composed a musical for its choir. He also enjoyed photography, bridge and Scrabble, and was a voracious reader. At the age of 81 he arranged and conducted a concert in celebration of his son Jacob’s bar mitzvah. Survivors include his wife Sarah Stein; two sons, Jacob and Christopher, and two grandchildren. Services were held April 16 with burial in Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery. Donations may be made to Sherith Israel Congregation in Nashville or to Disabled Veterans of America. Chuck Sagle with Neil Sedaka and Carole King
Chuck Sagle 1927 – 2015 Nashville Musicians Association life member Chuck Sagle, 87, died April 13, 2015. He was a pianist and a trumpet player, as well as an arranger, conductor, and producer. During his long career he also worked in A&R at Mercury and Epic Records. Sagle was born July 18, 1927 in Aurora, Ill. He entered college at 16 and became the director of the chorale at the University of Illinois. In 1944 he joined the Navy, where he was put in charge of a fleet band in the South Pacific. After the war he returned to school, and graduated in 1950. After college he joined the A&R department of Mercury Records, first in Chicago and then New York City. He was also musical director for Don Kirshner’s publishing company, Aldon Music, where he worked with Carole King and Neil Sedaka. He worked on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show as an arranger and conductor; later he was a member of the A&R department of Epic Records, working with a roster that included Bobby Darin, The Platters, Gene Pitney and the Lennon Sisters. In 1961 Sagle released his first solo record, Ping Pong Percussion. In the ‘60s he moved to Los Angeles to serve as musical director for Reprise Records, where he produced and arranged for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ethel Merman, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Soupy Sales. In 1962 he recorded a second solo album, Splendor in the Brass. In 1972 Sagle moved to Nashville, where he arranged music for ABC-Dot, Starday-King Records and other labels. He continued to work with his favorite genre — big-band music — arranging for The Establishment orchestra and Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band. In the late ‘70s he returned to school to study 30 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
Robert Arthur “Tut” Taylor 1923 – 2015 Dobro player Robert Arthur “Tut” Taylor, 91, died April 9, 2015. The AFM life member joined Local 257 in November 1964, and was known for his unique style, which included using a flatpick instead of a fingerpick. Taylor was born Nov. 20, 1923, in Milledgeville, Ga., and grew up in a musical family. He learned to play banjo and mandolin as a child, and began to play the dobro at 14, when he first used his distinctive flatpicking style. Asked how he came to play this way, Taylor simply said no one ever told him he couldn’t. His first professional recording date was for Porter Wagoner on the 1964 album Bluegrass Story. Throughout the ‘60s Taylor played with The Folkswingers, a band that included Glen Campbell and members of The Dillards, and also with The Dixie Gentlemen. He released his first solo record, 12-String Dobro in 1963, and Dobro Country in 1964. In 1971 he played on the classic John Hartford release, Aereo-Plain.
“When I think of Tut, I think of that John Hartford song “Vamp in the Middle,” Ickes said. “There were some great dobro fills that had this country-blues sound. I think that was the innate sound Tut had in his soul.” Taylor became a Nashville fixture over the years, and co-founded local instrument shop GTR Guitars with George Gruhn and Randy Wood. He also co-founded the Old Time Pickin’ Parlor, a local ‘70s venue that attracted a variety of musicians such as Sam Bush, Clarence White, John Hartford and Bob Dylan, who dropped by to jam and listen to music. He became a member of the Dobro Players’ Hall of Fame after his 1972 release Friar Tut, and won a Grammy in 1995 for Best Bluegrass Album for The Great Dobro Sessions with Jerry Douglas. Taylor’s son Mark said there are plans to release an album of hymns titled Oconee, after the Oconee River Taylor grew up near. A number of dobro players contributed to the recordings, including Rob Ickes. “When I think of Tut, I think of that John Hartford song “Vamp in the Middle,” Ickes said. “There were some great dobro fills that had this country-blues sound. I think that was the innate sound Tut had in his soul.” Taylor was preceded in death by his parents, Herman H. and Lillie Pierce Johnson Taylor; his wife, Ella Lee Blount Taylor; one daughter, Barbara Taylor; one granddaughter and one great-grandson. Survivors include four sons, Robert Jr., Mark, Lester, and David Taylor; three daughters, Shirley Smith, LouEllen Bolan and Linda Taylor; 16 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. Graveside services were held April 13 at Baldwin Memorial Gardens in Milledgeville, Ga. Online condolences may be made to www.millerfuneralservice.com.
Don Davis 1928 – 2015
Steel guitarist Don Davis, 86, died March 9, 2015. He was a life member of the Nashville Musicians Association who joined the local in May 1945. He was born in Calvert, Ala., on Dec.
LOCAL 257 MEMBERS:
Please check to see that your
FUNERAL FUND BENEFICIARY is listed correctly, and up to date. We can't stress the importance of this enough. Your loved ones are counting on you. 22, 1928. As a child he heard a country band play and was entranced with the steel “Hawaiian” guitar. “It made my hair stand on end,” Davis said in a 2008 interview. “I realized, ‘I’ve got to do that.’” He found someone to give him lessons, and his parents bought him an electric Hawaiian guitar. “We’d just gotten electricity. There was an electric cord on the porch…I’d unplug that cord and plug in my amplifier. The cows would come and hear the racket. They kind of liked it,” Davis said. Davis played local dances and worked in the Mobile shipyards as a teenager until moving to Nashville. Davis was only 15 when he joined the Grand Ole Opry as a member of Pee Wee King’s band. At the time, he was the youngest to have become an Opry staff musician. After service in the U.S. Army, Davis continued his career, working at the Opry, and also touring and recording with Hank Williams Sr., George Morgan, Cowboy Copas, Tex Ritter, Minnie Pearl, and many others. During one of his tours he met the Carter family member Anita Carter, who he would go on to marry. Davis partnered with Shot Jackson and Hank Garland in 1955 to design and build ten custom pedal steel guitars, some of the first made. He would later become a spokesperson for Fender’s line of steel guitars. In 1958 Davis moved to Mobile, where he hosted WKRG’s long-running live television
show, Alabama Jubilee, but in 1963 he returned to Nashville, where he opened a publishing company and began to produce for artists like Johnny Cash, Lefty Frizzell, Kitty Wells, and others. By the early ‘70s Davis was managing a publishing company for Harlan Howard. He had produced three records with Johnny Cash, and had developed a knack for finding songs. Davis brought Cash one of his biggest hits, “A Boy Named Sue,” as well as “Jackson” and “One Piece at a Time.” In the early ‘80s Davis became operations manager for Waylon Jennings. After retirement he returned to Alabama, where he married Serilda Dickson of Portland, Tenn. In 1997 Davis was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. In 2012 Davis published a book on his career and experiences — Nashville Steeler: My Life in Country Music. Davis was preceded in death by his parents; Oliver Harold and Anna Belle Patrick Davis; his stepfather, J.C. Beard; the mother of his two children, Anita Carter; and two stepsons, Mike and Chris Flanigan. Survivors include his wife, one daughter, Lorrie Davis Bennett; one son, John Christopher “Jay” Davis; two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Funeral services were held March 12 at Forest Lawn Funeral Home in Saraland, Ala. Burial and Masonic graveside services were at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens. continued on page 32
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FINAL NOTES continued from page 31
include his special friend and companion, Bonnie Senf, two brothers, Thurman Eugene and James M. Culp; one niece, and two great-nieces. Services were conducted Feb. 20 at FilbeckCann & King Funeral Home with Bill Burns officiating. Burial followed in the Marshall County Memory Gardens.
Doyle Nelson 1920 – 2015
JOE BILL CULP
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Joseph William “Joe Bill” Culp 1938 – 2015 AFM life member Joseph William “Joe Bill” Culp, 76, died Feb. 14, 2015. Born Aug. 16, 1938, in Benton, Ky., the bassist learned to play at a young age, and worked with local bands before moving to Nashville. He joined the Nashville Musicians Association in February 1969, and toured with Tanya Tucker for several years. Culp also worked with Bobby Lord and Jeanne Pruett, and performed on the television shows Pop Goes the Country and the Grand Ole Opry. After returning to Benton to care for his parents, he continued to play with local bands. Culp was a veteran of the United States Army, and was also a Kentucky Colonel. He was preceded in death by his parents, Marvin Franklin and Estelle Holley Culp. Survivors
AFM life member Doyle Nelson, 94, died March 9, 2015 in Poplar Bluff, Mo. He was a guitarist who joined the local in September 1953. Nelson and his brother Jay played on the Grand Ole Opry with Roy Acuff, and also worked for Sho-Bud in Nashville. Nelson was also employed by Music City Manufacturing. Nelson was born Nov. 30, 1920 in Hartman, Ark., to the late Elzie and Georgia Thomas Nelson. He served in the U.S. Navy, and was a member of the Canalou Assembly of God Church. In 1947 he married Janet Tharp. In addition to his parents, Nelson was preceded in death by one brother, Waldo Nelson; and one sister, Flois Nelson Collier. Survivors include his wife, Janet Nelson; one son, James Nelson; two daughters, Linda Bly and Annette Payne; two brothers, A.M. “Jay” Nelson and Noble “Jack” Nelson; four grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. Funeral services were conducted on March 12 at the Nunnelee Funeral Chapel with Rev. Steven Cartwright officiating. Interment was in the Sikeston Memorial Park Cemetery, with full military honors provided by the Missouri Military TNM Honor Guard.
The officers, staff and members of Local 257 extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of our members who have recently passed away. You are in our thoughts, hearts and prayers. Name
James E Brown
Hollis R Delaughter
Roy Melvin Harris
Charles H Sagle
MEMBER STATUS NEW MEMBERS Nicholas John Anderson GTR DBB 1020 Thompson Pl Apt D-20 Nashville, TN 37217 Cell (515) 291-7008 Christopher G Bauer DBR GTR STL PST 1604 Burton Ave Nashville, TN 37215 Cell (615) 268-8726 Hm (615) 385-3523 Tigar Lee Bell BAS BJO DRM FDL GTR MDN VOC 2206a Cabin Hill Rd Nashville, TN 37214 Cell (615) 430-0192 Edward Alexander Black (Eddie Black) GTR BAS PIA COM TSX 2312 23 Street NW Calgary, AB T2M3X9 Cell (587) 327-3769 Hm (403) 474-5272 Steven Lukas Bracewell (Lukas Bracewell) GTR VOC GNJ 502 Shadow Glen Drive Nashville, TN 37211 Cell (850) 933-7879 Philip Allen Brown (Phil Brown) GTR VOC BAS SAX VLN TBA 1714 Thompsons Station Rd W Thompsons Station, TN 37179 Cell (818) 458-8810 Jo Lynn Burks KEY VOC 2011 Richard Jones Road, P-11 Nashville, TN 37215 Cell (917) 309-0216 Bernard V Chiaravalle (Bernie Chiaravalle) 205 Hideaway Trail Franklin, TN 37069 Hm (615) 509-6490 Harrell Dink Cook, Jr (Dink) BAS DRM GTR KEY PIA 7000 Bonnafair Drive Hermitage, TN 37076 Hm (615) 415-6061 Justin Andrew Eason GTR VOC PIA DRM 1407 Pennock Ave Nashville, TN 37207-5125 Cell (803) 238-3753 Charles J. English (Charles English) BAS GTR 6733 Christiansted Lane Nashville, TN 37211 Cell (615) 260-1960
David Fisher GTR BAS 512 Old Hickory Blvd Apt #2710 Nashville, TN 37209 Cell (615) 481-5402
Tim Carlton Provence DRM PIA PRC KEY 696 Williamsport Court Nashville, TN 37221 Hm (615) 351-7830
Charles Richard West DRM GTR 1510 Newmans Trail Hendersonville, TN 37075 Cell (615) 424-7887
Benjamin Golden (B.J. Golden) GTR MDN DBR ORG KEY VOC 1216 a Tulip Grove Rd Hermitage, TN 37076 Cell (615) 268-7941
Bruce Schmier (Brook Hansen) ORG SYN PIA VOC PRO 1518 Watercress Drive Nashville, TN 37214 Cell (615) 509-3376
James Harris West, II BAS GTR PIA VOC PRC 2133 Beachfront Ave Antioch, TN 37013 Cell (615) 485-3395 Hm (615) 485-3395
Shanna Lynn Hendrixson VOC DRP SYN ENG COM 7128 Branch Rd Dittmer, MO 63023 Cell (314) 532-2460 Hm (636) 944-2004
Christopher James Speich DRM PRC VOC 1589 Leaf Lane Ashland City, TN 37015 Cell (615) 419-1454
Daniel Robert Young (Danny Young) DRM PRC VOC CJN 1406 1/2 Monetta Ave Nashville, TN 37216 Cell (213) 595-2669
James David Jones, III (Jimi Jones) BAS TBA PIA GTR VOC PO Box 3002 Brentwood, TN 37024 Cell (615) 779-9059 James Philip Lassiter (Philip Lassiter) TPT KEY VOC FLH MEL 2716 Westwood Dr Nashville, TN 37204 Cell (817) 797-2252 Leandria Tia Lott VLN GTR 33 Plus Park Blvd. Nashville, TN 37217 Cell (256) 468-4474 Casey Lee Lutton GTR P O Box 24325 Nashville, TN 37202 Hm (615) 479-7139 Brenton Edward McCollough (Brent McCollough) PIA KEY ORG SYN VOC GTR BAS 10474 Harbourview Dr Northport, AL 35475 Cell (205) 789-9071 James Andrew O’Brien DRM PRC 153 Alsup Lane Lavergne, TN 37086 Hm (615) 793-7767 William Michael Parkinson (Mike Parkinson) TPT FLH 907 Banner Dr Murfreesboro, TN 37129 Cell (740) 274-2334 Peter Michealson Pisarczyk (Peter Keys) PIA ORG SYN BAS DRM GTR 3385 W Division St Hermitage, TN 37076 Cell (615) 403-2129
Michael Lewis Swope (Mike Swope) DRM 2223 Scenic Loop Rd Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 Cell (865) 300-2400 Jason Russell Tomlin, Sr VOC TPT 2205 Les Robinson Rd Columbia, TN 38401 Cell (615) 593-7904 Hm (615) 593-7904 Christopher Glenn Tompkins GTR KEY ORG PIA PO Box 121859 Nashville, TN 37212 Hm (615) 760-5107 James An Tooke (Jay Tooke) DRM VOC GTR BAS 1032 Mathews Ave Nashville, TN 37216 Cell (645) 878-2157
William Harrison Yount (William Harrison) PST DRM STL 4022 Murphy Rd Nashville, TN 37209 Cell (210) 722-8427 RESIGNED Christopher Charles Campbell Luke S Witchger EXPELLED Lance Baldwin Adrienne Harmon Dirk Johnson Peter Aaron King Kevin Andrew Lennon Paul Warren Martin Michael Thomas Poole Daniel Keyes Tashian
NEXT LOCAL 257 MEMBERSHIP MEETING Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 George Cooper Rehearsal Hall Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. Don't forget to like us on Facebook and Twitter. Search for Nashville Musicians Association
JULY–SEPTEMBER 2015 33
DO NOT WORK FOR The “Do Not Work For” list exists to warn our members, other musicians and the general public about employers who, according to our records, owe players money and/or pension, have failed to sign the appropriate AFM signatory documents required to make the appropriate pension contribution, or are soliciting union members to do non-union work. TOP OFFENDERS LIST Nashvillemusicscoring.com and Recordingmusicians.com – Former Local 257 member Alan Umstead is soliciting non-union recording work through these websites and elsewhere. Do not work for him under any circumstances without an AFM contract. These are employers who owe musicians large amounts of money and have thus far refused to fulfill their contractual obligations to Local 257 musicians. Positive Movement/Tommy Sims (multiple unpaid contracts – 2007 CeCe Winans project) Sims owes our musicians more than $300K and is now on the AFM’s International Unfair List Terry K. Johnson/ 1720 Entertainment (unpaid contracts/unauthorized sales – Jamie O’Neal project) Beautiful Monkey/JAB Country/Josh Gracin Eric & Tracey Legg (multiple unpaid contracts and pension dating back to 2007) Ray Vega/Casa Vega Quarterback/G Force/Doug Anderson Rust Records/Ken Cooper (unpaid contracts and pension) Revelator/Gregg Brown (multiple bounced checks/unpaid contracts) HonkyTone Records – Debbie Randal UNPAID CONTRACTS AND PENSION Wayd Battle/Shear Luck Beautiful Monkey/JAB Country Bull Rush, Inc/Cowboy Troy (unpaid demo upgrade – making payments) Casa Vega/Ray Vega Daddio Prod./Jim Pierce (making payments) Goldenvine Prod./Harrison Freeman Golden Vine/Darrell Freeman First Tribe Media Knight Brothers/Harold, Dean, Danny and Curtis Matthew Flinchum dba Resilient Knight Jimmy Fohn Music Katana Productions/Duwayne “Dada” Mills Rebecca Frederick Mark McGuinn Goofy Footed Steve Nickell Gospocentric Quarterback/G Force Music/Doug Anderson Tony Graham RLS Records-Nashville/Ronald Stone Jeffrey Green/Cahernzcole House Region One Records Randy Hatchett RichDor Music/Keith Brown Highland Music Publishing Robbins Nashville In Light Records/Rick Lloyd Round Robin/Jim Pierce (unpaid contract – makLittle Red Hen Records/Arjana Olson ing payments) Mike Ward Music (pension/demo signature) Shauna Lynn Joseph McClelland Shy Blakeman Tim McDonald Singing Honey Tree Joe Meyers Sleepy Town/David Lowe Missionary Music Mark Spiro Jason Morales (pension/demo signature) Spangle 3/Brien Fisher O Street Mansion Tough Records/Greg Pearce (making payments) OTB Publishing (pension/demo signature) Adam D. Tucker Tebey Ottoh Eddie Wenrick Ride N High Records Ronnie Palmer UNPAID PENSION ONLY Barry Preston Smith Comsource Media/Tommy Holland Jason Sturgeon Music Conchita Leeflang/Chris Sevier Ricky D. Cook FJH Enterprises 34 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN
AFM NON-SIGNATORY PHONO LIST We do not have signatory paperwork from the following employers — pension may have been paid in some cases, but cannot be credited to the proper musicians without a signatory agreement in place. If you can provide us with current contact info for these people, we will make sure you get your proper pension contribution for your work. 604 Records Heaven Productions Stonebridge Station Entertainment Straight Shooter Music Ryder Media Donica Knight
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R E A L E S TAT E .
IT’S NOT JUST
M I K E H AY N E S
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The official quarterly journal of the Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257. Featuring legendary mandolin player Sam Bush, and revi...
Published on Jul 31, 2015
The official quarterly journal of the Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257. Featuring legendary mandolin player Sam Bush, and revi...