The Nashville Musician — October - December 2019

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Music City Flashback





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CONTENTS Official Journal of the Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257 | OCTOBER — DECEMBER 2019

6 7 8

10 12 16

ANNOUNCEMENTS Details on the fourth quarter membership meeting to be held Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. On the agenda: An important vote on 2020 annual dues, reports from the president and secretary-treasurer, plus discussion of several important issues.

Photo: Bob Seaman 2019 City Winery, Nashville


STATE OF THE LOCAL Dave Pomeroy discusses Local 257 actions designed to bring awareness to musician issues. IN THE POCKET Secretary-Treasurer Vince Santoro shares three cool ways you can help make your local strong and thriving. NEWS New expanded insurance options for our members, plus information about the newly relaxed requirements for musicians traveling with instrument parts and accessories made of (most) rosewood varieties. HEARD ON THE GRAPEVINE The comings and goings of Local 257 members.



GALLERY We recognize member milestones as well as other events and honors. COVER STORY: DELBERT MCCLINTON Warren Denney chats with the winner of the 2019 Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement award about his amazing career, new record, and believing in yourself, through hard times and good.

22 JOHNNY DUKE REMEMBERS The woodwind player and

professor emeritus shares some remarkable stories and images from his multi-faceted career.

26 REVIEWS The reunion of the Nashville Jazz Machine at City

Winery brought together old and new fans alike, and delighted a packed house.



28 SYMPHONY NOTES Violinist Laura Ross reminisces on some major NSO milestones, as she steps down from her Nashville Symphony union steward position, and introduces bassist Kevin Jaworski to the role.

29 JAZZ & BLUES A roundup of shows and other happenings in the jazz and blues community.

30 FINAL NOTES We bid farewell to Eddie Fulton, Jack Greubel, Elwyn Hall, Arthur LaBonte, and Paul Doege.













Dave Pomeroy Vince Santoro Kathy Osborne Leslie Barr Austin Bealmear Warren Denney Kathy Osborne Dave Pomeroy Vince Santoro Steve Tveit Laura Ross Rick Diamond Mickey Dobo Tripp Dockerson Donn Jones Dave Pomeroy Vince Santoro Lisa Dunn Design Kathy Osborne Leslie Barr 615-244-9514

Dave Pomeroy Vince Santoro Jimmy Capps Jonathan Yudkin Laura Ross Tom Wild Jerry Kimbrough Steve Hinson Andre Reiss Michele Voan Capps Tiger Fitzhugh Teresa Hargrove Kent Goodson Dave Moody Kathy Shepard John Terrence Bruce Radek Biff Watson


Steve Tveit


Laura Ross


Laura Birdwell

Steve Tveit Christina Mitchell Paige Conners Teri Barnett Leslie Barr Sarah Weiss Dalaina Kimbro Savanna Ritchie

@ 2019 Nashville Musicians Association P.O. Box 120399, Nashville TN 37212 All rights reserved.


Next General Membership Meeting Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 The next Local 257 General Membership Meeting will be Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 at 2 p.m. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. There will be a vote to approve the 2020 Local 257 Annual Dues, and also reports from the president and secretary-treasurer. Please make plans to attend and get involved in the business of your local.

2020 Regular Member Annual Dues Proposal (must be approved by membership at Nov. 7 meeting) $170.00………………Local Dues 66.00………………AFM Per Capita 49.00………………Funeral Benefit Assessment 3.00………………Emergency Relief Fund $288.00………………Total without voluntary contributions 3.00………………Emergency Relief Fund (voluntary) 2.00………………AFM Tempo Fund (voluntary) $293.00………………Total 2020 Dues Regular Members (including $5 voluntary) Executive board recommendation: favorable

2020 Life Member Annual Dues Proposal (must be approved by membership at Nov. 7 meeting) $ 70.00………………Local Dues 50.00………………AFM Life Member Per Capita 49.00………………Funeral Benefit Assessment 3.00………………Emergency Relief Fund $172.00………………Total without voluntary contributions 3.00………………Emergency Relief Fund (voluntary) 2.00………………AFM Tempo Fund (voluntary) $177.00………………Total 2020 Dues Life Members (including $5 voluntary) Executive board recommendation: favorable

AFM LOCAL 257 HOLIDAY CLOSINGS VETERANS DAY Monday, Nov. 11 THANKSGIVING Wednesday, Nov. 27 at noon through Friday, Nov. 29, HOLIDAY BREAK Friday, Dec. 20 through Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020 MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY Monday, Jan. 20, 2020


LOCAL 257 REHEARSAL HALL GUIDELINES Local 257 members in good standing can qualify to use our recently updated rehearsal hall at no charge. Last year the hall was revamped with a new heating/AC system, and is now equipped with full backline, drum kit and a grand piano. Below are the rules for usage of the hall:

• The responsible party must be a Local 257 member in good • • • • • • •

standing. New members must be paid in full by 30 days after applying for membership in order to book the rehearsal hall. The responsible party must fill out the sign in sheet. Maximum time available is five hours per rehearsal unless other arrangements have been approved. Rehearsals must end by 11 p.m. Rehearsal cannot be booked more than 2 months in advance without approval by Local 257. In order to keep the rehearsal hall open to as many members as possible, no more than two rehearsals can be booked in one week without advance approval by Local 257. 24-hour notice must be given for cancellation of rehearsal. Excessive cancellations may result in reduced rehearsal privileges. As a courtesy to all of those who use the rehearsal hall, please leave the rehearsal hall in the condition that you found it. Any member carrying more than $250 in overdue work dues will lose their rehearsal hall privileges.

Free usage of our full-backline equipped rehearsal hall is one of the great benefits of Local 257 membership. SecretaryTreasurer Vince Santoro has a few requests for musicians utilizing Cooper Hall: “I cannot overstate the importance of leaving the P.A. system the way you found it. That means that if you re-wire it in any way — you really should never have to do this — return the wiring to its original state before leaving the hall. “The refuse bins in the hall represent three categories: trash, recyclables and Styrofoam. We ask you to not only stop and think which bin to put your refuse in, but to rinse any Styrofoam before putting it in its bin and drain any liquids from cans, cups or containers in a sink before putting them in their appropriate bins," Santoro said.



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

NEW NASHVILLE SYMPHONY UNION STEWARD Longtime Nashville Symphony union steward Laura Ross stepped down from that position July 31. Bassist Kevin Jablonski has been elected by acclamation by members of the orchestra as Ross’s replacement. Learn more about Jablonski in Symphony Notes on page 28.

Don't forget to like us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Search for Nashville Musicians Association

Next member meeting Thursday, Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. Cooper Hall TNM

OCT – DEC 2019 5


The greater our membership, the stronger our voice becomes. That is the key to a successful future.



all in Nashville is traditionally a time for recognition of musicians, including inductions at the Musicians Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the CMA, ACM Honors, and Americana awards shows. Other well-known longstanding events include Jazzmania, the annual fundraiser for the Nashville Jazz Workshop. This year even more buzz about music than usual has been generated by the popular Ken Burns Country Music documentary that aired on PBS.

Fighting the good fight

All these things are certainly laudable, and we join in celebrating and supporting all the honorees and great causes that are a part of this time of year in the Music City. But here at Local 257, our daily efforts are spent on behalf of those musicians who often go without recognition, despite lifelong careers in the business. We have our share of celebrities on the member rolls here, and always have. But most of our members are folks the greater public has never heard of, although they’ve heard them playing the songs they love —whether on the radio, online, or in one of the dozens and dozens of popular Lower Broadway bars that have brought throngs of visitors to Nashville. Rank and file AFM 257 members are the musicians we fight for — for living wages, for equal treatment, and for respect — especially in this confusing new world of streaming, digital platforms, social media, and all that has come with the 21st century.

Alerting the media

To bring a greater awareness to the multitude of players we represent and the Nashville community as well, we coordinated a news conference and musical event at the Musicians Hall of Fame Oct. 1. The spe6 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN

(l-r) Devin Malone, Jim Riley, Dave Pomeroy, Jenee Fleenor, and Danny Rader listen to U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper speak at AFM 257's #bandtogether event.

cific goal was to highlight one of the many problematic issues which have hurt musicians — the lack of musician residuals from streaming airplay of television and movies. This event, part of the AFM’s nationwide #bandtogether campaign, was a timely prelude to the upcoming negotiations with film and TV companies, where the AFM will work to get new forms of media monetized for the session players who are the backbone of the recording industry. The strength of numbers, that is, union membership, is never more important than when it comes to these crucial negotiations. The AFM is the only entity that goes toe-to-toe with record labels, film and TV companies, and other entities to make sure our members are always respected and compensated fairly — now and going forward. On Oct. 2, we launched a letter writing campaign to our Senators Alexander and Blackburn urging them to give musicians the same consideration as they have given songwriters and support the Butch Lewis Act, which would provide long-term low interest loans to multi-employer funds like our AFM-Employer Pension Fund. Neither senator has come out in support of this legislation, and we must get the message across to them how important this issue is to thousands of their constituents in Tennessee. Another overlooked group of musicians are the many who work long hours in downtown Nashville in the clubs and other live venues. An additional Local 257 public ac-

tion on Oct. 3 brought needed attention to the daily struggles of those musicians, and again, enlightened the public to the problems they face. We have been trying to get Metro to rein in the bad behavior of taxi drivers who routinely and illegally block the outside lane, which is supposed to be for “active loading and unloading” only. Metro police have been helpful, but when they are not on the beat, the taxis do whatever they want with no consequences. We are demanding accountability from the Taxi Commissioner, who has been very lax in enforcing the laws.

We can’t do it without you

The fight for musicians’ rights is a massive undertaking, and it would be impossible without the support of our membership. Thank you for being a part of Local 257, and whether you are an orchestral player, teacher, touring musician, live performer, or session player, we have your back. You might be surprised at some of the people who never got the memo and continue to work under our contracts without joining, and some who refuse to pay the modest non-member service fees we ask for. If you know someone who isn’t yet a member, please reach out to them, and let them know we are already working for them, and they need to join the team. We look forward to a bright new year ahead, and will continue to work for you. The greater our membership, the stronger our voice becomes. That is the key to a sucTNM cessful future.


“One thing is clear to everyone at Local 257 — we intend to survive.”


is a fact that unions created and sustained our country’s middle class throughout our formative years as a nation, but there will always be detractors who, because of their position in business as employers, want to bust unions. In other words, they support elected leaders who will make life hard for unions, if not kill them outright. Many employers simply ignore fairness to labor and only focus on their bottom line. Although employers are not our enemy, their bottom line is not one iota more important than a musician’s bottom line. One thing is clear to everyone at Local 257 – we intend to survive, and there are three things our members can do to help sustain our survival. The first I want to touch on has to do with the Nashville culture at recording sessions. When I do sessions, I notice that union membership is not something players discuss much, if at all, in a studio setting. We, as members, need to change that. When you are setting up your gear to record, take note of who is on the session with you. If you have a notion that someone is not a member of Local 257 or any other local, strike up a conversation. Let them know that when they work under an AFM agreement they benefit from the union’s work without paying dues. You could ask nicely what they think their check would look like without

BY VINCE SANTORO our collective bargaining. Explain to them just how much stronger our collective voice would be if they would join. Will that be easy? Maybe not. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make the effort. For over a hundred years Local 257 has fostered respect for its musicians. Any folks who come here to record should want to be a part of that tradition of respect. Another aid to our survival in a climate where employers would love to see our demise, is to vote to elect leaders who publicly state their support for unions. Of course, most folks vote according to singular issues that affect them personally, but all of our members should seriously consider a candidate’s stance on unions when making their voting decisions. AFM Local 257 has been in existence since 1902 and has always stood steadfastly behind its musicians in support of the respect that they’re due. However, our officers and department heads must always be aware of the Right to Work laws that have been in place for many years here in Nashville. Other locals may know of these laws and their impact on how business is done where the laws exist, but very few — if any — actually experience the day-to-day sparring that must occur to keep the peace. It colors every aspect of our work, and in this local we strive

to encourage membership rather than telling them what they cannot do. In any other jurisdiction, the mere fact that the AFM negotiates musicians’ rates and stands behind its members in any disputes that may arise should be enough to grow membership. Think about it — those two things alone are worth the annual dues if one considers the rates they’d earn without collective bargaining. Local 257 has created additional value for membership in the forms of a free, fully equipped rehearsal hall, a funeral benefit, discounts on many useful services and a true healthcare group with rates that beat most available on the marketplace. The third thing our members can and should do to aid us in our efforts to survive, is to pay annual and work dues in a timely fashion. These payments not only keep the lights on but give us the funding to further expand our services to you – our membership. The dance we do staying between the lines of Right to Work and chasing after late payments is a dizzying exercise, but Dave Pomeroy and I know the score. We continue to put our faith in our members to do the right thing. Our approach has history as its bible which demands a vision of “the big picture.” That is simply how things are done TNM in Music City.

Next General Membership Meeting Thursday, 2 p.m. Nov. 7, 2019 OCT – DEC 2019 7


New insurance options for Local 257 members AFM Local 257 and its insurance organization partner, Sound Healthcare & Financial, announced an expansion of their unprecedented True Group Health Insurance plan in September. Members are now offered a full array of Union Member Voluntary Group Benefits at discounted group rates. Voluntary Group Benefits include: • Dental (Blue Cross Blue Shield of TN) • Vision (Blue Cross Blue Shield of TN) • GapAssist Coverage – Accident, Critical Illness, Inpatient Indemnity (Symetra) • Group Life Insurance (Guardian) • International Travel Coverage (Crum & Forster) • Pet Insurance (Nationwide) • Auto and Home Insurance (MetLife) • Complete Identity Theft Protection (Secure CyberID) Nashville Musicians Association President Dave Pomeroy said the new benefits are all part of the local’s ongoing commitment to providing maximum value and quality services to AFM 257 members and the Nashville music community as a whole. “In addition to promoting respect for musicians and getting them paid fairly for the work they do, we have created numerous ways to save union members far more than the cost of our annual dues, which are less than $300 per year. We welcome inquiries from anyone and everyone who wants to learn more about the only organization that looks out for the welfare of Music City musicians,” Pomeroy said. Sound Healthcare & Financial Founder and CEO RJ Stillwell said access to group voluntary benefits at discounted group rates is a first for the independent musicians and music professionals in Nashville’s creative community. “Most professionals in music are self-employed independent contractors. We’ve been able to bring some of the biggest names in insurance together to provide voluntary group benefits to AFM 257 members without an employer/employee relationship. We encourage current AFM 257 members to take advantage of these benefits and those in our music community who are not members to consider joining. There’ve never been more reasons to join the Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257,” Stillwell said. Enrollment in the AFM 257 Union Member Voluntary Benefits is exclusively available through Sound Healthcare & Financial. For more information, please visit www.soundhealthcare. org and click on Explore Union Benefits or contact 615.256.8667 / 8 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN

Permit requirements eased for most rosewood, other materials Permit requirements will be eased for those traveling with musical instruments, parts, and accessories containing most varieties of rosewood. The change in restrictions will begin in November, and follows an August gathering of 183 parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES) held in Geneva, Switzerland. League of American Orchestras Advocacy President Heather Noonan said the action was “the culmination of three years of productive dialog across musical instrument stakeholders, parties to the convention and also conservation groups." Instrument makers and musicians pushed for the exemption, writing in a convention brief that without it “the world of music and culture will lose certain instruments that produce the highest quality tones, with no corresponding conservation benefit.” Cedrala wood and mammoth ivory in finished instruments will also no longer require permits. Trade in raw material rosewood will remain regulated and subject to permits. Brazilian rosewood also remains under permit requirements.

Martin Guitar luthier assembles wooden guitar sides.


Still Handmade



Still the Standard. Randy has been using his hands to expertly craft and assemble our guitars for over 25 years, because we believe it’s the only way to create the perfect tone. And it’s that legendary tone that has inspired music icons and passionate guitar players for generations. Hear Randy’s story and find your handcrafted D-18 at OCT – DEC 2019 9



Patsy & Loretta, which chronicles the real-life bond between legendary Local 257 members Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn in the 1950s and ’60s, will premiere Oct. 19 on the Lifetime channel. Before her death in a plane crash in 1963, Cline was an established star who took up-and-comer Lynn under her wing and helped her navigate the male-dominated world of country music. The movie features Megan Hilty as Patsy Cline and Jessie Mueller as Loretta Lynn. Filmed in Nashville last spring, Patsy & Loretta was directed by Callie Khouri, who created the television show Nashville. Tim Lauer was the composer and executive music producer. “I sure loved Patsy,” said Lynn via Facebook. “It broke my heart when we lost her. We always had lots of fun together.” In September, the NSAI Kris Kristofferson Lifetime Achievement Award, given to recognize a songwriter whose works have made a significant contribution to the American songbook, was presented to Lynn. She wrote a significant amount of her own signature songs, including “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind),” “Fist City,” and “The Pill.”


Composer and pianist Bill Pursell was the subject of the Country Music Hall of Fame's "Musician Spotlight" program in September. Pursell played on albums by many artists including Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Marty Robbins. He has worked with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and is currently a faculty member of Belmont University’s School of Music. In 1963, his instrumental single “Our Winter Love” spent 14 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Pursell is an AFM life member who joined Local 257 in 1960.

Bill Pursell (shown here with his daughter Laura) 10 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN


Jeff Hanna


Tommy Emmanuel‘s journey from Australian guitar prodigy to a career as a Grammynominated guitarist, composer, recording artist and performer is the center of a new documentary film, Tommy Emmanuel-The Endless Road. The project had its U.S. premiere at the 50th Nashville Film Festival, Oct. 5. After the premiere the film will screen at Nashville’s Regal Hollywood Theaters. In July, the film premiered at Australia’s Melbourne Film Festival, where it won Best Music Documentary. “It’s very appropriate that the film has its U.S. debut in Nashville because Nashville has been a big part of my life, not just musically — I have so many friends here and so many influences. It’s a great city,” said Emmanuel. Emmanuel is one of five guitarists designated by Chet Atkins as a CGP, or Certified Guitar Player. The two released an album together in 1997, dubbed The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World. Emmanuel also earned two Country Music Awards of Australia honors in 2005 and 2007 and two ARIA Awards.

popular music. Past honorees include Local 257 members Cowboy Jack Clement, Earl Scruggs, Guy Clark, Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and Jason Isbell. At his first event Stuart celebrated the re-release of his landmark 10th studio album The Pilgrim. The 20-year milestone included a host of guests including Chris Stapleton, Connie Smith, and Emmylou Harris.


Nitty Gritty Dirt Band cofounder Jeff Hanna and progressive bluegrass pioneer Sam Bush screened clips from the rarely seen 1989 documentary Making of Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Volume II. Long out of print, the film shows the Dirt Band in the studio with legendary country performers as well as with artists who are now considered to be the foundation of modern Americana music, including Local 257 members Jerry Douglas, New Grass

Sam Bush

Revival member Bush, and Mark O’Connor, along with Rosanne Cash and John Hiatt. Will the Circle Be Unbroken celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year. The record won three Grammys and a CMA award for Album of the Year. The Ford Theater event on Sept.11 was hosted by Craig Shelburne and presented in partnership with the Bluegrass Situation website and Americana Music Association. TNM


Marty Stuart was named artist-in-residence for 2019 by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The artist presided over the museum’s CMA Theater stage Sept. 11, 18, and 25 — both curating and performing at three one-of-a-kind shows. The residency program was established in 2003 with a goal of honoring musical masters who have contributed a large and significant body of work to American

(l-r) Kenny Vaughan, Marty Stuart, Emmylou Harris, Harry Stinson and Chris Scruggs OCT – DEC 2019 11


NAMM 2019


2. 3.



manufacturer MJC Ironworks with






1. Bassist JOE WILLIS and his wife Pat

celebrate his 50 year pin. 2. Multi-woodwind player MATT DAVICH

displays his brand-new life member pin.

GALLERY The annual Jerry Reed Tribute show was held at RAY STEVENS' CabaRay, hosted by WSM's Bill Cody. AFM 257 members performing included JOHN KNOWLES, LEE ROY PARNELL, BUDDY GREENE, and RIC MCCLURE. A splendid time was had by all!




ACM Honors Studio Recording awards were presented at a ceremony on Aug. 21 to Local 257 guitarist DEREK WELLS, keyboardist DAVE COHEN, ILYA TOSHINSKIY for specialty instruments, steel guitarist MIKE JOHNSON and producer JAY JOYCE, who did not attend the event.




Gallery continued on page 14 OCT – DEC 2019 13


Americana Finale

continued from page 13

1. 2.

1. The finale of the 2019 Americana Music Awards featured a

huge cast of notables from Mavis Staples to Elvis Costello. BUDDY MILLER led the house band, which included Local 257 members JIM HOKE and IAN FITCHUK. 2. JOHN PRINE and his producer DAVE COBB at the podium

for Prine's Album of the Year award for Tree of Forgiveness.

your nashville symphony Live at the Schermerhorn NASHVILLE SYMPHONY

Brahms’ Violin Concerto

Rachmaninoff’s The Bells


Symphonie Fantastique

Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet


October 25 to 27

November 7 to 9

November 21 to 23

January 10 to 12

January 30 to February 1

February 20 to 23


615.687.6400 |




1. 3.

2. 1. Labor Day Workers Parade turns east from Bridgestone


in the Workers Parade on Labor Day. 3. CLIFFORD KOUFMAN, NELL LEVIN, MICHAEL AUGUST, VINCE SANTORO, DANNY STRIMER, DAVE POMEROY at the Workers Parade 4. JAMES HUNT, (second from left) with DAVE POMEROY and Hunt's Belmont University classmates

and professor Sarita Stewart tour the local. Hunt interned and worked part-time at the local this year before snagging a full-time gig with Warner Music. 4.


OCT – DEC 2019 15




Solid Ground



continued on page 18 continued on page 20

Photo by Jeremy Fetzer 2019

OCT – DEC 2019 17

continued from page 17

There's a lifeblood in his music that sustains, and McClinton in all his faces — shouter, crooner, bluesman — sustains and survives.

nd, not only is he enduring, he’s bearing forth on a higher plane, having just earned a much-deserved Lifetime Achievement award from the Americana Music Association in September, receiving a sidewalk star at the Paramount Theatre in Austin in February, and riding a wave of critical acclaim on the heels of his record Tall, Dark & Handsome, released on Hot Shot Records / Thirty Tigers this summer. “Oh man, I’m always well-received,” McClinton said over the phone recently, from his Nashville home. “I’ve got a fan base out there that’d take a bullet for me. And, I could work eight nights a week, you know. But, I don’t. I’ve been on the road since the ‘60s, and I still love what I do, but I can’t work eight nights a week anymore.” He says this laughing because he has done it. Delbert McClinton’s voice has the power to bend time, and he has easily put eight days hard work into seven over the years. And, that’s why any award honoring his storied career is deserved — and overdue. But, he has never worried about the critics. He has a relationship with the real thing, and that’s all that matters to him in the long run. At 78, he works enough to keep the gold rolling through his veins. “Well, it’s enough to satisfy the Joneses,” he said. “That’s all I’m looking to do. If I satisfy the Joneses, I think that satisfies me. I’d love to have more success at selling records, but if I never do, it’s okay. That’s not why I do this.”

"I'm a better songwriter with guys that inspire me." For the record, he has sold plenty, recorded with several major labels, and has earned three Grammys — Best Rock Duo Performance in 1992 with Bonnie Raitt for “Good Man, Good Woman;” Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2002 for Nothing Personal; and Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2006 for Cost of Living. His single “Giving It Up for Your Love” reached No. 8 on the pop charts in 1980, making it his most celebrated radio hit, and he stormed the country charts with Tanya Tucker for their duet “Tell Me About It” in 1993. Five of his albums — the aforementioned Grammy winners, along with Room to Breathe (2002), Acquired Taste (2009), and Blind, Crippled and Crazy (2013) — have reached No. 1 on the U.S. blues charts. And, perhaps most notably, he is a member of the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame, standing next to the likes of Willie and the Walkers — TBone and Cindy — just to scratch the surface. And, it is this element of McClinton’s artistry that is often overlooked by fans. He is a great songwriter, first and foremost. His “Two More Bottles of Wine” was a No. 1 hit in 1978 for Emmylou Harris, and his songs have been covered by Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Waylon Jennings, Wynonna Judd, and Etta James, among others. His “B Movie Boxcar Blues” appeared on the Blues Brothers first album. 18 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE — Episode 13 — Air Date 02/24/1979 Musical guest Delbert McClinton performs on Feb. 24, 1979 Photo by Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Tall, Dark & Handsome holds 14 originals, either written or cowritten by McClinton, fashioned with bandmates and friends, including Bob Britt, Kevin McKendree and Mike Joyce, and Dennis Wage. “I’m an even better songwriter with guys that inspire me,” he said. “So, I’m a lyric freak. I love lyrics and I will not just kick anything out. I don’t have to. I’m not afraid to say ‘that’s not good enough — we can do better.’” His band, The Self-made Men + Dana, drives Tall, Dark & Handsome, and features guitarist Britt, McKendree and Wage on keyboards, bassist Joyce, James Pennebaker on guitar, Jack Bruno on drums, Quentin Ware on trumpet, and saxophonist Dana Robbins. It is a boiling portion of rocking and rattling songs, punctuated occasionally with a gentle, reflective blues. There’s a pace and rhythm here, beginning with a shot to the jaw in “Mr. Smith,” as it moves through a spectrum of rockers like “If I Hock My Guitar” and “Gone to Mexico,” to the sweet “Any Other Way” and the stripped and funky closer “A Poem.” There’s an autobiographical bend to Tall, Dark & Handsome, and all songs are held together by McClinton’s ever-present, Godgiven voice, alternately pleading and shouting to the world. He’s never sounded better. The record is infused with his Texas roots, held down at times with fiery fiddle and accordion, one that shores up rock & roll’s melting pot foundation. “Well, these songs come from me and the guys in the band,” he said. “We’ve been working together now for about six years, and myself and Bob Britt and Michael Joyce decided to get together one day and see if we could write over here at my house. And we wrote two great songs. “And it inspired us. So, we continued doing that. Not only with Mike, but Bob is always the main part of it. He can just start playing

something on the guitar, and I find the melody to it, and then we put words down. We’re having a lot of fun because it’s just working, you know — it’s been working. And the previous record we made, Prick of the Litter, and this one, are two of the most inspired records that I’ve ever made.” McClinton is reveling in his life. For someone who has been a professional musician and songwriter for over 60 years, he is remarkably wide-eyed and eager with his music. This is the bulldog who hung out with the Beatles in 1963 while touring with Bruce Channel of “Hey Baby” fame, giving John Lennon tips on harmonica, and who has backed Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley. A heady trip, to say the least. “I’m having a great time writing songs right now,” he said. “So, that’s what we’re doing. Bob and I just sat down with Pat McLaughlin recently, and we’ve already got about five brand new songs. Pat is one of the best songwriters and rhythm guitar players in the world. I mean, oh God, when he starts playing, you can’t help but make up words to it. “Oh yeah, man. This is the best part of my career, right now. And my confidence level is through the roof because I’ve got these guys to lean on, and to collaborate with.”

He’s no less enthusiastic about his entire band. “I can play three chords on the guitar,” he said, laughing. “It’s very limiting. But Bob can play them all, and Kevin McKendree is just an absolute genius. All of them. So, with these guys to bounce off of, I’m in a great space. I’m lucky to have people that can play this good, and have the heart. They’re good friends, and they’re people that I have great admiration for. “We’re not confused about what we’re doing. We’re having a good time and writing great songs. Somebody asked me again, the other day, what I call this music. And I said, ‘well, in my opinion, it’s rock and roll for adults.’” McClinton makes no bones about his lack of confusion — or rather, the musical confusion he sees and hears all around him every day. He rankles at some of the industry norms, and the fundamental sound, being pushed across the face of popular music today. “So, everybody’s got their view,” he said. “Everybody has the right to express themselves musically. But, music has become a commodity — not music. It’s just something to sell … because they create this thing. If you really want to find good music, what I call good music,

This is the bulldog who hung out with the Beatles, giving John Lennon tips on harmonica.

continued on page 20

(L-R) Mike Joyce, Quentin Ware, James Pennebaker, Dennis Wage, Jack Bruno, Bob Britt, Kevin McKendree, Dana Robbins. Photo by Jeremy Fetzer 2019 OCT – DEC 2019 19

continued from page 21 Original handwritten lyrics to Delbert’s “Victim of Life’s Circumstances” circa 1973

First professional stage show – Feb 1957 – Fort Worth, Texas Delbert McClinton archives

with lyrics, good arrangements and legitimate vocalists, you’ve got to look for it. You don’t hear it on the radio. “You go to radio, they push this beat, and this — I don't know what to call it. I don’t want to call it style, because I don’t think it’s got a style. It has a hypnotic thing to it, and you can’t get away from it. That’s got to change, because it’s empty.” There’s a reason McClinton doesn’t run on empty. His tank is full because he brings a foundation to every song he sings. He brings a history and real living. When you walk out of Lubbock, Texas with little more than desire and a heart on fire for music, you’re going to pay some dues. He fed his bones, and when they were strong enough, the music came naturally. “I was always crazy about music, growing up,” he said. “I was a little guy crawling around on the floor after World War II was over, listening to all of this great music of the ‘40s. It was during the worst time in the world, as far as the condition that we were in. The music of the ‘40s is so uplifting. It still is to me. It’s magic to me. "You know, good music never goes out of style. Look how short the soul music era was [but how powerful the songs remain today].

"You know, good music never goes out of style." McClinton, like soul music, endures. Today, through dogged perseverance and the conquering of certain demons, he’s widely celebrated as a roots music visionary, and Rolling Stone has called him the “Godfather of Americana.” Of course, these are just the types of references McClinton might mistrust. He’s more comfortable leaning into his own foundation to know himself. “One thing about Lubbock, if you look real hard, you can see the back of your head,” he said, laughing still. “It’s so flat. You got to do something out there to have a good time. It’s big musically, though. Years ago, back in the ‘70s, somebody gave me the [Alan Lomax] book The Folk Songs of North America, and it shows color-coded musical influences that came across the U.S. from the East Coast. More colors come through Texas because of the port of New Orleans. Texas has so much music, plus there’s Mexico. “It’s the music I’ve listened to all my life — and you get the border radio and all that carries. Those are advantages that I can recognize being from Texas and writing songs. It’s just so abundant.” Photo by Bob Seaman 2019 City Winery, Nashville


Clinton may very well be the embodiment of a musical crossroads, one where blues, rock & roll, country, big band, and even jazz, converge. But, when you cut through it to the core, he considers himself molded in the tradition of songwriter as troubadour. “Look at the ‘70s, when the Willie thing was going on,” he said. “All of the songwriters that, either were from Texas, or coming through — people like Joe Ely, Guy Clark, Townes, Butch Hancock. The thing we know today, especially in Austin, is that Willie started it. It’s all grown from that. “Everyone thought if he could do it, then they could, too. He ushered in the era where the singer writes his own songs. Up until that time, it wasn’t happening that much. He was very inspirational during that whole cosmic cowboy thing.” McClinton’s upward musical trajectory continues. He senses his place in time, and in popular music history, comfortable in his own skin. “Well, I think I’m a good songwriter,” he said. “We’re all — I say we — me and these guys I’m talking about, are all very much aware of what we’re doing, and we’re all very determined to write lyrics that are real and expressive. I couldn't be more proud of the songs that we’ve been writing. “I have always believed in myself, and still do today. And, there’s been a lot of adverse times. But, music to me, is all I do. It’s what I do. It’s what I've done since I was a kid, going around singing. And that, to me, is what’s important. Not the spectacle.” TNM

Getty Images - Doc Pomus and Delbert McClinton Photo by Stephanie Chernikowski/Redferns

L-R. Delbert McClinton, Elvis Costello, and members of Delbert’s band, Lone Star Cafe in New York City Photo by Stephanie Chernikowski/Redferns

"I have always believed in myself. And, there's been a lot of adverse times. But, music to me, is all I do. It's what I do" DELBERT'S RIG

Harmonicas: Hohner Special 20, Hohner Rocket & Hohner XB40Mic: Shure Beta 57aCowbell: Toca Players Series 9-1/2"

Delbert McClinton performs during the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 11, 2019. Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana Music Association OCT – DEC 2019 21

Woodwind player Johnny Duke is a life member of Local 257. He’s had a long

many l i v e s o e f Th

and colorful career in Nashville, including performance, session work, and 30 years teaching music at MTSU — from where he retired as professor emeritus. He has graciously shared some of his fascinating experiences — which serve to


remind us that Music City has for decades been a destination for the creation and performance of all kinds of music. Nashville’s reputation as a musical mecca is made possible in large part by a host of intrepid and skilled players with the ability to adapt to a variety of opportunities — and the union local that has supported them for 117 years.


joined Local 257 of the American Federation of Musicians in 1950 when I was 18. The union office at that time was in the Sudekum Building which was located on Church Street in Nashville, at the corner of 6th Avenue. The Sudekum Building had been formerly known as the Warner Building. The union office was on the 10th floor. It was a two man office. George Cooper was president and Robert Payne was the secretary. Dance jobs were the main employment opportunity at that time. They payed $10 for three hour dances and $12 for a four hour dance. There were quite a few dance bands working at that time: Bill Yandle, Neil Owen, Owen Bradley, Tommy Knowles, Wally Hopper, Tom Hewgley, Carl Garvin, Red McEwen and Ben Pryor, for example. Most of the dances were on either Friday or Saturday night so there were lots of chances to work on the weekends and we could be pretty busy playing with one band or the other. My first job as a union musician was with Red McEwen at club called Alesio’s in north Nashville. Red and I were the only horns in the band and he had a library of only three charts. The rest of the night was spent “faking” tunes which meant no reading. I soon discovered that Red had a knack of starting a tune like “Stardust,” playing the first four bars, then turning to me and saying “Take it.” I also learned later that Red was one of the most important contractors for shows like the Ice Capades, the circus, Liberace, Sonny and Cher, Tony Orlando, the Tennessee State Fair, and other shows that came to town. He was a very active golfer and made many of his contacts on the golf course. So, knowing and working for Red was a source for many jobs. 22 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN

Johnny Cash TV show orchestra

Park concert with Ben Pryor Band. 1960s era. Duke on flute, soloing during “Swinging Shepherd Blues.”

Bobbie and Johnny Duke

Duke gives his young cousin Austin a clarinet lesson.

Prior to joining in 1950, I had the good fortune to grow up in a musical climate in Nashville that was definitely big band oriented. I was in high school from 1946 to 1950. At that time there were several full sized high school dance bands in Nashville. Their libraries consisted of published “stock” arrangements of bands like Stan Kenton, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Elliot Lawrence, etc. These stocks were exactly like the recorded versions and they only cost $1.00 each, so every band would have hundreds of these arrangements. We had the music and we had the records. That’s how we learned styles and how to improvise. Nashville had a lot of great concerts coming to town in those days, like Erskine Hawkins, Louie Jordan, Paul Whiteman, and Tex Beneke with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. One concert that I’ll never forget featured on one evenings’ lineup, Stan Kenton with June Christy, Roy Hamilton, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. We also had WSM and their live radio broadcasts of shows like Sunday Down South (Snooky Lanson, Dottie Dillard, Owen Bradley), The Waking Crew, The Mister Smith Show (Beasley Smith) and The Big Sound (Anita Kerr, Buddy Hall, Delores Watson). All these shows featured a full orchestra — five saxes, three trombones, three trumpets, rhythm section, strings, vocal groups, harp. I can recall the members of the sax section because they were my heroes — Dutch McMillan on lead alto and clarinet; Augie Clevenger, alto; Tommy Knowles, tenor; Newt Richardson, tenor and flute; and future president of our local Cecil Bailey on baritone and alto. For a young high school and college student in those days, the opportunity to hear these great professional players making a living in music was inspirational. Given this musical environment, it was only natural that I wanted to join the musicians union. I knew that the better bands were all union and I wanted to be part of better bands. The first summer after joining the union, I had the opportunity to join the Jerry Mayburn Orchestra, which was a traveling group from Illinois. I was a student at the time and did not own a car. So, I took a bus to Kingsport, Tennessee, to join the band. We played seven weeks on Tybee Island in Georgia, five weeks in Myrtle Beach and several one-nighters throughout the South playing military bases. I learned representatives from locals where

we were playing would come to gigs to check our union cards to make sure that we were all current members. On one of those occasions, we spent the night in Selma, Alabama, and I had the opportunity to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to a record shop on the other side of the river. That’s the bridge that later became famous in the Civil Rights March by Martin Luther King. Jerry’s band, a reading band often referred to as a tenor band, had three saxes, two trumpets and a typical rhythm section. We played a lot of medleys which meant we could crowd hundreds of tunes into a night of playing. This provided a great chance to learn lots of melodies and improve reading. The next summer, I had the opportunity to join a group called Four Satans and an Angel in Phenix City, Alabama. Since I had the chance to make the huge sum of $90 a week, my wife-to-be, Bobbie, and I decided to marry, take the job and move to Phenix City. When we got to Phenix City after a brief honeymoon, we tried to find a place to live. We soon discovered that people would not rent to musicians. This was a wonderful lesson in learning what discrimination was all about. We finally found a family that allowed us to rent an apartment over a garage. The Four Satans and an Angel gig used no written music. So, I spent the summer playing strictly by ear — another great experience. Johnny Ramon was the leader playing valve trombone and trumpet. He was from Puerto Rico and had all the vocal arrangements in his head. So, we had to learn them by rote. We played in a club called Chads and had a different stripper each week — a very revealing experience. Phenix City was not far from Fort Benning in Georgia. Many big bands would play at Fort Benning Base and their members would often frequent our club after their performances at the base. One of my early idols, Charlie Barnet and his band were at our club one night and I got to meet him and sit at his table. I recall looking at his feet under the table. He must have worn size 20 shoes. They were definitely the largest feet I had ever seen. In addition to the visiting bands at Fort Benning, several great musicians who were stationed there often joined us in after-hour jam sessions. Max Bennett, of the L.A. Express, for example, was a frequent guest. He continued to perform in L.A. into his 80s until his recent death in L.A. and we had stayed in touch.

(l-r) Johnny Duke, HB Johnson — The Old Angler from the Waking Crew, Gil Wright of the Anita Kerr Singers, and Dutch McMillan — lead alto with WSM and Les Brown Orchestras.

Swapping 4’s with Buddy DeFranco (left) on Blues Crusade Concert at MTSU with Jack Pearson on guitar — 1980s era

Four Satans and An Angel in 1952 (l-r) pianist and vocals Eddie Nixon, trumpet player and vocals Johnny Raymon, bassist and vocals Jackie Raymon, drummer Jess Johnson, sax, clarinet and vocals, Johnny Duke

Ben Pryor Band. Photo from the former Local 257 union hall on Division Street. Circa ‘56-57. (l-r) Kaye Summers, Johnny Duke, Ben Pryor, Sandra Meade and Walter Lenk

continued on page 24 OCT – DEC 2019 23

continued from page 23

I believe in the power of

In 1952, after our summer in Phenix City, Bobbie and I returned to Peabody College in Nashville so I could finish my degree. Soon I found myself playing faking jobs with a young guitarist named Chet Atkins who had recently moved to town. His group also included people like Buddy Harmon, Grady Martin, Bobby Moore, and 16-year-old Gary Burton on vibes. I also joined Carl Garvin’s band for a time. Then, I was hired by Owen Bradley to play in his dance orchestra. I played withA Owen for about 10 years which was a great connection in many ways. Owen was like a second father for me. Gene Mullins and I got to ride with him and Dottie Dillard to all our out of town gigs, affording us an opportunity to pick Owen’s brain about the music and real estate businesses. Owen hired me for my first recording session in 1957, my introduction to an extensive career in recording. I will forever be grateful. In 1972, I had a chance to return to our union’s original address. The Tennessee Theater had been installed in the Warner-

togetherness and collective bargaining and what it has done for American workers, including musicians. I am very thankful for the many opportunities that

record some of his vocals. Most of the show was live and this was the first time CBS produced the live broadcast. Unfortunately, in the late ‘80s, the art deco Warner Building, our early union home, and the Tennessee Theater were demolished to make a home for the Cumberland Apartments high-rise.. When I joined the union almost 70 years ago, I had no idea that I would ever meet and record with people like Louis Armstrong, Perry Como, Elvis, Johnny and Edgar Winter, or that I would play behind 7people like Peggy Lee on the Johnny Cash TV series. I just loved to play and needed the money and I never said “no” to any call. Now, at the age of 87 and slowly recovering from a cerebral stroke, the days of my woodwind performances may be limited. However, I am still a member of the Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257. I believe in the power of togetherness and collective bargaining and what it has done for American workers, including musicians. I am very thankful for the many opportunities that have been extended to me by my union friends throughout my joyful career in music.

my E N have A been S extended H VtoImeLby L

MUSICIANS FM LOCAL 25 union friends throughout my joyful career in music.

Sudekum Building at 535 Church St. in Nashville in 1952. The theater became the location of the 15th Grammy Awards ceremony, the only time that the Grammy show has broadcast from a venue other than New York City or Los Angeles. Honored to be asked to be a member of the orchestra conducted by Hollywood’s Jack Elliot, we had to have the orchestra set up in the McEndree Methodist Church next door with wires connecting us to the activity on stage. Andy Williams was host for the show and we moved the orchestra out to Woodland Studios in East Nashville to pre-


Where’s My Money? Being a professional musician is not always easy. Running from studio to studio during inclement weather, resetting your gear before each session, pretending the artist and/ or song is the best you’ve ever heard — all that can take a toll. Far too often, you have to wait 30 to 60 days to get paid — or in extreme cases get completely stiffed. We have some suggestions that may help: Call us to make sure we have a current signatory in place for the employer Please make sure the session is on the card and that a signatory is in place. If the employer doesn’t have a current signatory agreement, we can help get that fixed ahead of time. Ask the right questions before the session Whether you are the band leader or not, it’s always good to ask questions before taking the gig. If it’s an independent artist always ask if being paid direct at the session is an option. Alert us immediately before or after a session with any potential concerns We’ve seen and heard it all: A financial backer changes their mind, a producer ends up in the hospital, an artist paid the studio a lump sum and assumed that included musicians, etc. We have been successful getting judgments against local employers but it can be a long and expensive process. Trying to sue people from out of town is almost impossible. If the call to book players is instigated by a local studio or producer they are ultimately responsible for getting everyone paid. 24 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN

Turn in timecard within 72 hours of the session It seems crazy, but there have been occasions when timecards have lounged around for days or weeks in someone’s car before they land at the local. Make sure that all your session timecards get turned in promptly. Remember who initially called and booked you on the session If the session is for a major label or publisher then we know payment will be forthcoming. Making sure the timecards are turned in within 72 hours of the session really helps. We can now email most of the label and publisher's contracts and that speeds up things up a lot. We hope this information is helpful and as always please call with any questions or concerns. The sooner we know about a problem the sooner we can try to sort things out. TNM


BECOME AN AFM LOCAL 257 MEMBER Open to all music industry professionals. Call Sound Healthcare & Financial for more information. OCT – DEC 2019 25


The NJO Presents the reunion of the Nashville Jazz Machine

Dave Converse leads the orchestra All Photos by Anthony Scarlati

The Nashville Jazz Orchestra presented a reunion concert of the Nashville Jazz Machine Aug. 5 at City Winery, and it was a great night of music and good vibes. The packed house was treated to an amazing amalgam of many of Nashville’s most iconic jazz musicians and the return of many players who were on the cutting edge of the local jazz scene, and have since moved on to other cities. For jazz fans who have come to Nashville more recently, the Nashville Jazz Machine was a groundbreaking progressive group founded by trumpeter Dave Converse in the early ‘70s. One of its predecessors was Barry McDonald’s Jazz Corporation, the first of what became known as a “kicks” band. Converse played both jazz and classical music, and was so impressed by the quality of Nashville musicians he discovered after moving here that he created the NJM as a creative outlet and an opportunity to collaborate. They


began weekly rehearsals at Vanderbilt University and started to perform live in 1976, including a stint at Exit/In. They opened the new TPAC in 1980, backed Mel Tormé, and made a classic record in the mid 1980s, Where’s Eli, engineered and produced by Travis Turk. Converse eventually retired from his bandleader position and the Jazz Machine gradually faded into the backstory of Nashville’s consistently underrated jazz scene. The Nashville Jazz Orchestra, led by Jim Williamson, rose out of the ashes of the NJM, and has continued the musical journey of Music City’s jazz community. That memory came back in living color at City Winery as Converse led the band once again, and took the audience on a musical journey through the NJM’s classic material. Players onstage who were an essential part of the NJM included trumpeter George Tidwell and saxophonist Denis Solee. Out-of-towners included keyboardist Alan Steinberger and trombonist Les Benedict, who came in

(l-r) Barry Green, Les Benedict

from Los Angeles, along with trombonist Ernie Collins from New York City, and trumpeter Rod Hill from Washington, D.C. The two sets were high energy, and featured some of the best grooves, arrangements and solos you will ever hear in any city. Set list standouts in addition to Jeff Steinberg’s “Where’s Eli” included the classic Cole Porter tune “Begin the Beguine,” “Pork Fat and Blackeyed Peas” by Barry McDonald, Chris McDonald’s “Corean Fantasy,” “Spaghetti Wrist” by Steinberg, and “Deliverance” by Louis Bellson. The ensemble included Bob Mater on drums, Ike Harris and Craig Nelson trading off on bass, Glen Caruba on percussion, Roger Bissell, Chris McDonald and Barry Green on trombones, and Cole Burgess, Matt Davich, Doug Moffet, Sam Levine, and Buddy Skipper on saxophones. The trumpet section included the Nashville Jazz Orchestra’s fearless leader, Jim Williamson, Steve Patrick, Mike Barry, Mike Haynes, and Mike White. The timeless sound of the Nashville Jazz Machine came back to life and lit up the room. The audience, which included longtime NJM trumpeter and Local 257 Parliamentarian Ron Keller and many musicians and jazz fans, was swept up in the reunion feeling and there was a lot of love in the room. The Nashville Jazz Orchestra’s next event will be a Latin Jazz celebration at City Winery on Tuesday, Nov. 26. We urge all of you to support our amazing jazz musicians. Many thanks to Steve Morley for the background history on the Jazz Machine. — Dave Pomeroy

(l-r) Craig Nelson, Bob Mater, Alan Steinberger backstage


Steve Patrick in the greenroom Chris McDonald

Matt Davich

Glen Caruba backstage Roger Bissell

Bob Mater

(l-r) George Tidwell and Jim Williamson (l-r) Denis Solee and Dave Converse

George Tidwell backstage Ernie Collins

Jim Williamson


Tom Shed songs about something

Better Than Good love at first sight? it’s a stone cold fact

OCT – DEC 2019 27




ast summer I told my colleagues I would step down as union steward at the end of the season after 24 years. As my friend, Kevin Jablonski — a talented bassist with experience as orchestra committee chair and a negotiating committee member — takes over, I’ve reflected on the accomplishments and challenges in which I played a part. Harold Bradley hired me in 1995; one year later I was responsible for coordinating negotiations. As ROPA delegate, I had already participated in negotiating three contracts since 1990, the first following the shutdown in 1988. As we entered negotiations in 1996-97, the orchestra consisted of 73 musicians — a minimum core of 55 musicians plus two other tiers of long and short contracts — a 39-week season of nonconsecutive weeks, with three weeks of paid vacation, scheduling notice to musicians of 30 days for regular services and 21 days for educational services, 12 nine-service weeks per season, four paid personal services (less for lower tiered contracts), and wages in 2000-01 of $26,162.19. As an orchestra committee member and negotiator, my colleagues and I fought to expand our orchestra back to pre-1988 numbers, when we had 86 musicians. Over the years, we were successful in convincing management to begin adding string positions and were even more forceful in our insistence that as we began negotiations in 2001, we had to have at least $30,000 to hold onto our newer members. Two long-term agreements in 2001-07 that took us into the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and 2007-12 (that was later reopened and extended for one season following the financial meltdown in 2008-09) doubled our salary and took us to $60,000 in the final year of the agreement. Between 2004-5 we also convinced management to upgrade the short and long contracts, making the Nashville Symphony a fulltime orchestra. We added five weeks for a 28 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN

44 consecutive-week season, expanded scheduling notice to 45 days and 30 days for roster assignments, reduced the number of nine-service weeks to six times per season, increased paid personal services to 10, and added two more vacation weeks. In 2013 we were forced to accept a 15-percent pay cut because of hall funding issues that took five seasons to restore; by the 2021-22 season we will finally achieve a base salary of $70,000. My job wasn’t just negotiating contracts. I think I’m most proud of the orientation letters I sent new members about our orchestra’s history and inner workings. I took nearly every new musician out to lunch, and even opened my home to more than a dozen musicians when they first moved to town. It’s a wonderful thing to make a new musician feel welcome and I’m glad the orchestra committee began to join my lunches. And too, there’s a more difficult part to the job as I defended and supported musicians facing termination proceedings for artistic or just-cause reasons. I attended meetings with musicians, the music director and/or management, and advised and assisted grievance and arbitration processes. The number of musicians left in the orchestra who lived through the strike, shutdown and the lean years before things started moving in a positive direction, is dwindling. With diverse ages and experiences, I hope my colleagues will continue to value and appreciate the struggles and successes we weathered to help the Nashville Symphony grow stronger. I’m looking forward to what our orchestra has yet to achieve.

Introducing Kevin Jablonski

As Laura mentioned, I am stepping into the role of union steward to serve both my fellow orchestra musicians and also Local 257 in its relationship with the symphony. As we make this transition and begin a new season, I thought this would be a good time to introduce myself a little further and look ahead to our endeavors this year. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, (Go Bucks!) and studied Double Bass Performance at Rice University in Houston. While I was still studying there, I was thrilled to win a position in the Nashville Symphony bass section in 2010. I moved to Nashville exactly one week before the great

Kevin Jablonski

flood that May, so I got a bizarre welcome to the city. But I immediately felt the camaraderie of the orchestra as everyone banded together to continue playing all over the city while the Schermerhorn was being repaired. I quickly learned my way around town as I was getting to know many different venues in short order. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 10 years since then, but I’ve loved seeing Nashville and the symphony grow, notwithstanding a few bumps along the way. Growth can be challenging, but it’s also exciting to welcome new faces to our city and to the symphony hall, which conveniently sits right in the middle of all the action downtown. Just this summer, we’ve installed a new digital marquee near the Apollo fountain at the entrance to Symphony Place on 4th Avenue. So come on down and check it out along with all the passersby, who will hopefully notice something they’d like to come see. We’ve got a diverse lineup as always of different concerts that we’re excited about, and I suspect that if you asked every musician in the orchestra what they’re most looking forward to this year, you’d get a whole variety of answers. Our flagship Classical Series includes many standards of the repertoire we know and love, and we’re continuing our mission of recording new American music with five live recordings for various CD releases. Due to the incredible popularity of playing live movie soundtracks along with the films, we’ve started a special subscription package for movie concerts, which includes five films spread throughout the season. And of course, that’s not to mention our Pops Series, Family Concerts, and many more special events. We can’t wait to kick off the 2019-20 season strong, and I look forward to serving in my new capacity TNM as well.




we say goodbye to the summer festivals and outdoor gigs, we find a few major jazz and blues events scheduled for this fall. I always thought the Musicians Hall of Fame was a really good idea, a way to get public recognition for the often unsung players who turn songs into durable hits. Eleven new inductees will be honored this year, but unless I missed a few resumes, there are no jazz or blues musicians among them — although Michael Rhodes was among the cats playing jazz here in the ‘80s. The induction ceremony and concert take place Oct. 22 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

School events

Middle Tennessee State University begins a new season of their Jazz Artist Series Thursday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. This will be a Vocal Jazz Showcase featuring Ashley Kimbrough, Jim Ferguson, and Cedric Dent. These veteran pros are also MTSU professors, and the backup will probably be pros and students from the jazz degree program. The concert will be in Hinton Hall in the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus. Go to Costumes are optional. Nashville Jazz Workshop’s annual fundraiser, Jazzmania will be another big event with multiple performances, auctions, and the NJW Heritage Award. Headlining the music will be the Gerald Clayton Quartet, led by Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Gerald Clayton. The date is Oct. 19, and events include a special patron reception and meet-and-greet with Clayton at 5 p.m., more music by the Lori Mechem Quartet and the NJW Young Artist Ensemble, a live and silent auction, and the Heritage Award ceremony. Location is Liberty Hall in the Fac-

Gerald Clayton

Kandace Springs

tory at Franklin, for reservations go to www. There are great concerts at many schools. For example, Belmont University offers their Faculty Jazz Group Oct. 16, Jazz Band I and II Oct. 21, Jazzmin (vocals) Oct. 29, and Jazz String Septet Oct. 30. All events at 7:30 p.m. in McAfee Concert Hall. And don’t forget Christmas at Belmont, Nov. 26. Over at Blair School of Music (VU) you have the Blair Jazz Combos Oct. 28 in Turner Recital Hall, Blair Jazz Choir Nov. 6 in Turner, and the Blair Big Band with Francisco Torres on trombone Nov. 14 in Ingram Hall, all at 8 p.m.

Concert and club scene

An NEA Jazz Master, a Kennedy Center Living Jazz Legend and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, pianist Ahmad Jamal makes a rare Nashville appearance with his trio at the Schermerhorn Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. Can you believe this man has been a jazz legend for six decades? One can only hope that his classic version of “Poinciana” is still in the repertoire. See Back in August, the Belcourt Theater hosted a big screen version of the documentary

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes in honor of the label’s 80th anniversary. For four decades, Blue Note issued hundreds of major jazz recordings that are still considered classics today. Another anniversary event is a touring package of current Blue Note artists which makes a stop at City Winery Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. The show will feature Nashville singer/ pianist Kandace Springs, pianist James Francies, and tenor sax man James Carter’s Organ Trio. The Nashville Jazz Workshop recently debuted a new partnership with Puckett’s Grocery of Leiper’s Fork for a jazz series on the first Friday of each month, from 8-10 p.m. Originally a country store, Puckett’s became a popular spot for bluegrass and country jam sessions, expanding in the 1990s to include award-winning food and live music nightly. For reservations call (615) 794-1308 or go to The last outdoor festival of the season, Jazz on The Cumberland, was Oct. 5 at Veterans Park in Granville, Tennessee. This festival is often overlooked but is a great event. Music includes big bands, combos, and blues headlined this year by the 101st Army’s Air Assault Band. Put it in your calendar for next year. For more information go to


Earlier this year, Music City Blues announced that the Unsigned Only Music Competition will now include blues, jazz, Latin, and world music. For information on entering the 2020 contest, go to The Nashville Blues Society remains inactive after announcing its suspension a year ago. To find out about this year’s International Blues Challenge, contact The Blues Foundation in Memphis, TNM at OCT – DEC 2019 29


Edward Neal “Eddie” Fulton May 29, 1945 — July 7, 2019


ocal 257 life member Edward Neal “Eddie” Fulton, 74, died July 7, 2019. He was a harmonica player, tour manager, and the husband of country artist Jeanne Pruett. Fulton joined the Nashville Musicians Association April 28, 1982. He was born May 29, 1945 in Harris County, Texas, to the late Will Roy and Joyce Ardell Hortman Fulton. In his younger years, he was a PBR bull rider. Fulton managed the Jeanne Pruett Theatre, in Branson, Missouri, and also managed the Jeanne Pruett Feeding Friends restaurant. After his move to Nashville he became road manager for Jeanne Pruett Tours and drove tour buses for Lee Greenwood, The Eagles, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan and Yanni. He later served as an EMT for the Saturn-G.M. plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Fulton was an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and a competition clay-bird shooter for Jennette Rudy Shooting Team. His love for the land included managing the family farm, The J Bar E Ranch. Steel guitarist Steve Hinson worked on the road with Fulton and talked about their friendship after his passing: “I met Eddie when he was driving Loretta and I was playing guitar with George Jones. We toured with Loretta Lynn, Twitty and Hag for the biggest part of two years and I saw him ‘bout every day. We ate a lot of meals 30 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN

together and laughed a lot. Rest easy, my friend,” Hinson said. Fulton was also the captain of the Miss Satin Sheets houseboat at Hurricane Marina on Center Hill Lake. Friends noted that “the two loves of Eddie’s life were his devotion to his wife, and his love and collection of honey.” Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Jeanne Pruett; stepchildren, Jack Pruett, Jr. and Jael Salter. Funeral services were held July 11 at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home with Joe Copolo and Father Joseph officiating. Interment was at Woodlawn Memorial Park in the Garden of Grand Tour, George Jones Estate. Active pallbearers were Fred Young, P.C. Salter, Joe Stampley, Joel Beld, Mike Patterson, Dab Boston, Kirk West and Jimmy Timmons. Honorary pallbearers were Ansley Fleetwood, Teresa Fleetwood, Areeda Stampley, Jim Brady, Bob Mund, Nancy Jones, Reba Caldwell Mitweede, and members of the Grand Ole Opry. Memorials may be made to Alive Hospice, Murfreesboro Chapter, 1629 Williams Drive, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 37129.

John “Jack” William Greubel Sept. 20, 1934 – Aug. 4, 2019

John “Jack” William Greubel

Life member John “Jack” William Greubel, 83, died Aug. 4, 2019 in Red Oak, Texas. He played drums with many artists, and spent 12 years with Boots Randolph as part of the ‘70s-era Masters Three Tour, which included Chet Atkins and Floyd Kramer. Dur-

ing the ‘80s he was president of Local 35 in Evansville, Indiana, which was merged with Local 257 in 1992. Greubel, a 68-year AFM musician who was also a pianist, joined Local 35 on Jan. 20, 1951. Greubel was born Sept. 20, 1934 in Evansville, Indiana, to the late Anthony “Doc” Greubel and Helen Ziliak Greubel. When he was 12 he began playing drums. He continued his musical education after high school at the University of Evansville and Northwestern University in Chicago. After school he moved to Nashville, but his career was temporarily put on hold when he was drafted in the Korean War. After his service, he returned to Nashville in 1962. As a session player he worked with Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, and Dolly Parton, among others. During the ‘60s he also sang and played drums for the Hilltoppers, a vocal group that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. In 1983 he met and married Mary Lorraine Stokes, and he began selling pianos in Evansville for Schuttler’s Music. He continued to play the piano, conduct a local orchestra, and write and arrange music. In 1999 the Greubels retired to Granbury, Texas. Greubel continued to perform locally, and also had his own venue called Warm Country Heart. In 2011 he and his wife moved to Red Oak, Texas, to be closer to their daughter and her family. Friends and family said they would always remember “Jack’s quirky sense of humor, the twinkle in his blue eyes and his kind and most generous character.” Fellow musician John Walker was a friend of Greubel’s during his time in Texas. “I was very privileged to have known and performed with Jack for four years with Warm Country Heart. Jack was a fabulous drummer and entertainer. I have — and will always — cherish the friendship that we developed over that time. You will be missed, my friend. Lorraine: Thank you for sharing Jack with us,” Walker said. In addition to his parents Gruebel was predeceased by his two sisters, Wanda Harvengt and Colleen Dickinson. Survivors include his wife, Mary Lorraine Greubel of Red Oak, Texas; his stepson, Todd Stokes; his stepdaughter, Dana Maners; and three grandchildren. Graveside services were held Aug. 12 at Knupple Cemetery in Silsbee, Texas.


Arthur F. LaBonte Nov. 3, 1930 – May 26, 2019.

Elwyn Vance Hall Sept. 23, 1939 – May 2, 2019

Arthur F. LaBonte, 88, died May 26, 2019. He played drums and guitar, and was a 28year AFM member who joined Local 257 May 1, 1991. He was born Nov. 3, 1930 in Salem, Massachusetts, to Arthur LaBonte and Alice LaCombe LaBonte. After high school

Elwyn Hall

Elwyn Vance Hall, 79, died May 2, 2019. He was a guitarist who joined Local 257 Feb. 11, 2008. He was born Sept. 23, 1939 in Durham, North Carolina, where he lived most of his early years. In 1962 he joined the U.S. Army. After his service he moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he started working at Swift Meat Company. In 1974 he aired his first gospel radio program on Jacksonville’s WBIX, and in 1980 he purchased radio station WROS in Jacksonville and named it “The Rose of Sharon.” He went on to own and manage the gospelformat station for nearly 40 years. He also worked from 1978-1984 with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department. Hall, known by family and friends for his lifelong desire to serve God, was said to have a dry wit and imaginative brain. In addition to his love for music, Hall was strongly attached to his pets, in particular his dogs Wags, Rags, and Mags, and his Siamese cats Grumpy and Action Jackson. Hall was preceded in death by his father; stepmother Ann Hall; and stepfather Marvin Brinkley. Survivors include his wife, Robyne Turner Hall; his mother, Hazel B. Brinkley; one son, Dean V. Hall; two sisters, Gay Barbour and Joyce Carey; two step-granddaughters; several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. A celebration of life was held May 7 at Westside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

Arthur F. LaBonte

graduation, he served in the Korean War. In addition to his work performing with country artists, LaBonte was a member of the American Institute of Architects and worked as an architect with the Baptist Sunday School Board. He became a brother of West Nashville Phoenix Lodge #131 Aug. 17, 1959, and was a 62-year Master Mason of the Free and Accepted Masons of Tennessee. He was also a past Worthy Patron of Rock City, Chapter of the Eastern Star. LaBonte was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Jean Armand and Joseph LaBonte; and one daughter, Karen LaBonte. Survivors include his wife, Joan McFadden LaBonte; one brother, Frank LaBonte; one sister, Alice LaBonte Bouchard; one son, Ken LaBonte; two grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. A gathering of family and friends was held May 30 and followed by a graveside service at Woodlawn Memorial Park.

Paul Alan Doege Sept. 20, 1954 – April 23, 2019 Bassist Paul Alan Doege, 64, died April 23, 2019. He joined Local 257 Sept. 9, 1998. Doege was born Sept. 20, 1954 and later lived in Camden, Tennessee. He was a member of the band Rick K and the AllNighters until his passing. Survivors include one brother, Michael Doege. TNM OCT – DEC 2019 31


R o b b E n

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Official JOurnal Of afM lOcal 257 april– June 2014

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GoRdon MotE

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Official JOurnal Of afM lOcal 257 January– March 2014


Loretta Lynn

Still showing us the way

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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

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IN MEMORIAM 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.





Paul Alan Doege




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APR – JUN 2019 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. When you work without the protection of an AFM contract, you are being denied all of your intellectual property rights, as well as pension and health care contributions. TOP OFFENDERS LIST Nashville Music Scoring/Alan Umstead - solicitation and contracting non-union scoring sessions for TV, film and video games. Electronic Arts/Steve Schnur - commissioning and promoting non-union videogame sessions These are employers who owe musicians money and have thus far refused to fulfill their contractual and ethical obligations to Local 257 musicians.

UNPAID PENSION ONLY Comsource Media/Tommy Holland Conchita Leeflang/Chris Sevier Ricky D. Cook FJH Enterprises Matthew Flinchum dba Resilient Jeffrey Green/Cahernzcole House Randy Hatchett Missionary Music Jason Morales (pension/demo signature) OTB Publishing (pension/demo signature) Tebey Ottoh Ride N High Records Jason Sturgeon Music

Terry K. Johnson/ 1720 Entertainment (unpaid contracts/unauthorized sales - Jamie O’Neal project) Ed Sampson (producer) & Patrick Sampson (artist) (multiple unpaid contracts/unauthorized sales) Revelator/Gregg Brown (multiple bounced checks/unpaid contracts) Beautiful Monkey/JAB Country/Josh Gracin Eric Legg & Tracey Legg (multiple unpaid contracts) Ray Vega/Casa Vega Quarterback/G Force/Doug Anderson Rust Records/Ken Cooper (unpaid contracts and pension) HonkyTone Records – Debbie Randle (multiple unpaid contracts/pension) Jeanette Porrazzo

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.

UNPAID CONTRACTS AND PENSION Knight Brothers/Harold, Dean, Danny & Curtis Knight River County Band/SVC Entertainment (unpaid demo conversion/pension)

604 Records Heaven Productions Stonebridge Station Entertainment The Collective TNM


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