Country Reunion Magazine, April 2023

Page 1

Country Reunion m • a • g• a • z• i • n • e

April 2023

Alan Jackson

Bluebird Cafe Salty Holmes Georgette Jones Charlene Hilton

Savannah Rae

10 Years Ago Moe Bandy Dallas Frasier Kelley Lang … and more

December 2021

Country Reunion Magazine Who’s inside?

Free Newsletter Signup

Alan Jackson, p. 3 Georgette Jones, p. 4-5 Bluebird Cafe, p. 6-8 Salty Holmes, p. 9-11 Areeda’s Cooking, p. 12 Savannah Rae, p. 13-15 Moe Bandy, p. 16 Next Generation, p. 17 Renae the Waitress, p. 18 Dallas Frazier, p. 19 10 Years Ago, p. 21 Birthdays, p. 21 Tim Ghianni, p. 23 Melvin Sloan, p. 24-25 Book Club, p. 26

Page 2

Published monthly by

Country Road Management 710 N. Main St., Suite B Columbia, TN 38401 Larry Black, Publisher Paula Underwood Winters, Editor, Print Layout Claudia Johnson, Writer, Online Layout/Design Online Subscriptions $15 per year Annual Print Subscriptions $29.95; renewals $24.95 Print – subscribe or renew call 1-800-8 20-5405 or mail payment to PO Box 610 Price, UT 84501

April 2023

Alan Jackson Seeks Triumph Over Crippling Illness

By Claudia Johnson One of country music’s greatest singer-songwriters has been battling a degenerative nerve disease as well as viral rumors that he passed away. In f a l l 2 0 2 2 a n e w s o u t l e t r e p o r t e d that Alan Jackson had died. The hoax quickly spread across the internet, but thankfully the rumor was quickly debunked. When Jackson appeared at the CMA Awards a few months later to receive the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, he pointed out that he was “still living that honky-tonk dream,” and clearly, he was still alive. Although he recently announced that he would be making new music, he continues to battle Charcot-


April 2023


Page 3

Marie-Tooth (CMT), a disease that a ects the peripheral nervous system that controls sensory function and causes progressive loss of muscle tissue, impacting touch, movement and balance. More than 10 years after his diagnosis, Jackson revealed details about his illness during a visit to the “Today Show” in 2021. "I've been reluctant to talk about this publicly and to my fans, but I have this neuropathy – a neurological disease that's genetic that I inherited from my daddy," Jackson told “Today Show” interviewer Jenna Bush Hager. "There's no cure for it, but it's been a ecting me for years. And it's getting more and more obvious." Jackson’s grandmother and oldest sister were also victims of the incurable condition. "It's not going to kill me – it's not deadly," Jackson said. "I know I'm stumbling around onstage, and now I'm having a little trouble balancing even in front of a microphone. I'm just very uncomfortable. I was starting to get so self-conscious up if anybody's curious why I don't walk right, that's why. I just wanted the fans and the public to know. I don't want 'em to think I'm drunk onstage because I'm having problems with mobility and balance." At age 64 the singer-songwriter has sold more than 75 million records and has been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. “I may not have toured much, but … the creative part jumps out every now and then,” he said in a recent interview with his daughter, Mattie Jackson, on her podcast “In Joy Life with Mattie Jackson.” “I’m always scribbling down ideas and thinking about melodies, and I feel like there’ll be some more music to come. When you make an album, or especially when you write a lot of the songs, that’s creating something. It’s a challenge, so it keeps you interested a little more. If I didn’t write, I think I would’ve gotten bored just singing a long time ago.” Late last fall Jackson was honored with the Artist of a Lifetime' award (presented by Ram Trucks) at the 2022 CMT Artists of the Year celebration and completed his Last Call Tour. Visit for announcements about his 2023 schedule.

Song is Reaching New Fans

By Claudia Johnson “Til I Can Make it on My Own,” the No. 1 rst released by Tammy Wynette in 1976, has been recorded in Spanglish as a duet by Texas countryrock artist Savannah Rae and Georgette Jones, Wynette’s daughter. “I'm so excited that Mom's song will now be heard by a whole new audience that speaks Spanish!” Jones posted on social media earlier this year. “It’s a beautiful mix of Spanish and English! And I'm honored to have been asked to sing a little bit on this track, too.” Spanglish, Jones explained, is a hybrid language combining words and expressions from both Spanish and English. The rst single and title track from the album “Til I Can Make it on My Own,” the single, which was cowritten by Wynette, Billy Sherrill and George Richey, was Wynette's fteenth No. 1 country release. It spent a total of 11 weeks on the country charts. Jones, in a February telephone interview with Country Reunion News, expressed her gratitude that Rae chose “Til I Can Make it on my Own” for the rst of Rea’s series of classics set to be recorded in Spanglish. Wynette often said it was her personal favorite and performed it at her concerts throughout her career. Jones was busy the day of the interview preparing for a lm crew to arrive at her Alabama farm to shoot the song’s video, which turned out to be a great experience for both Jones and Rae. “Well, y’all, I got to have fun today making a video with the very talented Savannah Rae for her remake of Mom's ‘Til I Can Make it on My Own’,” she posted the following evening. “She's as sweet as she is talented, and I'm thankful she wanted to do this song. How cool is it that it will be heard by a new generation and some of it in Spanish, too?” Rae commented in response, “Thank you so much for the kind words and for being a part of this project! Having so much fun collaborating with you [and] excited to see the nished product soon!” Jones may be the daughter of two of the most famous recording artists in history, but talking with

her on the phone is like talking with an old friend. The conversation started with the Spanglish recording, but soon it covered her thoughts on the recent “George and Tammy” Showtime series based on her book “The Three of Us: Growing up with Tammy and George,” which she felt was well-acted and well-produced. “I was even in the last episode as a backup singer,” she said. No stranger to acting, Jones had a part in four episodes in the 2008 TV series “Sordid Lives,” working alongside some beloved performers who are now gone, including Leslie Jordan, Olivia NewtonJohn and Rue McClanahan. Jones re-recorded three of her mom’s songs that were included on the series’ soundtrack. April 2023





Page 4



Georgette Jones is Happy Her Mom’s

This photo (above) was taken by Scotty Kennedy, our ver y dear friend and honorar y family member. This was during the “One” tour around 1995. I had seen my parents perform together but never their full shows and a whole segment of their duets. It was an extra special night! – Georgette Jones

April 2023




Page 5



A s i n g e r- s o n g w r i te r, Jones was a registered nurse for 17 years before she returned to the country music career she’d begun as a child that included recording her rst duet, "Daddy Come Home,” at age 10 with her father. She’s raised her twin sons from her rst marriage and is enjoying her 50s with husband and pedal steel guitarist Jamie Lennon, who – although from the United Kingdom – is no relation to John Lennon, Jones con rmed with a laugh. Jones said she has a very full year planned with concerts already scheduled for venues in Texas, Virginia, Georgia and Florida. June 7-14, she’ll be in Italy for an intimate event for which tickets are now on sale to the public. Guests will tour Rome, the Vatican, Florence, Pompeii and Venice. The highlight will be a private concert with Jones in A Salute to George Jones and Tammy Wy n e t t e a n d w i t h Tw i t t y & Ly n n – Tr e Twitty, grandson of Conway, and Tayla Lynn, granddaughter of Loretta – for A Salute to Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn. When she is not writing, recording or performing, Jones enjoys spending time with her sisters and, surprisingly, playing video games. “Who would've thought I'd be an online streaming gamer at this point in my life, right?” she said, adding that she’s found a relaxing pastime she enjoys that also o ers another way to connect with fans and the country music community. Visit for more information.

Through Kurland’s Commitment

by Claudia Johnson The Blue Bird Café and its founder, Amy Kurland. In Part II of the article, we’ll explore Kurland’s ongoing and extraordinary impact on music because of a decision she made not long after celebrating the 25th birthday of The Blue Bird Café. Immediately visible when entering The Bluebird Café is an old Tennessee license plate depicting a bluebird with the tag number “SHHH.” Mounted above it is a wooden sculpture of a human face with a nger to the lips in the universal gesture for “shhh.” Visitors to the Bluebird understand that a respectful quiet is expected during performances, especially songwriters’ nights.

At The Bluebird visitors are encouraged to be quiet and respectful during performances. – photo by Claudia Johnson

“I didn’t start the ‘shhh’,” Kurland told Country Reunion Magazine, explaining that “shhhushing” emerged mainly from the audience itself with a little encouragement from the bartender, since silence is

required to best experience a performer’s words and music, whether it’s a writer of great country hits or a new songwriter who’s trying to make it. The Café is small, around 1,500 square feet, creating an intimacy that’s enhanced by seating that encircles the performers. “I tell people that I was not the rst to have musicians perform in the round,” Kurland said, adding with a mischievous smile, “but I was the rst to make money from it.” As Kurland prepared for her 25th birthday bash in

Songwriters perform surrounded by listeners. – photo by Claudia Johnson

2007, Tennessean writer Ken Beck captured how Kurland was feeling about the years she’d spent steering what began as a place to get a quiet lunch during the day and “a place to hang out and drink” at night into an international mecca for songwriters. April 2023


Page 6



Bluebird Supports Songwriters








“The songwriters love to play in an atmosphere where they are respected, which means that the great songwriters in the world, most of whom live here, come out and play,” she told Beck. “It hasn’t hurt that people who got famous after playing here really helped us with our own fame. Kurland recalled that performers such as Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood and Dierks Bentley were among those who played at the Bluebird before they were country music stars. Some of those who were already stars in other genres, such as Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge, Carol King and David Crosby, took the Bluebird stage over the years, while singer-songwriters like Neil Sedaka, Bono and Kris Kristo erson had come to be entertained. During the 25th year of operation, the Bluebird was widely celebrated. There was a 12-city tour called “Bluebird on the Road” and sold-out performances in the club throughout 2007 with many of the stars who had become part of the Bluebird’s legacy – Pam Tillis, T. Graham Brown, Don Schlitz, Jonell Mosser, Jay Patten Band and many others. Kathy Mattea, who was the rst artist to be discovered and get a record deal from playing at the Bluebird, brought her show to the Bluebird in a concert to bene t Music-Cares. The 25th celebration was held on the rooftop of BMI on Music Row, where the Jay Patten Band played while the crowd mingled. Kurland was showered with accolades and thankyous from local dignitaries and music industry professionals, stars and songwriters. When she spoke, she thanked her business partner Bob White aka Roberto Bianco, Sandra Bullock and the late River Phoenix for the Kurland and business partner Bob White aka Roberto Bianco. m o v i e , “ T h e T h i n g – photo courtesy of Jay Patten Called Love,” in which The Bluebird Cafe was a focal point and many others, including her parents who had been behind her all the way. Several songwriters took to the stage and sang songs dedicated to Kurland and The Bluebird. A few months Page 7

Local media supported The Bluebird and songwriters by promoting birthday events and fundraisers. – photo courtesy of Jay Patten

later, Kurland was driving along, thinking of her life and The Bluebird, when she had an idea. Why not give it to the Nashville Songwriters Association? “I was ready to move on, to not have to think about the details of running the place,” Kurland told Country Reunion Magazine. By November 2007 the transfer was set, though the Nashville Songwriters Association did not accept the venue as a gift and o ered to pay an undisclosed amount far less than it was worth. “I would tend to think the owner has a soft spot for songwriters, and she’s gone out of her way to help the songwriters. That’s probably re ected in the price,” said Gary Smith, who owned a music industry accounting rm and estimated that The Bluebird was worth millions of dollars instead of the rumored low hundreds of thousands sales price. Kurland said that her pro t from the Café had been less than $100,000 per year. “This has not been about getting rich,” she told the Tennessean. “I wouldn’t ruin the Bluebird so I can have a fancy car.” April 2023

The lead story on The Tennessean’s front page was “Bluebird Café – Songwriters will own club they love.” Kris Kristo erson announced that the transfer date would be Jan. 1, 2008, saying, “They didn’t have a place like this when I was here. When I came. Songwriters were at the bottom of the chain. We were bugs. This Bluebird Café is a place where songwriters can show their stu .” Fifteen years later the Café remains true to its mission under the leadership of the Songwriter’s Association. Also in 2007 Kurland was nominated for Tennessean of the Year. Also included in the impressive roster were former Tennessee Governor and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, Former Vice President Al Gore (who received the 2007 award), Tennessee Titans player Eddie George, singer-songwriter Vince Gill and the legendary University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach, Pat Summit. John Prine performing on The Bluebird stage. – photo courtesy of Jay Patten

knowing her. And she doesn’t do it for fame, for money, for power, for recognition or for awards. She does it out of love and sincerely caring about other people besides herself.” During her 25 years of ownership and with little fanfare, Kurland and The Bluebird Café have raised millions of dollars for a variety of charities and initiatives. Country Reunion Magazine asked Kurland what she was most proud of in her life and career. “Being able to help people,” she answered without hesitation. “Being able to make a di erence.”

Painting on the wall of the Cafe depicting songwriters performing in the round. – photo by Claudia Johnson

One Tennessean newspaper reader wrote in support of Kurland’s nomination that there was a side to her that few knew. “She has helped many, many recovering alcoholics and addicts by devoting her time and energy toward raising awareness of alcoholism,” wrote reader Robbie Jones. “Amy has quietly made a di erence in the lives of countless people and serves as an inspiration to all that have had the privilege of


April 2023




Page 8

Jay Patten’s band performing with Crystal Gayle – photo courtesy of Jay Patten

Salty Holmes Entertained Early Radio Audiences by Claudia Johnson

The radio industry magazine, Standby, in May 1936, ran a story about Floyd “Salty” Holmes, who at the time was a country musician working at Chicago’s superstation WLS-AM. His mother, Belle Johnson Holmes, had been interviewed on air by radio host John Baker, and the story below was compiled by Standby. In it, Salty Holmes’ story is told through the eyes of a mother proud of her son, a guitar and jug player who became a virtuoso on the harmonica, specializing in the style known as “talking harp.” In 1936 Mrs. Holmes could not have imagined that her son would soon begin making Western movies with his friend, Gene Autry, including “Saddle Leather Law” and “Arizona Days.” Page 9

In the latter, Holmes played two harmonicas using his mouth and nose. She did not mention that her son and his band, The Prairie Ramblers, had already begun playing with a Patsy Montana and were the backing group on Montana's platinum hit "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart. She would not have known yet that the group would go on to make more than 100 recordings between 1933 and 1940, including as session musicians for Montana, Autry and others. Listen HERE to a 1935 recording of “Jack of All Trades” by Salty and the Ramblers.

April 2023

Page 10

and Salty organized a minstrel show and played in school houses near Glasgow. Then there was the time he was selling hot tamales on the streets of Athens, Georgia, during the day, and working nights as a hotel clerk. He quit that job to join the Allen Brothers in vaudeville. It was while he was managing the Lone Star stock company, that he managed to get home long enough to marry his schooldays sweetheart, Christine Wessenberg. Shortly after that he teamed with Robert Lunn and sang over WSM, Nashville. Jack Taylor heard about him and together he and Jack traveled about 2,000 miles from one radio station to another, trying to get a "break" on the air. Salty went back to Kentucky, discouraged and disgusted. But it wasn't long before Chick Hurt and Jack Taylor got together and with Salty and Tex Atchinson, formed The Kentucky Ramblers, who changed their name to The Prairie Ramblers in 1933.

Pictured above is Floyd Lee "Salty Dog" Holmes and rst wife, Evelyn Christine Lessenberry, with their son, Billy Lee Holmes, in 1939 in Chicago. This original photograph is from the collection of Emma Church Stewart of Barren County, Kentucky, Holmes' hometown. The photo was shared by Laura J. Stewart.




Here is the 1936 story about Salty Holmes. Salty seemed to be "cut out for" the show business, even when he was too little to hold a guitar and had to lay it on the bed to play it because his hands were so small he couldn’t reach around the neck of the instrument. "When I saw he was so interested in the show business,” said M r s . J. V. Ho l m e s , S a l t y 's m o t h e r. “ I gured that was the thing for him to do. I think every boy ought to do what he's cut out for." One summer Salty and his cousin rigged up a stage in the back of the barn and hung burlap bags for curtains. They made their own handbills, nailed them to telephone poles and charged two cents admission to the big shows they put on in the barn. By that time Salty was playing the harmonica, too, and was learning to blow on a jug. Some of Salty's fondest childhood memories are of the times his whole family gathered together to sing old mountain ballads and favorite hymns. His father, three brothers and two sisters all played the guitar and sang, so Salty, the youngest of the four boys, just picked it up naturally. Whenever a stock company, Chautauqua, carnival, circus or any sort of show came to Glasgow, Kentucky, where Salty lived with his family, Salty camped as close as he could to the show headquarters. The summer that he was 14, that was in 1924, he ran away from home to join a stock company when it left town. His family brought him back, but it wasn't long until he ran o again with another company. This time he stayed with the show about two years, taking blackface comedy parts, doing imitations and playing various instruments. From the time he was 16 until he started in radio work around 1931, Salty worked on a number of jobs, always dropping whatever he was doing when he had an opportunity to go into the show business. His cousin, the same one that used to put on the kid shows with him, bought out a stock troupe and he

April 2023

Salty and Jean married in 1947 and divorced in 1956. Their daughter Lana, at age 11, pictured as a toddler with her parents below, became the youngest published songwriter in Nashville and the youngest songwriter to be signed with Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) in 1967. Holmes enter tained thousands of country fans through television, radio and concert appearances before his death in 1970 at age 60. He had married a third t i m e , a n d h i s w i d o w, Marjorie Ebbert, outlived him by 21 years. Page 11




The Kentucky Ramblers made their debut over WOC, Davenport, Iowa. The rest is history. Salty is one of the studio "clowns," and frequently the laughter you hear over the air is due to his tricks. He is six feet, one and a half inches tall and weighs 185 pounds. His eyes are dark brown and his hair is dark and "crinkly." Although he enjoys shing and horse -back riding, his favorite sport is exploring the hills and caves near his hometown. He has a collection of Indian relics he picked up down there that his ve- year-old son, Billy Lee, considers his best playthings. Update: Holmes and his rst wife, Christine, divorced. Billy Lee Holmes, their son, was a singer and part of a comic duo on Midwestern Hayride out of Cincinnati f0r 20 years. He died at 56 in 1988. He began a collaboration called Mattie & Salty with Jean Chapel (also known as Mattie O’Neil), a singer and songwriter who wrote the No. 1 Eddy Arnold hit, “Lonely Again.” Pictured below, the pair performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry and National Barn Dance.

April 2023


southern cooking Areeda Schneider Stampley

Creamed Chicken over Cornbread Sauce: 1 stick of butter 1/2 cup all-purpose our 1 to 2 teaspoons salt Pepper to taste 2 cups whole milk 2 cups half & half 1&1/2 cups chicken stock Melt butter. Add our and salt; cook until slightly bubbly. Add chicken stock. Stir until smooth. Add half & half and milk. Simmer 30 minutes to thicken. Add fo owing ingredients and heat thoroughly when ready to serve: 8-ounce can mushroom pieces, drained 2- ounce jar chopped pimento, drained 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained 2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped 1/4 cup cooking sherry 3 to 4 cups Springer Mountain Farms chicken, cooked and chopped This is delicious served over yellow cornbread squares made with yellow self-rising cornmeal, bacon drippings and buttermilk. Serves 6-8




To purchase Areeda’s Southern Cooking, a collection of old-fashioned recipes, send a check for $25 and your mailing address to Areeda’s Southern Cooking, P. O. Box 202, Brentwood, TN 12 37024. Order online with PayPal or credit card at 2023 Page

Young Singer Pairs with Wynette’s Daughter by Claudia Johnson Savannah Rae is the talented young singer who invited Georgette Jones to record a new duet of the Tammy Wynette No. 1 hit, "'Til I Can Make It 0n My Own." In an exclusive Q&A interview with Country Reunion News, Rae discussed the collaboration as well as her future plans for exposing a new generation of Spanish-speaking fans to classic country music by recording in Spanglish, a mix of Spanish and English. Q. What prompted you to begin recording the classic songs of some of the stars in Spanglish? A. As I have been performing country music, I have always wanted to incorporate some more of my heritage [Hispanic] into my music. I also have such a love and appreciation for classic country and always try to sprinkle in a bit here and there in modern times. I haven’t seen too many people recording Spanish versions of such songs and gured that was a lane wide open that I could explore. It’s been a blast so far! April 2023


Page 13

have placed it on several editorial playlists such as

I Can Make It On My Own" with the daughter of

New Music Friday Country & Country Latino.

Tammy Wynette? How did you get the chance to do

A. What are some of the other songs you are


recording in Spanglish?

A. Anybody in country music or even that enjoys

Q. I have a bunch of new material coming out that

country music knows who George Jones and Tammy

will be in English and Spanish. I am putting a hold on

Wynette are. Such iconic and legendary talents! To be

the covers [of classic songs] and focusing on my

able to record a song with their daughter, Georgette,

original music for the time being. I could not be more

was such an honor. The recording session [with

excited to show everybody what I have been hard at

Buddy Hyatt in Nashville, Tennessee] was a special

work on! I really think people will enjoy the direction

one as it was the very rst time I had met Georgette!

that I am going musically.

We had only been communicating digitally so to

Q. Tell us about your music career.

nally see her face-to-face was very special. Buddy

A. I am currently 24 years old, and I have been

and Chuck Rhodes had

pursuing music ever since I








Georgette for years, and the

introduced me to music at a

collaboration idea was born

very young age and started

as they learned how I was

taking me to concerts every

covering country classics in

we e ke n d . I f e l l i n l o v e

Spanish. This song wa s

watching people perform

selected as it was one of

and was extremely intrigued

both Georgette’s and my

to try it myself. I speci cally

f a v o r i t e s t h a t Ta m m y

remember going to an

recorded. Georgette was on

Evanescence concert when I

board from the beginning

wa s 11 and recal l being

and incredibly excited about

completely enamored with

re-making her mom’s song

the live show. I saw Amy

in a di erent language. Very

Lee on stage (the lead

blessed to be able to work with such incredible

singer) and turned to my mom and said, "That's what


I want to do!" Thankfully, my parents took me very

Q. How has the recording performed on the charts

seriously when I expressed such interest in music, and

and downloads?

they enrolled me into vocal and guitar lessons and the

A. The response to this song has been incredible! I

rest was history! I had my rst full band performance

have had so much support from listeners, some of

at age 12 at a place called Sam’s

which have been following me for years, to people

Burger Joint in San Antonio,

that just started following me due to this song. Even

Texa s, and ha ven’t stopped

Spotify has taken a great liking to the track, as they

performing since.



April 2023


Page 14



Q. Can you tell us what it meant to you to record "'Til

Q. What are some of the challenges you have

mishaps are eventually going to lead to something

encountered as you move forward with your career?


A. It has de nitely not been a smooth road! Being as

Q. W h a t d o y o u c o n s i d e r y o u r g r e a t e s t

young as I was when I started pursuing music, it was

accomplishment or victories so far?

very easy for people to take advantage of me. I was a

A. I am most proud of the wins and successes I've had

young, impressionable kid just wanting to play on

thus far in my career as I'm still an independent

stage and I think many people who I worked with

artist. I have the most wonderful, hard-working, small

tried to change that. Pushing me in directions I didn’t

team centered around me that goes above and beyond

want to go, telling me what type of music I should be

to help me. We're all working 24/7 so any wins, big or

playing, what my show should look like, even what I

small, mean that much more. From playing on the

post on social media. Being so naive, I trusted their

main stage of the Texas State Fair and Wisconsin

word as I learned when I was little "always trust your

Country Fest opening up for Jason Aldean, to playing

elders!" While that may be true, you still always need

a sold-out stadium show opening for Jon Pardi, it’s

to trust your gut and stay

pretty crazy the opportunities I

true to yourself. That will

have had being an indie artist.

always be my biggest advice

Q. What’s in store for your

for people trying to crack


into the music industry for

A. I have many plans and goals

the rst time: ALWAYS stay

for the future, most of which

true to yourself, your sound,

center around new music and

your music, your goals, and

heavy touring. I cannot wait to

m o s t i m p o r t a n t l y, y o u r

release some of the songs that

heart. Even now I go

I’ve been working on lately.

through so many struggles

They’re really in the country

of being an independent

rock sphere that I’ve been so

female artist. Just a few

excited to get into. Expect a lot

weeks ago I had a booking

of new music from me in 2023.

agent tell me that she (emphasis on she) would not

Also, touring is one of my favorite parts of being an

book me or work with me because I was a girl. No

artist. I always say that if I could be on the road every

care to listen to my music, no care to see what my live

single day, I totally would. It’s a blast! I hope to tour

show looks like. I was shot down before I even got

as much as possible in the coming year. I would like

through the door just because I was a woman. I didn’t

to thank any constant followers for the support

realize some of this stu was still happening in today's

surrounding my music and me. I wouldn’t be here

music industry but unfortunately, it is. Couple many

without you guys! Thank you for making it all

of those instances with all the challenges of being an

possible. And to any new enjoyers of my music,

indie artist, it's de nitely enough to have an impact

thanks for being here as well. Can’t wait to take you

on your self-con dence. However, I have learned that

along on this crazy journey! See y’all out on the road.

nothing good comes easy and all the missteps and

Visit online at April 2023






Page 15

Type to enter textMessina Takes Energy- lled Show Nationwide

Moe Bandy Inducted into The legend Moe Bandy has been inducted Award-winning countr y music

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame




Page 16

into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth. Bandy, 79, was a proud competitor in bull riding prior to pursuing country music full-time. He now joins the ranks of Wil lie Nelson, George Strait, Red Steagall, Lyle Lovett, Clay Walker, Robert Earl Keen, Aaron Watson, and Bob Wills who have all received this prestigious honor. “This is a huge honor and one I am very thankful for,” said Bandy with a smile. “Many know me as a country singer, but I used to compete in every bull riding competition I could. Once it’s in your blood, it never leaves. To be included in the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame with so many of my heroes is truly humbling and I am thankful!” This honor comes just after the r e l e a s e o f B a n d y ’s n e w a l b u m , “Thank You Lord.” Delivering a heartfelt project, Bandy recorded 12 heartfelt tracks and features special guests The Isaacs on “Famil y Bible” and The Oak Ridge Boys with Nora Lee Allen on “The Lord Is My Shepherd.” The title track, w r i t te n b y Mo Pi t n e y, B o b b y Tomberlin and Cheryl Riddle, o ers a true re ection of where Bandy is in his life today, of which he is thankful for another mile, another day and a life many could have only dreamed of. “Thank You Lord” features tunes from prominent Na s h v i l l e s o n g w r i t e r s i n c l u d i n g Wi l l i e Ne l s o n , B i l l A n d e r s o n , Ha n k Williams and more! The twelvetrack project wa s produced by Michele Voan Capps and sponsored by Gus Arrendale and Springer Mountain Farms and is available on all streaming platforms now. April 2023

Page 17

April 2023

Renae the Waitress I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter. What a great way to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord by having a fun day hunting Easter eggs! Sedona and Rio run full speed looking as fast as they can to see who can nd the most eggs. And of course, there is the “golden egg” that has money in it!! It’s like hitting the lottery. Lol. Branson Show Make plans to come see us in Branson at the Clay Cooper Theater, Oct. 2-6, 2023. Artists include the Texas Tenors, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent, The Malpass Brothers and The Issacs, and of course the whole Diner Cast. I will have some of my books from the Book Club there along with GoGut and a few "Larry’s Country D i n e r " a n d " C o u n t r y ’s Fa m i l y Reunion" souvenirs. Catch me at the merchandise table signing folks up to sit on stage during the show, so get there early. This may be our last show in Branson, so don't miss this opportunity to see us LIVE.

And I have to brag on Rio… She just danced in her rst MUSIC VIDEO at nine years old. Her mother, Chi, was 16 years old before she was hired to dance with Dwight Yoakum on t h e C o u n t r y Mu s i c Awards show. Rio ha s been doing auditions for TV commercials, so I knew it would just be a matter of time. Go Rio!!!! Malpass New Music I a m s o e x c i te d f o r ever yone to hear the new Malpass Brothers CD, which I will have for sale in my Book Club and on my website as soon as it is released. Phil and Chris co-wrote a song together titled “Down The Road of Memories” that you are gonna love. They sang it at the Grand Ole Opry and Mike Huckabee Show last week.

Happy birthday to

Sedona. She will be 7 years old this month, and she is still taking G o Gu t ever y morning and feels great. She's e ven started taking guitar lessons. I know Jimmy Capps would be so proud of her. She got so excited when I gave her a "Larry’s Country Diner" guitar pick keychain. She attached it to her backpack, and when her guitar teacher saw it… he wanted it! April 2023



Page 18

Songwriter Dallas Frazier by Sasha Kay Dunavant Penning number one hits for Charley Pride, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker and many others, songwriter Dallas Frazer left behind an impressive body of work when he passed away last year at age 82. Frazier was born on Oct. 27, 1939, to a poor family in Spiro, Oklahoma, that moved to Bakers eld, California, during Frazier’s youth. "We were part of The Grapes of Wrath,” he told writer Edd Hurt in a 2008 pro le for the music website Perfect Sound Forever. “We were the Okies who went out to California with mattresses tied on the tops of their Model A Fords. My folks were poor.” He began writing songs when he was a young boy, and as a youth, Frazier developed a friendship with country crooner, Ferlin Husky. Frazier moved out at 12 years of age with his parents' blessing after Husky o ered him a job in the music industry. By the time Frazier was 14, he had worked on the program “Hometown Jamboree” and released his rst single, “Space Command,” in 1954. When “Hometown Jamboree” came to an end, Frazier moved to Nashville. His rst hit song as a songwriter was “Alley Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles. He wrote the 1964 hit, “Timber I’m Falling,” recorded by Husky. His rst Grammy nomination was for Best Country Song in 1966 for writing Jack Greene’s 1966 No. 1 hit, “There Goes My Everything.” The song also won several awards, including "Single of the Year" and "Song of the Year" at the rst CMA Awards presentation the following year. In addition, the accompanying album of the same title won "Album of the Year," and Greene won "Male Vocalist of the Year." Engelbert Humperdinck gave Frazier his biggest Pop success with his version of “There Goes My Everything.” Frazier wrote and originally recorded “Elvira,” which went on to become an outstanding success for The Oak Ridge Boys 15 years later in 1981. The inspiration for the song was not a woman but a street in the East Nashville neighborhood of Nashville. Frazier continued to pen hits after the success of “Elvira,” including Connie Smith’s “Ain’t Had no Lo vin’ and George Jones’s duet with Melba














Page 19

Montgomery, “The Day I Lose My Mind.” Frazier wrote entire albums for Jones in 1968 and Connie Smith in 1972. Frazier wrote songs for artists such as Diana Ross, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Ne l s o n , C a r o l a , Me r l e Ha g gard, Moe Bandy, Roy Head, Brenda Lee, Waylon Jennings, Gene Watson, Elvis Pr e s l e y, C h a r l i e L o u v i n , Rodney Crowell, Poco, Ronnie Hawkins and Dan McCa erty. Frazier’s second Grammy nomination was for the Best Country song for Charley Pride’s No. 1 hit “All I Have to O er You (Is Me.)” In 1973 Frazier and Earl Montgomery wrote “What’s Your Mama’s Name” for Country music artist, Tanya Tucker. “What’s Your Mama’s Name” became Tanya Tucker's rst No. 1 hit, spending 14 weeks on the charts. Frazier recorded his own music as well as writing hits for others. He released two solo albums, “Singing My Songs” and “My Baby Packed Up My Mind and Left Me.” In 1976 Frazier was inducted into Nashville's Songwriter’s Hall of Fame when he was only 36. Frazier’s songwriting success continued into the 1980s with him penning songs for stars such as George Strait, Patty Loveless, Randy Travis and Emmy Lou Harris. Harris’s rendition of “Beneath Still Waters” was a hit and has become another classic example of Frazier’s brilliance as a songwriter. For six years Frazier served as a non-denominational Christian minister, pastoring the congregation at Grace Community Fellowship in White House, Tennessee, from 1999-2006. In 2011 after retiring from the ministry, he released another album, “Writing and Singing Again,” and resumed his music career. Frazier su ered two strokes between August of 2021 and his death at age 82 due to stroke complications on Jan. 14, 2022.“Our dad passed into the loving arms of Jesus this morning,” his daughter Melody Frazier Morris said in announcing his death. “Glory to God! No more su ering! In lieu of owers and food, Dad requested donations be made to Nashville Rescue Mission. April 2023

Get Country Reunion Magazine in print, delivered by U. S.

mail every month! Call


to subscribe or Renew

A message from Larry Black for Digital Subscribers We want to thank you for subscribing to Country Reunion Magazine. If you subscribed on, we would like to transfer your digital subscription to our new magazine platform. If you contact us during the month of April, we will extend your subscription through December 2023 at no additional charge to you. All we are asking is for you to email our digital magazine editor, Claudia Johnson, with your name, email address and telephone number so we can transfer your subscription immediately. We’ll contact you with credentials to login to your account and manage your subscription as well as view other magazines in the archive. You will receive a noti cation each month when the new magazine is ready to read! Please contact Claudia at


Page 20

April 2023

Sold Out Concert Features Top Names 10 Years Ago this Month




With the sold-out nal concert already hosting top names in all genres of music including Garth Brooks, Kid Rock, Kenny Rogers and Randy Travis among others, George Jones is excited to announce his dear friends and fellow Grand Ole Opry members Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt and other performers from his hit song “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair” will join him onstage. Pam Tillis, Kathy Mattea, Tracy Lawrence, Patty Loveless, Joe Di e, Mark Chesnutt and T. Graham Brown are the latest additions to the concert lineup. The event, which will soon be dubbed the Country Music Event of the Year, has already announced Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, Jamey Johnson, Montgomery Gentry, Shelby Lynne, Sam Moore, Lorrie Morgan, The Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Josh Turner and Gene Watson as participating in the evening of music. In addition, Brenda Lee, John Conlee, Lee Greenwood, Eddy Raven, The Roys, Janie Fricke, T.G. Sheppard, Dailey & Vincent, Gary Morris, Jessi Colter, Bobby Bare, Jim Ed Brown, Little Jimmy Dickens, Stonewall Jackson and more will all take the stage during the nale performance. More stars are expected to be announced as performers gear up to pay tribute to one of the world’s most accomplished recording artists. “Alan and Denise Jackson have been friends of Nancy and I for years, so this show wouldn’t be the same without him,” said Jones. “I am also so grateful that my dear friend Garth Brooks is going to be on stage with me. I am not sure who will be crying more, me or him.” George Jones, often referred to as "the greatest living country singer" will mark the end of an era with 2013’s farewell tour titled "The Grand Tour." The tour is expected to make approximately 44 stops this year. The icon’s hits, "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair," "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes," "White Lightning" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today" will surely be part of each night’s setlist, along with plenty of guests and surprises. Page 21

April Birthdays 1 Jim Ed Brown

Hillary Scott 2 Billy Dean Buddy Jewell Emmylou Harris 3 Billy Joe Royal Don Gibson 4 Steve Gatlin 5 Troy Gentry Jack Clement 6 Merle Haggard 7 Bobby Bare John Dittrich of Restless Heart Cal Smith 8 John Schneider 9 Margo Smith Hal Ketchum Carl Perkins Con Hunley 10 Sheb Wooley 11 Jim Lauderdale 12 Vince Gill 14 Loretta Lynn 15 Chris Stapleton Bob Luman Roy Clark 18 Renae Johnson of Larry’s Country Diner Jim Scholten of Sawyer Brown 20 Doyle Lawson Wade Hayes 21 Ira Louvin 22 Glen Campbell 23 Roy Orbison 24 Richard Sterban of The Oak Ridge Boys Rebecca Lynn Howard 25 Rory Feek 29 Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys Willie Nelson 30 Darrell McCall

April 2023

Honky-Tonk Heroes Tell Their Stories in a New Book


Page 22



Pilgrims, Pickers and The new book, Pilgrims, Pickers and Honky-Tonk Heroes, by newspaper writer Tim Ghianni was released in March. This book tells about personal interactions between Ghianni and many of of the favorite country music artists over the 50 plus years that Ghianni lived and covered stories in the Nashville area. The rst story in the book tells how he met his now good friend Bobby Bare while digging up the bricks from Broadway and 5th Avenue the night before they were to be paved over. Bare even wrote the preface to this book. The book is lled with stories about Kris Kristo erson, Charlie McCoy, Johnny Cash, Eddy Arnold, Little Jimmy Dickens, Chet Atkins, George Jones and too many to list. As a newspaper journalist, Ghianni had access to the artists that most people don’t have and the interactions between him and the artists makes for a great read. “Most of the people I wrote about were old, dead or dying, people I knew and loved, and I didn’t want these people to be forgotten. This book is a result of those f riendships I developed over the years,” Ghianni said. When COVID hit, Ghianni’s freelance writing jobs dried up, and he decided it was time to work on what he calls his “love letter to Nashville.” “I consider it my best writing, and I relied on my recollections and a lot of digging,” he said. He referenced his notebooks, older articles he’d written and his notes on his computer and listening to recordings of the artists before writing the chapters, saying, “It was an intense process.” Order Pilgrims, Pickers and Honky-Tonk Heroes at or other booksellers. For more about Ghianni, check him out at April 2023

Lang’s Autobiography Now on Audio I’m Not Going Anywhere by Kelly Lang, which was featured in Country Reunion Magazine's October 2022 issue, is now available in audiobook format through Amazon, Audible, Apple Books and directly from “I am thrilled that my book is now available in audiobook format,” said the singer-songwriter. “Due to vision problems or a busy schedule, many fans have expressed that they would rather listen to a story than read it. Having the ability to provide this version is something close to my heart, as I can de nitely relate to both situations.” Lang, an 18-year breast cancer survivor, has shared her journey of healing that brought her through the ups and downs of life which includes her love story with country music legend and husband, T.G. Sheppard, her career in the music industry, raising two daughters as a single mother while receiving the devastating diagnosis from her doctor that forever changed her world. The foreword, written by the late D a m e O l i v i a Ne w t o n - Jo h n , highlights their friendship and close bond, while the book provides life l e s s o n s a n d s h o wc a s e s L a n g ’s positive attitude during her darkest days.

Every chapter of I’m Not Going Anywhere is recorded in Lang’s voice, except one, titled “From T.G.’s Perspective.” For the rst time, in T.G.’s voice, listeners will also be able to hear their journey from his memory, recollection, and point of view. Never shying away from her faith, Lang shares her powerful story to provide comfort, hope, and even healing to listeners from all walks of life.

Watch as Lang performs I’m Not Going Anywhere live at The Bluebird Cafe.

April 2023



Page 23

Melvin Sloan Passes Melvin David Sloan of the Melvin Sloan Dancers, age 82, passed away Feb. 26, 2023. The youngest of six children, he was born March 27, 1940, in a two-room log cabin in the Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Wilson County, Tennessee. He was the youngest of six children. He spent his childhood farming and included milk cows. His entire family were musicians and singers, mostly self-taught. He grew up listening to the ddle music coming from the Cedar Forest weekend square dances. He attended Hurricane Baptist Church and started singing at a ge three with his mother accompanying him on piano. At age nine, he became the children’s choir leader and the congregation choir leader at age 13. At age 11, they moved to Chicken Road where they had electricity for the rst time. The family bought their rst radio when he was 12, and he heard the Grand Ole Opry for the rst time. He attended Major School and graduated Lebanon High School in 1958. He played trombone in the LHS band and sang in the chorus. He had a string band in his early teens that played on the Junior Grand Ole





Page 24

Opry in Nashville and won numerous talent contests across Middle Tennessee. Melvin and his wife Beverly eloped to Corinth, Mississippi, on July 27, 1957. He was underage, but his father gave his permission, which the Justice of the Peace accepted. He had just completed his junior year in high school and attended his senior year as a married man. Beverly, who graduated the prior year, signed his report cards as "Mrs. Melvin Sloan." They were married for 61 years until her death in 2018. They had 2 children, David Sloan (Rhonda) and Susan Sloan, 3 grandchildren, Cody Lannom (Maegen), David Sloan II (Courtney) and Elizabeth Sloan Buck (Ben), 1 great-grandchild, Sloane Buck, 2 step grandchildren, Brandon (Torrie) and Christie (David) and 4 step great-grandchildren, Brooke, Sadie, Anna and Michael. "As much love as he had for music, he had even greater love for his family," his obituary stated. "Family meant the world to him. He was kind and caring, generous with his time and basically just always there for each and every family member.” At age 21, Sloan organized his own band, performed throughout the Southeast and often played backup for many country music stars. He later formed a gospel quartet, the Kingdom Heirs, and had other bands throughout his life as well. April 2023

After the death of his brother, Ralph, in 1980, Sloan continued his brother’s legacy of square dancing on the Grand Ole Opr y (Tennessee Travelers) even though he’d never danced before. Through hours of work and dedication, he learned how and continued to dance on the Opry as the Melvin Sloan Dancers until his retirement in 2002 ending a 5 0 - y e a r co m b i n e d S l o a n brothers’ tradition. He and Ralph were inducted into America’s Clogging Hall of Fa m e i n 1 9 9 7 f o r t h e i r contributions of promoting and preser ving the art of Southern Appalachian Freestyle Square Dancing. Throughout his career he and the team also performed on the syndicated shows "That Nashville Music," "The Ro n n i e Pr o p h e t S h o w / Ontario Canada" and numerous other television shows. They performed at the JFK Center for Performing Arts in 1984 in a tribute to Roy Acu with President Ronald Raegan in attendance. Along with Johnny Carver, Sloan co-hosted the local

Southbound ff

Page 25

television program called “The Town and Country Show." In 1990, he presented his shoes to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Sloan was a true businessman, a jack-of-all-trades, a jokester and a good friend. He was a member of Bartons Creek Baptist Church. He loved spending time at Quality Care Nursing Home and spent many a Sunday there for worship and singing as well. He was an a d v o c a t e o f t h e Wi l s o n County Fair and performed at the Fair for many years. He was a member of R.O.P.E. (Reunion of Professional Entertainers). He was a member of the Lebanon Chapter of the Ro y a l A r c h Ma s o n s o f Tennessee, Lebanon York Rite Bodies and the Nashville Scottish Rite Bodies. He became a Master Mason in 1980 and was awarded the General Grand Chapter Triennial Entertainer Award in later years. Sloan was also a member of the Al Menah Shriners/Nashville and the Wilson Country Shriner Club.

April 2023

Page 26

April 2023

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.