Country's Family Reunion News, July 2020

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July 2020

Saying Goodbye to Jimmy Capps

Hank Williams’ House National Banjo Museum Country Music Mayhem Remembering Johnny Cash

… and more 1

Who’s inside? Jimmy Capps, p. 3 Brooks & Dunn, p. 5 Holly Dunn, p. 6 Katherine Williams, p. 8 Tanya Tucker, p. 9 Johnny Cash, p. 12 Hank & Audrey Williams, p. 16 Johnny Paycheck, p.17 Amy Grant, p. 19 ...and Banjo Museum, p. 10 Pecan Pie, p. 15

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Country Road Management, 710 N. Main St., Suite B, Columbia, TN 38401 Larry Black, Publisher Paula Underwood Winters, Editor, Print Layout & Design Claudia Johnson, Writer, Online Layout & Design

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We m a d e i t through the month of Ju n e w i t h m u c h sadness. As you are aware we lost our sweet Sheriff Jimmy Capps on June 1. Just the Monday b e f o r e ( Ma y 2 5 ) w e celebrated his and his wife Michele’s birthday. Wearing “Larry’s Country Diner” face masks, a whole group of us met at the hospital to visit Jimmy. Because of the Social Distancing Guidelines I honestly looked for security to remove all of us from the circle drive. Lol As they wheeled Jimmy down to the front doors there wasn’t a dry eye. It was so precious to see him. To the hospital staff we looked like a bunch of kids yelling, singing and holding up signs ,but to Jimmy it was family doing what we do best, having fun as we showed him how much we missed and loved him. The Isaacs came and sang along with Jimmy Fortune. Some of the crew from the Diner along with the cast waved and joined in to sing “Happy Birthday.” As we threw kisses and waved goodbye it was with a heavy heart. We said our final goodbyes to Jimmy on June 11 at his Celebration of Life. The Diner cast was honored to be honorary pallbearers. The stage was full of flowers, including the flowers with a large picture of Jimmy and the Diner cast. Keith took his place on the Grand Ole Opry stage to welcome everyone in attendance as it streamed live on WSM – a moment that must have been bittersweet for him. There was a video playing with lots of photos of Jimmy at the Diner while we listened to song after song of country hits Jimmy had played on. Connie Smith, The Oak Ridge Boys, Mandy Barnett, The Isaacs, The Malpass Brothers, The Whites and Doyle Dykes all performed just a few feet from where Jimmy played for more than 60 years on the Opry stage. As we left the Opry House I had to take one last photo of “Jimmy’s Band Room” sign. Taping the new Diner shows without Jimmy is difficult, and serving him ½ cup of decaf coffee will be a cherished memory. For sale through my book club I have Jimmy’s book, The Man In Back, and two DVD’s featuring Jimmy, including the “Diner” show during which he was the guest for $15.99 and The Man In Back documentary for $19.95. You will be happy to know I am getting Jan Howard’s book, Sunshine and Shadow, back in stock for $29.95 + 6.95 shipping/ handling per order.


Mourning the Loss of Jimmy Capps by Claudia Johnson

Jimmy Capps, legendary Country guitarist and beloved sheriff on “Larry’s Country Diner,” passed away June 1, 2020, at age 81.

A statement from the Grand Ole Opry “Jimmy helped define country music for more than one generation of fans,” said Dan Rogers, VP & Executive Producer, Grand Ole Opry. “His musicianship will live on every time somebody somewhere plays ‘The Gambler,’ ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ or countless other recordings on which he played. He was an absolute fixture on stage and backstage at the Opry. I personally reveled in walking around the corner from my office before showtime and seeing him holding court with his smile and his guitar, talking with longtime friends and newcomers alike. The difficult part of being so close-knit at the Opry is that losses like this cut deep. While the Opry will never be the same, it’s better for Jimmy Capps having played his part in it for more than 60 years.”

Born on May 25, 1939, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to the late Tommie and Alice Stevens Capps, Jimmy began playing guitar when he was 12. At age 19 he was invited to join the Louvin Brothers, soon making his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry with the duo in 1959. Until the time of his passing Jimmy continued to play lead guitar as a member of the Grand Ole Opry staff band for more than 61 years, longer than any other musician. In 2018 to mark his 60th year of performing at the Grand Ole Opry, the band room was named the “Jimmy Capps Music Room.” Along with his onstage work, Jimmy was an indemand session musician known for his smooth playing style of both acoustic and electric guitar on recordings like Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man,” Barbara Mandrell’s “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” Alan Jackson’s “Here in the Real World,” the Oak Ridge Boys “Elvira,” Ronnie Milsap’s “Smoky Mountain Rain,” Reba McEntire’s “How Blue,” Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler,” George Jones’s “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning” and many others. In 2012 Jimmy was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame’s “Nashville Cats.” He was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame as well as being inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2014. The following year the Tennessee General Assembly passed a Joint Resolution presented to him on the Senate floor recognizing his musical contributions. 3

“I am convinced that Jimmy was the mostloved person in Nashville,” said Scot England, author of Jimmy’s biography. “EVERY artist loved him so much.” While his book ‘The Man in Back’ was a great tribute to him, I thought he deserved even more.”

in place. There was nothing you couldn’t ask him to do. If you spent much time around Jimmy you never heard him say a bad word about anybody. He was a treasure to know and will be missed greatly.” Regular performers on “Larry’s Country Diner” and its companion video series, “Country Family Reunion,” expressed their feelings about Jimmy’s loss. “The loss of Jimmy Capps will be felt on so many levels…certainly at the Opry, on so many recording s e s s i o n s , “ L a r r y ’s C o u n t r y Diner,” “Country Family Reunion,” the Musician’s Hall of Fame…and most of all by his family and many, many friends and fans,” said Jeannie Seely. He will be remembered not only as a great musician but as one of the most wonderful men you could ever know. I feel it is ironic and yet appropriate that the CMA hashtag said #theshowmustbepaused. Yes, Jimmy, it must.” Rhonda Vincent, recalled time she’d spent with Jimmy at the Opry as well as on the “Diner” and “Reunion” shows and cruises. “I’ve sailed many music cruises with Jimmy, and I know he was so honored to be inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame,” Vincent said. “He was always humble and kind and will be missed by many. Rest In Sweet Peace, Jimmy Capps.” Gene Watson said that he was “just devastated” to learn of Jimmy’s passing, calling him “a great friend personally but a great friend to country music,” had passed. “Jimmy Capps was one of the greatest guitar players ever, rightfully in the Musicians Hall of Fame as well as the NC Hall of Fame,” Watson observed. “He received many accolades in his life but nothing greater could be said that he was a friend to all who met him.”

In addition to the book, England produced a TV documentar y on Jimmy’s life. Both are available at “When he saw it, he cried and cried,” England recalled. “Jimmy said, ‘It’s kind of like going to your own funeral.’ I replied, ‘I wanted to bring your flowers while you were still here. I wanted you to see how much you mean to everyone.’ When it comes to the greatest men who ever walked the earth…I’d put Jimmy Capps in the top two, just behind another JC, Jesus Christ.” Over the years Jimmy played on many TV shows, including “The Statler Brothers Show,” “The Wilburn Brothers Show,” various CMA shows and others. Since 2009 Jimmy regularly appeared on “Larry’s Country Diner.” “Jimmy’s book, is well-titled ‘The Man in Back,’” said Larry Black of “Larry’s Country Diner.” “He never forced himself to the front but was the concrete necessary to hold the foundation

Continued on page 20


Red, White & Blue Dreams by Claudia Johnson Country Music has produced many patriotic “Our country woke up to a morning that we had songs throughout its long history, and one of the never seen before, and our true patriotic heart most enduring is “Only in America” released in June s t a r t e d p o u n d i n g , ” B r o o k s r e c e n t l y t o l d 2001 by award-winning duo of Kix Brooks and “And that song all of a Ronnie Dunn. sudden took on a life of its own.” The lyrics were penned by Brooks in collaboration Journalist Rick Moore aptly observed that the with songwriters Don Cook song “became an unofficial and Ronnie Rogers. Brooks anthem of healing.” said the song was inspired by a Even before 9/11 reviewers day spent four-wheeling in the noted the power of the song. woods with Cook and Rogers Rolling Stone writer Andrew when they started thinking Dansby called the song an about how fortunate they were " a d v e r t i s e m e n t w a i t i n g to to have been born in America. happen” on April 24, 2001. Those sentiments turned into Chris Neal of Country Weekly a captivating refrain about called the song a "flag-waving “dreaming in red, white and opener" with a "rock-solid riff." blue” where ever yone can Almost two decades after its dream “as big as we want to.” release, it remains a favorite Brooks and Dunn The verses offer two theme song option. vignettes from American life – one on each coast. Oliver Stone’s movie, “World Trade Center,” On the west coast newlyweds travel the Los opens with “Only in America.” The political Angeles freeway in the back of a limousine. They campaigns of John Kerry, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, are from different socio-economic classes, but they Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Scott Walker, Ted both have gone west pursuing their dreams. He’s a Cruz and Donald Trump utilized the song in one welder’s son who was a singer in a band. She’s a way or another. In 2008 Brooks released an official banker’s daughter hoping to become an actress, and statement about the political use of the song. “all they want is everything. “Seems ironic that the same song Bush used at “They just might go back to Oklahoma,” the lyrics the Republican Convention last election would be state, capturing the uncertainty of dreams, “and used by Obama and the Democrats now,” Brooks talk about the stars they could have been.” said. “Very flattering to know our song crossed The other vignette describes a school bus driver parties and potentially inspires all Americans.” stuck in a traffic jam as the sun comes up over New Brooks and Dunn’s video for "Only in America," York City. In the rearview mirror she sees faces that which was filmed three months before the 9/11 represent “the promise of the Promised Land.” One opens with a view of the twin towers. Other child dreams of fame and fortune, while another featured cities include Washington, D.C. and Los helps pay the rent. Angeles. “One could end up going to prison, and one just The diversity of America is illustrated with might be president,” the lyrics observe. scenes of fairs, festivals, small shops, open-air Though the No. 1 hit song from the album markets, factories, farms, cemeteries, construction “Steers and Stripes” was written and recorded sites, concerts and parks. The video features people months before the Sept. 11, 2001, Brooks said that of many ethnic groups and different ages. it was lumped in with the other patriotic songs that The refrain encapsulates what it means to be an were released after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New American in the line “we all get a chance, York City and Washington, D.C. everybody gets to dance only in America. 5

Holly Dunn – From Entertainer to Radio Host by Sasha Dunavant It’s not that unusual for a disc jockey’s career to and inspired Dunn and her brother, Chris Waters, evolve into a performer, but rarely does an award- to begin writing their own music. winning Country artist retreat to behind the Dunn and Waters took off for Nashville and microphone for a career as a DJ. never looked back. Dunn began her journey as a Yet, that’s exactly what the late singer Holly demo singer and then a songwriter for CBS records, Dunn did. After a decade of commercial and writing hits for such artists as Louise Mandrell, critical Country music success including two No. 1 Cristy Lane and the Whites. h i t s a n d n i n e To p 1 0 She eventually got her singles, Dunn became a own record deal with M T M Re c o r d s . S h e morning show co-host at recorded a Top 10 song Detroit’s country station with Louise Mandrell WWWW. called “I’m Not Through “This opportunity Loving You Yet.” Her first came completely out of album yielded several the blue,” Dunn told singles, such as “Playing Country Weekly magazine f o r Ke e p s ” a n d “My in March 1997. “I got a Heart Holds On.” call from T.K. Kimbrell Although the songs did (manager of Sawyer not make the Top 40, her Brown and Toby Keith) next self-written song, telling me that W4 “Daddy’s Hands,” made wanted to add an artist to No. 7 on the Billboard their morning show and U.S. Hot Country Songs Holly Dunn at WWWW radio wondering if I would be chart, remaining there for interested.” She was shocked and asked if any station had s i x m o n t h s a n d e a r n i n g h e r t wo Gr a m m y made such a move in the past, and Kimbrell assured nominations. She sang for Michael Martin Murphy on his Top her that it had not been done. 5 hit called “A Face in the Crowd” from his album, After her first days at the station, Dunn “Americana.” She racked up several solo Top 10 hits admitted it was a real change for her. “No one is on the streets before 10 a.m. in such as “Love Someone Like Me” and “ Only When Nashville,” she told Country Weekly. “This is a I Love.” In 1986 The Academy of Country Music named strange schedule because I get up at 2:45 in the morning and have to be here by 5:30. Then I have Dunn the Top New Female Vocalist. She also won to be in bed by 7 every night. I miss all my favorite the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award. morning news shows on TV and all my favorite In 1987 Dunn released her album, “ Cornerstone.” In 1988 she released another album called “Across night time shows. My VCR is whirring away!” Dunn, the daughter of a Church of Christ the Rio Grande.” The two albums spawned hits preacher and a landscape artist, was born on August such as, “Strangers Again,” “(It’s Always Gonna Be) 22, 1957, and was raised in San Antonio, Texas. Someday” and “Love Someone Like Me,” all coWhile Dunn was in high school she sang in a band written by Dunn. Dunn’s first No. 1 hit was “Are You Ever Gonna called the Freedom Folk Singers. Love Me.” Her album “The Blue Rose of Texas,” She became a part of a school-sponsored band called The Hilltoppers while at Abilene Christian also brought a Top 4 hit, “There Goes My Heart University. The group toured the southern states Again.” 6

Her second No. 1 hit, “You Really Had Me Going,” was from her album, “Heart Full of Love.” In 1991 the album “Milestones: Greatest Hits" was released followed by her “Getting It Dunn” album. In 1995 Dunn signed to a new label called River North Records and released two albums, “Life and Love and All the Stages” and “Leave One Bridge Standing.” With her 25-year career as a hit-making songwriter and recording artist waning, Dunn welcomed the opportunity with WWWW radio. After all, she’d been a DJ back at Abilene University. She continued releasing Country and Gospel records and co-hosted Opry Backstage from 1999-2002. She filled in for Bill Anderson when he could not be there, and did promotional radio spots for The Grand Ole Opry. In 2010 Dunn told The Boot that she had been heartbroken she was eliminated from the Opry cast list. “I have some amazing memories. I wish there was a way to keep a list of folks that were members in the past. This whole total expunging you from the list is sort of a little harsh, I think. There are people on that list that I know for a fact might make it once a year if they're lucky. It's a little subjective. That's my only gripe.” Dunn eventually retired from music altogether and moved to New Mexico, where, like her mother, she began practicing her passion for painting. In 2016 she began chemotherapy for ovarian cancer.

Dunn had two No. 1 hits and 9 Top 10 singles

"My faith is my rock," she told Hallels. "Being a Christian, I know that no matter how this chapter ends, I will be OK. Either upright walking on this earth or safe in my Savior's arms.” She was in hospice care in her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when her life came to an end on Nov. 14, 2016. She was 59. She is buried in a family plot in the Salado Cemetery in Salado, Texas. This article is part of the Radio & Records, A Star-Making Combination monthly CFR NEWS series.


Photo Courtesy of Instagram

Hank Williams Jr. Loses Daughter in Auto Crash Katherine D. Williams-Dunning, daughter of country singer Hank Williams Jr., was killed on Saturday, June 13, 2020, in a single vehicle accident in Henry County, Tennessee. The 27 year old was towing a boat with a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe when the SUV crossed over the dividing median on the four-lane highway and rolled over, crossing Northbound lanes and stopping on the East shoulder. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband, 29-year-old Tyler J. Dunning of Springville, to whom she had been married since 2015, was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Williams-Dunning appeared on season 7 of the TLC bridal reality series "Say Yes to the Dress" in 2014, when she was preparing for her wedding to her husband, who she wed on Oct. 15, 2015, after seven years of dating. The couple had two children, 5-yearold son Beau Weston and 2-year-old daughter Audrey Jane. William-Dunning posted photos of her family on Instagram as well as telling the story of her struggle to conceive and carry a baby. "The feeling of being a woman and thinking you will not be able to bear children is an unbearable feeling," she wrote. "As women we must be kind to each other and support one another." Williams-Dunning ran a clothing company called Weston Jane, which she explained on her website was built "as a way to build moms up." She designed all of her Weston Jane items herself. The young mother often expressed her feelings about balancing a career and motherhood. "In January this year, I decided to be more present and be more peaceful in all aspects of life," she said. The youngest daughter of Williams Jr. and wife Mary Jane Thomas, Williams-Dunning was born on Oct.21, 1992. Her siblings are Sam Williams, Shelton Hank Williams (Hank III), Holly Williams and Hilary Williams.


Tanya Tucker Holds Memorabilia Sale to Support Musicians in Need In an effort to support a struggling music industry Tanya Tucker presented fans a chance to score a piece of country music memorabilia. Tucker held a warehouse sale June 17 - 20 to raise funds for those in entertainment impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of proceeds benefits two non-profits, Music Health Alliance and the Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives, which are providing services for musicians and industry workers during the ongoing health crisis. "We’re all struggling now," Tucker said. “Some more than others. I thought, 'Why s h o u l d n’t I j u s t d o t h i s t h i n g a n d contribute?' Because I know so many people are having a hard time. It’s a perfect scenario to do it, to unload some of these things that are just weighing me down." Items in the 13,000 SF warehouse located in Columbia, Tennessee, included stage outfits, designer fashion, toys, furniture, bedding and home decor. Tucker lost several items in the 2010 Nashville flood, but memorabilia such as designer handbags, antiques and more were ready to find a new home. Saying "goodbye" to a few pieces could help struggling artists plus it is expensive to warehouse these items, said Tucker. "Mainly, I’m hoping that we raise a lot of money for these organizations and somebody can use it somewhere," she said, later adding, "Maybe what's trash for me is treasure for someone else." Tucker was camped on a Texas ranch breaking in a tour bus once owned by George Strait and was unable to attend the sale. 9

History and Future of Banjo Spotlighted at Oklahoma Museum by Claudia Johnson

nearly 400 years in the United States taking on many different forms and styles, the American Banjo Museum ha s expanded and made a commitment to present every chapter of the banjo’s story, from its roots in American slavery to its most recent identities in Bluegrass and international folk music. The facility is currently home to more than 400 instruments. Galleries include replicas of primitive banjos developed by African slaves, actual Minstrel Age instruments from mid-19th century, Classic Era banjos from the late 1800s and early 1900s and post WWII instruments used in bluegrass, folk and world music. The museum’s massive gathering of ornately decorated four-string tenor and plectrum banjos from the Jazz Age of the 1920s and 30s is the largest collection of its type on public display in the world and is a true national treasure. The American Banjo Museum’s archive currently holds thousands of audio and video recordings of banjo performances ranging from the earliest days of sound recording to the present day with all playing styles represented. Much of the collection is preserved digitally via the museum’s ongoing conservation efforts.

The American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a world-class 21,000-squarefoot facility honoring the rich history, vibrant spirit and unlimited future of the banjo. “The museum was originally founded primarily by and for enthusiasts and players of the fourstring banjo, the predominant stringed instrument associated with the jazz age of the 1920s and early 30s,” commented American Banjo Museum, Executive Director, Johnny Baier. Of course, the banjo is a staple of Country and Bluegrass music. Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, June Carter Cash, Uncle Dave Macon, Roy Clark, David “Stringbean” Akeman, Roni Stoneman, Ralph Stanley and many others are lauded for their banjo expertise. The American Banjo Museum introduces visitors to banjo players from the mid-1800s forward. It is the only established facility in the world devoted exclusivel y to the collection and conservation of recordings, film, video, printed music, instructional materials, ephemera and memorabilia associated with the banjo. Baier noted that the museum has evolved much like the banjo. As the banjo has evolved for 10

Banjo related publications, periodicals, photographs and personal memorabilia are preserved for future generations, from the personal scrapbook of Frederick Bacon to the banjo head signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a Perry Bechtel performance in 1933. The collection contains many rare and one of a kind items. The collection of song books, sheet music, instructional folios and methods is extensive, with publications dating from the 1800s to the present day. Access to the museum’s archives is available to members by appointment. Digital copies of items from the museum’s collection that are in public domain and no longer commercially available may be obtained upon request. The museum is currently open to the public for individual and group tours. Following CDC guidelines for COVID-19 face masks are r e q u i r e d b e f o r e to u r i n g t h e Mu s e u m . A disposable mask will be provided to those who do not bring one. Entrance fees are affordable with special pricing for families, students, youth, seniors and

military. Museum staff will pre-arrange an adult tour to include a performance and lunch for groups of 15 or more. Special pricing for student groups of more than 20 includes an interactive banjo performance, museum tour and a banjo craft. Other offerings include rental of the facility for special events, an online store, virtual tours and concerts and connection with musicians for banjo lessons. Located at 9 East Sheridan Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, the American Banjo Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Call 405-604-2793 or visit for more information.

This article is part of the Country Music Tourism Around the Country monthly CFR NEWS series.

Send a photo of you wearing your “Diner mask.” Please be safe! Our prayer is that all our fans remain healthy during this pandemic and that we’ll all see each other again in person very soon. 11

Memories of Music Row Welcome back to my Memories of Music Row as I share stories and day-to-day happenings through my personal interviews with the “architects of music row” – record producers, songwriters, artists, studio musicians and recording engineers. by Areeda Schneider Stampley

A Legend … Johnny Cash In the early 1970s, busy at my desk at Columbia Records I sensed a presence in the doorway. I looked up and came face to face with Johnny Cash. The stunned look on my face prompted his “Hello... I’m Johnny Cash.” His presence has been described as “bigger than life,” no truer words were spoken. He had dropped by to visit his old friend, my boss, Cecil Scaife, who was National Promotion Manager at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s. Sun Records was Cash’s first record label. I was spellbound with this encounter with the Johnny Cash, whom I had been a fan of since the 1950s. That first record label for Cash, Sun Records, was founded by producer Sam Phillips in February 1952. Phillips initially concentrated on recording African-American musicians at his 706 Union Avenue studio because he loved rhythm and blues and wanted to bring the genre to a white audience. In the early 1970s, busy at my desk at Columbia Records I sensed a presence in the doorway. I looked up and came face to face with Johnny Cash. The stunned look on my face prompted his “Hello... I’m Johnny Cash.” His presence has been described as “bigger than life,” no truer words were spoken. He had dropped by to visit his old friend, my boss, Cecil Scaife, who was National Promotion Manager at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s. Sun Records was Cash’s first record label. I was spellbound with this encounter with the Johnny Cash, whom I had been a fan of since the 1950s. That first record label for Cash, Sun Records, was founded by producer Sam Phillips in February 1952. Phillips initially concentrated on recording African-American musicians at his 706 Union

Avenue studio because he loved rhythm and blues and wanted to bring the genre to a white audience. However, acts like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash helped to broaden Sam’s music genre perspective. Phillips recorded the Million Dollar Quartet, a recording of an impromptu jam session involving Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash on Dec. 4, 1956. In 1954 Cash and his band, Marshall Grant and Luther Perkins, showed up at Sun to audition for Phillips. He liked their sound but not their gospeldriven song choices and asked them to return later with an original song. They returned with the Cashwritten “Hey Porter” and “Cry, Cry, Cry.”

I did make-up for the Johnny Cash and Ray Charles duet LP, “Friendship.” The day that Cash recorded with Ray Charles, the photographer asked me to stand next to him so he could set up lighting. Johnny turned to me with “… since we’re being photographed together, let’s make it memorable!” 12

Phillips signed the newly-branded “Johnny Cash but gave me the go ahead to call Folsom Prison. and the Tennessee Two.” “Hey Porter” was released Folsom was excited at the opportunity. On Jan. 13, in May 1955 and later that year “Cry, Cry, Cry” 1968, we showed up and recorded the live album peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard charts. But true ‘Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.’ It was released May fame arrived in 1956 when Cash wrote and released 1968 and won two Grammy awards. The album was “I Walk the Line,” his first No. 1 hit which sold two an unequivocal hit, spending more than two years on million copies. By 1958 Cash had published 50 songs the Billboard 200 chart.” and sold more than six million records. Interestingly, country legend Merle Haggard was In 1958 Cash left Sun to sign a lucrative deal a 20-year-old inmate at San Quentin the day Cash with Columbia Records. His self-penned second performed, and later expressed the impact that Cash’s single on Columbia "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," appearance had on him. Eventually, Haggard and released in December 1958 Cash were label mates at CBS went to #1 and crossed over to Records; Cash on Columbia and the pop Top 40. Haggard on Epic. In my interview with “Immediately following the Jimmy Lockert, pioneer sound Folsom performance, we engineer with WSM radio and contacted San Quentin Prison and Columbia, he recalled the day recorded the live album ‘Johnny in December 1959 when Cash Cash at San Quentin’ on Feb. 24, recorded his “concept album” 1969,” Johnston said. “It was called “Ride This Train in the released June 4, 1969. This album Quonset Hut.” features the hit song ‘A Boy “John was a deep thinker, Named Sue’ written by humorist always conscience of the hardand poet Shel Silverstein. Both working man and likened these prison albums were multisongs to folks across America,” platinum sellers with widespread Jimmy said. “He wrote the acclaim.” narration and said, ‘now, we Contrary to speculation Johnny need a whistle.’ I had gotten Cash was never a prison inmate. my son a train for Christmas. I He was a man with deep Johnny Cash and Columbia Recording brought it to the studio, and we compassion and strived to lift up Studios engineer Charlie Bragg in studio dubbed it in.” his audiences with music that “Ride This Train” conveyed messages of real life recordings were completed situations, but always with a clear February 1960 and released September 1960. Cash’s message of perseverance and hope. personal life and career went through some dark times Bob produced Johnny for five years. During in the 1950s, but the 1960s brought a remarkable interviews with me about those times, both Bob and turnaround – largely in part due to his relationship Johnny conveyed similar sentiments. "My job is not and subsequent marriage to June Carter in 1968. to try to be a hero in the studio by telling Johnny Cash wanted to record a live album inside a Cash, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson or Marty Robbins prison but was repeatedly rejected by the label what the f— to do!” Bob recalled. “The artist and I executives, even to the point of threatening to work together on a project, not one working for the terminate his contract if he pursued it. other.” Record producer Bob Johnston, a known “Bob Johnston is a producer that artists’ dream maverick and champion of the artist, had been about working with,” Johnny said. “Bob likes to sit recording rock artists such as Bob Dylan in Nashville back and watch an artist produce himself, and then he and heard about Cash’s dilemma with Columbia. puts it all together. Bob is smart enough to know “I contacted Cash,” Johnston said, in our when he gets an artist who believes in himself – to let interview. “He was afraid of what the label might do, him run with it.” 13

Due to the huge success of the prison albums, Cash was at the peak of his career. ABC-TV saw in him a charismatic personality that would be perfect hosting his own show. “The Johnny Cash Show,” a music variety show produced by Bob, was launched June 7, 1969, and ran until March 31, 1971. It was taped at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Cash is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. His genre-spanning songs and sound won him numerous awards in country, rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel. By the fall of 1969 Cash had outsold even the Beatles as the hottest act in the world. He became a man of strong faith, noted Romans 8:13 as his favorite scripture and became very close friends with worldrenowned evangelist Billy Graham. In 1973 Cash co-wrote and produced a film based on the life of Jesus called “The Gospel Road.” Johnny Cash in 1956 accepting a gold record Known as “The Man in Black,” Cash explained his affinity for for “I Walk the Line” from Cecil Scaife of black clothing in his 1971 hit, of the same name, when he said it Sun Records in 1956 symbolized the downtrodden in this nation. His mother, Carrie Rivers Cash, was his inspiration. “My mother told me to keep on singing; it kept me working through the cotton fields,” Johnny remembered, adding that she said, ‘God has His hand on you, you’ll be singing for the world someday’.” Johnny’s active music career spanned 1954 to 2003. He was inducted into the Country Music, Songwriters, Rock and Roll, Rockabilly and Gospel Music halls of fame. Areeda Schneider Stampley is a writer, longtime employee of CBS Records and lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with husband country music legend Joe Stampley. Contact her at

Country’s Family Reunion Fridays 7 p.m. Central Saturdays 11 p.m. Central


Areeda’s southern cooking by Areeda Schneider Stampley

Southern Style Pecan Pie 2/3 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 cup softened butter 3 eggs, lightly beaten 1 cup light Karo corn syrup 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon vanilla ¼ teaspoon salt 1¼ cups pecans, toasted and chopped 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust Whole toasted pecans for top of pie (optional) Cream sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 40-45 minutes. To purchase Areeda’s Southern Cooking, a collection of old-fashioned recipes send $24.45 check (no credit cards) and mailing address to Areeda’s Southern Cooking, P. O. Box 202, Brentwood, TN 37024. Email Areeda at

The material seen below is becoming the new set for “Larry’s Country Diner,” which is being taped at Redking Productions in Columbia, Tennessee. New episodes will be aired in August.


The House of Two Legends by Renae Johnson

This home located at 4916 Franklin Pike in Nashville Tennessee, was built in 1949 on 3.69 acres. It has six bedrooms, nine bathrooms and contains 9,154 square feet The interesting thing about this beautiful home is that it was owned and lived in by two Country Music Legends. Hank and Audrey Williams purchased the home new on Sept. 9, 1949. Everybody in the music business has been there, including Elvis Presley, Jerr y Lee Lewis and Fats Domino. “Audrey had great parties and when one of the greats came to town they wanted to see the house that Hank Williams lived in. It was the place to be,” said Merle Kilgore. There’s a story about Hank shooting squirrels on this property. He had a taxidermist pose the squirrels with tiny wooden instr uments to resemble his band, The Drifting Cowboys. The squirrels were later displayed in the archives of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. One of the most impressive features of the house was its master sunken marble tub – especially for that day and time. Over the years Audrey added the garage with upstairs living quarters, an entertainment room with twostory cathedral ceilings, a massive fireplace and a gorgeous stone wall. Hank and Audrey both lived there until Jan. 23, 1952, when Audrey kicked Hank out for his alcoholism and womanizing. She never remarried and continued to live there raising their son Hank Williams Jr. Over the years


Audrey struggled with health issues and finances. The media had frenzy when Audrey held a Hank Williams garage sale with items arranged in the driveway and a lifesize cardboard cutout of him. Audrey died on Nov. 4, 1975, of congestive heart failure at age 52 years old. Her body was found inside the home the day before the IRS was to repossess the property. The home had been extensively remodeled over the years. There were even parts of the home taken c l o s e to m u s i c r o w o n Division and 17th Ave with a sign that said it was the Home of Hank Williams. I was told it was only the shutters from their original home. In April 1992 country m u s i c l e g e n d , Ta m m y Wynette purchased the home for $422,500. She did some renovations and continued to add to the size of the house making it 12,000 square feet, with seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms, a full beauty salon and a huge dressing area. The kitchen was the more active room in the house. Tammy enjoyed cooking and frequently baked biscuits for breakfast. Georgette Jones talked about Tammy’s cooking in my book, Precious Memories Legacy, along with other memories of her mother. Tammy was also inside the home when she died April 6, 1998, of an apparent blood clot to the lungs while napping on the couch. She was 55 years old. Her fifth husband, George Richie was with her. In 2002 the home was purchased by Judson Baptist Church. The property is the third lot from the church, and Judson Baptist owns the two lots in between. Owning the property allowed growth, especially for the youth. Instead of “Stand By Your Man,” their slogan is “Stand By Your Youth.”

Country Music Mayhem

Paycheck Earned his Outlaw Image by Claudia Johnson When Johnny Paycheck died in his sleep in 2003 at age 64, it was nothing short of a miracle that he was not in prison instead of a Nashville hospital. By all accounts, the final years of his life were spent in peace with Sharon, his wife of 30 years, but the performer whose signature song, “Take this Job and Shove It,” became an anthem for the working class, lived a life of unbridled mayhem. The son of a barge worker, Paycheck was born D o n a l d E u g e n e Ly t l e i n Greenfield, Ohio. He began playing in talent shows and clubs at age 9. When he was 15 he roamed the country on freight trains before enlisting in the Navy. Six months later he assaulted a superior officer. While under arraignment, he escaped twice. He was courtmartialed and sentenced to 18 years, but his sentence was reduced, and in 1959 he was released after serving only two years in a f e d e r a l p r i s o n i n Ne w Hampshire for escape and desertion. After his release he relocated to Nashville and was hired as a songwriter for Tree Publishing under the name Donny Young, a moniker under which he also performed. An unknown honky-tonk singer named George Jones hired him as a bass player, and he also played alongside more established singers like Faron Young, Porter Wagoner and Ray Price. He began using the name Johnny Paycheck, which he later legally adopted, around 1965. Paycheck recorded four Top10 albums, including "Take This Job and Shove It," and 11 Top 10 Country singles. He found himself in demand as a headlining performer, and newspapers of the late 1970s and early 1980s contain announcements of his concer ts at arena s, performance hal ls and fairgrounds. Unfortunately, like his friend George Jones would later become, Paycheck was often a no-show. For example, the promoter of a charity concert at which he

had failed to appear in 1979 won a judgement against him. By August 1982 he had not paid, so he was arrested and ordered to pay $32,000 in damages and interest. He had been convicted of and served time for check forgery in 1972, was named in a paternity suit in 1976, bankrupted in 1976 and was even arrested for grand theft auto, but it was in the 1980s when Paycheck’s life began to unravel. In April 1981 he was ordered off a Frontier Airlines flight after he had “physical contact with a female flight attendant” and used “indecent langua ge,” according to a Frontier spokesman. The flight attendant later sued him for slander for the actions took place as the plane taxied for takeoff f r o m D e n v e r t o a C a s p e r, Wyoming, where Paycheck was scheduled to perform. After that concert, he stayed in a local residence during which time the 42-year-old allegedly had sex twice with a 12-year-old girl. Charged with two sexual assault felonies that could have resulted in 10 years in prison, Paycheck entered a “no contest” plea, was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and was placed on unsupervised probation. The victim’s guardians sued him for $3 million. Early in 1982 the Internal Revenue Service notified Paycheck that he owed more than $150,000 in unpaid taxes from 1973 to 1981. He was ordered to appear in Federal court, but he was a no-show. The IRS placed a $300,000 lien on his property and was set to auction his possessions, including his guitars, to a waiting crowd of around 50 on Sept. 10, 1982, when the sale was halted by Paycheck’s second bankruptcy filing just 30 minutes earlier. In 1986 Paycheck, at age 47, stood trial for an Ohio barroom shooting on Dec. 19, 1985, that resulted in a scalp wound to Larry Wise, 37, who was from Paycheck’s hometown of Greenfield, Ohio. Paycheck was charged with felonious assault, carrying a concealed weapon and tampering with evidence because he discarded the gun.


If found guilty, Paycheck faced up to 22 years in prison and a $17,500 fine. Wise testified that shooting occurred after he and a companion were talking to Paycheck about deer meat and turtle soup. Wise quoted Paycheck as saying, ʺDo you see me as some sort of country hick?ʺ ʺI asked Johnny whether he was looped and if he had a place to stay for the night,ʺ Wise said, explaining that Paycheck then reached around his hip, apparently for his weapon, and Wise ran. ʺI never seen the gun, and I never heard the shot. He blowed my hat off. I guess he took it as a personal insult.ʺ Paycheck admitted at his trial that he shot Wise but contended it was an accident, saying, “I didn't mean to shoot nobody.” Former Ohio Gov. James A Rhodes, who had presented Paycheck with a Governor’s Award for his musical achievements in 1977, was called as a defense witness. Rhodes testified that he had not known Paycheck personally when honoring him but had relied on the recommendations of others. The jury concluded that Paycheck was guilty of a reduced charge of a g gravated assault and tampering with evidence and not guilty of carrying a concealed weapon. He was sentenced to a total of nine years. Paycheck’s appeals stretched over the next three years. In February 1989 he appeared before the original sentencing judge and pleaded for leniency,

saying he needed to earn money in concerts because his wife had cancer, they had no health insurance and he was paying cash for her medical treatments. His plea was denied, and his original sentence was upheld. After less than two years of incarceration at Chillicothe Correctional Institute, Paycheck was pardoned by Ohio governor Richard Celeste. Interestingly enough, David Allen Coe, who wrote Paycheck’s only No. 1 hit, “Take This Job and Shove It,” had also spent time in the Chillicothe prison. The North High Lounge, where the incident occurred, was long ago demolished. As Paycheck’s criminal trial was set to begin, Paycheck’s attorney filed a $6 million lawsuit against the bar and its owner, Ernest Turner, for failing to protect Paycheck because drunken patrons were not removed. The lawsuit claimed that the shooting damaged Paycheck’s reputation and could cost him employment opportunities. After his prison release in January 1991 he resumed his musical career, and free from his decades of drug and alcohol abuse, which he had admitted to in a 1982 interview, Paycheck was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1997. At the time of his Feb. 19, 2003 death, Paycheck was penniless, and George Jones pitched in with other musicians to pay for the funeral, while paying for Paycheck’s plot and headstone at Nashville’s Woodlawn Cemetery himself.

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Amy Grant Recovers from Heart Surgery Amy Grant informed her fans back in February of some news she learned during a checkup with her doctor. Because her dad had a heart issue history, her doctor, John Bright Cage, wanted to check on Amy’s heart health. Grant went through a series of tests and learned she has had a heart condition since birth. She told her fans she planned to take the summer off from touring and traveling in order to take care of her heart. She underwent open heart surgery on Wednesday, June 3, to correct her condition, known as PAPVR (Partial anomalous pulmonary venous return). Sharing that she was having surgery on her Facebook page, Grant’s team asked her fans to pray for a positive outcome. A few hours later those prayer s were answered as Grant’s team was happy to report the surgery had been a success. “Thank you for so many prayers today,” said the team’s statement on Grant’s Facebook page. “Amy is out of surgery and the doctor said it could not have gone better.” The team later followed up with an additional statement on Grant’s Instagram, saying the surgery “went well” and she is receiving quality care. “She is recovering in the care of a great team of doctors,” the statement read. Her team promised there will be “More updates to come.” Jenny Gill, Grant’s stepdaughter, also informed her Instagram followers how her surgery went. “ Amy’s open heart surgery went as perfectly as it could go!” Gill wrote. “She has a great team caring for her and I know she feels all your positivity!” Gill said her stepmother’s road to recovery will be a “challenging” one, but she knows she’s up to the task. Gill thanked everyone for showing support for Grant.

Douglas Corner Closes Permanently The long-time Nashville staple Douglas Corner Cafe has closed. The owner, Mervin Louque, opened the bar in 1987 after traveling and running sound for live music shows. Douglas Corner became a music venue for many stars who are heard on radio stations today. Signed posters and pictures from notable country stars such as Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Alan Jackson on display Within 24 hours of the video announcement, it had been shared hundreds of times with 120,000 views. Louque also said he'd been receiving calls from friends and fans of the bar asking how they could help. For a brief while it was thought that there might be a way to keep the bar open but finally the announcement came,. “I wish I had better news, but as much as we wanted to find a way to keep Douglas Corner open, it just wasn't meant to be," Louque said. Nashville has lost and will lose too many of its historic music venues. Douglas Corner is one of those and it will be missed.


Douglas Corner held an indoor yard sale on June 13 & 14 prior to closing permanently.

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Because of concerns about the spread of Covid-19, Jimmy’s memorial service was held at the Grand Ole Opry House with only close friends and immediate family in attendance. Fans, colleagues and friends were invited to watch the service online. Many of Jimmy’s longtime friends, including Jimmy Fortune, and cast members from “Larry’s Country Diner” were named among his pallbearers. “There’s a hole in country music and a hole in our heart,” Fortune said. “One of my best friends in the world went to be with the Lord. We are all trying to hold each other up over this. He was the best friend a guitar could ever have, and he always made sure the singer stood out. That’s just the way he was; he always thought of others first. He was a true gentleman and a true professional in every way. I’ll miss you until I see you again.” Emy Jo Bilbrey, wife of “Diner” regular Keith Bilbrey, recalled how she and Keith were assigned to be condominium “roommates” with Jimmy and Michelle during the month-long stays in Branson for performances of “Larry’s Country Diner.” “Everybody knew that the four of us were night owls and late risers,” Bilbrey said. “We had soooo much fun together, and thus the name “roomies” e volved! Yes, we’ve lost “Roomie” and are heartbroken! Yes, his unbelievable musical talent will be missed, but what I will miss most is his sweet and sometimes mischievous smiles, his belly laughs, his hugs, his gentle soul and him yelling out to me, ‘Hey Roomie!” His tremendous love for Michele and family was so obvious! If you knew him, you loved him! We will miss you Jimmy Capps! I know we will always treasure our adventurous travels and times we had together with Jimmy and Michele.” Nadine from “Larry’s Country Diner” said she’d remember Jimmy as “the kindest and most humble man I have ever met.”

Keith Bilbrey spoke as his old friend’s “Being together with the Diner family and losing one of them is like losing part of yourself, at least part of your heart,” Nadine said. “I can see that head thrown back and hear the belly laugh and see Jimmy do that little clap he did when he was laughing! He lived well and loved well and will remain in our hearts until he meets us at the gates of Heaven! Play on Jimmy, I know the Heavenly Band just got a stellar guitar player added, and your buddies are gathered round.” Gus Arrendale of Springer Mountain Farms, a “Diner” sponsor, expressed his sympathy to Jimmy’s wife and family. “He was such a talented musician, great friend and a huge component of both the Diner and the Opry,” Arrendale said. “The orchestra in heaven has received a shining first chair member! He will be greatly missed but always remembered.” 20

Entertainer T. Graham Brown, who appeared several times on “Larry’s Country Diner” as a musical guest, summed up what most felt about Jimmy. “I have been blessed to work with Jimmy down through the years,” Brown said. “He was a universally loved, Godly man, a double-super cool Na shvil le cat, and you couldn’t ask for a better friend… Rest in peace, pal” T h e Un i t e d S t a t e s Army veteran was, along with wife Michelle, a m e m b e r o f t h e Fi r s t Apostolic Church of Nashville. Michelle says goodbye In addition to his wife, he is survived by son, Mark, and his wife, Tara S o l o m o n - C a p p s , s o n Je f f C a p p s , a n d t w o g r a n d c h i l d r e n , S u m m e r Ca p p s a n d Mo l l i e McKenzie Acuff.

Nadine’s Corner Well, it's sort of hard to write funny when we just said goodbye to our friend and legend, Jimmy Capps. We all loved Jimmy and Michele and you rarely saw one without the other. I don't think I ever did but two or three times in 11 years. We pray for Michele every day as she tries to adjust to life without "her Jimmy.” But knowing Jimmy, the consummate musician, (yes I do know a couple of big words), he would want us to go on with the show! I will continue to do the shows and think of Jimmy's laugh and clap when he thought it was funny! That's when I knew it was a good one! Well, I've been watching my grandkids some after this quarantine. Their parents are about crazy! My granddaughter said she had a tummy ache. I told her it's because she hadn't eaten, and she'd feel better if she had something in her stomach. This afternoon the preacher came over and was talking and mentioned he had a headache. My granddaughter, who is 10, said, “Well, that's because it's empty, and you'd feel better if you put something in it!” I had a feeling he thought I had told her that by the look I got from him! Remember, society says “look out for yourself,” but God says “look out for others and I'll look out for you! “ Love ya’ll! Nadine 21


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