Country Reunion Magazine, February 2022

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Country Reunion m a g a z i n e

February 2022

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Pam Tillis & Lorie Morgan Kristian Montgomery Randy Travis Ray Stevens J.D Crowe Mackenzie Colt The Goldens Nadine Renae the Waitress December 2021 …and mor


Country Reunion Magazine Who’s inside? The Goldens, p. JD Crowe, p. 4Country Cooking, p. Kristian Montgomery, p. 8Tillis & Morgan, p. 10-1 Colt’s Bolts, p. 12-1 Nadine, p. 1 Joe Case, p. 1 Randy Travis, p. 16-1 Renae the Waitress, p. 1 Ray & Penny Stevens, p. 1 Music Notes, p. 20-2 Birthdays, p. 2 Renea’s Book Club, p. 2

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December 2020


William Lee Golden and The Goldens Celebrate Success Country and Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member William Lee Golden and his sons 'The Goldens' continue to celebrate the success of their current single, “Come and Dine,” o their upcoming album, Old Country Church Gospel. “Come And Dine” has received overwhelmingly positive responses on social media, surpassing 1 million views on Facebook. Not only is the single their rst No. 1 hit, but it has held the spot on the CDX TRACtion Southern Gospel & Positive Country Chart for more than seven weeks. A favorite of Golden and his sons, the tune is an upbeat classic that calls to feast at the t a b l e w i t h Je s u s . "Come And Dine'' was the rst of three singles released o their three-album collection including two others titled “Country Roads: Vintage Country Classics” and “Southern Accents: Pop & Country Rock.” The albums contain more than 30 songs spread amongst several genres that all have an impact on the lives and careers of the band. From revered gospel classics to beloved country gems and iconic rock favorites, Golden leads his family through the songs that have been stepping stones on his welltraveled musical journey. It all comes together as a rich sonic tapestry that fans will cherish. “We live in an age where anything is possible,” said Golden. “Come And Dine” has been a family favorite, and to see the fans react to it the way they have has been very humbling. The fact that it hit No. 1 with CDX makes my heart so proud. Thank you to everyone for supporting our music.” William Lee Golden and The Goldens have released three singles from their upcoming albums Country Roads: Vintage Country Classics, Southern Accents: Pop & Country Rock and Old Country Church Gospel which will be released in early 2022. Following the release of "Come and Dine," "Four

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Walls" and "Jambalaya" were launched, including both lyric and concept videos. Golden kept spirits high as the world seemed down during the pandemic, by gathering his sons Rusty, Craig and Chris, his grandchildren Elizabeth, Rebekah and Elijah, and friends Aaron McCune, Ben Isaacs and Michael Sykes to record the three albums. Golden, his family, and friends bring their fresh interpretations to longtime favorites, with Golden delivering reminiscent renditions of Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone,” and Jim Reeves's “Welcome to My World.” Chris shines on Tom Petty’s “Southern Accent,” Rusty delivers a vibrant take on Bob Seger’s hit “Hollywood Nights” and Craig, the rarely heard Golden, revives Gregg Allman’s “Multi-Colored Lady. Golden, a Brewton, Alabama, native cements his considerable legacy in the music industry with these three distinctive collections that re ect his musical roots and the journey that has made him one of America’s most unique troubadours. Visit their website at williamleegoldenandthegoldens.com.

February 2022


Bluegrass Virtuoso

JD Crowe was Never Afraid of Change

by Claudia Johnso Banjo virtuoso James Dee “JD” Crowe passed away at age 84 on Christmas Eve 2021 at his home in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Initial reports indicated that Crowe’s cause of death was pneumonia. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Sheryl, and their two c h i l d r e n , D a v i d a n d S t a ce y, a s we l l a s o n e granddaughter. Born Aug, 27, 1937, in Lexington, Kentucky, Crowe began playing the banjo early on, quickly adopting the three- nger banjo style of Earl Scruggs According to the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, to which Crowe was inducted in 2003, Crowe had a musical conversion experience at the age of 12, on Sept. 17, 1949, when he rst heard Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys play at WVLK’s Kentucky Mountain Barn Dance in Lexington, Kentucky. There are photos showing the youngster sitting in the aisle, his eyes intently xed on Scruggs’ banjo. Purchasing the Foggy Mountain Boys’ 78-rpm records, he would slow them down in order to decode the complex patterns of Bluegrass banjo cla ssics. The next year, Crowe won a radio appearance with radio singer Esco Hankins in a talent competition, which led to other stage and radio work in the local area.

His rst big job was with Bluegrass and Country singer Mac Wiseman in 1955. Touring the country with Wiseman’s group and the companion band of pioneering Bluegrass banjo and guitar player Don Reno and Bluegrass guitarist Red Smiley, Crowe was able to spend hours jamming with some of the creators of the Bluegrass sound He also played with Bluegrass ddler Curly Parker and with Pee Wee Lambert, a mandolinist who had worked with The Stanley Brothers. Crowe was o ered a job with Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys in 1956, and stayed with Martin four years “Jimmy’s timing was more outgoing,” Crowe once recalled in an interview. “He wanted all the backup instruments going real hard all the time to match his singing, so I had to simplify my style…. It was straighter playing and hard driving. Jimmy always stressed rhythm and timing, and playing what t the song. Click on the video on the left to hear Crowe talk in 2020 about the rst time he heard Flatt and Scruggs.

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February 2022


Click to listen to the New South in 1975 When Crowe left the Sunny Mountain Boys, he formed a new band, the Kentucky Mountain Boys, a trio completed by the talented pair Doyle Lawson and Red Allen, in 1961 Ten years later he evolved his group into J.D. Crowe and the New South and started adding Country and Folk elements drawn from the work of Gram Parsons and Gordon Lightfoot, respectively Crowe is credited for bringing together worldclass musicians. The New South at times featured Ricky Skaggs on mandolin and tenor vocals, Jerry Douglas on dobro and Bobby Slone on ba ss and fiddle. Guitar master Tony Rice, who died on Dec. 25, 2020, was the lead vocalist and guitar player for a group of progressive Bluegrass musicians. Keith Whitley joined in the late 1970s. Crowe admitted that his band may have been considered the outlaws of Bluegrass because it embraced changes and incorporated them into their repertoire. “J. D. Crowe’s New South never lost their identity as Bluegrass musicians, nor their

Click to listen to JD Crowe

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rapport with older fans, even though they roamed far and wide for material and pushed their instruments to limits generally not sought by other performers,” wrote music historian Bill C. Malone, author of Country Music U.S.A. “Superb musicians…moved in and out of the New South, but all of them learned something from the timing, precision and clarity exhibited by Crowe himself. Crowe’s in uence went far beyond the artists who regularl y played with the legendar y musician. Both Alison Krauss and Bela Fleck acknowledge the impact he had on their careers. Krauss grew up listening to the album “J.D. Crowe and the New South” and kept a framed copy of its cover on the wall in her home, according to a 2016 article in Bluegrass Situation by Bill Nowlin, whose Rounder label released the project. “We lost one of the greatest banjo players ever to pick up the ve early this morning,” Fleck Tweeted upon hearing of Crowe’s death. “Farewell and thank you JD Crowe.” Over the years Crowe’s albums became slightly more Country-oriented, blending drums and electric instruments with the Bluegrass strings. He also began producing albums in Nashville and performing solo at times.

February 2022


historic Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia, for the “Song of the Mountains” PB program He was featured on Tim Farmer's television show, “Homemade Jam” in Episode 101. On Sept. 21, 2015, Crowe was the featured guest on the radio series "An Intimate Evening with Eddie Stubbs" for WSM (AM) at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville “I loved Bluegrass, I grew up on it,” the legendary musician, who was never afraid of change, told Rolling Stone in a 2020 interview. “But there’s other music and other things you can do.” Musically fearless, his seven decades as a performer proved him right.

JD Crowe at Maggie Valley “I don’t want to continue doing what I did in 1970,” he said in an interview. “It’s like riding a dead horse…. That’s where progress comes from, how new groups evolve.” Kentucky Educational Television in 2008 aired a biography called “James Dee Crowe, A Kentucky Treasure: The James Dee Crowe Story,” produced by H. Russell Farmer, which is available free online. It includes interviews with Crowe and a number of other musicians Crowe received the Bluegrass Star Award from the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation of Dallas, Texas, on Oct. 15, 2011. The award is bestowed upon Bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing traditional Bluegrass music and bringing it to new audiences while preserving its character and heritage Crowe battled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition that kept him from touring in recent years. His farewell tour came in 2012, but he continued to play at selected venues on a limited basis for several more years. He took part in a brief banjo jam session on the episode "Sawmill Slasher" of the Animal Planet television series “Call of the Wildman,” which aired Aug. 5, 2012. On Sept.6, 2014, Crowe came out of retirement and performed with Wild re at the

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February 2022


Areeda’s southern cooking by Areeda Schneider Stampley

Cheesy Shrimp and Grits The ideal dish for celebrating the avors of Mardi Gras anytime

4 cups chicken broth 1 cup Old-Fashioned grits 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded 2 tablespoons butter 5-6 green onions, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1-2 garlic cloves, minced 1 lb raw, peeled, shrimp 1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes & green chilies, drained 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper Bring to a boil chicken broth & 1/2 teaspoon salt in large saucepan. Stir in grits; cover; reduce heat and simmer 20 min. Stir together grits, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add onions, bell pepper and garlic; and sauté 5-6 min. until tender. Stir together green onion mixture, grits mixture, raw shrimp, and the next 3 ingredients. Pour into lightly greased 2 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining ¼ cup cheddar cheese. Bake at 350° 40-45 minutes.

To purchase Areeda’s Southern Cooking, a co ection 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. Order online with PayPal or credit card

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at www.areedasoutherncooking.com. countryreunionmagazine.com

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February 2022


Believes Obstacles can be Overcome

Interview by Claudia Johnso Born in Florida to a Danish immigrant and a blue-blooded American girl, musician and songwriter Kristian Montgomery's family moved to New England when he was a child. In an exclusive interview with Country's Family Reunion News, Montgomery discussed his in uences, his music, his future plans and why his brand of Country straddles a range of musical styles. CFR NEWS: Tell our readers a little about yourself. Montgomery: I grew up in a very di cult yet loving family. I lived with my grandparents (mom's folks). Dad was a sherman and at sea more than home. I sang in the church choir where I was trained by my pastor, who was a professional tenor and opera singer. I dropped out of high school and began my music career playing dive bars and shanty bars. I've always been poor as the opportunities to rise above my status have always seemed to be out of reach or sabotaged by the quality of the women I've chosen to parlay with. I've spent time traveling the world on a sherman’s budget from Nicaragua to Norway and led an Anthony Bourdain sort of life immersed in cultures and experiences from stage to stage. I'm in my 40s now and grizzled and cracked from exposure but wiser and have re ned my songwriting to re ect the life I've lived. CFR NEWS: Into what genre does your music fall? Montgomery: We fall somewhere in between country, blues, rock, folk and more. The critics have said that it’s unde nable musically – that we use country rock and blues in uences that are traditional and then also incorporate progressive, rock and even grunge, so it's not easily thrown in with the music coming out of Nashville. I know we aren't country pop or that bro country that's so popular with the children of privilege nowadays. We have our own sound.

February 2022

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Kristian Montgomery


CFR NEWS: When did you "discover" that you had the talent to perform publicly and perhaps have a career in music Montgomery: In church. I sang “The Lord’s Prayer” once, and when I opened my eyes, the girls were staring at me like I was the last glass of water on the planet and they wanted a sip. CFR NEWS: Have you had any musical or vocal training, are your abilities natural or is there a combination of both Montgomery: The only formal vocal training was lessons from my pastor other than that it was a learn as I go thing. I play guitar and taught myself how to play. CFR NEWS: Are you also a songwriter Montgomery: I consider myself a songwriter/ storyteller. I have recorded 36 original songs in the last two-and-one-half years and wrote them all. I have a band I perform with, The Winterkill Band, and we play as often as we can. I love the stage and feel it's where I belong. CFR NEWS: What has been the most exciting thing you have done so far in your career Montgomery: Most exciting thing was traveling and meeting people. I suppose living with reckless abandonment was a fair part of the reason it was so exciting, but as I grow older, I have a more somber approach to after-show shenanigans.

Like many Countr y musicians before him, Montgomery has spent time in jail. After his divorce, he petitioned the court asking that his child support be reduced to enable him to purchase the insulin he needed for maintenance of his Type I diabetes. When his request was denied, he found himself on the bad side of the presiding judge when he wrote a letter expressing his frustration. “There were no threats involved,” Montgomery told music journalist Bill Copeland. “The only thing I said that could in any way be construed as a threat was ‘I guess I’m just another martyr,’ meaning if I can’t a ord my insulin, I’m going to be another member of the fathers’ rights movement to pass away from court related issues. They arrested me and threw me in jail. They came to me every couple of weeks basically saying ‘Are you ready to apologize?’ and I would say I didn’t do anything wrong.” In lieu of a trial, he agreed to serve six months in jail, during which time he continued to write songs. His album, “The Gravel Church,” was born of that experience. It is a 16-song country and rock 'n' roll album of re ection, understanding and healing. His second album is “Prince of Poverty,” which presents a no-nonsense, authentic blue-collar spirit that's keenly balanced with clever songwriting. A third album, “A Heaven for Heretics,” is set for release in 2022. “The darkness has always been a few steps behind me trying to eat me up, but I've managed to remain in the light,” Montgomery told CFR News. “I am a father tr ying to set an example that anything can be overcome.”

CFR NEWS: Do you have musical heroes and how has your admiration for them shaped you as a singer Montgomery: Peter Gabriel, David Bowie and Chris Whitley and more. I am drawn to artists who can reinvent themselves over and over as they grow. CFR NEWS: What do you imagine seeing yourself doing over the next few years career-wise Montgomery: Recording and touring. CFR NEWS: What do you consider personal and professional success? Montgomery: Releasing three critically acclaimed albums in two-and one-half years.

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CFR NEWS: Who were your in uences musically? Montgomery: During my childhood I grew up on Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin brothers (my rst concert), Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and David Allen Coe. Then I got into Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and Soundgarden as I grew up.

Click to Listen February 2022


Tillis and Morgan Resume Grits & Glamour Tour

Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan are currently delighting old and new fans across North America on their highly successful Grits and Glamour Tour. From the road to the red carpet, on center stage in the theater or under the spotlight in a honkytonk, these two women are comfortable in their high heels “Although we've practically grown up together, running in the same circles and backstage at the Opry as children, it truly is a newfound friendship,” said Tillis Veteran recording artists and performers, they grace the country format with style, air, and undeniable talent that is captivating and timeless “We've known one another for years but over the last few years we've grown from 'someone you know' to having a real 'got your back' kind of friendship,” said Morgan

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Their career highlights are numerous and varied. Combined, they have recorded 28 top 10 hits, more than 18 million records sold, and 12 number one songs. There have been Grammys, CMA Awards, movie credits, television appearances and Broadway performances. They have rocked arenas, helmed world-class symphonies and toured on almost every continent These 50-somethings say that they are more than a little attered that they can still sell out shows, turn heads and make hearts beat fast nearly four decades into their careers. “We've been called divas a time or two,” laughed Morgan, to which Tillis responded, “Now, I'm sure they meant it in the best sense of the word. As far as b e i n g 'd i v a s ' , w e s h a r e t h e t i t l e a n d t h e responsibility! February 2022


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Striking a more serious note, they both recognize the importance of compromise in this unique and special relationship. They respect one another’s artistry, they respect each other as women and they respect the fact that they’re carrying on the legacies of their fathers, late Opry star George Morgan and living legend Mel Tillis Formed in 2009, the Grits and Glamour tour is a “together is better” event. Click above to listen to their new song The show is only loosely scripted. Good-natured the pandemic, performing for tens of thousands of ribbing and o -the-cu remarks are just part of the people over six weeks. fun. Their recent solo recordings have been both They add tight harmonies to each other’s critically acclaimed and enthusiastically received by material, classic songs like Tillis’s “Maybe It Was fans. In an e ort to promote new music, the ladies Memphis” and “Mi Vida Loca” and Morgan’s are avid tweeters, share videos on their YouTube “Something In Red” and “Except for Monday” as channel and post candid photos and road musings on well as new and original music from more recent their Facebook fan pages recordings. In a logical progression of their successful The ladies are backed by some of Nashville’s touring relationship, the pair teamed up to record nest musicians and singers. After years of working “Dos Divas,” which featured solo performances by solo, both artists nd teaming up fresh and Morgan and Tillis as well as fun collaborations and interesting poignant duets. Highlights include original material When not touring Tillis can often be found in written by both of them as well as songs penned by her organic vegetable garden, and Morgan is some of country music's most talented songwriters probably tending her roses and overseeing her small With titles such as “That’s So Cool,” “Bless Their menagerie of "critters." They're as earthy as they are Hearts,” “I Am a Woman,” “I Know What You Did glamorous. Recently they got together to do some Last Night” and “What Was I Thinkin’” (a Tillis/ cooking and found they had chosen chicken and Morgan co-write), the 14-song collection is as diverse dumplins, green beans and cobbler for their as the many moods of both women. It shows their combined menu. True country girls at heart remarkable range, showcasing everything from Both women admit they've bene tted from the traditional country to cutting edge contemporary world's recent fascination with Nashville. Magazines The Grits and Glamour Tour sparkles and shines have dubbed their hometown “Nowville,” and with a down-home, rootsy nature that inspires they're not letting this frenzy pass them by others to embrace the Grits and Glamour of their Tillis even appeared in the hit television series own lives “Nashville,” while Morgan headlined some of For more information or to reserve tickets, visit Gaylord Opryland Hotel's Christmas shows before gritsandglamour.com February 2022


Food and music were the only thing I ever wanted to do" is the way Mackenzie Colt explains how she went from being a "Hee Haw Honey" to owning her own candy business Ten years ago her story appeared in Country’s Family Reunion magazine, and with Valentine’s coming up, what better time is there than to talk about chocolate "I grew up in a family where no one cooked. Sunday dinner was about the only homecooked meal we ever had, so when I got married at fteen, I started reading cookbooks like they were novels," said Colt. "Once I learned to cook, it was time to start experimenting and making up my own recipes." One of those made-up recipes became the now famous Colt's Bolts, the best-selling product of her candy company Colt 's father was a professional baseball player with the St. Louis Browns. She was born in Memphis when her family moved there for her dad to manage the Memphis Chicks, a semi-pro baseball team. A short time after her birth, her family moved back to St. Louis where she spent her childhood years. From her youth, she wrote and sang her own songs. When she married, she used those talents to put her husband through college and law school. What started out as a "gig" in the lounge of a St. Louis hotel ended up with Colt opening for Buck Owens concerts for the next two years. “Buck and the Buckeroos were performing in the showroom of the hotel where I was singing,” she said. “After they nished each night, the band members would come into the lounge to relax. Within a few days, they brought Buck in to hear me and he hired me to be his opening act,” Colt recalled After two years performing with him, Owens introduced her to the Hee Haw executives. At that time, Barbie Benton was leaving the show, and Owens suggested that she audition.

Mackenzie Colt “I did along with thousands of others, and I was hired. The rest is history,” she said, “I spent the next six years with Hee Haw. They gave me the opportunity to not only be one of the cast members but also to perform my own songs on the show. It was a dream come true." After coming to Nashville for six years to tape the Hee Haw show, Colt decided in 1984 to move to "Music City" to pursue her songwriting. "What I discovered was that I was totally burned out from music,” she said. “I really didn't have the inspiration or motivation to continue writing songs. I would write part of a song, then turn it over to a cowriter or just put it up and forget about it." Colt said the only problem was that she didn't know what else she could do except sing and cook. “That's when I started thinking about the candy business," said Colt. "I guess in the back of my mind, I had always wondered if I could turn my candy making into a business, but I really wasn't prepared for what happened.” Her rst order from the Honey Baked Hams stores wasn't for my candy, but instead for 500 of her Gooey Butter Pies. She wa s forced to immediately nd a professional kitchen that she could lease. That first order gave Colt the con dence to continue.

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Chocolates from a Hee Haw Honey

February 2022


"I had so much to learn," says Colt. "I didn't know where to buy large quantities of chocolate or specially cut or colored foil to wrap the Colt's Bolts in, so I went to the grocery store and bought Hershey bars to melt down and Reynolds Wrap to cut into little squares." Since, she has learned much about the business of candy making. She began securing contracts for 100,000 pounds of chocolate instead of buying one Hershey bar at a time. “I'm very particular about what we put in our products, and I use only the best ingredients," she said. "When an order for 12 tons of Colt's Bolts came in from a Japanese gourmet foods distributor, the company was ready. We knew what to do. Colt developed such products as Colt's Bolts, Gooey Butter Pies, Chocolate Dipped Animal Crackers, Tru e Babies and Roy Rogers Happy Trails Chocolate "Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were guests on Hee Haw and we became friends,” she said. “When I started experimenting with a concoction of peanut butter, chocolate and trail mix, I sent Roy sample. He loved it and I decided to dedicate it to him. Roy and Dale were only two of the Hee Haw cast who supported Colt. Her fellow castmates were some of her original "tasters" when she was developing the recipe for Colt's Bolts, and they have remained some of her most loyal customers. Some of her more famous customers over the years were Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Vince Gill, K.T. Oslin, Eddie Rabbit, Dwight Yokum and Garth Brooks. She has also shipped product to Priscilla Presley, Leslie Nielsen, Joan Rivers, Geraldo Riveria, Dick Clark and President and Mrs. Bush

To order from Colts’ extensive o erings, visit Colts, The Good Chocolate Company

"Starting this company was good for me,” Colt said. “It gave me the energy to work hard and taught me how to work smart. It even improved my songwriting. I may not get the instant grati cation of 20,000 people applauding when I'm on stage, but I have long term grati cation. Every day several thousand people buy candy bearing my name. That's the kind of applause I really love!

Colt with Minnie Pearl and the Hee Haw Honeys

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Mackenzie Colt

February 2022


Nadine’s Corner

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February 2022


Remembering Joe Case Pam and Joe Case have been part of the “Larry’s Country Diner” and “Country’s Family Reunion” family for several years. Although they were behind the scenes, they helped keep the shows and our Facebook presence going smoothly. Joe was recovering from heart surgery when he took a turn for the worst, and he passed away on Dec. 22, 2021 Joe worked for NewsChannel 5 in Nashville as well as Fox 17 in the early 2000s. He pastored a church in the Bellevue area of Nashville. It was never unusual to see or hear laughter coming out of the studio at NewsChannel 5, according to the station’s former anchor Harry Chapman. "Joe is the kind of guy who would be in a group of people and say something that would kind of stir the moment up. He would smile and walk away and just kind of see what developed out of that,” Chapman said. Chapman remembers him as the prankster of the group during his time at NewsChannel 5 from 1985 to 2000. He loved golf and woodworking – making custom pipes. He loved his family. The video below about his custom pipe business shows the personality of why he will be missed by everyone who knew him.

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Randy Travis Leans on Faith to Survive Physical and Financial Tragedies by Sasha Dunavant Grammy winner Randy Travis is etched indelibly in Country music history with hits such as “Forever and Ever, Amen” and “Deeper Than the Holler,” but his true passion switched to Gospel music when he came to know his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ His song, “Three Wooden Crosses,” marked the beginning of a new era in Travis’s musical journey. He went on to win eight Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association to go along with his seven Grammy awards, 10 American Music Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music statuettes, ve Country Music Association honors and two People’s Choice Awards After an onslaught of legal issues in the mid– 2000s, Travis was admitted to the hospital with viral cardiomyopathy in 2013 after contracting a viral upper respiratory infection. Three days later he su ered a massive stroke that a ected his life in every way possible. It especially altered his voice During a July 2, 2020, interview with Ro ing Stone, his wife, Mary, told the writer, “There’s no way we could have gotten through what we got through without our faith. We were in the hospital for almost six months. There were times Randy was in a coma. I know he was talking to God, and God was talking to him. I know they had conversations. I know that in the hospital every single night I had conversations with God. There’s no way you can get through something that changes your life so much in an instant, without having that faith. We leaned real hard on God. Every day we still do. It’s like they say, ‘By the grace of God, I walk.’ That’s exactly the way we feel Travis discusses his troubled life, his stroke and its resulting nancial crisis as well as his spiritual transformation in his autobiography, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life, which greatly focuses on faith and forgiveness. “I didn’t quite know how to trust in Jesus and to follow him, so after the service, I approached the pastor and said, ‘I’d like to get baptized,’” Travis recalled. “For me baptism was a powerful illustration of the statement that the old Randy was dead, buried in the water and gone, and that I was a new person. Thanks to Jesus, I had been raised to a new life here and now and eternal life in heaven to come. February 2022

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The songwriter, guitarist, actor and singer was In 2016, when Tra vis wa s inducted into born in Marshville, North Carolina, on May 4, 1959. the Country Music Hall of Fame, he surprised the His father encouraged his children to reach for the crowd by performing, with help from his wife, the stars as his favorites and legends such as Hank gospel standard “Amazing Grace” for the rst time Williams, Lefty Frizzell and George Jones had done. since his stroke. Travis told a Christian Broadcasting Network Travis released a new Country song in 2020, reporter after being asked about his religious "Fools Love A air," that was recorded near the upbringing, “I was in church a little bit as a very beginning of his career but never released. It was his young kid, but, as they say in the South, rst new music to be on the radio since his stroke. 'it didn’t take.' None of it took with me. My In February of 2021 Travis released his album, Mom and Dad had six kids, and four of the six were “Precious Memories,” through Bill Gaither’s Music going down the same road I was. Label. Twelve of the songs had been recorded in Musically, Travis had his own distinctive style. In 2003 at the Calvary Assembly of God in Orlando, 1978 after many clashes with the law he began Florida recording with Paula Records and became a member Through videos of his musical performances, of the Grand Ole Opry in 1986. He signed with fans still have a chance to see Travis as he was before Warner Brothers eventually with the promise of he lost mobility and most of his ability to speak and ke e p i n g s e c r e t h i s 1 9 9 1 m a r r i a g e t o h i s sing. The multi-talented star made dozens of manager and longtime friend, Elizabeth “Lib” television appearances during his career, including Hatcher, who was 20 years his senior. He was also guest roles as an actor in television movies and many required to change his stage name to “Randy Travis” popular television shows. In addition, he starred in from his birth name of Randy Bruce Traywick more than two dozen feature lms, most of which His 19-year marriage to Hatcher ended in 2010, are available to stream online sparking a new batch of both civil lawsuits and Now con ned to a wheelchair, he and Mary live criminal charges. His current wife Mary Davis was just outside Tioga, Texas, on their ranch. He and his girlfriend in 2013 when he had his career-ending Mary have expressed in interviews that they hope stroke. They married in 2015 that proceeds from his autobiography, Forever and In 2002 Travis’s song, “Three Wooden Crosses,” Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the was the lead single to his album, “Rise and Shine.” Storms of Life, can help in restoring some of their The song saw tremendous success, becoming his nancial security. Learn more at randytravis.com. sixteenth and last No. 1 single Travis’s 2003 album, “ Wo r s h i p a n d Fa i t h” consisted of many gospel music standards. The album earned a RIAA gold certi cation three years after its release. Travis won a fourth and fth Grammy for “Rise and Shine” and “Worship & Faith” in 2003 and 2004. The Grammys kept coming. He won his sixth Grammy for the Best Southern, Countr y or Bluegrass Gospel Album of the year for his album “Glory Train” in 2006. Listen to “No Place Like Home” February 2022


RENAE THE WAITRESS Valentines. This day is usually lled with romance, roses, chocolates and expensive Hallmark Cards. But for me love comes with laughter. Of course, Phil and I married for love, but obviously the side bene t of having someone around all the time is to laugh at your jokes. Phil has just published a book titled “Phil’s Funnies” that will keep you laughing with funny captioned photos of the cast members and artists that have been on the TV show “Larry’s Country Diner. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words and I agree. The book is a large (8 ½ x 11) with 200 pages and over 200 color photos. Our favorite church lady, Nadine, writes the Forward, and it includes a Bio of Phil’s career as a songwriter, singer and record producer. Artists include: Bill Anderson, The Whites, The Bellamy Brothers, Johnny Lee, Vince Gill, George Ha m i l t o n I V, Jo h n n y C o u n t e r f i t , He l e n Cornelius, Barbara Fairchild and Roy, Rhonda Vincent, Dailey and Vincent, The Oak Ridge Boys, Larry Gatlin, Mel Tillis, Sonny Curtis, Joey Miskulin,

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Linda Davis, Moe Bandy, The Malpass Brothers, Gene Watson, Doyle Dykes, Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, Col. Littleton, Neal McCoy, Janie Fricke, Buck Trent, Suzy Bogguss, Ray Stevens, Dan Miller, Je Taylor, Buddy Greene, Wendy Corr, Gene Chrisman, Joe Spivey, Jimmy Fortune, Riders In the Sky, Margo Smith, Wilson Fairchild, Bobby Bare, C o n Hu n l e y, T G r a h a m B r o w n , Re d Steagall, Shane Owens, Charlie Monk, Mark Wills and Randy Owen.

February 2022


Ray Stevens' Wife of 60 Years Passes New Year's Eve by Claudia Johnso Ray Stevens, whose birthname is Harold Raymond Ragsdale, was set to perform on New Year ’s Eve at his club, CabaRay Ho we v e r, j u s t d a y s before the holiday weekend began, fans were a s ke d t o p r a y f o r h i s family as they remained by the bedside of his wife Penny Jackson Ragsdale, who was entering the endof-life stage after a long illness. “We are incredibly sorry for the inconvenience and hope you all understand,” Stevens’ Fa c e b o o k a c c o u n t s t a t e d i n a n n o u n c i n g cancellation of the show, adding that Stevens “is devastated…his only focus right now is her.” On New Year’s Day the 82-year-old singer shared that his wife, age 78, had passed away at their Belle Meade, Tennessee, home the previous evening. Born on Nov. 2, 1943, in Elkin, North Carolina, Penny moved to Atlanta to be with her sister, Twinkle, in 1960, which is where she met Stevens, a Georgia native. The pair were married March 30,

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1961, just as his long career was beginning to take o . Some of his most popular songs from the early days of their marriage were "Harry the Hairy Ape," "Funny Man," the original recording of "Santa Claus Is Watching You" and “Ahab the Arab.” She and Stevens moved to Nashville in 1962 to follow his rising star in music business while he worked for Mercury Records. Throughout their marriage, Penny was very supportive of her husband as he pursued his career around the world. She even accepted his Grammy for "Everything is Beautiful" at the ceremony in New York because he was performing in Australia As a mother, Penny worked hard to enable daughters Timi and S u z i to e n j o y a "normal" life away from the music business “She had an eye for style that was obvious to all who k n e w h e r, ” h e r o b i t u a r y s t a te d , observing also that “She demonstrated tremendous poise and bravery in her ght against Esophageal Cancer.” With her support, Ray went on to sell more than 40 million records. He is a two-time Grammy Award winner and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Christian Music Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

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Love Songs and Lost Treasures B.J. Thomas, whose career spanned over six decades and sold more than 70 million albums, can be heard in a special collection to be released on Valentine’s Day by Real Gone Music. The 18-song CD will include 13 unreleased songs. This package includes eight unreleased songs f r o m t h e Wa r n e rReprise Records vault, four songs from a limited edition direct response album in the 90s, rare photos, outtakes recorded with veteran s on g writer/ producer Steve Dor , and more. Fans can preorder this collection at www.bjthomas.com

Walk with the Stars for a Good Cause Liver Disease can occur in people of all ages and both sexes. On any given day, there are thousands of patients waiting for a liver transplant. Walk With Me is a fundraiser that brings you a choice of walking partners every day for the month of March who will gradually increase your step count each day until you find that you are easil y incorporating the number of steps per day that are recommended for healthy livers, hearts and lifestyles. A team of celebrity walkers, including an array of stars you love, have submitted a video in which they have measured the number of steps for you. To l e a r n m o r e a b o u t Wa l k w i t h Me a n d register, visit

midsouthliveralliance.org/ walkwithme

Wintergrass is a four-day, family-friendly bluegrass and acoustic music festival, with concerts and dances at four di erent stages. There are also music education programs for kids and adults, workshops, impromptu jams, and a chance to see and hear some great music Wintergrass takes place on Feb. 24-27, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel located at 900 Bellevue Way NE in Bellevue, Washington.While Wintergrass is primarily a bluegrass music festival, you’ll hear plenty of other styles of acoustic music including Gypsy jazz, Celtic music, 0ld-time Swedish polskas and many more types of acoustic string music. Jam sessions re ect the diversity of styles with young and old alike participating in every nook and cranny. Don’t be shy! Don’t leave home without your instrument. Visit the Wintergrass website to learn more about the Covid precautions in place to create a fun and safe experience Get tickets here.

The Big Bucks Ro ing Stone has released its annual list of the highest-paid musicians for the previous year. Blake Shelton was the only Country artist to land in the publication's Top 10 highest-paid musicians of 2021. The "Come Back as a Country Boy" singer raked in $83 million last year.

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Wintergrass Festival

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Southern Cooking Areeda Stampley grew up on a big farm in Alabama at a time when dinners were made from scratch and came straight from the garden. He r l o v e f o r h o m e cooking, traditional values, and Southern history prompted her to share these timeless family recipes in a co o k b o o k , Ar e e d a ’s Southern Cooking. Each month one of her recipes is published in Country Reunion Magazine. The book is the ideal Va l e n t i n e ’s g i f t f o r someone who loves to cook. Her husband, Countr y Music legend Joe Stampley, enjoys being the "taster" when she’s trying out new recipes or tweaking others. Her two sons developed a love for cooking, and enjoy being creative with all types of food. Both have recipes in the cookbook Prior to authoring a cookbook, Areeda enjoyed a long career at CBS Records/Nashville (now Sony Music), home to great country music and the famed Columbia Recording Studio and Quonset Hut Recording Studio To purchase Areeda’s Southern Cooking, click here

George Strait’s House Ever wonder what your favorite Country stars’ homes are like? Click below to take a look at George Strait’s 7,925 SF custom adobe mansion in San Antonio, Texas.

McGraw and Hill in “1883” Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are starring in a new television Paramount+ series, 1883, that is the prequel to “Yellowstone,” a modern day western about the Dutton dynasty. The real-life husband and wife portray the original Dutton settlers, the descendants of whom are portrayed in the present day in “Ye owstone” by Kevin Costner as John Dutton and Kelly Reilly as Beth Dutton. The series is lmed in Texas and Montana McGraw told The Hollywood Reporter that the hardest thing about playing original settler James Dutton was not crying “Because there are so many moments as a human and as a parent and as a real person that it was hard for me to hold back tears,” McGraw said. “And James just doesn’t do that. For a preview of the series, click here.

Eck Robertson in 1922 One hundred years ago this year, in 1922 Eck Robertson made one of the rst commercial Country recordings, which included duets like “Turkey in the Straw,” as well as solo songs like “Sallie Gooden.” When Eck Robertson died, his tombstone was engraved, “World’s Champion Fiddler.

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Click on the video above to learn more about Country Road TV.

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February Birthdays DON EVERLY DEL MCCOURY HOWARD BELLAMY CLINT BLACK SARA EVANS RICHIE MCDONALD TONY BOOTH GARTH BROOKS WILMA LEE COOPER DAN SEAL TRAVIS TRITT ERNEST TUBB SHERYL CROW MOE BANDY JIM MCREYNOLDS TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD HANK LOCKLIN BUCK TRENT JOHNNY BUSH BRYAN WHITE JUICE NEWTON PEE WEE KING MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER KATHY BAILLIE OF BAILLIE & THE BOYS MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER DEL WOOD LANGDON REID SAMMY KERSHAW RALPH STANLEY FARON YOUNG JOHNNY CASH CHUCK GLASER JASON ALDEAN DON HELMS

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June 2021


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