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Country Reunion m a g a z i n e

June 2021

The Frontmen

Bill Owens Chet Atkins Jimmy Bowen

Bobby Marquez Nadine’s Corner

Diner Chat Tim Atwood

Nitty Gritty Dirtband Roni Stoneman

… and more

June 2021


Country Reunion Magazine Who’s inside? Jimmy Bowen, p. 3 Frontment, p.4 Music Row, p. 6 Festivals, p. 8 Chet Atkins, p.9 Bobby Marquez, p. 10 Areeda’s Cooking, p. 12 Roni Stoneman, p. 13 Webb Pierce, p. 14 Tim Atwood, p. 15 Diner Chat, p. 18 Jim Hanna, p. 17 Martha White Flour, p. 22 Nadine’s Corner, p. 23 Books, p. 24 Published monthly by 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 Online Subscriptions $15 per year http://countryreunionmagaine.com/ Annual Print Subscriptions $29.95; renewals $24.95

November 2020


Jimmy Bowen: Accountant, Actor, Musician By Claudia Johnson Versatile bluegrass musician Jimmy Bowen, who hosts the musical variety TV show, “Jimmy Bowen & Friends,” on Country Road TV is the June 10 guest on “Larry’s Country Diner.” Not only is Bowen, 57, a singer, songwriter and actor, he’s a graduate of The Citadel Military College of South Carolina and a former Certified Public Accountant who offers financial services in the region surrounding Nashville. Born and raised in Charlotte, N.C., Bowen began playing guitar when his father bought one for $5 at a yard sale. He was privileged to perform Bowen first performed with a t t h e W h i t e Ho u s e f o r a band in a Charlotte bar at age President George W. Bush Sr. 9 making $10 a night. and at the Smithsonian “I was the richest fourth Institute in Washington, D.C. grader in school,” he recalled. Bowen ha s been ca st for His expertise grew as he various tele vision series, played in high school and dramas and commercials all college bands and performed in while working with some of talent shows, but he learned to the biggest names in TV. He pick bluegrass music from was also a featured actor in listening to Flatt and Scruggs, Toby Keith’s “Hope on the Bill Monroe and The Stanley Rocks” video and in ABC- TV Brothers. Charlie Waller and hit series “Nashville.” He Jimmy Bowen on the “Diner” The Country Gentlemen tapped played a character named him to perform throughout the Chester Dexter, the leader of United States and Europe with them f rom 1987-1994, during which time he played mandolin the state pen country band, in ‘Fairwood,’ a TV pilot.” and was tenor vocalist. His nationally syndicated television series, He played with banjoist, songwriter and luthier “Jimmy Bowen & Friends,” features Bowen and his Scott Vestal and bluegrass vocalist, guitarist, and award-winning bandleader David Parmley and his band performing with a guest artist each week like band, Continental Divide. For seven years he played “The Voice” winner Jake Hoot, actor and singer John for Earl Thomas Conley. In 1998 he founded Jimmy Schneider of “Duke’s of Hazzard” and Confederate Bowen & Santa Fe, which had a contemporary Railroad’s Cody McCarver. The musician and his wife, who have lived in Americana sound. Wilson County, Tennessee, for more than three Bowen, who was inducted into the National Traditional Country Music Association’s America’s decades, have three grown children, a goddaughter Old-Time Country Music Hall of Fame in 2019, has and six grandchildren and enjoy riding motorcycles. shared the stage with Country legends including When he has the spare time, he enjoys water skiing, Eddie Raven, John Conley, Josh Turner, Little Jimmy jet skiing, tubing and parasailing. He also has a private pilot license. Dickens and Mel Tillis. Page 3

June 2021


Frontmen of Country Visit the Diner in June

By Claudia Johnson

The Frontmen of Country features three singers who were the voices of three of the top Country bands of the 90s: Richie McDonald formerly of Lonestar, Larry Stewart of Restless Heart and Tim Rushlow, formerly of Little Texas.  The trio, who have collectively sold more than 30 million records and had more than 30 major hits among them, will be performing on the June 17 episode of “Larry’s Country Diner.”  

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cDonald, 59, is both a singer and songwriter. From 1998 until his departure in 2007, he was the lead singer of Lonestar, which recorded seven studio albums on BNA Records during his tenure as lead vocalist. For the first seven years of the band's existence, he alternated with then bassist John Rich as vocalist. McDonald became the sole lead vocalist of Lonestar following Rich's departure. McDonald co-wrote several of the band's singles and sang lead on all but one of them. He would rejoin the band in 2011 before exiting again in 2021 to perform Page 4

with The Frontmen of Country. Outside Lonestar, McDonald charted twice as a guest vocalist on others’ songs, in addition to releasing two independent albums and four solo singles. He has also co-written singles for other country music artists, including "She's Always R i g h t " b y C l a y Wa l ke r, " Ji m m y 's G o t a Girlfriend" by The Wilkinsons, "Let Them Be Little" by Billy Dean (which Lonestar itself also recorded), "Coalmine" by Sara Evans, and "Once a Wo m a n G e t s a Ho l d o f Yo u r He a r t " by Heartland.

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tewart, 62, moved to Nashville in the 1980s in pursuit of a career in baseball, having received an athletic scholarship from Belmont University. He decided to focus on a career in music instead, and after finding work as a demo singer, he joined the group Restless Heart in 1984. Between 1985 and 1993, Restless Heart charted 18 Top 40 singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, including six No. 1 hits, as well as one single that was released only to the Adult Contemporary format.

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June 2021


In 1991 Stewart left the band in pursuit of a solo career, recording four solo albums and charting eight singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. His highestcharting solo single, "Alright Already," peaked at No. 5 in 1993. He reunited with Restless Heart in 2004 for their “Still Reckless” album, which produced a Top 30 hit in the single "Feel My Way to You." He remains with the band. 

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ushlow, 54, was lead vocalist of country music group Little Texas, which recorded four albums and a Greatest Hits package, in addition to charting more than 15 singles on the Billboard country singles charts during Rushlow's tenure as lead vocalist.  After Little Texas disbanded in 1997, Rushlow began a solo career. His first recording was the m u s i c a l t r a c k " To t a l l y C o m m i t t e d " o n comedian Jeff Foxworthy's 1998 album of the same name. Two years later, Rushlow signed to Atlantic Records, recording one album and charting a Top 10 single on the country charts titled "She Misses Him." When Atlantic closed its country division in 2 0 0 1 , Ru s h l o w f o r m e d a s i x - p i e c e b a n d called Rushlow that charted two singles and recorded one album in 2003. Rushlow and his cousin Doni Harris, a former member of Rushlow, founded the countr y music duo Rushlow Harris in 2003. This duo charted two singles on the country charts that year. 

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By 2004, four of Little Texas' founding members reunited, but neither Rushlow nor original keyboardist Brady Seals joined the reestablished band.  With their combined amazing vocal and instrumental talents, The Frontmen deliver a high energy show packed with fan-favorites from their three award-winning and critically-acclaimed bands and also songs from some of the artists who have influenced them.   Powerhouse hits performed by the Frontmen include Restless Heart classics, “The Bluest Eyes in Texas,” “That Rock Won’t Roll,” “I’ll Still Be Loving You” and “Why Does It Have to Be (Wrong or Right)” and Lonestar smashes such as “Amazed,” “Smile” and “I’m Already There.” Little Texas hits include “God Blessed Texas,” “Amy’s Back in Austin” and “What Might Have Been.” These songs and many others included in their shows are the soundtrack of a generation.  The trio has a chemistry and brotherhood seldom matched, and they consistently wow audiences with their brand of highly successful intimate unplugged shows. From their rave review performances around the globe for the troops, to casinos, fairs and corporate events, to their globally televised performance on the steps of the hallowed Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, The Frontmen are making their mark on the Country music scene.  They have concerts scheduled throughout the U.S. and Canada for 2021 and beyond. Click here.

June 2021


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

The Day the Magic died … In 1954, Owen Bradley converted an old house at 804 16th Avenue South, Nashville, to open Bradley Studios. The basement was converted into the studio. “It was a great little studio - great sound!” explained Bradley. Marty Robbins’ “Singing the Blues,” Sonny James’ “Young Love” and other huge hits were cut down there. Bradley then built the legendary Quonset Hut onto the back of the building and initially rented it to Al Gannaway to film Grand Ole Opry shows. The demand for recording space became greater, so it was soon converted to a recording studio. Those

Areeda and Charlie Rich early Opry films are being shown today on RFD-TV. Many stories have been written of the great recording sessions in the Hut, and they all speak of the “magic”, how much better the voice sounds, in that studio.

John Anderson & Frank Jones – "Swingin"

In my interview with Harold Bradley, co-owner with brother Owen, he applied some “logic” to this thinking when he said, “…the original floor in the Hut was tile which caused a terrible ping, so when Gannaway started using it for video filming he constructed a set that looked like the inside of a barn made out of wood. He put up the wood and it cured-out the acoustic problems. It turned out marvelous. That was the secret to the uniqueness of the sound!” In 1962, the Bradleys sold their recording studio and building to CBS Records. CBS changed the Quonset Hut name to Columbia Studio B; however, artists, studio staff and the music industry in general never stopped referring to it as the Quonset Hut. On June 24, 1982, John Anderson was booked in the Hut to cut his fourth album for Warner Bros. He was unaware that this session would be the last one to be recorded in this historic studio. Demolition would start two days later to convert Columbia Studios to offices. June 2021


Much earlier, on March 3, 1959, Lefty Frizzell, whom John Anderson has been likened in voice, style and phrasing, had recorded “Long Black Veil” in this same studio. As Anderson got into the session, the somber mood among the studio engineers and musicians was pretty obvious, causing John to ask producer Frank Jones “What’s the matter with everybody around here, they all look so sad?” Frank replied, “Well, John, a lot of guys have been associated with this studio for over 20 years. It’s their home, and as soon as we finish this session today CBS is gonna smack it down!” John replied, “Man, I had no idea! We have to make this special!” And special it turned out to be! Frank later commented in our interview, “I’ve never seen John give it his all like he did that day. The sad feeling among the engineers and musicians started to lift from the room as John got into that session.” This session produced two No. 1 singles “Swingin” and “Wild & Blue” and a #1 album entitled “Wild & Blue”. The album was released and reached No. 1 on all the charts by March the following year. “Swingin” topped the country charts a n d c r o s s e d o v e r t o B i l l b o a r d ’s Ho t 1 0 0. “Swingin’” (co-written with Lionel Delmore), won John Anderson the CMA’s prestigious Horizon Award and Single of the Year in 1983. He was nominated for Song of the year, Male Vocalist, and Album of the Year. That great little studio had once again created magic! Lionel Delmore is the son of Alton Delmore of the famous singer-songwriter-musician pioneers of countr y music The Delmore Brothers f rom Elkmont, Alabama.

Various shows were filmed in the studio. Record producer/label executive Frank Jones was a giant in the music industry. He managed labels in N.Y., L. A. and Nashville, and was back to his first love Record Producer. He mentioned the irony of this last session at CBS studio as not being a CBS artist - Anderson was on Warner Bros.. The following day, a “wake” took place in the Quonset Hut for CBS artists and employees to gather and share memories. These stories would have made a great documentary! The big question was “why is the studio closing?” It was a financial decision made by CBS/NY due to their stiff competition from independent recording studios. A corporation’s “bottom line” is a powerful factor in their decision-making, unfortunately. But what about the Magic … ? Stay tuned…. More Memories of Music Row next month.

Areeda Schneider-Stampley is a writer, longtime employee of CBS Records, cookbook author and lives in Nashville with husband country music legend Joe Stampley. areedaschneider@bellsouth.net.

Give someone you love a subscription to Country Reunion Magazine interactive, online magazine. Click to order! $15 per year. Country Reunion Magazine June 2021


Permanent Side Stages and more than 23 miles of permanent roads. Learn more at countryfest.com. The Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam is being held June 4-6, 2021, in Panama City Beach, Florida. The lineup includes Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brad Paisley, Joe Nichols, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tenille Townes, Ryan By Claudia Johnson Hu r d , Ro d n e y At k i n s , t h e Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan and many other acts.  Get tickets at gulfcoastjam.com.  The 15th Annual Moondance Jammin Country Fest is set for June 17-19 and Jul y 22-24 in Walker, Minn. and will feature Midland, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Neal McCoy and Lauren Alaina. Camping is a major part of the Moondance experience.  Get the details at jammincountry.com.  Country music is returning to the stage in 2021 Country Thunder Arizona will be held on Oct. with multiple events planned throughout the United 14-17th, 2021, with performances to include Luke States and abroad. Here's a sample of what's ahead. Combs, Eric Church, Morgan Wallen, Dustin Lynch, Country Fest is an annual music festival set Ashley McBryde, Chris Janson, HARDY, Mitchell for Jun 24-26, 2021, at the Amphitheater Venue Tenpenny, Travis Denning, Parker McCollum, Tenille in Cadott,Wisconsin. Headliners for 2021 are Kane To w n e s , Dallas Brown, Dierks Bentley and Thomas Rhett. The S m i t h , Me g h a n kickoff party features Neil McCoy and Kentucky Patrick, Parmalee, Headhunters. Chicks With Hits Established in 1987, it is the largest country ( f e a t u r i n g Te r r i music and camping event in the United States. Clark, Pam Tillis, Celebrating the best of all things S u z i e Bogguss), Country, Country Festers enjoy Kameron Marlowe, Drew Parker, Austin Jenckes, t h r e e d a y s o f m u s i c a n d Seaforth, Nolan Sotillo and more. entertainment, RFID wristbands, Country cashless option in the concert grounds, T h u n d e r delicious food, interactive exhibits, exciting Wi s c o n s i n activations and the largest campground in will bring Wisconsin, with more than 7,000 campsites all Eric Church, within easy walking distance of the Concert B l a k e Grounds. Shelton, Clay For non-campers, nearby hotels also offer the Walker, Tanya Tucker and Pam Tillis and many other option of convenient daily shuttle service. The performers to Twin Lakes July 15. To learn more natural Amphitheater Concert Grounds feature: 50+ about the Country Thunder concerts for 2021, visit, Bands, 1 Massive Permanent Main Stage and four countrythunder.com. 

Country Music Festivals Return Across U.S.

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June 2021


Where the Stars are Buried by Renae Johnson, Renae the Waitress

Chet Atkins: 1924 - 2001

Wright, Bill Carlisle, Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart, The Browns, Ralph Emery, Porter Wagoner, Jack Greene, Harold Bradley. Connie Smith sang “Farther Along” with his orange Gibson guitar and his hat, sitting on the front of the stage in a spotlight beside his silver casket.

Chester Burton “Chet” Atkins was born June 20, 1924, in Luttrell, Tennessee. He described his town as a “whistle atop on the Southern Railway.” Atkins described himself as being so shy that the Iiddle and the guitar offered him a means of expressing himself as a child. Atkins developed a two-Iinger-and-thumb guitar style of picking, and his Iirst job was in playing Iiddle for the duo of Archie Campbell and Bill Carlisle. He was signed as a singer and guitarist in 1947 and quickly became part of the A-Team of Nashville session pickers, playing a string of famous hit recordings. By 1957, he became an architect of the country music industry, developing the “Nashville sound.” In 1968, he became the vice president of the RCA Nashville country division. Atkins was inducted into “The End of the World” was performed by Marty the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973. He won 14 Stuart, and Gill played some of his hits. In an emotional tribute, Arnold talked about Grammys, a Lifetime Achievement award Atkins’ 56-year marriage to his wife, Leona, who was seated in the third in 1993 and nine r o w w i t h t h e CMA Instrumentalist c o u p l e ’ s of the Year Awards. daughter, Merle, Atkins died Saturday o t h e r f a m i l y morning, June 30, m e m b e r s a n d 2001, at age 77, at c l o s e f r i e n d s . h i s h o m e i n A r n o l d a l s o Nashville, Tennessee, t a l k e d a b o u t of lung cancer, which Atkins’ talents as he had been battling a r e c o r d for several years. He p r o d u c e r a n d had a bout with Click to Listen musician. colon cancer in the H e q u o t e d a 1 9 7 0 s . T h e n poem by Walt underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor in June Whitman, ending 1997. with “So long, and I hope we shall meet again. Celebration of Life Goodbye, Chet.” Services were held at 11 a.m. on July 3, 2021, at The Grand Ole Opry dedicated its performance the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. There were an Saturday night, June 30, to Atkins. estimated 1,800 attendees, including some of the country music legends: Charley Pride, Ray Stevens, Resting Place Harpeth Hills Cemetery, 9090 Highway 100, Steve Wariner, T.G. Sheppard, Marty Stuart, Vince Gill, Paul Yandell, Eddy Arnold, Kitty Wells and Johnny Nashville, Tennessee. Page 9

June 2021


Bobby Marquez Honored for Songwriting in Home State By Claudia Johnson A recent visitor to “Larry’s Country Diner was Bobby Marquez, an award-winning Texas-born singer-songwriter with a magnetic smile and a heartfelt, honky-tonk style. Earlier this year Marquez accepted the Country Music Association of Texas Award for Americana Song of the Year for his single, “Speak Love,” in Lubbock, Texas, where he was honored alongside Johnny Rodriguez, who received the Top of Texas Award, Tanya Tucker, named 2021’s Living Legend and actor/singer Dennis Quaid, who took home the Songwriter of the Year award. “It doesn’t get any better than a huge pat on the back like this from your home state,” Marquez said. “My music is a taste of Texas. On every song you’ll hear hints of the Honky Tonk, Western Swing and Tejano I was raised on, right along with a heavy dose of character and hospitality that is born out my Texas pride.” Marquez wrote “Speak Love” with awardwinning songwriter Karen Staley. “The message had been heavy on my heart for some time, ‘you can’t take back ugly words,” Marquez said. “We wrote the song the night before

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I recorded my album, so we decided to keep it simple, just the guitar and fiddle with some heartfelt words that came out of our strong Faith, hoping to spread some kindness.” The performer’s songwriting has been recorded by everyone from Alan Jackson and Ty Herndon to George Strait, Johnny Rodriguez and Rhonda Vincent. Bobby has shared the stage with Ray Price, Me l Ti l l i s , Jo h n n y Ro d r i g u e z , Ma r t i n a McBride, David Ball, Janie Fricke, Johnny Lee and Lonestar among many others. His own self-titled, debut album, “Bobby Marquez,” released in 2009 was not only chosen as the album of the year in European “Country Music People” magazine, it was also a top-seller across the United Kingdom.  The album produced the Top10 Texas Chart and Music Row Chart hit, “She’s Not From Texas.” Marquez’s highly-acclaimed album, “The Cowboy Way,” was released in 2018. One of the tracks co-written by Marquez called “For Awhile,” a heartfelt duet with the Queen of Bluegrass, R h o n d a Vi n c e n t , w a s u p f o r a G r a m m y nomination. 

June 2021


“To get this recognition from music industry professionals is more than I could have ever asked for in this lifetime,” Marquez said of the fi r s t- r o u n d n o m i n a t i o n . “ I a m nominated alongside Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Chris Stapleton and Midland. Those are some big names. And I am so thankful to Rhonda Vincent for her friendship and an amazing vocal performance.” Although the song was not awarded the coveted Grammy, it was named Duet of The Year by the CMA of Texas. Ad d i t i o n a l l y, h e r e c e i v e d the Academy of Western Artists Pure Country Male Vocalist award and the CMA of Texas Cowboy/Western Artist award.  Both honors celebrate his self-penned tribute song, “The Cowboy Way,” which celebrates the lessons of standing by your beliefs and keeping your word.  Last year his radio single, “An Empty Glass,” was nominated for an International European Award at

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the first annual Red Carpet Awards in Holland where it was under consideration for Traditional Country Song of the Year. An outstanding baseball player, Marquez grew up in Freer, Texas, in a family that loved Country artists like Faron Young and the Texas Troubadour, Ernest Tubb. His cousin discarding a Martin guitar launched Marquez into performing at age 13. “Give it to me,” Marquez told his cousin. “I’ll learn to play it.” Marquez said that he started with three chords, first playing and singing privately. It wasn’t long before he began performing for family events. By age 21 he was opening for acts like Neal McCoy, Clay Walker and John Michael Montgomery. He met his wife, radio host Jennifer HerronMarquez, a Texas Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, Emmy-nominated television personality and an awarded entertainment publicist, when his records first began to be played on Texas radio. The pair moved to Nashville more than 20 years ago. Marquez is also host and founder of the annual St. Jude Children’s Hospital benefit called Countr y With Heart for which his wife is publicist.  Marquez has scheduled live performances throughout 2021. For more information, fans can follow Bobby a t   w w w. b o b b y m a r q u e z . c o m   o r www.facebook.com/bobbymarquezmusic. June 2021


Areeda’s southern cooking by Areeda Schneider Stampley

Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo Easier than you think. A delight! 12 ounces fettuccine Olive oil Kosher salt 1/2 pound large shrimp (about 14), peeled, deveined Freshly ground black pepper 1 stick (8 T.) unsalted butter 2 cups heavy cream 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (5 oz.) 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add generous amount of kosher salt. Add pasta, and boil 12 min. until tender but slightly firm. Strain and toss with a splash of oil. 2. While pasta boiling, place large skillet on medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add shrimp, singlelayered. Cook 2 minutes. Flip the shrimp; cook until fully pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 3. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining 6 tablespoons butter. Scrape bottom of skillet to release browned bits. When butter has mostly melted, whisk in the cream and bring to a simmer, cook for 2 minutes. Lower the heat to keep sauce warm. 4. Whisk Parmesan cheese into the sauce. Add shrimp and cooked pasta, and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

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. Order online with PayPal or credit card at www.areedasoutherncooking.com.

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June 2021


Roni Stoneman: Banjo Royalty & Comedy Queen by Sasha Kay Dunavant A member of one of early Country Music’s most famous families has balanced an equally successful dual career across eight decades. Born in 1938, Veronica Loretta “Roni” Stoneman, the youngest daughter of the legendary Stoneman family, is a well-rounded entertainer with the ability to play her banjo seriously or shower an audience with humor. Roni began performing and traveling at an early age with her family when her father realized that he could make his Appalachian up-bringing profitable by translating the storytelling quality of traditional folk songs into enjoyable updated music for commercial consumption. Earnest “Pop” Stoneman, the father of 17 children, proved he was right when his genre’s mega hit, “The Sinking of The Titanic,” became a million-seller in 1925. He later became a permanent chapter in country lore with his induction into "The Countr y Music Hall Of Fame" Pop retired from his own music career in 1934, eventually moving his family to Washington D. C . w h e r e h e wo r ke d a s a carpenter. Soon the musical children formed their own group that was originally called the “Blue Grass Champs,” with six of the Stoneman children displaying their specific talent in the band. Scotty, Van, Patsy, Jimmie, Roni and Donna rallied up a local following and won first place at the “Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts” show in 1956. The group, which became The Stonemans, would play as much as six nights a week, having little to no time for childish things. They debuted at The Grand Ole Opry in the early 1960s and consistently performed there throughout the decade, having honed their professionalism on the stages throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. The Stonemans had their first major Top 40 hit, “Tupelo County Jail,” in 1966. The next year brought The Stonemans even greater success when their hit, “Five Little Johnson Girls,” landed in the Top 30 on Country charts. The Academy of Country Music honored The Stonemans with the Vocal Group of the Year Award in 1967 as well.

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The group also hosted their own syndicated television show that aired in all 50 states. Two somber events occurred in 1968 – the death of their father and the release of their final hit, “Christopher Robin,” which made it to the Top 50. Gradually each of them retired or pursued their own musical interests. It wasn’t until her father’s death that Roni began to reach for the stars in the Bluegrass world herself. Roni was the first female artist to use the three-finger Scruggs banjo picking style. Her brother Scotty encouraged Roni to play the banjo like a man. He demanded that she hold her banjo sturdy and play vigorously with the bow. That is exactly what she did, and that advice earned her unmatched accolades in the Countr y and Bluegrass genres. She has become known as the “First Lady of the Banjo.” Roni was known to country audiences when she joined Hee Haw in 1973. She was cast as an unhappy housewife named Ida Lee Nagger. The name rang true to the character, since Ida Lee “nagged” her weary spouse. The gap between her front teeth was real and not a tooth blacked out by a makeup artist. She wore a housecoat and curlers, dragging the iron and harassing Lavern played by Gordie Tapp, her long-suffering husband, who did his own share of nagging right back. She became so recognizable as Ida Lee that she did other Hee Haw skits as the character, including "Pfft! You were Gone!" Her character evolved into a man-crazy flirt where she could be seen sometimes in the Hee Haw Honky Tonk chasing men with a net. After Hee Haw ended Roni continued with her banjo career, and has not stopped. In a 2009 interview with LA Record, she explained how it feels to be a performer…a feeling she first experienced as a child with her family’s band. “When you’re so poor and you got homemade instruments and your shoes are all worn—you’re wearing your brothers’ shoes—but you’re playing good music, and they come up to you and you think they’re educated and smart and ain’t they wonderful?” she observed. “They taught us from the very beginning, the audience. It sounds corny but it’s the truth. They taught us the music was important to them.”

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June 2021


Singer-Songwriter Webb Pierce Lived Large by Sasha Kay Dunavant While 1950s honky tonk crooner Webb Pierce was well known for his distinctive voice and guitar playing, the performer has been somewhat overlooked for his songwriting success, both for himself and for other country stars. “Slowly,” which Pierce co-wrote with Tommy Hill, spent 21 weeks at No. 1 in 1954 and became one of the more influential songs of Country Music predominantly because of its memorable intro played by pedal steel guitarist, Budd Isaacs. In 1971, Jimmie Dean and Dottie West made Country’s Top 40 with a duet rendition of “Slowly.” Singer Kippi Brannon’s only hit was her 1981 cover. The 1955 hit “I Don’t Care” was written by Pierce and five-decade songwriter, Cindy Williams. It spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on the Country & Western Bestseller Charts. Ricky Skaggs’s second major success came from covering the classic and topping charts for a week with the song. “I Ain’t Never,” written by Pierce and Mel Tillis, reached No. 2 on C&W Slides Charts for nine weeks in 1959. Pierce’s version a l s o r e a c h e d No . 2 4 o n Billboard Top 40 and even crossed over into the Pop genre. In 1972, Tillis reached No . 1 o n B i l l b o a r d ’s Ho t Country Singles Chart with the Country style of “I Ain’t Never.” Wayne Walker and Webb Pierce wrote “Leavin’ on Your Mind” in 1962 for Canadian Country Music Singer Joyce Smith. Patsy Cline desperately wanted to record the song, but Owen Bradley of Columbia Records wouldn’t hear it, so Smith went on to record the song. The song didn’t make the Top 40, but was considered successful for a first record having 100,000 sales. In those days that would’ve been enough to earn Smith royalty money and break even with Columbia Records for their expense. Cline recorded a single of “Leavin’ on your Mind” in 1963, but it didn’t make the hit parade and only hit No. 83 on the Pop Charts. The tune was slated to be on Cline’s fourth album due for release at the end of March 1963, but Cline died in a plane crash earlier that month. Both LeAnn Rimes in 1999 and Rissi Palmer in 2007 recorded the song for their self-titled albums. Lorie Morgan included “Leavin’ on Your Mind” on her 2009 album “A Moment in Time” and eventually released the

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song as a single. Cowboy Hat rockin’ girl Terri Clark later covered the classic for her 2012 album. Webb Pierce and Frank Miller co-wrote “If You Were Me (And I Were You).” It was first performed and released by Pierce on Aug. 27, 1955, and was later recorded by Dwight Yoakam for the 2002 album “Caught in the Webb, A Tribute to the Legendary Webb Pierce.” The album proceeds were contributed to the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation and included beloved performers, such as Emmy Lou Harris, Pam Tillis, George Jones, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Del McCoury, Dale Watson, Guy Clark and Crystal Gayle. According to several 1954 editions of Billboard magazine, “More and More,” written by Merle Kilgore and Webb Pierce was the most requested song on the Louisiana Hayride for months. Tillis and Pierce wrote “Tupelo County Jail” together. In 1958 it became a Top 10 h i t a n d i n Ju n e 1 9 6 4 i t w a s released on Pierce’s double album, “The Webb Pierce Story. Pierce wrote hits “The Heart Belongs to Me,” “It’s My Way” and “You’re not Mine Anymore” among others. Stepping into Hank Williams shoes in 1952, Pierce joined the Grand Ole Opry when Williams was fired. When in 1959 Pierce left the Opr y over a dispute concerning booking fees and an exhausting touring schedule, he’d had 34 consecutive Top 10 hits. Thirteen of his songs reached No. 1. Pierce was infamous for his extravagant means that included a $30,000 guitar-shaped swimming pool, convertibles and custom made, flashy Nudie Suits specifically made-to-measure for Pierce by designer Nudie Cohen. Pierce’s hits spanned four decades with his final triumph being 1982’s “In the Jail House Now” with Willie Nelson. The song had been Pierce’s biggest hit, charting for 37 weeks in 1955, 21 of them at number one. The World War II veteran was initiated into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2008. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Pierce retired to Brentwood, Tennessee, in the early 1980s and died of pancreatic cancer in 1991 at age 69. The Rockabilly star, extra va gantl y dressed, singer, actor, performer, businessman and guitarist, definitely caught the fans of his singing and his songwriting in his talented web.

countryreunionmagazine.com

June 2021


The story of the Bracelet This is a story of valor, patriotism and a tarnished, aluminum bracelet that found its way home--to its Gold Star family after a 30-year, cross-country journey. What makes this story extraordinary is the knowledge that this bracelet never saw the inside of a jewelry box, a hope chest or a dresser drawer. This bracelet was worn faithfully – every, single day and night – for three decades by two strangers who made it their mission to keep the memory of an unknown airman alive. Here is that story: Country entertainer Tim Atwood spent 38 years in one place entertaining the audiences at the Grand Ole Opry. Today he travels the land with his own show with a focus on God, family and country. “I often perform the patriotic anthem I'll Stand Up And Say So during my concerts,” Atwood said. “I am probably the least political person I know, but I have a son, who served two tours in Iraq and came home a Purple Heart veteran. It is only by the grace of God that Torre is still alive. When people began to express their discontent about social injustice by kneeling during the National Anthem, it hurt my heart. I completely understand that blood shed by our fathers and mothers in service gives our citizens the right to kneel. But I choose the right to stand. Personally, I think standing for our flag is more than a right. I think it is a privilege.” One night at a concert in 2017, after singing “I'll Stand Up And Say So,” Atwood was approached by Air Force veteran Stacy Britton who explained that she had worn a memorial bracelet for Capt. William D. Grimm for 26 years. During all that time, she had never removed the bracelet from her wrist. She was so moved by the passion in Tim's voice as he sang his song that night, that she knew in her heart it was Atwood’s' time to carry the torch for Capt. Grimm. With every performance, she asked Atwood to publicly remember Capt. Grimm and the men and women who

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died in service to this country. Without pause Atwood accepted her challenge. With that vow, Britton removed the bracelet from her own wrist, and Atwood placed it on his own. It was a commitment he took seriously. “I lived with that bracelet every day. For the next four years, I never took it off,” Atwood recalled. “Capt. Grimm became a huge part of my life. Day and night, he was always with me. I wanted to learn more about the man behind the name, so I began to do my research. I learned that Capt. Grimm was a hero.” Capt. William D. Grimm served in the Air Force. He was the navigator on Spectre gunship Spirit 03 during Desert Storm. On January 31, 1991, under the cloak of darkness, Grimm's crew were returning back to base when they received a distress call from a group of trapped Marines taking heavy enemy fire. Even though their aircraft was now visible by the dawn's breaking light, Spirit 03 turned around to give air support. They saved the lives of the Marines on the ground that day, but as they turned once again to fly back to base, they were shot down over the Capt. William D. Grimm Persian Gulf by a lone shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missile. Fourteen airmen “sacrificed all” that day, including Capt. William D. Grimm. “I shared the story behind the bracelet and its meaning nightly with my audiences all over the United States. I even shared parts of the story on “Larry's Country Diner,” the Hal lmark channel's “Home & Famil y” show, “Huckabee” and “FOX News.” Atwood said. “You see, even though I never met Capt. Grimm, I felt like I knew him. I didn't know his ethnicity, his political affiliation, socioeconomic status or religion, but I knew all of the important things. I knew his heart. I knew he believed in this country enough to fight for it. He believed in freedom so much that he lost his own life saving others in the fight for it. He earned the right to be remembered.”

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June 2021


Still Atwood had questions. Did his family know that the memory of their son continued to be honored almost three decades after his death? Were his parents still alive? Did he have children? “As much as I was honored to wear Capt. Grimm's bracelet, I felt it was time to bring the bracelet home. I became a bit obsessed with the idea,” Tim admitted In 2 0 1 9 Ti m s o l i c i t e d a g r o u p o f professionals who discovered that Capt. Grimm graduated from Kansas State University and entered the Air Force as an officer through their ROTC program. After months of correspondence with KSU's Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, the Grimm family was located and a phone call was arranged. “What I learned about the Grimm family humbled me,” Atwood said. “The patriarch of the family Jim Grimm (William's father) is now Tim Atwood, the Grimm family and Mike Huckabee 83 years old and lives in Nevada. Jim spent 24 years serving his country in the Army – some of Stephanie place the bracelet on her own wrist with tears that time in Vietnam. Jim is the father of five children. His streaming down her face, I was overcome with emotion. three sons James, William and John all attended KSU and This was the right thing to do. Liz and Stephanie's father served as officers in the Air Force. His two daughters died in an effort to make the world a better place for his married men who served in the Army. Six members of one children to grow. Because of his efforts, his children have family who pledged their allegiance proudly to the United thrived but at such a tremendous cost.” States because it was the right thing to do. This is the kind Atwood kept thinking that this could have been his of story I wish we'd see more of on our nightly news.” own family. William Grimm was only 28 years old when he was “When my son was injured in Iraq, he spent six weeks killed in action. He left behind a wife and two daughters, recovering in a hospital in Germany, but he came home,” Stephanie and Elizabeth (Liz). His girls were two years old Atwood said. “If all I can do is bring this bracelet home to and six weeks old when he died in Kuwait so far from the Grimm family, then I wanted to do that. I wanted the home. Grimm family to know that for 30 years, the memory of “They have no memories of their father,” Atwood said. their son was kept alive. He was thought of every day. His “They only know him through accounts of others. I knew service to this country was appreciated every day. Their the rightful place for this bracelet was with his daughters son was not forgotten.” who are now in their thirties. I wanted to give them a Because of health issues William's father wasn't able to personal memory that revolved around their dad.” make the trip to Nashville, but in an interview from his The “Huckabee” show offered to fly the family in so home in Nevada he shared his feelings and gratitude. Tim could present the memorial bracelet to his family on “Anyone who sends our sons, fathers, daughters and the show followed by the song “You First” in their honor, mothers to war needs to know how difficult it really is,” he but the pandemic put their plans on hold. It was January said. “You never want to get that call—that telegram—like 2021 before the family could fly to Nashville for we did. Our solace came in lives saved. Somebody else was “Huckabee.” Ironically it was the week of the thirtieth able to live because the men on Spirit 03 gave their own anniversary of the downing of Spirit 03. lives. It wasn't for nothing. “God's timing is always right,” Atwood said with a tear Grimm said that to know that is son had been thought in his eye. “When I removed the bracelet from my wrist of and remembered by so many people for the past 30 for the first time in four years and saw William's daughter years was astounding.

June 2021


Atwood said that this made him very happy. “This is what I hoped for! My heart is full,” he said. Before catching the flight home, the Grimm family requested that all fourteen men who lost their lives with the downing of Spirit 03 be remembered. With Memorial Day just behind us, they request that you take the time to read every name, thank these men for their sacrifice, and say a prayer for their families. They are heroes all. Major Paul J. Weaver “It meant so much to us when we heard the story about the bracelet,” he said. “There is some kind of bond that forms with the closeness of the memory being on your wrist. I think that's what Tim felt wearing it all these years. It represents a person. A person's life. His thoughts. His goals. His dreams.” The Atwood family was able to spend the weekend with the Grimm family while they were in town for the “Huckabee” taping. After a Saturday of Nashville sightseeing, on a car ride back to their hotel, William's daughters shared their plans now that they are the new keeper of the key. “We've given it a lot of thought,” Stephanie Grimm said. “We think it is amazing that this bracelet was worn every day for the past 30 years. We want to keep that tradition alive. Like you, we never want this bracelet to see the bottom of a jewelry box.” Liz Grimm added that they decided to share the bracelet with the entire Grimm clan. “We want everyone in the family to take turns wearing our dad's bracelet,” she said. “We plan to ha ve famil y reunions where we pass the bracelet on every few months to another member of the family so they can share our d a d 's s to r y w i t h o t h e r s . Thirty years is a long time. In a way, you brought our dad back to us. Suddenly we are hearing stories about our father that we've never heard b e f o r e . It w a s a s i f y o u brought our dad's memory to life a gain for the entire family.”

Capt. Arthur Galvan Capt. William D Grimm Capt. Dixon Walters, Jr. Capt. Thomas C Bland Senior Master Sgt. Paul G Buege Senior Master Sgt. James B. May II Technical Sgt. Robert K Hodges Staff Sgt. John Lee Oelschlager Staff Sgt. John P. Blessinger Staff Sgt. Timothy R. Harrison Staff Sgt. Damon V. Kanuha Staff Sgt. Mark J Schmauss Sgt. Barry M Clark

June 2021


Diner News We are so excited to be airing some of our new shows. We are looking forward to Branson in October at the Clay Cooper Theater. We expect sell out shows, so call and get tickets ASAP by clicking here. Newspaper Books I still have copies of all nine CFR Newspaper books starting with Book 1 from 2012. Each book includes all 12 months with pictures, articles, special features and a special NADINE column. If you missed any of the past years then enjoy a little piece of country music history. They also make a great gift.

William Lee Golden “Man Behind The Beard has just been released. Everyone knows William Lee as a member of the Oak Ridge Boys and can easily be spotted by his long gray beard. My favorite “Diner” show is when he put on an Apron and helped serve food!!! Don’t miss getting a copy of his new book. $29.95 + 6.95 s/h.

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June 2021


Jim Hanna Interview, December 2005 by Michael Buffalo Smith, www.kudzoomag.com The following interview appears In the book “My Kind of Country: Conversations with Cowboys, Gamblers, Outlaws a n d S o n g w r i t e r s ” b y Mi c ha e l B u f fa l o S m i t h www.kudzoomag.com Jeff Hanna has been there, done that and got the t-shirt. In this 2005 interview, Hanna shared his memories of 40 years of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band magic, from the original jug band to the landmark Will The Circle Be Unbroken epic, through the pop hits, the country hits and into the future. As for me, who always counted Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy among my Top 20 albums of all time, it was a true blast. Tell me about how the band was formed back in the 60’s. There were a couple of bands that contributed to what became the Dirt Band. One was a bluegrass band that Les Thompson and John McEuen ran called the Wilmore City Mo o n s h i n e r s . T h i s w a s a bluegrass band those guys had across town. Me and Bruce Kunkel, no relation to Russ, spelled the same though, were high school buddies and we had a band called The Illegitimate Jug Band in our senior year of high school. When we got out of high school we were just hanging out and going to Long Beach City College. I ran into a bunch of guys that hung out at this guitar shop called McCabe’s in Long Beach, California. We started talking about having a band, you know, not a rock band, but an acoustic based thing. I told them about this little jug band and we checked out some of those records. Then we all decided that would be cool because there was not a lot of that kind of music in California, mostly surf bands and blues bands and stuff. So me and Bruce Kunkel, Jimmie Fadden, Ralph Barr and Les Thompson, and this was before John had actually joined up , and Jackson Browne. We were playing jug band music and for those that do not know what that is, it is kind of hybrid of ragtime, country

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blues and a little bluegrass influence. It is mostly very old music and most of it was written before 1940. Meanwhile Jackson had given us some notice and was going back to The Village and play guitar for this g i r l n a m e d Ni ko , w h o w a s p a r t o f t h e Ve l v e t Underground scene. We were all fans of John’s already and we had seen him play with a couple of different bands, one being that bluegrass band. He was playing banjo in a band at one time called The Texas Twosome. The guys were Boomer Castleman and Michael Murphy ( l a t e r M i c h a e l Ma r t i n Murphy). We went and saw them play and they were really good. He liked our band and it became a very natural transition. It was great because when John joined the band it kicked the instrumental up because no one could play that five string banjo like John. So that was it, in August of 1966 John came around and it was full steam ahead after that. Then we had record companies chasing after us and they were actually kind of interested from the get go. We ended up signing to Liberty Records at the end of 1966 or beginning of 1967. Put out our first single, called "Buy For Me The Rain," and this was the polar opposite of what we were playing. We were playing jug band music and hoped that we could get on the radio like The Lovin’ Spoonful, who had a lot of jug band influence. "Daydream" was a classic. There was a song The Kinks had out I remember, "Lazy on a Sunny Afternoon," which was another kind of a jug band influenced tune. Our record company could not see the obvious. That would have been too easy to have a cool jug band hit. They wanted us to do something more conventional. When we had these friends that were great songwriters, one being Jackson, and Steve Noonan, and Greg Copeland, that has written this song "Buy For Me The Rain."

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June 2021


We cut a cool record of that and it became a huge hit on the east and west coast, but because of the censorship controversy it got dropped from a bunch of stations in America because there was a reference to "candy men," and the words "God almighty world," which Rev. Gary Davis had used, so that was a big thing with censorship going on at that time. Newsweek or Time magazine had done this big thing about it. The Stones had done that song called “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” and “Penny Lane” had some kind of perceived drug reference, and there were four or five of them and that single had been stopped at #40 on the charts. We had both coasts but not the middle. We played a little in the midwest and then headed onto New York City and stayed in Greenwich Village most of the summer of '67. That was a great time to be there. One thing I was going to ask you about that I didn’t know was that you guys lived with Duane and Gregg Allman... is that right? We did and that was something that was sort of a family tree business association with those guys for awhile. When we were going to St. Louis on the way back east for that first tour we ran into this guy named Wolf McKinney that was the bass player for this band called The Hourglass. The guys went out and heard this guy play and were just blown away. Bill McEuen that was their manager at the time convinced them that they should come to Los Angeles and make a record and they said, why not? Essentially. They had the same record producer that we did and I don’t know if I should blame it all on him or just corporate short-sightedness in the record business at that time. They didn’t get what they did and they were not able to make the record that they should have. They were a great band, Paul Hornsby, Johnny Sandlin, and some great guys in that band. Duane and Gregg were also in it. Gregg lived in this place called Macado or something like that, some kind of unusual Asian or Japanese name. Anyway, we rented this big house in the Hollywood Hills and kind of crashed there intermittently and got to know Duane really well. He was kind of a mentor for us. Ralph Barr and his wife ended up going off and doing their own thing as a folk

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duo and Duane was actually supposed to produce him but that didn’t work out because he passed away. That was after he had already moved back down to Macon. He was just very cool and a great guy. I have not spoken to Gregg in a long time and I would love to actually. It was great to get to spend some time with those guys in California and I know they were very frustrated. They had a great local following and all kinds of great musicians like Buffalo Springfield guys were all big fans of The Hourglass. It was a drag, because like I said, they didn’t get to really make the record that they wanted. Here’s one I wanted to ask you about. Someone who was another hero of mine, Clint Eastwood. Didn’t you work with him? Yeah, in 1968 we made a couple of records, maybe four records in two years. Not my favorite thing to have done. Well, that year we got this offer to audition for this film called Paint Your Wagon. They were looking for a scene of goldminers from California goldrush of the 1800’s. It was based on this big gold rush. It was written by Learner and Lowe and so we went down to this movie set, I think it was Paramount Pictures and we played a quick little set of Jug band music for the producers and directors. They hired us and told us we would be taken up to Baker, Oregon where we would fly or drive into this little set that they built in the Walt Whitman National Forest, and we were there for three months. This was in the summer of 1968.

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Our band was getting kind of burned out at that point. Rather than recharging our batteries, we all get bored. The movie set is a boring place unless you are working there everyday. Unless you are the star you have a lot of time on your hands. We would be in all our wardrobe or make-up and have maybe one shot every other day. (Laughs) They used us as extras in the movie too. I got to do this song called “Hand Me Down That Can Of Beans,” with Lee Marvin, who was one of our heroes. He was one of my favorite actors. We got to hang out with Clint Eastwood a bit, and he was just beginning to become that kind of folk hero actor. He had done the spaghetti westerns and I became an even bigger fan when he did the Dirty Harry series. I am glad that we got to do the film with them. By the time we got back to Los Angeles we were sick of each other. We had not done a proper gig in that period. We were used to playing every week. We felt we had kind of come to the end of our rope and had some diverse musical directions that we wanted to take. We chose to just stop and that was at the end of 1968. The final straw was a date we played at the Troubadour and our opening act was Poco, and they were called Pogo then, and they were pursued by the comic strip guy for using the name. Their music was so fresh and we were all sick and tired, and they were full of themselves and the stuff was very fresh. It was one of the best live things I ever heard. It was Randy, Jim Messina, Richie, and Rusty Young, and George Grantham. They were phenomenal. They are still a great band. They were particularly incredible at that point, and real loud. Then we were here with this jug band and we convened at our manager’s office at the end of the year and just decided to throw in the towel. When The Dirt Band stopped, albeit temporarily, Chris and I went off and started a rock band called The Corvettes. It was me and Chris and a guy named John London and John Ware.

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Now, those two guys ended up being the rhythm section for the First National Band with Michael Nesmith. Michael was our producer actually. The Monkees were still together at that point. We rehearsed at his house and he got us a deal to cut some records for Paramount Records. Maybe on Dot Records. I think Chris might still have the tapes. Then Linda Rondstadt had just embarked on her solo career from The Stone Ponys. She heard us and wanted us to be her back up band, and we of course agreed to that. I ran into John McEuen at a Poco show at Huntington Beach’s Golden Bear. We started talking about getting the Dirt Band back to gether. He had been in Las Vegas playing with Andy Williams’ Orchestra and he was burned out on that and we spoke about taking it into a new direction. In the summer of 1969, John, Jimmy, Les and I started looking for a singing drummer because we were impressed with George Granthem’s role in Poco. We found Jimmy Ibbotson, who had moved out to Southern California from Indiana and was working out with the Hager twins, and they worked on Hee Haw. They had a pretty good little band. Turned out he could play the drums, sing, and play the bass, guitar, piano, clarinet and all kinds of stuff. We ended up inducting him and we went back to Les Thompson’s dad’s business - his dad was a juke box distributor. We got in there and started playing. We actually kind of touched on the country rock or whatever you want to call it. We were doing things like "Lost Highway" and - oh shoot- we did a song called "Alligator Man," that Chris actually sang originally and played fiddle on. It was a great Cajun number. Those two songs we obviously ended up recording later on, although “Alligator Man” has never been thus far on a Dirt Band album - but it might have been on the Alive album. Anyhow, yeah, we started working on ultimately what became the Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy album.That to me was the most important kind of page that we turned in our career. Early on, The Eagles to me were like a rock band. Now, radio play this stuff on country radio. It is fascinating to me how stuff that was pop back then is now considered mainstream country. On stations they play country oldies for example, there is a station down here, they will play "Witchy Woman," "Take It Easy," or “Hotel California” by the Eagles. Pop radio doesn’t play much of that anymore.

June 2021


Martha White, an ageless star of the Grand Ole Opry by Sasha Dunavant Martha White is a very famous little girl. Actually, it is not certain that you’re a true country music fan if you don’t know who she is. In 1899, Richard and Katherine Lindsey founded Nashville’s Royal Flour Mill, which produced an especially fine quality of flour. Richard Lindsey thought of his personal finest accomplishment his three-year-old daughter, Martha White Lindsey, so he named the product for her. When in 1944 Nashvillian Cohen E. Williams bought the mill, he changed the company’s name to Martha White to capitalize on the flour’s success. Not only was Williams a genius businessmen, he was also a huge fan of country music and didn’t have to look very far to find and build relationships with WSM Radio and The Grand Ole’ Opry, which had been on the air less than 20 years. First, Cohen purchased 15minute segments on WSM that became known as the “Martha White Biscuit and Cornbread Time" at 5:45 a.m. The show featured Milton Estes, the Old Flour Peddler, and his Musical Millers. Williams’ new slogan, "Goodness Gracious, it’s Good,” m a d e Ma r t h a W h i t e a household name. Two things that certainly fit together were country cooking and country music, and more of Martha White is exactly what fans wanted. Having only $25 weekly for promotional purposes, in 1948 Martha White began sponsoring The Grand Ole’ Opry and continues to do so, making it one of the longest running radio sponsorships identified. The jingle “You Bake Right with Martha White” became a signature in the early 1950s for the virtuallyunknown bluegrass duo of Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs, who were hired to barnstorm the South with the Martha White Bluegrass Express, a music show that toured local festivals while promoting Martha White flour and meal. With biscuits and cornbread painted on their bus, Flatt and Scruggs became known as the "World's Greatest Flour Peddlers" through local concerts, performances on Nashville's early-morning radio show and their television programs all sponsored by Martha White. Flatt and Scruggs won a Grammy for the instrumental Foggy Mountain Breakdown, were members of the Grand

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Ole Opry, were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame and earned numerous other awards and accolades. Scruggs’ distinctive banjo picking style sparked a popular interest in learning to play banjo. Generations of television viewers know the duo from their performance of “The Legend of Jed Clampett” at the beginning of the weekly comedy series, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” in the 1960s. Whether it was on the Grand Ole Opry stage or at Carnegie Hall, Flatt and Scruggs were expected to perform “You Bake Right with Martha White.” The song and little Martha White Lindsey’s face have become icons of country music culture. The historic Martha White logo backdrop once used on the Opry stage is now in the permanent collection at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Country music star Tennessee Ernie Ford became the Martha White spokesperson in 1970. Known for a number of chart-topping hits, Ford coined the phrase, "Bless your pea-pickin' heart!" as a TV host. He made guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and performed private concer ts for Martha White customers, deeming the products “peapickin’ good!” One of Ford's last performances was in 1988 in honor of t h e   Ma r t h a White brand's 40th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry sponsor. When Ford was introduced to the Grand Ole Opry audience by country legend and friend Roy Acuff, the crowd rose to its feet and gave a rousing standing ovation. The Martha White Bluegrass Express took to the road again in 2000 with a new artist on board, Rhonda Vincent, along with her band, The Rage. Vincent’s association with Martha White continues a prestigious legacy of connecting exceptional music with a quality product. Crowned "the new queen of bluegrass" by the Wall Street Journal, Vincent has won 13 top awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association, has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards and was the recipient of the prestigious "Star Award" from the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation. Since the new millennium, Martha White’s sweet face is no longer used as a product logo, but decades of country music fans will never forget how a little girl, a catchy jingle and the love of fresh-baked goods intertwined to take country cooking and country music to the world.

June 2021


Nadine’s Corner Well, here it is June in Tennessee! Hot and humid, feel like I'm in a sauna for three months! Kids are gonna soon be over at my house a lot more, eating and playing!  I love it when they're here even though I am worn out by the time they leave!  I love to get them talking about a subject and ask them questions.  The answers are priceless!   I asked my six-year-old girl, how can you tell if two people are married? She said, you might have to guess, unless you see them yelling at the same kids!  What do you think your mom and dad have in common? Both don't want any more kids! (Wonder why)  What do most people do on a date? Well, dates are for having fun and you have to listen. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. (Isn't she a treasure, I swear she thinks just like me) Is it better to be single or married? It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. They need somebody to clean up after them. (Bless you, sweetie)   I asked her brother how do you make a marriage work? He said, "Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a dump truck! (Smart kid! I swear he thinks just like me). I wrote that one out and stuck it on Homer's bathroom mirror. I'm expecting a compliment just any minute! Love y'all, and have a great summer!

Nadine

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June 2021

Profile for Country Reunion Magazine

Country Family Reunion Magazine, June 2021  

Country Family Reunion Magazine for June 2021 include the following stories: Jimmy Bowen: Accountant, Actor, Musician; Frontmen of Country...

Country Family Reunion Magazine, June 2021  

Country Family Reunion Magazine for June 2021 include the following stories: Jimmy Bowen: Accountant, Actor, Musician; Frontmen of Country...

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