Country Reunion Magazine, June 2023

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

June 2023

Hank Williams Sr.

Tim McGraw Country & Alcohol JD Shelburne Uncle Ned

Jed Clampett Nudie’s Bar Nadine Renea e Wai ess

Wilson Fairchild

Country Music Events for June

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Country Reunion Magazine Who’s inside? Tim McGraw, p. 4-5 Country & Alcohol, p. 6-8 Pride Statue, p. 7 JD Shelburne, p. 9-11 Nadine, p. 12 Areeda’s Country Cooking, p. 14 Hank Williams, p. 15-16 Ballad of Jed Clampett, p. 17-18 Wilson Fairchild, p. 19 Next Generation Concert, p. 20 Country with Heart, p. 21 Renea the Waitress, p. 22 Country for a Cause, p. 23 Uncle Ned, p. 24-25 Book Club, p. 26

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Published monthly by

Country Road Management 710 N. Main St., Suite B Columbia, TN 38401 Larry Black, Publisher Paula Underwood Winters, Editor, Print Layout Claudia Johnson, Writer, Online Layout/Design Online Subscriptions $15 per year

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June 2023


De C n y Reuni News & C n y Reuni Magazine Subs ib s, We want to take a moment to extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you. As the team behind Country Reunion News, our print edition, and Country Reunion Magazine, the digital version, we appreciate your unwavering support and your commitment to our shared love of country music and its stars. We've had several inquiries from subscribers as to whether we will continue to publish a print edition of Country Reunion News. The answer is a resounding, "Yes!" As we forge ahead, we will continue to bring you the insider stories, in-depth features and exclusive interviews that you have come to expect from us. For 11 years, we have had the pleasure and privilege of delivering news, features, photos and special series about the country music world to your mailbox. That's more than a decade of exploring the vibrant stories of our beloved music scene, the highs and lows, the triumphs and the heartbreaks. Your patronage has made all of this possible, and for that, we are deeply grateful. As we look back, we recall countless stories penned with care, exclusive interviews conducted with passion and rare photographs captured with an eye for detail. These elements have created a tapestry of country music history, and you, our valued subscribers, have been the thread that keeps this tapestry intact. We also want to assure you that Country Reunion News is committed to our print edition. There's something special about holding a newspaper in your hands, feeling the texture of the paper and unfolding it to reveal the stories within. We honor this experience and promise to continue delivering the same tangible connection to the country music world. Moreover, we want to rea rm our ongoing commitment to quality. We understand that you have choices when it comes to your country music news, and we consider it a privilege that you choose us. It is our goal to provide you with exclusive, well-crafted content that you cannot nd anywhere else. The future holds exciting developments for Country Reunion News. We hope you will continue to be a subscriber to the print edition, consider subscribing to the online edition if that is a convenient delivery option for you and gift others with either print or digital subscriptions. Explore your options here: countryreunionmusic.com/read Once again, we say thank you. Thank you for allowing us to be your window into the heart of country music. We look forward to continuing this journey together, honoring the past, celebrating the present and eagerly anticipating the future of our beloved genre. With sincere appreciation, Paula Winters, Editor and Designer, Country Reunion News Claudia Johnson, Editor and Designer, Country Reunion Magazine

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Letter to Wife Means Soldier Won’t Come Home

Country music singer Tim McGraw poses with a Sailor before performing a five-song musical tribute dedicated to the nation's military and their families on May 5, 2010, at Ponte Verde Beach, Florida, at the Tournament Player's Club at Sawgrass during The Players military appreciation day. Photo: U.S. Navy

by Claudia Johnson Memorial Day is the single holiday during which Americans remember those who died during service to their country. There can be no greater fear experienced by the family of those deployed, especially in a time of war, than receiving con rmation that a loved one had died. Tim McGraw, along with Brad and Brett Warren, the country duo known as The Warren Brothers, wrote “If You’re Reading This,” from the perspective of a soldier who did not make it home and is presented as a letter to his wife. “If you’re reading this, my Momma’s sittin’ there,” McGraw sang when the song was introduced at the 2007 Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards. “Looks like I only got a one-way ticket over here Sure wish I could give you one more kiss, and war was just a game we played when we were kids. The soldier tells his wife that if she is reading his letter “halfway around the world,” he will not be there to see his daughter born, but he hopes she looks like his wife and ghts like he did to “stand up for the innocent and weak.”

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The song had been written only three weeks before the ACM awards and had not yet been studiorecorded. However, radio stations began playing the recording of the telecast, and it debuted on the Bi board Hot Country songs charts at No. 35. In less than six months the song peaked at No. 3, giving McGraw his forty-second Top 10 country hit. The profound grief the soldier’s family feels from his sudden loss is understood by the soldier, who tries to o er comfort by asking his wife to pass along messages to his parents. “Tell dad I don’t regret that I followed in his shoes,” the soldier writes, saying he is laying down his gun and hanging up his boots and that he is already with God watching over them. During the ACM performance of “If You’re Reading This,” 100 relatives of fallen soldiers joined him onstage under a banner proclaiming “Families of Fallen Heroes.” When the song was nished, the audience rose to their feet for a prolonged ovation. “So lay me down in that open eld out on the edge of town and know my soul is where my Momma always prayed that it would go, and if you're reading this, I'm already home,” he says. The soldier acknowledges his understanding that his wife will move on with her life and nd love again. “That’s ok,” he says. “Just remember this I'm in a better place where soldiers live in peace and angels sing ‘Amazing Grace.’”

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Music and Mayhem: Country Music and Spirits Have Long, Sad Connection by Claudia Johnson Over the past 10+ years of researching and writing for Country Reunion Magazine, we’ve noticed that many of country music’s greatest singers, musicians and songwriters have str ug gled with alcohol addiction, and alcohol has long been a recurring them in country music. As part of the Music and Mayhem series, Country Reunion Magazine decided to explore this topic, not as a judgement but as an observation. While alcohol is not the only theme in country music, it is a prevalent topic that re ects the experiences and culture of many people who enjoy the genre. Country music often tells stories of hardworking, blue-collar individuals who enjoy spending their free time drinking and socializing with friends. Countr y music has its roots in rural areas, where gathering at bars or honkytonks were often the primary forms of entertainment. Additionally, alcohol can be associated with various emotions such as joy, sadness and heartbreak, all of which are common themes in country music. Some of classic country music’s best-known songs have alcohol as a theme. For example, "There Stands the Glass" by Webb Pierce is about a man who tries to drown his sorrows in alcohol after a breakup. "The Bottle Let Me Down" by Merle Haggard tells the story of a man who turns to alcohol to cope with the pain of a failed relationship. "I Like Beer" by Tom T. Hall is a lighthearted celebration of the joys of drinking beer. Roger Miller’s "Chug-a-Lug" features a group of friends who enjoy drinking beer and having a good time. Several songs from the last 30 years have presented a variety of views on alcohol. "Drinkin' Problem" by Midland is about a man who realizes he has a drinking problem and is trying to overcome it, while Vince Gill sang in "One More Last Chance" Page 6

Hank Williams Sr. about a man who keeps getting into trouble because of his drinking but keeps getting "one more last chance" to change his ways before his relationship is forever ended. The tragic story of a couple whose relationship falls apart due to their drinking habits is told in the poignant "Whiskey Lullaby" by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss. In contrast, Paisley’s song "Alcohol" is a tongue-in-cheek ode to the power of alcohol and its ability to make people do crazy things. "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall O " by Joe Nichols is a humorous take on the e ects of tequila on a woman's inhibitions. "Friends in Low Places," a perennial karaoke favorite, by Garth Brooks is about a man who has been left by his lover and decides to drown his sorrows in a bar with his friends.

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Many of country music’s beloved performers have recorded popular songs about alcohol, yet they struggled with the negative impacts of alcohol on their personal lives. Johnny Cash’s "Sunday Morning Coming Down," written by Kris Kristo erson, is about a man who wakes up hungover on a Sunday morning and regrets the choices he made the night before. Cash struggled with alcohol and drug addiction for much of his life, and it was a major factor in his declining health and career in the 1980s. He eventually entered rehab in the late 1980s and was able to overcome his addiction. "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound" by Hank Williams Jr. is about a man who enjoys drinking and partying despite the consequences. Williams has had a long history of alcohol and drug abuse, which has led to a number of legal problems and health issues, but he has been able to manage his addiction and remains active in the music industry. His son, Hank Williams III has had his own battles with sobriety and has sought treatment in an e ort to overcome addiction. George Jones’ recording of "White Lightning" was a humorous take on moonshine and its e ects. What was not humorous was Jones’ own history of alcohol and drug abuse. He struggled with addiction for many years and even missed performances due to his drinking. However, he eventually sought help and remained clean and sober for the last few decades of his life. Among the country performers who struggled with addictions that landed them in legal trouble was Glen Campbell, whose alcohol and drug abuse led to a number of legal and personal problems, including an arrest for DUI and hit-and-run in 2003. He eventually sought treatment and was able to maintain his sobriety for the rest of his life. Billy Joe Shaver had multiple arrests for DUI and other alcohol-related o enses throughout his career. Following professional treatment, he remained sober until his death in 2020. Randy Travis was also arrested multiple times for DUI, including a high-pro le incident in 2012 where he crashed his car while drunk. David Allan Coe has had a number of legal problems throughout his career, including multiple arrests for DUI and other o enses related to his alcohol and drug use. Tracy Lawrence was arrested for DUI in 1996 and again in 1998. He’s had a number of brushes with the law that seem to be in part related to alcohol. Yet, in a 2021 interview he told whiskeyri .com about how he’d drank all night and still went to the gym to work out the next morning.

Glenn Campbell, Capitol Records Publicity Shot, 1967

Randy Travis sings at a salute to Korean War veterans at the MCI Center in Washington, DC, July 26, 2003.

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Billy Joe Shaver at Eddie's Attic, Atlanta, Georgia, on April 20, 2007.

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Female stars are not immune to the pull of addiction. Tanya Tucker, who became a successful recording artist while still a teenager, faced addictions that had a negative impact on her career in the 1980s and ‘90s until she sought treatment and became clean and sober in the mid-1990s. Wynonna Judd’s addiction became news in the 2000s, but through treatment, she has been sober since 2007.

Tanya Tucker signing autographs after a show in Biloxi, Mississippi, on September 28, 2019. Photo: Benji Childers

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Wynonna Judd entertained a courtyard full of soldiers, civilian workers and family members in a May 21, 2004, Pentagon concert.

Sadly, alcohol contributed to the death of some beloved country music superstars. Legendary country singer and songwriter Hank Williams Sr., one of the founding fathers of modern country music, struggled with alcohol addiction throughout his career. He often drank heavily before and during performances, which a ected his ability to perform and his health. He died at the age of 29 due to complications from alcohol and drug abuse. Jimmie Rodgers was another early pioneer of country music who struggled with alcohol addiction. He often drank heavily and was known to be an excessive party-goer. He died at the age of 35 due to complications from tuberculosis, which was likely exacerbated by his alcohol abuse. One of the most talented country stars from a more recent era who lost his life to alcoholism was Keith Whitley, who died at age 34 in 1989. “I learned to do things the way the oldtimers did it,” Whitley told The Chicago Keith Whitley taken at Jimmie Rodgers Tribune. “I thought everybody had to drink to Country Music Fan Fair in be in this business. Lefty drank, Hank drank, June 1988 in Nashville, Tennessee at the Tennessee George Jones was still drinking, and I had to. That’s just the way it was. You State Fairgrounds Photo: couldn’t put that soul in your singing if you weren’t about three sheets in the Christina Lynn Johnson wind.” countryreunionmagazine.com

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Shelburne’s Roots Shine Through JD Shelburne is the best of both worlds. With a sound reminiscent of traditional country music stars, he can rock a crowd like nobody’s business, then pull at his audience’s heartstrings with ballads that cut to the core of life and love. Both sides are represented on his latest album, “Straight from Kentucky,” which sums up as never before this blue-collar success story of an entertainer who is proud of his roots, connected to his audience and at age 38 is making the most compelling music of his career. “This is probably the best collection of songs I’ve ever released,” said Shelburne. “Straight From Kentucky” is a series of true-tolife vignettes dealing with the quest for release, romance and redemption. Its cornerstone is a title track Shelburne calls “an anthem for my people.” “I’m still partial to where I’m from,” he said. “I spend time there when I’m o the road, and I carry its spirit with me everywhere I go.” Shelburne performs live more than 200 times a year in venues ranging from packed clubs to huge festivals. Including sharing the stage with 50 national acts, Shelburne has logged more than 2,500 performances to date. He ’s o p e n e d f o r M i r a n d a Lambert, Craig Morgan, Chris Young, Marty Stuart, Jamey Johnson, Montgomery Gentry and others. He has a jam-packed performance schedule for 2023 that will take him to venues throughout the country, ending the year with a Christmas co n ce r t i n h i s n a t i v e s t a te o f Kentucky. His approach is genuine and simple. “I give them 90 minutes of high energy,” Shelburne said. “But at one point I’ll break it down with a Page 9

couple of acoustic ballads, sit on a barstool and tell a story or two.” Those stories give listeners more insight into his musical beginnings in Taylorsville, Kentucky, as he intimates the dreams that took him from the familyfarm, to small home-town clubs, to Nashville, Tennessee. It’s this relentless drive that is gaining Shelburne national attention that has been earned one audience and one record at a time. Shelburne has appeared on CMT, which premiered videos for his single “One Less Girl.” This single has earned thousands of online views, aired on dozens of country radio stations nationwide and appeared on Nashville’s prestigious Music Row Chart. Another single, “She Keeps Me Up Nights,” topped charts on the CMT 12-pack Countdown. Shelburne has also debuted as the No. 1 trending artist on CMT.com.

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Shelburne’s other accomplishments are as diverse as they are impressive. These accomplishments cover appearances on Great American Country, articles in Country Weekly, and live performances at more than 100 fairs and festivals spanning the eastern region of the country. Tour dates have included the CMA Music Festival, NCAA Women's Final Four, Quaker State 400 NASCAR Race, SunTrust Park, Guaranteed Rate Field, Great American Ballpark, Freedom Hall and Rupp Arena to name a few. Nowhere is Shelburne more appreciated than in his home state of Kentucky. Shelburne has made numerous appearances at the Kentucky Derby, and his out ts have been featured on display in the museum at historic Churchill Downs. “My hometown of Taylorsville has provided me with a large platform to help share my story and chase down my dreams,” Shelburne observed. Shelburne was proud to perform the state song at the Capitol by request of the state’s Senate and House of Representatives. He was also part of Hometown Rising in Louisville, headlined by Tim McGraw, playing for a crowd of tens of thousands.

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Shelburne has been featured in Kentucky Monthly, Kentucky Living and Kentucky Alumni magazines and was named Most Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Kentucky’s College of Communication and Information in 2016. Shelburne was selected to appear on the cover of the state’s 2020 O cial Visitor’s Guide, which printed over 400,000 copies statewide. One of the hardest-working singers in show business, Shelburne was recognized by the artist platform website BandsInTown.com for playing the most shows of any of its half-million artists – a feat that earned him a mention in Bi board in 2019. S h e l b u r n e ke e p s u p t h a t touring pace while recording in the studio, where it all begins, creating new material regularly. “It’s all about writing and recording great songs,” said Shelburne, who has five albums in the rear-view and another in the works. “It boils down to a great lyric, something relatable and catchy and a great melody my fans can relate to.” June 2023


Though he’s always been passionate about music, Shelburne was a late bloomer when it came to entertaining. Shelburne grew up on a tobacco farm with his mother, a schoolteacher, and father, a principal. There, he was instilled with “a strong work ethic, a love for family and having a passion for what you do.” Everything changed for Shelburne after his grandmother’s funeral. “I was 19 when she passed away,” Shelburne said. “I had just moved away to attend college in Lexington. Just a few short months after my arrival on campus, she passed and I went back home for her funeral. I ended up nding a guitar in her closet. I took it back to college and developed the itch to play it. I played every single day in my apartment, in between classes until I started to grasp it. My dad also had the keys to the church back home, and I would take frequent trips home to go play in the sanctuary, practicing singing through a microphone. There was just something about developing my craft in an empty church sanctuary. That’s where it all started for me back in 2002. I’ll never forget those days.”

“It just all came naturally.” Friends advised Shelburne to start playing clubs as his passion for music and entertainment grew, and he started to sell out shows and he started to build a loyal following. Shelburne began driving to Louisville to launch a wider musical journey. “When I was about to graduate college in 2007, my mind was all over the place,” he recalled. “Should I give Nashville a shot or just put my two degrees to use? With so much support from back home and a rapidly growing fanbase, Music City, USA was my next stop. I honestly felt like I was born to play music, write songs, and entertain people. It was just something I gravitated towards naturally but ended up nding later in life. Some things happen for a reason. Nashville was my destination, and I haven’t looked back since.” Desiring to make a di erence, Shelburne has raised thousands of dollars for charities including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Blessings in a Backpack, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and others. To listen to his music and get tickets to his shows, visit jdshelburne.com.

“H et n” Official Video

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Nadine’s Corner What is this world coming to? Homer and I got the shock of our lives last week when we drove to downtown Nashville. As we turned the corner of Broadway headed to the historic Ryman, the mother church of country music, you are not going to believe what was coming down the road!!! It was a group of people all pedaling a long table top being served booze. My Lord, I thought I was seeing things. Homer almost ran o the road. When we had a chance to ask someone what it was.We were told it was a Pedaling Tavern. Apparently, folks pay to hop on this 15-passenger bicycle that they have to pedal to move in TRAFFIC and are served alcohol. Now this may be a new way of not getting a DUI, but it looked pretty crazy to me. I told Homer if it was a Pedaling Church where folks hop on and read the Bible, then I might go for it! Some of those church deacons could actually use the exercise. All I know is that some people have lost their marbles. Love ya'll, Nadine

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Nudie’s Honky Tonk Combines Music and Design by Claudia Johnson One of downtown Nashville’s music venues combines fashion and history with live music and tasty food and drinks. Located at 409 Broadway in downtown Nashville, Nudie’s has the longest bar in Music City measuring more than 100 feet embedded with 9,465 silver dollars. Nudie’s Honky Tonk resides in a 100-year-old historic, three-story building housing rare country music memorabilia and stage costumes valued at millions of dollars, multiple bars, three stages and a stunning rooftop deck. Open daily, visitors can enjoy iconic pop culture clothing made by renowned tailor Nudie Cohn who created costumes for Hank Williams, Gene Autry, Johnny Cash, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Roy Rogers, Elton John, John Wayne, Ronald Reagan and dozens of others. He created the $10,000 gold lamé suit One of Nudie’s customized "Nudie Mobiles" (a Cadillac El worn by Elvis Presley on the cover of his "50,000 Dorado) now adorns a wall on the main stage of Nudie's Elvis Fans Can't be Wrong" album. The UkrainianHonky Tonk and is insured for $400,000. born designer became famous in America for his decorative rhinestone-covered suits, popularly known as "Nudie Suits." Not only did he design elaborate out ts for some of the most famous celebrities of his era, and he was also famous for his customized automobiles with details like silver-dollar studded dashboards, pistol door handles and gear shifts, extended rear bumpers and large longhorn steer hood ornaments. An impressive roster of country bands perform live music every day of the week. Wednesday through Sunday Nudie’s hosts karaoke on the second oor with cash prizes available, and the entire facility can be rented for private parties and corporate events. Southern style comfort food prepared with down home Music City hospitality includes everything from salads, sandwiches, burgers and appetizers to beer buckets and funnel cakes. There’s an extensive bar menu with a variety of beers, tequilas, shots and cocktails. Nudie’s is within walking distance to the Jo h n n y Ca s h Mu s e u m , Mu s i c C i t y C e n te r, Bridgestone Arena, Ryman Auditorium, Omni Hotel and more. Visit nudieshonkytonk.com for menus, performance schedules and more.

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Areeda’s

southern cooking Areeda Schneider Stampley

Joe Stampley’s Fried Crappie and

Homemade Buttermilk Hushpuppies Summer and fishing go together! 1 to 2 cups yellow self-rising cornmeal

Canola oil (1½”- 2” deep in10” round iron skillet) Crappie fillets, sliced fairly thin Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste Directions: Put cornmeal in a large bowl. Add 2-3 fillets at a time and gently toss to evenly coat. Place in medium-high hot oil. Fry 4-6 minutes until golden brown (not dark). Do not overcook! Lift with tongs & place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Homemade hushpuppies: 1 & 1/4 cups (approx.) white self-rising cornmeal 1 cup buttermilk 1 Tablespoon canola oil 1/8 cup (approx.) green onions, finely chopped 1/8 cup (approx.) green bell peppers, finely chopped In same oil that fish was fried in (may need to add little more oil), medium-high temp, scoop a heaping tablespoonful and gently place in hot oil. The 10” skillet will hold about 7-8 hushpuppies at a time. When golden, lift with tongs to paper towels. Makes about 15. Note: I use same recipe for cornbread, except add a little more milk and delete onions/peppers. To purchase Areeda’s Southern Cooking, a collection of old-fashioned recipes, send a check for $25 and your mailing address to Areeda’s Southern Cooking, P. O. Box 202, Brentwood, TN 37024. Order online with PayPal or credit card at www.areedasoutherncooking.com. Page 14

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Hank Williams’ Last Ride by Claudia Johnson Every musical genre has its tales of immeasurable losses during tragic tours – bluesmen Robert Johnson and Stevie Ray Vaughan, rockers Buddy Holly and Ronnie Van Zant, pop stars Jim Croce and Ricky Nelson, R&B singers Otis Redding and Aaliyah and big band leader Glenn Miller are among the sad examples. Country music, too, has lost its share of legends while touring, including Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins in 1963 and Jim Reeves in 1964. Before any of these, however, as the new year of 1953 began, music lost one of its most talented songwriters and performers somewhere between Knoxville and Oak Hill, West Virginia, when 29year-old Hank Williams slipped into eternity in the back of a pale blue 1952 Cadillac. For Williams, 1952 had been a trip of its own. Within the year he’d divorced the mother of his son, Hank Williams Jr., and had remarried in October. A pregnant lover was expecting his daughter, now known as Jett Williams, who was born within a week of his death. He moved at least four times among three states, continued to su er from alcohol abuse, deteriorating health and chronic pain and had been banned from the Grand Ole Opry. Yet, eternal classic “Jambalaya” was among the many hits that made him the biggest selling country music artist for 1952. Williams’ holiday schedule had him set to perform in Canton, Ohio, on Jan. 1, 1953, after a New Ye a r ’s E v e c o n c e r t i n C h a r l e s t o n , W. V. Arrangements were made for Charles Carr, a 17-yearold Auburn University student and son of one of Williams’ most trusted friends, to drive the singer from Williams’ home in Montgomery, Alabama, to Knoxville, where he would catch a ight to the West Virginia venue. Though the plane left the airport as planned, it soon returned Williams and his teenage

driver to Knoxville due to treacherous fog, and the performance was canceled. Carr and Williams checked into Knoxville’s Andrew Johnson Hotel, where Williams was supposed to eat and rest. Pain-ridden and troubled throughout the trip (as well as all his adult life), Williams had been ingesting substantial amounts of alcohol along with the prescription drug chloral hydrate and had received several shots of morphine to ease back pain in the days and hours before Carr helped Williams into the back of the Cadillac when they left Knoxville around 11 p.m. to drive through the darkness to Ohio.

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MGM promo photo of Hank Williams in 1951

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Hank Williams Sr., 1938, Montgomery, Alabama

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During interviews in the years since that nal road trip, Carr has recounted his memory of being stopped for speeding near Blaine, West Virginia, and some time later, his discovery of Williams’ cold, sti body between the rural West Virginia towns of Mount Hope and Oak Hill. Though most historians agree that Williams died after crossing the Tennessee state line at Bristol, the mystery of where the tour ended for Williams may never be solved. An Associated Press story printed Jan. 1, 1953, in The Los Angeles Times identi ed the deceased Williams as a “onetime shoeshine boy” who was “a singer and composer called the ‘King of the Hillbillies’ by his followers.” The article reported that he was employed by KWKH radio in Shreveport, La., and was under contract to MGM Recording Co. and MGM Pictures. “Williams sang doleful mountain ballads in a nasal voice accompanying himself on a guitar, which he began playing at age 6,” the AP story stated. “The lanky singer shot to fame with his recording ‘Lovesick Blues.’ The record sold more than one million copies.” At the time of the AP story’s distribution, no cause of death had been released. By Jan. 2, 1953, Dr. Diego Nunnari had signed Williams’ death certi cate, determining that death was from “acute right. ventricular dilation.” William’s occupation was given as “radio singer. On Sunday, Jan. 4, 1953, family members viewed Williams’ body before it was transported four blocks to Montgomery’s Municipal Auditorium, where as many as 25,000 mourners were estimated to have passed by the open silver casket. More than two tons of owers were sent. According to an Alabama state historic marker, some 2,750 mourners crowded inside for the actual service, while another 20,000 stood outside in the cold. Williams’ band, the Drifting Cowboys, reunited to sing, and other performances included Ernest Tubb singing "Beyond the Sunset" followed by Roy Acu with "I Saw the Light" and Red Foley with "Peace in the Valley." He was buried at Oakwood Annex in Montgomery, and his Cadillac’s last trip was to the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery. Sadly, the most memorable road stories are those from which there is no return. June 2023


Beverly Hillbillies Helped Make Bluegrass Mainstream by Claudia Johnson "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" helped to bring bluegrass into the mainstream and remains an enduring classic of American popular culture. In the early 1960s, bluegrass music was a relatively niche genre that was primarily enjoyed by a small but passionate group of fans. All that changed in 1962 with the debut of "The Beverly Hillbillies" and its now-iconic theme song, "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," written by Paul Henning and performed by bluegrass legends Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. The song's lyrics tell the story of Jed Clampett's journey from the hills of Tennessee to the “hills of Beverly,” cleverly and concisely depicting their changing fortune from poverty to wealth simply because a poor farmer discovered crude oil on his property while “shooting at some food.” The lyrics are full of colorful imagery and clever wordplay, and the catchy melody has made the song a classic of American television history. Henning, who also created and produced the "The Beverly Hillbillies," was inspired to write the song after watching the opening sequence of the show, which featured a montage of the Clampett family traveling from their rural home to Beverly Hills in a beat-up old truck. Airing from 1962 to 1971, the show became an instant hit, and the theme song introduced bluegrass to a national audience. Born on Sept. 16, 1911, in Missouri, Henning started his career as a radio script writer in the 1940s, eventually moving on to write for television in the 1950s. In addition to "The Beverly Hillbillies," Henning also created, produced and wrote the theme songs for "Petticoat Junction" and "Green Acres." These shows were known for their humorous take on rural life and were highly popular among audiences at the time, and their theme songs became some of the most recognizable and beloved theme songs in television history. Henning passed away on March 25, 2005, at the age of 93, leaving behind a legacy of entertaining and beloved television shows. Page 17

Flatt and Scruggs were already established musicians and had a long history of working together when they were approached to perform "The Ballad of Jed Clampett.” Flatt played guitar and sang lead vocals, while Scruggs played banjo and provided backup vocals.

Granny and Jed Clampett are photographed in front of the U.S. Capitol in the episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies" called "The Clampetts in Washington."

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The duo's performance of the "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" was so popular that it became a hit in its own right, reaching the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording in 1963. The Flatt & Scruggs band, The Foggy Mountain Boys, was a major force in introducing bluegrass music to America through national television, radio and appearances at schoolhouses, coliseums and

major universities around the country during the years they played together beginning in 1948. Scruggs wrote and recorded one of bluegrass music’s most famous instr umentals, “Fog gy Mountain Breakdown,” which was used in the soundtrack for the lm “Bonnie & Clyde.” After parting with Scruggs in 1969, Flatt continued successfully with his own group, “The Nashville Grass,” performing until shortly before his death in 1979. Scruggs embarked upon a solo career with his sons Randy (on guitar) and Gary (on bass) as “The Earl Scruggs Revue” until his death in 2012. The legacy of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" lives on today, and the song remains a beloved part of American culture, clearing a path for the use of bluegrass songs in other shows and movies. “The Dukes of Hazzard," the popular 1980s TV show used bluegrass music in its theme song, "Good Ol' Boys," which was performed by Waylon Jennings. The song has become a classic in its own right and helped to popularize bluegrass music among mainstream audiences. The 1990s show, "Northern Exposure," used a mix of folk, country and bluegrass music in its soundtrack, with songs from artists such as Iris DeMent and Alison Krauss. A crime drama series called "Justi ed," which aired from 2010 to 2015, used a mix of bluegrass and country music in its soundtrack, with songs from artists such as The Steeldrivers and Darrell Scott. Net ix’s series, "Ozark," which premiered in 2017 and recently aired its nal episode, features bluegrass music in its opening c r e d i t s a n d t h r o u g h o u t t h e s h o w 's soundtrack. The music helps to set the mood for this dark and suspenseful crime drama. The wildly popular modern western series, "Yellowstone," which premiered in 2018, features a mix of country and bluegrass music in its soundtrack. The show's theme In this publicity photo of Buddy Ebsen and singer Roy Clark (as song, "Yellowstone," is performed by Ryan "Myrtle Halsey") for the television program "The Beverly Hillbillies," Clark arrives at the Hillbillies' home as their "Cousin Roy" Bingham and sets the tone for the show's from "back home." He's there to sell medicine made by his mother, gritty, frontier-inspired setting. Myrtle (also played by Roy Clark), and is willing to go to extremes to do that, even dressing as a woman to try to fool them.

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June 2023


10 years ago this month

Wilson Fairchild Wilson Fairchild got their “entertainment chops” honestly. Wil’s dad is Harold Reid, and Langdon’s dad is Don Reid of the legendary Statler Brothers. In 2007, Wil and Langdon wrote a tribute to the Statlers simply called “The Statler Brothers Song.” They were asked to be a part of the medallion ceremonies and to perform the song for all of their “Statler dads” when the Brothers were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Together, they are a country music duo from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. These two men, referred to as “the Reid boys,” have been writing, performing and playing music together their whole lives. Wil and Langdon are highly acclaimed songwriters. They both have been writing songs since their teenage years in between baseball and football games and girls, of course. Along with recording their own music, such artists as the Statler Brothers, Ricky Skaggs and Dailey & Vincent have recorded their songs, as well. So yes, that means their songwriting gamut spans through the country, bluegrass and gospel elds. They learned the craft from the best and are no strangers to knowing how to put an idea to music and come away with a great storytelling song. In fact, Wil and Langdon wrote ve of the new cuts on their “Country On” album, and included a riveting version of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Along with singing and songwriting, they both play guitars on stage and have played many other instruments during recording sessions. But a Wilson Fairchild show is much more than music; it is an experience. It is professional. It is exciting. Their clever lyrics bring smiles and pluck heartstrings with a perfectly delivered ballad. One thing’s for sure – these guys know how to entertain. They have graced the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. In 2012, Wilson Fairchild made their rst appearance on “Larry’s

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Country Diner.” They were also part of a DVD series c a l l “ C o u n t r y ’s Fa m i l y Re u n i o n : S e c o n d Generations.” On the “Generations “show, the guys performed one of their favorite Statler songs their dads wrote, along with their tribute to the Statlers, “The Statler Brothers Song.” Wilson Fairchild also sang “The National Anthem” at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland before the Orioles game in July of 2012. “Country On” is the latest album release. Two of the songs, “Dude’” and “Stuck” were co-written with their “musical brother.” Bryan Kennedy. You might have heard of Bryan’s successes from three number one hits he penned for Garth Brooks. The CD, “Country On,” was produced by their other Kennedy brother, Gordon. Gordon Kennedy is a Grammywinning producer for his work with Peter Frampton as well as a killer guitarist and a hugely successful songwriter. Gordon was one of three writers on the Eric Clapton hit, “Change the World.” Wil and Langdon teamed up with Gordon to write “Make God First” for Ricky Skaggs, which is on his Grammy-nominated album, “Mosaic.” Wilson Fairchild performs all over, acoustically or with full production shows with their band. Once you hear their music, you are a fan. Once you see them in concert, you are a bigger fan. And once you get the chance to meet them, you are a friend for life. To learn more about what Wilson Fairchild has been up to in the past 10 years, visit wilsonfairchild.com. June 2023


Next Generation Concert is June 8 T h i s y e a r m a r k s t h e 1 1 t h Ne x t Generation show and it is lled with a star-studded lineup. Two of Mel Tillis’s kids, Pam and Sonny (Mel Jr.) will be there as well as Noah and Jesse Bellamy (Bellamy Brothers), Carlton DeFord Bailey (DeFord Bailey), Bunny Anderson (Lynn Anderson), Melissa Luman Scott (Bob Luman), John Carter Cash (Johnny Cash and June Carter), Lorrie Davis Bennett (Anita Carter), Sweepy Walker (Billy Walker), Jenne Eddy Jennings (Waylon Jennings), Hawkshaw Jr. and Rachel Hawkins (Hawkshaw Hawkins and Jean Shepard), Johnathan Frizzell (Lefty Frizzell) and even a movie star, C. Thomas Howell. The show will be held at The Troubadour 2436 Music Valley Drive on Thursday, June 8 at 7 p.m. These shows have become a favorite of people visiting Nashville during CMA Fest (formerly known as Fan Fair). Ti c ke t s a r e a v a i l a b l e o n l i n e a t outhouseticketsl.com or at the door countryreunionmusic.com

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June 2023


Country with Heart 2023 Benefit June 10 Hall of Famers, Grand Ole Opry members, Grammy Award winners and Hollywood movie stars will take stage at the 8th annual Country With Heart bene t for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Workout Anytime 24/7 is presenting the event on Saturday, June 10, at The Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theatre on Music Valley Drive in Nashville, Tennessee. From 5 p.m to 9 p.m. that evening fans can enjoy a full dinner bu et, a pre-show by Grammy Award Winning Grand Ole Opry stars Riders In the Sky, along with a celebrity auction and a night of stories and songs from some of the biggest names in entertainment. Host, singer/songwriter Bobby Marquez will spotlight an all-star lineup featuring John Berry, Johnny Rodriguez, Dennis Quaid, Rex Allen Jr., Barbara Fairchild, Baillie and The Boys. Plus, expect surprise guests. Tickets are available online at Country With Heart Tickets on www.eventbrite.com for $35. Tickets will also be available at the door the day of the event for $40. Bu et tickets and drinks can be purchased separately. And donations will be accepted both online and at the event. A highlight each year is the silent auction. And this year, it is all about the true Nashville experience with one-of-akind celebrity items hand picked for the fans “These treasures will be a win-win because the money will help so many kids and families at St. Jude, and you can’t buy these items anywhere. We have really been blessed this year with some impressive items,” said Bobby Marquez. The Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theatre has free parking at its Music Valley location across the parking lot from the famed Troubadour Theatre and directly across the street from the Grand Ole Opry House. All proceeds from Country With Heart will go directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Their current campaign is “Love Music. Stop Cancer.” St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. “Dinner, music, the stories and a cause so dear to all of our hearts! This is going to be one special evening....one for the books!” said Marquez. For updates on the 2023 Country With Heart bene ting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, keep up with Marquez daily at www.facebook.com/bobbymarquezmusic Country With Heart is an all-star country music show held during CMA Music Fest week in Nashville bene ting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event was founded by award winning singer/songwriter Bobby Marquez in 2015 in honor of his number one fan, a former St. Jude kid, Petey Northup. To date, the annual event has raised thousands of dollars for treatments and research. Participating talent has included, Clint Black, Mark Wills, John Conlee, Wade Hayes, Barbara Fairchild, Crystal Gayle, Chuck Mead, Gary Chapman, David Ball, Riders in The Sky, Sylvia, Andy Griggs, Johnny Rodriguez, John Berry, Linda Davis, Larry Gatlin, Billy Yates, Becky Hobbs and more.

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June 2023


Down the Road of memories Renea The Waitress Country Music has a history of strong men that were a big in uence on music and children. Below are the lyrics from “Road of Memories” written by Chaz Bosarge, Chris Malpass and Phil Johnson (my hubby). The song is on the “NEW” Malpass Brothers CD “Lonely Street.” Folks are calling the song a “tear jerker,” but I call it real life…the way it used to be when the family (fathers, grandfathers and uncles) were the biggest in uence on kids. Chris wanted to record a song about his grandpa’s in uence on him, and I think this song captured it. Order from Re n a e Jo h n s o n at Renaethewaitress.com or call 615-579-5497 for your CD.

Down the road of memories, Yesterday comes back to me. Mom and Dad they were younger, And I was lled with teenage dreams. My grandpa, he was my hero; He taught me how to pick and sing. I rst heard the songs of Haggard Comin’ from his guitar strings. Down the road of memories. On the day they took my uncle, And put a ri e in his hand, Shipped him o one cold November To ght a war in Vietnam; He stood proud the day he left us, But he lay still when they brought him back home. We still ride in his beat-up Chevy. There are days when he comes back to me Down the road of memories. As long as there are pictures and frames, Though they’re gone, they will always remain; Empty rooms and empty spaces Where ones I love used to be; Still, they live not too far from me Down the road of memories. Written by: Chaz Bosarge / Chris Malpass / Phil Johnson

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by Claudia Johnson Eugene Lowrey Stripling, who performed in country radio’s early days under the name of “Uncle Ned” with his group, Texas Wranglers, told writer Celestia Bailey of Rural Radio Magazine in the June 1939 issue how he got his nickname. Here’s a reprint of Bailey’s story along with an update at the end with more information about this popular performer of his time. The Story Want to learn how to play the piano? Get a job as a piano player on a radio program. That's what "Uncle Ned" did, and he learned quick enough. The foreman of "Uncle Ned and His Texas Wranglers," popular WSB Cross Roads Follies attraction, also plays the guitar and bass ddle, and he learned the art of both in the same manner as his mastery of the keyboard. "Uncle Ned," whose real name is Gene Stripling – remind me to tell you how he got that other handle – started out as a grocery clerk in his father's store at Macon, Georgia, his hometown. That was while he was still a student at Lanier High School. On graduation, he felt the call of wider horizons, and so he saw the world from the cab of an express truck, on which he traveled as driver. It was while he was employed in this capacity that he joined a string band then playing over the local radio station, WMAZ. "I couldn't play the piano," Gene grinned, "but nobody knew it but me, and I could fake enough tunes to get me by. I even doubled at the drums, peddling the piano with my left foot, and beating the bass drum with my right. Pretty soon I branched out on the guitar and bull ddle, and now I play them all." Oh, yes, about that "Uncle Ned." The name dates from the rst performance of his own out t, which he soon organized. "The family pride was such that I didn't want to do anything to disgrace it," Gene related. "If I appeared under another name, and the debut was a

op, my folks wouldn't be any the wiser, and there wouldn't be any embarrassment to anybody but myself. So, for some reason I adopted for the evening the name of Uncle Ned. And I've never been able to get rid of it since." It was about two years ago that Gene again felt the need of a change, and left his home station for WSB in Atlanta. Since then, he and the boys have become widely-followed stars on the station's Cross Roads Follies, heard daily during the noon hour. Slim Hutcheson sings and strums the banjo. Pete Cassels is the blind piano player and guitarist. Chick Stripling (no relation to Gene) plays the ddle and does expert buck and wing dancing when the group makes a personal appearance. Cicero (Ray) Merneigh is a virtuoso of all the instruments and a crack comedian besides. And tall lanky Sammy Forsmark, the newest member of the out t, interprets the steel guitar. The boys are all young, the average age for the band being 23 years.

"Uncle Ned and the Texas Wranglers" pose against WSB's tower just outside the studios. Left to right, "Uncle Ned" – Gene Stripling, Pete Cassels, Slim Hutcheson, Cicero (Ray) Merneigh. In the rear. Chick Stripling and Sammy Forsmark.

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Uncle Ned and the Texas Wranglers Popular on 1930s Radio

June 2023


Uncle Ned and his Texas Wranglers appeared on WSB's "Cross Roads Follies” in the 1930s.

Though they are called the Texas Wranglers, not a single member of the group is a native of the Lone Star State. They've visited Texas, however, and the name they chose expresses the admiration they feel for the cowboys and their life. They compliment the range riders further with their stage dress-cowboy out ts complete with boots, chaps, guns and tengallon hats. Stripling's hobby, he quickly admits, is ying, and he's done quite a bit of it, with more than 200 hours in the air. But he doesn't get to y much now. When he lived in Macon, the airport was practically in his father's backyard, and before he left the roost, he used to spend all his free time at the hangar. A pal owned an old crate, and he and Gene barnstormed all the nearby small towns, giving many a Georgia cracker the thrill of his life. "I took up a paid passenger on my third solo ight," Gene confessed, "but the poor soul fortunately didn't know all the facts." T h e e l e m e n t o f c h a n ce h a s l a r g e l y b e e n eliminated from ying now, he points out, and as a consequence he feels that it has lost much of its fascination. Fishing is a mighty good way to spend any time you aren't working, Gene holds, and he and his father have some swell times together at their old

Update

Stripling, 42, died unexpectedly on Oct. 18, 1958, in Hawkinsville, Georgia, while entertaining. According to his obituary, Stripling was born on Dec. 18, 1915, in Jones County, the son of Lowery Franklin Stripling and Sally Nash Baker Stripling. He was a 32nd degree Mason, a member of the Grotto, Eastern Star and was a member o f C r o s s Ke y s Baptist Church. He was a veteran of World War II and member of the American Legion. He participated in the Macon Motorboat Club and Macon Aviation Club. He was survived by his wife, Lois Turner Alexander; a son L.E. Stripling, Uncle Ned performing at Dublin, J r, 2 0 ; a n d t w o Georgia, in 1956 daughters, Sally, 18, and Evelyn 12.

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haunts around Macon when he goes home for a visit. He takes his family with him, for there are more Striplings now – the missus and a year-old son, Gene, Jr. In appearance, Gene "Uncle Ned" Stripling is a handsome and commanding gure. He is six feet tall, weighs 170 pounds and wears a small clipped black mustache. His favorite food, he decides, as if hardput to make a choice between many things he likes, is butterscotch pie with ice cream. Which ought to prove beyond any doubt that Uncle Ned can take it.

June 2023


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