Country Reunion Magazine, November 2021

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Country Reunion m a g a z i n e

November 2021

David Ball Leslie Jordan David Houston

Deford Bailey Everly Brothers

Cowboy Bar Ernie Ashworth Jack Greene The Kendalls

… June and 2021 more


Country Reunion Magazine Who’s inside? David Ball, p. 3 Leslie Jordan, p. 6 Pumpkin Pie, p. 9 David Houston, p. 10 Deford Bailey, p. 12 Nadine’s Corner, p. 13 Everly Brothers, p. 14 Diner Chat, p. 16 Branson Taping, p. 17 Ernie Ashworth, p. 18 Jack Greene, p. 21 The Kendalls, p. 22 Christmas Music, p.23 Renea’s Book Club, 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 To subscribe or renew call 1-800-8 20-5405 or mail payment to PO Box 610 Price, UT 84501

November 2020


No “Thinkin’ Problem” for David Ball By Claudia Johnson The last thing David Ball has is a “thinkin’ problem.” Yes, that’s the name of his platinum certified debut album and a No. 2 hit single he co-wrote, but it’s in no way reflective of his life. The Grammy and Academy of Country Music Awards nominee has released 10 albums, with 14 of his singles landing on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Charts. “Now, I’m just a ‘king piddler’,” Ball joked recently in an exclusive interview with Country’s Family Reunion News. Don now performs solo and will be on “Larry’s Country Diner” on November 26 and again in rerun on the 28. The 68-year-old singer- songwriter is certainly underselling himself. He’s set to guest star on “Larry’s Country Diner” in November, still performs live and is consistently writing songs and recording new work from the studio he built at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. Page 3

“I’ve gotten better at making it sound better, and I try to write about every 10 days,” he said. Just last year Ball released a self-penned new single “Come See Me,” the title track from his tenth studio album.“'Come See Me' is a throwback to the George Strait era of a great melody and lyric, but done in a very sparse and real setting,” Ball described the tune. Reviews for “Come See Me” were very positive, including one from Charlie Chase of the “Crook And Chase Countdown.” "This music is not over-produced,” said Chase. “It sounds like a personal concert to me. It’s the roots of Country music." Ball’s career as well as his life is rooted in music.

Play three of Ball’s best loved songs here. November 2021


“When I grew up, I really loved music,” Ball said, remembering his early life in his home state of South Carolina where his father, Billy Ball, was a Southern Baptist pastor. “I grew up listening to radio at a time when they played everything from Roger Miller to the Beatles.” Ball said he enjoyed it all, but he particularly liked Webb Pierce, Bob Wills, George Jones and Jimmie Rodgers. Ball’s first record label was concerned that his honky-tonk, traditional Country inclination was “going to set Country music back 50 years,” but he proved he was far more diverse than they’d imagined. “We went to church two times on Sunday and sometimes on Wednesday night – even more often if we had a revival,” Ball recalled. “It was my youth minister who got me to singing in public when I sang ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ in church.” His formative years were spent near Spartanburg, S. C., where beach music, rock, pop, Country and bluegrass all coexisted harmoniously. He personally knew the members of the Marshall Tucker band, a nationally acclaimed Country-Rock group based out of Spartanburg. He was a great admirer of Kentucky bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, an artist even younger than Ball who proved that music can be both a passion and a vocation. And then there was his mother. “Mother was a great musician,” Ball said of his piano-playing mother, Bessie. One of his favorite musical memories of his mother was overhearing her belting out a Coasters’ song called “Little Egypt” as she went about her chores alone – or so she thought. Apparently liking the sound of “Little Egypt”, his mom was not as concerned about the words as the tune (which Ball later realized were about a stripper). “Half the time we didn’t even know what the songs we heard on the radio were saying,” Ball observed, recalling a time before album’s liner notes printed the lyrics. “The music and the lyrics just washed over you. That’s what I want my music to do.” When “Thinking Problem” was issued in 2019 for the 25th anniversary of its release, Kix Brooks of the Brooks and Dunn duo contributed to the CD’s liner notes. "David has one of the most Classic and sincere voices in country music,” Brooks said. “The first time I heard him, I thought, 'I believe what that guy is Page 4

saying’ and after touring with him, I knew for sure he was the real deal.” In 1978 he moved to Austin, Texas, along with Walter Hyatt and Champ Hood, to play bass in Uncle Walt’s Band, a popular acoustic trio that was particularl y noted for intricate 3-part vocal harmonies and a sound that combined traditional countr y with jazz, bluegrass and Beatles-like influences. Nearly a decade later Ball relocated to Nashville to pursue a solo career, while Hyatt and Hood, both of whom are now deceased, remained in Texas. A recording contract, chart-topping hits and concerts dominated those years. Ball said he enjoyed the time and was thankful for the opportunity to tour in his younger days, but touring was very taxing. “You don’t get a lot of sleep on the road,” he said. “I did it about 10 years, and then I stopped.” One big incentive to take gigs closer to home was time with his wife Jan, his Spartanburg High School sweetheart, whom he married 42 years ago, and his daughter, Audrey, who is now 38 and an accomplished musician and singer. "For those of you who haven't heard Audrey Ball sing, you are really missing out," Lyle Lovett said of Audrey’s talent. These days Ball reinforces his self-proclaimed piddler status by playing golf a couple of times each week. In fact, the day of the CFR News interview, he was waiting out a thunderstorm at his local golf club so he could tee off with his friend Wood Newton, coauthor with Thom Shepard of another No. 2 hit for Ball, “Riding with Private Malone.”

Watch “Riding with Private Malone” November 2021


Ball first heard it on a songwriters show at the Grand Ole Opry and got permission from Shepard and Newton to record it. He had already finished recording the "Amigo" album for Dualtone Records but decided to sneak a little version of the heartwarming tune onto the album at the last minute. In a Billboard magazine by Deborah Evans Price, she stated that the song "incorporates all the elements that make traditional country great – patriotism, tragedy, survival, and, of course, a cool car." She noted that the “understated production” kept the focus on the story and Ball's "powerful delivery." With more than a third of his life spent doing what he loves, he’s still garnering accolades from music industry influencers. Watch Ball’s “Honky Tonk Healin' Video “He has been consistently good for more years than I care to remember," Duncan Warwick of Country Music People, said in 2019, while WLAC’s Eric Dahl offered Ball’s most valued praise, ““I can hear your fingers on the guitar, I can understand the lyrics.” Order albums and learn more about Ball’s music by visiting his official website.

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November 2021


Leslie Jordan and Surprise Guests Coming to Ryman for Night of Southern Gospel by Sasha Dunavant

“Hello Fellow Hunker Downers,” actor turned Country gospel singer Leslie Jordan exclaimed to his Instagram followers each morning during 2020’s allconsuming pandemic. Already a seasoned performer and writer, Jordan began posting funny video shorts of himself as he “hunkered down” in his long-time California home while Covid 19 made its nightmarish rampage across the globe. Through his simple daily musings, Jordan introduced the world to his gregarious nature, hilarious personality and Southern charm. Memories, stories and common sense anecdotes about his family, childhood and beloved "mama" played a huge role in his video monologues. So did music – particularly the Southern Gospel music on which he has been raised. Jordan invited musicians to remotely play with him on his Instagram videos, and he sang with them. Sometimes he would just sing alone. During the height of the pandemic, Jordon’s performances and musings delivered in his thick Southern drawl was attracting nearly 5 million viewers daily. The 4’ 11” Emmy-winning actor was incredulous at he was gaining through his Instagram experience. “For someone 65 years old to all of a sudden be, like, an internet star…,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “I’ve loved attention, wanted it my whole career, and I’ve never gotten this kind of attention. I mean, even on ‘Will & Grace,’ winning an Emmy, it wasn’t anything like when you have social media. When you’ve become a success there, it’s unbelievable.” Jordan was born on April 29, 1955, in the picturesque river town of Chattanooga, Tennessee., and was raised as a devout Southern Baptist. Jordan’s father, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, was killed in a plane crash when Jordan was only 11 years old. Page 6

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Jordan left for Los Angeles, California, in 1982 with nothing but faith and $1,500 sewn into his pants pocket by his mother, Peggy Ann, now 86. Like many Hollywood newcomers, Jordon found work in commercials but was soon being tapped for television roles on programs such as “The Wizard,” “Newhart,” “Night Court” and “Midnight Caller.” Jordan worked with the late comedian Richard Pryor in a 1988 comedy movie called “Moving.” He was also a hunchbacked character in a horror spoof film called “Frankenstein General Hospital.” Jordan focused on writing during the 1990s. He wrote characters such as “Brother Boy” in the theatrical production of “ Sordid Lives” and a character named “Peanut,” a bar fly, in an offBroadway production of “Southern Baptist Sissies.” Jordan also performed monologues such as offBroadway’s “Hysterical Blindness.” In 1996 Jordan recovered from the severe substance abuse habit he had developed in California and in time found renewed success with work on television shows such as “Reasonable Doubts,” “Ally McBeal” and “Body of Evidence.” A gifted stor yteller, he authored a semiautobiographical film called, “Lost in the Perishing Point Hotel.” He was cast for appearances on shows such as “Judging Amy” and “Desperate Housewives” and was a recurring character on "Will and Grace,” for which he earned an Emmy Award. In the 2000s Jordan hit his stride as an actor appearing in more than a dozen of films, including “The Gristle,” “Madhouse,” “Missing Pieces” and “Sordid Lives.” He delivered unforgettable dramatic performances in 2011’s “The Help” and this year’s “The United States vs. Billie Holliday.”

Leslie Jordan ft. Chris & Morgane Stapleton "Farther Along" (Official Video)

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Leslie Jordan finally on the Opry Stage All Instagram photos courtesy of @thelesliejordan

He has become a mainstay in the ongoing "American Horror Story" franchise, portraying several characters since 2011. In 2020 Jordan was cast as a main character in a Myiam Bialik’s television sitcom “Call Me Kat,” which has been renewed for a second season. Unafraid to laugh at himself, Jordan’s proclaims on his website that he is an “all around Southern Baptist celebutante.” All the Instagram fame promoted the diminutive actor to write a book titled How Y’all Doing, paying homage to the catchphrase that finally brought him international fame. The book has been touted as a Southerner’s storytelling extravaganza. Harper Collins states that it is “an authentic, warm and joyful portrait of an American Sweetheart.” Jo r d a n’s n o w c l a s s i c In s t a g r a m m u s i c a l performances prompted a new album called “Company’s Comin’,” recorded in Nashville. The idea for the album was born after Jordan was invited to sing on a podcast by Jordan’s friend, Los Angeles songwriter/musician, Travis Howard. “We started approaching people to sing, and we did that through direct message,” Jordan explained in a Rolling Stone magazine article. Nearly everyone approached agreed to work on the album with Jordan. Chris and Morgane Stapleton sing a soulful song called “Farther Along.” Brandi Carlisle duets with her version of the song, “Angel Band.” November 2021


Tanya Tucker joins him on “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.” The most celebrated artist to grace the album’s presence is Dolly Parton. Jordan sings with Parton on a gospel standard called “Where the Soul of Man Never Dies.” Other performers on the album are Eddie Vedder, Ashley McBryde, Charlie Worsham, Katie Pruitt and TJ Osborne. On May 22, 2021, Jordan made his Grand Ole Opry debut with a rousing performance of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” among other classic hymns. Jordan is coming to Nashville Nov. 30 for a one-night-only event called "Leslie Jordan and Friends: Company’s Comin’ to the Ryman," featuring Jordan and several surprise guests performing songs from the “Company’s Comin’” album at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. Since its release, “Company’s Comin’” has received widespread critical acclaim from press including NPR Music, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Vogue, The Washington Post and more. Rolling Stone called it “one of the year’s most surprisingly uplifting listens,” and the Los Angeles Times declared, “The down-home joy and communal revelry of his performances are a balm for these frayed times.” For more information, visit thelesliejordan.com.

Country Artists Unite to Help Children in Need Love From Music City celebrated its 5th Annual Gala last month with an evening of music, entertainment, surprises and support for foster children throughout Middle Tennessee and orphans abroad. The special event, which was held at The Estate at Cherokee Dock, a former home of Reba McEntire, began with a VIP red carpet, followed by hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction and live musical performances. More than $35,000 was raised. Artists present at the gala included Pam Tillis, Buddy Jewell, Marty Raybon, Devon O’Day, Cherish Lee, Charlene Tilton, JD Shelburne, Tim Atwood, Chapel Hart, NEDY, Makenzie Phipps, Denny Strickland, Billy Mason, Chris Golden and Nathan and Suzanne Young, who joined Crystal Gayle, the recipient of this year’s Bill Anderson Icon Award. Gayle was recognized for her contributions made to the community and for her role as a trailblazer and legendar y performer, epitomizing ever ything Love From Music City stands for. The organization has a 50-year legacy of feeding and clothing orphans across the globe, including 10 years of helping Middle Tennessee foster children. To help visit LoveFromMusicCity.org. Page 8

November 2021


Areeda’s southern cooking by Areeda Schneider Stampley

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie A family favorite for Thanksgiving! 3 Tbsp butter 1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar, divided 1/3 cup chopped walnuts 1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell 1 ¾ cups pure pumpkin (canned) 2 cups whole milk or cream ¼ cup granulated white sugar 3 eggs, lightly beaten 1 tsp salt ½ tsp ginger (preferably fresh) 2 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp allspice Preheat over to 450 degrees. Combine butter, 1/3 cups brown sugar and walnuts. Sprinkle over unbaked pastry shell. Bake 10 minutes. Combine pumpkin, remaining 1 cup brown sugar and remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into partially baked shell. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees and bake 45 more minutes.

To purchase Areeda’s Southern Cooking, a collection of old-fashioned recipes send $24.45 check (no credit cards) and mailing address to Areeda’s Southern Cooking, P. O. Box 202, Brentwood, TN 37024. Order online with PayPal or credit card at www.areedasoutherncooking.com.

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Singer More than Persuaded to Dedicate life to Music By Sasha Dunavant David Houston was a traditional Country singer who released 17 albums, 56 solo singles and 8 duets between 1963 and 1964. A descendant of Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas, and of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, the singer was one of the earliest artists to be involved with the

A very young David Houston National Recording Corporation that has been established in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1958. Houston, born on Dec. 9, 1935, in Bossier City, Louisiana, became a regular on the groundbreaking Louisiana Hayride while just a teenager. The singer was also the godson of Gene Austin, an American singer and songwriter, who was considered to be one of the first "crooners." His recording of "My Blue Heaven" sold more than five million copies and at the time was the largest selling record of all time. Austin’s 1920s-era compositions, "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street" and "The Lonesome Road," became pop and jazz standards. Page 10

Like Austin, Houston lived briefly as a youth in a house at the intersection of Marshall and Goodwill streets in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana. Houston may have been inspired by Austin, but his vocal style was pure Country. Although it took him awhile to obtaining meaningful work in the music industry, Houston finally recorded the enduring hit, “Mountain of Love,” after he was signed by Billy Sherrill in the early days of Epic Records. “Mountain of Love” had previously been performed and recorded by Charley Pride, Johnny Rivers and even the song’s composer, Harold Dorman, but the distinctive quality in Houston’s rich voice and a melody that differed from those who had recorded it earlier set his version apart with listeners. In November 1963 “Mountain of Love” became a No. 2 hit on the Billboard’s Hot Country Singles Chart. It was the first of four of his records to peak at No. 2, his other three being "Where Love Used To Live" for four weeks in 1968, "A Woman Always Knows" for four weeks in 1971 and "Good Things" for two weeks in 1973. In 1966 Houston recorded “Almost Persuaded,” a song about trying escape the grip of a temptress. Houston achieved star status in Country music after “Almost Persuaded” reached No. 1. “Almost Persuaded” held the record for having a nine-week streak on the Billboard Chart for 46 years until Taylor Swift surpassed Houston’s record on Dec. 15, 2012, with her catchy song, “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” Houston was awarded the Grammy for Best Countr y & Western Recording and another Grammy for Best Male Country and Western Performance for “Almost Persuaded” in 1967. Houston continued on to release 28 hit records in a single decade. He has a string of five chart toppers and another six more No. 1 hits.

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A few of Houston’s hit songs are “With One Exception,” “You Mean the World to Me,” “Have a Little Faith,” “It’s Already Heaven,” “ Baby , Baby (I Know You’re a Lady)” and “My Elusive Dreams,” a duet with the late Tammy Wynette. Houston later sang duets with Barbra Mandrell on 1970’s “After Closing Time” and 1972’s “I Love You, I Love You.” Houston was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1971. His last hit was in 1974 with a song called “Can’t You Feel It.” The song made it to the Top 10. He continued recording music until 1989. Ho u s t o n d i e d o f a b r a i n a n e u r i s m o n Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 30, 1993, at age 57. He is buried in Rose-Neath Cemeter y in Bossier City, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, alongside his second wife, Katherine Ja n e “Kathie” Guillotte Houston, who was also a singer and songwriter. Engraving on the front of their gravestone states that the pair were married Oct. 19, 1987, with the inscriptions “Together Forever” and “Our Child David Lewis.” On the rear of tombstone is an engraved guitar with the words “The Greatest Duet Partners In

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Life.” His side of their shared marker has an urn that reads "Almost Persuaded," the title of his bestknown hit song, while her side’s urn states "Was Persuaded."

November 2021


Deford Bailey Honored By Sasha Dunavant

From the big cities to the small communities, people were able to hear him play. In 1928 he Tennessee Music Pathways program identifies, recorded eight tracks in Nashville, which were explains and preserves the legacy of music in released by RCA, Bluebird, Victor, RCA other Tennessee. Be it a story of the past, a star of the record companies. His greatest recording is present or the promise of the future, Tennessee considered to be “John Henry,” released separately Music Pathways helps music lovers follow the in both RCA's “race” and “hillbilly” series. music throughout a state rich in musical history. Bailey became one of the greatest performers In September the first African American on the Grand Ole Opry to which he was an Country music star, Deford Bailey, was honored inducted member, playing there from 1927-1941. with a marker on the public square in Carthage, He toured with many famous country artists Tennessee. during his time on the Opry, often encountering Born in 1899, Bailey was the grandson of slaves. Bailey lost his mother soon thereafter, and his aunt Barbara and her husband, Clark Odum, became his foster parents. Learning to play the harmonica after contracting polio at age three gave Bailey an edge while playing what he called “Black hillbilly music” with his f a m i l y i n S m i t h C o u n t y, Tennessee. While polio stunted his growth and left his back somewhat bent, what he lacked in physical stature he made up for in talent and determination. “My folks didn’t give me no rattler, they gave me a harp,” Bailey later explained to researcher David Morton. Bailey’s family joined state and local officials for the ceremony Bailey was getting bicycle parts at “Dad’s Parts” when he met owner Fred “Pop” Exum, who also owned a problems caused by Jim Crowe laws that prevented local radio station, WDAD, where Bailey soon Blacks from eating in restaurants and sleeping in motels frequented by whites. Bailey was fired by began performing. Bailey was invited to perform on WSM’s Barn WSM in 1941 because of a licensing conflict Dance, later renamed “The Grand Ole Opry,” with BMI-ASCAP, which prevented him from where on Dec. 10, 1927, he premiered his playing his best-known tunes on radio, ending his trademark number, "Pan American Blues." Billed performance career. He spent the rest of his life as The Harmonica Wizard, Bailey began making shining shoes and renting out rooms in his home regular radio appearances. An expansion of station to make a living. He died in 1982 and in 2005 was posthumously wattage gave Bailey an advantage because more inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Page 12

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Nadine’s Corner Nadine gave me permission to do this month's article, so I thank her for that! Oh, this is Mona Brown, Nadine's alter ego. I couldn't just pass off the fact that I lost my soulmate on Aug. 2. I thank the good Lord that we had 47 years together and that 99% of them were good! We both had been married before, so we knew what Hell was like, and didn't want to go there again! Dave and I both believed that the Lord has our days numbered, and when our time is up, we're going home! We have trusted Him these many years, and He has never failed us yet and as long as He gives me breath, He has something for me to do and I'm going to try my best to do whatever He wants me to do until it's my time to go home! Dave loved Nadine's joke about this guy going to heaven and his wife died a few years later and went to heaven and she's walking down the streets of gold and sees her husband and runs up to give him a big hug and he holds his hands out and stops her and says, “Woah woman, that contract was just till death do us part!” If you have lost your spouse, know that God is with you. I know He is with me. He gives us peace and comfort and wonderful memories that sustain us as we go through the loss. Tears are part of the process and I cry at Hallmark commercials so tears flow pretty readily. One thing about it, we know so many people who have gone Dave through the same thing so reach out, talk to others and remember the good times! God's not through with us yet! Talk to Him about what He wants you to do. There's a lot of hurting people out there and we can't just sit in our chair waiting on God to take us home! Nadine says the more you complain the longer God lets you live and she tells me all the time, a kick in the butt is one step forward!

Love y'all,

Mona Brown

Keith Bilbrey, Larry Black, Renae the Waitress and Nadine welcomed guests to Larry’s Country Diner in Branson, Missouri, in October.

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November 2021


Last of the Everly Brothers Dies Leaving Lasting Musical Legacy by Sasha Kay Dunavant

The Everly Brothers have both now passed away, but their musical legacy remains. Isaac Donald “Don” Everly died on Aug. 21, 2021, in his Nashville home at the age of 84. Phillip “Phil” Everl y died of Chronic Obstr uctive Pulmonary Disease on Jan. 1, 2014,at age 74. Their 102-year-old mother, Margret Everly, a singer and guitarist, is still living. She a n d h e r h u s b a n d , Is a a c Milford “Ike” Everly, sang for KMA and KFNF in their hometown of Shenandoah, Iowa. Ike Everly, a gifted guitar player (thumbpicker), had h i s o w n r a d i o s h o w. He w a s determined that his musically-inclined boys, who had grown up singing harmony and playing the steel-string acoustic guitar playing, were going to have a shot in Country music. When the “boys” caught the attention of Nashville’s musician and producer Chet Atkins, the family moved in 1955 to Nashville, Tennessee. That year Don, who had just graduated high school, wrote a song for Kitty Wells called “ Thou Shalt Not Steal.” He also wrote two songs for Justin Tubb and another song for Anita Carter. P h i l a t t e n d e d Na s h v i l l e ’s Pe a b o d y Demonstration School, and before he even graduated in 1957, he and his brother seriously Page 14

writing music and had signed with Cadence Records in a deal solidified by Wesley Rose of Acuff- Rose. The Everlys’ first million seller song was “Bye Bye Love.” Written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, the record reached to No. 1 on the Country chart, No. 2 on the Pop chart and No. 5 on the Rhythm and Blues chart in the Spring of 1957. “The Everly Brothers brought the sound of deeply intertwined voices and more than a hint of Appalachia to Rock and Roll,” A Rolling Stone article from Jan. 4, 2014, observed. Widely-known and well-remembered hits such as “Wake Up Little Susie,” “ Bird Dog,” “Problems” and “All I Have to Do is Dream” were all hits by 1958. Between 1957- 1962 the Everly Brothers had 15 Top 10 hits. The duo became members of the Grand Ole Opry on June 1, 1957.

Listen to “All I have to do is Dream” November 2021


The duo signed with Warner Brother’s Records 1960, where they had hits such as “ Walk Right Back,” “So Sad,” “Cathy’s Clown” and “Ebony Eyes.” “Their records were among the most immaculately crafted and innovative of the era, a testimony to the brothers’ musical vision and to the skill Visit the family’s website o f t h e Na s h v i l l e session players who proved themselves adept at executing more than they were often given credit for,” The Country Music Hall of Fame website notes in reference to the brothers’ success. By the end of the 1960s the duo ended collaboration, but both Phil and Don kept working. Don and his band, Dead Cowboys, made the

Many bands such as The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel have revealed that they were influenced by the Everly Brothers. The Everly Brothers were among the first 10 artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. They were introduced by Neil Young, who observed that every musical group he had ever belonged to had tried, and failed, to copy the Everly Brothers' harmonies. Rolling Stone magazine named the Everly Brothers No. 1 on a list of “Greatest Duos of All Time.” They were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Don was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2019. He received the organization’s Riff Award for his guitar-playing skills. “Don lived by what he felt in his heart,” a statement from Don’s family read when he passed. “Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to

Listen to “Let it Be Me” Country charts in the mid to late 1970s. Phil sang backup for Roy Woods’ 1975 album, “Mustard.” He also sang backup for Warren Zevon’s self-titled album. Phil recorded “Every time You Leave Me” with Emmy Lou Harris among other musical ventures. The Everly Brothers had solo careers for 10 years, but after their father’s funeral in 1983 the brothers joined forces once again. The pair toured and recorded albums, some of which made the bestseller charts. Don and his son performed at a concert for Kentucky flood relief. Page 15

Listen to “Bye, Bye, Love” live his dreams ... with his soulmate and wife, Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother.” November 2021


Diner News It has been so great to see Nashville back to normal. In fact, tourism here is better than ever. Downtown Nashville is crowded with Country music fans having a great time. It is sad to see some of the smaller businesses that didn’t make it after the shut down, and of course you can still see the destruction from the bomb that went off downtown on Christmas day 2020. But folks are not wearing masks, and you can see happy faces again! I will have new books and DVD’s co m i n g s o o n : “ C o u n t r y Mu s i c Legends: Gone But Not Forgotten”, “Phil’s Funnies”, “ Nashville Memorial Tours” Volume 4 and a new book on T. Graham Brown. And of course in early January I will have the 2022 Newspaper Book. I still have Jimmy Capps book and William Lee Golden’s book in stock.

Taping New Shows Wynn Varble joined Rory Tuesday night. I had never met Wynn before…. but I have to tell you he was GREAT! He is a great singer-songwriter! He wrote the song that Darryl Worley had a hit on “Have You Forgotten” and he is ver y funny. Not joke funny…..just funny. I can’t wait until we can have Wynn perform at the Diner so you all can meet him.

Branson Our Branson shows were so much fun. We started the week w i t h Ro r y Fe e k performing Monday night. Indiana came with him and sat on stage. Everyone was so happy to see her. She loves ballet so Rory ask her if she wanted to do a Ballet move for us. She was so excited to do a twirl for everyone. I have Rory’s books “Once Upon A Farm” and “ This Live I Live” in my book club. Check it out.

Texas Tenors Wednesday night was the Texas Tenors and of course those three tenor voices were beautiful to listen to. Thursday night Rhonda and the Rage were there and ready to entertain. I call Rhonda the Energizer Bunny because she never slows down. She loves performing and we all love her. We ended the week with The Malpass Brothers. I laughed so much I was almost sick. I heard a rumor we are already booked for next year at Clay Cooper Theater….so stay safe and plan to come to Branson next year. Page 16

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Ernie Ashworth: Radio Star, Solo Artist By Sasha Dunavant

Earnest Bert " Ernie" Ashworth started his career in radio, like so many others who, in time, would end up as Country music performers. For 10 years – from 1960 to 1970 – every record Ernie released made the national charts. Of these, 12 were Top 10 Hits. Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, performed on several local radio stations on the outskirts of Huntsville, including WBHP, where he was a featured artist by the age of 20. His career escalated in the 1950s when he began writing songs for recording stars like Carl Smith, Johnny Horton, Jimmy Dickens, Wilma Lee Cooper and Paul Anka after being signed by Wesley Rose a s a s o n g w r i t e r f o r Ac u f f - Ro s e Music. While living in Nashville and between 1949 and 1955 worked for several radio stations, including WLAC and WSIX. In 1957, Ashworth returned to Huntsville to pursue a job working for the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal. Decca Records picked Ashworth, and Ashworth Page 18

dropped his first single, “Each Moment (Spent with You).” The song became a Top 5 hit. Ashworth then had a Top 10 hit in 1961 called “ You Can’t Pick A Rose in December.” Later, Ashworth had a Top 20 hit, “ Forever Gone.” He soon moved to Hickory Records, another company owned by Acuff- Rose. He soon recorded another Top 5 hit, “Everybody but Me” and another Top 10 hit, “I Take the Chance.” His third hit, “ Talk Back Trembling Lips,” was dubbed as Ashworth’s signature song. The song was on the Country chart for 42 consecutive weeks. It also made the 101st place on the Pop chart. In Billboard, Cashbox, and Record World magazines, Ashworth was named him “Most Promising Male Artist.” In 1964 he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Ashworth recorded more hits such as, “The DJ Cried,” “At Ease Heart” and “I Love to Dance with Annie.” The country star purchased two radio stations in Flomaton, Alabama, and WSLV in Ardmore, Alabama. In between hits Ernie appeared on the Silver Screen in the movie "The Farmers Daughter" in 1965.

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November 2021


Ashworth has been inducted into the Alabama Hall of Fame. He also received the Pioneer Award, Living Legend Award and Country Music Outreach Award. Ashworth was awarded by BMI, Cashbox and Record World. He continued performing, and in 1999 he also had a No. 1 hit in the UK called “Lonely Only Bar.” He was referred to a s “ Nu m b e r O n e Mo s t P r o g r a m m e d Independent Artist in Europe.” When he recorded for the 35th Grand Ole Opry Anniversary CD in 1999, one of the country songs on the CD "She Don't Drink, She Don't Smoke, But She Lies" hit the number No. 4 spot on the European Country Music Charts. One of the gospel songs on the CD, "Far Side Banks Of Jordan," hit the number No. 35 spot on the Gospel Charts. Ashworth has also been inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame and the Alabama Country Music Hall of Fame. Ashworth lost his beloved wife, Elizabeth “Bettye” Rose in November of 2007. On March 2, 2009, the man who obtained his childhood dream of becoming a Country music star, passed away. Ashworth had previously undergone a heart bypass surgery shortly before his death occurred in a

h o s p i t a l b o u n d a m b u l a n c e i n Ha r t s v i l l e , Tennessee. He was 80 years old when he died, but he had made Grand Ole Opry appearances into his later years. He was survived by his daughter, Rebecca Gail Parker, and three sons, John Michael Ashworth, Stephen Mark Ashworth and Paul Wesley Ashworth. Ashworth’s Honorar y Pallbearers were family members and members of the Grand Ole Opry staff.

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November 2021


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

Jack Greene: 1930 - 2013 Jack Greene died Thursday May 14, 2013, in his sleep at his home in Nashville from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83. Despite his failing health he performed at his 83rd birthday party in January. Jack Henry Greene was born Ja n . 7, 1 9 3 0, i n Ma r y v i l l e , Tennessee. He got his first break in music at 17, as a drummer for Ernest Tu b b’s b a n d , T h e Te x a s Troubadours. He released his first solo single, “The Last Letter”, in 1964. His first hit in 1966 was “Ever Since My Baby We n t Aw a y ” a n d a l b u m “ T h e r e G o e s My Everything” was the top country album of the year. “There Goes My Everything” reached number 1 and became a crossover hit. He won Male vocalist of the year and song of the year in 1967 and became a member of the Opry. His next #1 hit was “All The Time,” followed by a #2 hit “What Locks The D o o r. ” H i s n e x t number one hit was “You Are My Treasure” followed by a string of hits. In 1970 he teamed up with Jeannie Seely. Together they had 3 Country hits including “Wish I Didn’t Have to Miss You”. Their stage show became one of the biggest touring acts during the 1970s.

During his musical career, he released sixteen albums and o ver for ty single recordings, with a total of five number 1 Countr y hits and three others that reached the Top 10 Celebration of Life A memorial ser vice, “Celebration of Life and Love of Jack Greene.” was held Wednesday, March 27 at 11 a.m. at the Ryman Auditorium. Performers included Vince Gill, “Go Rest High on that Mountain”, Lorrie Morgan, “Ave Marie”, Gene Watson, “There Goes My Everything”, Mandy Barnett, “Peace in The Valley”, The Whites & Ricky Skaggs, Blessed Assurance”, Penn Pennington, “He is My Everything” and Joe Rucker, “Statue of a Fool.” Resting Place Sherwood Memorial Gardens 3176 Air Port Hwy Alcoa, Tn 37701

Directions Traveling east, looking north, on Hwy 129 the cemetery is on the left.

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The Kendalls by Claudia Johnson

The flip side of a Country single catapulted Country Music’s most famous father-daughter duo to a career that spanned two decades and saw more than 30 of their hits reach the Top 40. The Kendalls, Royce and daughter Jeannie, may have recorded “Heaven’s Just a Sin Away” 40 years ago, but the snappy title has doubtless been “sung” a million times by fans of the song. " We 'd o n l y p l a y e d t h e t h i n g o n c e , a n d w e remembered it,” Royce, who died in 1998 at the age of 62 from a stroke recalled in an interview. “That's a good sign . . . that's the reason we cut it." The song was originally the B-side to 1977’s "Live and Let Live," but deejays began playing "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" instead, sending it to the top of the country charts for a month and netting awards from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music as well as a Grammy in 1978. The Kendalls hea vy radio play and burst of commercial success lasted from 1977-1985. Their biggest hits of the late '70s included "It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' to Me," "Pittsburgh Stealers," the number one "Sweet Desire" and "I Had a Lovely Time." In the ‘80s they had more hits with songs like "You'd Make an Angel Wanna Cheat," "Teach Me to Cheat" and a third number one, "Thank God for the Radio." Both Jeannie and her father were born in St. Louis, Missouri, but Royce had moved his family to Los Angles, California, in the late ‘50s to pursue a musical career with his brother, Floyce, who performed as The Austin Brothers, a guitar-mandolin duo. Without finding the success he had hoped, Royce returned to St. Louis and opened a barber shop, but he did not stop singing. "I was born and pretty much raised there," Jeannie said in a 2003 interview with Jon Weisberger. "We lived in California for a little while when I was really young, but

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otherwise that was it. Daddy used to sing with his brother, and when I was a little bitty teeny thing, they had a duet called the Austin Brothers. They sang some bluegrass songs, and Louvin Brothers style music, and he would do the harmony, and then he'd switch off and sing the lead. But he never did like singing lead that much, so he started me right out doing that, and then he'd sing harmony to me." When Jeannie was only 15 years old, she teamed up with her father with Jeannie typically singing lead and Royce double tracking his light baritone harmony vocals behind her. They sold a demo tape by mail order and even signed to a small record label, where they recorded a 1970 cover of "Leaving on a Jet Plane" that just missed the country Top 50. Their sound was perfect for the Country music recording scene in Nashville during the late ‘70s with its mix of traditional country, country gospel, honky tonk and blue grass. But Country Music changed, and the Kendalls’ commercial success did not last. The duo kept recording, relocated from their home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, to Branson, Missouri and switched their focus to bluegrass. Jeannie, a songwriter who had penned several of their recordings, continued writing songs. She and her father had been working on an album when Royce died in 1998 on his way to a performance. "Daddy sang on two songs on the album - in fact, right before we left, we were working on songs, and that's why we had them done,” Jeannie explained to Weisberger. “And then we went out on the road, and that's when he passed away." Jeannie said it took a couple of years to determine what to do with the album, finally deciding to invite guest artists to help. “So, we sat down and made a list of different singers and artists we'd like to have on the album. We wanted Alison Krauss and Ricky Skaggs and Rhonda Vincent and, of course, big on the top of the list was Alan Jackson,” she said. “I'm thankful that we pretty much got everybody that we were looking for.” Jeannie completed the album in 2003 with the gracious help of musicians who had admired her and her father and those she herself respected.

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November 2021


Christmas Music is the Soundtrack of Our Holiday Memories by Sasha Dunavant It’s that time of year again, the time of year that the decorations go up and the family comes out. It is the time of year that we look forward to all year long, no matter our age. It’s the time of year that gives us hope for the year to come. Music is our favorite part of Christmas, and it began touching our lives decades ago. While some Country Music Hall of Famers record single Christmas songs for the holiday season, some wish to make your season bright with chart-topping albums that are so unforgettable, we absolutely cannot have Christmas without them. Let’s take a look back at some of country’s most memorable Christmas albums. Elvis’ Christmas Album, the bestselling Christmas album of all time, first hit the racks in October 1957 and has been released four subsequent times. It topped the Billboard Charts for a solid four weeks. The latest stats show that 13 million copies have been shipped in the United States alone. Fans retain tremendous love for the “King,” to this day, and even recording artists of all genres say the album is one of their personal holiday “must haves.” We couldn’t agree more. Five years after Elvis Christmas Album had its debut, country music legendary artist Johnny Cash introduced The Christmas Spirit, which had taken Cash three years to complete. Cash performed vocals and wrote four songs himself, while eight others were already holiday favorites. June Carter Cash co-wrote the tune entitled, “Christmas as I Knew It” along with Grand Ole Opry Star, Jan Howard. The album included what has become a Christmas classic, “The Little Drummer Boy,” which topped both pop and country charts. Cash also recorded “Silent Night,” previously recorded by Presley, his former label mate at Sun Record. The Christmas Spirit album made it to No. 7 on Billboard Holiday Album Chart for 1963. The success of The Christmas Spirit album inspired Cash to release three more holiday collections, with one released each decade from the ‘60s through the ‘90s. In a career spanning 1954-2003, Cash, his wife and other members of their musical family touched generations. It is inevitable that Cash’s The Christmas Spirit dwells in our hearts at Christmas time.

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Two beloved Country music stars, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Pardon, joined voices to create 1984’s Once Upon a Christmas, accompanied by a popular television special called, “A Christmas To Remember.” In 1989 Once Upon a Christmas was named a Double Platinum album by the Re c o r d i n g In d u s t r y Association of America. Pardon recorded a second Christmas album comprised mainly of traditional Christmas songs entitled Home for Christmas in 1990. It, too, was accompanied by a television special and gained a Gold accreditation. Rogers went on to record six Christmas albums. The most recent release is 2015’s Once Again It’s Christmas. The album entertains its audience through its alliance with up and coming music sensations, such as Home Free and Winfield’s Locket. Platinum songwriter and pianist Jim Brickman is featured along with treasured country music artists Allison Kraus and Jennifer Nettles. “I can’t tell you how much fun it was recording a Christmas record again,” Rogers said, expressing his love for the yuletide. “I’m excited for people to hear it. I feel like this is a special group of songs — both old and new — and I was particularly lucky to be joined by many talented guest artists and musicians who each have something unique to say.” Country Music powerhouse Leann Rimes released her third holiday record, Today is Christmas, on Oct. 15, 2015. Rimes co-wrote two original songs for the album, including the title track “Today is Christmas” and “I Still Believe in Santa Claus.” “I wait for Christmas all year long – it’s my absolute favorite holiday,” Rimes said. “I can’t wait to share some of my new original Christmas songs as well as my favorite classics. I am looking forward to making more holiday memories with my fans this year.” Rimes, who had her first hit at the tender age of 13, begins her “Today is Christmas” tour on Dec. 4. These artists make our holiday seasons memorable. They take us back and move us forward. Whether it is on a television special, at a live performance or listening on the radio, their execution of holiday song is mesmerizing, and once we experience it, we cannot get enough. May your holiday be bright and your heart be light. This is the time of Country Christmas Music. Enjoy.

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November 2021


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