Country Reunion Magazine, November 2023

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

November 2023

Waylon Jennings David Ball

Heart of Texas Museum

Kitty Wells Tim Atwood Owen Bradley

Hank and udry Wil iam William Lee Golden Cousin Emmy The McCrary Sisters Nadine





Country Reunion Magazine

Who’s inside?

Published monthly by

Country Road Management 710 N. Main St., Suite B Columbia, TN 38401

Waylon Jennings, p. 3-4 David Ball, p. 5-7

Larry Black, Publisher

Southern Cooking, p. 8

Paula Underwood Winters, Editor, Print Layout

Heart of Texas Museum, p. 9-10

Claudia Johnson, Writer, Online Layout/Design

Kitty Wells, p. 11 Tim Atwood, p. 12-14

Online Subscriptions $15 per year

Owen Bradley, p. 15-16

Hank and Audry Williams, p. 17 Annual Print Subscriptions $29.95; renewals $24.95

William Lee Golden, p. 18 Cousin Emmy, p. 19-20

Print – subscribe or renew call 1-800-8 20-5405 or mail payment to PO Box 610 Price, UT 84501

The McCrary Sisters, p. 21 Nadine, p. 21 Jimmy Fortune, p. 22


“America,” a Country Anthem for Equality and Patriotism by Sasha Kay Dunavant

“Some have said down through history, if you last it’s a mystery” begins the song “America,” written by Sammy Johns and recorded by the legendary Waylon Jennings in September of 1984, who took it to No. 6 on the Bi!board Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart. “America” opens with that somewhat doubtful lyric but regains its faith in the next line by asserting, “I guess they don’t know what they’re talking about.” As a songwriter Johns stands up for racial inequality in the beginning of the chorus by writing, “And my brothers are all black and white, yellow too. And the red man is right to expect a little from you. Promise, and then follow through, America.” Patriotism takes a leading role as the chorus moves along with, “And the men who fell on the plains and lived through hardship and pain, America, America.” The writer expresses gratitude towards the amnesty granted to those known in the View Nam era as “draft dodgers” by writing, “And the men

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who could not fight in a war that didn’t seem right. You let them come home, America.” The song informs listeners that the singer’s roots are “around Tennessee” and invites the rest of the country into the mix stating, “It don’t matter where I roam. Tell people that it’s home sweet home.” The songwriter, however, was born in North Carolina. Given a guitar at an early age, Johns formed a band while writing his music. He landed a recording deal in Atlanta in 1973. Working with several record labels during his career such as General Recording, Warner Curb Records and Elektra, Johns had a handful of charting singles such as “Common Man” and “Love Me off the Road” during the 1970s. Much of Johns’ success in the Country music industry resulted from other singers like Sammy Kershaw, Willie Nelson, Conway Twitty, John Conlee and Waylon Jennings recording and performing his original songs.


July 2021

“America” was the first single released by Jennings from his 1984 album, “Waylon’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2.” In addition to being a solo artist, Jennings was a member of the Highway Men, an allstart group that also included Kris Kristofferson, Willie, Nelson, Johnny Cash and Jennings himself. Je n n i n g s s a i d t h a t h e chose to record “America” to commemorate the ending of a 20-year partnership with RCA records, having been inspired by the events of the Olympics that year. The 1984 games were boycotted by a total of 14 Eastern Bloc countries, including the Soviet Union and East Germany, in response to the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Iran and Libya also chose to boycott the Games for unrelated reasons. Jennings wanted to express his love for the Unites States of America and easily made the

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decision to record and perform “America” in hopes that the song would hit home for all Americans. The music video for “America” featured depictions of people of all colors and creeds living and enjoying life together as one people. Jennings sits outside of a convenience market with a guitar and sings “America” while scenes from around the country are shown. The video was nominated for CMA Video of the Year. He also sang “America” for a celebration of the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. In 1985 the song was nominated for Country Song of the Year. Jennings performed it live in Austin, Texas, in 1989. “America” is a patriotic song for imperfect yet, grateful Americans. It’s a comfortable anthem and a plea for equality, showing appreciation for both American soldiers and American citizens.

Watch as the U.S. Army Band performs “Travelin' Soldier” Below


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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 Bi!board 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.

“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.


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

“When I grew up, I really loved music,” Ball said, saying’ and after touring with him, I knew for sure he remembering his early life in his home state of South was the real deal.” Carolina where his father, Billy Ball, was a Southern In 1978 he moved to Austin, Texas, along with Baptist pastor. “I grew up listening to radio at a time Walter Hyatt and Champ Hood, to play bass in when they played everything from Roger Miller to Uncle Walt’s Band, a popular acoustic trio that was the Beatles.” particularl y noted for intricate 3-part vocal Ball said he enjoyed it all, but he particularly liked harmonies and a sound that combined traditional Webb Pierce, Bob Wills, George Jones and Jimmie countr y with jazz, bluegrass and Beatles-like Rodgers. Ball’s first record label was concerned that influences. his honky-tonk, traditional Country inclination was Nearly a decade later Ball relocated to Nashville “going to set Country music back 50 years,” but he to pursue a solo career, while Hyatt and Hood, both proved he was far more diverse than they’d imagined. of whom are now deceased, remained in Texas. A “We went to church two times on Sunday and recording contract, chart-topping hits and concerts sometimes on Wednesday night – even more often if dominated those years. Ball said he enjoyed the time we had a revival,” Ball recalled. “It was my youth and was thankful for the opportunity to tour in his minister who got me to singing in public when I sang younger days, but touring was very taxing. ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ in church.” “You don’t get a lot of sleep on the road,” he said. His formative years were spent near Spartanburg, “I did it about 10 years, and then I stopped.” S. C., where beach music, rock, pop, Country and One big incentive to take gigs closer to home was bluegrass all coexisted harmoniously. He personally time with his wife Jan, his Spartanburg High School knew the members of the Marshall Tucker band, a sweetheart, whom he married 42 years ago, and his nationally acclaimed Country-Rock group based out daughter, Audrey, who is now 38 and an accomplished of Spartanburg. He was a great admirer of Kentucky musician and singer. bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, an artist even younger "For those of you who haven't heard Audrey Ball than Ball who proved that music can be both a sing, you are really missing out," Lyle Lovett said of passion and a vocation. Audrey’s talent. And then there was his mother. These days Ball reinforces his self-proclaimed “Mother was a great musician,” Ball said of his piddler status by playing golf a couple of times each piano-playing mother, Bessie. week. In fact, the day of the CFR News interview, he One of his favorite musical memories of his was waiting out a thunderstorm at his local golf club mother was overhearing her belting out a Coasters’ so he could tee off with his friend Wood Newton, cosong called “Little Egypt” as she went about her author with Thom Shepard of another No. 2 hit for chores alone – or so she thought. Apparently liking Ball, “Riding with Private Malone.” 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 Watch “Riding with Private Malone” Page 4


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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 Bi!board 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. "What'll I Do If I Don't Have You" 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


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 co!ection of old-fashioned recipes send $24.45 check (no credit cards) and mailing address to Areeda’s Southern Cooking, P. O. Box 202, Brentwood, TN 37024. Order online with PayPal or credit card at 8

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November 2021

Heart of Texas Museum is Gift to Country Fans

percent of the collection was donated by the artists themselves or the artists’ family. Several pieces have been purchased out of estates from entertainers, including Jim Reeves, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, Faron Young, Dottie West, Roy Acuff, the Wilburn Brothers, Ernest Tubb, Speck Rhodes and Grandpa Jones among others. Of special interest are costumes designed by some of the greatest tailors in the business including Nudie, Harvey Krantz and Nathan Turk among others. In fact, the idea for the Heart of Texas Country Music Museum began with a Rose Maddox gold and rhinestone dress made by Nathan Turk. “This dress was worn by Rose Maddox in the 1950s and was designed by Nathan Turk Rodeo Tailor,” Maddox stated in the letter with the dress, adding, “It is the last one that I have."

by Claudia Johnson More than 100 Country artists are represented in the Heart of Texas Country Music Museum in Brady, Texas. Stage costumes, musical instruments, autographs, posters and other memorabilia highlight Country Music's colorful past. KNEL disc jockey Tracy Pitcox began collecting various stage costumes from several entertainers in the industry, and the collection soon outgrew the storage area in his office. Brady businessman Billy Jackson donated a lot on South Bridge Street in Brady in memory of his wife, Peg gy. Donations poured in and soon construction began. Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright broke ground on the museum. The entire 1,200-square-foot white limestone structure was built debt free over the next two years and officially opened on Aug. 5, 2000. Leona Williams, Darrell McCall, Dave Kirby, Big Bill Lister, Frankie Miller, Johnny Moore, Al Dean, David McCormick, Justin Trevino and Ron Williams participated in the ribbon cutting. The museum contains hundreds of authentic pieces of Country music memorabilia. About 80 October 2020



Among the other costumes on display are Ray Price’s Nudie-designed suit with rhinestone feather designs; Lefty Frizzell’s Nudie Musical Note Suit used on the “Lefty Frizzell Greatest Hits” album; Ernie Ashworth’s “Lip Suit” honoring his biggest hit “Talk Back Trembling Lips;” custom black, white, yel low and red boots and a white cowboy hat from Carl Smith; George Jones’ Nudie suit; and Hank Williams Jr.’s Nudie-designed musical shirt along with his custom made monogrammed boots (pictured left). Some of the other items are: • Kitty Wells’ gingham dress and Johnny Wright’s Nudie suit • Webb Pierce's "Wondering Acres" guitar shaped mail box •Barbara Mandrell’s rhinestone encrusted belt from her stage dress and her personal home jukebox filled with records from her career • Johnny Cash’s Desert Storm fatigues • June Carters Cash's gold lamé dress • Buck Owens’ red, white and blue guitar • George Strait's Resistol Straw Hat • “The Tall Texan” Billy Walker’s 1965 Martin and 12 string Vox guitars with his Manuel stage suit and pants

Hollywood Walk of Fame award and his 1975 Cadillac Limo. The Hank Snow collection includes his Gay custom inlayed guitar, Harvey Krantz suit used in his 80th birthday portrait, musical note suit, Leddy boots and his desk name plate. The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” Loretta Lynn has donated se veral items to the museum, including stage dresses, shoes and even jewelry. Located at Bill Anderson 1701 South Bridge Street in Brady, Texas, the Heart of Texas Country Music Museum is run by the 1,000 member Heart of Texas Country Music Association. Volunteers keep the museum open, and admission is always free. Group and bus tours are welcome. The museum can also be seen by making an appointment during times it is not scheduled to be open. For more information and to confirm hours of operation or schedule group or special tours visit, call (325) 597-1895 or email •

Texas native Jim Reeves is honored in a display containing two of his suits, a record award, a Grammy nomination plaque., a suit and his Baby Martin guitar. The museum acquired Reeves’ 1956 Flxible Touring Bus, “Big Blue,” which has been refurbished, is now parked beside the museum and o p e n f o r to u r s . A f te r Re e v e s ’ d e a t h , " B i g B l u e " w a s u s e d b y Wi l m a B u r g e s s a n d The Wilburn Brothers. Ferlin Husky’s extensive display includes his tailored tux, first guitar, rhinestone guitar strap, October 2020



Homes of the Legends: Kitty wells & Johnnie Wright by Renae Johnson

Sweetheart couple Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright lived at 1302 Saunders Av e . , Madison, Tennessee.. The land was purchased for this sprawling one-story h o m e i n Ja n u a r y 1960. It sits on 1.5 acres with a fenced back yard at the end of the street. It had 11 rooms, including four bathrooms, four bedrooms, a fireplace and a finished basement. The total living space was 3,236 square feet. There is a pool in the back and carport with two parking spaces. Kitty and Jo h n n i e b o t h h a d v e r y successful countr y music careers. Kitty was known as the Queen of Country Music. Her 1952 hit, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,” is a Country classic. Johnnie had a singing career October 2020


performing with Jack Anglin. Their first single, “Poison Love,” was a hit in 1951, and several o t h e r s f o l l o we d i n c l u d i n g , “G o o d n i g h t , Sweetheart, Goodnight.” After Anglin was killed in an automobile accident he joined Kitty as part of her stage show. Two of their children, Bobby and Ruby, also had recording careers. Ruby sang for a while as Nita, Rita and Ruby with Anita Carter and Rita Robbins. B o b b y a c te d i n t h e 1 9 6 0 ’s T V s e r i e s “McHale’s Navy” as Willy Moss. Both country music legends lived in this home until their deaths. Johnnie passed away on September 27, 2011, at the age of 97. Kitty passed away on July 16, 2012, at the age of 92. • 16

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

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died in service to this country. Without pause Atwood accepted her challenge. With that vow, Britton removed the bracelet from her own wrist, and Atwood placed it on his own. It was a commitment he took seriously. “I lived with that bracelet every day. For the next four years, I never took it off,” Atwood recalled. “Capt. Grimm became a huge part of my life. Day and night, he was always with me. I wanted to learn more about the man behind the name, so I began to do my research. I learned that Capt. Grimm was a hero.” Capt. William D. Grimm served in the Air Force. He was the navigator on Spectre gunship Spirit 03 during Desert Storm. On January 31, 1991, under the cloak of darkness, Grimm's crew were returning back to base when they received a distress call from a group of trapped Marines taking heavy enemy fire. Even though their aircraft was now visible by the dawn's breaking light, Spirit 03 turned around to give air support. They saved the lives of the Marines on the ground that day, but as they turned once again to fly back to base, they were shot down over the Capt. William D. Grimm Persian Gulf by a lone shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missile. Fourteen airmen “sacrificed all” that day, including Capt. William D. Grimm. “I shared the story behind the bracelet and its meaning nightly with my audiences all over the United States. I even shared parts of the story on “Larry's Country Diner,” the Hal lmark channel's “Home & Famil y” show, “Huckabee” and “FOX News.” Atwood said. “You see, even though I never met Capt. Grimm, I felt like I knew him. I didn't know his ethnicity, his political affiliation, socioeconomic status or religion, but I knew all of the important things. I knew his heart. I knew he believed in this country enough to fight for it. He believed in freedom so much that he lost his own life saving others in the fight for it. He earned the right to be remembered.” 12

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


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Atwood said that this made him very happy. “This is what I hoped for! My heart is full,” he said. Before catching the flight home, the Grimm family requested that all fourteen men who lost their lives with the downing of Spirit 03 be remembered. With Memorial Day just behind us, they request that you take the time to read every name, thank these men for their sacrifice, and say a prayer for their families. They are heroes all. Major Paul J. Weaver Capt. Arthur Galvan

“It meant so much to us when we heard the story about the bracelet,” he said. “There is some kind of bond that forms with the closeness of the memory being on your wrist. I think that's what Tim felt wearing it all these years. It represents a person. A person's life. His thoughts. His goals. His dreams.” The Atwood family was able to spend the weekend with the Grimm family while they were in town for the “Huckabee” taping. After a Saturday of Nashville sightseeing, on a car ride back to their hotel, William's daughters shared their plans now that they are the new keeper of the key. “We've given it a lot of thought,” Stephanie Grimm said. “We think it is amazing that this bracelet was worn every day for the past 30 years. We want to keep that tradition alive. Like you, we never want this bracelet to see the bottom of a jewelry box.” Liz Grimm added that they decided to share the bracelet with the entire Grimm clan. “We want everyone in the family to take turns wearing our dad's bracelet,” she said. “We plan to ha ve famil y reunions where we pass the bracelet on every few months to another member of the family so they can share our d a d 's s to r y w i t h o t h e r s . Thirty years is a long time. In a way, you brought our dad back to us. Suddenly we are hearing stories about our father that we've never heard b e f o r e . It w a s a s i f y o u brought our dad's memory to life a gain for the entire family.”

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

June 2021


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

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

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

John Anderson & Frank Jones – "Swingin"

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


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

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

Areeda Schneider-Stampley is a writer, longtime employee of CBS Records, cookbook author and lives in Nashvi"e with husband country music legend Joe Stampley. areedaschneider@be"

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Country Reunion Magazine June 2021

The House of Two Legends by Renae Johnson

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

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

Oak Ridge Boy William Lee Golden Takes Fans Behind the Beard In New Book

“This is the autobiography that most people thought would never be written,” William Lee Golden, said, stroking his long, white beard. “To be honest, I doubted it would ever get done…but here we are.” As a member of the Oak Ridge Boys for the past 50 years, Golden has become one of the most recognizable faces in country music. His iconic long hair and beard helped the Country Music Hall of Fame member choose the title for his just released autobiography. “People have always been interested in my beard, and since I’m telling lots of behind-the-scenes stories of my life and career, I thought Behind the Beard was the perfect title.” Behind the Beard is an amusing, poignant and brutally honest memoir. Wife Simone said even she was surprised when her husband finally committed to putting his life story down on paper. “When I found out William was going to write a book, I thought “Uh-oh. Oh boy,” she said. “I know he is not afraid to tell the truth. He is genuine and honest, almost to a fault. He can be almost too honest. But I was thrilled when he told me he was writing his life story. I can’t wait to read it!” “Behind the Beard” includes details of how Golden helped turn a gospel group into one of the biggest acts in country music history. For the first time, Golden shares the real reason he was fired from the group, and how he made a “Prodigal Son” return to the Oaks. “When you write your life story, and you decide to bare everything, it’s kind of scary,” Golden said. “It feels a lot like getting naked…in front of the entire world. That’s really not something I would suggest… especially if you’re an 82-year-old like me!” Told in the singer’s own words, Behind the Beard was co-written by Scot England. England’s previous country music autobiographies include those by Ronnie McDowell, Johnny Lee, Moe Bandy, Jimmy Capps, Larry Black, Lulu Roman and Misty Rowe. “We’ve worked on the book for the past year. Scot went down to the farm where I was born in Alabama,” said Golden. “He interviewed my sister and brother Page 21

and all my sons. He interviewed my wife numerous times, and he also spent a couple days with my first wife. She knew she was dying, but she took time to do an extensive interview for my book. She passed away a week later.” Golden’s Oak Ridge Boys partners also share their memories in the book. “I know William has a lot of stories he wants to tell in this book, and I support him 100 percent,” Duane Allen said. “He has a lot of fans who want to read about the interesting life he has led.” Low-note legend Richard Sterban added, “I am honored to be a part of William’s book, and I look forward to reading it. Imagine that…I’m with the guy almost every day of the year, and I’m still looking forward to finding out things that I don’t know about the man.” The deluxe, 350-page, hardback book includes 200 rare, never-before-seen photos. “We found pictures that I had never seen,” Golden said. “When we got the first copy of the book, my wife started crying. It will become a treasure for my family, and I think any country music fan will enjoy it. I hope all the fans of the Oak Ridge Boys will love it. For a guy who doesn’t talk much on stage, I seem to have filled up a pretty big book. I’m proud of how it came out.” Each book costs $24.99 plus $5.00 for shipping. Autographed copies, hand signed by William Lee are $29.99, plus $5 for postage. To order William Lee Golden’s Behind the Beard by credit card or Paypal, you can log onto or To order by check, send payment to England Media 102 Rachels Ct. Hendersonville TN.


July 2021

Cousin Emmy: Queen of the 5-String Banjo By Claudia Johnson In the early days of radio a surprising number of Illinois, where her mother had moved after her female performers became popular and influential – parents’ divorce. surprising considering that most of them were born Appearing as “Joy White,” her repertoire before women could even vote, let alone control eventually included some 15 or more instruments, their own careers. including the banjo, guitar, fiddle, piano, accordion, Cynthia May Carver, best known by her stage saxophone, harmonica, ukulele, jaw-harp and musical name, “Cousin Emmy,” is a sterling example. Born saw. March 14, 1903, she is considered one of the She also played musical numbers on a rubber pioneering solo female stars in the country music glove fitted with a nozzle and a hole in the middle industry. finger. In fact, Grandpa Jones Playing five-string banjo, she credited her with teaching first performed on radio with him the claw hammer style two Carver cousins in a band of banjo playing when broadcast on WHB in they were both a part of Kansas City, Missouri. West Virginia’s WWVA She was soon recruited by Jamboree in 1937. WHAS in Louisville, One of eight children Ke n t u c k y, w h e r e s h e Car ver was born to became a featured act sharecropper parents in with Frankie Moore's Log Barren C o u n t y, Cabin Boys in 1935. Kentucky. That same year she “I was raised in a log became the first woman cabin with cracks so big you to w i n t h e Na t i o n a l could throw a cat through it Oldtime Fi d d l e r ’s and never touch a hair!” she Contest. would say, admitting that By 1938 she had her own she had only two weeks of touring group, Cousin formal education. “I started Emmy and Her Kinfolk, and strippin’ 'tobakker' when I was eight, I a r a d i o program. It was not unusual reckon.” for her to travel as much as 500 miles in a Her father, Henry, played fiddle, while her day to maintain her rigorous performance schedule. mother, Molly, was a banjo player. In the early 1940s her popularity resulted in “We was always singing around home, and I exposure in large radio markets like St. Louis, learned them ballads from my great grandmother,” Missouri, where she had a sponsored radio show, and she told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat in an interview in Knoxville, Tennessee, where her show on WNOX when she performed solo with her five-string banjo attracted 2.5 million listeners nationwide. at the City Art Museum in February 1944. “I’m the Cousin Emmy was best known for her “comedy sweetest singer of mountain ballads that ever came rube act” and was said to have a “brassy and even out of the foothills.” outrageous” personality. She had begun performing as a small child, and “Ain't no tellin’ what I’ll pull out next,” she would by the mid 1920s she and brother Burton began say as she retrieved a harmonica from her cleavage. performing around the Twin Cities and Central 19

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January 2021

Time Magazine featured Carver in its Dec. 6, One of those was “Ruby, Are You Mad at Your 1943, issue. Man?,” which she recorded in 1946 as Cousin Emmy “Every morning but Sunday at 5:25 the and Her Kin Folks. The song has become a bluegrass notoriously noxious air of St. Louis is purified by the standard. The Osborne Brothers recorded it in 1956, natural twang of real mountaineer and Buck Owens made it a Top goings on,” the Time article 5 hit in 1971. The Carolina stated. “These upcountry Chocolate Drops regularly proceedings continue for an hour perform it at their concerts. over CBS Station KMOX, a Her music and prestige took her 50,000-watter with some to Hollywood where she played 2,500.000 steady listeners. They Cousin Emmy in “Swing in the emanate from a radio group Saddle,” a 1944 western movie known as Cousin Emmy and Her that featured several other (and Kin Folks.” less popular) country acts. Time Magazine described her Cousin Emmy and Her Kin as a “teetotaling, nonsmoking, Folks appeared in “The Second unprofane Baptist,” but that has Greatest Sex,” another Western been disputed by those who met musical film, 11 years later. her in her travels. The Cousin Emmy Song Carver insisted that she was Book with photographs, a single, saying, “I ain’t got time to biographical sketch and lyrics to do no courtin'.” This, too, may be nine songs was published in a myth. One researcher claims 1945. Due to her national h e ’s f o u n d a t l e a s t t h r e e attention and sustained radio Click to Listen marriages, but this writer could and touring popularity, Decca n o t c o n fi r m t h i s t h r o u g h Records signed Carver to a genealogical research. contract, but she only recorded one album, “Kentucky Regardless of her personal life, professionally she Mountain Ballads,” released in 1947 with her band. was a sought-after performer during the 1940s. A Carver’s authentic sound, timeless content and Shreveport, Louisiana, newspaper, The Times, stated unadulterated talent found her in the 1960s and ‘70s in its Nov. 13, 1948, edition that she was “something during a time when folk music was appreciated by a of a radio phenomenon” and mentioned the 1943 Time new generation of listeners. Magazine article. Cousin Emmy gained a new audience as a result “I figured that they should put me in the running of the folk revival of the 1960s. In 1961, while for woman of the year,” Carver said, perhaps not performing at a "Country & Western Night" show really joking, adding, “but nothing ever came of it.” at Disneyland, she met the New Lost City Ramblers. The newspaper observed that on stage she wore In 1967, the New Lost City Ramblers convinced high-button shoes, cotton stockings and a checkered Cousin Emmy to record with them on the album "The dress, but that in person she dressed more New Lost City Ramblers with Cousin Emmy.” She conservatively. also appeared on "Rainbow Quest," a folk music “She is a husky-voiced person with platinum hair, series hosted by Pete Seeger. Such performances led a very white face, dimples and a definitely over-sized to an appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, mouth,” The Shreveport Times wrote in announcing excerpts of which were part of an anthology her upcoming appearance on “Louisiana Hayride.” collection, and in “Festival,” an Academy AwardIn spite of her “rube” character, Carver was an nominated documentary. astute businesswoman who bragged that she was “the Carver died April 11, 1980, in Sherman Oaks, first hillbilly star to own a Cadillac” and insisted on California, where she had lived for many years. Her retention of all rights to the dozens of songs she grave at Eternal Valley Memorial Park reads “Cynthia wrote. M. Carver, ‘Cousin Emmy,’ Queen of the 5-String Banjo.” 20 Page 7 January 2021



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