Country Reunion Magazine, October 2023

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

October 2023

Nancy & George Jones

Dennis Quaid Ronnie Milsap Church Sisters Country Comedy

Emily Ann Robinson

Rory Feek

Johnny Cash Museum Tony Booth Allison Crowson Darryl Worley October 2023 … and more


Country Reunion Magazine

Who’s inside? Nancy & George Jones, p. 3-5 Dennis Quaid, p. 6-7 Southern Cooking, p. 8 Church Sisters, p. 9-10 Ronnie Milsap, p. 10-12 Country Comedians, p. 13-14 He Stopped Loving Her Today, p. 14–16 Renea the Waitress, p. 17 Emily Ann Robinson, p. 18 Rory Feek’s Homemakers, p. 19 Johnny Cash Museum, p. 21 10 Years Ago, p.21-22 Johnny Lee & Nadine, p.23 Malpass Brothers & Nadine, p. 23 Published monthly by

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

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Nancy Jones Pens Intimate Portrait of 30-year Marriage to “the Possum” by Claudia Johnson As one of the most respected gures in the country music community, Nancy Jones is not just a guardian of her late husband's legacy; she's a testament to the power of personal integrity and perseverance. With a winsome smile and sweet Southern charm that transcends any stage, Nancy is more than just a music icon's spouse; she's a phenomenal communicator. Her ability to connect with people, both in public and private, has endeared her to her husband’s fans and colleagues alike. In 2016, she received the prestigious Source Award from the Country Music Association for her role in "Women Behind the Music.” A gathering took place on Sept. 11, 2023, at Na n c y ’s e l e g a n t h i l l t o p r e s i d e n c e i n Williamson County, Tennessee. It served the dual purpose of celebrating the release of Nancy's new book, Playin' Possum, and commemorating what would have been her husband’s 92nd birthday. Friends from the country music industry, publishing and media worlds, including Claudia Johnson from Country Reunion Magazine, gathered to partake in this special occasion. Before cutting the birthday cake, songwriter Billy Yates regaled Nancy’s guests with the captivating tale of penning "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair" and inviting himself to the recording session where Jones laid down the hit. In collaboration with New York Times best-selling author Ken Abraham, Nancy penned her revelatory work that delves into the depths of Jones's life and their enduring love story. It's a narrative that transcends the surface, unearthing the secrets and nuances that de ned the man behind the music. Before Nancy signed copies of her book, which she gifted to each guest, Abraham read aloud some of Nancy’s favorite passages, sharing stories that were both poignant and humorous, capturing the essence of Jones's enduring legacy. Playin’ Possum illustrates that behind the iconic voice and the legend lay a man grappling with demons – cocaine addiction, alcoholism, abusive behaviors and self-destructive tendencies. Page 3

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Nancy Jones & Ken Abraham

Nancy’s Home

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For more than 30 years, Nancy stood by George, weathering the storms of fame and infamy, love and turmoil. Their marriage on March 4, 1983, marked the beginning of a transformative journey – one that saw Jones conquering his demons with Nancy's unwavering support. While his previous wife, Tammy Wynette, sang "Stand By Your Man," it was Nancy Jones who embodied the essence of standing by her husband through thick and this – a testament to the enduring power of love, faith and unwavering support. Nancy's resilience and her belief in the goodness within him propelled Jones toward redemption. Her story reminds us that even the most legendary gures have their saviors and champions.

“I Dont Need No Rocking Chair

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Actor Dennis Quaid Committed to Country In Lights, camera, music! The multi-talented Dennis Quaid is no stranger to the limelight, having graced the silver screen with iconic performances in The Rookie, The Day After Tomorrow and many other blockbuster hits. But there's more to this Hollywood star than meets the eye. Recently, he's been making waves in a completely di erent arena – gospel music. Emmy Award winner and two-time Golden Globe nominee Quaid is now captivating audiences with his soul-stirring renditions of beloved hymns and classics, along with original songs, in his forthcoming debut gospel album titled “Fallen: A Gospel Record for Sinners.” The rst glimpse into the album’s o erings was his powerful cover of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," released by Gaither Music Group this summer. His mesmerizing cover of Kris Kristo erson's "Why Me Lord" was hailed by AmericanSongwriter.com for showcasing Quaid’ rugged vocals. In a recent TalkShopLive appearance at RFD-TV in Nashville, Quaid sat down with host Bill Cody to

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delve into the stories behind each track on “Fallen.” This album is a labor of love for Quaid, who not only lends his powerful voice but also served as the executive producer. Working alongside renowned producers David R. "Fergie" Ferguson, Ben Isaacs and Chris Lindsey, Quaid ensures that each note re ects his dedication to the gospel genre. Collaborations on the album add an extra layer of richness to Quaid's gospel journey. "I'll Fly Away" features the mesmerizing background vocals of The Isaacs and Jackson Brumley, while "Life's Railway to Heaven" welcomes The Oak Ridge Boys into the mix, creating a harmonious experience for the listener. Perhaps the most poignant track on “Fallen” is "On My Way to Heaven," originally released on the soundtrack for Quaid's faith-based lm, “I Can Only Imagine.” This heartfelt song was inspired by the actor's personal struggles with addiction, making it a testament to his resilience and journey back to his Christian faith.


Quaid's musical journey has been a lifelong passion, and he a ectionately refers to his previous album, “Out of the Box,” as a "junkyard of American music." Music holds a special place in this Texas native's heart. For four decades, he’s entertained audiences on the stage, enchanting them with his performances on both piano and acoustic guitar. He’s brought audiences to their feet with a diverse setlist that spans from the soulful hymns found on “Fallen” to rock 'n' roll classics like "Great Balls of Fire!," paying homage to the legendary "the Killer," whom he portrayed in the 1989 box o ce smash. Quaid's star continues to shine bright in Hollywood, with recent starring roles in Net ix's uplifting movie, “Blue Miracle,” Sony's thrilling “The Intruder,” and Disney's animated adventure lm, “Strange World.” In a groundbreaking performance, he recently completed production portraying the 40th President of the United States in the highly anticipated biopic, “Reagan,” slated for release in early 2024. From the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to the deeply spiritual realm of gospel music, Quaid is proving that true talent knows no bounds. With “Fallen: A Gospel Record for Sinners,” he invites

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listeners to join him on a soul-stirring journey of faith, redemption and the eternal power of music. Below watch the video inter view of Quaid discussing how his faith in God helped him overcome his addiction and save his life.


Areeda Schneider Stampley's

Southern Cooking Sour Cream Pound Cake with Fresh Lemon Zest Glaze

1 box Betty Crocker Butter Recipe Cake Mix 3/4 cup vegetable oil 8 oz. sour cream 1/2 cup sugar 4 eggs 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract Preheat oven to 350°. Place all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer. Blend 4 minutes on medium speed, using paddle attachment, until light and u y. Pour into spraygreased Bundt pan. Bake 45 min. Cool on a rack before removing. Drizzle with Glaze. Glaze 1 & 1/2 cups Confectioners’ sugar, sifted 1 & 1/2 teaspoons water 2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice 2 Tablespoons lemon zest Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well with a whisk. Drizzle over slightly-warm cake.

To purchase Areeda’s Southern Cooking, a collection of old-fashioned recipes, send a check for $25 and your mailing address to Areeda’s Southern Cooking, P. O. Box 202, Brentwood, TN 37024. Order online with PayPal or credit card at www.areedasoutherncooking.com. Page 8

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A Harmony Renewed: The Church Sisters' Musical Journey by Sasha Dunavant

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In the picturesque heart of Southwest Virginia, two young girls embarked on a remarkable musical odyssey that would capture the hearts of many. Savannah and Sarah Church, lovingly referred to as "The Church Sisters," are the fraternal twins who brought their dulcet harmonies to life against the backdrop of the Appalachian Mountains. Their captivating journey commenced in 2007 when they won the coveted WAKG Rising Stars Talent Competition. Their angelic voices were the key to unlocking a future lled with melodies and dreams. With their stepfather, Jay, and their brother, Seth, joining the ensemble, a family band was born, and the stage was set for a remarkable story. The Church Sisters crisscrossed their beloved Virginia, sharing their music with intimate gatherings and sizable audiences alike. Their star continued to rise, and at the tender age of 12, they astounded the world by releasing their debut gospel album, "Farther Along." This was just the beginning, as they followed up with two more self-produced albums: "There's You" and a self-titled masterpiece. In 2012, the sisters embarked on an adventure across the Midwest, gracing the stage as the opening act for Brandon Heath on the Blue Mountain tour, leaving audiences spellbound with their harmonies and stage presence.

Their enchanting voices didn't go unnoticed. The world of bluegrass, gospel, and traditional country took notice of The Church Sisters. The legendary Carl Jackson became one of their most ardent supporters during their teenage years, inviting them to perform on the iconic "Larry's Country Diner" before they even had driver's licenses.

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Television screens across the nation were soon graced with their talent as they appeared on shows like "Larry's Country Diner," "Country's Family Reunion," and Daystar Networks' "Gospel Music Showcase." Collaborations with music legends such as Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Brad Paisley, and many others became a testament to their musical prowess. The Church Sisters had the privilege of working with Grammy award-winning producer Carl Jackson on compilation albums like "Mark Twain: Words and Music" and "Orthophonic Joy." In 2016, they reached a signi cant milestone by signing their rst record deal and began crafting their debut country record under the guidance of Grammy Award-winning producer Julian Raymond. The result was the enchanting "A Night At the Opry," which was released in May of 2018. Their journey took them beyond their homeland as they graced national and international fairs and festivals. Audiences at iconic venues like the Ryman Auditorium and the Bridgestone Arena marveled at their harmonious talents, especially when they provided stirring backup vocals for Eric Church and Hank Williams Jr. during the 2015 CMA’s. Yet, e ven the most harmonious melodies sometimes require a pause. In 2019, The Church Sisters decided to take a break from their musical collaboration. Fans across the globe anxiously awaited their return, and in 2022, Savannah and Sarah answered the call of their music-loving followers. The Church Sisters are now back, their voices once again in perfect unison. They're busy scheduling shows featuring their most beloved classics and unveiling some brand-new material to the delight of their fans. As the sisters embark on this new chapter, they have a thrilling surprise in store: a forthcoming album, its release date shrouded in anticipation. So, music enthusiasts and admirers of The Church Sisters, stay tuned as they embark on a journey of renewed harmony, capturing hearts all over again. Their resplendent melodies are bound to weave a tapestry of enchantment, painting the world with their timeless, soul-stirring tunes. For more about their tours, updates on their marriages and children and more visit their website.

thechurchsisters.com October 2023


Milsap Winds Up Long Career at 80 Editor’s Note: Part I at this look back at the career of superstar Ronnie Milsap was published in our September 2023 issue. by Claudia Johnson As his fans prepare to celebrate his legendary career with the star-studded tribute concert on Oct. 3 at Bridegstone Arena in Nashville, the impact of Milsap's music and his contribution to the tapestry of country and soul remains indelible. “We are thrilled to host the Ronnie Milsap Tribute concert on Oct. 3,” said Bridgestone Arena Chief Venues O cer David Kells. “With more than 50 years of music and 40 No. 1 hits, this celebration is going to be something special.” Over the past ve decades, Milsap's smooth touch and unparalleled talent have left an indelible mark. His ability to seamlessly blend country and soul captivated audiences, appealing not only to country music enthusiasts but also to a broader pop audience. "No Gettin' Over Me" reached the impressive position of No. 5 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1981, underscoring the far-reaching impact of his musical prowess. As the earl y '80s dawned, Milsap subtl y incorporated urban cowboy and soft rock production techniques into his music, a move that solidi ed his position on both the countr y and adult contemporary charts. From 1980 to 1984, Ronnie dominated Bi board's country charts, reaching No. 1 an astounding 13 times. His hit "Smoky Mountain Rain" not only made an impact on the country charts but also reached No. 24 on the pop charts and claimed the No. 1 spot on Adult Contemporary. But it was the 1981 hit "(There's) No Gettin' Over Me" that catapulted Milsap to even greater heights, reaching No. 5 on Bi board's Hot 100 and number two on Adult Contemporary. The ensuing two years were a tour de force for Milsap as a crossover act, with hits like "I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World," "Any Day Now," "He Got You" and "Don't Know How Much I Love You." He had a No. 1 hit with Kenny Rogers, "Make No Mistake, She's Mine," which earned a Best Country Vocal Performance Duet Grammy in 1987.

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While his chart-topping days on the Top 40 may have reached their peak with "True Believer" in 1993, Milsap's journey was far from over. After his brief stint with Liberty, Mislap embarked on an adventure on the oldies circuit, rekindling memories of his earlier hits that had already secured a place in the hearts of music enthusiasts. However, he couldn't resist the allure of the studio, and in 2004, he made a triumphant return with "Just for a Thrill," a collection of timeless standards that showcased his enduring vocal prowess. In 2006, Milsap found himself back home at RCA, where he delivered "My Life," a powerful comeback to the country mainstream that resonated with old and new fans alike. This album marked a milestone as it secured a respectable placement at number 46 on Bi board's Album Charts, his rst since 1991, rea rming the timeless appeal of his music.


A few years later, in 2009, Milsap released "Then Sings My Soul," a soul-stirring collection of gospel and inspirational songs that touched the hearts of listeners across the country. The album climbed to number 19 on the Country charts and reached an impressive number eight on the Christian charts, showcasing Milsap's versatility and ability to connect with diverse audiences. In 2011, Milsap continued to charm fans with "Countr y Again," released by Bigger Picture, followed by the well-promoted "Summer Number Seventeen" in 2014. This collection of oldies covers, released by Sony/Legacy, further reinforced Ronnie's status as a timeless artist whose music transcends generations. Milsap's musical journey didn't stop at releasing albums. In 2016, he graced fans with "Gospel Greats," and in 2018, he delighted audiences with "The Duets," a heartwarming collection that featured collaborations with old friends like Willie Nelson and rising stars like Kacey Musgraves.

Milsap’s podcast can be heard HERE

Even in 2022, Milsap's passion for music continued to shine bright as he ventured into the world of podcasts with "Music and Milsap," a platform where he engaged in insightful conversations with some of music's greatest performers.

Despite personal tragedies, including the loss of his beloved wife, Joyce Reeves Milsap, in 2021 and their son, Todd, two years prior, Ronnie's commitment to his craft remained unwavering. His passion, powerful vocals, and rousing showmanship have made him a cherished concert attraction for over four decades. Milsap's artistry knows no bounds, transcending the con nes of genre classi cations. From country to country-pop, rock & roll to rhythm & blues, funk to pop, and even classical music, Milsap's ability to seamlessly blend diverse styles has made him a formidable entertainer whose impact on the music world remains timeless. As the world celebrates his illustrious career, one thing is certain: Milsap's music will continue to resonate, inspiring and captivating audiences for generations to come. Now, after more than ve decades of musical brilliance, Milsap stands tall as a revered gure due to his unparalleled ability to blend country, soul, rock & roll, rhythm & blues, funk, pop and even classical elements that have made him an entertainer without boundaries, defying narrow classi cations.

ronniemilsap.com

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See photos, discography and more HERE


Country Comedians Make Us Laugh at Ourselves by Sasha Dunavant Country comedians made us laugh with their tall tales and introduced audiences to a completely new form of entertainment. These are a few of the original comedians that kept us slapping our knees and part of what made the Grand Ole Opry unforgettable. Ask anyone still around who remembers listening to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio, and they’ll tell you the comedians were as popular as the singers and musicians. In the early years the comedians were actually vaudevillians, like the duo of Jamup and Honey, who were inducted as members of the Opry. In the 1930s two sisters, Edna Wilson and Margaret Waters, acted out rural skits as Sarie and Sally, with one portraying the irascible and disagreeable sister and the other the kind but scatterbrained sibling. They were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, and their popularity opened the door for the Opry’s most beloved comedian, Cousin Minnie Pearl, who joined the lineup in the 1940s. Two of country’s most famous comedians had careers far beyond the con nes of the Opry stage. Benjamin Francis “Whitey” Ford entertained audiences with his “University of Hard Knocks” knowledge on radio stations such as KWK in St. Louis, Missouri, during the 1930s, where he came to be known as “the Duke of Paducah.” In 1937, Ford teamed up with two talents, Red Foley and John Lair, and helped found and host the Renfro Valley Barn Dance, a radio show that became a famous stage for Country Music on WLW-AM in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ford was the star and host of NBC radio’s “Plantation Party” for nine years. Enduring recognition came from Ford’s 1942-1959 stint on the Grand Ole’ Opry, of which he was a member. He perfected the character, the Duke of Paducah, by collecting hilarious jokes and ending his act with “I’m goin’ back to the wagon, boys; these shoes are killin’ me!” At one point Ford traveled with Hank Snow’s Jamboree Productions, sharing billing with Elvis Presley and many other popular stars. In 1958 Ford began hosting “Country Junction,” a television show that ran for several years on Nashville’s WLAC-TV. Producers of “Hee Haw” bought Ford’s library of jokes, and Ford donated a great deal of memorabilia to The Country Music Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted four months after his death in 1986. October 2023

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Howard Gerald Clower, or Jerry (Jay-Ree) Clower, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1973 at age 47. Mu c h o f w h a t m a d e t h e f o r m e r fertilizer salesman for Mississippi Chemical Company a comic legend were the lo vable characters and memorable punch lines of his stories. A M i s s i s s i p p i n a t i v e , C l o we r studied at Mississippi State University and belonged to the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. He made light of his selfproclaimed, unsuccessful football career and poked fun at himself for not being the best football player. In tales of these events on the eld “JayRee” hysterically proclaims, “Knock 'em out Jay-Ree.” Clower continues his authenticity, telling jokes surrounding Southeastern Conference Football, a particularly obsessive subject of the South. A 2012 Harvard blog refers to Clower as “a teller of tall tales in the tradition of Mark Twain and Davy Crockett.” Perhaps the tallest of Jay-ree’s tales were his Coon Hunt experiences in which Clower excitedly exclaims, “Knock ‘em out John. “ Clower gained national attention in 1971 with his album “Jerry Clower from Yazoo City, Mississippi, Talkin’.” The platinum record remained on the Top 20 of Country Charts for 30 weeks and made more than a million dollars without any pre-publicity. Earning the name, “the Mouth of Mississippi,” Clower recorded his second successful album, “From the Mouth of Mississippi.” Clower’s third album, “Clower Power,” continued with the raucous antics of the Ledbetter family. The Southern Baptist production, “Country Crossroads,” was a popular radio show Clower co-hosted and remained involved with two decades. Clower was proud of his Southern heritage, Christian faith and his time in the Navy. He was presented an array of awards including three bronze stars and the World War II Victory Medal. Clower’s faith and salvation were the inspiration for 1977’s “Ain’t God Good,” an album that included a worship service in which Clower comfortably shared his personal testimony. The testimony became Clower’s rst book and later the thesis for an inspirational documentary lm that won an award from the New York Independent Film and Video Festival. Clower interviewed other comics and country music stars with Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius on, “Nashville on the Road” from 1976-1981. America couldn’t get enough of Clower’s charismatic character. During his 27-year career, he also served as a commercial spokesman, advertising anything from barbeque to shing gear. Even though Clower’s last album was 1983’s "Peaches and Possums," six more albums were produced in Clower’s honor after his death in 1998 such as “Legendary Clower” in 1999 and “The Clower Power Collection” in 2005. Clower evoked a phenomenal reaction in response to his humor. Folks either loved or loathed Jay-rees’s tales, but in common with others who have been called “Mouth of the South” everyone knew exactly who Jerry Clower from Liberty (Yazoo), Mississippi, was. These and other treasured purveyors of rural humor not only made us laugh, they made valuable contributions to the culture of country music as a whole.

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by Claudia Johnson The singer of one of country music’s greatest songs originally sco ed at recording it because he thought it was too morbid and would not sell. Boy was George Jones wrong. “He Stopped Loving Her Today" earned Jones the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1980. The Academy of Country Music awarded the song Single of the Year and Song of the Year in 1980. It also became the Country Music Association's Song of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. The song is sad, really sad. It’s about a fellow who was deeply in love with a woman who’d left him so devastated by her departure years before, he’d spent his life alone wishing for her return.

“He kept her picture on his wall, went half-crazy, now and then,” the lyrics reveal. “He still loved her through it all, hoping she’d come back again.” Written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman, the same writing duo that penned “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” for Jones’ ex-wife Tammy Wynette, the song was introduced to Jones by producer Billy Sherrill in 1978, two years before its release. Jones, who had not charted in six years, was hoping for the kind of song

that would revitalize his slipping career, and he did not think "He Stopped Loving Her Today" was it. Even his producer was a tad reluctant and asked the writers to do some revisions. “Putnam and Braddock killed the song's main character too soon in their early versions,” Jones stated in his 1995 memoir, I Lived to Te It A , by Tom Carter. “Billy kept telling them to kill the guy at a di erent time and then have the woman come to his funeral...He gave the song to me, and I carried it for more than a year, also convinced that it needed rewriting.” When Jones did record it, his disdain for the tune made him less than cooperative. Sherrill told Bob Allen, author of a 1996 biography of Jones called The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend, that Jones hated the melody and would not learn it, singing it instead to the tune of the Kris Kristo erson hit, “Help me Make It Though the Night.” Jones was in such poor physical shape during the recording sessions at Nashville Studio B, according to Sherrill that the song’s spoken word bridge was not nished until months after the rst verse was. Finally, in April 1980 the nished song (sang to the proper tune) hit the airwaves and rocketed to number one where it stayed for 18 weeks. Its success convinced CBS Records to renew Jones’ contract, and after a downward spiral of substance abuse and nancial failure, Jones’ career was revived. In fact, Jones ultimately conceded that a 40-year career was saved by a three-minute song. Often lauded as the greatest country song of all time, the story of a man whose only relief from the grief of lost love was his own death resonated with listeners and became Jones’ de ning song and has seldom been recorded by other artists. Jones re-recorded it for his 2005 album, “Hits I Missed...And One I Didn't.” Johnny Cash performing the song is featured on the 2003 col lection “Unearthed.” Trent Summar & the New Row Mob recorded it on 2006's “Horseshoes & Hand

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The Song that Salvaged a Career

October 2023


Though he never recorded it, Alan Jackson sang it at Jones’ funeral in 2013 and later that year at a CMA tribute. The song’s nal verse compounds the sorrow when the woman the man had loved and grieved appears at his funeral. “She came to see him one last time…we all wondered if she would, and it kept running through my mind, ‘This time he’s over her for good,’” the song’s storyteller observed. Even with the nality of a wreath on his door and him being carried away all dressed up with a smile on his face, many questions are unanswered. What happened to the couple? They were a couple, it seems, because he kept letters by his bed “dated 1962” with every single “I love you” underlined in red. He had a picture on the wall, indicating that he’d been alone since she left, since it’s unlikely another woman would have tolerated his grief coupled with his lost love’s picture. The biggest question is, “Why did she come for his funeral?” Had she been nearby and with s o m e o n e e l s e ? Ha d h e d o n e s o m e t h i n g s o unforgivable that she could only tolerate his presence when he was dead? Perhaps it’s not knowing that makes the song stronger and worthy of its inclusion in Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.

Story Behind the Song

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Renae the Waitress RenaetheWaitress.com

October is full of fun stu for Phil and me. We go to Branson to see all of you great fans and spend ve days of great Country Music entertainment from our favorite artists. Then Phil and I head to Las Vegas for the NASCAR races. We generally meet my brother and his daughter for a fun- lled week of losing money! Lol. Then we head to Phoenix where we visit family and Phil goes Deer Hunting. Finally, we end the month trick or treating with Rio and Sedona, which of course is our favorite part!

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Also in October my favorite new book will be available. “What Happened To The Diner?” This is a book of love…otherwise I wouldn’t have tried to remember the last 14 years!! Believe me, my memory is not as good as it use to be. BUT…it is so amazing to look back at all the wonderful shows and events that happened, not only on the Diner, Branson and the Cruises… but personally with the cast. It s h a r e s o u r h o p e s , d r e a m s , disappointments and heartbreaks. There are lots of pictures for those of you who hate to read…so enjoy!


In the heart of Music City, where the neon lights icker and honky-tonk rhythms echo through the streets, Emily Ann Roberts is carving her name into the annals of country music history. Her latest o ering, "Walkin' Shoes," a standout track from her highly anticipated album Can't Hide Country, is proof that she's not just a rising star but a force to be reckoned with. Collaborating with the talented songwriters Chris Utley, Nicole Croteau, and Kaylin Roberson, "Walkin' Shoes" is a testament to timeless country lyricism. The song embodies the resilient feminine power required to con dently bid farewell to a disloyal partner, exuding empowerment. It's a call to action, encouraging listeners to maintain their self-worth and kick unfaithful partners to the curb. Roberts didn't just stumble upon this spotlight. She paid her dues, starting from the smallest of stages in Knoxville and climbing the ladder to the biggest of them all, the Grand Ole Opry. In fact, she's graced the hallowed Opry stage an impressive 17 times, a testament to her undeniable talent and perseverance. Even before she made her mark on the Opry, she caught the attention of the nation on Blake Shelton's team on The Voice while she was still in high school. Though named a runnerup, it was a win in itself because it set the stage for her meteoric rise. With more than 25 million streams and a spot on Ro ing Stone magazine's list of Best Acts of CMA Fest, Emily Ann Roberts is a rising star in the country music scene. Growing up in East Tennessee, she was nurtured on the rich legacy of Smoky Mountain music, bluegrass melodies, and country legends from Loretta Lynn to Miranda Lambert. It's this diverse musical upbringing that has prepared her to bring the heart and soul back to country music.

Her partnership with producer Trent Willmon, a heavyweight in Nashville's songwriting scene, has surrounded her with kindred spirits who share her passion for authentic country music. "I am passionate about entertaining. I do love singing, and songwriting has become a means to an end for me,” said Roberts. “I write so that I can take those songs and perform them, not the other way around." This unwavering commitment to the stage and her craft is evident in every note she sings. “Can't Hide Country,” recorded at Starstruck Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, and produced by the GRAMMY-winning producer Willmon, showcases Roberts’ mesmerizing lyrics and exceptional vocal talents. Her previously launched album tracks have garnered millions of streams and earned accolades from both the media and her dedicated fanbase. Robert Oermann of MusicRow aptly describes her as having "a helluva voice," particularly highlighting the shimmering ballad "In nity" as a melodic vow of devotion with wedding-song potential. To d a y ' s C o u n t r y Ma g a z i n e co m m e n d s h e r f o r h o n o r i n g country music traditions while incorporating her own signature sound, making her music truly one of a kind. American Songwriter notes the honky-tonk energy she brings to tracks like "He Set Her O ," o ering a fresh perspective reminiscent of Miranda Lambert and The Chicks. And Billboard praises her delightful, throwback sound packed with warp-speed ddles, steel, and banjo in tracks that bring out the best in her traditionalist sensibilities and bluegrass roots. As Roberts continues to walk the country path, her journey is one of empowerment, authenticity, and a deep love for the music that courses through her veins.

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Emily Ann Roberts Can’t Hide Country


With the wonderful success of the rst two Homestead Festivals we’ve held at our farm the past two summers, we have been working on creating or hosting some smaller mini-conferences here where folks can go deeper in their homesteading and life journeys. And we’re excited to see them nally come together with a women’s event this Fall and a Men’s event in the Spring. We are also planning some one-day workshops and classes that we’ll be announcing soon. The Homemaker Conference, on October 28th and 29th, will be a two-day gathering here at our farm where women can come together to share and learn the meaningful and ful lling role of being a homemaker. There will be discussions, workshops, and interactive sessions along with lunch on both days, gifts for everyone, and live music to end the day on Saturday. A weekend lled with faith, family, and fellowship, the daily sessions will cover lots of topics, including canning and preserving, bread making, time management, meal planning, and most of all, why being a homemaker is such an important role in the family. There are some incredible speakers coming in from all over the country to take part in the weekend…Annette Thurmon, Beth Dougherty, Jill Ragan, Becca Groves, Aliceson Bales and our own Rebecca Lamb. Keep in mind, since the event is being held in Homestead Hall here at the farm, there is limited seating, so be sure to get tickets before they run out at www.homemakerconference.com. We’re excited about the event and hope you can join us for the Homemaker Conference. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll share the dates and more info about the Men’s Husbandry Conference this Spring, along with the other workshops and classes that we’ll be putting on here at Hardison Mill.

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Homemaker Conference - an invitation from Rory Feek


Visit the Johnny Cash Museum

The Johnny Cash Museum has been celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2023. The Museum is o cially authorized by the Estate of Johnny Cash and features the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world. Ranked the No. 1 Music Museum in the world by Forbes, Condé Nast and National Geographic Traveler and voted the Best Music Museum in the 2023 USA Today/ 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards, the museum is also one of only six Nashville attractions to garner the coveted AAA Gem Rating and has welcomed millions of visitors to-date. With state-of-the-art exhibits, personal letters, stage costumes, guitars, handwritten lyrics and contributions from family members and notable friends and an expansive gift shop, the museum is THE premier Cash venue to visit. It’s on every day in the heart of downtown Nashville at 119 3rd Ave S, Na s h v i l l e , T N 3 7 2 0 1 , b e t we e n Broadway and Demonbreun streets. The museum is self guided, so guests can spend as little or as much

johnnycashmuseum.com

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time as they like inside, but it’s recommended to allow at least an hour for the tour. Special group rates are available for groups of 15+. General Admission is $25.95 + tax. $1 o discounts available for the following: AAA, Military, College Students and Seniors. Youth admission is $21.95 + tax (ages 6-15, available with adult admission), and 5 & under is free with adult admission.


Tony Booth

Barbara Fairchild

Mary Lou Turner

10 Years Ago This Month Heart of Texas Roadshow Took Branson by Storm A decade ago, in the picturesque town of Branson, Missouri, country music enthusiasts gathered at the famed Mickey Gilley Theater for a memorable showcase of talent. The Heart of Texas Roadshow, h e l d o n Mo n d a y, O c to b e r 2 , w a s a m u s i c a l extravaganza that featured some of the nest artists in the genre. As we take a stroll down memory lane, we revisit this spectacular event that brought together Tony Booth, Mary Lou Turner, Barbara Fairchild, and Al lison Crowson, creating an unforgettable day of country music magic. Tony Booth: The Honky Tonk Legend Returns Tony Booth, a renowned gure in the world of honky-tonk country, headlined the event with his timeless hits. Booth's musical journey began as a front man and bass player for the legendary Buck Owens. However, he soon ventured out on his own, making a signi cant mark with major hits like "Cinderella," "Keys In The Mailbox," "Close Up The Honkytonks," and "Lonesome 7-7203.” After a two-decade hiatus, Booth made a triumphant return to the spotlight, signing with

Mary Lou Turner: A Kentucky Songbird Hailing from Hazard, Kentucky, Mary Lou Turner made her mark as a country music artist in 1974. Her debut hit, "All That Keeps Me Going," set the stage for a successful career that included several top 50 songs on the U.S. Country Charts, such as "It's Di erent with You," "Love It Away," and "Cheatin' Overtime."

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Heart of Texas Records. He graced fans with new gems like "Is This All There Is To A Honky Tonk," "Old School," "The Other Side of Love," and his rst gospel album, "I Love To Tell The Stor y." In recognition of his remarkable comeback, Booth was awarded the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists in 2011. Booth's music knows no boundaries, and his international appeal led him to tour throughout the Southwest and perform in far-o lands like Scotland, England, and Japan. His return to the stage at the Heart of Texas Roadshow was met with thunderous applause, reminding everyone that the honky-tonk spirit never dies.


Turner's most notable moments were her duets with Bill Anderson, which scaled the heights of the U.S. Country Charts. Songs like "Sometimes," "I'm Way Ahead of You," and "That’s What Made Me Love You" became favorites among country music lovers. During the Heart of Texas Roadshow, Mary Lou Turner graced the stage with her grace and talent, showcasing her two Heart of Texas Records albums, "Friends And Memories" and "A Sentimental Music Journey." Her voice, as pure as a Kentucky morning, captivated the audience and left an indelible mark on the Branson stage. Barbara Fairchild: From St. Louis to Nashville Stardom Barbara Fairchild's journey to country music stardom began in St. Louis, Missouri, where she made her mark as a local singing sensation. In 1968, after graduating from high school, she took a bold step and moved to Nashville, a decision that would change her life forever. Her big break came when she was signed by legendary producer Billy Sherrill, known for his work with Tammy Wynette. 1973 marked a turning point in her career, as she achieved million-selling success with "The Teddy Bear Song." Follow-up hits like "Cheatin Is" and "Kid Stu " solidi ed her status as a bona de country star. During the Heart of Texas Roadshow, Barbara Fairchild enchanted the audience with her timeless t u n e s . Ro y Mo r r i s j o i n e d h e r o n s t a g e f o r unforgettable duets and special moments, reminding every one of the magic of classic country music. Tracy Pitcox: The Voice of Texas Country Hosting the show was none other than Tracy Pitcox, a Texas Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Famer. With his characteristic charm and deep love for the genre, Pitcox ensured the Heart of Texas

A l l i s o n Cro w s o n : Te x a s ' Po l k a - In f u s e d Songstress

A Allison Crowson, a Texas-based singer with a unique blend of classic country and polka in uences, added her charm to the Heart of Texas Roadshow. Crowson, the founder of the Bluebonnet Opry in 1998, had hosted legendary acts like Kitty Wells, Billy Walker, Bill Anderson, and Johnny Bush during her monthly shows. With a heart as big as Texas itself, Crowson's musical journey has taken her across the Lone Star State. She continues to own the White Horse in Burton, Texas, and entertains audiences throughout the region with her soulful voice and energetic performances.

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Roadshow was an unforgettable experience for all in attendance. Though a decade has passed since that magical day in Branson, the memories of Tony Booth, Mary Lou Turner, Barbara Fairchild, Allison Crowson, and Tracy Pitcox lighting up the stage continue to resonate with country music a cionados. These artists remind us that the heart and soul of country music are alive and well, and they continue to inspire new generations of musicians and fans alike.


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“A ‘Darryl Worley & Friends: Home For The Holidays” Coming to Gaylord Opryland’s 40th Annual “A Country Christmas” This holiday season, country music hitmaker Darryl Worley will headline a brand-new, multi-week dinner show residency as part of Gaylord Opryland’s 40th annual “A Country Christmas.” K n o w n f o r m a j o r h i t s l i ke “ Ha v e Yo u Forgotten?,” “I Miss My Friend,” “Tennessee River Run” and “Awful, Beautiful Life,” Worley will perform holiday classics and many of his career chart-toppers. Additionally, he’s invited several friends to help ring in the season. The dinner show, titled “Darr yl Worley & Friends: Home For The Holidays,” will feature special guests Lorrie Morgan, The Isaacs, Deana Carter, Billy Dean, Andy Grig gs and Billy Gilman, performing with Worley on select dates. “Christmas has always been a special time for my family,” said Worley. “Growing up, we never had a lot of excessive things, but my parents made sure Christmas was not just about the presents but about the experience and meaning of the season. I am so grateful to Gaylord Opryland for giving me a chance

Get info: christmasatgaylordopryland.com. October 2023

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to share that Christmas spirit with all the people who visit Nashville during the holidays!” He will headline 33 live dinner shows through C h r i s t m a s D a y. He l d i n t h e 2 , 8 8 8 room hotel’s Tennessee Ballroom, guests will enjoy a delicious holiday meal prepared by the resort’s talented culinary team followed by Worley and Friends’ performances. “Headlining a brand-new dinner show as part of the resort’s 40th annual A Country Christmasis an honor beyond words,” Worley said. “Please come visit Gaylord Opryland for the holidays to see me, along with some very talented friends, as we share the music, memories, love, and joy of the holiday season!” Gaylord O p r y l a n d ’s “A Countr y Christmas” kicks o on November 10 with Worley’s debut dinner show beginning on November 23.


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