Country Reunion Magazine, October 2021

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Country Reunion m a g a z i n e

October 2021

Charlie Walker Adam Pope

Tom T. Hall Namci Griffith

Kentucky Headhunters Flood Benefit Lor etto Lynn Ronnie Milsap

… and more

Country Reunion Magazine Who’s inside? Alabama, p. 3 Ronnie Milsap, p. 5 Tom T. Hall, p. 6 Nanci Griffith, p. 8 Waverly Flood, p. 10 Peanut Brittle p. 13 Buffalo Smith, p.14 Kentucky Headhunters, p. 16 Charlie Walker, p.17 Collin Raye, p. 18 Diner Chat, p. 20 Darryl Worley, p. 21 Jim Brown, p. 22 Live in Tennessee, 23 Book Club, 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 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

Alabama’s Museum Open For Visitors Daily in Supergroup’s Hometown By Claudia Johnson

More than 50 years ago a trio of young cousins left the cotton farms of Fort Payne, Alabama, to spend the summer playing in a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, bar called The Bowery. It took Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook six long years of tip jars and word of mouth to earn the major label deal they'd been dreaming of. However, it seemingly took no time at all to change the face of country music. “I don't think we thought too far ahead,” said Cook of the early days and their humble beginnings. “We were more concerned with paying our bills at the end of the week and playing music.” In 1980 the band broke through with their first Top 20 hit “My Home’s In Alabama.” Page 3

Click to Listen See more videos on Country Road TV They reeled off 21 straight No. 1 singles – a record that may never be equaled in any genre. The group brought youthful energy, sex appeal and a rocking edge t h a t b r o a d e n e d c o u n t r y 's audience and opened the door to self-contained bands from then on. They undertook a journey that led to more than 80 million albums sold. Their age-proof music can be heard today as a part of every cover band’s set list in nearly every college town in America. October 2021

"I was in Nashville, walking by this club full of young people…I’m talking 18 or 20,” Gentry recal led a memor y that demonstrates the timeliness of their music. “The band started playing ‘Dixieland Delight' and everybody in the place started singing and sang all the way through. I had to smile at the longevity of the songs. Half the crowd at our shows is young people, under 25 Click to Listen years old. So I think that's a tribute to the fact that we spent a career putting out good songs that stand responsible for our continued success on the road the test of time.” and we love them.” Quality songs that have become the soundtrack The ALABAMA Headquarters, located in Fort for American life are the foundation for Payne at 101 Glenn Boulevard SW, is home to the ALABAMA’s stellar career. The group introduced ALABAMA Museum, warehouse, promotion and rock style guitars, lights, pyrotechnics and sounds production offices and the ALABAMA Fan Club to the country audience that has inspired many of membership offices. The ALABAMA Museum’s today’s brightest country stars. remodeled, state of the art facility features more While their musical legacy continues to thrive, than five decades of music memorabilia. their numbers and stats are beyond compare. They "From the early days in Myrtle Beach to the have charted 43 No. 1 and won more than 200 Country Music Hall of Fame, industr y awards and still people of all ages enjoy this counting. They’ve earned 21 experience and the stor y of Gold, Platinum and MultiALABAMA's history," said Mary Platinum albums and were Jones manager of the museum. named the RIAA's Countr y "The museum includes many Group of the Century. personal items, videos, pictures, They are members of the awards and gifts from other Country Music Hall of Fame artists never before seen in and have a star on the public until now.” Hollywood Walk of Fame. They A L A B A M A He a d q u a r t e r s , are also world-class 2021-22 Tour dates located in Fort Payne at 101 philanthropists who have raised Glenn Boulevard SW, is open more than $800 Monday through Saturday from 9 million for charity. a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The “We never thought playing for tips at The museum closes one hour prior to the Fan Club gift Bowery that more than 50 years later we would still shop closing. be playing arenas, stadiums and festivals," says There’s no charge to browse the gift shop, while Owen. "Teddy, Jeff and I are humbled at the admission to the museum is $10 per person. Group amount of fans that are coming out to see us. We rates, senior and military discounts are available. are finding out that we are playing to three Call 256-845-1646 or visit generations of fans who have followed us and our for more information. music from day one. The fans are the ones Page 4

October 2021

Ronnie Milsap mourns loss of Beloved Wife Joyce Reeves Milsap, wife of Country Music Hall of Fame member Ronnie Milsap, died on Sept. 6, 2021. She was 81. She was born on July 25, 1941, in Gainesville, Georgia. At a dinner hosted by her cousin, she met a young Ronnie Milsap. Together, they started chasing Milsap’s dream of becoming a singer and married in 1965. “When people tell me they love my music, I always smile, because that music is pure Joyce,” Milsap said of his wife’s passing. “We went through lean times laughing, good times beyond our imagination, tough times where we held on to each other for dear life. Blessedly/thankfully, she’s in heaven with our Todd — and I know somehow from heaven, she’s still here with me every day, because that’s just how she was.” Reeves and Milsap shared that love with their only son, Ronald Todd Milsap, who died in 2019 at the age of 49. She was also a grandmother to Kye, Asher, Mya and Wyler. See her beautifully written obituary here.

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“There are no words, and not enough songs in the world to explain how much I love my Sapphire,” Milsap said of his wife of 56 years.

October 2021

Above all, Tom T. Hall was a Storyteller by Claudia Johnson

Tex Ritter called Tom T. Hall “The Storyteller,” and the moniker stuck because it was true. The singer-songwriter who passed away on Aug. 20, 2021, at the age of 85, told stories in his songs like the Grammy-winning CMA Single of the Year “Harper Valley PTA,” which catapulted newcomer Jeannie C. Riley to the top of both the pop and country singles charts in 1968, and Hall’s own No. 1 country hit “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine.” “His songs are known for their richly detailed narrative structure and keen understanding of real people and their lives, and have brought to country music both thematic sophistication and social consciousness,” stated the Songwriters Hall of Fame, into which Hall was inducted in 2019. Among his other 33 Top 20 singles – including seven No. 1s – that he recorded himself are “Ballad of Forty Dollars,” “Ravishing Ruby,” “Sneaky Snake,” “Your Man Loves You, Honey,” “A Week in a Country Jail,” “Country Is,” “I Like Beer,” “Faster Horses (the Cowboy and the Poet)” and “The Year Clayton Delaney Died.” Hall’s highest-charting hit on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 as an artist was “I Love,” which reached No. 12 in March 1974. "That there is such a thing as a Tom T. Hall song, that was my greatest compliment," Hall told journalist Jewly Hight in an interview for NPR. Johnny Cash, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Duane Eddy, Patty Griffin, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Dave Dudley and Gram Parsons are just a few of the artists who recorded Hall’s songs. “That’s How I Got to Memphis” became a No. 3 hit for Bobby Bare in 1970, and Alan Jackson made a No. 1 hit of “Little Bitty” in 1996. "I never made judgments in my songs," Hall told Hight referring to the characters he captured and the stories he told. "I had a lot of good characters, a lot of bad characters. But I never bragged on the good guys and I never condemned the losers. On another occasion Hall noted that he left it to the listener make judgements. Page 6

“When I got to the end of the story, if it had a moral, I let the listener find it,” he said. Born May 25, 1936, in Olive Hill, Kentucky, Hall wrote his first song at nine with mentoring from local musician Clayton Delaney. He played bluegrass in his teens, performing on local radio in Morehead, Kentucky, where he wrote a jingle for a sponsor and was a DJ. Hall was a member of the Kentucky Travelers before enlisting in the Army in 1957 at age 21. While serving in Germany, he performed over the Armed Forces Radio Network. After his discharge he attended college on the GI Bill. His son, blues musician, songwriter and singer Dean Todd Hall, was born in 1961 following a brief marriage to Opal Inez McKinney in Hall’s hometown. Dean did not discover his parentage until a teacher mentioned it to him during a school talent show when he was 10. He eventually toured with his famous father and others. “These days, my father and I often hang out at his farm outside of Nashville,” Dean wrote in his blog a few years ago. “We mostly talk about poetry, philosophy, religion, or songwriting – you know: the easy stuff. Oh, and how we found all those roads eventually lead back home.” After leaving Olive Hill in 1961, Hall became a DJ in Virginia. In 1964 a Nashville publisher placed a song he penned, “D.J. for a Day,” with Jimmy C. Newman, who took it to No. 9. That year, he moved to Nashville and landed a publishing contract with Newman and Jimmy Key writing songs for $50 a week. He had his first No. 1 with Johnny Wright’s “Hello Vietnam” in 1965.

Click to Listen October 2021

In 1967 he was signed to Mercury Records. That’s when the “T.” was added to his name to distinguish him from artists with similar names. For himself and others he went on to write 12 No. 1 hit songs, with 26 more that reached the Top 10. As a singer, Hall landed seven Top10 albums on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, including reaching No. 1 on that chart with “The Rhymer and Other Five and Dimers” in June 1973. In addition to songwriting, Hall was lauded for his authorship. He won the 1972 Grammy for Best Album Notes for his liner notes to "Tom T. Hall’s Greatest Hits." His books include the autobiographical “The Storyteller’s Nashville” and the novels “The Laughing Man of Woodmont Cove,” “The Acts of Life,” “Spring Hill, Tennessee” and “What a Book!” In 1994 Hall wrote a children’s album called “Songs of Fox Hollow,” which included a12-page illustrated book. In the intro he offered 11 items of advice for his young (and perhaps older) listeners. “ Re m e m b e r t h a t s o m e o n e , somewhere is always thinking of you and wants you to be happy,” Hall wrote. “People like you better than you think they do. You’re O.K.” “How I Write Songs, Why You Can” was written to help aspiring songwriters. In the book he advised, “The important thing is to keep it close to the earth.” Hall was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2002. He was named a BMI Icon in 2012. Across his career he gar nered six Grammy nominations. Hall received the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2004 with beloved wife and collaborator of 50 years, Dixie, whom he had met at the BMI Country Awards in 1964. The pair was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2018, with Dixie inducted posthumously having passed away in 2015. Hall gave a series of performances at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as the museum’s artist-in-residence in 2005 and was honored with induction in 2008. Page 7

Click to Listen "Tom T. Hall's masterworks vary in plot, tone, and tempo, but they are bound by his ceaseless and unyielding empathy for the triumphs and losses of others," Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young said after Hall’s passing. "He wrote without judgment or anger, offering a rhyming journalism of the heart that sets his compositions apart from any other writer. He was a storyteller, a philosopher, a whiskey maker, a novelist, a poet, a painter, a benefactor, a letter writer, a gift giver, a gentleman farmer and many more things.” At Hall’s 2019 Songwriters Hall of Fame induction in New York City, entertainer Jason Isbell sang Hall’s “Mama, Bake a Pie (Daddy Kill a Chicken)“ about a young man flying home from war without his legs, with a liquor bottle under his blanket and with understanding that his sweetheart most likely won't love the changed man he is. “I can see the stewardess make over me and ask ‘Were you afraid?’” Hall wrote in the song. ”I'll say, ‘Why no, I'm Superman and couldn't find the phone booth quite in time.’ A GI gets a lot of laughs if he remembers all the funny lines. Mama bake a pie, Daddy kill a chicken. Your son is coming home, 11:35 Wednesday night.” “The simplest words that told the most complicated stories,” tweeted Isbell, adding, “Felt like Tom T. just caught the songs as they floated by, but I know he carved them out of rock.” Hall and his wife were devoted animal activists. Memorials may be made in his name to: Williamson County Animal Center 106 Claude Yates Dr. Franklin, TN 37064. October 2021

Crossover Artist Remembered for Lifetime of Contributions to Americana Music by Sasha Dunavant

Grammy winner Nanci Griffith, who was a recipient of the Americana Lifetime Achievement Award, died Aug. 13 at age 68. The multi-faceted singer, songwriter and musician was from Austin, Texas. Born on July 6, 1953, Griffith will be posthumously inducted into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame in February 2022. Her budding talent was encouraged during childhood by her multi-talented performer parents who had engaged her in theatre, music and literature by age 14. After Griffith’s senior prom, her serious boyfriend, Jo h n , w a s k i l l e d i n a motorcycle accident. Even t h o u g h Gr i f f i t h g r i e v e d immensely for her love lost, she turned to writing in her despair. Griffith continued nurturing her creative passions through her college years at the University of Texas. The Folk and Country musician’s artistic expression was everchanging, yet always persistent. When Griffith began teaching Kindergarten in the mid-1970s she called upon her versatility and creative talents. In 1977 Griffith decided to make music her main career focus. Her debut album, “There’s a Light Beyond These Woods,” was recorded in 1978 by a local label after Griffith won an award at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Her 1982 album, “Poet in My Window,” and her 1985 album, “Once in a Very Blue Moon,” were recorded while Griffith toured North America making frequent television and club appearances. In 1986 Griffith made the leap to join the Nashville music scene where she formed her backing band, the Blue Moon Orchestra, named for one of her earlier albums. She soon began touring and releasing albums, including the Grammy nominated “Last of the True Believers.” The album performed Page 8

reasonably well by Nashville standards, but when Griffith released “Love at the Five and Dime” Nashville finally heard her. The song reached No. 3 on Country charts. Commercial label MCA signed Griffith, and in 1987 MCA debuted, “Lone Star State of Mind.” The album showcased a version of the ballad-writing artist that Nashville music gurus had not yet seen. She made the charts with a few songs through the remainder of the 1980s, such as “Trouble in the Fields,” “Cold Hearts/Closed Minds” and her Top 40 rendition of a Julie Gold song called “From a Distance,” later made into a Pop hit by Bette Midler. Griffith’s second top 40 hit, “I Knew Love,” followed in 1988. Briefly disappointed with Nashville’s reaction to her work, Griffith decided to collaborate with rock producer Glyn Johns in MCA’s Los Angeles Pop music division. The 1989 release of Griffith’s Pop album, “Storms,” was critically deemed her most successful album yet. Although the Pop success was rewarding for Griffith, her heart and soul were in Americana. She had straddled the line between several genres, but it was Country and Folk that defined her. In fact, Griffith herself called her version of Americana “folkabilly.”

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October 2021

When Griffith returned to Country music in 1993 with her 10th album, Griffith honored the artists who inspired and encouraged her by involving them in the recording of “Other Voices, Other Rooms.” Legendary artists, such as Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Frank Christian, Guy Clark and others, aided Griffith in a compilation of what she said was her personal favorite piece of work. The album reached number 54 on the Billboard charts and was a certified Gold record. “Other Voices, Other Rooms” was awarded the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Griffith was awarded the Kate Wolf Memorial Award by the World Folk Music Association in 1995. Despite her success, Griffith clearly was no stranger to pain. She was diagnosed in 1996 with breast cancer and in 1998, thyroid cancer. She was outspoken and opinionated for the causes she believed in and was an advocate and philanthropist for important social causes such as AIDs, cancer research and veteran PTSD. Griffith recorded more than 20 albums during her 40-plus year career. In 2003 she performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Among her many accolades is the Americana Trailblazer Award presented to her in 2008 by the Americana Music Association. Griffith released her final album, “Intersection,” in 2012, effectively retiring from the music industry the following year.

Upon Griffith’s death, Suzy Bogguss, who had a top-10 single in 1992 with Griffith’s “Outbound Plane,” expressed her condolences on Instagram. “My heart is aching. A beautiful soul that I love has left this earth,” she wrote. “I feel blessed to have many memories of our times together along with most everything she ever recorded.” Actress Jamie Lee Curtis remembered Griffith on social media by quoting these timely and timeless lyrics from Griffith’s song, “It's a Hard Life Wherever You Go.” “It's a very hard life,” Griffith observed. “It's a hard life wherever you go. If we poison our children with hatred, then the hard life is all that they'll know, and there ain't no place for these kids to go.”

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Looking ahead to the November issue… David Ball will be the guest artist on a NEW LCD show on October 7. Tune in and hear him sing some of your favorite songs. Michele Capps came to the show and sang with David (and joked around with him as well). It was 20 years ago that "Riding With Private Malone" was released to Country Radio. Many associate it with the patriotism that followed the 9/11 attacks, though the song had been on the charts almost a month prior. David first heard it on a songwriters show at the Opry. He asked those two writers if he could record, so he went home and worked up a little version in his home studio. He had already finished recording the "Amigo" album for Dualtone Records but decided to sneak that song onto the album at the last minute. Read more about Ball’s career and what he’s up to now in the November issue.

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October 2021

Loretta Lynn’s Foreman Drowns in Flooding By Claudia Johnson T h e s m a l l to w n o f Wa v e r l y, Te n n e s s e e , experienced an unimaginable loss on Aug. 22 when flash flooding destroyed hundreds of acres of property and dozens of homes and took at least 22 lives. O n e o f t h o s e w a s Wa y n e “Cowboy” Douglas Spears, the long-time foreman of Loretta Ly n n’s d u d e r a n c h i n t h e Hurricane Mills community near Waverly. Lynn described Spears as the backbone of operations for her farm and tourist attraction, adding that he had a "ready smile, kind heart and willingness to go the extra mile for ever yone around him.” “He took such good care of things here on the ranch for us,” Lynn posted on Facebook. “He’s one of us and the whole Lynn family is heartbroken. Please pray for his precious family and friends.”

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Spears’ widow, Louise Spears, with whom he was about to celebrate 43 years of marriage, told The Daily Mail that her husband had gone out to inspect the farm on the morning of the flood, though he was not scheduled to work. He soon returned, reporting with surprise that even though the rain had been torrential, everything on the farm where he had been foreman for 18 years appeared to be fine. When it began raining again, Spears decided to make an additional check on his tractor after quickly eating a Jimmy Dean sausage and biscuit. “He kissed me and said I'll be back in a bit,” she told the Mail, saying he had declined her offer to accompany him on what was expected to be a fast mission. Earlier that morning water was just barely pooling under the wheels of his tractor, but on his return to the farm, Spears tractor tipped over as he was moving it to higher ground by rapidly rising floodwaters resulting from 17” of rain that had fallen in a 24-hour period.

October 2021

The 70-year-old Spears clung to a beam of a farm structure, a moment that was caught on camera, but was along with the building, rapidly swept away. Loretta Lynn’s granddaughter, Tayla, said when she arrived at the ranch and learned Spears was missing, at least 12 ‘of rushing water was blasting through the ranch. Her husband, Jon Fingert joined others searching for Spears, but it was not until Fingert used drone technology that Spears’ body was located. "He was such a wonderful man to this family and this community, and it broke my heart,” Fingert told News 4 Nashville. “All I could do was sit there and pray for him and say my goodbyes.” A funeral service was held for the Elmira, New York, native on Aug. 25 at the Wildwood Valley Church of Christ in Hurricane Mills. A horse-drawn carriage transported Spears’ coffin to the Lynn Family Cemetery for burial. Behind rode two men on horses leading a third riderless steed on which a cowboy hat was affixed. “The Ranch will never be the same without him,” Loretta Lynn posted about her friend. “Eventually we'll rebuild our community, our ranch, our lives and our homes. but only God could build a

man like Wayne Spears. There's just no replacing that. May he rest in peace.” At a later date, Lynn plans to hold a celebration of life for the man they called a part of their family. "She wants to honor someone that gave literally his life for that ranch," Lynn’s granddaughter said. Read Spears’ obituary here.

Loretta Lynn’s Ranch before the flood

Lar ry Dean Tubb & Keith Bilbr ey at the taping of “Lar ry’s Country Diner”

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October 2021

SONGWRITERS for WAVERLY A Benefit For The Victims of the Waverly, Tennessee Floods

Ray Stevens offered the use of his venue, CabaRay and even surprised everyone by showing up to perform when Paul Overstreet pulled together a Songwriters fundraiser for the victims of a deadly flood in Waverly, Tennessee, which killed 20 and destroyed or damaged more than 500 homes. Others who performed were: Lee Thomas Miller (“You’re Gonna Miss This” “In Color”), Jeffrey Steele (“My Wish” “What Hurts The Most”), Rory Feek (“Some Beach” “A Little More Country Than That”), The Chattahoochies featuring Summer Overstreet (“O Outta Country” “I Dodged a Mul let”), Jake Owen ( “ B a r e f o o d B l u e j e a n Ni g h t ” “Beachin”), Marty Raybon (“2 Dozen Roses” “Next To You Next To Me”), S co t t y E m e r i c k ( “ B e e r Fo r My Horses” “As Good As I Once Was”), Paul Overstreet (“Forever and Ever Amen” “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” “When You Say Nothing At

A l l ” ) , We n d a l l Mo b l e y ( “ Ho w Forever Feels’ “There Goes My Life’), Ronnie McDowell (“Older Women” “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation”), Even Stevens (“When You’re In Love With a Beautiful Woman” “I Love The Rainy Night”), John Berry (“Your Love Amazes Me” “You and Only You”), Lee Greenwood (“God Bless the USA” “Somebody’s Gonna Love You”). The lower floor of CabaRay was full and part of the balcony had fans watching from above. It was a great night for a great cause.

The Chattahoochie

PaulOverstreet and Rory Feek

Lee Thomas Miller

October 2021 Ronnie McDowell visits backstage

Areeda’s southern cooking by Areeda Schneider Stampley

Blue Ribbon Peanut Br ittle A Tennessee State Fair Blue Ribbon winner – delicious fall snack! 1 ¾ cups large raw peanuts 1 cup white sugar ½ cup white Karo syrup ¼ cup water Dash salt 1 Tablespoon butter 1 teaspoon baking soda (add after cooking) Wooden spoon Metal “icing spreader,” buttered Large sheet of foil, buttered In a thick 3-quart saucepan, with wooden spoon, mix all ingredients, except soda. Have soda, foil, spreader, etc. in place before turning on heat. On regular stovetop, get temp to a boiling stage (about medium high). Then set saucepan on and set timer to 9 minutes. Boil ingredients hard, stirring constantly for the 9 minutes. Then immediately remove from burner and add soda. Mix fast and well causing mixture to be foamy. Quickly pour and spread thin onto buttered foil. It turns caramel color as it cools. Note: I use a gas stove and my timing is exactly 9 minutes. Time yourself so you know what works for your stove. Guesswork will result in brittle that’s too sticky (undercooked) or too hard (overcooked). It’s delicious and worth the effort.

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

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October 2021

The End of a Great Era "Michael Buffalo Smith as a musician, writer, critic, and southern music historian really gets it. His taste and deep appreciation for the real thing are qualities that inspire all of us in his wake. And it's a big wake."

– Billy Bob Thornton, Oscar and Golden Globe Winning Actor, Director and Musician

Michael Buffalo Smith, whose interview archive has appeared in this magazine for the past several years, was an author, music journalist and performing songwriter from Spartanburg, S.C. He grew up there during the heat of the seventies Southern Rock boom at a time when his hometown heroes, The Marshall Tucker Band, were at the top of their game. Even then, Buffalo was sowing the seeds that would one day find him referred to as the “Ambassador of Southern Rock.” Buffalo worked many jobs as a newspaper editor, features writer, columnist, sports reporter, layout designer and more along with many years in radio as an announcer, copy writer, DJ and production coordinator. He also logged several years as a radio air personality catering to the sounds of the beautiful south while singing and playing his own music on weekends and recording five albums that featured many of the stars of Southern Rock, including Bonnie Bramlett, Pete Carr, George McCorkle, Tommy Crain, JoJo Billingsley and John D. Wyker. In 1997 Buffalo’s first book was published by Marshall Tucker Entertainment of Beverly Hills, California. Carolina Dreams: The Musical Legacy of Upstate SC is a history of the MTB and all the other great music that came from the region. Smith began writing for various regional and national publications including The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Spartanburg Herald Journal, The Greenville Journal, Y’all, Relix, Mojo, Hittin The Note, Discoveries and Goldmine where he became the “go to” writer for all things Southern rock. He created several 10,000-word cover stories including features on The Allman Brothers Band, Marshall Tucker, Charlie Daniels and Gov’t Mule (in their first ever magazine cover story.) Page 14

Michael Buffalo Smith • 1956-2021 He also wrote many features on everything from surf music to Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Kansas, Koko Taylor, Frank Zappa and record collecting, as well as hundreds of album reviews. In 1998, Buffalo founded the online magazine GRITZ and began a ride that lasted over 12 years, including three years as a glossy print magazine. During the GRITZ years, Buffalo conducted countless inter views and wrote hundreds of features, reviews and columns/blogs. In 2006 he joined forces with another internet site and continued doing what he does best, writing about Southern music. When CMT needed a Southern Rock authority to appear on their Outlaw Country and Southern Rock special, they enlisted Buffalo. He was later featured on the documentary section of the Shout! Factory release Live from the Garden State by The Marshall Tucker Band.

October 2021

Released in September 2012, Prisoner of Southern Rock, with a foreword by Billy Bob Thornton, was published by the prestigious Me r c e r University Press of Macon, Georgia. His second book on the Mercer imprint, Rebel Yell: An Oral History of Southern Rock, followed in October 2014. He has also self-published a 500-page collection of his Southern Rock interviews and an equally massive sequel, as well as a book on the Greenville Memorial Auditorium (Greenville, SC) called The Brown Box and a memoir about his days as a fan of the band KISS, called First Kiss.

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Cody); Mark Emerick (Commander Cody); Jakson Spires (Blackfoot); Jay Johnson (Rossington Band); Charles Hart (Radio Tokyo); Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd); Timmy Lindsey (Molly Hatchet/Lynyrd Skynyrd); Steve Grisham (Outlaws/Ghost R i d e r s ) ; Ra n d a l l Ha l l ( Ly n y r d Skynyrd); Mike Estes (Lynyrd Skynyrd); Tim Neely (Humble Pie); Dru Lombar (Grinderswitch); Larry Howard (Grinderswitch); Stuart Swanlund, Ace Allen (Marshall Tucker Band); Donnie Winters (Winters Bros. Band); John D. Wyker; Jimmy Dormire (Confederate Railroad); Rob Walker (Stillwater); Stephen Foster; Rick Moore & Mr. Lucky; Stephen Nichols (Days of Our Lives "Patch"); The Crawlers; The Southern Rock Allstars; The Trunk Band; among others. He has opened for Paul Thorn, David Alan Coe, The Charlie Daniels Band, Molly Hatchet, Bad Company, The Marshall Tucker Band, Blackfoot, Brian Howe, The Southern Rock Allstars, New Legacy Duo and others. The death of Smith is a sad loss, not only for the music business but for everyone who loves music.

Besides being a journalist, Smith was also a musician. Smith has appeared on stage with Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie); Spooner Oldham; Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters; The Marshall Tucker Band; The Charlie Daniels Band; Molly Hatchet; The Winters Brothers Band; Paul Thorn; Tommy Crain & The Crosstown Allstars; The Crawlers; Ed King (Lynyrd Skynyrd); Tommy Talton (Cowboy); Jerry LaCroix (Edgar Winter's White Trash/Rare Earth); Bobby Whitlock (Derek & The Dominoes); Jimmy Hall, Jack Hall and Donna Hall (Wet Willie); George McCorkle (Marshall Tucker Band); Paul Riddle (Marshall Tucker Band); Jerry Eubanks (Marshall Tucker Band); Chris Hicks (MTB); Tony Heatherly (MTB); Sparky (Lynyrd Skynyrd/CDB); Denny Walley (Frank Zappa); Montgomery Gentry; Dave Hlubek (Molly Hatchet); Billy C. Farlow (Commander Page 15

October 2021

Dumas Walker and Kentucky Headhunters Honored with Music Pathways Marker

Attending the marker unveiling on Aug. 18, 2021, were three of the Kentucky Headhunters. In front are Doug Phelps, left, lead vocals, bass guitar, Greg Martin, center, lead guitar, background vocals, and Richard Young, right, lead and background vocals, rhythm guitar. Young’s brother, Fred Young, (drums, vocals) was sick and was unable to attend. In back is James Walker, Brother of Dumas, and Thomas Watson, a Clay County historic preservationist who organized the event.

by Claudia Johnson

Dumas Walker’s Store, as made famous by the Kentucky Headhunters and inspired by Clay County, Tennessee, native and champion marble player Dumas Walker has been honored by the State of Tennessee with a new “Tennessee Music Pathways” marker in Celina, Tennessee. In 1990, the Kentucky Headhunters, a Southern rock band from Edmonton, Kentucky, scored their second hit, “Dumas Walker,” on the country charts. The song was credited to all five then-current Page 16

members of the group – Doug Phelps, Fred Young, Greg Martin, Richard Young and Ricky Lee Phelps. “Dumas Walker” came from the Headhunters’ No. 2 country album, "Pickin’ on Nashville" and followed their previous hit, “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine.” The music video aired on CMT (then exclusively a video channel) and featured Dumas Walker in a cameo appearance. Then 74 years old, he owned Walker’s Package Store on Tennessee Highway 52, in Moss, Tennessee, just south of the Kentucky-Tennessee state line. A large crowd gathered on a hot afternoon to hear stories from three of the Headhunters, Phelps, Mar tin and Richard Yo u n g , a b o u t t h e writing the song, their own youth and musical history and the man Dumas Wa l ke r. Walker’s nephew, Alan West, shared family stories and memories of Walker. Also present was Walker’s brother, James, who drafted the original plan for the store and applied for the business license for it. Launched by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development in 2018, Tennessee Music Pathways is an online planning guide that connects visitors to the state’s rich musical heritage at From the largest cities to the smallest communities, Tennessee Music Pathways stretches across all 95 counties and features hundreds of landmarks from the seven genres of music that call Tennessee home. To read a story about the song. “Dumas Walker,” that was previously published in Country Reunion Magazine, visit

October 2021

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

Char lie Walker : 1926- 2008 Charles Levi Walker was born Nov. 26, 1926, in Copeville, Texas. His music career began as a singer and guitarist with Bill Boyd’s Cowboy Ramblers. He then served in the Army during War War II and played country music over the Armed Forces Radio Network. He moved to San Antonio in 1951, and became one of the nation’s Top 10 country-music disc jockeys. Alongside his radio career, he earned his spot as a Honky Tonk singer best known for his 1958 hit “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down.” He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1967 the same year he had another Top 10 hit with “ Don’t Squeeze My Sharmon.” Other hits included “Close All The Honky Tonks,” and “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me.” Charlie also placed the role of Hawkshaw Hawkins in the move “Sweet Dreams,” which was about the plane crash that killed Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas. His love for helping those in need along with his affiliation with the Shriner Hospitals for Crippled Children allowed him the ability to develop the "Charlie Walker Golf Invitational" in which all proceeds are donated to the hospitals to help children and families in need and is still held each year. Charlie Walker died Friday morning Sept. 12, 2008, in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He was 81years-old when he died of colon cancer. The Grand Ole Opry dedicated the weekend’s show to Walker. Page 17

Celebration of Life Funeral Services were held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008, at Bluegrass Baptist Church with Pastor Matt Tullos and Pastor Paul Frank officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that memorials in honor of Walker’s life be made to Al Menah Shrine Children's Hospital, P..O. Box 78545, Nashville, TN 37207.

Resting Place Hendersonville Memory Gardens Mausoleum 350 Johnny Cash Parkway Hendersonville, Tennessee

Directions to Grave

October 2021

Collin Raye Releases Self-Penned Album

Contemporary country star Collin Raye burned up the sales charts in the ’90s, thanks to a blend of country-rock tunes and socially conscious material. Nothing if not passionate, Raye’s soulful delivery set the country standards with searing ballads as “Love, Me,” “In This Life,” “Not That Different” and “If I Were You,” while also blazing through the other side of the spectrum with vivid rockers like “My Kind of Girl,” “That’s My Story,” “I Can Still Feel You” and “I Want You Bad.” Am e r i ca n So n g w r i t e r h a s e x c l u s i v e l y premiered the new lyric video for Raye‘s latest single, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Bone.” The song is the second single to be released from "SCARS," Raye’s first album of all-new material in over a decade. “ Ro c k ’ N ’ Ro l l B o n e ’ i s a n autobiographical song about the musical journey of my brother Scotty and I. I’m very proud of how it turned out,” Raye told American Songwriter magazine. “I wrote the song, primarily as a tribute to him, while I was pondering our past and childhood and how music was always such a constant e l e m e n t o f o u r l i v e s . We we r e influenced by many different things and I know it’s that musical diversity of loving classic Country Music, as Page 18

well as Rock ’N’ Roll, that turned me into the singer/ recording artist I am today. I hope folks will enjoy the story in the song. It’s totally true!” With 25 Top 10 records, 16 No. 1 hits, and a 10time Male Vocalist of the Year nominee, Raye remains one of Country’s great voices. Raye wrote or co-wrote 12 of the 14 tracks on "SCARS." There are only two outside cuts, and they came from the pen of his brother Scotty Wray (the original spelling of the family surname). “Most of the stuff I wrote was new, written just for this record, and for that reason, I’m extremely proud of it because it’s very personal to me,” said the 10-time Male Vocalist of the Year nominee (ACM and CMA). “Instead of just being the singer of someone else’s words, I’m the singer of my own words. I’ve always liked writing, but I was never prolific. I had to really work for this, roll my sleeves up and prove to myself that I’m a good writer. I’m really happy with it. This was such a fun record to make and I’ve never felt so creative on any album.” For more information, visit

Click Here to Listen October 2021

9-11: Ain’t Over it Yet Nashville-based, Americana singer/songwriter Adam Pope holds nothing back in his poignant new single "Ain't Over It Yet," released for the 20th anniversary of 9-11. The emotional track, which features the harmonic support of Hall of Fame inductee and former 21-year tenor for the Statler Brothers Jimmy Fortune captures the sting of emotions felt by most Americans on this somber day. While just a teenager at the time of the attack, the events of that day had a huge impact on Pope-his takeaway was that neither life nor liberty should ever be taken for granted. Following a visit to Ground Zero and the 9-11 Memorial & Museum in New York in 2015, Pope felt compelled to deliver this message through his music. “I’ve played this song for audiences for the last five years when it felt appropriate," explained Pope. "I’ve had the honor of meeting firefighters who were there that day and people who lost loved ones in the attacks. There’s a lot of people in this countr y who ain’t over it yet, so this song is for all of us.” With the logistical assistance of Wayne Moss, Pope produced the song at Cinderella Sound Studio in

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Click to Listen Nashville alongside session engineer Oliver Risch. Musicians Josh Brown (electric guitar), John Lemaster (pedal steel), and the legendary Charlie McCoy (bass) accompanied Pope's acoustic guitar on the single. Fortune and Pope tracked their vocals at Restoring Hope Church Studio with engineer David Young, who mixed the track. Pope is best-known as one half of the husband & wife duo Adam & Amy Pope and frontman for the rockabilly bluegrass band Monroe Sun. Hea vil y influenced by the music of Sun Records' iconic artists such as Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, and by the contemporary country artists of the 1990s, Pope's music is boundless but based in tradition. Pope's songwriting and showmanship have earned him performances on some of Nashville's most coveted stages, including (but not limited to) the Bluebird Cafe, Music City Roots, and Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. For more information on the single or Adam Pope, visit

October 2021

Diner News I am so excited to announce that the cast of “Larry’s Country Diner” will join me as co-hosts of Diner Chat every Thursday at 2 p.m. (CTR) on “Larry’s Country Diner” Facebook page. You will not know which cast member – Larry, Nadine or Keith – will be with me until you join us. And Michele will join me for one of the Thursdays. We will be answering your questions and chatting, so join us! We are in Branson this month for shows at the Clay Cooper Theater. More photos and news about our shows in the November magazine.

Birthdays Happy Birthday to Gene Watson and Chris Malpass who both have birthdays this month. Get my book “Country Music Birthday” if you would like to keep up with birthdays of the stars.

Update on Nadine & the Bilbreys Thank you for all of the cards and prayers for both Keith and EmyJoe Bilbrey and Nadine and her family. They are doing well and taking it one day at a time. Keith and Emy Joe are making progress going through the ashes and getting ready to start rebuilding. Emy Joe told me the other day that there was a side cabinet taken out of the ashes and cleaned off. When they were able to get the drawer unstuck, there were family photos in perfect condition. She was thrilled.

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Book Club Yes I do have Pete Wade’s book in stock “My Life, My Guitar, My God’s Plan. Pete is great musician and has lots of stories you will enjoy. Phil used him on a lot of the Gospel records he produced. Pete was actuall y a favorite of Dottie Rambo and he played on all of the Rambo records Phil produced. My new memorial book is titled “Country Music Legends GONE But Not Forgotten” hopefully it will be available soon. You can pre-order it and I will ship it as soon as it is in stock. Printing companies seem to be way behind. This book is a little different from” Precious Memories Memorial” or “Cemeteries of The Stars.” It includes information about the “Country’s Family Reunion” series and which series they performed on, what songs they sang and where they sat in the circle. Jan Howard was on 28 Country’s Family Reunion series. Yes, Jan Howard is in this book along with so many others including, Jimmy Capps, Charlie Daniels, Hal Ketchum, Daryle Singletary, Charley Pride, BJ Thomas, Harold Reid, Joe Diffie, Lari White and many more.

October 2021

Spirits commemorate 9-11 & Support Veterans’ Charities

Country music hitmaker Darryl Worley has partnered with veteranowned and veteran-operated Leatherwood Distillery to launch a limited-edition spirits line to help raise money and awareness for veteran and military organizations on the heels of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Known for his patriotic anthem, “Have You Forgotten?,” Worley has been a staunch supporter of the US military having traveled abroad on multiple Stars for Stripes and USO tours to perform on bases in war zones. “I am excited to be working with Andy Lang and the folks at Leatherwood Distillery on this project,” says Worley. “Andy is a special forces veteran, and we will never know what all those guys had to endure while serving our country. Helping raise money and awareness for their charity is something I feel very passionate about and it is truly an honor to have an opportunity to work with these quiet professionals.” Leatherwood Distillery has created 2021 bottles of Darryl Worley Bourbon, Darryl Worley Rye Whiskey and Darryl Worley Sweet Feed Whiskey as well as 2021 bottles of Have You Forgotten Darryl Worley Moonshine in Peach, Apple Pie and Elderberry flavors. “Darryl is the perfect promotional partner for this endeavor as we are coming upon the 20th anniversary of the horrific tragedy of 9/11 and his song ‘Have You Forgotten’ really makes us think of how many have forgotten what took place that day,” said Andy Lang, President of Leatherwood Distillery.

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October 2021

will love you right back.” And from that day for ward that is what Brown has done at each of his shows. “I walk beside my fans and give back as much as I can , ” Brown said. At a show by the Jim Brown Band you can expect to hear a range of music in style and emotion from a tender sentimental love song, “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley or smokin’ countr y-rockers like “The South’s Gonna Do It Again” by the Charlie Daniels Band. The Jim Brown Band plays for corporate events, festivals and fundraisers and one by one this high energy show is winning over audiences while giving back to those in need. Before Brown picked up a pen to write his first song his big gest influence was Jerry Chesnut who made an impact on Brown in the way he could tell a story you could r e l a t e t o w i t h h i s l y r i c s . Jim Brown felt the surge of energy on stage when he Brown knows how music touches the heart and writes was only two years old as he sat behind the drums in his songs that tell stories about everyday situations in our uncle's rock and roll band. Music became a part of his life day to day lives. from that moment on. He got both his first guitar and his Brown's life was forever changed while he was first motorcycle when he was three years old...and began working in Memphis. He had the opportunity to read on a journey that has led him to where he is today. story books to the kids at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Browns’ first memory of singing to an audience was “To see what these kids go through and that they can getting up on stage at the age of nineteen at the famous still keep a smile on their face is truly inspiring , ” Brown Nashville Palace. Thinking back to that night, he said. remembers being nervous and excited at the same time This is one reason why at his events he usually but just telling himself to do the best he could and to just gives back to a charity or someone in need. keep on going. “I am a single father and want to always provide and When asked about performing and being on stage be there for my son ," he said. " Just spending time Brown remembers a quote that was told to him by together, picking him up from school and being there for Barbara Mandrell who had first heard it from Minnie him is the most important thing in my life.” Pearl. “If you get up there on stage and love them , they Brown reflects on his career as a business owner and his journey through the music business and share d s what he has learned. “You can’t please everyone, and you can’t change the way others feel about you - so be yourself ," he said. "If you want something and you think it is within your reach there is nothing that will hold you back. God is in control and he will open the doors when your wants become other people's needs and it is then that you will truly be blessed. " Brown will be performing live this month at several venues , including a gig in Florida with John Schneider. Click here for dates.

The Jim Brown Band Tours this Fall

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October 2021

Have you always wanted to live in the Country?

Now is your chance to have that place in the country you’ve dreamed of all your life. Whether it’s farming, hunting, camping or building the custom home you’ve envisioned. Historic Giles County, Tennessee, has attracted some of Country Music’s most beloved songwriters. This 93.19acre farm creates the same sense of country living they enjoy but with the benefits of an adjacent small town.

Why buy this property? • • • • • • • • • • • •

93.19 acres Private Sale – No Agent Immediate Clear Title Has City Water Has Electric Service Borders City Limits Passed Perk Test Low Traffic Roadway Quiet – Backs up to Farmland Turkey & Deer Plentiful Abundant Wildlife Close to Hospital, UT Southern University, Historic Downtown • 2,640 ft. (1.5 miles) of road frontage allowing for multiple entrances and exits • Property Cleared of Aging Structures

• Sewer Service Adjacent to Property • Annexation to City of Pulaski could be accomplished upon request of property owner • Beautiful gradual rise to property – amenable to hillside/valley wooded lots for development • Pro Rata Taxes • 70 Miles South of Nashville • 4 miles off I-65 • Zoned County • Cattle, Horse & Livestock Allowed • Cozy Cabin on Property • Download Map Here


Contact Vicky Harwell 931-206-8657 Page 23




FarmingOctober 2021

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