Country Reunion Magazine, October 2022

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

October 2022

Moe Bandy Mark Wills Texas Tenors Appalachian Roadshow

Kody Norris Kelly Lang

Cowgirl’s Song Oscar Sullivan … and mor

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October 2022


Country Reunion Magazine Who’s Inside? Moe Bandy p. Diner Cruise, p. Kelly Lang, p. Mark Wills, p. 6Nadine, p. Appalachian Roadshow, p. 9-1 Chapel Hart, p. 1 Texas Tenors, p. 13-1 Kody Norris, p. 1 Terry Choate, p. 17-2 Ed Bruce, p. 18-1 In the News, p. 2 Branson Show, 2012, p.2 Oscar Sullivan, p. 2 Renae the Waitress, p. 2 Show Taping Photos, p. 2

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October 2022


By Claudia Johnson There aren’t many musical performers who’ve been on top of a bucking bull or bronco and on top of the country music charts, but Moe Bandy has Before his honky-tonking country sound drew him to the spotlight, Bandy took center stage in another type of venue “Dad had an arena called Bandy’s Arena where we’d all get together to ride bulls and play some music,” the singer said, recalling his youthful amusements. “That was right down my alley. The family had moved from their hometown of Meridian, Miss., to San Antonio, Texas, area when Bandy was six years old, and by the time Bandy was 16 he and his brother, Mike, were participating in rodeos across the state. Bandy worked as a cowboy on a ranch and competed in bull riding and bareback bronco riding “I got tired of bruises and fractured bones,” he said, explaining why he nally turned to music as a career While growing up, Bandy’s mother played the piano and sang, and his father sang and played guitar with a local band called the Mission City Playboys, teaching young Marion, whom he nicknamed “Moe,” to play as well “Dad wanted me to be a star,” said Bandy, whose successful career ful lled his father’s wish by recording 10 Number One smashes, 40 Top Ten hits, 66 charted releases and ve gold albums, plus earning an ACM/CMA award for Duet of the Year and being inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Three of Bandy’s recordings, “Bandy the Rodeo Clown,” “Rodeo Romeo” and “Someday Soon,” were

especially appropriate given his longtime connection with rodeo After Bandy became a successful country music singer, he played the rodeo circuit receiving the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's award for Entertainer of the Year. He was also honored as Entertainer of the Year by the International Rodeo Association, and was named Texas Entertainer of the year by the Rodeo Cowboys Association The singer ’s brother, Mike Bandy, had an impressive rodeo career and wa s a six- time National Finals Rodeo bull riding quali er. Both Mike and Moe Bandy were inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2007 Bandy continued his relationship with the rodeo through his interest in his Professional Bull Riders bulls, one named MoeBandy.com and one named Bandy’s Bad Boy “MoeBandy.com made it to the nals four times,” Bandy said, adding that he tried to go watch his bulls in competitions when he could work it into his busy performance schedule Now a resident of Branson, Mo., at age 78 he continues to perform regularly in Branson and at a variety of venues throughout the United States “I’ve been playing music for 60 years,” he said, observing, “I think we’re here for a purpose. I’ve been lucky to have this [music career]. Bandy said the favorite of all his recordings was “’Til I’m too Old to Die Young,” with lyrics that encapsulate his feelings about his life “If I could have one wish today and know it would be done, I would say, everyone could stay ‘til they’re too old to die young. Bandy’s new performance on “Larry’s Country Diner” airs Oct. 13 and again Oct. 15

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Moe Bandy – Bulls, Broncos and Country Music


Larry Black and the cast of “Larry’s Country Diner” invites fans of traditional country music to join them for a tropical, all-inclusive getaway to Moon Palace in Cancun, Mexico, May 7-11, 2023 Guests for this VIP Getaway will spend time with the cast as well as special guests Mark Wills, Rhonda Vincent, The Malpass Brothers and Jimmy Fortune The Getaway package includes three “Larry’s Country Diner” shows with Larry, Renae the Waitress, Keith and, of course, Nadine. There will be a separate Nadine Comedy Show, and Getaway guests will meet the stars personally during special events The all-inclusive Getaway package also includes Superior Deluxe Garden View lodging at Moon Palace, food, drinks, taxes, gratuities and transfers to and from the 5-Star Moon Palace Resort a n d t h e C a n c u n In t e r n a t i o n a l A i r p o r t (airfare not included) To see photos of Moon Palace and learn more a b o u t t h e r e s o r t 's o t h e r a m e n i t i e s , v i s i t www.moonpalacecancun.com For more information on the trip, call Larry’s customer ser vice line at 1-800-820-5405 or visit www.lcdgetaway.com to book the reservations

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By Claudia Johnson For more than 35 years October has been a month dedicated to breast cancer awareness. To encourage other women who are facing the challenges brought by a breast cancer diagnosis, singer-songwriter Kelly Lang has shared her own breast cancer story in her book, I’m Not Going Anywhere “I hope that my journey will be helpful to anyone who may face any battle in their life and perhaps be a ray of light as they ght their way through any crisis,” Lang said During the pandemic, Lang found herself with a lot of free time, so she and husband T.G. Sheppard decided to tackle organizing the m a n y b ox e s o f m e m o r a b i l i a t h a t h a d accumulated in their garage throughout their careers. While doing so, she came across scrap papers from her experience battling breast cancer. She was tempted to throw the papers away, but a friend persuaded her to use them to write a book that could inspire others The award-winning songwriter and Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame member had never written a book, but that did not stop her. She nished the 316-page book within 90 days "Writing my memoir was a roller coaster of emotions,” Lang said. “I was able to revisit my early years starting out in the music business, learning valuable lessons along life’s highway. I really went deep into how it felt to hit a brick wall with a diagnosis of cancer and what I did to overcome and rise above since that terrible experience. A single mother of two young daughters, Lang was only 35 years old in 2002 when she discovered two small, hard lumps in her breast, which her gynecologist assured her were nothing to worry about since she was so young. However, a year later, stricken with pain in her left side, she paid for a diagnostic mammogram out of her own pocket to nd out what was wrong. A follow-up ultrasound con rmed that she did in fact have breast cancer The title I’m Not Going Anywhere is from her self-penned song of the same name. Before her own

illness, Lang witnessed a close friend struggle through health issues, noting that his wife constantly reassured him that she would always be there for him. Lang recognized the dedication required to remain by someone’s side during a serious illness, and soon found herself in a similar situation. Sheppard, with whom she had just begun a relationship when she was diagnosed, held Lang’s hand throughout her entire battle both mentally and physically, proving his steadfast commitment to her “It was so cathartic to be able to tell my truth and share my story in such a bold way,” she said

I’m Not Going Anywhere navigates the reader through Lang’s up-and-down journey of healing that included the unfolding of her love story with Sheppard With the foreword being written by close friend Dame Olivia Newton-John, who recently lost her own battle with breast cancer after many years, the book provides life lessons and showcases Lang’s positive attitude during some of the most trying times. I’m Not Going Anywhere is not only inspiring, it is entertaining. Smartphone users can scan exclusive QR codes printed alongside text that give readers the chance to watch videos from throughout Lang’s career The book is available on Amazon.com. Hardcover, autographed copies may be purchased at KellyLang.net

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Lang Inspires Women Facing Breast Cancer

October 2022


L a s t m o n t h “ L a r r y ’s C o u n t r y Diner” welcomed Mark Wills, who is performing at events this fall from Georgia to New Mexico with his highenergy show lled with hits that were the soundtrack to so many people’s lives. It was “19(90) Somethin’” when Wills went from singing at Atlanta’s infamous Buckboard to releasing his rst of 19 Billboard-charting singles across seven albums. While climbing his musical ladder, he has recorded Gold and Platinum albums and released some of the most enduring and recognizable country music hits of the last 25 years.

Photos: instagram.com/markwillsmusic

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Wills Maintains Busy Show Schedule

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“Jacob’s Ladder” was released via Mercury Nashville in May 1996 as Wills’ debut single, and it became the singer’s rst of eight Top 10 hits That same year Wills married his wife, Kelly, whom he met at Atlanta's music club, Buckboard. They now have two daughters “Wish You Were Here,” “Jacob’s Ladder” and “I Do (Cherish You)” cemented his country status in the late ’90s and at the dawning of a new decade in the early 2000s His debut self-titled album was “full of rambunctious good-time songs teeming with sly wit and bittersweet ballads — all in a baritone that throbs with emotion” per Entertainment Weekly. Fittingly, Wills’ early chart success earned him an Academy of Country Music Award for Top New Male Vocalist in 1998. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart Top 5 hits “Places I’ve Never Been,” “I Do (Cherish You),” “Don’t Laugh at Me” and No. 1 single “Wish You Were Here” hit the airwaves between 1997-1999 One of his biggest hits to date is the RIAA Goldcerti ed “19 Somethin’” that spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart In 2000, he voiced the character of Huckleberry Finn in MGM's animated remake of “Tom Sawyer.” For the lm Wills and Lee Ann Womack, who played the singing voice of Becky in the lm, performed the end title song "Never Ever and Forever" as a duet Wills also has taken more than a dozen trips to entertain U.S. troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Korea and Italy during his career On Dec. 21, 2018, The Blue Ridge, Georgia, native was invited to become the 218th member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was inducted Jan. 11, 2019 For his fall and holiday season 2022 schedule visit markwills.com

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Nadine’s Corner Well, me and H just got back a wedding. Ol’ H was a r l t ight! At the recepti , he was talking to the m and said, “Well, th e's nothing like a li le cise to change a man's life, especially if it's a walk d n a ch ch aisle.” Then he had the audacity to tell him that this was probably the last decisi he w ld ev be all ed to make. I sh ld have smacked him! That's why God gave me a sense of hum , so I c ld und stand the joke I m ied Il eH , d 't get me wr g, but ge ing m ied is like buying edit. Y see s ething, y like it, y make it y r n, and y pay f it lat . S ta like thritis, y just le n to live with it! H can't f l me the way he f led his Mama. The most impressive evidence of t ance is a g den wedding anniv s y! But y kn what? LIFE IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE YOU GET TO SHARE IT WITH! And I l e the pe le I sh e my life with! L e ya’ll, Nadine

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Appalachian Road Show is a visionary acoustic ensemble, bringing new-generation interpretations of traditional Americana, bluegrass and folk songs, as well as o ering innovative original music, all presented with a common thread tied directly to the heart of the Appalachian regions of the United States The ensemble recently visited “Larry’s Country Diner,” and their performance is set to air on Sept. 15, 2022. The band shares its dynamic musicianship through songs and stories emanating from the mountains and hollers of North Carolina and Virginia, to the coal mines of West Virginia and Kentucky To form the group, Grammy-nominated banjoist Barry Abernathy, joined forces with Grammy-winning ddler Jim Vancleve, who toured with multi-platinum country artist Josh Turner, as well as esteemed vocalist and mandolinist Darrell Webb, who has recorded and toured with Dolly Parton, Rhonda Vincent and many others. The group also includes 20-something “old soul” guitarist Zeb Snyder, whose erce and versatile playing recalls Doc Watson and Norman Blake as readily as it does Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughn A two-time Grammy Award winner and founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet, Todd Phillips has made a career of consistently performing and recording with acoustic music’s finest and most creative artists “With this group, we want to bring to light the culture and lifestyle of the Appalachian music we grew up in,” says Abernathy Ready to share its authentic and fresh approach with the public, the band went into the studio in the summer of 2018 and recorded its debut album, “Appalachian Road Show. “We immersed ourselves in our native culture by way of sound and further educated ourselves to our own roots, those which are found all throughout the Appalachian music we grew up with,” said Vancleve The project landed three multi-week number one songs on Bluegrass Today weekly airplay charts and garnered the band a New Artist of the Year nomination and Song of the Year nomination for “Dance Dance Dance” at the 2019 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards. On its eponymous debut album, the band delivered powerful songs that range from the gospel-esque “I Am Just a Pilgrim” and “Little Black Train,” to the reeling, kick-up-your-heels “Dance, Dance, Dance,” to the ballad of love and loss “Anna Lee.” “All of these songs came from the Appalachian Mountains and from the coal mining regions of Appalachia,” said Abernathy. “They confront topics such as logging, coal mining, trains, a sweetheart that took o , and so on. There’s something universal in the music and its expressed themes. There’s something for everyone.” Abernathy, Vancleve and Webb know it well as they were each born and raised in Appalachia. “I was 10 or 11 when I started singing in church,” said Abernathy, who grew up near the head of the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia. His grandmother had a banjo, and despite being born with only one nger on his noting hand, he knew at the young age of 14 that he wanted to learn to play that banjo and Appalachian music.

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Appalachian Road Show Visits “Larry’s Country Diner”


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Vancleve, a North Carolinian by way of Florida, was gifted his rst ddle when he was six. His grandfather, a preacher, played acoustic music, as did his aunt, uncle and father. By the age of 12, Vancleve and his father were travelling all over the mountains of North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia, attending dozens of ddle contests, bluegrass festivals and old-time music festivals Webb grew up in the coal mining country of West Virginia where he mastered old-time and bluegrass music through the in uence of his father, a coal miner and bluegrass musician who passed away from black lung – an emotional topic, which Appalachian Road Show tackles in its music “Appalachian music and its stories have been passed down to us, and we’re now passing our own interpretations of this to a new generation, while also shedding a reverent light on this culture,” said Abernathy. “We want to not only keep these traditions alive but also honor the strong and dedicated individuals who made lives in the mountains over the past 200 years. Appalachian Road Show is meant to be more of a cultural experience rather than simply just a collection of songs. If we were to eventually be viewed as uno cial ambassadors of Appalachian culture, that would be an honor. With a full schedule of tour dates lined up and new music already in the works, Appalachian Road Show has big plans for the future. Abernathy, Vancleve and Webb intend for Appalachian Road Show to become much more than just a concert but to eventually grow into a full-on production and immersive experience, o ering interpretations of culturally appropriate tunes, telling the stories behind the songs, o ering visuals which support the emotional content of the songs, as well as o ering new original songs which are born out of the emotion and spirit of traditional Appalachian music For now, Appalachian Road Show invites listeners into the music and stories of Appalachia’s culturallyrich heritage “It’s part of who we are,” they said. “It’s natural for us. It is authentic. This music is so vibrant, and it has its own vitality and its own life, and we mean to carry that forward. For more information and a tour schedule, visit theappalachianroadshow.com Page 10 October 2022


Areeda’s

southern cooking by Areeda Schneider Stampley

Homemade Cinnamon Ro s Delicious on a cool Autumn morning! 1 3-oz box cook & serve vanilla pudding 2 cups milk 1/2 cup butte 2 packages dry yeast (4 ½ t. 2 teaspoons suga 1/2 cup warm wate 2 large eggs, beate 1/2 teaspoon sal 1 Tablespoon vegetable oi 6 cups bread ou In a medium saucepan, cook pudding (and 2 c. milk) according to package directions. Add butter and let set until lukewarm and butter is melted. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water (115-120°) until foamy. Using a stand mixer, mix eggs, salt, oil, yeast mixture and the pudding on low speed. Gradually add in 6 cups of our, one cup at a time stirring between each addition, to make a soft sticky dough. Turn mixer to medium speed, if needed, as our is added. Place on oured surface and knead 3 min. Place dough in a greased large bowl, and cover with a towel. Let rise 45 min. in a warm place. After dough rises, place back on oured surface. Using rolling pen, roll out into a rectangular shape. Spread Filling on top of dough and roll up starting at the long end. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 12 rolls about 3/4” thick. Place in greased 9x13 pan; let rise 45 min. Bake in 350° oven 15-20 min. or more (depending on your oven). Rolls should be lightly brown. Remove and spread Frosting over rolls when they are slightly cool Fi ing: 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup (or little less) cinnamo Sprinkle with walnuts or pecans (optional Cream butter with electric mixer. Add brown sugar and cinnamon; mixing until all is combined. Cream Cheese Frosting: 8 oz. cream cheese, softene ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softene 4 cups Confectioners’ suga 2 teaspoons vanilla extrac

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

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Chapel Hart's inspiring “America's Got Talent” run came to a disappointing end The country trio made it into the nal ve but where eliminated, but everyone admitted the girls will go far because they de nitely have the talent and the drive The patriotic song they chose for their for their nal e ort was a song they wrote themselves, “American Pride. Even being joined by Darius Rucker for the elimination night performance was a little off which was surprising after watching them get the golden buzzer for the self-penned “You Can Have Him Jolene” and their second performance with a boot kicking, knee slapping dance song, “The Girls are Back in Town. They debuted at the Grand Ole Opry on Sept. 17 Learn more here.

Opry Debut Sept. 17

Photo: instagram.com/chapelhartband

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Chapel Hart Takes 5th in AGT


The Texas Tenors In October “Larry’s Country Diner” welcomes The Texas Tenors, a three-time Emmy Award-winning country and classical crossover group made up of country singer JC Fisher, classical singer Marcus Collins and opera singer John Hagen Collins began singing at the age of four and began emulating his favorite radio artists like Garth Brooks and George Michael before training classically in college. Along with numerous talent shows, fairs and cruise ships, Marcus has also performed in New York City with the cast of 'Hairspray," O -Broadway’s "Altar Boyz" as Matthew, in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and as Jinx in "Forever Plaid.” Beyond music he has worked extensively as an actor with appearances in more than 100 episodes of network television, with recurring roles on "One Life To Live" and "As The World Turns," and in 25 lms, including "P.S. I Love You," "Across the Universe," "30 Rock," "Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles" and "Sex and the City." He's been in numerous commercials and is the lead character in the video game "Alone in the Dark. Hagen has been described as “astonishing… a superb tenor of deep musicality” making his Lincoln Center debut in New York City in Teatro Grattacielo’s mounting of Mascagni’s "Gulglielmo Ratcli ." Hagen created three tenor roles in the world premiere of "The Lost Dauphane" for Pamiro Opera airing on PBS. Hagan has performed a vast array of operatic roles ranging from Alfredo in "La Traviata" to the title role of "Otello" for Cleveland Opera on tour. His favorite Broadway roles include Billy Bigelow in "Carousel" and "Che in Evita." He has received many awards and accolades throughout his career, including nalist in the New Jersey Opera Association of Verismo Opera competition held at Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera Auditions Regional Finalist, and winner of numerous competitions mounted by the National Association of Teachers of Singing. The tenor is highly regarded for his performances of the Verdi Requiem and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 performing these works with more than a dozen symphonies including the Austin, Corpus Christi, Omaha, Nebraska and Cedar Rapids Symphonies. He has taught voice and vocal pedagogy at Wartburg College and at his alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa Fisher has entertained audiences around the world for the better part of two decades. In high school, he had a passion for sports and also enjoyed singing in church. He discovered a deeper love of singing at Wichita State University, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music He performed various roles including Rodolfo in "La Boheme," Tamino in "The Magic Flute," Ernesto in "Don Pasquale," Henrick in "A Little Night Music" and was even Miss America’s duet partner at the 1997 Miss Kansas Pageant

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After college, Fisher traveled to Lucca, Italy, where he sang in the Puccini festival under the direction of acclaimed Italian maestro Lorenzo Malfatti His most memorable performance, though, turned out to be from college where he found the young woman who would become his wife. Jennifer Vannatta, Miss Kansas 1998, married JC in 2004. They have three children – Jackson, Jenson and Jennings Fisher created a home base in Katy, Texas, before sailing the high seas aboard more than 75 cruise ships worldwide with his one-man show. This allowed him to create a program with many di erent genres of music and world class arrangements that eventually led to his idea of forming The Texas Tenors with his two best friends Fisher, Hagan and Collins formed The Texas Tenors in 2009 and that same year nished at No. 4 in the fourth season of "America's Got Talent," making them the highest ranking vocal group in the show's history In 2013, The trio lmed their rst PBS special with The Phoenix Symphony, performing songs from their second album, "You Should Dream." Along with being one of only two acts from "America's Got Talent" to star in their own television special for PBS, The Texas Tenors achieved another milestone in 2014 when they were honored with ve Emmy Awards nominations and three wins for the self-produced special In August 2017, The Texas Tenors premiered their second PBS special. In 2018, the trio released "A Collection of Broadway & American Classics" exclusively at their live concerts and through their website at the request of their fan club. Without distribution or a national campaign, the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Classical Albums Chart and spent 10 weeks in the Top 10 They were named Bi board Magazine's No. 10 Classical Artist in the World for 2019. Texas Tenors have amassed a huge fan base worldwide with more than half a million followers on social media and more than 20 million views on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram Their impressive live ticket sales as tracked by PollStar proved them to be the most successful touring group in the history of "America's Got Talent." With nearly 2,000 concerts at performing arts centers, casinos, symphony halls, outdoor festivals and major corporate events, The Texas Tenors have shown they truly possess that rare, ever sought-after quality – mass appeal As consummate professionals these three friends with a simple All-American dream have proven their impact will be long lasting as their popularity continues to grow

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Growing up in the mountains of Ea st Tennessee and sharing a birthday with the great Earl Scruggs, maybe it was written in the stars for Kody Norris, who founded his band The Kody Norris Show more than a decade ago. This year The Kody Norris Show was named both Entertainer of The Year and Fiddle Performer of The Year by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) Norris’s musical journey began when he was around 10 years old with a used mandolin, a gift from his parents. East Tennessee is a region steeped in traditional music.

No r r i s was bitten by the bluegrass bug and quickly added guitar, banjo and bass to his repertoire. From the age of 15, Norris pursued his interest in the music business by working as a sideman and studio musician, teaching music lessons and serving as an emcee. Being a multi-instrumentalist and versatile singer opened doors to many opportunities including playing with Ralph Stanley, Ralph Stanley II and Joe Isaacs. A chance meeting with Campbell Mercer, executive producer of the Cumberland Highlanders Show on the RFD-TV network, led to a nine-year stint for Norris playing guitar on that show

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Young Bluegrass Musician Leads Quartet to Prestigious Awards

Norris learned early the strong musical legacy of Johnson County, Tennessee, home to musicians including Clint Howard, Fred Price and Clarence “Tom” Ashley, the rst group to tour with Doc Watson during the folk revival of the 1960s. The rst recording of “House of the Rising Sun” was created in Johnson County by Tom Ashley in the 1930s. Tom Dooley (of the oft-recorded folk murder ballad) was captured there by another resident of the county, Col. James Grayson. In 2006, Norris distilled his years of varied experience into founding his own band, Kody Norris and the Watauga Mountain Boys, with a desire to build on the inspirations of his youth, including the music of Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Jim and Jesse and others. In 2015, the group rebranded as The Kody Norris Show. As weekly hosts of the famous Farm and Fun Time Noon Show, broadcast from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and Radio Bristol, The Kody Norris Show is the only artist to hit over 5 million views collectively. They've been part of the University of Chicago Folk Festival and are part of two weekly programs on the acclaimed RFD-TV's network, “The Cumberland Highlanders Show” and “The Bluegrass Trail.” The foursome is fronted by Norris on guitar, with his “little sweetie,” Mary Rachel NalleyNorris. Mary Rachel who is an award winning and skilled multi-instrumentalist, plays ddle for the group. Before joining The Kody Norris Show, Mary Rachel played for the legendary Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers. She and Norris are newlyweds. The group is rounded out by Josiah Tyree on banjo and ‘Cousin’ Charlie Lowman on bass. As a songwriter and front man, Norris weaves his love for words and literature with clever wit and genuine emotion. A true showman, Norris adorns the band in colorful, tailored suits adorned with rhinestones, ties, classic hats and ornate boots. Norris has crafted a performance that tips a hat to the traditions and performances of the Grand Ole Opry. Top-notch picking and harmonies, however, are always center stage. The quartet maintains a rigorous schedule of performances throughout the fall. For more visit the thekodynorrisshow.com October 2022


Booking Agent, Manager, Musician, Terry Choate dies Terry Choate came to Nashville from North Carolina as a musician. He was a steel guitar player, but it wasn’t long before he moved into doing much more. He was a manager, a producer, a booking agent to many wonderful acts in Nashville. Among those he managed were The Time Jumpers. T. Graham Brown will tell you he helped him with his career, as will many others in town. He was the longtime manager and producer for Teea Goans, and he booked all the talent for “Country’s Family Reunion” and “Larry’s Country Diner. Terry was a polio survivor and a diabetic, but he never let either of those things slow him down. He was on the CFR/LCD cruises and at all the tapings of all the shows to support his acts. He was big hearted and supportive to everyone In 2019, Terry su ered a diabetic episode and was hospitalized. Following that he moved back to North Carolina with his wife, Cheri, who took care of him. Since that time, his health had its ups and downs and more recently had started declining. Terry passed away Sept. 13, 2022 His wife Cheri sent this statement: “Last night, my sweet husband Terry Choate took his nal

mortal breath. There are no words to express the terrible emptiness that his death has left in my heart. Terry tried hard to hang on and to beat the ravages of diabetes, but his weakened body nally had no choice but to surrender. To those who have reached out to me in so many ways throughout this long, painful ordeal, thank you. Your prayers have lifted me and helped me to face each uncertain day. Thank you for letting me know just how much Terry was loved. Please continue to pray for me as I try to gure out how to live in a world without him. We will all miss him

Terry and Tena

Terry and devoted wife Cheri

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December 2021


Heartwarming New Movie Features Country Music

“A Cowgirl’s Song,” starring Cheryl Ladd, Darci Lynne and Savannah Lee May, was recently released in theatres and is now available to view on streaming platforms The fourth installment in the “Cowgirls ‘N Angels” franchise, the story told in “A Cowgirl’s Song” is about two teen sisters, Hailey and Brooke, who must live with their grandmother when their father is arrested for a crime he didn't commit Their grandma, portrayed by Ladd, known to many as one of “Charlie’s Angels,” was once a country music star but retired after their grandfather died in an automobile accident. Brooke, played by Lynn, was once a barrel racer but was injured in the accident. Hailey, portrayed by May, wants to be a country singer but su ers from crippling stage fright. Despite the challenges, the girls convince their grandmother to come out of retirement to raise money for their dad's defense The original motion picture soundtrack for “A Cowgirl’s Song” was written and produced by The Imaginaries, a husband-and-wife duo comprised of Maggie McClure and Shane Henry, who also served as lm producers and starred in “A Cowgirl’s Song” alongside Ladd, Lynne and May. The Americana and country-driven soundtrack features recordings from The Imaginaries and each of the leading actresses. The soundtrack also features Oklahoma legend Byron Berline on ddle and mandolin, who passed away just a few months after the soundtrack recording session. To watch the movie or listen to the soundtrack, click here.

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August 2022


Ed Bruce’s Little-Known Christian Albums Reissued

When country singer, songwriter and actor Ed Bruce died in 2021, he left a legacy of great songs, many of which were recorded by other artists, others by Bruce himself. Some of the best-known include “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson), “Restless” (Crystal Gayle) and Tanya Tucker’s “Texas (When I Die).” One of his biggest hits, as a singer, was “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had,” while he was signed with MCA Records, and there were many more. Now, Bruce’s estate has rereleased two little-known, independently produced Christian albums he recorded nearly two decades ago, which received little attention: “Changed” and “Sing About Jesus.” “When Ed made those albums, he was no longer signed to a label,” his widow, Judy Bruce, explained. “He had about a thousand CDs printed, which he sold out of the trunk of his car. Digital distribution was a new thing, and Ed didn’t understand it. He was happy just singing in front of twenty people or twenty-thousand and selling a handful of CDs here and there.” The Bruces were married in 1989 after meeting 10 years earlier while working at MCA Records. By the time they married, Bruce had stopped recording music to focus on an acting career which included several TV shows and movies, including “Walker, Texas Ranger” with Chuck Norris, “Fire Down Below” with Steven Seagal, “Country Strong” with Gwyneth Paltrow and others In the early 1980s, he had costarred in the NBC series “Bret Maverick” with James Garner. October 2022

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The couple lived in Clarksville, Tennessee, during the last few years of his life but were living on a farm in Hickman County when he became a Christian in 2003.

As his wife tells it, Bruce had an epiphany while riding his tractor one cool Sunday morning in March, when some deer ran in front of him and he was suddenly struck by the beauty of nature. “He came back to the house and said he realized at that moment that ‘He lives,’ meaning Jesus lives,” she said. “He sat down and started writing that song. I told Ed, ‘You have got to put out a Christian album.” He said, ‘We don’t have the money,’ and I

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said, ‘Well, we might. I’ve been rat-holing for a long time.’” With the money that his wife had secretly saved for a rainy day, Bruce self-produced his rst Christian album, “Changed” in 2004, followed by "Sing About Jesus" in 2007. Both projects were recorded at County Q in Nashville, with “Changed” being co-produced by John W. Thompson, whose producing credits include records by Earl Scruggs, the Bill Gaither Trio, Doug Oldham, the Oak Ridge Boys, Roseanne Cash, Mel Tillis, Bonnie Bramlett, the Burrito Brothers and Don Francisco. Some of Bruce’s former associates are planning to produce an album of his unreleased recordings, in the near future. For now, his widow is passionate about getting the word out about his obscure Christian albums, which meant so much to them both. “I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when Ed became born again; it changed him tremendously,” she said. “He wrote these songs from the heart. They are too good to just be on a few hundred CDs, so now they are online where anyone can hear them.” The albums are available on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, and other digital platforms. Listen here. CDs are available.

October 2022


Country in the News Serious Wreck John Michael Montgomery, 57, broke his ribs and sustained cuts and bruises September 10 when his tour bus crashed near the Tennessee/Kentucky state line. On social media he said, “"I will take some time over the next couple of weeks to heal and be back on the road soon."

Roni Stoneman’s Husband Passes Condolences were owing on Facebook for Hee Haw’s Roni Stoneman as it was announced that her husband and manager Tom Connor had died

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October 2022


10 Years Ago this Month Larry Goes to Branson “Larry’s Country Diner” and “Country’s Family Reunion” show series being held at the Starlite Theatre (located at 3115 W. Hwy 76 in Branson, Missouri, is already a runaway success! The theatre shows are proving to be nearly as popular as the television series, which pull an estimated 1.4 million viewers t its weekly shows on RFD-TV. Since the series opened on Sept. 4, 2012, classic country stars Gene Watson and Moe Bandy played to a packed house, with “Queen of Bluegrass” Rhonda Vincent making a surprise cameo visit on September 6. The shows featuring Dailey & Vincent with Jimmy Fortune (September 7-9) sold out for their opening night According to Box O ce Manager, Ron Santulli, the shows are performing “better than any other shows we’ve ever had here. Tickets for these shows are selling quickly, so audiences are encouraged to reserve their tickets early. For further information on the series or to purchase tickets, please visit www.starlitetheatre.com, or call 417-337-9333

Larry Black, host and creator of TV’s programs “Larry’s Country Diner” and “Country’s Family Reunion,” as well as other regular cast members, will serve as emcees throughout the series, which will run through October 21. September shows featured: T. Graham B r o w n a n d Jo h n n y L e e ; Wi l s o n Fairchild and Ed Bruce; Leona Williams and Johnny Counter t; Buddy Jewell; Gary Morris and T.G. Sheppard; Mandy Barnett with Nadine from “Larry’s Country Diner.” October 2022

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10 Years Ago this Month

Opry Comedian Oscar Sullivan Dies at 93 Rollin "Oscar" Sullivan, born July 19, 1919, who was half of the duo Lonzo & Oscar on the 'Grand Ole Opry' for 38 years, died in hospice care in Madison, Tennessee, on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 The 93-year-old leaves a legacy of music and humor, keeping audiences smiling with songs such as "Did You Have To Bring That Up (While I Was Eatin')," "Hole in the Bottom of the Sea" and signature song, "I'm My Own Grandpa" which he sang during the Country's Family Reunion Gettin' Together series Oscar grew up in Cedar Flat, Ky., playing music and listening to the "Opry" on the radio. He and brother Johnny Sullivan formed a duo and began playing on a Jackson, TN., radio station. Oscar then joined Paul Howard's Arkansas Cotton Pickers at the "Opry" in 1942 In 1945, the Sullivan brothers joined Lloyd George in the band of country legend Eddy Arnold. Mr. Sullivan and George developed a comedy act that came to be known as Lonzo & Oscar as a comedic interlude during the shows. The duo would become "Opry" members themselves in 1947, and they began recording for RCA Victor Records George is now known as "the rst Lonzo," as he left for a solo career in 1950, and brother Johnny became the second and longest-running Lonzo The brothers were best known for their comedy, but Mr. Sullivan's mandolin playing was another strong selling point during their long running career "He was a ne mandolin player," says "Opry" announcer and 650 AM WSM air personality Eddie S t u b b s . " Hi s p l a y i n g w a s m e l o d i c , c l e a n a n d commercial There was nothing funny about Lonzo & Oscar's singing and playing: They laid it down." Oscar overcame several tragedies during his life and career In 1959, he was hospitalized for ve months after an accident that killed his wife, Ruth, and his brother, Phil "During this time, I felt like I had lost everything," Oscar Sullivan he told niece Carol Sullivan, for a column she wrote in 2010 for www.ColumbiaMagazine.com. "I couldn't work, my wife was gone, my brother was gone, and I was in shock. He recovered from that accident, and Lonzo & Oscar returned to the "Opry" stage. Then in 1967, Johnny Sullivan died of a heart attack. Oscar again pulled himself up and found a musician named Dave Hooten to become the next Lonzo. He worked with Hooten until they decided to retire from the "Opry" in 1985, though Oscar continued to perform some shows, rst with Cleo C. Hogan and nally with musician and songwriter Billy Henson. Henson purchased the rights to the Lonzo & Oscar name in 1999 Rollin "Oscar" Sullivan was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Goodlettesville, Tennessee, on Sept. 11

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October is such a fun month. We are performing a week of LIVE shows in Branson, Missouri, at the Clay Cooper Theater on Oct 3-7. I hope to see a lot of you there Last month we had a special get-together celebrating 14 years of “Larry’s Country Diner” shows. Included in the guest list were the folks who worked behind the scenes and were as much apart of the show as the cast. We truly couldn’t have created such fun shows without them We started lming our shows at Northstar Studios on Dickerson Road in Nashville in 2009 and continued for several years. Right across the hall in the next studio was where “The Marty Stuart Show” was lmed with a live audience. Down the hall was Pat Robertson’s “PTL Club. “Diner” fans were invited to come and be apart of the “Diner” shows, where I fed them Springer Mountain Farms chicken and a choice of pecan, chocolate, lemon or coconut cream pie. We refer to those years as “the good ole days.” In 2017 Kellie Pickler decided to lm her new television show at Northstar and took over the whole complex, so we needed a new place to lm The physical diner that we started construction on in Bellevue, Tennessee, which would include cameras, lights, etc., to lm our show and also be a diner for folks

to eat and visit every day was not meant to be. That’s when a dear friend, Ray Stevens, o ered his dinner theater to lm more shows. For a few years we lmed stage shows at Ray Stevens’ CabaRay. Then Covid hit, and the showroom had to close In Columbia, Tennessee, Rory Feek developed a studio, and we leased it for productions. Hallelujah…we found a new home. There at Red King Studios we were able to start lming again. So we have now completed 14 years of shows…. more than Hee Haw!! And that does not include all of the live shows in Branson and our cruises. The success of “Larry’s Country Diner” has been a big surprise. We thank you all for being a part of it. Watching some of the rst shows are just as much fun as the last shows lmed, so enjoy as they go into national syndication GoGut – my poor brother! I cannot tell you how excited I am about the response from GoGut! It is really helping folks feel better. My brother even called me last week after he had missed taking his GoGut for a few days. The pain in his wrist came back. He was stunned and sleepy after being up all night. You better believe that he won’t miss a day of taking GoGut again Call 615-579-5497 or visit http://www.renaethewaitress.com/ to order

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Renae the Waitress

October 2022


October 2022

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Taping “Larry’s for Upcoming Shows The of last of theCountry Larry’sDiner” Country Diner tapings

The Texas Tenors will air on October 6 & 8

Moe Bandy will be on October 13 & 15.

Ben Hall and Charlie McCoy join forces on October 20 & 22.

Ray Stevens was the last taping and will air October 27 & 29.

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August 2022


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