Country Reunion Magazine, March 2023

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

March 2023

Willie Nelson

Bluebird Cafe Western Swing Ronnie McDowell Charlene Hilton

Joe Dee Messina

Loretta Lynn Tribute Jeanne Prui Southbound Barbara Fairchild

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… and more

December 2021


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Willie Nelson, p. 4-5 Bluebird Cafe, p. 6-8 Western Swing, p. 9-10 Areeda’s Cooking, p. 11 Tubb Record Shop, p. 12 Charlene Tilton, p. 13 Loretta Lynn Tribute, p. 14 Ronnie McDowell, p. 15 Jo Dee Messina, p. 16 Jeanne Pruett, p. 18-19 Barbara Fairchild, p. 21 Southbound, p. 22-23 Book Club, p. 24

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Published monthly by

Country Road Management 710 N. Main St., Suite B Columbia, TN 38401 Larry Black, Publisher Paula Underwood Winters, Editor, Print Layout Claudia Johnson, Writer, Online Layout/Design Online Subscriptions $15 per year

magazine.countryreunionmusic.com/ Annual Print Subscriptions $29.95; renewals $24.95 Print – subscribe or renew call 1-800-8 20-5405 or mail payment to PO Box 610 Price, UT 84501

March 2023


A message from Larry Black We want to thank you for subscribing to Country Reunion Magazine. If you subscribed on issuu.com, we would like to transfer your digital subscription to our new magazine platform. If you contact us during the month of March, we will extend your subscription through December 2023 at no additional charge to you. All we are asking is for you to email our digital magazine editor, Claudia Johnson, with your name, email address and telephone number so we can transfer your subscription immediately. We’ll contact you with credentials to login to your account and manage your subscription as well as view other magazines in the archive. You will receive a noti cation each month when the new magazine is ready to read! Please contact Claudia at claudia@countryroadmanagement.com

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Willie Nelson Takes Home Two Grammy

Awards; Celebrates 90th Birthday Next Month With a career spanning an incredible seven decades, Willie Nelson is widely recognized as one of the greatest and most in uential artists in the history of p o p u l a r m u s i c . No m i n a t e d f o r f o u r 2 0 2 3 Grammy Awards, in February – just two months shy of his 90th birthday – he took home two, including Best Country Album for “A Beautiful Time” and Best Country Solo Performance for “Live Forever.” In “Live Forever,” which was written by Billy Joe Shaver, Nelson sings lyrics that are applicable to his own life. “Nobody here will ever nd me, but I will always be around. Just like the songs I leave behind me, I'm gonna live forever now.”

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A living legend, Nelson built a globally celebrated career as a musician, songwriter, author, actor and activist, Nelson appears to be as vibrant, active, and dynamic as ever. In his career he has been nominated for 56 Grammy awards and has received 12, having won his rst in 1975. Since he turned 80 he’s won ve of the 12. In recent years, he has delivered more than a dozen new albums, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestselling book; headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985; been honored by the Library of Congress with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song; received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul; headlined the annual Luck Reunion food and music festival during South-by-Southwest; launched his cannabis companies Willie’s Reserve and Willie’s Remedy; and graced the covers of both Ro ing Stone and AARP The Magazine. Nelson's discography includes 98 studio albums (consisting of 72 solo studio albums and 26 collaborative studio albums), 14 live albums, 51 compilation albums and 41 video albums as well as the soundtracks of "The Electric Horseman" and "Honeysuckle Rose, and he has never stopped recording. In July 2020, Nelson released his album “First Rose of Spring” – an atmospheric soulful showcase of beautifully-written songs and poignant performances. For 2021, he released a studio album, “That’s Life,” his second album of standards and classics made famous by Frank Sinatra. His rst, 2018’s “My Way,” earned Willie the Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Solo Album. In November 2021, Nelson released a studio album, “The Willie Nelson Family,” a collection of country gospel- avored songs performed by Willie’s Family Band.


He 's a l r e a d y a n n o u n c e d p l a n s f o r a 2 0 2 3 album. September 2020 brought a memoir with his sister and pianist Bobbie Nelson titled Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of The Family Band. In June 2021, he published a collection of his thoughts on America, family, faith and music entitled Wi ie Nelson’s Letters to America. A third book, Me and Paul: Untold Tale of a Fabled Friendship, chronicling the adventures of Nelson and his longtime drummer and closest friend Paul English, arrived September 2022. These creative endeavors as well as new songs and performances that add to his classic catalog, nd Nelson rolling at an artistic peak, writing and singing and playing with the seasoned wit and wisdom that comes from the road. He’s scheduled to perform across the country throughout 2023 while also headlining iconic festivals including Farm Aid, July 4th Picnic and his Outlaw Mu s i c Fe s t i v a l To u r. A d e f i n i t i v e f i v e - p a r t documentary lm on his extraordinary life and career is set to premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. For his birthday, a two-day concert called Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90, A Star-Studded Concert Celebrating Willie’s 90th Birthday will take place on April 29 and 30, 2023, at the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to Nelson, countr y artists Chris Stapleton, Kacey Musgraves, Leon Bridges, Lukas Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Miranda Lambert, Neil Young, Orville Peck, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, The Chicks, The Lumineers, Turnpike Troubadours are slated to perform with the list continuing to grow. “I can’t think of a better way to spend my 90th birthday than being surrounded by family, friends, and of course the fans who made this all possible,” said Nelson. “It’s an honor to perform with such an incredible group of artists at such an iconic venue.” In his seven-decade career, Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and songwriter. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force.

“Crazy” “Hello Walls” “Funny How Time Slips Away” “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” “Night Life” “Family Bible” “Pretty Paper” “On the Road Again” “Bloody Mary Morning” "Darkness on the Face of the Earth" "Forgiving You Was Easy" "Good Hearted Woman" (with Waylon Jennings) "Half a Man" "I Just Can't Let You Say Goodbye" "I'm Still Not Over You" "One in a Row" "Three Days"

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Here are a Few Classic Songs Written by Willie Nelson, a Songwriter’s Hall of Fame 1983 Inductee


The Bluebird Café Started as a Food Lover’s Dream

by Claudia Johnson On a bluster y Februar y day Amy Kurland, founder of The Bluebird Café, met Country Reunion Magazine’s editor Paula Winters and writer Claudia Johnson for lunch and conversation just a few blocks from the now-legendary eatery and music venue Kurland opened more than 40 years ago. At 67 her long blond hair is delicately streaked with gray, and she laughs (slightly frustrated) at herself for forgetting decades-old names or details, but don’t be fooled. She is sharp, youthful and just plain fun to be around. It’s a little intimidating to know that this diminutive woman was – in many ways – the maker of stars.

Jay Patten Shared this phot of him and Amy Kurland holding the grand opening poster in 1982

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Ku r l a n d ’s t o l d her stor y so many times, on lm, in print, in her book, in person, but when she begins to talk about those early days, before The Bluebird Café was, well…The Bluebird, she’s watching that life on some internal screen and narrating what she sees. As the tale unfolds, it’s clear that if she had been successful at her rst choice of profession, country music would have been very di erent. Kurland grew up in Nashville but moved to Washington D.C. for college. After graduation she enrolled in culinary school with the plan to be a chef, because, she told Country Reunion Magazine, she “loved to eat.” She said that she felt she “was not very good” at cooking, so she dropped out and headed home to Nashville. Still in her mid 20s and still in love with food, she waited tables and even operated a pushcart on Nashville’s busy Second Avenue, but owning a gourmet café was her goal. Finally, on June 3, 1982, she opened The Bluebird Café, proving she was a better chef than she thought. The lunch spot just south of downtown Nashville served freshly made soups, salads, blue plate specials and desserts on tablecloths sewn by Kurland’s mother, Barbara, a community activist, entrepreneur, local theater founder and the rst woman to run for mayor of Nashville. Both parents were rmly behind Kurland. Her father, Sheldon “Shelly” Kurland, a Juilliard-trained violinist relocated with his family to Nashville to teach at Peabody College and before long was doing session and television work with stars like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, George Jones and scores of others. Through his association with producers like Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley, the violinist was instrumental in creating a new "Nashville sound" that incorporated classical strings in place of the ddle that had long characterized country music. He left teaching for recording and arranging, playing on tens of thousands of sessions, often as leader of the multiaward-winning Shelly Kurland Strings.


Amy Kurland’s then-boyfriend, a guitarist, wa s convinced that adding a small stage where he and his musician buddies could perform during the dinner hour would bring in an evening crowd, but her father thought the music would be much too disruptive to dinner guests. She tried it anyway, and clearly it worked just ne. By Sept. 9, 1982, The Bluebird was Jay Patten with his band who was the rst band to play at the club. Her featured in the lifestyles section of boyfriend, the guitarist for Patten, convinced her to put in the stage. the Tennessean newspaper in a “I’m really into the restaurant business, and I’m also lengthy article that included a photo of Kurland and three employees along with several of their original a partier and a music lover, and I wanted to combine them all,” Kurland told Oermann, who o ered his recipes. “In a kitchen so minute that many would nd it opinion that she “has done that admirably for in di cult to cook the family meal, four dedicated chefs addition to being a popular nightspot, The Bluebird prepare hot and hearty plate lunches, homemade Café is a favorite luncheon location.” soups and salad using only fresh ingredients,” wrote food editor Bettye Caldwell. “Too, they bake delicious cakes, pies and mousses.” Kurland told Caldwell that the café had recently begun serving supper between 5-8:30 p.m. instead of the chips and dips that had been the only o ering since opening in June. The bar stayed open until 2:30 a.m., and of course there was nightly entertainment. “We vary our programs each night – classical guitar, country music, bands, rock and roll – just everything,” she explained. The next month, the Tennessean noted that the Bluebird would host the rst meeting of Jazz Underground, a new organization dedicated to revitalizing the Nashville area jazz community, adding yet another genre of music to the Café’s roster. By 1984 “Blue Monday” had been established at The Bluebird with jazz jam sessions and improvisation in what Kurland called “the closest thing to an openmike night” the club hosted. During the Country Reunion Magazine interview with Kurland, she recalled how in the beginning she hired a professional to schedule talent, but soon the musicians and singers were telling their colleagues about The Bluebird or recommending others to her. The Café’s rst birthday was covered by Robert K. Amy Kurland invited Country Reunion Magazine’s Paula Oermann, who was at the time a music columnist for Winters and Claudia Johnson into The Bluebird Cafe in the Tennessean but has since become a respected music February for an intimate tour of the club she founded in historian. Oermann called the venue “Nashville’s 1982. Special thanks to Jay Patten for the vintage photos leading showcase.” used in this article.

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Saxophonist Jay Patten, who among other accomplishments was a member of Crystal Gayle’s band, had been the club’s opening performer in 1982, and he h e a d l i n e d t h e f i r s t y e a r ’s celebration. In fact, Patten has hosted and headlined the annual birthday bashes and Christmas shows for forty consecutive years and is set to host the 2023 events Kathy Mattea debuted her band at The Bluebird. as well. Dozens of acts played on the small stage that rst year. Among them were Jim Varney in his rst club appearance; Kathy Mattea’s band debut; and Riders in the Sky and John Starling in special showcases. The club hosted several bene ts, World Hunger being one of the more notable. The Café pioneered Christian music nights and rockabilly jam sessions. Perhaps most signi cantly, it initiated its own “Writer’s Night,” a tradition for which Nashville clubs had been known, and that would ultimately make The Bluebird Café world-famous through movies like 1993’s “The Thing Called Love,” the 2012 “Nashville” television series and the Ken Burns 2019 “Country Music” documentary. Within the rst few years, Sunday became Writer’s Night, and an established writer like Don Schlitz or Casey Kelley acted as host to six or seven other writers who had auditioned for the chance to perform The Bluebird Cafe still operates from the same location 25-minute sets. as it did when Amy Kurland opened it in 1982 In an encouraging 1987 article about the “rebirth” of countr y music t h a n k s t o n e w Kurland personally selected those artists she deemed artists like Reba most promising among the performers who had McEntire, Randy appeared on her regular Writer’s Nights. For the club’s sixth anniversary Kurland introduced Travis, Steve Earle cassette tapes from many of the top independent and Dwight Yoakam and the artists and songwriters she considered part of the popularity o f Bluebird’s “performing family.” In announcing the c o u n t r y m u s i c Cassette Catalog, Kurland said that the Bluebird was t e l e v i s i o n “the place to hear acoustic music in Nashville.” “Because we are the smallest house in town, our networks and audience is able to feel an up-close, intimate shows, Kurland was quoted, saying, “We’ve been having songwriters in throngs. If we had songwriter association with the songwriter’s message,” Kurland shows seven days a week, we could ll the place up said. The creation and impact of that intimacy will be every time.” explored in the next installment in this series in A series of Bluebird Discoveries showcases began at the club on the rst Sunday of every month in 1988. Country Reunion Magazine about Amy Kurland and the Bluebird Café.

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Western Swing – Hot Since 1931 by Claudia Johnson

Western swing, which originated in the 1920s, is an amalgamation of rural, cowboy, polka, old-time, Dixieland jazz and blues blended with swing and played by a hot string band often augmented with drums, saxophones, pianos, and notably, the steel guitar. "Western swing is nothing more than a group of talented country boys, unschooled in music, but playing the music they feel, beating a solid two-four rhythm to the harmonies that buzz around their brains. When it escapes in all its musical glory, my friend, you have Western swing," said country singer Merle Travis in a 1980 inter view with JEMF Quarterly. In 1931 a string band, the Light Crust Doughboys, became the rst professional western swing band when Burrus Mill’s president wanted to link radio and advertising to promote the company's Light Crust

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Flour. At one time, the Light Crust Doughboys' shows were featured on 170 radio stations. The genre gained widespread popularity in the 1930s and 1940s and attracted huge crowds to dance halls and clubs in Texas, Oklahoma and California until a federal war-time nightclub 30% excise tax on dancing in 1944 contributed to the genre's decline. One of the most successful western swing bands of all time emerged when Bob Wills, who was an original member of the Light Crust Doughboys, organized the Texas Playboys in 1933. “Where I grew up, Bob Wills and his western swing was very popular,” Willie Nelson said. “And western swing is not that far from jazz and blues.” The group had a series of hits, including "New San Antonio Rose," "Take Me Back to Tulsa" and "Roly Poly." From 1934 to 1943, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys played nightly at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa. When Wills played the Los Angeles Country Barn Dance at the Venice Pier for three nights shortly before he broke up his band to join the U.S. Army during World War II, the attendance was above 15,000. Fearing the dance oor would collapse, police stopped ticket sales at 11 p.m. March 2023


Other prominent groups during the peak of Western swing's popularity included Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies, Spade Cooley and His Orchestra and Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys. In January 1953 Billboard reported Spade Cooley played to 192,000 payees over 52 Saturday night dates at the Santa Monica Ballroom, grossing $220,000. While western swing has not achieved the same level of commercial success as some other genres of popular music, several western swing recordings have had signi cant popularity and have been well-received by audiences and critics. One modern western swing band that has had commercial success is Asleep at the Wheel, whose album "Asleep at the Wheel" was certi ed gold in 1974. This band, which was formed in 1970, has been a prominent force in the western swing scene for more than 50 years. They have released numerous albums and have had several hits, including "The Letter That Johnny Walker Read" and "Miles and Miles of Texas." "There are bands all over the United States — the world — playing western swing music," observed Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel in a 2015 interview. "They're not on the radio, in terms of mainstream radio. They're not selling platinum records. But they're playing the music for people who want to hear it.” Another successful contemporary western swing band, Hot Club of Cowtown, whose album "Wishful Thinking" reached the top 20 on the Billboard bluegrass chart in 2004, was formed in 1997. Their music combines elements of western swing, gypsy jazz and traditional country music. They have released multiple albums, toured internationally and have appeared on “Larry’s Country Diner” several times.

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Country and western swing musician Dale Watson released numerous albums and had hits such as "I Lie When I Drink" and "I Hate These Songs." The Time Jumpers, formed in 1998 by some of the top session musicians in Nashville, play a mix of western swing, country and jazz and have released several albums. Among the most popular western swing groups is Riders in the Sky, who began performing together in 1977. They’ve won two Grammys, had their own television show, written music for television and major motion pictures and released more than 40 albums. In addition to these bands, several individual western swing recordings have also had commercial success. For example, "Cattle Call," a western swing song recorded by Eddy Arnold, reached the Top 10 on the country music charts in 1956 and became one of his most enduring hits. Similarly, "Faded Love," a western swing song recorded by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, reached the Top 10 on the country charts in 1950 and has been covered by numerous artists over the years. According to Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On by Michael Campbell, Western swing in uenced genres that came to be known as honky-tonk, rockabilly and country rock, popularizing the use of electrically ampli ed instruments, use of drums to reinforce a strong backbeat, expanded instrumentation, a honky tonk beat of a heavy backbeat superimposed onto a polka or waltz beat, and jazz/blues solo styles into country music. Underscoring the importance of western swing, in 2011, the Texas Legislature adopted a resolution designating western swing as the o cial "State Music of Texas.”

March 2023


Areeda’s

southern cooking

Chicken Salad A tasty chicken salad on sourdough bread sandwich and a congealed salad is the perfect Spring-time lunch! 3 cups white chicken breast, chopped small 3/4 cup fresh celery, finely chopped 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped 1/2 teaspoon celery seed 1/3 teaspoon black pepper Salt, to taste 1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Chill. Serve as a sandwich or as a scoop on fresh shredded lettuce. To purchase Areeda’s Southern Cooking, a collection of old-fashioned recipes, send a check for $25 and your mailing address to Areeda’s Southern Cooking, P. O. Box 202, Brentwood, TN 37024. Order online with PayPal or credit card at www.areedasoutherncooking.com.

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Ernest Tubb Record Shop to be Saved It appears that the Ernest Tubb Record Shop will remain open after all. It was announced previously that the building had been sold. After 70+ years in business it has now been decided to keep the building, renovate the three oors and restore the façade to its original design. The rst oor will house the record shop and merchandise store, the second oor will become a honky tonk bar, it is unclear what will occupy the third oor and they will add a rooftop bar. Update on the Troubadour Country Music Venue In related news, The Texas Troubadour music venue has been revamped and is now known as The Troubadour. It is hosting shows, Sunday night jam sessions and the Midnight Jamboree, which is a free show. It has become a regular place for artists many traditional artists, musical tribute shows and even hosts boxing matches on occasion. The Loretta Lynn Tribute will be held at The Troubadour on March 21 and a George Straight tribute show is set for April 22. March 2023

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Charlene Tilton Stars in “Heaven Sent,” a New Movie on PureFlix

Many readers will remember Charlene Tilton as J.R. Ewing’s niece in the TV show “Dallas.” Others will remember her as the wife of country singer Jonny Lee or the mother of singer Cherish Lee, but Charlene is an actress and she is still acting. Most recently Charlene is co-starring in a new movie, “Heaven Sent,” on the faith and family streaming channel PureFlix. The basis of the movie is centered around Elise, a grandmother hurt by her past, and Patrick, a widowed pastor, who have both closed the door on love. Charlene plays Elise’s best friend and former band mate. The movie is a light hearted look at love and loss and nding love again. PureFlix is available through all streaming devices for a fee and features faith and family friendly movies and television shows.

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March 2023


“Always Loretto” Honors Loretta Lynn with Family’s Blessing

Visit our new website larryscountrydiner.com

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On March 21 The Troubadour Theater will host “Always Loretta,” the ultimate tribute to Loretta Lynn that includes a special performance of the original Coalminers, Loretta’s touring band, and features Emily Portman. Portman will bring her signature Loretta Lynn- ared sound to the stage, which she did with the endorsement of Lynn herself, during the touring production of “Conway Twitty, The Man, The Music, The Legend, The Musical.” “We lost a legend last year and she was an artist that paved the way for so many of us,” said Portman. “I was honored to know her, to have her blessing in portraying her, and it’s a bigger honor to continue carrying on her legacy.” The original Coalminers who w o r ke d with Loretta Lynn include Dave Thornhill, lead guitar and band leader for 55 years; Bob Hempker, steel guitar for 55 years; Dennis Digby, bass guitar for 15 years; John Brown, drums for 20 years; Monty Parkey, piano for 5 years. “When I play a ‘Loretta Lynn Tribute’ show with Emily, it takes me back to 1967 when I played my rst show with Loretta,” said Dave Thornhill, Loretta Lynn’s former band leader, and lead guitarist. “After my 55 years and 10,000+ shows playing lead guitar with Loretta, it’s like I’m starting all over again.” This special tribute show is authorized by The Loretta Lynn Family and will take guests on a journey in remembering all of Lynn’s big country hits. Ti c ke t s a r e $ 5 0 a n d a r e a v a i l a b l e b y emailing alwayslorettatickets@gmail.com or by calling Debbie Lamberson at 615-483-3208. VIP tables for four people are $250 and available on a rst-come, rst served basis. The Troubadour Theater can accommodate about 500 people, so get tickets before it sells out.


McDowell scored a second hit for the Scorpion label titled “I Love You, I Love You, I Love You” before being signed by CBS Records’ Epic label in 1979. He continued to chart a string of hit singles and albums for Epic between 1979 and 1986. Every single release, with the exception of just one, became a Top 10 Hit including the chart-toppers “Older Women” and “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation.” Other hits during his Epic years included “Watchin' Girls Go By,” “Personally,” “You Made A Wanted Man Of Me,” “All Tied Up” and “In A New York Minute.” He sought the advice of artists such as Conway Twitty who became not only his mentor but his friend as well. Twitty helped the young singer with advice about touring, recording and most of all, entertaining fans. Twitty was certainly the master, and McDowell quickly became his prize pupil. Moving to Curb Records in 1986, his current label to date, McDowell scored a Top 10 hit with “It’s Only Make Believe,” a duet with Conway Twitty on what was Twitty’s breakthrough hit from 1958. Two years later McDowell teamed up with Jerry Lee Lewis for a rocking duet that McDowell wrote titled “You’re Never Too Old to Rock N’ Roll.” He also recorded yet another Top 10 hit with his version of the pop standard “Unchained Melody,” which became a No. 1 country music video. His entertaining abilities soared, and he began to draw larger crowds. He started appearing in larger venues and touring with artists such as Twitty, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn before headlining his own shows. McDowell also achieved notoriety when he sang 36 songs on the soundtrack “Elvis,” the Dick Clarkproduced television movie that featured Kurt Russell as the performer. He also was the singing voice for the television movie “Elvis and Me,” the ABC television series about the early years of Elvis’ career titled simply “Elvis” as well as the 1997 Showtime special “Elvis Meets Nixon.” While Elvis Presley has played a big part in McDowell’s musical career over the years, McDowell continues to entertain audiences with his own blend of romantic intimacy and country excitement.

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Countr y music hitmaker Ronnie McDowell has recently issued five of his legendary albums as part of his multi-year deal with Time Life. For the rst time ever, these classic albums will be available on all digital platforms and include "Live at The Fox," "I'm Gonna Dance with The Ones That Brought Me," "The Songs I Love," "Somebody Hold Me" and "Resurgence." With a career spanning nearly ve decades and more than 30 charted singles, McDowell shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to his ongoing partnership with Time Life, McDowell continues to tour the United States and around the world. “I am so happy to be working with the folks at Time Life with reissuing these albums digitally for the rst time ever,” said McDowell. “Fans from all over the world are constantly asking about these albums, and now they can listen to them anywhere at any time! I hope you are as excited about this as I am.” Since his breakout tribute to Elvis Presley, “The King is Gone” took the world by storm, McDowell has charted more than 30 Top 40 hits on the Billboard country music charts. Two of his singles, "Older Women" and "You're Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation," reached No. 1 on the country charts. He has also released more than 20 studio albums. Like all great entertainers, McDowell has a personality that remains luminous long after the lights go dim. These qualities have inspired a nationwide network of fan clubs with more than 3,000 members. Following the death of Elvis Presley in 1977, McDowell came out of nowhere to dazzle the world with his heartfelt and self-penned tribute song “The King Is Gone” on the independent Scorpion label. “The King Is Gone” took o immediately, gaining airplay on country and pop stations across the country and around the world. To date, “The King Is Gone” has sold more than ve million copies.


Type to enter textMessina Takes Energy- lled Show Nationwide

Messina Takes Energy-filled Show Nationwide Jo Dee Messina is one of the most iconic country artists of the ‘90s and ‘00s and still has a reputation as one of the genre’s most passionate, high-energy performers. In 1996, she kicked o her career with “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” a single that immediately made her a household name. The song gained a new life since country singer Cole Swindell released a song called “She had Me at Heads Carolina” about a man meeting a woman after he heard her sing Messina’s hit. A sample of Messina’s original can be heard in the beginning of the song, and Messina appears as the bartender in the o cial music video. Swindell’s song peaked at number 16 on the Hot 100, making it the singer’s highest charting appearance to date. A remix version of the song featuring Messina was released on Nov. 7, 2022, and the duo performed it at the 56th Annual Country Music Association Awards. “Still processing through last night,” Messina wrote on her Facebook feed, “Blown away at how kind and welcoming everyone was. Thank you for such a precious memory!” During her impressive career, Messina posted nine No. 1 hits and 16 Top 40 songs and has been recognized by the ACM Awards, CMA Awards and GRAMMY Awards. As Messina’s resumé grew, she proved to be a trendsetter and historymaker, becoming the rst female in country music history to celebrate three consecutive multi-week, chart-topping songs. Over the years, Messina has amassed over half a billion streams on Pandora, hundreds of millions of album and song streams on Spotify and Apple Music, and millions of views on YouTube. Her listenership recently earned her recognition for having one of the Top 20 country albums of the 1990s on Spotify. Additionally, her social media accounts are collectively followed by millions of fans. Messina has been traveling the country for many years, receiving rave reviews for her authenticity, commitment and openness on stage. Ho p i n g t o i n s p i r e a n d enlighten fans from all walks of life with every step she takes, Me s s i n a h a s m a d e i t h e r mission to present herself and her story with honesty, inviting fans to see behind the masquerade. Follow Messina on all social media and get her 2023 tour dates at jodeemessina.com.

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Renae the Waitress So, after consulting with the publishers, they suggested that I add pages as a revision. The REVISED book has more than 200 pages. I know many will wonder what to do with the rst book…give it to a friend…. after all, it will be a collector’s item since it will be out of print…lol.

St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time, a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer magic. March 20 is the rst day of spring, and I think we are all looking forward to warm weather. Memorial Book I will have the revised edition of Gone but Not Forgotten available this month. There are 40 additional pages including two additional photo pages. I have added 18 additional artists who have recently passed away. They include Naomi Judd, Ralph Emer y, Loretta Lynn, Mickey Gil ley, Jody Mil ler, Jo h n n y C o u n te r f i t , Olivia Newton-John, Jerry Lee Lewis, Je Cook, Holly Dunn, JD Crowe, Sonny Osbor ne, Stone wal l Jackson, Bobbie Nelson, Dallas Frazier, Don Everly, Shot Gun Red/Steve Hall and the sweet son of Jimmy Capps, Mark Capps. So many folks have asked me to write a new memorial book. Honestly, there wouldn’t be enough pages to ll a new book. Gone But Not Forgotten was the smallest book of the three I have printed.

Vince Gill Story

Vince Gill is humble, w h o l e s o m e , f u n n y, kind and a superstar with a heart who gives his all to his fans and his music. He h a s w o n 1 1 Grammy Awards and 1 7 C o u n t r y Mu s i c Association Awards and has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide. I have added his new book to the book club. $29.95 + $6.95 s/h.

Pre-order The Country Reunion Newspaper Book 2022 The Country Reunion Newspaper Book for 2022 should be available soon. I am now taking PRE-ORDERS if you would like to be the rst to receive this new book. $29.95 + $6.95 s/h

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Miss Satin Sheets – Jeanne Pruett A Grand Ole Opry Legend, and the Accolades Continue by Areeda Schneider Stampley When Jeanne Pruett walked into Bradley Barn Recording Studios on December 29, 1972, to record her new album, she could not have known that one particular song recorded that day would catapult her career to a whole new level. Producer Walter Haynes had gathered Music Row’s “A team” of session musicians and selected the songs. One, “Satin Sheets,” was written by a relatively unknown Minnesota native John “Jack” Volinkaty. “I had great faith in Haynes that he would nd good songs. ‘Satin Sheets’, I’d never heard, but I liked the lyrics and the melody,” Pruett commented recently about that session. There has always been a “mystique” on Music Row as to what turns a good song into a universal hit record and a forever “classic country song.” Jeanne Pruett was about to nd out! Producer/arranger Haynes, along with Grady Martin, Ray Edenton, Harold Bradley, Jerry Shook, Pete Wade, Bob Moore, Jerry Smith, and Buddy Harmon began “working out” the arrangement for “Satin Sheets.” Haynes added background vocals - The Jordanaires, Duane West, Winnifred Breast, Laverna Moore and Millie Kirkham.

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“Guitarist Grady Martin is incredible - he has the tone and touch, sometimes, of a blues musician; and Ray Edenton’s rhythm guitar is awesome!” Pruett said. “When the musicians kicked o that killer intro to “Satin Sheets” and Pruett’s powerhouse voice kicked in, it sent chills throughout the studio. It’s that magic moment when everyone realizes ‘we just cut a monster hit record!’ As I left Bradley Barn that day I knew that ‘Satin Sheets’ was going to make me a star!” “Satin Sheets” hit country radio February 1973. It topped the international country charts in May and stayed at No 1 for multiple weeks. It was a Top 30 crossover hit on the Bi board Hot 100. Since its release, “Satin Sheets” has become one of the greatest and most remembered Country records of all time. It has been featured on many Country Music albums and TV compilations. It is one of those records so uniquely described in the music industry as a “careerde ning signature song.” Pruett’s career hit a level she never dreamed could happen when this record went worldwide. It was the “CMA Top Country Record” in 1973 and ultimately became one of Country Music’s all-time classic country songs! Pruett was born Norma Jean Bowman in Pell City, Alabama, in 1935, one of 10 children. At a young age, she listened to the Grand Ole Opry, harmonized with her siblings and sang in high school music programs. After high school, she married childhood sweetheart Jack Pruett, her rst husband.

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In 1956, the couple moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Pruett’s husband was a guitarist, and joined legendary country artist Marty Robbins’s band. While Jack was on the road with Robbins’s band, Jeanne began writing songs. In 1963, she started recording a lot of her own songs like “Count Me Out” for RCA Records, her rst label. She also was appearing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. Pruett switched to Decca/MCA Records in 1969, and by 1972 she was hitting the Top 40 with her self-penned “Love Me” (later a big hit for Marty Robbins). Pruett was established as a songwriter, writing for Marty Robbins Publishing Co., and for artists Robbins, Tammy Wynette, Nat Stuckey and Conway Twitty. But her own recording, “Satin Sheets” was about to make Jeanne Pruett a household name! In 1973, after the release of “Satin Sheets”, Pruett was a CMA nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Single of the year. Also in 1973, she was a Music City News nominee for Top Female Vocalist and nominee for Single of the Year. That same year, Pruett was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, the ful llment of a lifelong dream. She was the sixty-third member of the Opry, and was the last female artist to join the Opry while it was located in the world-famous Ryman Auditorium, downtown Nashville. Jeanne has always been an avid supporter of fellowmusicians and was instrumental in several artists being inducted into the Opry, namely, Ronnie Milsap, Don Williams, The Gatlins, Randy Travis, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent and Trisha Yearwood. She was also instrumental in creating the Performers Bene t Fund to help artists with life-expenses. Pruett made headlines in 2006 when she announced she was retiring from the Grand Ole Opry and active touring. However, she has remained active behind the scenes in the music industr y through music publishing and on a philanthropic level. Jeanne Pruett, legendary Country Music pioneer, has de nitely made her mark in the music business. This mother of two, Jack Jr. and Jael, is enjoying retirement on a sprawling ranch in Williamson County, Tennessee, which she bought along with her l a s t h u s b a n d E d d i e Fu l t o n , a n d m a i n t a i n s involvement with her many music industry friends. Jack Jr. had a successful music career in The Winters Brothers Band, sons of Don Winters who was a member of Marty Robbins’s band for many years.

In addition to recording and performing, Pruett’s other accomplishments include: • appearances with Bill Anderson on the ABC-TV soap opera One Life to Live, as part of a country music storyline • hosted a cooking show on TNN (The Nashville Network) with radio host Ralph Emery, and was a regular for years on Emery’s television show Nashvi e Now. • author/publisher of four best-selling cookbooks in a series entitled Feedin’ Friends. She also had a successful restaurant of the same name in the Opryland USA theme park. During that period, she was WSM’s “Opryland O cial Hostess.” • she performed regularly, in the 1980s, in a highly successful theatre in Branson, Missouri. • recently self-penned her autobiographical book entitled I Remember Miss Satin Sheets. • Jeanne Pruett and Jo Walker, Executive Director of the Country Music Association, went to Australia and established Countr y Music Association/Australia, which opened up a whole new area of the world to Country Music.

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Pruett will be inducted into the prestigious Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Tuscumbia, Alabama, on March 23, 2023. She was inducted into the Pell City Hall of Fame, Pell City, Alabama, (her hometown) on March 22, 2013, and will be inducted into the Museum of Pell City, Alabama, on March 3, 2023. In July 2023, the Grand Ole Opry is honoring Pruett at the Opry House in Nashville with a “Celebration of Jeanne Pruett’s 50-year Anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”


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Barbara Fairchild 10 Years Ago this Month Barbara Fairchild has been entertaining since she was 5 years old. The phrase "to see her is to love her," is really true of Barbara. Her sincere love for people and bubbly personality makes ever yone around her feel good. Barbara's career in country music accelerated in 1973. She was nominated for a Grammy when her song, "The Teddy Bear Song" reached No. 1 on the charts. She has had many hits following "The Teddy Bear Song", including "Baby Doll" and "Kid Stu ". Since 1991, Barbara has been recognized in the southern gospel music eld with songs such as "Could You Walk a Mile," "Turn Right and Go Straight," "Apples of Gold," and "Uncommon Love." She was also a member of the gospel group, "Heirloom," along with Candy Hemphill Christmas, Sherri Easter and Tonya Goodman Sykes. On August 12, 2003 she realized a long-time dream to record a gospel album, "Love Never Fails" with her best friends in country music, Connie Smith and Sharon White. In January of 2006 Barbara released her latest hymns album with Daywind Music entitled, "He Kept on Loving Me.” Barbara told her story on how she got involved in helping children with autism best in the following excerpt. My friend, Johnny Minick who is a wonderful singer and the Pastor of a great church, The River of Life, in Smyrna, Tennessee, said to me, "I think the Lord wants me to help you rerecord your Teddy Bear Song and lm a video for YouTube." I laughed and said, "Wonder why?" He said he didn't really know but felt very strongly about it. I said, "Well, if God wants me to do that, let's go for it." For those of you who have never experienced how God leads His children, that's one way He does it. There's a real sense of knowing you are supposed to do something. As you follow His leading, He opens the doors for it to happen. My involvement and commitment to helping children with Autism begin like that. After I recorded the Teddy Bear Song at Johnny's Sound Stage Studio in Nashville and Filmed the concept Video, a man contacted him and asked, "if I would be interested in doing a Teddy Bear to bene t children with Autism?" When Johnny asked me about it I said, " tell him to call me and we'll talk about it." I was planning to design a new Teddy Bear because it was the 40th Year Anniversary of when I recorded the song originally. The funny thing about it, he still hasn't called me to this day. People began to tell me just in normal conversation they had a child with Autism, or a grandchild with it. This happened over and over again, just out of the blue. It

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happened so much I became convinced the Lord wanted me to do something to help children with Autism, which I knew nothing about at that time. Fr o m t h a t p o i n t m y education about Autism began and I am still in that process. This is a world that is so vast and the needs are massive. The statistics are 1 in 88 of children with it. 80% of the marriages with an Autistic child end in divorce. What a travesty! The di culty for the family is so great already, but divorce multiplies that so much more. I'm trying to learn ways that I can help these precious children and their families. Obviously, raising awareness of the number and needs of Autistic Children needs to happen but we must reach out to the people in our communities and schools and churches to touch their lives who need our help. My Teddy Bearchild, along with his book, Hi, I'm Teddy, will aid in teaching children, in a way they can relate to how important it is to include children with a handicap in activities they can be part of. To bully or make fun of a child with a handicap is cruel, heartless. As adults we must teach our children how important it is to treat others with love and kindness because there are so many children who need understanding in our world today. I encourage you to look into the impact Autism has on our society today and do what you can in being a friend to someone in your community who needs you. I have a group of friends, Forever Friends, who are helping me make weighted blankets and lap blankets that are very helpful in calming children with Autism. They can be expensive to buy and some families can't a ord them. We are making them to give folks who need them. There are certain toys, rocking chairs, swings, etc. that are very helpful. You could check with schools in your town that may have had funding for such things cut. As a mother carries a child that grows inside of her, the love deepens every day. She and her little one begin to know each other in those months before she held her baby in her arms. When the birth day arrives, they are not strangers. Their love binds them together for a lifetime. As a mother, I understand that love. Together Barbara and husband Roy Morris are a dynamic couple who have a powerful impact on the people they meet. They have a message to share that inspires and encourages others everywhere they go.


Southbound Contemporary Southern Gospel Southbound is a contemporary Southern Gospel Trio comprised of Clint Brown, Seth J. Elbe and Jody Braselton, who are bringing a brand new sound to some old classics and a soulful feel to some new songs. Each of the members is engaged in full-time ministry but still nd time to perform and record.

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Clint Brown Clint Brown can be described as a modern-day David. For more than 30 years and with 23 Albums recorded, his music ministry has helped write the soundtrack for churches across the world and transformed the sound of Worship in the Kingdom of God. As Grammy and Dove nominated artist and songwriter, Brown has penned more than 500 songs recorded, in 13 di erent Languages, for many of our Gospel Artist today. In 1993, Brown moved to Orlando, Florida, to follow God’s plan for him to pastor. Since then, Judah Church has become one of America’s vibrant, multicultural, family churches ministering every week to thousands in Orlando, Florida, and hundreds of thousands across the country via social media. Page 22

Brown has traveled the world in his 30 years of ministry, while preaching and singing The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Jody Braselton Jody Braselton was born and raised just north of Atlanta, Georgia. He and his two older sisters grew up in a Baptist church where his dad pastored for many years. At just 11 years old, he sang the old Bill Gaither song, “God Loves to Talk to Little Boys While They’re Fishing” on a local radio show. When he was a teenager in youth choir, Braselton’s youth pastor pulled him forward to sing a solo. It was moments like these that impacted Jody’s future in church music! Braselton began to write and create music, recording his rst project at age 15 and has recorded 6 more albums since then. Braselton’s earliest in uences in music were from traveling Southern Gospel groups that stopped to sing at his family’s church along their way. Through people like The Hinsons, The Kingsmen and The Cathedrals, Braselton heard the power of Southern Gospel harmonies and song lyrics. It had a permanent e ect on his life. Braselton has led worship for 25 years. He enjoys spending time with wife Katie and sons Judah and Asa. March 2023


Seth J. Elbe Seth J. Elbe was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and has moved 39 times, spending the majority of his life between Georgia, Florida and Texas. From a family of six, with two older brothers and a younger sister, he started humming melodies before he could talk. His family sang together in local churches. When traveling, they would practice harmonies in the car to southern gospel music and the occasional Oakridge Boys cassette. From a very young age Elbe learned to cook from his mom, and enjoyed it so much that he worked in a few restaurants during High School. Though he eventually chose to focus on music and not cooking, you can still nd him every week making delicious dishes and grillin’ the best steak! Elbe has recorded a few albums, and enjoys the creativity of song-writing, leading worship, creating arrangements, and directing choirs. He’s married, has two children, and currently lives in Orlando, Florida, where he serves as the worship pastor of Judah Church. Buy their music or book Southland at www.southbound.live/

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