Sunday, October 2, 2011

Country Music News International Oct. 2, 2011

Here is your Country Music News of the day. Your Country Music News is supported by Lucy Angel, http://www.LucyAngel.com , Steel Guitar Nashville, http://www.SteelGuitar.net , HelpCharity, http://www.MySpace.com/HelpCharity , Bobbe Seymour, http://www.MySpace.com/BobbeSeymour , Radio4Humans, http://www.Radio4Humans.de , Katsy Redstar http://www.myspace.com/KatsyRedstar

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Hier sind jetzt Eure Country Music News des Tages. Eure Country Music News werden unterstützt von Lucy Angel, http://www.LucyAngel.com , Steel Guitar Nashville, http://www.SteelGuitar.net , HelpCharity, http://www.MySpace.com/HelpCharity , Bobbe Seymour, www.MySpace.com/BobbeSeymour , Radio4Humans, http://www.Radio4Humans.de , Katsy Redstar http://www.myspace.com/KatsyRedstar

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Country Music News International
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Connie Smith – Long Line Of Heartaches (CD Review)

Connie Smith – Long Line Of Heartaches (CD Review)


1. Long Line of Heartaches 2. I'm Not Blue 3. Pain of a Broken Heart 4. Ain't You Even Gonna Cry
5. I Don't Believe That's How You Feel 6. Heart Like You 7. Anymore 8. That Makes Two of Us
9. You and Me 10. My Part of Forever 11. Blue Heartaches 12. Take My Hand

Label – Sugar Hill
UPC - 015891407227
Release - 23 August 2011
Time - 37:08
Www

For old school country fans Connie Smith’s album LONG LINE OF HEARTACHES was an eagerly awaited event and a long time in the making with her first full album of new material since 1998 (self-titled album for Warner Bros. Records) and would you believe it only her second since her 1978 release called NEW HORIZONS. For someone like myself who was relatively late to the country scene when drawn to the genre during the 90’s “New Country” wave this album is therefore something of an “an introduction too” .

So what does the Connie Smith fact file reveal and why is she so valued by country fans and artists alike. Country super star Dolly Parton is quoted as saying “There are only three real female singers on this planet: Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, and Connie Smith. The rest of us are just pretending". Tanya Tucker who apparently does a great Connie take-off was someone who was inspired by her and went to seek advice at a very young age.

70 year old Connie was born Constance June Meador on August 14, 1941. Back in 1964 at the age of 23 she burst onto the scene when her debut single ‘Once A Day’ written by Bill Anderson. It topped the country chart for eight weeks which was the first debut single by a female to do so and holds the record as the most weeks to hold the top place. The song was also covered by Martina McBride for her TIMELESS record and has performed it with Smith on the Grand Ole Opry stage.

The 60’s were frantic, whirlwind heydays for Smith, within a year she joined The Grand Old Opry in Aug 1965. As a young contemporary hip singer the industry pushed her image as “Cute ‘N Country”. Over her career she has 53 albums to her name including 34 studio Albums, 1 Live and 12 compilations. Smith's singles have accounted for 20 Top 10 hits and three of her first four studio albums reached #1. Back then albums and singles rapidly came off the Nashville production line making 3 albums a year and a single every three months! She admits to being privy and very fortunate to have the pick of songs from some of the song writing stalwarts Don Gibson, Bill Anderson, Harlan Howard and Dallas Frazier. Previous to this new album Connie had cut 68 of Frazier’s songs and her nineteenth studio album IF IT AIN’T LOVE and OTHER GREAT DALLAS FRAZIER SONGS consisted entirely of his scores. In 1988, he left the music industry and became a minister.
By 1968 Smith with the stress of tours, recording and promoting whilst trying to maintain some sort of personal life started to feel the heavy pressures it endured even contemplating the thought of suicide. She turned to faith as a safe haven and became a Born Again Christian. By 1979 she decided to go into semi-retirement to raise her 5 children.
In 2003 she was joined by Barbara Fairchild and Sharon White to make a collaborative gospel album. She has kept herself busy working on the road now has 8 grandchildren and has been involved with her husband’s projects. She has been married to Marty Stuart for 14 years.

It was he who encouraged her to make another album but it was Dallas Frazier who broke a 30-year drought as a songwriter which provided the catalyst for this project which made the cut with a co-write ‘Heart Like You’.
"I may have put off making a new record for quite a while," Connie says, "but I still love to sing just as much as I ever did. I really feel that it's my destiny; I heard the saying, one time, 'Do what God tells you 'til he tells you something else,' and he hasn't told me anything else yet”

Marty Stuart produced the album and as an ace guitarist lends his skills. Stuart and Smith have 5 songwriting collaborations one of which the country-blues Patsy Cline-like Blue Heartaches’ was started some 15-years back before they were married. Another is the lead-off track ‘Long Line of Heartaches’ which sets the style with a range of traditional country moods, themes, rhythms with a lush country sound laden with gorgeous pedal steel. This sounds like a timeless classic from the 70’s but brought to life with good separation and a crisp and clean modern production. Connie’s band she names The Sundowners play on the album they consist of Rod Hamm (vocals), Rick McClure (drums), Rick Wright (electric guitar, gut string guitar, vocals) and Gary Carter (pedal steel) joined by additional musicians Robby Turner (pedal steel), Paul Martin (bass, vibraphone) and Dirk Johnson (piano).

I’m Not Blue’ written with Kostas has a melody close to “Raining In My Heart”. Smith’s voice is elegant on a number where truth gets hard to say when pride blocks its path. Pedal steel cries and tears fall on the mid-tempo ‘Pain of a Broken Heart’ when love slips away. On the slow tempo heartbreaker ‘Ain't You Even Gonna Cry’ (written by Johnny Russell) Connie turns up the melancholy complemented by whining steel and glorious acoustic riffs. ‘I Don't Believe That’s How You Feel’ a Harlan Howard / Kostas composition first appeared on Tracy Byrd’s 1996 BIG LOVE. On this toe-tapper the slate is wiped clean so that love can be renewed for a couple.

The standout, steel drenched ‘Heart Like You’ (Youtube audio) from the pen of Glenn Ashworth and Frazier speaks of an estranged couple where mistakes cannot be overturned, pride engulfs wisdom, trust is lost and one of the protagonists counts the cost of broken dreams. Smith perfectly milks very emotion from each word delivering the killer line – “‘What’s a heart like you doing in a fool like

Love dies and turns ice cold on ‘Anymore’ a Roy Drusky cut which was #3 on the country songs chart in 1960 (see Youtube video). On ‘That Makes Two of Us’ a Patty Loveless and husband Emory Gordy composition it begs the question if the clocks can be tuned back to heel a love that once blossomed but was sadly gone astray. This beautifully melodic song features some tasteful guitar picking with Connie humming along in its later stages. The heartache continues on the honky-tonk number ‘You And Me’.

Connie changes the gender reference on ‘Part Of Forever’ (written by Jerry Foster and Wilburn Rice) which was originally recorded by Johnny Paycheck and gained a #19 spot in 1974 (see Youtube video). On this tender ballad Connie’s vocal is silky smooth and offers a love for tomorrow but refuses to be the substitute person to relive a partners dreams and free the chains of love and memories that caused much heartache - “The life you had with her is not mine to live, My part of forever is all I can give

The slow paced gospel infused closer ‘Takes My Hand’ sounds like a standard but was written a year or so back by Diane Berry .Smith’s 3 daughters Julie, Jeanne and Jodi join her to add some sweet harmonies.
There is a little too much “blue” on this album for my tender heart but it does what it says on the tin. There should be a long line of traditional country fans queuing up to buy this one to soak up Connie Smith’s golden voice once more on a record.



Livewire

Hot Country Extra.

The Cork based weekly Hot Country TV Show which has now passed it's 100 show milestone, is going from strength to strength and is proving popular not only with Irish audiences, but has established a regular fan base all over Europe. It is now the most popular programmes on the Showcase Channel Sky 201, Freesat 403 and Free View, and indeed the biggest country music show on TV in Europe with over 43% of viewers. The feedback todate has been tremendous, and the show not only creates opportunities for Irish artists to be seen abroad, but also opens up the whole European market to anyone who wishes to avail of it. Several Irish artists have commented on how it has helped to spread their popularity far outside this country and other artists, particularly American, have decided to tour here as a result of the demand from their exposure on Hot Country. With recent exclusive interviews featuring Irish country music legend Big Tom, and American superstars Brad Paisley & Darius Rucker, Hot Country is proving beyond a doubt to be the number one show for what's new in country music. Each week Hot Country features Irelands top country artists such as Mike Denver, Robert Mizzell, Louise Morrissey, Trudi Lalor, Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan, Mick Flavin, Shaun Loughrey, John McNicholl, Shawn Cuddy, Daniel O'Donnell, Hugo Duncan and Jimmy Buckley, newcomers Noel Flynn, C.C. Cooper, Simon Peters, Jason Travers, Jason McGilligan, American stars Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, and many many more. The aim of Hot Country is to showcase country music all over Europe.
In view of this, the producers have decided to add another string to their bow by offering a further show every week called Hot Country Extra. Based on the successful formula of Hot Country, the new show will offer opportunities to more acts to further their careers all over Europe and will be shown at the following times. Monday 7.30 - 8.00pm, just before the 'flagship' Hot Country show which airs at 8.00pm Monday (new show) with repeats  Tuesday & Saturday 2 - 3 pm and Sunday 8 - 9 pm and also worldwide on www.hotcountryshowcase.com
 
Rodney Crowell.

Rodney Crowell will be back in Ireland this month for a lengthy tour which begins at Queen's University, Belfast, on Oct. 14th, and heads South to Killarney for a show on the following day Oct. 15th, before heading up country again to the Mermaid Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow, on Oct. 16th.  Oct. 19th & 20th, will see him at the Seamus Ennis Centre, Naul, Co. Dublin, and then it's back up North again to Mc Grory's, Culdaff, Co. Donegal on Oct. 21st. Oct. 22nd. it's the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh, Co.Tyrone, and finishing up at the Hawk's Well Theatre, in Sligo Town on Oct 23rd. I hope he's a good traveller because he's certainly going to do his share of it on this tour.

SLIGO LIVE.

The last big festival of 2011
SLIGO LIVE,  Ireland's folk, roots and indie music festival returns for its seventh year and will present an exciting programme over 6 days over the October Bank Holiday Weekend, October 26th – 31st bringing together established Irish and international acts with some of the best emerging talent on the scene. KT Tunstall with special guests Rozi Plain and Sam Lewis,
Seamus Begley & Tim Edey plus Maurice Lennon, Hayseed Dixie & Festival Artists will be the star attractions on Friday Oct. 8th.
Always pushing boundaries in extreme and often absurd ways, Bluegrass Rockers Hayseed Dixie return, full of pith, vinegar and a redneck appetite for destruction.  Having bluegrassed the hell out of AC/DC and Kiss, to name but a couple of mighty desecrated rock institutions, the Appalachian Hellraisers aim to “drink, cheat, kill and earn our place in hell”.  Hayseed Dixie created the musical genre “Rockgrass” fusing hard rock covers from the likes of AC/DC, Kiss and Motorhead with seriously good Bluegrass picking and harmonies.  Hailing from the Appalachian Mountains of the Southeastern United States, the band consists of Barley Scotch – vocals, guitar and fiddle; Reverend Don Wayne Reno – bango and vocals; Deacon Dale Reno – mandolin, guitar and vocals, and Jake “Bakesnake” Byers – bass and vocals.  Having sold over 500,000 records worldwide the band has played almost every major European festival, including a Main Stage appearance at Glastonbury.  The perform a mixture of cover versions of hard rock songs and original compositions in a style that is a unique fusion of bluegrass and rock music.  Their set ranges from the Metal bands listed to Queen, The Beatles, and their own original music which is a whole different and very funny take on life. 

Glen Campbell.
Glen Campbell who was diagnosed earlier this year with Alzheimers Disease is currently on a worldwide farewell tour which will include three dates in Ireland, Nov. 11th. Convention Centre, Co.Dublin, Nov. 12th. I.N.E.C. Killarney and Nov. 13th T.F.Royal, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

Sandy Harsch

Congratulations to RTE regular country music presenter Sandy Harsch who was surprised by Brad Paisley in Dublin with the presentation of the CMA International Broadcaster Award for 2011. Sandy has been presenting her weekly country music show called Country Time on RTE Radio 1 every Friday night for quite a long time now.

National Ploughing Championships.
Country music was certainly to the fore at the recent National Ploughing Championships. The weekly publication The Farmers Journal, which now includes a very impressive Country Music supplement  by Michael Commins, had a huge pavilion on the site at which some of our top Irish artists among them Paddy O'Brien, Robert Mizzell, C.C.Cooper and Mike Denver performed and signed autographs for the many fans who were present. Georgette Jones also made an appearance at the stand. This is certainly a new and innovative way of promoting country music and proved just how popular country music is here in Ireland.

Gina.
Gina & The Champions will make a welcome return to the Cork Opera House on Oct. 23 where she is assured of a very warm welcome from her many fans.

Delightful, Delicious, Delectable Dolly.
Dolly Parton played one show in Dublin recently as part of her worldwide tour. She came on to the strains of Better Day and moved on to Walking on Sunshine, She was a vision in Rhinestones and told us "It cost a fortune to make someone look this cheap!" Her voice was fabulous, she sang all the favourites Jolene, Coat of Many Colours, Stairway to Heaven. Little Sparrow showed perfectly the pureness of her voice.   She did a brilliant Bluegrass medley with the band who were excellent.  Her rendition of River Deep Mountain High was powerful and she played at least 8 different instruments. Her Queen Latiffa Rap piece was very amusing. She sang beautifully and interspersed music and chat  very well. A very slick show, where nothing was left to chance. She sang maybe 3 songs from the new album but it was the old favourites that the packed out O2 audience came came to hear.  Good sense of humour and a powerhouse of energy, dancing in heels.  Islands in the Stream sounded as good as it did all those years ago, with one of her backing singers  doing the Kenny Rogers piece. The backing singers were brilliant. Working  9 TO 5  got everyone on their feet and it all ended with " I will always love you"  for which she thanked Whitney Houston for making her so much money!

Golden Note Awards.
ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) will honour country music star Don Williams with the prestigious ASCAP Golden Note Award during its 49th Annual Country Music Awards, taking place on Sunday, November 6, 2011 at Nashville's Gaylord Opryland. The invitation-only event will also honour the songwriters and publishers of ASCAP's most performed country songs from April 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011. Grand Ole Opry Legend Wilma Lee Cooper passed away recently of natural causes at the age of 90. She was at her home in Sweetwater, Tennessee. With her late husband, Stoney, Wilma Lee created some wonderful music including classics like "Big Midnight Special" "Legend of The Dogwood Tree" "There's A Big Wheel" "Sunny Side of The Mountain" and "Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill." Wilma Lee had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1957.


Johnny Wright Dies.
Johnny Wright, a country music pioneer who had hits as a singer in the duo Johnnie and Jack and guided the career of his wife, Kitty Wells, died early on Tuesday Sept. 27th. He was 97. Close family friend Eddie Stubbs, Chief Announcer on WSM Radio and the Grand Ole Opry, said Wright died of natural causes around 1.00 a.m. at his home. He had been in failing health for some time. Stubbs said that as a lifelong Nashville resident, Wright was a witness to most of country music’s greatest moments. Wright remembered WSM going on the air in 1925 and heard the first broadcast of Uncle Jimmy Thompson, an event that would evolve into the Grand Ole Opry. Later he started his own career and married Kitty Wells, the first woman to break through as a star in country music, in 1937. Johnny came to fame as a member of the country duo Johnnie and Jack, which recorded hits such as “Ashes of Love,” ‘’I Get So Lonely,” ‘’Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight” and “Poison Love” in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Georgette Jones.
Georgette Jones has completed a very extensive and successful tour of Ireland in which she was the star attraction and also featured as her guests some of the top names from the Irish country music scene among them Brendan Quinn, (who proved excellent on some duets with Greorgette), Gloria, louise Morrissey & Trudi Lalor. During her visit here Georgette received extensive coverage both on National and Local radio and also performed on the top rated weekend TV show, The Late Late Show, and on Hot Country TV which is shown all over Europe every week. Georgette is planning to get married at the Hall Of Fame in Nashville later this month and she has invited several of her friends from Ireland to attend. Based on the success of this tour, it's a safe bet that she will be back again next year.

C.M.A. Awards.
The star-packed lineup for "The 45th Annual CMA Awards" continues to grow with last week's announcement that co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will perform their duet "Remind Me" on "Country Music's Biggest Night." This will be their first live performance of the No. 1 hit song on national television. "The 45th Annual CMA Awards," hosted by Paisley and Underwood, will be shown live from the Bridgestone Arena in Downtown Nashville, on Wednesday, Nov. 9 (8:00-11) on the ABC Television Network. Previously announced performers include Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban with lots more to be added. Paisley, who was also previously announced as a performer, is CMA's reigning Entertainer of the Year. He received five nominations in 2011 for Entertainer; Male Vocalist; Album for This is Country Music; and Musical Event and Music Video of the Year for "Old Alabama," featuring Alabama. Paisley has won 14 CMA Awards to date, including three consecutive Male Vocalist awards (2007-2009) and Album of the Year (in 2006 for Time Well Wasted). He is No. 5 for the most career wins in CMA Awards history, behind only George Strait (22), Brooks & Dunn (19), Vince Gill (18), and Alan Jackson (16). Underwood is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year in 2011, an Award she has won three times (2006-2008). If she wins the Award this year, she will tie with Martina McBride (1999, 2002-2004) and Reba McEntire (1984-1987) for the most wins in the category. Underwood has received a total of five CMA Awards thus far, including the Horizon Award (2006) and Single of the Year (2007 for "Before He Cheats"), and has a total of 14 CMA career nominations to date.

Death of Wilma Lee Cooper.
We are saddened to learn of the the passing of Wilma Lee Cooper, one of traditional country music's greatest singers. She died of natural causes at her home in Sweetwater, Tennessee on September 13, 2011. Born Wilma Lee Leary, songwriter and singer Wilma Lee Cooper was raised in a well-known musical group that sang at local churches and festivals, billing themselves as the Leary Family. At one point, the Learys were even invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to perform at a national folk festival. Near the same time she graduated high school, she met and married guitarist Stoney Cooper. In fact, most of you probably best remember her for their duo work. Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper and their Clinch Mountain Clan specialized in traditional, acoustic Appalachian music long after honky-tonk and other more modern forms had taken over country music. Their early Columbia releases featured a lot of sacred material like "Thirty Pieces Of Silver" and "Legend Of The Dogwood Tree." They moved over to Hickory records and scored with three straight top 5 hits, "Come Walk With Me," "Big Midnight Special," and "There's A Big Wheel." They came to the Grand Ole Opry in 1957 and starred together there for twenty years, until Stoney Cooper's death in 1977. Wilma Lee carried on with her strong, direct vocal style and her continued loyalty to old style roots country music. In 2001, Wilma Lee suffered a stroke on-stage that forced her to cease performing, although she would grace the stage at the Ryman Auditorium one last time in February 2005 during an Opry set hosted by Emmylou Harris. Upon her passing, Wilma Lee and the family requested there be no memorial service, only that she be remembered for her faith and her music.



MY THOUGHTS ON JOHNNY WRIGHT’S

MY THOUGHTS ON JOHNNY WRIGHT’S
CELEBRATION OF LIFE YESTERDAY

The Madison Church of Christ was filled with a special light shining through sanctuary where Johnny Wright’s life was celebrated by Brother Steve North, Eddie Stubbs, and the beautiful angelic voices of The Whites’, Buck, Sheryl, and Sharon.  There were tears of sadness, tears of joy, and tears for the loss of our special friend.  I felt because I have known the family for so long, that I was privileged to be a part of this day of mourning of Johnny’s passing.

This is one of the first funeral ceremonies that I did not look around to see “who” was in attendance. Brother North’s uplifting thoughts on the life of Johnny Wright were so special, and Eddie Stubbs gave a great account of Johnny’s life in music, but also spoke of his love and friendship for Johnny, Kitty and the entire family.  Eddie’s voice seemed to break when he spoke of the reason he is here in Nashville and so involved in country music, is because of Miss Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright.  

The 74 years of love and togetherness of Miss Kitty and Johnny is something unheard in today’s society, and they both made it look so easy.  Everything that was spoken by anyone in attendance was that Johnny made his family first in everything he ever done, and it was evident at this ceremony.  Love of God, love for his family, love of his music.

There were some of the most beautiful flowers that I have ever seen at a funeral.  I did not see any of the younger artists in attendance….I know that in some way (in the way that I think), that Johnny was looking down on this gathering of his family and friends, and he must have known how much he is loved and missed.  I spoke with Miss Kitty as I was leaving the church and expressed to her that the ceremony very special and I felt that Johnny would have been happy.  She said, “Oh I know he was watching, and I know he loved it.” 

Miss Kitty was surrounded with all of her family, her son, daughter, and all of the grandchildren.  I know that in the coming days she will surely be filled with sadness at the loss of her partner in life, but I also feel that she has a family that has been at her side through all of these years, and she is blessed by their love and concerns.  I have commended Sue and Bobby on many occasions for being so devoted to their parents.  I told Bobby at the visitation, “Your Dad lived a long and great life,” and Bobby said, “I know Marty, but if his health would have been better, I would have loved to have him around for another 10-20 years.”  I thought to myself, what a wonderful thing to say in this time of great sadness in their family.

I have many stories of the times that I had the Kitty Wells Family Show as part of my package shows, and when I think of all of the great times I had backstage with them before they went on to perform, I realize that I have some great memories that will be a part of my life until my time on this earth comes to an end.

Johnny Wright, I will miss you, and you have always been a special person in my life.  Miss Kitty, you are so special in the lives of so many of us in the country music industry, and to your millions of fans.  I know that Miss Kitty knows that she is loved and cared about by so many, and especially her family.

This was a special day of celebration of a man who left a important mark on living life together, taking care of family first, and his legacy as one of country music’s great stars and performers.  His great songs have left his music legacy as strong as anyone’s, as a solo recording artist, and with the great duo team of Johnny & Jack. 

Johnny Wright, you will live on in our lives, our memories, and our music.  You will be missed by each of us who have been touched by your kindness and your life on this earth. 

Your friend,

Marty Martel

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