Friday, April 26, 2013


Nashville, Tenn. (April 26, 2013) – Country Music Hall of Famer, Grand Ole Opry member, and Kennedy Center Honoree George Glenn Jones died Friday, April 26, 2013 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He was hospitalized April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure.

Born September 12, 1931, Jones is regarded among the most important and influential singers in American popular music history. He was the singer of enduring country music hits including “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Grand Tour,” “Walk Through This World With Me,” “Tender Years” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” the latter of which is often at the top of industry lists of the greatest country music singles of all time.

“A singer who can soar from a deep growl to dizzying heights, he is the undisputed successor of earlier natural geniuses such as Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell,” wrote Bob Allen in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Encyclopedia of Country Music.”

Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas, and he played on the streets of Beaumont for tips as a teenager. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps before returning to Texas and recording for the Starday label in Houston, Texas. In 1955, his “Why Baby Why” became his first Top 10 country single, peaking at number four and beginning a remarkable commercial string: Jones would ultimately record more than 160 charting singles, more than any other artist in any format in the history of popular music.

Jones’ first number one hit came in 1959 with “White Lightning,” a Mercury Records single that topped Billboard country charts for five weeks. He moved on to United Artists and then to Musicor, notching hits including “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Race Is On,” “A Good Year for the Roses” and “Walk Through This World With Me.”

Jones signed with Epic Records in 1971 and worked with producer Billy Sherrill to craft a sound at once elegant and rooted, scoring with “The Grand Tour,” “Bartenders Blues” and many more. Sherrill also produced duets between Jones and his then-wife Tammy Wynette, and in the 1970s they scored top-charting hits including “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Golden Ring” and “Near You.”

By the time “Golden Ring” and “Near You” hit in 1976, Jones and Wynette were divorced, and Jones was battling personal demons. His solo career cooled until 1980, when he recorded “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” a ballad penned by Curly Putman and Bobby Braddock that helped Jones win Country Music Association prizes for best male vocal and top single. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” revived a flagging career, and Jones won the CMA’s top male vocalist award in 1980 and 1981. He also earned a Grammy for best male country vocal performance.

In 1983, Jones married the former Nancy Ford Sepulvado. The union, he repeatedly said, began his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol and prolonged his life. He signed with MCA Records in 1990 and began a successful run, and he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. His guest vocal on Patty Loveless’ “You Don’t Seem To Miss Me” won a CMA award for top vocal event in 1998, and it became his final Top 20 country hit.

In 1999, Jones nearly died in a car wreck, but he recovered and resumed touring and recording. He remained a force in music until his death, playing hundreds of shows in the new century and collecting the nation’s highest arts award, the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement, in 2008. In late 2012, Jones announced his farewell tour, which was to conclude with a sold-out, star-packed show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on November 22, 2013. Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Charlie Daniels, Kenny Rogers, Sam Moore, The Oak Ridge Boys and many others were set to perform at Jones’ Bridgestone show.

Jones is survived by his loving wife of 30 years Nancy Jones, his sister Helen Scroggins, and by his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Country Music News International April 26. 2013

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Kenny Chesney Brings Gretchen Rhodes

Kenny Chesney Brings Gretchen Rhodes to Life On A Rock Long Time Virgin Islands, Hawaiian Artist Featured

Nashville: When Kenny Chesney decided to take some of the songs he’d been writing for himself and his friends and turn them into his most intimate and reflective project, he wanted to capture the things that offered a balance to the million-miles-a-minute pace of his life. The people, the friends, the lessons learned and hours spent beyond the footlights allowed the man who’s sold in excess of a million tickets on each of his past ten tours to recharge and consider what his music needs to be, possibly “shaped the artist people see.”
With “When I See This Bar” and “Happy on the Hey Now” serving as its emotional core, the songwriter, whose first publishing deal was with Acuff Rose, wanted authenticity. When he had began going to the Virgin Islands, long before his career took hold, Chesney was more a kid with a dream – and he met a young woman sitting on a stool playing music named Gretchen Rhodes, who was living the same kind of dream.
“The thing about Gretchen,” Chesney says, “is that she had this voice that you could hear in a room. When she’d sing, people would turn around to see who it was… and she could keep folks there all night, just listening to her songs. I know: my friends and I used to go down to this beach bar a lot and listen to her play.”
Part of Chesney’s original group of free spirits, Rhodes has made her way on the musical winds to Los Angeles, back to the islands, then onto Hawaii, where she now lives and makes music. An artist on her own terms, she was someone Chesney felt needed to be on Life On A Rock to close some circles, add some truth and share the magic of a place that impacted his soul.
“To sit on a stool and play music because you love it, because you have songs to sing, that’s the mark of a music person” he says of his friend. “Gretchen has always had that! She is as good as they come, has a voice that’ll stop you – and no matter what happens, she’s going to be making music, because that’s who she is.
“I was just glad we could make this work, because she’s so much a piece of my life and that circle of friends. We may live physically so far apart, but the fact that we did, it tells you so much how much it really is just one world.”
Already recorded in London, Los Angeles, Jamaica and Nashville, Life On A Rock made its way to Hawaii for one more very special guest. With an April 30 release date, fans who’ve been previewing the album on the exclusive iTunes’ stream will finally be able to get their copy. They can also check out various songs from the album on “Good Morning America” and “Jimmy Fallon” April 30. On April 29, fans will have the chance to hear Chesney talk about the album in almost its entirety. The event will broadcast live across more than 100 Clear Channel Country radio stations as well as station websites and

The Casey Donahew Band Debuts BIG with STANDOFF

The Casey Donahew Band Debuts BIG with STANDOFF
#1 iTunes Country and #7 Billboard Country Chart
     Nashville, TN – (April 25, 2013) -- The Casey Donahew Band’s latest CD release, STANDOFF is another collection of pure rockin’ country from one of the Lone Star state’s hardest-working artists and the proof is in the impressive sales debut for the independent act, debuting at #1 on the iTunes Country Chart, #8 on the iTunes overall chart, at #7 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and #32 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart.
“I’m so proud of this record and our sales debut.   When we recorded the new music we wanted to reach out and grab some new fans, while still delivering the best of CDB to our existing fans.  I feel like we accomplished that,” says Casey Donahew.
For over a decade Casey and the band have crossed the country and back, burning up every stage in their path with their unique brand of country, selling out over 60 venues in 2012 alone, in markets such as Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois,  Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Idaho, Tennessee and more. 
Their debut single, “Whiskey Baby,” from the new project, is currently climbing both the Texas and mainstream country radio charts and promises to be another success for Casey and the band.
Just like their predecessors/fellow Texas acts, the Eli Young Band and the Randy Rogers Band, who broke out and garnered mainstream attention, the Casey Donahew Band is a band on the mainstream verge…they’ve captured the hearts of Texans and beyond for years and soon the rest of the world will know what legions of loyal fans have already figured out – The Casey Donahew Band is the real deal.  Casey’s “no holds barred” approach to music, and life in general, give him the upper hand when it comes to delivering his brand of honest music with a message to his fans.
“We’re big supporters of the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms and standing up for what you believe in. We thought it was a great concept for the new album, hence the title. It also sums up a lot of how we’ve spent our career in the music business too. We’ve done it on our own as outlaws outside the system. I’m very excited to take this new collection of songs out to the fans. It’s always fun to make new music. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did writing and making it,” says Donahew.
Track Listing:
  1. Lovin’ Out of Control-Summar/Kinney/Fleener
  2. Whiskey Baby – Casey Donahew/Matt Stell
  3. Pretending She’s You- Casey Donahew
  4. Not Ready To Say Goodnight- Casey Donahew
  5. Small Town Love- Casey Donahew/Matt Stell/Steve Stone
  6. Sorry- Casey Donahew/Matt Stell
  7. Homecoming Queen- Casey Donahew
  8. Missing You- Casey Donahew
  9. Loser- Casey Donahew/JB Patterson
  10. Put the Bottle Down- Casey Donahew
  11. Go To Hell- Casey Donahew

SARAH DAVISON & HIGHROAD - The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled
Two Coats/Finbar Dwyer's Fancy - Keep Your Lamps - High Road - Hold Me To The Rock - There Is A Man - Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus - By The Mark - Revelation Song - How Deep The Father's Love - My Tribute
Sarah Davison is a beautiful young woman from Braddyville, Iowa.  She took up residence at a Christian college in Nashville a few years ago, to further her abilities as a keyboardist, songwriter, and vocalist.  Once you hear her, you will not wonder why this is the young woman we selected to back Patti Page on Patti's very last public musical appearance in 2010.  Sarah is one of the most creative artists I have had the privilege to ever experience.  Her keyboard work is phenomenal and her vocals and songwriting abilities are also phenomenal. She works closely with Anna Grace Kimbrough who also plays fiddle in Highroad.  Sarah stays very close and near her Lord Jesus, and she presents her music in that same spirit.  For me, the spirit is definitely in the voice and power of this gifted young woman.  This CD opens with an old-time Irish fiddle tune that rapidly shifts to a full backing sound that is the epitome of the great music work done in Nashville. Blake Bollinger is the producer of this fine work of art, and the shining example of Sarah's ability to pierce the listeners mind with new sounds, new ideas, new arrangements.  And, being a very 'traditional' country music preservationist, I'm happy to say I can hear Sarah's up-bringing in much of what she does, though I'm sure labelists would call her music drifting toward the 'rock' side.  And, that doesn't bother Sarah at all, an original song by Anna "Hold Me To The Rock" is definitely the 'real' rock.  This CD would be especially appealing to a young audience who likes beauty in musical work as well as moods, feelings, differences, and in this case, lots of spirit.  Rock and roll enthusiasts will also find this a 'moving' experience.  Sarah draws on all of the musical influences she has captured over the years, but Christian belief, support, inspiration, and certainly 'giving' is present in all that she presents. If you are young and you wonder what all the 'talk' about Jesus is about, you'll definitely find some answers here.  The Rural Roots Music Commission will get to hear this fine work, but please don't ask me how they will categorize it.
Bob Everhart, Music Reviewer

MICHAEL J. THOMA - Comin' Home

Comin' Home
Wheels - Questions - Wide Open Country - Lightning From The Heavens - Comin' Home - Iowa Storm - Life In The Country - Tomorrow Is The Best Part Of Me - Nester J and Emma Suzie - Just Le Me Live
For reasons unknown to me I have two incredibly good CD's to review today, both of them astonishing Iowa artists.  Is Iowa all of a sudden a hot-bed of fast-moving music?  Just a question, but no, it's not.  Iowa is a laid back rural state, maybe the only rural one left, that keeps honesty, truthfulness, honor, respect, and kindness in our life style and our music, as this project so valiantly displays.  That's exactly what Michael Thoma has done with his songwriting ability.  Every song is his, and every song is a 'different' his.  He's also one fine vocalist.  He lives up in the Waterloo area, home of the huge Cattle Congress.  Thoma has the 'touch' in his voice, a 'touch' I call sincerity, and he's got it.  Probably crazy to make this comparison, but some years ago when Bill Fries came to Omaha from Audubon, Iowa, he started working for the same recording studio that I did.  Owned by the prolific Don Sears, it was the 'only' studio in town that had the 'ear' for good music.  Bill Fries went on to become known as C. W. McCall.  I hear him in Michael Thoma's music.  I also hear an early Bob Dylan, struggling to 'find' truth.  And yes, riding a stallion down from the mountain sounds like Michael Martin Murphey.  For Michael Thoma it's fairly easy, he's all of that and much more.  He sets pen to paper and writes the poetic belief he reveals to his own mind about his own experiences.  Is it good?  Just another question, but yes it is.  Recorded in Cedar Falls under the guidance of Tom Tatman, who has the 'ear' for good music, it is a very revealing experience of what expertise does with incredibly good vocals and original songs.  If you don't hear a little John Denver in "Wide Open Country" you're missing the influences of Michael Thoma.  Kudos also to Tatman who engineered and mixed this delightful CD.  I love being 'moved' by music, and this CD has all the required ingredients that makes that possible for me. I'm especially impressed with the writing.  BUT, this wouldn't be possible either, without the spirit and imagination of the vocalist, one and the same.  No musicians are listed but the mandolin is incredibly good.  Bass is also right on the mark.  All the guitar work, dobro, banjo, keyboard and otherwise is also incredibly good.  Off it goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission.  I know they are going to be interested in this 'new' approach to country music.
Bob Everhart, Reviewer -

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