Monday, June 24, 2013

Country Music News International June 24. 2013

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Country Music News International
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Christian Lamitschka
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Wow, I just can't believe it.  Last week I was talking about the amazing discoveries made by Keith Adkinson (husband of Jett Williams, daughter of Hank Williams) about the death of Hank being a homicide.  Apparently the evidence was enough to make him re-open the case about Williams' death, and then lo and behold, Mr. Adkinson dies of a heart attack last Wednesday.  You can read the latest on that in the "Last Page" edition of this issue.
I don't know exactly WHY I get some of this information, I suppose because I 'collect' information about country music, but this one is kind of interesting, and you might even be able to help.  You have to go through me to get the contact, but there is a film company looking for a historic saloon in the time period of 1880-1890, located somewhere in central Iowa.  They are planning a film that needs this kind of location, and hopefully some old-time country music to go with it. If you know of such a place somewhere in central Iowa, let me know and I'll pass it along. will get directly to me.
Young guy from Iowa, Jared Finck, is coming to LeMars, just finished a recording with Ricky Skaggs.  Jared works occasionally with the Johnson Strings, who are also coming to LeMars, so I'm especially looking forward to both of these acts.  The Johnson Strings are also going to do a show for us at the Oak Tree Opry on September 20th, so we're in for a real treat.  Jared Finck, who just recorded with Skaggs is also looking forward to LeMars.  I haven't heard the record yet, but Ricky Skaggs has certainly been staying busy.  He's set to release, for the first time, the story of his life with his personal autobiography.  It's called "Kentucky Traveler" and will come out on August 13.  OK, someone close to Skaggs must invite him to LeMars on Aug 26 to sell the book.  Anyway, according to the press release, "Kentucky Traveler" is an honest, deeply American story of the power of faith, family, and music from one of America's most beloved bluegrass and country artists.  Unlike other farm boys growing up in the small town of Cordell, Kentucky, Skaggs learned to play the mandolin at the age of five years.  It's true that in this same time frame and location, other mountain boys played guitars or fiddle, and even learned old songs that grandfathers passed down, but few tried to master the mandolin.  By the time Skaggs was six years old, his talent was clear enough that his dad knew he had to get Ricky on stage.  When bluegrass master and mandolin virtuoso Bill Monroe rolled into a nearby small town, Ricky was there.  As the crowd cheered "Let Little Ricky sing one" so began a storied life in music. With Monroe as a mentor and with a family who supported him at every turn, Skaggs joined the Clinch Mountain Boys band a became a professional musician by age fifteen. The rest of the story is history, and it is accurately portrayed in "Kentucky Traveler."
We just returned from the Wahoo Country Music Festival in Wahoo, Nebraska.  Did the people ever roar when seven-year old Ricky Buller joined his dad Tommy Buller (just back from Nashville where he works as a studio musician among many other roles).  Ricky Buller sang 'Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys," to a roaring audience who didn't want him to stop.  So dad Tommy, pulled out the plugs and let him sing a couple more great classic country songs.  When it was all over, we asked Tommy if he'd like to bring his 7-year old to the LeMars festival, and which side of Ed Bruce would he like to be performing.  Opening act, or following act.  Tommy didn't seem to be too concerned, but when asked if he knew what song Ed Bruce wrote, he said he didn't know.  When he learned that Bruce had written the "mama and cowboy" song, he was startled.  "Well he said, I dunno, you'll have to figure that out."  Ed Bruce will be at the LeMars Festival on Friday, August 30th.
Did you hear what happened out Tommy Overstreet way?  Overstreet is one of our very good supporters, has been with us three times now I think, and is considering coming again from his home in Oregon.  A mid-morning fire leveled a barn on the north edge of Hillsboro and the blaze was reported by Tommy, cause it was his barn.  Tommy lives on a beautiful 'in the country' kind of place, closest fire hydrant being nearly a half-mile away, so they were able to bring the flame under control by setting up a water shuttle.  Took about 20 minutes to get it all out.  75-year old Overstreet told investigators he had stepped outside the home he leased to allow his dog to get some exercise.  He heard some popping and went to investigate and found flames crawling up the side of his barn located about 75 yards from his home and in a grove of trees.  He retreated to his house and called 911.  He was unhurt in the incident and there were no animals in the barn, but a van, pickup truck and a horse trailer also suffered considerable damage from the radiant heat of the fire.  Come see us Tommy, we need a good singer.
Michael Martin Murphey is still on line to be at the LeMars Festival, and Red River Entertainment is proud to announce that July 9th will be the release date of Michael's "Red River Drifter."  In recent years, Michael has been exploring the similarities between bluegrass and American cowboy music.  But for Red River Drifter, he brought in some very eclectic and unexpected elements to the writing process.  "I wrote songs that drew from what is inspiring me at this point in my life," he says.  "Every style was fair game.  We intentionally did not follow formulas or rules."  Michael has won multiple Grammy nominations and performs as many as 150 shows a year. One of the singles from the CD project "Shake It Off" is being released as a bluegrass single.
I've written before about one of our favorite bluegrass bands, "The Roys" which is Lee and his sister Elaine who make such incredibly good music together.  They have appeared at our Oak Tree Opry three times now, and are waiting to come back again.  Their newest project "Gypsy Runaway Train" has already taken them on a tour of Sweden and a few other European destinations, and now the duo's new video made its world premiere on ZUUS Country's Americana Program June 17th.  This fast-paced piece was shot over three days while the Roys were 'on the road' They did some shoots in Washington DC, in North Carolina, traveling on their big black bus, and finally an appearance on the Doyle Lawson festival in Denton, NC.
Had a few people ask me (and Dale Eichor, DJ on KWMT Radio, Fort Dodge, Iowa) to play my song "Dear Grand Ole Opry," at the Wahoo Festival.  Dale said he would comply and play it on KWMT.  The Grand Ole Opry honored Patty Loveless on her 25th anniversary as an Opry member this past weekend with memorable performances by Loveless and fellow Opry members Vince Gill and Loretta Lynn.  In talking with Mary Schutz at Wahoo, who is in communication with George Hamilton IV, it appears the Grand Ole Opry might be planning on adding a Wednesday night show.  Hopefully this will allow more traditional, classic, and old-time country music to get on their stage.
This is late news, but you should get it anyway.  I'm a member of R.O.P.E. in Nashville, and the show this group of professional entertainers put on for the opening of the CMA Music Week was pretty incredible.  Just so you know, Mel Tillis opened the festivities with an awesome show, followed by superlative shows by Charlie Pride, Bill Anderson, Jean Shepard, Mac Wiseman, Jim Ed Brown, Jeannie Seely, Jan Howard, Razzy Bailey, T. Graham Brown, T G Shepard, Tommy Cash, Helen Cornelius, Jim Glaser, Rhonda Vincent, George Hamilton IV, Stan Hitchcock, Georgette Jones, Bobby G Rice, Bobby Lewis, Leona Williams, Donna Cunningham, Rattlesnake Annie, LuLu Roman, and Karen Wheeler, and a whole bunch more.  Wow, what a show this must have been, an actual real honest to goodness true country music superstar show.  Better than anything else that happened in Nashville on this particular occasion.  Also, look at that list.  A huge number of these performers are in America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. I've taken the liberty of underlining those that have made the trek to Iowa to make that happen.  Wow, that's unreal isn't it?
Bob Everhart -

Interview with Lee Lindsey

Interview with Lee Lindsey

Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
Answer:  First of all I’d shout HELLOOOO very loudly from the tall blonde Crazy Canadian Woman in Vancouver British Columbia Canada – I’d have to be loud because of the distance over the Rockies, across the prairies, through the cities of rolling hills of Ontario and Quebec, finally reaching our Maritimes only to hit the big Atlantic pond before getting to you guys in Europe....I’d ask everyone to visit my FB page, Lee Lindsey Music and they could pretty much get a good idea of who I am and what I’m about. I’ve been in music most of my life, I write, I perform, I host shows, I’ve raised 2 musical children and I’ve got a damn good story or two to tell!
Or perhaps more aptly put by Tom Harrison of the Province here in BC “Lee Lindsey’s lyrics show her maturity, of someone writing from personal experience and therefore unafraid to appear vulnerable. The music is acoustic based with elements of folk-rock (or more cringingly, countrypolitan) that, especially with the e crying of the violin, has an emotional content that swathes “flowers’, hopeful as it is, on melancholy.”
Christian – I’m rather a kooky, outspoken, far from mainstream, down to earth, spiritual, fun loving, and happy camper!
Lamitschka:  How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
Answer: WOW – last year was a momentous one...if you read my bio then continue on from there – and it sounds like a country song....I built my house after the fire, I lost my house due to foreclosure, my kids moved permanently back to England, the love of my life left my life, I went to the UK for my Daughter Grace Lindsey’s X Factor debut, I had an accident and was hit by a cyclist while I was cycling and broke by shoulder bone (scapula) and fractured my skull leaving me with brain damage, memory loss, vision impairment, taste and smell gone...and during all this I was recording my third album, forced to sell my home, moved to a little cottage, carried on recording and creating my marketing plan to promote the new record, recorded my first official video for my single release, ‘Flowers’, got international exposure on an X Factor L.A. site and my views went up to 15,000, had my album and Flowers Fragrance launch, and finally....just got back from the UK from my son Sam Bradley’s EP release in London – now back promoting my album with Canadian and US Radio Trackers!

So that was last year for me – all big stuff!
Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?
Answer:  Yes I write all the songs or co-write them. I’ve plenty enough for 3 or 4 more albums and always writing more when the inspiration comes.

Lamitschka:  Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?
Answer:  My song Flowers, like the video for it – is about what all women of all ages and ethnicities would like from a man, from love – they way they all pretty much want the same thing – just simple gestures, passionate moments, crazy spontaneous laughter, strength, acceptance, and finally – yes flowers will do! And men see the feminine side of women in this and allow themselves to be ‘the man’ again! Its country folk pop innocent appeal is refreshing!
 Lamitschka:  You did a duet with your son (Sam Bradley). How did that happen to come about?
Answer: I did a duet with Sam Bradley my son. It was one of my songs from my second album ‘I’m Not Running” and we sang it at one of his shows in L.A. at Cafe Hotel and Gene Simmons was in the audience where he shouted up at Sam – SAM you’re Mom’s HOT! Very amusing!
Lamitschka:  What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what's the story behind it?
Answer:  I love Warrior, the last song on this album...I was in love with a soldier and although I wrote this song before I met him I feel I must have written it intuitively knowing that he was coming into my’s not only about going off to war and leaving the one you love but its metaphorically about the lone battle in a man’s life when making the choices that he does and the consequences and the woman making the choices that she does in order to get by if he doesn’t come home...the melody has the qualities of a lullaby, very soothing and hypnotic – its a 6 minute song!
Lamitschka:  What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
Answer: Probably raising my kids as a single Mom and not being able to tour and build up some sort of fanbase. I chose to be with them everyday, for every meal and every weekend – best decision in the world! Being the entrepreneur that I am though I figured out a way through that whereby I created a forum that I would host my shows with other acts as guests, known and unknown artists, under the moniker of Tall Poppy Presents in London England – I hosted more than 500 acts over the course of 3.5 years, then moved to Vancouver Canada, recreating the same thing and now 12 years later – I’ve got a database of 8,000 friends, fans, artists, my FB Likes are going up everyday – now my kids are doing their own thing, its time for me to get on that ro

Lamitschka: What's the best compliment a fan has ever given you?
Answer:  So many stories people share with me on FB but one most recently made me giggle with delight cuz I thought it was so cute – here it is copied from a fan:
Lee remember way back when on MySpace I told you about my then 14 year old nephew who said you were "hot" and poor Sam because all his friends growing up must have had crushes on you... Well that little boy is now 18 and graduated 2nd in his class with high honors. Spent his summer abroad traveling with people to people as a US representative. He also got into the university of his choice. So where am I going with this? He's a pretty smart guy. Last night we were listening to Sams EP and he said to his dad “hey dad guess what this guys mom is hot AND she is talented I know cause I’ve seen her on YouTube and went to her website and listened to her music! Oh and he said to tell you he's legal now but his girlfriend didn't like that bit of the conversation LOL.
Lamitschka:  Many European fans travel to the United States to attend the several of the music festivals for the opportunity to see so many of their favorite artists, bands and celebrities. Will you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?
Answer:  I have a few fans in Germany, Italy, Spain and of course in England so I would LOVE to tour there – just gotta get me a European Agent is all! And of course with FB nowadays – we’re ALL easy to keep in touch with and follow! My US Radio Tracker Peter Hay of Twin Vision is also doing a push there with around 10 stations – if you know of any we should get in touch with please let us know!
 Lamitschka:  What's your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?
Answer:  I’ll Be by Edwin McCain – but I just recorded on Youtube today – I love that song....and there are so many more of course!




The loss of three giants in our music industry is not something easy to write about.  Slim Whitman, Chet Flippo, and Keith Adkinson are three men that have been a part of a mold that no longer used in country music, but they helped paved the way for our music to be of historical value to the world.  Their contributions are gifts given free gratis that sometimes go unmentioned.

When I think of Keith Adkinson, I think of a dear friend who was always there when I needed advice, he never said no to me when I would call and ask if he and Jett would attend a function, or support an activity that I thought was good for country music, would always give his views to me straight to the point, and all of us knew that we could always call him for advice and guidance in our good and bad times.  NEVER ONCE DID HE TURN AWAY FROM HELPING ME AND SO, SO MANY OTHERS.  If I were to add up to cost of his advice and time, I would be indebted to him for life.  I guess there are many of us mourning his loss that know exactly what I mean.

He never once pushed to the front of the limelight, just lingered around listening to what was going on, and if asked, gave his opinion.  Straight ahead, no funny business, just a great man, a smart man, and special man in my life and the lives of so many others.  I will miss my friend tremendously. 

When I think of Chet Flippo, I think of another dear friend that I could always count on to advise me of how I wrote certain editorials and news items.  He was always there for me to let me know I could have worded things differently, or changed a word here and there, but always was supportive of my Off The Cuff way of writing and sending out news.  I was always able to call on him when I found myself in the middle of what I wanted to write, but was scared to write, even though it was factual, so I would email him, and he would always ask me if I believed in what I wanted to write and was it true, and if so, then don’t write something that does not tell the complete story, write the truth, so in many ways Chet Flippo was my mentor, and no doubt did not know it.  There was no cost for the advice he gave to me, just friendship through truth. 

My knowledge of Slim Whitman goes back to “Indian Love Call-Rose Marie-I Remember You-Una Paloma Blanca-I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen,” and so many more.  No doubt there will be many who do not remember these great songs and this great artist.  90 years of age and he gave so much to country music.  Just think of the above great songs, and they will say it all.  I was very fortunate early in my career in the 70’s to be on two shows with Slim, so I do have memories of his great vocals and songs, and the honor of having my band be his support band for the two shows.  He is one of the great pioneers of country music and his achievements will speak volumes for his life as a human being and his gift that he used so greatly to please the millions of fans that loved his music, and I am one of those fans.

Our music industry will miss each one of these special men tremendously.  One was an expert in legal matters, one was a master of words, and one owned one of the most distinctive voices in all music from his time and forever.  He was one of the first stylist in music and his voice will live on through the ages.  I know they are now home with their Master, and I know that Keith will be watching over us and taking notes, as we say goodbye to him this coming Monday, and Chet will be writing psalms for the Book of Life, and Slim Whitman will singing the praises of our Blessed Lord with background from the Masters Heavenly Orchestra, and I sure that a steel guitar and fiddle will not be left out.  GOD BLESS THESE SPECIAL MEN AND FRIENDS OF OURS.

ADKINSON, Fletcher Keith Of Nashville, TN, a dedicated ambassador to the country music community, serving on multiple boards of directors, acting a legal liaison for celebrity friends and the ultimate client the Estate of Hank Williams, passed away at the age of 69.  On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, Fletcher Keith Adkinson was called home by the Master.

He was a man of great knowledge and an inspiration to all. He will be sorely missed by his family and his multitude of friends and colleagues.

Funeral services for Keith Adkinson will be conducted Monday, June 24 at 1 p.m. from the Alexander Funeral Home Chapel in Lafayette, Tennessee with Reverend Sid Leak, officiating.

Serving as Active Pallbearers will be LeRoy Van Dyke, Larry Finks, Lee Gillick, Jason Moore, Jeremy Parsons, Jeanne Pruett, and T.G. Shepperd.

Honorary Pallbearers are Razzy Bailey, Kathie Baillie, Moe Bandy, Emy Joe Bilbery, Keith Bilbrey, Bobby Bradley, Ty Brannon, Michael Bonagura, Jim Ed Brown, Jay Chugg, Helen Cornelius, Christi Dalton, Jamey Davis, Cliff Dinnen, Jim Dooley, Jimmy Fortune, David Frizzell, Eddie Fulton, Guy Gilchrist, Danny Joe, Kelly Lang, Hank Adam Locklin, David McCormick, Sam Moore, Collin Raye, Tom Roland, Carolyn Tate, Big Wayne, Kirt Webster, Jeremy Westby, Bob Whittaker, Hilary Williams, Holly Williams, and Leona Williams.

A Private Interment will follow in the Adkinson - Williams Cemetery.

Visitation will begin Sunday evening at the Alexander Funeral Home Chapel from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with Masonic Rights starting at 7 p.m. by the Lafayette Masonic Lodge F& M #543.

Visitation will continue Monday morning from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. service time.

Keith is survived by wife Jett Adkinson Williams of Hartsville, TN; son Frederick Keith Adkinson of Montana; and one grandson. ALEXANDER FUNERAL HOME, Directors, in charge of arrangements. (615) 666-2189 or

Chet Flippo, country music's pre-eminent journalist whose career spanned from Rolling Stone magazine to CMT, died Wednesday morning (June 19) at a Nashville hospital following a lengthy illness. He was 69.

He served as editorial director of CMT and until his death

"This is a stunning loss to all of us," CMT president Brian Philips said. "Chet was a stoic Texan, fiercely loyal and intensely private. He was honest to the core and widely regarded as a bit enigmatic, even among his closest colleagues. For all, it was a terrific privilege to work with Chet Flippo.

"Chet Flippo was one of the early Rolling Stone writers and a legendary rock critic. He was the author of seven books, including On the Road With the Rolling Stones. Long ago, I read and re-read my frayed paperback copy of this book, living vicariously through Chet's exotic pirate stories. Chet's 1978 Rolling Stone magazine cover story "Shattered" -- featuring his nose-to-nose confrontation with an angry Mick Jagger -- is the kind of no-holds-barred music journalism that doesn't exist anymore, anywhere.

"Chet was a fierce advocate for country music long before country was cool. In books such as Your Cheatin' Heart: A Biography of Hank Williams, in his writing for Texas Monthly and The New York Times and during his five-year tenure as Billboard magazine's Nashville bureau chief, Chet articulated the virtues and joys of country music with a passion and intelligence that helped make the genre respectable even among snobs and city slickers.

"Chet joined CMT in 2001 and brought that same integrity to his role as editorial director. He interviewed with artists, oversaw the music content of CMT programming and, perhaps most influentially, wrote a regular column for called 'Nashville Skyline' in which he celebrated artists who would benefit from his attention and took the industry to task for crimes of trend-hopping, image manufacturing and anything that smacked to Chet of disloyalty to country's core values.

"He was not conservative in his tastes -- Chet championed legitimate musical innovation -- but he loved country music too much to let Music Row get away with fostering hypes and copycat artists on the public. Because his criticisms came from a respected insider and known country music-lover, his columns were taken very seriously by the Nashville community. Chet kept everybody honest."

Before joining CMT in 2001, he was country music editor for From 1995 until joining Sonicnet in 2000, he was Billboard magazine's Nashville bureau chief.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at the University of Texas in Austin. After working as Rolling Stone's contributing editor while in graduate school, he became the magazine's New York Bureau chief, opening its East Coast office in 1974. After Rolling Stone moved its offices from San Francisco to New York in 1977, he became the magazine's senior editor.

In addition to covering such artists and subjects as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Joseph Heller, Tom Wolfe and the Who, he initiated Rolling Stone's country music coverage, profiling such artists as Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker and Waylon Jennings and expanding their fan base to a larger, younger audience.

He left Rolling Stone in 1980 to write Your Cheatin' Heart: A Biography of Hank Williams. His other books include On the Road With the Rolling Stones: 20 Years of Lipstick, Handcuffs and Chemicals(1985), Yesterday: The Unauthorized Biography of Paul McCartney (1989), It's Only Rock 'n' Roll: My On-the-Road Adventures With the Rolling Stones (1989), Everybody Was Kung-Fu Dancing: Chronicles of the Lionized and the Notorious (1991) and Graceland: The Living Legacy of Elvis Presley (1993).

From 1991 to 1994 Flippo was a lecturer in journalism at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, before moving to Nashville to work for Billboard. He received the Country Music Association's 1998 CMA Media Achievement Award. In 2006, the International Country Music Conference (ICMC) honored him with the Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism.

Flippo's wife, music journalist and author Martha Hume Flippo, died Dec. 17, 2012.

His survivors include sister Shirley Smith of Brandon, Fla., and brothers Bill Flippo of Saginaw, Texas, and Ernest Flippo of Abington, Mass.

Plans for a memorial service are incomplete. The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

In the 1996 movie comedy “Mars Attacks!” Slim Whitman’s yodeling, high-octave rendition of “Indian Love Call” causes the heads of the invading Martians to explode, saving Planet Earth.

Mr. Whitman, the country crooner with the weather-beaten face, velvet voice and sentimental lyrics, was often the object of humor, almost always good-natured. In the early 1980s a disc jockey offered Slim Whitman makeup kits “complete with receding hairline, furry black eyebrows and a cream to make your upper lip quiver.” In 1997 Rush Limbaugh whimsically suggested that when Mr. Whitman’s songs were played backward, the Devil’s voice could be heard. (It couldn’t.)

In 2003 Jim Nayder, who hosts “The Annoying Music Show!” on NPR, announced that he was giving Mr. Whitman a lifetime achievement award. A generation of late-night television hosts joked about him.
The reason for all this jocularity about Mr. Whitman — who died at 90 on Wednesday in Orange Park, Fla. — was his ordinary-guy, squeaky-clean sincerity in writing and singing songs that were, depending on one’s taste, inspiring love ballads aimed at middle-agers or pure cornball. But the bottom line is that Mr. Whitman could laugh all the way to the proverbial bank.
He recorded more than 500 songs, made more than 100 albums and sold more than 70 million records. In the 1970s his recording of “Rose Marie” was No. 1 on the British pop charts for 11 weeks, a feat the Beatles never accomplished. Michael Jackson named Mr. Whitman one of his 10 favorite vocalists. George Harrison credited him as an early influence. Paul McCartney said Mr. Whitman gave him the idea of playing the guitar left-handed.
Elvis Presley, in his first professional appearance in Memphis in 1954, opened for Mr. Whitman. Mistakenly billed as Ellis, he was paid $50; Mr. Whitman got $500. Mr. Whitman later let Presley borrow his trademark white rhinestone jacket.
Through an eclectic repertory that included Broadway show tunes, European folk music, religious songs, cowboy songs and, of course, love songs, Mr. Whitman said he strove to reach everyday people, to bring “the big songs down to the people’s size,” as he put it.
For better or worse, he helped put a twist on how records were sold. In 1979 he blitzed daytime and late-night television for months with advertisements for a greatest-hits album, “All My Best.” Without radio airplay or record-store sales, it became a strong seller. He followed up with three more albums of old songs in the 1980s and ’90s. “Twilight on the Trail,” his first studio album in 20 years, came out in 2010.
Ottis (pronounced AH-tis) Dewey Whitman Jr. was born in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 23, 1923, and liked to listen to Jimmie Rodgers yodel on the family radio. After leaving high schoolhe worked at a meatpacking plant, where he lost part of a finger in an accident. In 1941 he eloped with Alma Crist, who would help him overcome his severe stutter.

Marty Martel for Country Music News International


     Wahoo, Nebraska....We're definitely on the road, this time to the home office of David Letterman.  That's right, the 'Late Show' nationwide TV host, made Wahoo, Nebraska, his home office many years ago.  Granted, he doesn't visit the home office very much, if ever, he still thought the name of the town 'Wahoo' was deserving of attention, so that's what he did.  Sharon Kenaston is another interesting person that makes Wahoo her hometown for a week.  It just happened to be this week, and Sheila and I were asked to come along and play some good old time country music, so we did.
     It's called the 'Wahoo Country Music Show' and consists of about four days of traditional and classic country music, though this year proved to have more than an abundance of country music dance band sounds.  Sharon Kenaston is the mover and shaker behind this great festival.  Lots of rim-shots, if you know what that is, were heard throughout the four days, plus a lot of 'drinking in my beer' songs.  Not a bad thing, especially if you have been deprived of hearing those great 'I lost my love somewhere' songs.  Two major attractions, Leona Williams (Merle Haggard's ex-wife) was on Thursday night.  Leona is a great entertainer as well as a great songwriter and a great singer.  She's such a down-to-earth woman, very attractive and super on stage.  Got to spend some time talking with her about Kenny Seratt who is coming to the LeMars Festival.  According to Kenny, he's the guy who taught Merle Haggard how to sing.  When I asked Leona (who like I said was married to Merle) about this, she said 'Kenny did show Merle how to sing.  You will be amazed when you hear Kenny sing.  He sings just like Merle sings, and Merle learned how to sing like Merle from Kenny."  Well, that was pretty much the gist of the conversation, and the two shows she did were simply exemplary. She brought her son Ron along to help out, and he's no slouch on the microphone either.  The other super good entertainer was Terry Smith who wrote "Far Side Banks of Jordan" for Johnny and June Carter Cash.  His shows were full all the time, meaning there were no empty seats.  He will be at the LeMars festival too, and will be doing a couple of concerts at the Oak Tree Opry on Aug 2 and 3. He received constant standing ovations at Wahoo for his programs.  The one time we heard a completely gone crazy response to an act was the closing song "Ragtime Annie" performed on the Bob Kenaston Memorial Fiddler's Jamboree. So you see, there was some incredibly exciting old-time country on stage as well.  Only thing I saw missing this year was a little bluegrass, but I'm sure that will be coming back again too. They have an interesting songwriting contest at this event, won by Janet Snell from Stuart, Iowa.  They had to write a song about "A Little Bit Sore" and there were some really good results.  They also host a band scramble which was won by the 'Thrrs' who did a magnificent version of 'Wayfaring Stranger.'  Fun all the way round, super good festival.
     "Dad managed to make a budget lunch work for us while we were at Wahoo," Bobbie Lhea added. "By going to the Culver's Food Stand, he was able to get three Reuben sandwiches, three orders of sweet potato fries, and three soft drinks for under $20.  Well, hip hip hooray, but I have to say, those Reuben's were totally delicious."

The Shires on Country Music News International Radio Show interviewed by Christian Lamitschka

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