Monday, February 17, 2014


Texas Two Step
You Stole My Heart Again - There Goes My Heart Again - Your Name Crossed My Mind - Take My Broken Heart
Donnie Young is a long-time country singer, player, promoter.  Four of his own compositions were recorded at the McAtee Studio in Raymore, Missouri, and I have to say, good job well done.  The steel is especially good, in the hands of Russ Weaver.  Donnie wrote all of these songs, and you'll see the words 'heart again' appear in the first two songs, so he's talking about a love that is about to happen.  Both of them are very well done.  Donnie was with us at the 38th annual National Traditional Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa, last year.  For a couple of reasons, he likes the atmosphere at LeMars, and he also wanted to be with Barbara Fairchild who he works for in Branson.  He went into our Hall of Fame in 2007, very deservedly.  He calls himself "The Singing Cherokee" and when he sings 'Amazing Grace' in Cherokee, it's a spine chilling adventure to be sure.  So is this wonderful 4-song CD that presents four really good songs by Donnie.  I liked number three best "Your Name Crossed My Mind" which is that really traditional classic country sound.  Elijah Chastain produced this session, as well as playing lead/rhythm guitar, bass and piano.  Roy Stevens joins in on harmonica.  I had a little difficulty telling the difference in the melody lines in song three and four, but they're both good, so what the heck.  You have a good lead line, you have a good lead line. The backing musicians did a good job for Donnie, so I hope he comes and sees us again, he's a great performer.
Review by Bob Everhart
for Country Music News International

CD: NORVILLE DOLLAR Singing Country with Route 67 Band

Singing Country with Route 67 Band
Together We Have It All - Your Memory Strikes Again - All Fall Down - Love On His Mind - Like And Old Shoe - Coming Up Zero Again - Big Fool Of The Year - Can't Find The Time - Another One Of These Days - Reminiscing Thing
What a great 'real' country treat, to hear original songs by not only Norville Dollar, but also by my one of my favorite upper Midwest songwriters Jack Langley.  Norville's is the first song out of the chute, and it's terrific standard classic country.  Langley's is the second song out of the chute, and it's terrific standard classic country with the additional traditional country, old-time country, and 'real' country added on.  Steel is by Mike Headrick and he stands out on Langley's song really really well, as he also does on "Big Fool Of The Year."   Norville's voice is 'prime' too I might add.  For Nashville to continue to say in their incredible nasty way that 'real' country music is for the old, for old singers, for old players, for old listeners, for "old farts and jackasses" which is how Blake Shelton said it, just seems so incredibly ignorant to me.  These pretend people can sing, yes, but they can't sing 'country.'  Norville Dollar can, and when you listen to his voice, it's not 'old' it's 'good.'  I mean 'really' good, better than anything on the top-40 'so-called' country charts.  I believe song #5 was named "Like An OId Shoe" by writer Jack Langley, but Norville calls it "Like And Old Shoe."  Just the same it's a great country song with Mike Tawfall adding some tasty licks on electric guitar.  Jim Gallagher is on drums, and Colleen does the great bass work (as well as back up vocals) and Joe Caverlee does the fiddle work on this album which is also clever and very Caverlee.  Add Mike Tawfall on mandolin on the last song, and you can see how nicely put together this album is.  Kudos to Norville Dollar for a job extremely well done, a 'real' country album to be proud of, a 'real' country album better than anything coming out of Nashville these days.  Norville Dollar, 617 Horvine Rd - Apt. G, Festus, MO 63028 
Review by Bob Everhart,
for Country Music News International

CD: JOYCE SHAFFER Product of the USA

Product of the USA
Product of the USA - Golden Goose - America is Color-Blind - Let's Do It For The Children - Hey, Calderon - They Call Me Corruption - Brains Behind the Bible - If You Dare - Dark Angels - We're Still Mad As Hell - Takin' Back Our Country - American Soldier
You might remember Joyce Shaffer.  She came from her home in Colorado to be with us at our annual LeMars Old Time Country Music Festival the week before Labor Day, in Iowa.  I was totally impressed with not only her performance, but her songwriting ability, and I would suspect she might be invited to return to Iowa again this year.  This CD is a sort of condensation of the many things that seem to be going wrong in America today.  It's exactly what I feel many times when I read the daily newspaper.  The very first song put a tear in my eye, because it is the same experience my own grandmother and grandfather had when they migrated to America from Germany.  My grandmother's maiden name was Johanna Schroeder, and she married Henry Meyers.  In Joyce's words..."Product of the USA" honors my husband's grandmother Lucy Meyers.  Lucy migrated to America from Germany at the age of 16 and never spoke another word of German the rest of her life! Proud to be American, she learned the English language and completed the legal paperwork showing her determination to help America grow.  Her life is an example to all of us of what the human spirit can accomplish when given room to flourish."  Joyce covers nearly all of the 'problems' America faces today, most of them politically created.  I love the way she uses good 'real' country music backers like Ken Dravis on guitars, keyboards, and bass. Randy Utterback on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and Dobro.  Rob Labige on drums.  I'm thinking maybe Randy Utterback is an old friend, used to play music with Don Rogert and the Desparados.  Anyway, here's a CD with a musical statement that definitely says.."If we don't clean this mess up, our children will pay."  And that is exactly what is happening in America today.  Every song is done extremely well.  Every song is a 'statement' and Joyce Shaffer is not afraid to stand up to the incredibly huge negative forces that are taking over America today.  Just let me say that this is the best musical presentation regarding these subjects that I have ever heard.  Let Joyce say it like it is...."The songs in this album are dedicated to the American people from all walks of life, who have worked hard, upheld the morals and values of the greatest nation on earth. Together and through many years of building, WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, have made our Country the greatest ever known to mankind! Please, let these God inspired songs encourage you to once again take a stand for our nation.  As a country, we are at a crossroad and our beloved America is suffering.  Let's each do our part to healing the wounds that cause us pain and keep America FREE and the home of WE THE PEOPLE!  GOD BLESS AMERICA.  A totally incredibly good album, except the song "Hey Calderon" sounds an awful lot like my own "Big Man Music Maker" which I wrote and recorded for the Smithsonian in 1980.  Probably Joyce should take a listen to that song.  Anyway, this one goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission.  Good luck Joyce.  P O Box 685, Fruita, CO 81521  
Record Review by Bob Everhart
for Country Music News International


Life is still a little slow in the fast lane, not much happening for the 'real' country music world.  Lots of bought and paid for awards, etc., for the so-called country artists on the charts.  I try to follow the news of these artists, many of them quite good, but none of them 'country,' and it is discouraging to see what money can do to a musical art form.  It was super terrific to hear that Little Jimmy Dickens took over the stage at the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night, and sang his little heart out, and did it well, which brings me to the 'fact' that there are 'real' country artists all over the United States.  Certainly not in Nashville, but ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES, young and old alike, that keep the identifying characteristics that was, and still should be, the creation of country music.  As it was in the first place, still IN place.  Anyone who ever listened to country music in the past (before this God-awful transitional imitation that doesn't even imitate) all the way back to the beginning of America, especially in the hills of Appalachia, will instantly recognize that the poignant, down-to-earth, heartfelt, very very 'real' efforts at placing true 'feeling' in the music, does not exist today in so-called country music.  Not even a whisper.  Well, if you want the real-deal, make your plans early to be at LeMars, that's the last oasis we have in the upper Midwest at least.
Kenny Rogers canceled his February 14-15 dates at the Schermerhoin Symphony Center due to an unknown illness.  Wynona Judd apparently filled in for him.
Deering Banjo, the Great American Banjo Company recently celebrated the building of their 100,000th banjo, a Deering Sierra 5-string with chrome plating, highly figured curly maple, engraved hardware, as well as an engraved armrest that says "100,000."  The Deering Company proudly presented it to Stan Werbin, the owner of Elderly Instruments during the 2014 NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif.
This from Samantha Stephens of CMT News.  "Did you catch Brad Paisley during the February 9th incredible salute to the Beatles?  In case you missed it, he was fab - just like the fab four."  In other words, very un-country.  How about that salute to Hank Williams Brad, or Ernest Tubb, or Jim Reeves...oooooh that is a very very very long list.
As reported earlier, Garth Brooks actually did a pretty good job sounding 'country' as Jay Leno's last music guest on the Tonight show.  This week a U.S. District judge will decide if Garth Brooks is due $223,000 from former friend and employee Lisa Sanderson.  This is a money story.  Last year she sued him for $425,000 in unpaid bonuses and salary (along with punitive damages of course).  This is a separate trial, set to take place in L.A. Superior Court, no date set yet.  Anyway, Brooks suit has to do with taking care of Sanderson's legal fees incurred over a custody battle of her son.  According to Sanderson, Brooks said she'd never have to repay the money which was transferred between his lawyers and her lawyers.  This all sounds like the only ones making any money here is the lawyers....FLASH... HERE'S THE LATEST.. The Federal Jury ruled in favor of Brooks after one hour of deliberation.  Now, Sanderson not only has to repay the loan (with interest), she has to pay the court costs as well as Brooks legal expenses. Hmmmm.
Willie Nelson and Allison Krauss & Union Station (featuring Jerry Douglas on Dobro) announced they will be on tour together this spring and summer for a 35-city schedule beginning May 1 in Murray, Kentucky going through July 18, final show in Toledo, Ohio.
Randy Travis getting better, made his first public appearance after his serious illness, at the "Smiles for Life" concert in Dallas, Texas.  You won't read anything about this in the 'so-called' country music news out of Nashville.
U.S. radio broadcasting is in the news again, and appears to be just another way to prevent local and regional recording artists, especially 'real' country, folk, and bluegrass from getting air play.  It is called the "Local Radio Freedom Act," a regurgitation of the previous "Performance Rights Act HR 848." Gist of it all is should AM-FM radio stations in the United States be required to pay performers for broadcasting their sound recordings over the air? Of course the National Association of Broadcasters and Public Service Radio are against it.  Big money record companies and their recording stooges are for it.  Guess who will get the money?  Looks to me like the little ones gets the shaft again.  Still, this might pop up in a ballot of one kind or another that you might have access to.  Best to check it out for more details.
Pat Boilesen appeared on the Roadhaven Variety Show in Apache Junction, Arizona (at the foothills of Superstition Mountain) to an audience of 600 who gave her a standing ovation for her song 'Broken Angel.'  We hear all the time about the 'so-called' country artists selling out, why don't we hear this news from the Nashville crowd?
Our very own Iowa songstress, Sarah Davison (she's from Braddyville) has been out here in California, taping the Craig Ferguson show.  His is the "Late Late Show" on CBS, following Dave Letterman.  The show she taped will air on February 19, so please tune in, and send in something to somebody, I don't know who, what you think.
You might remember me talking about Whispering Bill Anderson a lot.  He just absolutely broke our record when he was at LeMars (you wouldn't read about that in the Nashville rags), invited a bunch of his friends to a party in Nashville (Vince Gill, Roy Clark, Dallas Frazier, John Conlee, Jim Ed Brown, John Anderson, Lynn Anderson, Jean Shephard, Con Hunley, Neil McCoy, Don Wayne, B. J. Thomas,  Bobby Bare, and a whole bunch more) and Larry Black (you know of Larry's Diner) video taped all of it.  The 5-DVD series is nearly seven hours long. SEVEN HOURS, which is a lot of time spent on traditional and classic country music.  It's a real collector's item, and costs $79 for the 5 DVD's, plus another one shot back-stage.  It's called "Country's Family Reunion" available at 800-820-5405.
May 17 is the release date for the Okee Dokee Brothers new album "Through the Woods."  May 17, 10:30am, at Black Bear Crossings on the Lake in St. Paul, Minnesota.  These guys are really good, they just got the children's music Grammy you know.  They played a couple of times for us at the Oak Tree Opry.
Greg Cahill and his bluegrass group "Special Consensus" who has also been with us several times over the years, has joined forces with some other bluegrass artists to create "Country Boy" a tribute to John Denver.  It's set for release March 25th.  Producing for Compass Records is Allison Brown, who owns the label, and is a very very good banjo player.  They had additional help from Rob Ickes on Dobro, Claire Lynch on vocals, John Cowen on banjo, and Jason Carter on fiddle.  Even Michael Cleveland and Buddy Spicher (probably the best known fiddlers in the bluegrass world other than Mark O'Connor) also participated on an instrumental called "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" (and quite frankly really 'shames' the so-called ones in Nashville).  Greg Cahill and Allison Brown do the same thing with the banjo.  Also included are other great renditions by Dale Ann Bradley Jim Lauderdale, Peter Rowan, and Rhonda Vincent.  This one has to be a good one, so Allison please send it to me for a record review.
Jay Kelly, one of our really good upper Midwest 'country' fiddlers, got hit with pneumonia in the Rio Grande Valley last week with a trip to the hospital and missed several Terry Smith shows he was scheduled to do.  We're going to do a special Jay Kelly Road Trip this summer, join him (and us) at the Oak Tree Opry in Anita, Iowa, along with Mark & Sue Jenkins on Friday, May 30th, showtime 7pm.  On May 31st join Jay, along with Bobby Awe, Dale Eichor, and Bob & Sheila Everhart at the Civic Auditorium in Tekamah, Nebraska, for a Saturday 'Night With The Stars' concert, showtime 7pm.  Please help us 'sell it out' so we can brag back at those Nashville wanna-be country artists.  AND THEN, join Jay and Dale Eichor, Paul Burnett, and Bob & Sheila at a special Sunday matinee at Lalley's East Side Restaurant in LeMars, Iowa for a 2pm afternoon show on June 1st.  It's a good weekend for 'real' country, and good going Jay Kelly, get better and join us 'on the road.'
Unbeknownst to us, as we made our trip to Las Vegas couple weeks ago, we drove right by a huge almost alien looking group of three huge towers with all kinds of mirror-like plates surrounding all three towers.  We all agreed it was some kind of solar power station.  And then in the newspaper on Feb. 14, they announced that indeed this is a solar power station, the world's largest one, which started creating electricity for California on Valentine's day.
Look for a new album from Carlene Carter.  Remember her, she came to be with us when we were in Missouri Valley. She has a new album out April 8 on Rounder Records.  All 12 songs have a direct Carter Family connect, including some Carter Family original compositions.  The songs cover three generations of Carter Family music.  Both Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson guest on the recording, as does Vince Gill, Sam Bush, and a host of other 'real' old-time country music makers.
In that same mind-set, 15-year old Melody Williamson, of the Nashville based family band "The Williamson Brand" is also struggling to keep 'real' country music alive.  She has just released a new song she wrote called "There's No Country Here."  Guess how many of those Nashville rags will print her story?  For the same age-group record buyers Nashville is so desperately trying to attract, this 15-year old is going to beat them to the punch, and she's going to show them how phony they really are.
Sheila and I are going to stay pretty busy this summer, one especially nice concert we are looking forward to is at the Maquoketa Art Experience in Maquoketa, Iowa on June 8th.  If you type into your computer... Maquoketa art experience ... click up events, then upcoming events, scroll down to the June 8 concert.  You'll see our concert data, along with some neat photos, one of them taken behind the Oak Tree Opry when our apple trees were in bloom, and just right of that photo is one of us performing at the Willows Theatre in Boca Raton, Florida, to a sold out house and a standing ovation.  Take that you Nashville phonies.  And then, there's another photo of us playing at one of the many festivals we did in Florida last year.  Well, just thought you might like to have a look-see.  Come see us this summer as we perform our Smithsonian 'Traveling Museum of Music' you might enjoy it.
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International

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