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Archive for the ‘Country’ Category

RIP, Mel McDaniel (March 31, 2011) Country Music Star

Posted by on March 31, 2011

Mel McDaniel
September 6, 1942 – March 31, 2011

Photo by Dean Dixon

Mel McDaniel was a successful country music artist who scored several hits during the 1980s.  Born and raised in Oklahoma, McDaniel was one of millions of kids who were inspired to make music after witnessing Elvis Presley on television.  Thankfully for us, he remained faithful to that dream.  McDaniel eventually landed in Nashville where, during the mid ’70s,  he landed a deal with Capitol Records.  By the late ’80s, McDaniel had released such hit records as “Louisiana Saturday Night,” “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On,” and the Bruce Springsteen-penned, “Stand On It.”  In 1996, he was seriously injured when he took a fall from a Lafayette, Louisiana stage and never fully recovered.  He then suffered a major heart attack in 2009.  But it was ultimately cancer that took Mel McDaniel’s life on March 31, 2011.  He was 62.

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Died On This Date (March 30, 2011) Harley Allen / Country Singer & Songwriter

Posted by on March 30, 2011

Harley Allen
June 23, 1956 – March 30, 2011

Harley Allen was a country singer and highly sought-after songwriter.  Born to bluegrass legend Red Allen in Dayton, Ohio, Allen eventually landed in Nashville and began releasing a string of albums with his brothers, the Allen Brothers, and on his own.  In 2002, his voice could be heard on the Grammy-winning “Man Of Constant Sorrow” from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.  As an in-demand songwriter, Allen penned or co-wrote charting records for the likes of Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss and many many more.  His “The Baby” ended up being a huge hit for Blake Shelton.  Harley Allen died of lung cancer on March 30, 2011.  He was 55.

Thanks to Craig Rosen at Number1Albums

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RIP, Ralph Mooney (March 20, 2011) Steel Guitar Legend

Posted by on March 20, 2011

Ralph Mooney
September 16, 1928 – March 20, 2011

Ralph Mooney was an innovative and influential steel guitar player who launched his career after moving from Oklahoma to California during the 1940s.  By the ’50s, he was a staff player for Capitol Records where he played on records by the likes of Buck Owens, Rose Maddox, Wanda Jackson, and Merle Haggard. He later spent the better part of twenty years playing with Waylon Jennings.  By all accounts, the “Bakersfield sound” may never have been fully realized without the genius of Mooney.  As a songwriter, Mooney made perhaps his biggest mark with the 1956 Ray Price hit, “Crazy Heart,” which he co-wrote with Chuck Seals.  Although he had been retired since the mid ’90s, Marty Stuart coaxed Mooney out of retirement to play on his 2010 Grammy-winning Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions.  Ralph Mooney was 82 when he passed away on March 20, 2011.

Thanks to Jon Grimson for the help

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RIP, Ferlin Husky (March 17, 2011) Country Legend

Posted by on March 17, 2011

Ferlin Husky
December 3, 1925 – March 17, 2011

Ferlin Husky was a country music singer who launched his career in 1945 and released a string of hits that stretched through the mid ’70s.  During WWII Husky, a Merchant Marine, entertained the troops on his ship.  After the war, he landed a recording contract with Capitol Records thanks to the help of Cliffie Stone.  In 1953, he scored his first #1 hit with the Jean Shepard duet, “A Dear John Letter.”  The hits continued with such records as “Gone” and “Wings Of A Dove.”  He also dabbled in acting during the late ’50s.  Husky suffered from heart problems since the 1970s and passed away from cardiac trouble on March 17, 2011.  He was 85.

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RIP, Carlton Haney (March 16, 2011) Bluegrass Promoter

Posted by on March 16, 2011

Carlton Haney
DOB Unknown – March 16, 2011

Photo by Marcia Goodman

Carlton Haney was a bluegrass and country music promoter who first came into the business while he was dating Bill Monroe’s daughter during the 1950s. It was during that time that he began booking shows for Monroe and eventually began managing bluegrass act, Reno & Smiley.  During the ’60s he became one of the first, if not THE first promoter to put together package shows that featured both bluegrass and country artists.  That lead to one of the America’s first successful multi-day bluegrass festivals which he launched over Labor Day weekend, 1965 in Fincastle, Virginia.  Over the course of his career, he was cited as a major contributor to the ultimate successes of such artists as Loretta Lynn, the Osbourne Brothers, Porter Waggoner, and Waylon Jennings, on whose Okie From Muskogee and The Fightin’ Side Of Me live albums, Haney can be heard introducing the singer.  He also penned a handful of bluegrass and country hits for others over the years.  Carlton Haney was 82 when he passed away on March 16, 2011.

Thanks to Janice Brooks at Bus of Real Country

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RIP, Todd Cerney (March 14, 2011) Celebrated Rock & Country Songwriter

Posted by on March 14, 2011

Todd Cerney
DOB Unknown – March 14, 2011

Todd Cerney was a brilliant songwriter, musician, and producer who was based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Born in Detroit, Cerney moved to Nashville during the ’70s to further his career.  His songs have been recorded by George Strait, Tanya Tucker, Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Cheap Trick to name a few.  His hits include the Grammy-nominated “I’ll Be Loving You” (Restless Heart) and the country chart topping “Good Morning Beautiful” (Steve Holy).  As an in-demand session player,  Cerney has performed live or recorded with a list of superstars that includes the Dixie Chicks, the Grateful Deadthe Beach Boys, and Jackson Browne.  In November of 2010, Todd Cerney suffered a brain seizure and subsequently learned he had stage four melanoma cancer.  On March 14, 2011, Cerney died as a result of the cancer.

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RIP, Johnny Preston (March 4, 2011) Had Hit With “Running Bear”

Posted by on March 4, 2011

Johnny Preston (born Johnny Courville)
August 18, 1939 – March 4, 2011

Johnny Preston was a rock ‘n roll pioneer who is perhaps best remembered for is 1960 #1 hit, “Running Bear.”  Preston was still in his teens when he he and his band caught the attention of JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson at a local club.  Richardson was so impressed by the singer, that he gave Preston a tune he had penned to record.  That song was “Dancing Bear,” and when they put it to record, it included Richardson and future country icon, George Jones, on backing vocals.  The record was a huge hit, reaching #1 on both the U.S. and U.K. charts.  Unfortunately, Richardson never saw its success since it was released shortly after he perished in the plane crash that also took the lives of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.   Preston released a handful of other charting singles over the next couple of years, but none came close to the success of “Dancing Bear.”  He did however, continue to perform well into the 2000s and was once recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame as a pioneer of the genre.  Johnny Preston died of heart failure on March 4, 2011.  He was 71.

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RIP, Doc Williams (January 31, 2011) Country Music Legend

Posted by on January 31, 2011

Doc Williams (Born Andrew Smik Jr.)
June 26, 1914 – January 21, 2011

Doc Williams was a pioneering country music singer and band leader who, over a career that spanned nearly 80 years, entertained millions either on the road or over the airwaves of radio powerhouse, WWVA-AM.  On clear nights, his voice could be heard across most of the eastern 2/3 of the United States and much of Canada.  Williams was in the tenth grade when he dropped out of school to help support his family.  He soon launched his music career, forming and band and landing performances on local radio stations.  He eventually found himself performing on WWVA’s long running Jamboree program which was later renamed Jamboree USA when it’s broadcast stretched to further points of the country.  Doc Williams & His Boder Riders quickly became the most popular act on the program while their traveling show put them in front of fans across the U.S., Canada and even England.  Williams met the future Chuckie Williams after she sent him a letter asking if she could come on his show.  They soon became singing partners and were married in 1939.  Doc Williams retired from music in 2006.  He was 96 when he passed away on January 31, 2011.

Thanks to Fred Jasper for the help

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RIP, Charlie Louvin (January 26, 2011) Country Music Icon

Posted by on January 26, 2011

Charlie Louvin (Born Charles Loudermilk)
July 7, 1927 – January 26, 2011

Charlie Louvin was a longtime country singer and songwriter who became a national treasure singing alongside his brother Ira Louvin as the Louvin Brothers.  From 1940 to 1963, the Louvin Brothers created a catalog of country and folk music that ushered in the use of close harmonies to the genres and would be a direct influence on the likes of the Byrds, the Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Alison Krauss, and  the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  Starting out as a Gospel group, the Louvin Brothers soon began singing secular songs so they could reach a larger audience.  That lead to appearances at the Grand Ole Opry and several charting singles.  The duo disbanded in 1963 and then in 1965, Ira was tragically killed in a car accident, so Charlie forged on as a solo artist.  In recent years, Louvin’s career experienced a renaissance thanks to recognition from the likes of Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Elvis Costello, and Bright Eyes to name just a few.  Outside of tributes, his songs have been recorded by Uncle Tupelo, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Wanda Jackson, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams Jr., Doc Watson, and many many more. In 2003, a Grammy winning tribute to the Louvin Brothers entitled Livin’, Lovin’, Losin’: Songs Of The Louvin Brothers was released.  It included performances by Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Dolly Parton, Marty Stuart, and Merle Haggard, to name a few.  Louvin continued to release critically acclaimed albums and enjoy the spotlight as recently as 2010.  His final three, including 2010’s The Battle Rages On are considered three of his best.   Charlie Louvin was 83 when he died as a result of pancreatic cancer on January 26, 2011.

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RIP, Buddy Charleton (January 25, 2011) Pedal Steel Great

Posted by on January 25, 2011

Buddy Charleton
March 6, 1938 – January 25, 2011

Buddy Charleton was a highly respected steel guitar player who is perhaps best remembered for his days playing in Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours.  Charleton was just 23 when he began playing with Tubb, and he would continue to perform live and on record with his band until 1973.  He then went on to become a sought-after instructor and session player for the likes of Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Reba McIntire.  Buddy Charleton was 72 when he passed away on January 25, 2011.  He had been battling lung cancer.



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