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Country Reunion Magazine

Articles About Country Music Favorites

The following articles were originally published in Country’s Family Reunion News and Country Reunion Magazine, the companion publications to “Larry’s Country Diner” and “Country’s Family Reunion.” The magazine was published from 2012-2023 and available to digital subscribers as well as those who preferred the print version. Keep following this magazine blog as we add hundreds more articles from our vast archive of interviews with stars, industry news, profiles about country music and musicians, event coverage, recipes, recollections of music industry professionals, tours of stars’ homes and gravesites and so much more. We’ll even keep you posted on some of the current music industry news about your traditional country, bluegrass and country gospel favorites.

Joe Bonsall Shares One Life with Many Cats

Joe Bonsall Shares One Life with Many Cats

A house brimming with cats and a heart overflowing with compassion led a member of a beloved quartet to establish a charitable foundation serving animals and people in need. Joe Bonsall, tenor for the Oak Ridge Boys since 1973, along with his wife, Mary, established...

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T. Graham Brown Invited To Grand Ole Opry Membership

T. Graham Brown Invited To Grand Ole Opry Membership

CMA Award winner, Grammy nominee, and SiriusXM radio host of LIVE WIRE T. Graham Brown was surprised during his LIVE WIRE interview with Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member Vince Gill with the ultimate invitation - to become the newest member of the...

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Actor Dennis Quaid Committed to Country

Actor Dennis Quaid Committed to Country

Lights, camera, music! The multi-talented Dennis Quaid is no stranger to the limelight, having graced the silver screen with iconic performances in The Rookie, The Day After Tomorrow and many other blockbuster hits. But there's more to this Hollywood star than meets...

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Gene Watson’s 2024 Tour – All the Hits & More

Gene Watson’s 2024 Tour – All the Hits & More

The Grand Ole Opry’s Dan Rogers and Grand Ole Opry member Rhonda Vincent joined The Bellamy Brothers to celebrate Opry member Gene Watson’s 80th birthday backstage on October 12, 2023. On the heels of his 80th birthday, Watson announced his 2024 All the Hits &...

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The Duke of Paducah

The Duke of Paducah

Country comedians made us laugh with their tall tales and introduced audiences to a completely new form of entertainment. These are a few of the original comedians that kept us slapping our knees and part of what made the Grand Ole Opry unforgettable. Ask anyone still...

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Twitty Burger Lawsuit Inspires Judge to Pen Ode

Twitty Burger Lawsuit Inspires Judge to Pen Ode

The Country Music and Rockabilly Hall of Famer, Conway Twitty was known for his 44 number-one singles and his ability to cross over into the genres of Rock, Pop and Rhythm and Blues. In addition to his vocal success, Twitty aspired to become a restaurant owner. Soon...

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Dolly Parton’s Restaurants Offer More than Food

Dolly Parton’s Restaurants Offer More than Food

Back in the 1980s, Dolly Parton wanted to create a place where someone could be entertained while they also enjoyed a relaxing and fulfilling meal. Through The Dollywood Company she partnered with Fred Hardwick and the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation in...

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“Louisiana Hayride” Gave New Artists a First Chance

“Louisiana Hayride” Gave New Artists a First Chance

“Louisiana Hayride” began as a radio program and evolved into an early television show credited with propelling the careers of some of the 1950s and ‘60s biggest stars. Based in Shreveport, Louisiana, the show was named for a book by the same title by author Harnett...

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The Enduring Love of Dale Evans and Roy Rogers

The Enduring Love of Dale Evans and Roy Rogers

One of the most beloved couples in country music history was Dale Evans and Roy Rogers. A husband-and-wife music and film duo known for their roles in western films and television shows, Evans and Rogers met in 1944 while they were both working on a film called...

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A Spirited Ode to a Southern Comfort Food

A Spirited Ode to a Southern Comfort Food

In the ever-evolving landscape of the music industry, certain luminaries shine brighter than the rest, transcending generations and leaving an enduring mark on the hearts of fans. One such luminary is singer Pat Boone, 89, whose latest music video, "Grits," is a...

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Roy Acuff Influenced Country Music in Numerous Ways

Roy Acuff Influenced Country Music in Numerous Ways

The Acuff household remained in constant company mode during the childhood of Country Music legend, Roy Acuff, born on Sept. 15, 1903. Acuff’s father, Neil Acuff, was a former lawyer and postmaster. He also was known to be an accomplished fiddler and became an...

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Georgette Jones Happy Mom’s Song Reaching New Fans

Georgette Jones Happy Mom’s Song Reaching New Fans

“Til I Can Make it on my Own,” the No. 1 first released by Tammy Wynette in 1976, has been recorded in Spanglish as a duet by Texas country-rock artist Savannah Rae and Georgette Jones, Wynette’s daughter. “I'm so excited that Mom's song will now be heard by a whole...

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Carothers Keeps “Real” Country Alive

Carothers Keeps “Real” Country Alive

Traditional Country music lovers often comment that no one is making "real" Country music anymore. One listen to Nashville honky-tonk crooner James Carothers is proof that real Country is alive. He's built a large fan base of fiercely supportive followers who...

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Jerry Clower

Jerry Clower

Howard Gerald Clower, or Jerry (Jay-Ree) Clower, evoked a phenomenal reaction in response to his humor. Folks either loved or loathed Jay-rees’s tales, but in common with others who have been called “Mouth of the South” everyone knew exactly who Jerry Clower from...

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Cousin Jody – More than Just a Funny Face

Cousin Jody – More than Just a Funny Face

Rural comedy coupled with considerable musical talent transported James Clell Summey from Possum Hollow, Tennessee, where he was born in during the World War I era, to the Grand Ole Opry, where he performed as Cousin Jody. Summey’s parents were musical, so he grew up...

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Girls Next Door’s Harmonious Resurgence

Girls Next Door’s Harmonious Resurgence

In the mid-1980s, a vocal quartet burst onto the country music scene with a harmonious force that would captivate audiences for years to come. Comprising four talented and spirited women – Cindy, Diane, Doris, and Tammy – Girls Next Door's journey began in the live...

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Gospel and Country Music’s Shared History

Gospel and Country Music’s Shared History

The music industry has witnessed a plethora of evolutions and cross-pollination in genres throughout history, and the relationship between gospel and country music is no exception. The two genres have a long and intertwined past, with many stars blurring the lines...

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Jerry Reed – Always Hot

Jerry Reed – Always Hot

The following interview appears in the book “My Kind of Country: Conversations with Cowboys, Gamblers, Outlaws and Songwriters” by the Michael Buffalo Smith. Jerry Reed was a true star. From his string of hit singles during the '60's and '70's to his groundbreaking...

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Dion Pride Honors His Father by Using His Talents

Dion Pride Honors His Father by Using His Talents

Dion Pride, son of legendary Country Music Hall of Famer, Charley Pride and beloved wife Rozene, is a committed singer, songwriter, musician and stage performer who creates a memorable live performance with his dynamic show, "A Tribute to Charley Pride."  His studio...

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Ernie Ashworth

Ernie Ashworth

    by Sasha Dunavant Earnest Bert " Ernie" Ashworth started his career in radio, like so many others who, in time, would end up as Country music performers. For ten years – from 1960 to 1970 – every record Ernie released made the national charts. Of these, 12...

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Rocky Top’s Sonny Osborne Dies at 84

Rocky Top’s Sonny Osborne Dies at 84

One half of the sibling duo who made “Rocky Top” a perennial Bluegrass favorite has died. Sonny Osborne passed away on Oct. 24 at age 84. Sonny and his brother, Bobby, 90, were born in Roark, Kentucky, but then moved to Dayton, Ohio, where during their youth they sang...

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DeFord Bailey

DeFord Bailey

  By Sasha Kay Dunavant From the big cities to the small communities, Tennessee Music Pathways program identifies, explains and preserves the legacy of music in Tennessee. Be it a story of the past, a star of the present or the promise of the future, Tennessee Music...

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Ralph Emery’s Loss Felt by Country Community

Ralph Emery’s Loss Felt by Country Community

Country music radio legend Ralph Emery passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Jan. 15, 2022. The 2007 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee was born March 10, 1933, in McEwen, Tennessee, and rose above his difficult childhood with dysfunctional parental...

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A Late Start in Country Music did not Hinder Margo Smith

A Late Start in Country Music did not Hinder Margo Smith

Margo Smith, “The Tennessee Yodeler,” gave her first public performance following a particularly exasperating public moment when she realized she would have to sing without a piano. “I was only 5, but I knew a lot about music,” Smith said in a September interview with...

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Tom T. Hall was a Storyteller Above all Else

Tom T. Hall was a Storyteller Above all Else

Tex Ritter called Tom T. Hall “The Storyteller,” and the moniker stuck because it was true. The singer-songwriter who passed away on Aug. 20, 2021, at the age of 85, told stories in his songs like the Grammy-winning CMA Single of the Year “Harper Valley PTA,” which...

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ALABAMA Museum Open Daily in Group’s Hometown

ALABAMA Museum Open Daily in Group’s Hometown

  More than 50 years ago a trio of young cousins left the cotton farms of Fort Payne, Alabama, to the summer playing in a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, bar called The Bowery. It took Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook six long years of tip jars and word of mouth...

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Milton Estes: Versatile Early Country Performer

Milton Estes: Versatile Early Country Performer

By Sasha Dunavant Milton Escoe Estes first performed at the Grand Ole Opry after his move to Nashville in 1937. While working as a bass singer and an emcee with Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys in the 1930s, Estes sang with Cowboy Copas, Eddy Arnold, Redd Stewart,...

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Bobby Marquez Honored for Songwriting in Home State

Bobby Marquez Honored for Songwriting in Home State

A recent visitor to “Larry’s Country Diner was Bobby Marquez, an award-winning Texas-born singer-songwriter with a magnetic smile and a heartfelt, honky-tonk style. Earlier this year Marquez accepted the Country Music Association of Texas Award for Americana Song of...

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Texas Tenors Visit The Diner

Texas Tenors Visit The Diner

In October 2023 “Larry’s Country Diner” welcomed The Texas Tenors, a three-time Emmy Award-winning country and classical crossover group made up of country singer JC Fisher, classical singer Marcus Collins and opera singer John Hagen. Collins began singing at the age...

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Ed Bruce’s Little-Known Christian Albums Reissued

Ed Bruce’s Little-Known Christian Albums Reissued

When country singer, songwriter and actor Ed Bruce died in 2021, he left a legacy of great songs, many of which were recorded by other artists, others by Bruce himself. Some of the best-known include “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (Waylon...

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The Singer-Songwriters: Roger Miller Spoke in Songs

The Singer-Songwriters: Roger Miller Spoke in Songs

Country Music’s King of the Road, Roger Miller, is remembered as a multi-faceted artist who was as accomplished in writing music as in singing or playing drums, banjo, piano, fiddle or guitar. The Oklahoma-raised Miller was only a year old when he lost his father from...

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Fried Chicken Fiasco Didn’t Tarnish Star’s Good Name

Fried Chicken Fiasco Didn’t Tarnish Star’s Good Name

It seems reasonable that Minnie Pearl’s persona should be able to sell fried chicken, right? After all the Centerville, Tennessee, native Sarah “Minnie Pearl” Cannon was, for her time, a country comedy phenomenon. With her frilly country dresses and straw hats adorned...

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Bellamy Brothers Roll Out their Old Hippie Stash Mobile

Bellamy Brothers Roll Out their Old Hippie Stash Mobile

As their Smart & Safe Florida campaign to implement safe and common-sense cannabis regulation blazed on to more than one million signatures, the Bellamy Brothers rolled out their Old Hippie Stash Mobile in April. The duo enlisted artist Mark Hannah, known for his...

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Country Stars Believe Horses Strengthen Mental Health

Country Stars Believe Horses Strengthen Mental Health

No other animals have been as influential on human evolution as horses. Horses are highly intuitive to nonverbal messages and intention, and as such can reflect aspects of ourselves that can lead to deep healing and connection. That’s why the Horses for Mental Health...

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Patsy Montana: County’s First Solid Gold Female Singer

Patsy Montana: County’s First Solid Gold Female Singer

Rubye Blevins was the first female country artist to sell a million records. Never heard of her? Of course you have! The song was "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," the year was 1935 and the stage name under which she recorded and performed across six decades was...

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Mountain Music Legends Carter and Ralph Stanley

Mountain Music Legends Carter and Ralph Stanley

Love for traditional mountain music fused with bluegrass styling bound the careers of two talented brothers from Big Spraddle Creek, Virginia. Influenced by the Grand Ole Opry, J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys and the Carter Family,...

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Harmony Renewed: The Church Sisters’ Musical Journey

Harmony Renewed: The Church Sisters’ Musical Journey

In the picturesque heart of Southwest Virginia, two young girls embarked on a remarkable musical odyssey that would capture the hearts of many. Savannah and Sarah Church, lovingly referred to as "The Church Sisters," are the fraternal twins who brought their dulcet...

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Loveless Career Highlighted by Hall of Fame

Loveless Career Highlighted by Hall of Fame

“Patty Loveless: No Trouble with the Truth,” a new exhibit opening Aug. 23 at the the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum explores the influential career and enduring music of Patty Loveless. “My journey into a career of music all started out on an Epiphone acoustic...

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Rockabilly Combines Rock with Country

Rockabilly Combines Rock with Country

Emerging in the early 1950s, Rockabilly music combined elements of what was to become rock and roll with traditional country and western music. Though Rockabilly and country are often associated, there are differences that help the listener quickly differentiate....

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Uncle Ned and the Texas Wranglers Popular on 1930s Radio

Uncle Ned and the Texas Wranglers Popular on 1930s Radio

Eugene Lowrey Stripling, who performed in country radio’s early days under the name of “Uncle Ned” with his group, Texas Wranglers, told writer Celestia Bailey of Rural Radio Magazine in the June 1939 issue how he got his nickname. Here’s a reprint of Bailey’s story...

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Beverly Hillbillies Theme Helped Make Bluegrass Popular

Beverly Hillbillies Theme Helped Make Bluegrass Popular

"The Ballad of Jed Clampett" helped to bring bluegrass into the mainstream and remains an enduring classic of American popular culture. In the early 1960s, bluegrass music was a relatively niche genre that was primarily enjoyed by a small but passionate group of fans....

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June Carter Cash’s Former Home for Sale

June Carter Cash’s Former Home for Sale

Looking for a home steeped in Nashville's soul and musical roots? The former home of June Carter Cash and Carl Smith is now on the market for $3.5 million!Honored with a listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the estate was the playground and backdrop to...

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Gailard Sartain – Creative Artist and Talented Entertainer

Gailard Sartain – Creative Artist and Talented Entertainer

From Tulsa to Kornfield Kounty, Gailard Sartain has seen or done it all. Affectionately remembered for his roles as Maynard in “The General Store,” Orville in “Lulu’s Truck Stop,” Officer Bull Moose or the trucker in the CB Radio Spot on “Hee Haw,” Sartain has become...

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Kenny Rogers Roasters Big Hit in Far East

Kenny Rogers Roasters Big Hit in Far East

Healthy chicken was the concept for a restaurant bearing the name of founder Kenny Rogers, who launched the chain in 1991 with former Kentucky governor John Y. Brown. Both men had the experience to make the Kenny Rogers Roasters successful. Brown was an early investor...

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Hal Ketchum

Hal Ketchum

Multitalented Grand Ole Opry inductee Hal Ketchum, who was a singer, songwriter, painter, master carpenter and actor, died on Nov. 23, 2020, at his home in Texas.“With great sadness and grief we announce that Hal passed away peacefully last night at home due to...

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The Kendalls

The Kendalls

The flip side of a Country single catapulted Country Music’s most famous father-daughter duo to a career that spanned two decades and saw more than 30 of their hits reach the Top 40. The Kendalls, Royce and daughter Jeannie, may have recorded “Heaven’s Just a Sin...

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Jan Howard: A Life of Sunshine and Shadow

Jan Howard: A Life of Sunshine and Shadow

Country music and the folk heritage from which it emerged tells timeless stories of heartbreaks, heroics and happy endings. Jan Howard’s life embodied that legacy. When Howard passed away on March 28, 2020, at age 91, she had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 49...

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Foley Achieved Stardom Across Entertainment Platforms

Foley Achieved Stardom Across Entertainment Platforms

It only seems fitting that the man known as Mr. Country Music would have been tapped to host the first network television show exclusively for the country audience. Clyde Julian Foley, nicknamed “Red” for his ginger-colored hair, was already an experienced host of...

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The Davis Sisters: Related by Heart and Making Music

The Davis Sisters: Related by Heart and Making Music

Duos are prevalent in Country music, but there are legendary early duo pioneers that paved the way for artists to come. Among those were The Davis Sisters, two young women who were best friends and sisters at heart.Mary Frances Penick, who was born in Dry Ridge,...

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Vernon Dalhart: Country’s First Superstar

Vernon Dalhart: Country’s First Superstar

Country music’s first superstar was a Texan named Marion Try Slaughter, who was known professionally as Vernon Dalhart. The prolific and talented singer had sold millions of records three years before Jimmie Rodgers, often heralded as Country’s first star, was even...

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Three Wooden Crosses Reminds About the Fragility of Life

Three Wooden Crosses Reminds About the Fragility of Life

Everyone’s seen the little crosses on the side of the road. Sometimes flowers surround them. There may be stuffed animals, wedding photos or other mementoes that honor a person who lost his or her life on the spot. Over the years the flowers fade, and the cross...

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Johnny Cash and the Forest Fire

Johnny Cash and the Forest Fire

Johnny Cash did not actually fall into a burning ring of fire, but in the summer of 1965 he certainly created one.The official story is that Cash was driving through California’s Los Padres National Forest watershed in when his camper truck, which he called “Jesse,”...

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Keith Bilbrey, Respected Announcer with a Country Heart

Keith Bilbrey, Respected Announcer with a Country Heart

“Larry’s Country Diner” was honored to have Keith Bilbrey as the show’s announcer since its very first episode aired through taping of the final episodes before the show entered international syndication in 2023. Inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame in 2015,...

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Ambition and Talent Keeps Legacy Alive

Ambition and Talent Keeps Legacy Alive

There’s a stunning young performer singing her heart out around St. Louis this summer in anticipation of heading back to Nashville to pursue her future. Her name’s Aubry Rodriguez and, yes, she is the daughter of THAT Rodriguez – Johnny, of course – making her Country...

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Standing for Something for 30 Years and Counting

Standing for Something for 30 Years and Counting

Aaron Tippin would have been spending his 30th anniversary in the entertainment industry doing what any “workin’ man” would do – entertaining his fans across the country with hit-filled stage performances. However, the Covid-19 crisis has forced him to reschedule his...

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“If You’re Reading This”

“If You’re Reading This”

Memorial Day is the single holiday during which Americans remember those who died in service to their country. There can be no greater fear experienced by the family of those deployed, especially in a time of war, than receiving confirmation that a loved one had died....

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Jimmy Fortune’s Career Made by Serendipity and Talent

Jimmy Fortune’s Career Made by Serendipity and Talent

A combination of serendipity and talent best explains how country music’s beloved tenor, Jimmy Fortune, wound up with the Statler Brothers. Fortune was handpicked by the group’s original tenor, Lew DeWitt, as a temporary replacement for himself while he fought a...

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Kelly Lang Inspires Women Facing Breast Cancer

Kelly Lang Inspires Women Facing Breast Cancer

To encourage other women who are facing the challenges brought by a breast cancer diagnosis, singer-songwriter Kelly Lang shared her own breast cancer story in her book, I’m Not Going Anywhere, and talked about how her sweetheart, T.G. Sheppard, helped her though the...

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The Song that Salvaged a Career

The Song that Salvaged a Career

The singer of one of country music’s greatest songs originally scoffed at recording it because he thought it was too morbid and would not sell. Boy was George Jones wrong. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" earned Jones the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal...

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Heart of Texas Museum is Small Town Gift to Country Fans

Heart of Texas Museum is Small Town Gift to Country Fans

More than 100 Country artists are represented in the Heart of Texas Country Music Museum  in Brady, Texas, where stage costumes, musical instruments, autographs, posters and other memorabilia highlight Country Music's colorful past. KNEL disc jockey Tracy Pitcox began...

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Don McLean, Ready to Rock and Roll

Don McLean, Ready to Rock and Roll

It’s been more than 50 years since Don McLean’s “American Pie” became a part of American history. “American Pie” was issued as a double A-side single in November 1971 and charted within a month. Interest from the media and public sent the single to No. 1 in the USA...

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Carl Perkins Influenced Three Genres of Music

Carl Perkins Influenced Three Genres of Music

World-renowned guitarist and song- writer, Carl Perkins shook America by writing and performing the 1956 mega hit, “Blue Suede Shoes.” Known to the world as the “Father of Rockabilly,” Perkins helped influence a whole generation of audiences and musicians. His...

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Everyone’s Grandpa was Comedic and Musical Entertainer

Everyone’s Grandpa was Comedic and Musical Entertainer

Known as “Grandpa Jones” to most of the world and remembered for his comedic role on the successful and long-running Hee Haw television series, Louis Marshall Jones was far more than a Country comedian and musician. Television was in its embryonic stage when in 1931...

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“Okie from Muskogee” Originally Written as a Joke

“Okie from Muskogee” Originally Written as a Joke

Merle Haggard’s 1969 number one hit “Okie from Muskogee” started as a joke between band members but soon became the most lasting Country music anthem of the Vietnam War era. According to the story Haggard told numerous times about the concept for the song, he and his...

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Leslie Jordan, Actor and Country Gospel Singer, Dies 67

Leslie Jordan, Actor and Country Gospel Singer, Dies 67

Country Reunion Magazine published an article last year just before Leslie Jordan made his first Grand Ole Opry appearance. The Chattanooga, Tennessee, native died in an accident in Los Angeles on Oct. 24. “Hello Fellow Hunker Downers,” actor turned Country gospel...

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It was 10-4 to “Convoy” During CB-Obsessed ‘70s

It was 10-4 to “Convoy” During CB-Obsessed ‘70s

It’s difficult to explain the obsession with Citizens Band (CB) radio in the mid-1970s in light of today’s text messaging, social media and video chatting. With the decline of railroad shipping, the trucking industry exploded. Just as the railroad had provided...

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Chapel Hart Gains Success With AGT

Chapel Hart Gains Success With AGT

In 2021 CFR News featured Danica and Devynn Hart, along with their cousin Trea Swindle, who make up Chapel Hart. The Mississippi natives had just released their Dolly Parton–inspired "You Can Have Him, Jolene," in which they decide to let the cheating husband go. ...

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June Carter Cash: Modest, Timeless Elegance

June Carter Cash: Modest, Timeless Elegance

For more than six decades June Carter Cash occupied a place in American music culture so large it overshadowed her impeccable fashion sense exhibited both onstage and in her personal life. June was born June 23, 1929, and at age 10 began playing autoharp and doing...

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Acuff’s Base Player Became In-Demand Studio Musician

Acuff’s Base Player Became In-Demand Studio Musician

Joseph Scudder Zinkan was perhaps the more important bass player in country music during until his retirement from music in 1980 after a four-decade career. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Dec. 16, 1918, he first recorded with the Delmore Brothers for Bluebird...

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With Retro Sound, Malpass Brothers Honor Music Heroes

With Retro Sound, Malpass Brothers Honor Music Heroes

As young boys, Christopher and Taylor Malpass soaked up the music of their granddad’s phonograph records. Christopher earned his first talent show trophy at age 7, and Taylor was playing mandolin by the time he was 10. Today, they promote the work and music of classic...

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Isaacs Musical Influence Spans Genres and Generations

Isaacs Musical Influence Spans Genres and Generations

Recent guests on “Larry’s Country Diner” included The Isaacs, a family group whose musical roots reach back to the late 1950s when matriarch Lily Isaacs was signed to Columbia Records. As a child of Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors who were imprisoned in a German...

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Rhonda Vincent, a Star in Every Genre

Rhonda Vincent, a Star in Every Genre

When a person has a distinguished title bestowed upon them, sometimes it can be easy to constrain that individual to a certain set of parameters. Rarely is that a fair assessment.Jimmie Rodgers is known as “The Father of Country Music,” but he was a major influence on...

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Gene Watson Embarks on 60th Anniversary Tour

Gene Watson Embarks on 60th Anniversary Tour

2022 marks 60 years since country music legend Gene Watson released his first single to radio. To celebrate, the iconic vocalist is embarking on his 60th Anniversary Tour, which kicked off January 1 in Florida and is taking Watson across the country. Watson’s single...

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Gene Autry Makes Rudolph Famous

Gene Autry Makes Rudolph Famous

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen or Comet and Cupid or Donner or Blitzen? But, do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? That’s right. It’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He may be climbing in years, but at 83 he remains the best-known reindeer...

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Hank Williams’ Final Tour

Hank Williams’ Final Tour

Every musical genre has its tales of immeasurable losses during tragic tours – bluesmen Robert Johnson and Stevie Ray Vaughan, rockers Buddy Holly and Ronnie Van Zant, pop stars Jim Croce and Ricky Nelson, R&B singers Otis Redding and Aaliyah and big band leader...

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Country Music Colors Christmas Blue Since 1949

Country Music Colors Christmas Blue Since 1949

Many musical genres claim “Blue Christmas” as their own, but the holiday classic was first catapulted to No. 1 by Ernest Tubb during the 1949 Christmas season, solidifying its place as a Country Christmas song.  Despite Tubb’s success with the song, it is impossible...

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Grandma’s Reindeer Accident Endures

Grandma’s Reindeer Accident Endures

Some novelty songs are popular for a while before just fading away. Then there are some that last decades. And love it or hate it, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ has endured.The zany story tells how Grandma staggers outside during a snowstorm, drunk of spiked...

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Nudie Cohn: From Rags to Rhinestones

Nudie Cohn: From Rags to Rhinestones

Rhinestone cowboys and rhinestone cars. It seems impossible that a child born in the Ukraine in 1902 could have imagined such things, let alone create them, but that’s what Nuta Kotlyarenko did. At age 11 Kotlyarenko was sent to America by his parents to protect him...

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Dottie West: Sunshine and Spandex

Dottie West: Sunshine and Spandex

She may have been raised on country sunshine, but her style became pure Hollywood. Dottie West began her music career in the 1950s, garnering commercial success in the early 1960s. Album covers and publicity photos from those years show a fresh-faced young woman in...

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Bill Anderson Respectful Glitz

Bill Anderson Respectful Glitz

When young singer-songwriter Bill Anderson moved to Nashville half a century ago, the successful country music stars were easy to identify with cowboy boots, western hats and embroidered, rhinestone-studded and fringed clothing. “I was from Georgia, and I had never...

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Mickey Gilley as Famous for His Club as His Hits

Mickey Gilley as Famous for His Club as His Hits

When Mickey Gilley says it’s been an incredible ride, he’s not necessarily referring to the mechanical bulls at one of the clubs that bears his name.  “It’s been 40 years, and I’m still working the road and working my theater in Branson,” he said, adding with a laugh....

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Jeannie Seely – Singer, Songwriter, Actress, Star

Jeannie Seely – Singer, Songwriter, Actress, Star

Saying Yes to Something Special Life on the road usually holds some surprises and unexpected events, no matter how much you plan, according to Grammy winner and Grand Ole Opry member Jeannie Seely, who has maintained her reputation as “Miss Country Soul” across six...

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John Conlee:  A Rose by Any Other Name

John Conlee:  A Rose by Any Other Name

Would “Rose Colored Glasses” by any other name sound as sweet?  John Conlee will never know, but his 1978 hit actually began with another title. “When I started writing it, I was using ‘love colored glasses,’” he said. “During the process I thought of the old phrase...

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Jim Ed Brown: Dapper and Distinguished

Jim Ed Brown: Dapper and Distinguished

The black and white video features two very attractive young women flanking a drop-dead gorgeous man. It’s 1965, and The Browns are at the Grand Ole Opry singing “The Three Bells,” their 1959 number one hit. Maxine and Bonnie Brown don matching sleeveless,...

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Only in America Red White and Blue Dreams

Only in America Red White and Blue Dreams

Country Music has produced many patriotic songs throughout its long history, and one of the most enduring is “Only in America” released in June 2001 by award-winning duo of Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn.The lyrics were penned by Brooks in collaboration with songwriters...

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1976: The Killer’s Bad, Bad Year

1976: The Killer’s Bad, Bad Year

Jerry Lee Lewis is lauded as a pioneer of Rockabilly and Rock and Roll music, but he’s actually enjoyed the greatest success as a Country entertainer. Jerry Lee Lewis as a pioneer of Rock and Roll and Rockabilly lived the bad boy behavior that became a hallmark of...

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Thank God for Kids a Hit for Eddy Raven

Thank God for Kids a Hit for Eddy Raven

Eddy Raven penned his hit song, "Thank God for Kids" as a reminder that childhood is fleeting and it's important to savor the magic of childhood. The song became  a hit when the Oak Ridge Boys recorded it in 1982.Back in 1976 when the world was a very different place,...

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God Bless the USA

God Bless the USA

It’s almost impossible to hear "God Bless the U.S.A." without eyes brimming with tears and a heart bursting with pride.  “What’s never stopped surprising – and humbling – me is when the crowd stands up,” said Lee Greenwood, who pinned the classic more than three...

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Stringbean’s Style Unmatched on the Country Stage

Stringbean’s Style Unmatched on the Country Stage

Amid the fringe and rhinestones, Stetsons and boots, bouffant hairstyles and calico, David Akeman’s stage style is unmatched in the annals of country music history.  A banjo player and comedy musician, Akeman was best known by his stage name, Stringbean, alluding to...

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Roy Rogers and Trigger

Roy Rogers and Trigger

Animals have long been important in the entertainment industry. Fictional animal characters such as Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Babe the pig and the orca Willie have etched permanent memories on generations of viewers who fell in love with them. For moviegoers in the 1940s...

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Grand Ole Opry’s Pianist Del Wood

Grand Ole Opry’s Pianist Del Wood

Influenced by what she heard on the radio as a child during the post-World War I era, Del Wood grew to love ragtime music and honky tonk music. However, it was Country music that made the accomplished pianist unforgettable. Though her parents originally tried to...

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Songwriter Johnny Bond Remembered

Songwriter Johnny Bond Remembered

Born into poverty in 1915 in Enville, Oklahoma, Cyrus Whitfield Bond was inspired by musical legends like Milton Brown and Jimmie Rodgers. Bond learned as a child to play the trumpet, ukulele and guitar. At age 22 he changed his name to “Johnny Bond” and moved to...

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Loretta Lynn’s The Pill Sparked Controversary and Change

Loretta Lynn’s The Pill Sparked Controversary and Change

Some songs result from societal changes, and others spark changes in society. Loretta Lynn’s controversial song, “The Pill,” did both.  In an interview last year with songfact.com, Lynn noted that during the 1975 release of “The Pill,” she experienced a “rough time.”...

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Homer and Jethro – Lives Well Writ

Homer and Jethro – Lives Well Writ

There’s little that can be written about Homer and Jethro that hasn’t already been said. Therefore, this story is most appropriately called “Lives Well Writ” as it contained observations and remembrances about two talented musicians who lived and practiced their craft...

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Roger Miller Spoke in Songs

Roger Miller Spoke in Songs

Country Music’s King of the Road, Roger Miller, is remembered as a multi-faceted artist who was as accomplished in writing music as in singing or playing drums, banjo, piano, fiddle or guitar.  The Oklahoma raised Miller was only a year old when he lost his father...

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Still Riding After 45 Years

Still Riding After 45 Years

Four and a half decades is a long time for people to stay together. They get married, share joys and successes, have children and grandchildren, work, travel and weather life’s storms. Wait! That sounds like a marriage, but it’s not. It’s the career story of four men...

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“Pretty Paper” is More Than a Christmas Song

“Pretty Paper” is More Than a Christmas Song

Most everyone can recall encountering people who sold pencils, little hammers or other items to help support themselves. Stationed outside busy stores or public buildings, they were often hearing impaired or physically challenged.It is rare for this kind of personal...

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Glen Campbell’s Success By the Numbers

Glen Campbell’s Success By the Numbers

Most people want to be remembered as more than a number – not just the date they were born or the digits on an official document or even the amount of money they’ve amassed.  In the weeks since the death of Glen Campbell his life has been recalled through the songs he...

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Marie Osmond Found Home in Traditional Country

Marie Osmond Found Home in Traditional Country

Marie Osmond has been a star since 1973 when her first single release, “Paper Roses” became a favorite for disc jockeys and made No. 1 on the Country charts and No. 2 in the United Kingdom. Because it spoke to both young and mature listeners, the song became a top...

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The Overstreets – Paul, Chord and Nash

The Overstreets – Paul, Chord and Nash

For music lovers from multiple generations and interests, the name Overstreet has meaning. At 64, Paul Overstreet is a legendary country songwriter and performer. Millennial TV-viewers know gorgeous, award-winning actor and singer Chord Overstreet, 28, as “Glee’s” Sam...

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Some Gave All, a Powerful Tribute to Military

Some Gave All, a Powerful Tribute to Military

Though “Some Gave All” was released around three decades ago, the powerful words continue to honor those who have defended the country in times of war and protected it in peacetime.After meeting a Vietnam Veteran in Huntington, West Virginia, Billy Ray Cyrus, along...

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Harper Valley PTA the Anthem for Unconventional Moms

Harper Valley PTA the Anthem for Unconventional Moms

In the four decades since its release, a simple Country song about a small town widow has become an anthem for women who dare to confront society’s moral standard bearers. The theme and lyrics of Jeannie C. Riley’s "Harper Valley PTA" not only captured popular culture...

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Mark Collie The Small Town Kid with the Country Career

Mark Collie The Small Town Kid with the Country Career

It’s only 100 miles from Waynesboro, Tennessee, to Nashville, but for Mark Collie, the trip was just the beginning of a journey hard to imagine for most small-town boys with a guitar and a dream. In a career spanning three decades, Collie has earned respect and...

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Martha White, an ageless star of the Grand Ole Opry

Martha White, an ageless star of the Grand Ole Opry

Martha White is a very famous little girl. Actually, it is not certain that you’re a true country music fan if you don’t know who she is. In 1899, Richard and Katherine Lindsey founded Nashville’s Royal Flour Mill, which became known for its especially fine quality of...

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Country is a Worldwide Thing

Country is a Worldwide Thing

Stars don’t have to be Southern to be country.  Sweet tea, cornbread, dressing, fried chicken and hospitality – these are a few of our favorite things in the South. When we think of Southern, we think of country and when we think of country, we think of music.  Many a...

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Black Artists Part of Country Music Story

Black Artists Part of Country Music Story

Black artists have been engaged with country music since the beginning and the black churches have been a birthplace of many of country's sounds. It is fitting to take a look at how country music has included black artists and the legacy they have left on the country...

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Country Music Stars Lives Make Powerful Movies

Country Music Stars Lives Make Powerful Movies

Country artists are known for unforgettable voices, songwriting talents and captivating stage performances. If we have ever had the chance to see our favorite artists play, sing or sometimes even speak, our heart skips a beat or two. We put them on much deserved...

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Mountain Music Legends Carter and Ralph Stanley

Mountain Music Legends Carter and Ralph Stanley

Love for traditional mountain music fused with bluegrass styling bound the careers of two talented brothers from Big Spraddle Creek, Virginia.  Influenced by the Grand Ole Opry, J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys and the Carter Family,...

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Junior Samples: Big Fish and BR-549

Junior Samples: Big Fish and BR-549

It’s not often a celebrity is so associated with a telephone number that the person can be named with just the mention of the number.  BR-549. Yes, any fan of Hee Haw immediately recalls the deadpan voice of Junior Samples beckoning would-be used car buyers to call...

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Alan Jackson – From Grammys to Songwriter

Alan Jackson – From Grammys to Songwriter

Like many Country stars, Alan Jackson grew up singing Gospel music at home and at church. A singer and songwriter, Jackson began performing while still a teenager in Newnan, Georgia, and married his high-school sweetheart, Denise.  So, it seemed Jackson was...

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Marty Robbins – Songwriting Hits

Marty Robbins – Songwriting Hits

Maybe it was those tales of the American West that his grandfather told him. Maybe it was just what came naturally to him after he taught himself how to play guitar in the Navy during World War II. Whatever gave Marty Robbins the imagination, skill and giddy-up to...

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Roseanne Cash – A Legacy of Her Own

Roseanne Cash – A Legacy of Her Own

Singer-songwriter Roseanne Cash began life in the musical river town of Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Vivian Liberto and Johnny Cash, a Country singer who was not yet the legend he would become. The Cash family relocated to Los Angeles, California, in 1958 when...

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Shooter and Terry Jennings – Sons of Waylon Jennings

Shooter and Terry Jennings – Sons of Waylon Jennings

The legend of Waylon Jennings lives through his creative and motivated sons, Terry and Shooter. Born when his father was only 19 years old, Terry Jennings has been around music his entire life. Terry Vance Jennings is one of four children with Waylon’s first wife,...

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George Lindsey – Glad He Made You Laugh

George Lindsey – Glad He Made You Laugh

George Lindsey had a diverse career in entertainment, appearing in plays, movies, TV dramas and variety shows. It was, however, his seven-year portrayal of mechanic Goober Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Mayberry RFD” and a 20-year stint on Hee-Haw that secured...

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Mac Davis – Walk of Fame Songwriter

Mac Davis – Walk of Fame Songwriter

Some of the 1970s and ‘80s catchiest tunes – the kinds of songs that got stuck in your head and heart – were penned by Mac Davis. Growing up in Lubbock, Texas, Davis lived in an ultra-religious home. After recording a couple of singles with his Rock and Roll band,...

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Lefty, David and Allen Frizzell, Talented Brothers

Lefty, David and Allen Frizzell, Talented Brothers

Lefty Frizzell, who was born in Corsicana, Texas, in 1928, counted among his earliest influences Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Tubb and Ted Daffan. As a teenager, Lefty began singing on a KELD El Dorado radio station and continued singing on radio, in nightclubs, for dances...

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Hee Haw: Hager Twins – Double the Talent

Hee Haw: Hager Twins – Double the Talent

The Hager Brothers, Jim and Jon, may have been born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1941, but fans of Hee Haw accepted the twins as pure Country.  Their adoptive father, Jack Hager, was a Methodist minister, while adoptive mother, Frances, was a schoolteacher. The Hagers...

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The Maddox Brothers and Rose

The Maddox Brothers and Rose

Fred, Cliff, Don and Cal Maddox and their sister, Rose, known professionally as “The Maddox Brothers and Rose,” spent their childhood during the early years of The Great Depression as sharecroppers. Originally from Boaz, Alabama, the Maddox family relocated to...

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Brad Paisley, Pushing Talent to the Limit

Brad Paisley, Pushing Talent to the Limit

Brad Paisley believes that singer–songwriters must push themselves to the limit when it comes to writing songs. In a 2014 Taste of Country interview the singer suggested, “I’m just saying that we as writers can do better.” Growing tired of repetition the star...

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Family Tradition: Dottie and Shelly West

Family Tradition: Dottie and Shelly West

Like many of Country Music’s greatest star families, Dottie and Shelly West had lives filled with struggles, accolades, tragedies and successes. Dottie, born in 1932 as Dorothy Marie Marsh, near McMinnville, Tennessee, expressed love for music early on and began...

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In Memory: Hee Haw’s Gordie Tapp 

In Memory: Hee Haw’s Gordie Tapp 

Hee Haw’s Gordie Tapp, died on Dec. 18, 2016, at age 94. A multi-talented musician, writer and comedian, Tapp was mourned in his native Canada as well as by American audiences who had been entertained by his memorable Hee Haw characters like Cousin Clem, Samuel B....

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Rhonda Vincent – Royal Style

Rhonda Vincent – Royal Style

The Queen of Bluegrass, Rhonda Vincent, was inducted as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry on March 28, 2020. The invitation to join the Opry was delivered on Feb. 28 by Jeannie Seely following Vincent’s Opry performance of "Like I Could," a song that Seely...

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Leslie Jordan – Actor and Gospel Singer

Leslie Jordan – Actor and Gospel Singer

“Hello Fellow Hunker Downers,” actor turned Country gospel singer Leslie Jordan exclaimed to his Instagram followers each morning during 2020’s all-consuming pandemic.   Already a seasoned performer and writer, Jordan began posting funny video shorts of himself as he...

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Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show started busking on street corners in 1998 New York state and up through Canada, winning audiences along the way with their boundless energy and spirit. They eventually found themselves in Boone, North Carolina where they caught the attention of...

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Bluegrass Virtuoso JD Crowe was Never Afraid of Change

Bluegrass Virtuoso JD Crowe was Never Afraid of Change

Banjo virtuoso James Dee “JD” Crowe passed away at age 84 on Christmas Eve 2021 at his home in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Initial reports indicated that Crowe’s cause of death was pneumonia. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Sheryl, and their two children, David...

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No “Thinkin’ Problem” for David Ball

No “Thinkin’ Problem” for David Ball

The last thing David Ball has is a “thinkin’ problem.” Yes, that’s the name of his platinum certified debut album and a No. 2 hit single he co-wrote, but it’s in no way reflective of his life. The Grammy and Academy of Country Music Awards nominee has released 10...

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