Jun 282015
 

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Alright folks I’ll start out this article by being completely honest..I have had some medical issues that personally needed to be tended to before I could continue to cover local music to the caliber of my ability. And now, I prepare to continue doing what I do folks. I have to take care of ME before I can continue to bring YOU the best coverage possible. This show happened in the beginning of June and I am sorry that it took me so long to create it, I am also equally sorry I forgot my camera and have no pictures of the show. I apologize to The West Coast Turnarounds and Kara Clark and also to the Spillway.

I want to begin by saying this: Travis Harris And The West Coast Turnarounds are one of the best bands I have heard in years and I honestly apologize I haven’t shared them with you earlier. Their management welcomed me with open arms and was very nice to me during the show.

Kara Clark has always been a household name on this website. She is a personal friend mine that is especially loved because she loves my friend Mr. Jared. He is happy and knows he is lucky and his happiness is my comfort as a friend. To see that in someone you care for makes you happy. I do not get to see them as often as I’d like to however I know they are where they belong..together. Miss Kara always puts on a really awesome show and her new album is really good.

She opened her set with “Lonely” and this time she played and the power stayed on. This time she played by herself which is good with me because I enjoy her show either way. One of her older original songs called “Living Proof” was next and she followed that song with one of my personal favorites called “Relapse”. The words to that song mean very much to me as a person. True, she does not do as many shows as many road warriors in the music business but she has reasons, and I truly admire her for those reasons.

She began playing some of her new songs from her new album “The Key”. The first song was called “Bulletproof” and she followed it with another new one called “Bottom Of It’. The new album is pretty darn good and I have been listening to it quite a few times lately. I’m using music to help me with my personal problems (like always) and her final song on this set was “Devil Don’t Cry”.

From the very moment Travis Harris took the stage that night I was absolutely captivated and they grabbed my attention right away. Despite the fact that their first songs of their set were covers they chose some very rarely heard covers and that is something I look for in a band. Their first song was “Lonesome Ornry And Mean” but one of their first songs was a song made popular by another band that made obscure cover songs famous, BR5-49. That song was called “Honky Tonk Song” and it was originally recorded by Webb Pierce and they followed that by “Walk Softly” that was made famous by The Kentucky Headhunters.

The time came for what I have been wanting that whole night: some of their originals. And to be honest the first one I noticed was one of my favorites called “High And Then Some”. Right now they have had some lineup changes but I firmly believe that their current lineup is beyond impressive. They have a young talented band full of fire, the steel guitarist has a sound all his own. He OWNS the stage and the band plays like a well oiled machine with a lead guitarist that completely blows your mind.

They went from “Are You Ready For The Country” to playing “Tulsa Time” recorded by Don Williams. But going back to what I last said about obscure cover songs they played “Time Off For Bad Behavior” wrote by one of my heros Bobby Keel. It was recorded by Confederate Railroad for their first album, self titled.

They went on to continue with “Dirty Red Bandana” a really great original song and they played “One Woman Man” made popular by George Jones. Their second set began with “Six Days On The Road” from Dave Dudley who was not a very well known Country Legend from a mainstream standpoint. They also played Sturgill Simpson’s song called “Long White Line” which is one of my favorite songs Sturgill does and they followed it with Hank Williams Jr’s song “Women I Never Had”. “Prosperity” was another one of their original songs that was in the set it’s not one of my favorites but the whole album is truly good.

They played two NEW songs that will be included on the new album called “Fire” and “Bring It On (Bring On The Whiskey). They followed those by two songs I requested called “Bardstown” which is truly my favorite song on the album and another called “Codeine”, If you go see them live yell out for those two songs. They played another cover song that I really enjoyed by Joe Diffie called “Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox” and closed their set with “I’m Over You” and “Mountain Dew”. Mountain Dew was a song written by Lamar Lunsford back in 1928 and there are actually two versions of this song about running moonshine. It was made popular by Louis Marshall “Grandpa” Jones.

Jun 142015
 

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TIME it is a truly remarkable thing that can alter the state of any establishment. This already sounds like the preface that Shooter Jennings wrote for the book Dr. Neil Hamilton wrote called “Wanted Outlaws At Large” doesn’t it? Well it kind of is…CHANGE is the only thing that is constant, and death happens. Death takes our loved ones away when the time is neigh.

Dear readers NONE of you are uninformed, and you know the sad news. Tomorrow Nashville will gather to honor the memory and Legacy of Jim Ed Brown. He passed away from cancer at 81 last week and his death marks the rapid decline of Golden Age Opry members. You know, the older senior weekly members that actually PLAYED The Opry every weekend. Not like “some” of the Opry members we have today that are not playing their required yearly performances.

Jim Ed Brown was truly one of my favorite Country Music Legends and I only met him a few times. Twice at ROPE and once at the Midnite Jamboree, and once backstage at the Opry while there for the weekend. He was always nice to me and always answered my questions about his life to the best of his ability. I mentioned a few things he did not remember performing and it was entirely understandable.

He sat with me backstage and played me two songs that at the time were new songs he was writing and his last album from Plowboy Records called “In Style Again” was one of his finest albums ever. It was a pleasure writing the article for it.

There are few current older members that I myself still go out of my way to see perform that I can come see perform most weekends like Little Jimmy Dickens or (my personal favorite) Jack Greene. There are so few current members I could name in today’s current roster I actually consider paying the price of admission to see, but they DO exist.
Most of them are guests and host segments like Vince Gill and Lorrie Morgan. But with the exception of Stonewall Jackson and “Whispering” Bill Anderson, who is left to perform on a weekly basis from the Golden Era?

Even The Legend John Conlee came to us in 1978 from briefly before the period of time I am speaking of. There certainly lies no shortage of “Grand Ladies Of Country Music” the likes of Jan Howard, Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith. The mighty Ricky Skaggs and the hilarious Riders In The Sky both still grace the Opry stage.

There are many Opry stars from past the Golden Era that are still active today and are still members but WHERE are they today? WHY are they active members and NEVER perform? Are they allowed to remain members and not perform their required yearly performances? Where is Garth Brooks,Clint Black, and Reba McEntire? Does the Opry management no longer require them to even play? Why does it seem they only perform the Opry when THEY want something?

The Grand Ole Opry is supposed to be a haven for it’s members who are “beyond their prime” in the industry. It is supposed to be a place for their fans to enjoy their existence far beyond radio’s interest in their music. So where are they, where is Terri Clark and Barbara Mandrell? Yes the Opry often has Alan Jackson but where does the blame lie? As of today the only latest member the Opry has inducted that I consider to not be a slap in it’s own face was The Old Crow Medicine Show.

Change…Time..has altered Country Music into forms of such atrocity in my opinion. But it is not necessarily my job to go on quests to abolish or bash pop country. I would rather support what I love than bash what I hate thus I created my website. And my heart is becoming less an less interested in the Opry at it’s current state. I STILL love the Opry and I honor all it stands for. But there is a future of Country Music that the Opry is not embracing and I decided to do that instead.

There are a few exceptions out there right now the likes of Kacey Musgraves and Emi Sunshine who often play it. As well as Sunny Sweeney and and Mandy Barnett. See there IS STILL great REAL country music on the Opry but it seems the Opry no longer WANTS members that are REAL country. Nor do they want to admit they feature these acts still because you never see them “brag” about those acts. Until the Opry begins to fess up to it’s failing to feature more honest real country would I continue to go spend money there MORE OFTEN than I do.

Jun 142015
 

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Well folks after suffering a truly awful loss it was announced Shooter Jennings will return back to touring this summer with Waymore’s Outlaws and I will most likely get to catch him during the Ink And Iron festival which I shall report about later this week. It’s BIG, and It’s coming to Nashville in August, and there will be such a massive amount of music I am not sure HOW to cover it to be honest.

Shooter told me at the service it would be a little while before he returned to working so I’m not honestly sure when he will continue his shows but this is what I found out about the summer leg of his 2015 Tour. I caught two shows in the spring leg of this tour, and I’m not sure who the opening acts are for this.

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These are the Summer dates for the Waymore’s Outlaws:

6-17 Music Box Supper Club Clevland Ohio
6-18 Jergle’s Rhythm Grille Warrendale Pa
6-19 Phase 2 Lynchburg Va
6-20 Canal Place Cumberland Ma
6-26 The Royal Salt Lake City Utah
6-27 Stanley Club Stanley Id
8-07 Ink And Iron Festival Nashville Tn
8-08 The Bluebird Bloomington In
8-21 Dancing In The District Muskogee Ok
8-22 Gas Monkey Dallas Texas
8-23 Dosey Doe The Woodlands Texas
9-04 Thunder Mountain Ampitheater Loveland Co
9-05 Sky Ute Casino Resort Ignacio Co
9-10 Cotton Eyed Joe’s Knoxville Tn
9-11 Foothills Festival Jasper Al
9-12 Kress Live Biloxi Ms
9-13 Vinyl Music Hall Pensacola Fl
9-25 Eaglenest Entertainment Maggie Valley NC
9-26 MNO Entertainment Complex Rocky Mount NC

This is still a fragile time for our friends over at BCR so go support them any way you can even if it’s just a short letter to Miss Mary or Shooter. After Ink And Iron Festival I’m not sure when I’ll get to see him again this year so I’ll be sure to catch him.

Jun 142015
 

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Joshua Morningstar stopped in Bowling Green tonight at the Moose Lodge to play for us. He is currently out being the road warrior that he is supporting his new album “Songs For Fools With Broken Hearts”. You can buy the album by clicking on his name up there. It is a terrific album and Little Class Records truly outdid themselves on this project.

I been out all day supporting local music in Nashville and Bowling Green Kentucky today and I’ll be out most of the night supporting two more acts I’ll make a separate article for. Mr. Joshua opened his show with a song that Billie Gant performs called “11 Months And 29 Days” wrote by Johnny Paycheck.

His next song he played was made popular by so many people my favorite being Charlie Rich, and it was called “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues”. I could go on for days telling you all about how many people recorded that song and then he followed that song with one of his original songs called “Crying Eyes Of Blue”. That song is on his new album.

After playing a Merle Haggard tune “Swingin Doors” and (of course) a Lefty frizzell tune “I Love You 1000 ways” he went on to play one of my favorite original songs he does called ‘March To The Gallows”. I’ll tell you what this place is REALLY nice! There is smoking allowed in here (Not that I smoke) but this is a really big place and friendly as all get out. Right now he is playing “Honky Tonk Heros”, this venue has every possible convenience you could want. It is a member based operation and does some wonderful things for the community.

He played one called ‘Between Whiskey And You” which is a song recorded by Tim McGraw and wrote by Chris Stapleton , and he is playing “Driving Nails In My Coffin” which is an old Ernest Tubb song. Motel Madness is a new song for him on his new album that was wrote by Billy Don Burns, Mr. Joshua recorded several songs from Billy Don on his new album. Lots of people have been loving on Billy Don lately and he needs all the prayers and love you can give him right now.

This was not a bad turnout for just a smaller local show and this place is a really great place to have a show and I hope they have more shows in the future. I have never heard Mr. Joshua play “The Grand Tour” but I am truly enjoying this version of the song. I’m about to leave to cover another show not far from here, so this shall be the end of my coverage of this show. And as I was leaving he played ‘Kern River”.

Jun 142015
 

I got the pleasure to meet my Facebook friend Juelane Porter today over on Music Valley Drive for a CMA Fest showcase and I have been trying to meet up with her for some time now. She is SO NICE and very talented. She is in the process of forming her band and recording some songs, and I got to watch her play “Blue Moon Over Kentucky” and two more songs. One was called “I Fell In Love” by Carlene Carter and the other was called “Playing Every Honky Tonk in town” which is a Heather Myles song.

Miss Juelane is a truly kind individual and she is a nurse, and she helps patients who are preparing to pass away. You can FEEL her warmth and her heart when you look at her, and it takes a very special person to do what she does. I have the world of respect and admiration for her and I look forward to covering her music in the future. I forgot my digital camera at home and had to use a disposable one and I am waiting on the pictures, I apologize there aren’t any, folks.

 

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Now let me tell you about Lynn Woodruff Gray and her new book I Guess You Had To Be There. And I cannot wait to read it and all the stories and wonderful things she has to say. She signed the book for me and we talked for a good length of time about everything from Shooter Jennings to Sheb Wooley.

I am extremely proud of buying this book and meeting her, I could also feel the history that she has. This is from her managements website and you can buy her book by clicking on the book name.

In Lynn’s Own Words

I can’t remember a time when music was not a part of my life. Growing up a farm girl, country music played a big part of my life, coming from the home of the Mid-Day-Merry-Go-Round, The Cas Walker Show and later in the evening on Saturday night, listening to the Grand Ole Opry. It was my dream to one day sing on stage, and I did, once or twice. I memorized every song I heard and made my move to Nashville at the age of 18. Time would prove I would not make it to the stage but become a big part of promotion and involvement with those who did……………the rest is history.

I worked for Hank Snow, promoted artists and releases for White Horse Records, managed, sold ads, and had my own air time on three radio stations and then at long last had a few songs recorded…..dreams come true in strange ways. I married a musician, had three wonderful children and as they say, “went on with my life,” then it all came back full circle to booking talent, writing more songs and writing the book about all the excitement I had experienced in this business called music.

It has been said, “While Lynn ate, breathed and slept country music, she some how skipped the fan status to these musical celebrities, and instantly found herself deeply entrenched in the friend category. ” I can only say to this, that every step of my past was a step closer to where I am now and I cherish each friendship and memory made along the way. My life, I can truthfully say has been a song, and those who have professionally shared this music with me, my friends. I don’t feel like I missed a thing by not claiming the stage I sought, because my life has been a challenge of all the facets of the business. I Guess You Had To Be There to appreciate my journey. I know I have enjoyed living it.

Friends this book showcases her stories and thoughts from one of my favorite periods of Country Music that we call the “Golden Era”. THIS IS truly the “roots” of our precious genre right here folks. I am going to share a piece of the preface of the book that made the hair on my arms stand up. I mean it stood out to me and makes my eager mind CRAVE this book and ALL OTHERS like it. I do not want to seem like I am just re writing her material but this was truly soul enriching stuff.

There is a definite change in the country music world today and possibly ten years from today, there will be an even greater change. Some may like that change, and others may not, however, my focus is not on the change but on the reality of yesterday and the memories I have of that golden era. I will forever cherish those memories just as I cherish those those friendships forged during that special time in my life. The golden era of country music was a time when artists , fans, producers, venues and all others involved in the various aspects of the business was family based. Not to be confused with a blood-line family family but that of a relationship family. We all worked together for the same goal: to succeed.

When I’m finished with this book I think I’ll write another article on this fine piece of work, by a really nice person.

 

Jun 102015
 

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Hey folks right now we are ALL with broken hearts from the loss of our friend Jon Hensley. I just saw Mr. Joshua at the service last week and we didn’t talk about the album much because we were there to mourn and to remember him. Pay our respects we ALL did in our own way. What a truly beautiful service it was and from this day forward Colonel Jon Hensley shall be on the sidebar there.

Last night in my mailbox I got a package from one of my best friends in the music industry Joshua Morningstar and that link will take you to the pre-release news. I must hand it to Jody Hendrix and Little Class Records for doing one hell of a good job on his new album. It is WELL produced by Drew Burasco and the entire album is truly a treat and has earned a spot on my TOP albums of 2015.

STORIES…man Mr. Joshua and I have them, and our other buddy Mr. Kenneth Marr. We have them…sad ones, and funny ones. And most of them started up on a mountain on a cold weekend in Altamont Tennessee. We come from there us Altamont Originals, and that is where I relaunched this website from. I stopped it for a little while to go work for someone else and she banned me from even MENTIONING Shooter Jennings so I quit working for her and launched a NEW beginning here.

“As Long As You Ain’t Coming Back” was a song I remember from a long long time ago as he performed it up there and I witnessed history being made. I never dreamed I would be honored enough to see him grow to this level of performing and how much loss we as friends would suffer. Hell in just a little over two years of knowing one another we lost Jon Hensley and Wayne Mills in our lifetime. We are too damn young to know this many dead people for sure.

As I said before this album is a concept album bearing songs from three different “acts” with Mr. Joshua only writing four of the songs himself but the songs he chose to place onto the album fit perfectly in the spectrum of things. It starts out with “She’s Gone Gone Gone” by songwriting Legend Harlan Howard and goes into one of his own songs “Crying Eyes Of Blue”.

Songwriting and Producing Legend Billy Don Burns is having some legal problems right now but is on the better side of them and I have been keeping up with him. This album contains TWO songs of his called “Motel Madness” and another REALLY good one called “Hank Williams Woman”. I love Mr. Billy Don Burns a whole lot and I have a bunch of stories about him in his own right.

Joshua Morningstar is and always will be one of my best personal friends I will ever have in the music industry. He understands me and loves me for what I am, just a music fan with a website that supports him. I have my past and I left it behind me like he did. Who we were years ago is gone and that’s cool “As Long As You Ain’t Coming Back”…
This one’s for you Mr. Joshua..Goodnight.

Jun 092015
 

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Last January I featured a really nice band from the west coast called Raven Claw Hammer and they are a band that I couldn’t label if I TRIED. I’ll be honest they put me to mind of the Goddam Gallows, with a Gypsy Punk sort of sound. I see great Gallows influence in their sound and to be honest before hearing their music I spoke to the singer and thought SHE was a HE. Sorry about that Krisana…If YOU want a more complete “DIG” into this band click up above on their name.

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Well they are coming to the Nashville Tennessee area and I want to right now bring you their summer 2015 tour.
Heading on the road here:
6-22 Midland, Texas at the Bluemax
6-23 Austin, Texas at The Rattle Inn (Black Tarpoon and Junkyard Mongrels)
6-24 Corpus Christi, Texas at Bone Shakers (Black Tarpoon)
6-25 New Orleans, Louisiana at Checkpoint Charlie’s (My Last Black Out)
6-26 Atlanta, Georgia at Star Bar (Caleb Warren and the P/Gentlemen)
6-27 Nashville, Tennessee at Charleyville (Vice Tricks)
6-28 Des Moines, Iowa at The Fremont
6-29 McCook, Nebraska at La Cocina Lounge
6-30 Colorado Springs, Colorado at The Flux Capacitator
7-2 Las Vegas, NV at the Double Down Saloon
7-3 Las Vegas, NV at the Dive Bar

We are playing with several other bands. Stay tuned for added details and acts

So folks let’s go out and support this really good band with a sound so unique It’s not exactly duplicated very easy.
Their album is in my constant rotation and I hope to catch them out sooner or later and cover their show here.

Jun 072015
 

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For the first time in over nine years John Anderson has released new music, and is well on his way to being a Country Music Legend. In my opinion he is one and recently on May 26th he released “Goldmine” which is some of his finest work I have heard in many years. It is a thirteen track album of classic John Anderson greatness with his trademark style of delivering his vocals with that “twang”. You know how music these days lacks voices that are distinguishable from one another, well John Anderson you can STILL easily pick out from the rest.

He created his own label called Bayou Boys Music to bring this album to us, and it includes some really well written songs. The second song called “Magic Mama” was penned by none other than Country Legend Merle Haggard and the title track “Goldmine” was co wrote by Josh Turner.

This album has some mighty fine steel playing on it by Mr. Glenn Reiuf and so many more good background musicians I truly enjoyed almost every song on this album. GREAT PURCHASE and it is on my “Top 50 List” of this year for sure, I had heard about this release but wasn’t totally sure when it was coming as the media hardly covered it. Mainstream media doesn’t want you to know artists like John exist or that he is still as active as ever.

The best song on the album in my opinion is a “Mountain Style” song called “Song The Mountain Sings” and it is co wrote by one of my personal favorite songwriters Buddy Cannon. He wrote the song called “Pyramid Of Cans” recorded by Mel Tillis and also cut by George Jones. Buddy Cannon is one of my top 3 favorite writers ever and always will be. Probably the second best and most well written song on the album was called “back home”, it was so well written I had to pull over my truck and listen really close.

John has released 22 albums in his tenure the last being “Bigger Hands” in 2009. He has charted more than 40 singles and 5 number one hits and was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame in 2014.

John Anderson, Goldmine Track Listing:

1. “Freedom Isn’t Free / Magic Mama”
2. “Back Home / Gold Mine”
3. “Happily Ever After”
4. “I Work a Lot Better”
5. “I Will Cross Over the River”
6. “Louisiana Son of a Beast”
7. “Holdin’ On”
8. “Song the Mountain Sings”
9. “On and On and On …”
10. “Don’t Forget to Thank the Lord”
11. “You All Are Beautiful”

Jun 032015
 

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Folks tonight as I left work I learned that Heaven has called a friend home and it is with a heavy heart and some tears that I announce “The Colonel” Jon Hensley who manages Shooter Jennings (and more) has died. This is not your typical news article and I have no position to go into details other than the fact that I’m sad he is gone. Mr. Jon was taken from us way too soon and my last goodbye to him was a hug, and I never dreamed that would be closure to knowing him. I never thought that would be the last I see of him and never since the death of Wayne Mills have I been this shocked or brokenhearted over a loss.

Local music has lost a supporter and a warrior today, as many many times I saw him at the Spillway in the audience watching local bands like Shot Time And Cigarettes and Tanya Montana Coe.Mr. Jon wouldn’t want tears and sad faces he would want handshakes and drinks. He was an avid lover of the little bands that get overlooked by most and he truly loved music in general. He did a whole lot for me and for the proliferation of this website or as he called it “What Gary Does”. He was always asking me ‘What’s The Scoop” and admired my Farmageddon Shirts, always admitting his love of the records that come from that label.

Mr. Jon Hensley was a manager that had charisma and character and one of my first thoughts of him as a manager was that of Merle Kilgore. Mr. Jon had “The Look” and he had a demeanor that is lacking in the music industry today when I meet managers of the artists. He never once gave me a “What can you do for me” vibe…in fact many many times he told stage security “This is Gary and you give him anything he wants”. I have been a Shooter Jennings fan since “Put The O Back In Country” came out but when he began to work for Shooter I believe Jon helped create the want for fans to spend money on product and shows. He was honest and if he told you spider man was eating pop tarts on your front lawn then he was indeed. I’m not in any way saying Shooter is not successful in his own right but paired with Mr. Jon they were a force to be reckoned with and it was a rare type of brotherhood. Best friends in every aspect of their life.

Mr. Jon was a friend to all of us and always came over to say hello or always had time for me if I approached him. In fact he was one of the most openly approachable people I ever met in this business PERIOD. Music in general needs more managers with this demeanor, he stuck out like a Rooster wearing socks. He arranged and helped my good friend W.B.Walker with what I consider the greatest interview of his podcast career of him and Shooter Jennings.

Mr. Jon was a walking talking Country Music (and music in general) encyclopedia of facts and history. I mean honestly one time he and I had a really long conversation about an album called “Freckles And Polliwog Days” which is a 1974 album by Ferlin Husky. The man knew places and names and there wasn’t one time I ever was around him that I did not gain knowledge and I hold that VERY valuable. He was an absolute treasure and the world has lost a true gem of a man with more integrity than music row could ever hope to muster into a show.

He managed Country Legend Wanda Jackson as well but ninety percent of the time if you saw Shooter somewhere Jon was right in tow making sure everything was going correctly. He and Shooter made wonderful opportunities for my good friend Joshua Morningstar by hiring him to open shows for Shooter and Waymore’s Outlaws. No matter how crazy the show was or how busy he was he never once ignored me or denied me anything, none of their crew ever did. Miss Mary Sparr has always been more than kind to me as well, they were truly soul companions and perfect together.

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He watched in admiration as I had Jessie Keith Whitley sign a picture of his Grandfather George Morgan that is also hand signed by George. He agreed that I had a really cool idea of a few items I have of “Three Generational” pictures. Many items I have of signatures of family members from three generations of Country Music stars and when I delved further into my idea he appreciated what I was telling him.

Mr. Jon and Shooter ran Black Country Rock Records which produced one of the finest albums I own “Ashes And Angels” from Fifth on The Floor, along with many of Shooters own albums. He helped Muddy Roots Music Festival with Wanda Jackson in many ways and also did a lot for Moonrunners in Chicago. I don’t know too many functions that he did not help out in some way shape or form. It was the underground local bands that truly benefitted from Mr. Jon whether they did business or he was just in the audience with us supporting the music and the venue. And on Thursday night we will all gather in Central City Kentucky and share memories..you can damn sure bet there will be laughter and tears. His Witty one liners and knowledge of Country Music will be in abundance there and I want to be a part of it….The world truly lost a beautiful man and just like Hank Williams he left a legacy behind at an early age and made our world a better place the best way he knew possible.

Here are the service arrangements as visitation will be Thursday June 4rth from 5:30-8PM and Funeral service will be Friday June 5th at 1:00. I plan to attend.

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