TODAY IN COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY
(Fri., Oct. 26)
Neal Matthews of the Jordanaires was born in 1929.
Roy Acuff's first recording session in 1936.
Charlie Walker made his first chart appearance with "Pick Me Up On Yur Way Down" in 1958.
Anne Murray's "You Needed Me" was awarded a gold single in 1978.
John Berry and The Tractors went gold in 1994.
MORE COUNTRY MUSAIC HISTORY FOR THIS WEEKEND
(Sat., Oct. 27)
Floyd Cramer was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1937
Lee Greenwood was born in Los Angeles, California in 1942
Four Lefty Frizzell songs appeared on the country top 10: "Always On My Mind" at No.1, "Mom and Dad's Waltz" at No.2, "I Love You a Thousand Ways" at No.6 and "Travelling Blues" at No.8 in 1951.
(Sun. Oct. 28)
Charlie Daniels was born in Wilmington, N.C., in 1936.
Bill Monroe joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1939.
Jimmie Skinner died in 1979.
The Best of the Statler Brothers went platinum in 1991.
COUNTRY MUSIC TRIVIA
Q: What artist released his new album, The Other Sessions, this summer on DualTone Records?
A: Jim Lauderdale, who steps up to the Opry mic this Saturday.
MUSIC AND MORE
6 MILLION WATCH 'COUNTRY FREEDOM CONCERT'
CMT: Country Music Television says it achieved its highest rating ever with last weekend's live three-hour "Country Freedom Concert." Sunday's telecast raised $5.1 million for the Salvation Army Disaster Relief Fund.
Six million viewers tuned in to watch the concert and its immediate rebroadcast.
"The Country Freedom Concert" featured performances by country music's biggest names -- George Strait, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Vince Gill, Lonestar, Lee Ann Womack, Clint Black, Trisha Yearwood, Hank Williams Jr., Sara Evans, keith urban, Diamond Rio, and Montgomery Gentry -- plus poignant taped segments with Toby Keith and rescue workers at New York City's ground zero site and Travis Tritt with military personnel at Dobbins Air Force Base. More than 10,000 people attended the concert at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center, including special guests from the Memphis Urban Search and Rescue Unit who were deployed to the Pentagon crash site, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, Nashville Fire Department, and the New York City Police Department.
GEORGE JONES WOWS 'EM DESPITE VOICE STRAIN
When George Jones took the stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, many of his fans were prepared for the worst. They had heard that in recent months -- particularly in the wake of his recent problems -- his voice had deteriorated.
Well, strained it may have sounded, but Nashville-based music critic Edward Morris writes that: "While Jones' singing deficiencies were apparent, they did not seriously undermine what continues to be country music's most magnificent and emotionally stirring instrument."
Jones, now 70 and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, performed many of his best-known numbers. At one point in the show, after being buoyed by the reaction of the audience, he told of his fears of letting them down. It was apparent his worst fears were not recognized.
CLINT BLACK ENTERTAINS TROOPS
Though he's heading back to the United States for a concert appearance in Las Vegas Friday, country star Clint Black has been out of the country, entertaining service personnel. Black accepted an invitation from former Defense Secretary William Cohen's wife, Janet, to be part of a Citizens Patriot Tour.
Black told country.com that he never felt as safe and secure as when he was surrounded by GIs. He noted that he left his family back in the States to go on the short tour, feeling that going overseas -- in the manner that Bob Hope and his "gypsies" did for years -- was "bringing a CARE package to the troops." Accompanying him was popular vocalist Taylor Dayne.
RUSTY KERSHAW, CAJUN GUITARIST, DIES
For years, Rusty Kershaw performed in the shadow of his better-known brother, Doug. The pair, traveling as Rusty and Doug, played thousands of gigs and made hundreds of appearances in Nashville and on TV and at state and county fairs. Along the way they put out numerous CDs, each with the unique down-home style that made the brothers famous.
In the early 1960s, Rusty left the group and Doug went out on a solo career.
Now comes word that Russell Lee "Rusty" Kershaw has died in New Orleans of a heart attack. The brothers' first single was released in the mid '50s with the help of country forefather Roy Acuff. Their most successful recording was "Louisiana Man." It came just a few years after the pair joined the Grand Ole Opry in the late 1950s. It went to No. 10 on the national country charts.
Rusty Kershaw was 63.
(The above three items thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)
MCGRAW & HILL HELP HUNTER'S HOPE
Country couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are helping out the Hunter's Hope Foundation. They'll appear at the 2nd Annual Hunter's Hope Candlelight Ball on Nov. 30 in Buffalo, N.Y. The foundation was established by former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and his wife, Jill, in the name of their son Hunter James. As an infant, Hunter was diagnosed with Krabbe disease or Globoid-Cell Leukodystrophy.
(For additional information, call 716-667-1200 or log on to huntershope.org.)
DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOUR
The Down From the Mountain Tour featuring several artists from the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack will begin Jan. 25 in Lexington, Ky., and end in Berkeley, Calif., after a 14-date tour. Artists confirmed to appear are Alison Krauss & Union Station, Patty Loveless, Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, the Whites and Norman Blake.
Other dates include Spartanburg, S.C. (Jan. 26), Atlanta, Ga. (Jan. 27), New York City (Jan. 29), Newark, N.J. (Jan. 30), Philadelphia (Jan. 31), Boston (Feb. 2), Washington, D.C. (Feb. 4), Denver (Feb. 11), Portland, Oregon (Feb. 13), Seattle (Feb. 14), Los Angeles (Feb. 17) and San Jose, Calif. (Feb. 19).
PAISLEY TO ACT
Opry member Brad Paisley will have a supporting role in a new movie on the TBS Superstation cable channel. The movie, inspired by Paisley and co-writer Kelley Lovelace's "He Didn't Have To Be," will contain music solely composed by Brad. "He Didn't Have To Be" is a tribute song to stepfathers from a child's perspective. Fan letters to Brad and Kelley regarding the song have been compiled into a book of the same name.
COMING SOON TO THE OPRY STAGE
Oct. 26: Confederate Railroad (debut), Charley Pride, Gail Davies w/the Jordanaires, Pam Tillis, Marty Stuart
Nov. 2: Lorrie Morgan, Sherrie Austin
Nov. 3: Lorrie Morgan, Sherrie Austin, The Isaacs
Nov. 9: Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins (6:30)
Nov. 10: Trace Adkins, Clint Black
Nov. 11 Benefit Concert: Bill Anderson, Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Marty Stuart, Porter Wagoner, Steve Wariner
Nov. 30: Joe Diffie, Steve Wariner
Dec. 1: Joe Diffie, Asleep at the Wheel
Dec. 8: Travis Tritt
Dec. 14: Jeff Carson
Dec. 15: Tracy Lawrence, Jeff Carson
(For Opry tickets, log on to opry.com or call 615-889-3060 or TicketMaster at 615-255-9600. Artists and schedule subject to change.)
By Opryland USA in Nashville and UPI