TODAY IN COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY
Ray Whitley was born near Atlanta, Ga., in 1901.
The Girls of the Golden West recorded "My Little Old Nevada Home" and "Home, Sweet Home Texas" for Bluebird in 1933.
Gene Autry recorded "You're the Only Star (in My Blue Heaven)" for ARC in 1935.
Jim Messina -- one-time member of Buffalo Springfield, Poco and Loggins & Messina -- was born in Maywood, Calif., in 1947.
Merle Travis recorded "Blue Bell" and "Guitar Rag" for Capitol in 1952.
Tyler England was born in Oklahoma in 1963.
Lorne Greene's single of "Ringo" charted in 1964.
Gary Allan was born Gary Herzberg in Montibello, Calif., in 1967.
"Killers Three," featuring Merle Haggard, debuted in movie theatres in 1968.
The Traditional Grass was formed in Middleton, Ohio, in 1983.
Molly O'Day died at age 64 in Huntingdon, W.Va., in 1987.
Joe Diffie's Honky Tonk Attitude and Only What I Feel by Patty Loveless went platinum in 1994.
Wilf Carter ("Montana Slim") died in 1996.
COUNTRY MUSIC TRIVIA
Q: On what Opry member's Web site would you find news under the heading Killin' Times?
A: Clint Black, who returns to the Opry during Opry at the Ryman on Dec. 7-8.
MUSIC AND MORE
RANDY TRAVIS ON FILM
The country singer with the rich, "down-home voice," Randy Travis, is starring in a new movie. This time it's a Western that Tom Roland of country.com says is the kind of movie that once embodied and shaped American cultural ideals.
On the same day the movie, "Texas Rangers," opened in Nashville, Travis was in Los Angeles. He was appearing at the seventh annual American Veteran Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Montel Williams was master of ceremonies. Among those honored were Hal Linden -- who received the National Veteran Salute Award -- and journalist Sam Donaldson -- the recipient of the Ernie Pyle Award.
Travis, dressed in a tuxedo and burgundy tie, ended the event by leading those in attendance in a slow, reverent version of "God Bless America."
'DOWN HOME COUNTRY' CALENDAR
When a Tennessee group working with children and adults who have Down syndrome mentioned to several country stars that those who have the condition are often stereotyped, the idea of a calendar was born. Now such famous singers as George Jones, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Sara Evans, Vince Gill and Martina McBride will appear on a special fund-raising calendar for 2002. The group Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee says the calendar, "Down Home Country," has a major star featured each month. Each personality appears with one or more Down syndrome children or adults. The selling price is $10 with more information available at dsamt.org on the Internet or by calling 615-386-9002.
(The above two items thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)
DOBIE GRAY VISITS THE OPRY
Dobie Gray pays a visit to the Opry during its four-month run at the Ryman Auditorium on Friday. Best known for his hits "Drift Away" and "Loving Arms," Dobie has just release a Christmas CD titled Songs of the Season. It includes seven Gray originals and Christmas standards including "Silent Night," "Joy to the World" and "Away in a Manger." Fans can purchase the CD at dobiegray.com.
CITY OF HOPE TICKETS
Fans can purchase tickets to the 12th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge beginning Wednesday (at 10 a.m. ET) through TicketMaster at 615-255-9600. The annual game will be held June 13 at Greer Stadium to kick off Fan Fair.
TRACY BYRD VIDEO
Tracy Byrd premiered his new video, "Just Let Me Be in Love," on CMT Tuesday. The video is a very romantic video with a Latin love interest for Tracy and was filmed on Anna Marie Island, Fla. While on location, Tracy was able to do a little training for the Compaq Houston Marathon Jan. 20 by running twice around the island.
MerleFest 2002 will be held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C., on April 26. During the event, the winner of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest will be announced. Aspiring songwriters should send an audiotape or CD with their entry form and fee of $25 to Chris Austin Songwriting Contest, P.O. Box 121855, Nashville, Tenn., 37212. There will be finalists in four categories and the deadline to enter is March 18. Call 800-799-3838 for more information or log on to merlefest.com.
Coming Soon To The Opry Stage:
Dec. 7: Gillian Welch, Clint Black, Chalee Tennison, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Dobie Gray, Darryl Worley, Mel McDaniel, Jim Ed Brown
Dec. 8 (1:00 pm Matinee): Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Chalee Tennison
Dec. 8: Travis Tritt, Diamond Rio, Gillian Welch, Clint Black, Chalee Tennison, Darryl Worley, Mel McDaniel, Jim Ed Brown
Dec. 14: Jeff Carson, Charley Pride, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Mandy Barnett, The Whites, Mike Snider
Dec. 15 (1:00 pm Matinee): Jeff Carson, Mandy Barnett, Ricky Van Shelton
Dec. 15: Tracy Lawrence, Jeff Carson, John Prine, Charley Pride, Mandy Barnett, The Whites, Mike Snider
Dec. 21-22: Dale Watson, Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Phil Vassar, Ricky Skaggs
Dec. 28: Marty Stuart, Emmylou Harris, Riders in the Sky, Hal Ketchum, BR549, Ricky Skaggs
Dec. 29: Marty Stuart, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Riders in the Sky, Hal Ketchum, BR549, Ricky Skaggs
Jan. 4-5: T. Bubba Bechtol, Andy Griggs, Blake Shelton
Jan. 11-12: Mark Wills, Terri Clark
Jan. 18-19: Phil Vassar
(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