TODAY IN COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY
(Tues., Jan. 15)
Alan Lomax, folk song collector, was born in 1915.
Jack Guthrie died in Livermore, Calif., in 1948.
David Lynn Jones was born in Bexar, Ark., in 1950.
Johnny Cash was among the 11 artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
Vic Willis died in a one-car accident in Hohenwald, Tenn., in 1995.
MUSIC AND MORE
OPRY TO STAY AT WSM RADIO
Nashville radio station WSM-AM, home to the Grand Ole Opry for more than 75 years, will continue to play country music.
Gaylord Entertainment had said it was considering changing WSM's format to sports-talk and putting the Opry, the world's longest running live radio show, on other radio stations. It owns the radio station and the Opry. But chief executive Collin Reed said he received phone calls and messages from around the world urging Gaylord not to change the format of WSM-AM, whose nighttime signal on 650 kilohertz can be heard in 38 states.
"The more we looked at WSM-AM, the more we listened to the public and to the artists, the more we saw that we have another gem," Reed said. "And like the Opry, it just needs polishing."
Many of Nashville's country music stars stepped in to remind Gaylord of the cultural importance of WSM. George Jones participated in a protest in front of Gaylord's headquarters last week.
Reed said Gaylord planned to "expand the number of shows per week" at the Opry, which currently has one show on Friday nights and two shows on Saturday nights. He said the company was still considering syndicating the Opry broadcast to other radio stations.
WSM also broadcasts The Ernest Tubb Record Shop's Midnight Jamboree, which is the second-largest running radio show in history.
(Thanks to UPI's Mike Cooper in Atlanta)
BROOKS & DUNN SET UP NEW CIRCUS
Brooks & Dunn will kick off their Neon Circus & Wild West Show 2002 on April 12 in Madison, Wis., reports country.com. Cledus T. Judd will return as host and the support acts will be Dwight Yoakam, Gary Allan, Trick Pony and Chris Cagle.
In 2001, B&D's Neon Circus tour grossed more than $17 million and drew 600,000 people. The duo will play a few dates in February including concerts at the Olympics (Feb. 16) and the Houston Rodeo (Feb. 19).
GEORGE STRAIT TO RETURN TO ARENAS
George Strait is returning to headlining arenas this year after heading four consecutive multi-artist stadium tours. Billboard Bulletin reports that in his first arena dates since 1997, Strait will play the Cajundome in Lafayette, La., on Feb. 28 and the Pyramid Arena in Memphis on March 1, followed by a March 3 return to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
Strait will then take the summer off before returning to the road this fall for 20-25 arena dates, mostly on Thursday-Sunday strings, with an opening act to be determined.
Strait grossed more than $158 million in the 1990s, making him one of the decade's top touring artists. His latest MCA Nashville album, "The Road Less Traveled," debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums and No. 9 on The Billboard 200 last November.
WAYLON JENNINGS RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL
Waylon Jennings has been released from a Phoenix, Ariz., hospital after surgery to remove one of his feet. The amputation of his left foot became necessary when blood flow could not be restored after complications from diabetes. The surgery took place Dec. 19.
Fitted with a prosthesis, Jennings has been doing some walking at his Phoenix-area estate and is regaining his strength. His publicist says his client plans to resume touring as early as March or April.
You may remember that Jennings quipped a couple of days ago that it was funny that he had been hobbling around on two feet for years and now, with only one and a prosthesis, he's walking better than ever.
(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)