TODAY IN COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY
(Fri., April 12)
Ernie Lee was born in 1916.
WLS Radio in Chicago, home of the National Barn Dance, began broadcasting in 1924.
Ned Miller was born in 1925.
Judy Lynn was born in 1936.
Hank Williams signed his first exclusive songwriter's agreement with Acuff-Rose in 1944.
Vince Gill was born in 1957.
Boxcar Willie died at age 67 in 1999.
James Charles "Bud" Wingard, writer for the TV show "Hee Haw," died at age 67 in 2000.
MORE COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY FOR THIS WEEKEND
(Sat., April 13)
Red Foley became the host of the Prince Albert network portion of the Grand Ole Opry in 1946.
Sam Bush was born in 1952.
Buck Owens' first No.1 single, "Act Naturally," debuted on the chart in 1963.
Roger Miller won five Grammy Awards in 1965.
Glen Campbell's first No.1 single, "I Wanna Live," first appeared on the chart in 1968.
Ray Stevens' Top 5 single, "The Streak," made its debut on the chart in 1974.
Guy Willis died at age 65 in 1981.
The Grand Ole Opry Live debuted on TNN in 1985.
Johnny Dollar died at age 53 in 1986.
(Sun., April 14)
Loretta Lynn was born in 1935.
Lefty Frizzell's No.1 single, "I Want To Be With You Always," and Eddy Arnold's chart-topping single, "Kentucky Waltz," both debuted on the charts in 1951.
George Jones' No.1 single, "She Thinks I Still Care," first appeared on the chart in 1962.
Nashville Bluegrass Band fiddler Stuart Duncan was born in 1964.
Mickey Gilley sued to dissolve his ties with the Pasadena, Texas, nightclub bearing his name in 1987.
K.T. Oslin appeared on the TV series "Paradise" in 1990.
Burl Ives died at age 85 in 1995.
MUSIC AND MORE
WILLIE NELSON & FRIENDS
An all-star line-up will join Willie Nelson on stage this Sunday at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium for the special concert event "Willie Nelson & Friends: Stars & Guitars." They'll perform some of Nelson's favorite songs in the two-hour show that'll be taped for airing May 27 on the USA Network.
Actor Vince Vaughn will host the event, which coincides with the release of Nelson's new album, "The Great Divide" (Lost Highway Records). Artists taking part include Ryan Adams, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Sheryl Crow, The Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Norah Jones, Mark Knopfler Band, matchbox twenty, Dave Matthews, Brian McKnight, Aaron Neville, Ray Price, Hank Williams III and Lee Ann Womack.
(Web site: usanetwork.com)
TOMMY SHANE STEINER'S NEW ALBUM
Vince Gill, Lonestar's Richie McDonald and Randy Travis are among the guest artists on Tommy Shane Steiner's debut album, "Then Came The Night (on RCA), which hit stores Tuesday.
The release comes at a time when the first single, "What If She's An Angel," is at No. 6 the Billboard country singles charts.
"I don't know how I feel anymore," the 28-year-old Austin, Texas, native told UPI when asked about his success. He was en route to a meet-and-greet reception at his hometown Wal-Mart, where he hoped to sign a lot of CDs that were for sale for the first day. "I'm actually nervous and excited at the same time. I don't even know what to say."
The most unique song on the album may be "What Are We Gonna Do About It," a duet with actress Bridgette Wilson speaking, not singing, her part.
"When I heard it, I'd never heard a song that was a duet with someone acting," Steiner said. "This song, the story it tells, is so goofy, it turns out that it's cool. It's about a guy going in and spouting off the cheesiest lines you've heard of. But it turns out to be a great song. It has a little story that draws you in. You want to know what happens ... I listen to it over and over again and pretend it's true.
"I'm kind of shy," Steiner admitted. "The song is probably something I'd never do."
On the other end of emotions is "What If She's An Angel," his hit single. The song talks about the possibility of people in often desperate situations being angels that we all have the opportunity to help. "I really thought this was a great message that people needed to hear," Steiner said about first hearing the tune in the summer of 2001. Since the Sept. 11 tragedy, "it's become more appropriate," he said.
(Thanks to UPI's Crystal Caviness in Nashville)
BITTERSWEET MOMENTS FOR JO DEE MESSINA
Recently, Jo Dee Messina received an e-mail -- through her fan club -- from a woman with a critically ill child. In part, the mother told Messina that she was taking her four-year-old, cancer-stricken daughter home from chemotherapy when Messina's new song, "Bring on the Rain," came onto the radio. After listening to the positive lyrics of the song, the child said to her mother: "You know what, Mom? Tomorrow's another day. I'm going to be OK." Messina held back tears in describing the incident to CMT.com. For more on the singer and her current tour, check out jodeemessina.com
(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)