Country Music News

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Feb. 14, 2002 at 4:50 AM
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(Thurs., Feb.14)

Harmonica player Lonnie Glosson was born in 1908.

The Prairie Ramblers had their first recording session for ARC in 1935.

The film "Gospel Road" premiered in Charlotte, N.C., in 1973.

Banjo player Wendy Holcombe died in 1987.

Kathy Mattea wed songwriter Jon Vezner in 1988.



The music world is mourning the death of country music legend Waylon Jennings. The veteran singer/songwriter died Wednesday at his home in Chandler, Ariz., his spokeswoman said. He was 64.

Jennings had been in poor health recently, and had undergone surgery in April and November 2001 in connection with treatment for peripheral vascular disease. On Jan. 7, a spokeswoman confirmed that Jennings had had his left foot amputated in December after a diabetes-caused infection set in.

Schatzi Hageman quoted Jennings as saying he had been hobbling for more than two years, but was able to walk again with the use of a prosthetic. He said he expected to resume touring in a few months.

Known to his friends in the music business as "Waymore," Jennings recorded more than 73 albums -- including 13 consecutive multi-platinum, platinum and gold albums in the 1970s. In 1993, his "Greatest Hits" album went quadruple-platinum. He was a two-time Grammy Award winner and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Sam Lovullo, creator of the long-running country music variety show "Hee Haw" and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame nominating committee, said when Jennings first appeared on the show in 1969, he had everything going for him -- except for one obvious drawback.

"There was magic in his voice, it was a driving style, kind of like Johnny Cash," Lovullo told UPI. "I hate to say this but if he had not been caught up in the drug scene at a young age, he would have been as big as Garth Brooks."

Jennings made no secret of his drug abuse, which he said ended when he began his relationship with his wife, singer Jessi Colter.

Jennings' popularity crossed barriers into the pop and rock music genre. In the 1950s, he was invited to join Buddy Holly's band, playing electric bass, when Holly was on the road to stardom. Following a show in Clear Lake, Iowa, Jennings gave up his seat on the plane to his boss and joined the other members of the band on the bus. That plane crashed in a cornfield in the early hours of Feb. 3, 1959, killing Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson.

The tragedy was a difficult burden for Jennings to carry, but his association with Holly and the singer's tragic death also helped to boost his career.

"Mainly what I learned from Buddy," said Jennings, "was an attitude. He loved music, and he taught me that it shouldn't have any barriers to it."

Jennings was one of the driving forces behind the so-called "outlaw movement" in country music. In the 1980s, he recorded and toured with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson as The Highwaymen. He also had a voiceover role -- as a narrator called The Balladeer -- on the TV show, "The Dukes of Hazard" (1979-95). His theme for the show, "Good Old Boys," was a chart hit.

Jennings and Colter collaborated in April 2000 on an album of children's music, "Around the World Sing-Along."


Honors for Scotty Moore, who played guitar for Elvis Presley and bluegrass and banjo pioneer Earl Scruggs. reports he'll be presented the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award Feb. 26 at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. It's part of the annual Orville H. Gibson Guitar Awards presented by the Gibson Guitar Corp.

Winners also will be named in 10 categories during an awards luncheon. Nominees for best male country guitarist are Vince Gill, Buddy Miller, Brad Paisley, Marty Stuart, Dan Tyminski and Keith Urban. Nominees for best country guitarist female are Emmylou Harris, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Emily Robison, Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams. Willie Nelson is nominated for best male acoustic guitarist, and Lee Roy Parnell is up for best blues guitarist.


This week we reported that Kentucky is in the throes of completing a hall of fame for its most famous citizens, many of them music stars, and that the first lady of the Bluegrass State and Loretta Lynn are the co-chairwomen of the endeavor.

Now, not to be outdone, Louisiana says its hall of fame is adding its finishing touches. The hall is being constructed in Ferriday, La. -- a sleepy town of 3,000 on a sweeping curve in the Mississippi River.

The official name of the hall will be the Delta Music Hall of Fame. Among the initial inductees will be cousins Mickey Gilley, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart. Promoters hope that all three will be able to attend and will appear on stage together -- what a photo op!

The event is being used as a springboard for an imaginative state-wide program of music. Called the Louisiana Music Cavalcade, entertainers from all over Louisiana will hit the road for a series of concerts in all sections of the state. The final stop, in early May, is Shreveport and the historic Louisiana Hayride, a long-running weekly hoe-down and radio show that rivals the Grand Ole Opry for the title of "the cradle of country music."

(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)

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