Sep 052013

“Cowboy” Jack Clement, who will posthumously be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on October 27, died at his Nashville home at the age of 82 on August 8. He produced albums for the likes of Charley Pride, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Eddy Arnold, Bobby Bare, and Charley Rich. Clement was also responsible for writing hits such as Cash’s “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess Things Happen That Way” and producing his Grammy-winning “Ring of Fire.” He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973.

Tompall Glaser, one of the original outlaws of country music, passed away on August 13 at the age of 79. After moving to Nashville from Nebraska with brothers Jim and Chuck, the Glaser Brothers sang background vocals on Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” and went on to win the CMA Vocal Group of the Year Award in 1970. Their most successful song was “Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again),” which rose to #2 on the country charts in 1981. The trio opened a publishing company and recording studio on Music Row, which became the headquarters of country music’s Outlaw movement. In 1976, Glaser joined Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Jennings’ wife Jessi Colter to record the million-selling Wanted: The Outlaws album.

Jody Payne, who played guitar for Willie Nelson for 35 years, died of cardiac problems at the age of 77 on August 10. He was born in Garrard County, Kentucky in 1936. He began singing with his older sister Imogene when he was five and in the early 1950’s, he toured with bluegrass pioneer Charlie Monroe. He joined Nelson’s band in 1973 and retired from the road in 2008. Although he predominantly played guitar, he did enjoy one single as a singer, “There’s a Crazy Man,” which was released in 1981.

Aug 092013

“If I Could Make a Living” singer Clay Walker, who is headed to the Fair later this month, has added another baby to his growing brood. He and wife Jessica welcomed son Elijah Craig on Father’s Day eve, June 15. The doting father announced the news via Twitter: “Happy Father’s Day to me 🙂 Elijah Craig Walker … 7.8 lbs … a blessing to his mama and me … born last night … God bless u Fathers.” Elijah joins 4-year-old big brother William and 3-year-old sister Mary. Walker also has two daughters, 17-year-old MaClay DaLayne and 14-year-old Skylor ClayAnne, from his first marriage.

Following “Guys Do It All the Time” singer Mindy McCready‘s suicide in February, custody of her seven-year-old son, Zander, has been awarded to his father, Billy McKnight. Just last month, McKnight finally won the custody battle and brought Zander home to Florida, where he will live with his father and step-mother, Corey Rena-McKnight. McKnight recently stated, “This is gonna take years to heal from, she’s only been gone for six months. I’ll never be through it. Mindy is not here anymore and that hurts me, especially for my son. She was a special person who wound up getting sick in her life and she couldn’t recover from it.” It is still uncertain who will get custody of McCready’s one-year-old son Zayne. Zayne’s father, music producer David Wilson, committed suicide a month before McCready’s suicide.

Four-foot eleven-inch Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member Little Jimmy Dickens recently began radiation treatments for a pre-cancerous growth on his vocal cords. The 92-year-old country legend, best known for hits “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” and “Take an Old Cold ‘Tater (And Wait),” is expected to make a full recovery and recently said, “My family and I appreciate the support, and I can’t wait to return home to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in one of my favorite rhinestone suits someday soon.” Dickens is currently the oldest living member of the famed Opry.

Country songwriter Johnny MacRae died from heart disease at his Ashland City, Tennessee home at the age of 84 on July 3. He left the U.S. Navy after 15 years to pursue a songwriting career, which produced hits like Reba McEntire’s “You Lift Me Up to Heaven,” Conway Twitty’s “I’d Love to Lay You Down,” Doug Stone’s “I’d Be Better Off in a Pine Box,” and Highway 101’s “Whiskey, If You Were a Woman.”

Country Music Hall of Famer Jim Foglesong passed away at the ripe ole age of 90 on July 9. The famed record label executive was instrumental in launching the careers of country heavy-hitters George Strait, Reba McEntire, and Garth Brooks. Throughout his illustrious career at several major record labels, he also helped further the careers of Roy Clark, John Conlee, Donna Fargo, Freddy Fender, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, the Oak Ridge Boys, Buck Owens, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, and Don Williams.

Jun 052013

On Friday, April 26, not only did the country music family lose a legend, but the entire music industry lost one of the most influential artists of all time. Country Music Hall of Famer George Jones passed away at the age of 81 at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The legend had been hospitalized for eight days, suffering from a fever and irregular blood pressure, eventually dying from hypoxic respiratory failure.

Born on September 12, 1931, George Glenn Jones began his musical journey in his teens in Jasper and Beaumont, Texas. He never put music aside as he served in the U.S. Marine Corp during and following the Korean War. Once he left the Marines, he made his first mark in country music with his 1955 recording of “Why Baby Why.” He went on to record “White Lightning” in 1959. A decade later, he and Tammy Wynette were married and throughout their tumultuous marriage, they charted with hits like “Golden Ring,” “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Two Story House,” and “(We’re Not) The Jet Set.” Just like his first two marriages, alcohol and drugs destroyed this marriage between country music royalty.

Following his divorce from Wynette, as Jones’ life continued in a downward spiral, his career also suffered a down-swing as he became known as “No Show Jones” due to missing several concerts due to his addiction struggles. While at one of his lowest points, in 1980, Jones’ world and the country music world alike were forever changed as he recorded what has been called the “greatest country song of all time,” “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” In 1983, Jones married Nancy Sepulvado, who saved both his life and his career, standing by him until his last breath on April 26.

Last year, Jones announced that he would forever retire from touring and scheduled his last show to take place November 22, 2013 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Since his passing, the previously scheduled star-studded finale will now go on as a tribute concert, allowing friends and fellow artists like Garth Brooks, Charlie Daniels, Jamey Johnson, Kid Rock, Montgomery Gentry, Sam Moore, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Travis Tritt one last musical goodbye to the music legend.

Jones is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Nancy, daughters Susan and Georgette, sons Jeffrey and Bryan, numerous grandchildren, and sister Helen Scroggins.

Our condolences go out to the entire Jones family! George, you will be greatly missed! Who’s gonna fill your shoes?