Just got off the phone with Ron Wilburne who makes his home near Sacramento, California. He's a super good singer and guitar picker in the 'real' country music vein. So is his dad Dave, who is a road warrior if there ever was one. It's so remarkable to hear this father-son duo sing and play good old-time terrific traditional and classic country music with a little folk sound thrown in to make it even better, and a little mountain style in the harmony to make it truly a nice experience to listen to. Sheila, Bobbie Lhea, and I will be headed for the California hills before long, and we'll try to connect with Ron once we get out there.
Alan Jackson, one of the few traditional and classic country artists left in Nashville usually lets his music do the talking, but at a recent concert at the Country Music Hall of Fame, he talked a lot about his songs, his life, career, and famous songs. Standing ovations continuously. His show lasted 2 1/2 hours, that even included some talk about his origins in Georgia, his hardships in Nashville getting started, and his new Nashville Restaurant that he is just now opening. That to be done with a special surprise concert at the restaurant. He was a little critical of today's 'pop' country artists, and wished they'd return to a more 'country' country.
Emily Phillips won the J. Mullkey Kent award and first place in the open division in the Arkansas State Old Time Fiddle Championship in late September at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View. Phillip's love of old-time folk music comes naturally. She's a native of Mountain View, Arkansas, which is proudly self-proclaimed as the 'Folk Music Capital of the World.' I'm sure there would be others nominating themselves for that same distinction, however when it comes from such a lovely young girl as Emily, it's believable when she says, "You can go to the courthouse square any night of the week, and there are musicians everywhere playing folk music." She's a freshman at UALR, and began playing the fiddle in the fourth grade.
Someone out there owns a little piece of Willie Nelson, and they had to pay $37,000 to get it. An auction in Phoenix, Arizona on Oct. 5, was selling items from Waylon Jenning's estate. One of the items up for bid was Willie's red braids, which he gave to Jennings in 1983 to show support for Jennings sobriety. The story gets even better once you know Willie presented Jennings with the hair at a party thrown by Johnny Cash that same year. It's not exactly clear who bought the braids, but you can be sure my hair is now for sale and we'll use the money to fix the roof on the Pioneer Music Museum.
Western Nebraska fans of bluegrass music will depend on someone new to bring quality acts to the annual bluegrass festival at the fairgrounds in North Platte, Nebraska. Courtney Ewald, was announced as the newest President during the groups annual meeting. The current president Donna Mentzer will stay on for a year to assist in the transition. Ewald says she hopes to expand the festival and bring more family style entertainment to the event. I love her statement about running a festival....."Ideally, maybe we could even extend the concert out or the festival out to maybe even four days, four or even five days. The longer it goes, then the bigger it gets. The biggest attraction would definitely be the bands, the high name bands and I look forward to keeping it like that too, hiring out the nice big bands and not necessarily even the big bands, but just the real good music that people enjoy listening to" Well good luck North Platte, it will definitely be interesting to see the direction of your bluegrass festival.
Larry Cordle, who was inducted into our Hall of Fame this year at LeMars, has just released a landmark new album "All Star Duets" to global radio. It's been in the making for 11 years and has some pretty 'hot' players on it, including Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Terry Clark, Kevin Denny, Diamond Rio, Alison Krauss, Kathy Mattea, Daryle Singletary, Travis Tritt, Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, and Trisha Yearwood. Even our own Randy Kohrs is on the final cut.
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International Magazine