Lifenotes (1/12/08)

Longtime Music Row copyright attorney Bob Thompson died on January 7 at age 77. He was the former president of the Nashville SESAC office and former chairman of the Tennessee State Film, Music & Entertainment Commission.

Jon Hager of The Hager Twins has died at age 67. He was found dead at his Nashville home on January 9. The Hagers gained national fame as 1969-1988 cast members on television’s long-running Hee Haw. The duo was said to have received more fan mail than anyone else in the cast. Discovered by Buck Owens, Jon and his identical-twin brother Jim were on Capitol Records in 1969-1972 and placed five singles on the country charts, including a 1970 version of Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings.” Brother Jim Hager died in May 2008.

Mandolin virtuoso Butch Baldassari passed away at age 56 following a courageous battle with brain cancer. He died on January 10 at Saint Thomas Hospital’s Alive Hospice unit. He came to Nashville in 1989 as a member of the bluegrass band Weary Hearts. He was subsequently in Lonesome Standard Time in 1992-1996. Baldassari became best known as the founder of The Nashville Mandolin Ensemble. He was also an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music and a writer/journalist for Mandolin Magazine.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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