Today MusicRow celebrates a milestone, with the publication of the 500th Bobby Karl Works The Room column. To mark the occasion, MusicRow checked in with its famed party-man about the column’s early days. He recalls:
The first BKWTR column occurred on April 8, 1993. In those days, the column ran monthly, so this one covered events saluting John Schneider, the late Chris LeDoux, and Diamond Rio. Still surviving fabulons Mike Dungan, Fletcher Foster, Jeff Walker and Judy Harris appeared, and Matraca Berg flashed her engagement ring from Jeff Hanna.
The next one noted celebrations for Andy Childs, Tim Ryan and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Working the room were the enduring Mark Wright, Nancy Shapiro, Larry Fitzgerald, Gary Nicholson, Steve Buchanan, Erika Wollam-Nichols, Jeannie Seely and Mike Kraski.
By August of that inaugural year, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill and John Anderson were celebrating No. 1 hits, and Bob DiPiero, Bobby Roberts, Gary Overton and Shawn Williams were noted working the rooms.
I can’t prove this, but in the years since then, I believe that I hold the record for eating more rubber-chicken banquet meals than anybody in Nashville history. Somewhere, there is at least an hour’s worth of TV-news B-roll of me in the free-cocktail-shrimp line.
Do I remember the worst meal ever? Of course I do. It was at the then-new Schermerhorn Symphony Center when Leadership Music presented its 2006 Dale Franklin Award to Emmylou Harris. The pork chops were like shoe leather, so impervious to cutting that one hapless diner’s flew off the table to the floor when he attempted to vanquish it. The show, featuring Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, Allison Moorer, Sam Bush, Buddy Miller, Dave Matthews and more, was fabulous. The food, not so much.
The best party? I like to think that it is still to come.
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For more on Bobby Karl, read MusicRow Publisher Sherod Robertson’s 2012 interview with the man behind the MusicRow myth.