Nashville-Related Music Obituaries 2015


 Obits 2015


MusicRow’s year-end obituary roll call has never been longer. We said farewell to a record number of friends and cohorts in 2015.

The Country Music Hall of Fame lost members Jimmy Dickens, Jim Ed Brown and Billy Sherrill. The Gospel Music Hall of Fame said farewell to Andrae Crouch, Lari Goss, Mosie Lister and Billy Ray Hearn. Hardest hit of all was the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Its departing members were Billy Sherrill, Wayne Kemp, Don Robertson, Red Lane, Wayne Carson and Ted Harris, plus 2015 nominee Don Pfrimmer.

We also lost members of the Steel Guitar, Bluegrass, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Musician, Rockabilly, Country Disc Jockey and several state-music Halls of Fame. And there are many, many beloved folks who don’t need honorary inductions to remain in our hearts. Read on.

(arranged by date of death)

REED NIELSEN, 64, died Nov. 15, 2014
Country songwriter. Successes included Lorrie Morgan’s “Except for Monday” (1992) and “Half Enough” (1993), Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Could’ve Been Me” (1992) and “Words By Heart” (1994), Juice Newton’s “Old Flame” (1986) and “First Time Caller” (1988), Pake McEntire’s “Good God I Had it Good” (1988), Doug Supernaw’s “I Don’t Call Him Daddy” (1993) and Montgomery Gentry’s “My Town” (2002). Notable as collaborator with Eddie Rabbitt on “Gotta Have You” (1986), “Repetitive Regret” (1986), “We Must Be Doing Somethin’ Right” (1990) and “Runnin’ With the Wind” (1990) and with Vince Gill on “What the Cowgirls Do” (1994), “Cinderella” (1987), “Liza Jane” (1991), “Let’s Do Something” (1987), ‘You Better Think Twice” (1995) and “Don’t Come Crying to Me” (1999). Formerly in California pop group Nielsen/Pearson charted with “If You Should Sail” and “Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” 1980-81. (full name: George Reed Nielsen)

JOE CARR, 63, died Dec. 14, 2014
Country multi-instrumentalist formerly in bluegrass band Country Gazette. Duo partner of Alan Munde on Flying Fish Records. Several solo CDs and instructional videos.

TEDDY BART, 78, died Dec. 20, 2014
Nashville broadcaster, singer, author, songwriter. Longtime radio host of WSM-AM’s “The Waking Crew” 1971-82 and “Teddy Bart’s Round Table” on WLAC, WTN, WKDA and WAMB 1984-2005. Host of TV’s “The Noon Show” 1970-81 and “Teddy Bart’s Nashville” 1970-81, both on WSMV. News anchor on Channel 2, 1972-82 and on Channel 4, 1984-87. Also a pop vocalist fronting bands on radio and in Printer’s Alley, and a songwriter whose tunes were recorded by Brenda Lee, Johnny Mathis, Al Hirt, others. Author of Inside Music City USA plus a number of novels. Inducted into Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame 2014.

BUDDY DAVIS, 80, died Dec. 20, 2014.
Bluegrass musician and admired mandolin maker in Virginia.

CHIP YOUNG, 76, died Dec. 20, 1014
Guitarist, producer, studio owner. As a session musician for five decades, he backed Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Lee Lewis, Porter Wagoner, Reba McEntire, Roger Miller, George Strait, Charlie Rich, Gordon Lightfoot, Leon Russell, Willie Nelson, Bobby Bare, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Ronnie Milsap, Keith Whitley, Kenny Rogers and hundreds more. His thumb-picking style prominently featured on Dolly Parton’s iconic “Jolene” in 1973. Produced Billy Swan’s 1974 smash “I Can Help.” Also produced Delbert McClinton, Larry Gatlin, Joe Ely, Deryl Dodd, Jerry Reed, others. Owner of Young ‘Un Sound recording studio. Solo CD in 2000 Having Thumb Fun with My Friends featuring Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Scotty Moore, Reggie Young, etc. (real name: Jerry Marvin Stembridge).

BOB BARDO, 71, died Dec. 20, 2014
Executive in charge of production of ACM Awards, 1994-2014. Working for dick clark productions, he was also involved with American Music Awards, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and Golden Globe Awards.

WILLIAM EDWARD FARLEY, 85, died Dec. 27, 2014
Pianist, composer, singer, trumpeter. Performed in The Establishment, Monday Night Jazz Band, Theater Nashville productions and other groups. Also prolific author and theology professor.

ED PENNEY, 89, died Dec. 29, 2014
Songwriter, producer and broadcaster, best known as producer and co-writer of 1980’S “Somebody’s Knockin,’” by Terri Gibbs, which won her the 1981 CMA Horizon Award and a Grammy nomination. Also produced follow-up Gibbs hits “Rich Man” (1981), “I Wanna Be Around” (1981), “Mis’ry River” (1982), “Ashes to Ashes” (which he co-wrote, 1982), “Some Days it Rains All Night Long” (which he wrote, 1982) and “Baby I’m Gone” (1983). Also co-wrote Barbara Mandrell’s “That’s What Friends Are For” (1976), Moe Bandy’s “Two Lonely People” (1978), Dottie West’s “That’s All I Wanted to Know” (1977) and Jerry Wallace’s “The Song Nobody Knows” (1973), as well as songs recorded by Lee Greenwood, Jerry Lee Lewis, Anne Murray, Jim Ed Brown, Hank Williams Jr., Eddy Arnold, Burl Ives, and more. Previously a Boston DJ with the popular program “Penney Serenade,” as well as a public-relations executive. After retiring from music in 1984, he operated Dad’s Old Bookstore in Green Hills.

MELVIN JACKSON, 79, died Dec. 30, 2014
Horn player who backed B.B. King and Bobby “Blue” Bland for decades. The Nashville native was based in Las Vegas for many years.

HENRY STRZELECKI, 75, died Dec. 30, 2014
Prolific Nashville session bass player who recorded with more than 25 members of Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as pop greats Roy Orbison (“Oh Pretty Woman”), Joan Baez, Elvis Presley, Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan (Blonde on Blonde), Louis Armstrong, Elvis Costello, Carl Perkins, Ray Charles. Own production and publishing companies. Writer of classic novelty song “Long Tall Texan,” popularized by The Beach Boys, The Kingsmen, Lyle Lovett, others.

DONNA DOUGLAS, 82, died Jan. 1
Actor best known for portraying country character “Elly May Clampett” on top-rated 1962-1971 TV series The Beverly Hillbillies. Also Elvis Presley’s leading lady in 1966 movie Frankie and Johnny.

JIMMY DICKENS, 94, died Jan. 2
Country Music Hall of Fame member and Grand Ole Opry legend. Hits included “Take an Old Cold Tater” (1949), “My Heart’s Bouquet” (1949), “Pennies for Papa” (1949), “Country Boy” (1949), “A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed” (1950), “Hillbilly Fever” (1950), “Out Behind the Barn” (1954), “The Violet and the Rose” (1962), “Another Bridge to Burn” (1963), “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” (1965), “When the Ship Hit the Sand” (1966) and “Country Music Lover” (1967). Recitations “Raggedy Ann” (1970) and “Forgive Me Santa” (1987) also memorable, as was his comedic talent. Originated the standards “Farewell Party,” “We Could,” “Take Me As I Am (Or Let Me Go),” “I Got a Hole in My Pocket” and “Life Turned Her That Way,” all of which became hits for others. First country artist to go around the world on tour (1964). Discovered Boudleaux & Felice Bryant (1949) and Marty Robbins (1951). Pioneered rhinestone “Nudie” suits on Opry stage. Band’s twin electric-guitar attack prefigured rockabilly as well as the 1970s sound of The Allman Brothers. Songs revived by George Jones, Wanda Jackson, Ricky Van Shelton, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, Ray Price, Charley Pride, Mel Tillis, Gene Watson. Movies Tennessee Jamboree (1964), Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar (1966). TV included The Tonight Show, Hullabaloo and Where the Action Is. Collaborated with Vince Gill and Brad Paisley in later years, particularly in videos. Elected to Country Music Hall of Fame 1983. ACM Pioneer Award 2006.

CLAUDIA MIZE, 61, died Jan. 3.
Former A&R executive, production coordinator at Mercury Records. Worked on albums by Johnny Cash, Billy Ray Cyrus, Terri Clark, John Anderson, Steve Azar, Wynonna, Neal Coty, Kim Richey, Ronna Reeves, many others.

JOE GUERCIO, 87, died Jan. 4.
Musical director, conductor for Elvis Presley in 1970-1977. His idea to use theme from 2001 A Space Odyssey (Also Sprach Zarathustraby Richard Strauss) as Presley’s concert entry music. Formerly accompanist for Patti Page and musical director for Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Julius LaRosa, Sergio Franchi, Jim Nabors, Florence Henderson, Diahann Carroll, Diana Ross. Arranger for Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, Jackie DeShannon, Natalie Cole. Also former musical director at International Hotel in Las Vegas, which is where he met Presley. Conducted orchestra in Elvis tribute shows in later years. Member of the Nashville Association of Talent Directors (NATD)

AL BRENT, 74, died Jan. 5.
Longtime employee of Local 46 of IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical & Stage Employees.

AL FERRIER, 80, died Jan. 6.
Louisiana-bred rockabilly and country artist. Rockabilly classics of 1956-57 “No No Baby,” “My Baby Done Gone Away,” “Let’s Go Boppin’ Tonight,” “Hey! Baby,” “I’m the Man” on Louisiana’s Goldband and Nashville’s Excello labels.

ANDRAE CROUCH, 72, died Jan. 8.
Gospel Music Hall of Fame member with seven Grammy Awards and six GMA Dove Awards. Considered one of the founding fathers of Contemporary Christian Music. Most popular songs include “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” “Soon and Very Soon,” “Through It All,” “Jesus Is the Answer,” “I’ve Got Confidence,” “Bless His Holy Name” and “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory).” Compositions recorded by Elvis Presley, Paul Simon, Bill Gaither, Jason Crabb, many others. Arranger for Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Diana Ross, Elton John, The Winans and more. Nominated for an Oscar for his work on soundtrack of The Color Purple. Also worked on soundtrack for The Lion King. Pianist, preacher, choir director. Recording artist for Light, Qwest, Warner Bros, and Verity Records. Gospel Hall of Fame 1998. Star in Hollywood Walk of Fame 2004.

RICK MARTIN, 65, died Jan. 8.
Co-owner of Nashville nightclub Douglas Corner Café. Longtime road manager for singer-songwriter David Olney.

CHUCK LANDRY, 46, died Jan. 8.
Longtime drummer for Mel Tillis and fixture of Branson, MO music scene. Also backed Jimmy C. Newman, Doug Kershaw, Mel McDaniel, Hank Thompson and Ray Price.

LARI GOSS, 69, died Jan. 10.
Gospel Music Hall of Fame member, inducted 2009. Began career in The Goss Brothers, with whom he recorded 10 LPs in 1962-80. Group also provided instrumental and vocal backup for virtually every well-known group in Southern gospel music. He next launched solo career as Nashville producer, arranger. Joined Benson Company and worked with Speer Family (who first popularized his signature song “Cornerstone”), plus Cathedrals, Hemphills, Lanny Wolfe Trio, Phil Driscoll and more. Arranged, conducted or provided music for Grammy Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Democratic National Convention, Radio City Music Hall and many symphonies. Also worked with Larnelle Harris, Gaither Vocal Band, Brenda Lee, Ray Price, Glen Campbell, B.J. Thomas, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Hoppers, Martins, Janet Paschal, Christ Church Choir, etc. With Prism Music developed choral-music market and sold more than two million books and orchestrations to church choirs. Won 15 GMA Dove Awards, a Grammy and honors from SGMA (Southern Gospel Music Association).

A.J. MASTERS, 64, died Jan. 12.
Country singer-songwriter noted for “Change My Mind” (1991, The Oak Ridge Boys; 1996, John Berry), “Love Ain’t Like That” (1999, Faith Hill) and “An Old Pair of Shoes” (1993, Randy Travis). Also wrote songs recorded by Diamond Rio, Jennifer Hanson, Jo-El Sonnier, Charlie Rich, Gene Watson, Ray Scott, Steve Azar, Georgia Middleman, Zona Jones, Ronna Reeves, Frazier River Band and others. As an artist, he charted with eight titles for the indie Bermuda Dunes label in 1985-88. Albums Back Home (1986), Every Now and Then (1987), Yester Déjà Vu (2013). Former CRS New Faces Show artist and ACM New Male Vocalist contender. Touring guitarist for Charlie Rich in the 1990s. (real name: Arthur John Masarcchia).

SHUG BAGGOTT, 77, died Jan. 13.
Manager of George Jones in 1975-79 and his partner in the Nashville nightclub Possum Holler. Previously a Nashville entrepreneur with rock and soul nightclubs. (full name: Alcy Benjamin Baggott, Jr.)

DIXIE HALL, 80, died Jan. 15.
Composer of 500+ recorded bluegrass songs. Former country-music journalist and editor of Music City News magazine. Co-writer of 1965 Dave Dudley hit “Truck Driving Son of a Gun” and of “Troublesome Waters,” recorded by Johnny Cash in 1964 and by Carlene Carter in 2014. Cash also recorded her co-written “A Letter From Home” (1965). Her “All That’s Left” was released by Miranda Lambert on million-selling, 2014 CMA album of year winner Platinum. Founder of Blue Circle record label, Good Home Grown Music song-publishing company and Fox Hollow recording studio. Producer of 2010 IBMA award-winning CD Pickin’ Like a Girl by Daughters of Bluegrass. Wife of Country Music Hall of Fame member Tom T. Hall. She collaborated with him as a songwriter, as well as with Maybelle Carter, Billy Smith, Jeanette Williams, others. Early in career, she used the pen name “Dixie Dean.” Former trick rodeo rider. (real name: Iris Violet May Lawrence Hall).

GREG HUMPHREY, 62, died Jan. 15.
Country bass player who was in the legendary house band at The Palomino nightclub outside L.A. in the Valley. In Nashville, a mainstay of Lower Broadway honky-tonk district, frequently backing vocal great Jimmy Snyder. He co-wrote the Brooks & Dunn song “You’re My Angel” with Micheal Smotherman. Other co-writers included Bob Regan, Brittnie Baxter and Cory Mayo. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge hosted a tribute show in his honor.

RICHARD FURMAN, 64, died Jan. 16.
Band drummer for Brenda Lee, Dobie Gray, Margo Smith and Stella Parton, among others.

BILL LITTLETON, 75, died Jan. 17.
Nashville bureau chief for Performance magazine for more than 20 years. Actor who appeared in small character roles in films I Walk the Line (1970, co-starring Gregory Peck and Tuesday Weld); Payday (1973, starring Rip Torn); and Deadhead Miles (1973, co-starring Alan Arkan and Charles Durning). Accompanied Tom T. Hall on journey that resulted in Hall’s 1971 LP In Search of a Song, for which Littleton wrote liner notes and took snapshots featured on its back jacket. Also a country songwriter and a writer of fiction.

DON HARRON, 90, died Jan. 17.
Cast member of the long-running country TV series Hee Haw. He portrayed newscaster “Charlie Farquharson,” wearing a worn sweater and delivering humorous opinions about timely topics, often with garbled malapropisms. As this character, he also published 10 books. In his Canadian homeland, he was also a stage actor, a scriptwriter, a TV game-show host, a director and a national radio broadcaster. Appeared as a guest star in such TV series as Outer Limits, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Inducted into Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame 2010. Father of film director Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol, etc.)

DAVE CLOUD, 58, died Feb. 18.
Underground, eccentric Nashville rock artist. Recorded albums with his band Gospel of Power. Performed in independent films.

CHARLIE McCANN, 86, died Jan. 19.
Award-winning quartet harmonizer. Former International President of the Barbershop Harmony Society

JULIA MAINER, 95, died Jan. 21.
Vocal partner and widow of centenarian musician Wade Mainer (1907-2011) in the long-running string band The Sons of the Mountaineers. Began career as “Hillbilly Lilly” on WSJS in Winston-Salem in 1934. Married and joined Mainer’s group as “Princess” in 1937. Retired to raise children 1939-61. She rejoined Wade to record for King Records in 1961. They resumed touring together after he retired from GM auto in 1972. Her archive and scrapbooks formed the basis for 2010 book Banjo on the Mountain: Wade Mainer’s First Hundred Years. Her best known songs included “When Romance Calls,” “I Want to Go There” and “I Just Got to Heaven and I Can’t Sit Down.”

BILL YATES, 78, died Jan. 26.
Bluegrass singer and bass player, notably 20 years in The Country Gentlemen. Formerly in Clinch Mountain Ramblers, Yates Brothers, Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys and Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.

LARRY FULLAM, 73, died Jan. 31,
Bass player, featured vocalist and background singer for Bill Anderson, George Jones, Connie Smith, Tex Ritter, Tommy Cash, Johnny Duncan and Charlie Louvin. Appeared regularly on Bill Anderson’s syndicated TV show for five years and recorded two LPs with the star’s band The Po’ Folks. Formerly in folk group The Kinsmen. Changed careers and became a tour-bus driver, 1990-2012. Worked for Nitetrain Coach, All Access Coach, Music City Coach and Roadhouse, transporting Chris LeDoux, Billy Ray Cyrus, Vince Gill & Amy Grant, Aerosmith, Don Henley, Charlie Daniels, Coldplay, Emmylou Harris, Beyonce, Alabama, Glen Campbell, Adele, James Taylor and more. Husband of singer Diane Jordan.

BRIAN GILL, 65, died Jan. 31.
Chicago-based folk singer-songwriter and teacher who performed with Steve Goodman, Phil Everly, Pete Seeger and Bob Gibson, among others.

CAROL ANN McELWAIN, 70, died Feb. 2.
Former dancer who performed in summer stock productions, off Broadway and with New York City Ballet. Later vice president of sales administration at Ingram Books. Daughter of Nashville Symphony founding members Charles and Lillian Vann Hunt.

BOB MEADOR, 88, died Feb. 3.
Husband of Country Music Hall of Fame member Jo Walker-Meador, and her courtly escort to hundreds of music-industry events.

BRYANT CRENSHAW, 42, died Feb. 5.
Dwarf Afrlcan-American actor who starred in the 1997 Nashville independent film Gummo, directed by Harmony Korine.

JEAN CORNETT, 86, died Feb. 6.
She and husband Bob founded Lexington’s still-thriving Festival of Bluegrass in 1974. It was named IBMA Festival of the Year in 2007. Also operated the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL. IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award 1998.

JOE B. MAULDIN, 74, died Feb. 7.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member as bass player in The Crickets. Band scored big hits in 1957-58, some billed as by “Buddy Holly” and some as by “The Crickets.” These included 1957’s “That’’ll Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue” and “Oh Boy” and 1958’s “Maybe Baby,” “Rave On” and “Think It Over.” Non hits that also became perennial favorites included “Everyday” (1957), “It’s So Easy” (1958), “Love’s Made a Fool of You” (1958), “Not Fade Away” (1957) and “Well All Right” (1958). Mauldin co-wrote the group’s “Last Night,” “Well All Right” and “I’m Gonna Love You Too.” Following Holly’s death (on 2/3/59), Crickets toured as opening act for Everly Brothers and also backed duo in concert. Band began issuing LPs on its own in 1960.  Mauldin served in U.S. Army in 1964-66, then became an engineer at Gold Star Studios in L.A. He continued to sometimes perform with The Crickets, then re-joined permanently in 1975. Band toured with Waylon Jennings in 1970s and moved to Nashville in 1980s. Paul McCartney produced the band in 1988. Nanci Griffith took group on the road with her in 1990s and featured Crickets on her 1997 album Blue Roses From the Moon. Mauldin also performed on such Crickets albums as The Crickets and Their Buddies (2004), Double Exposure (2003), Still in Style (1992), T-Shirt (1988), Back in Style (1975), Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets (1962), Something Old Something New (1963) and In Style with The Crickets (1960). Continued to tour with Crickets until 2013, when band retired. Mauldin and Crickets installed in Music City Walk of Fame in 2007, in Musicians Hall of Fame 2008 and in Rock Hall of Fame 2012.

MOSIE LISTER, 93, died Feb. 12.
Gospel Music Hall of Fame member who wrote classics “His Hand in Mine,” “Where No One Stands Alone” and “He Knows Just What I Need.” Began career as quartet singer. Founding member of The Statesmen (1948). Formed own publishing company (1953). Provided Statesmen with “Then I Met the Master,” “I’ll Leave it All Behind,” “He Knows Just What I Need,” “I’m Bound for the Kingdom” and more. Also wrote for Blackwood Brothers, LeFevres, Talleys, Cathedral Quartet, Hoppers, Jordanaires, Gaithers, J.D. Sumner & The Stamps, Inspirations, Vestal Goodman, many other Southern gospel acts. Songs also covered by country’s Red Foley, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Jimmie Davis etc. “His Hand in Mine” title tune of first Elvis Presley gospel LP (1960). “Where No One Stands Alone” on Presley’s Grammy-winning How Great Thou Art LP (1967) and covered by dozens more – Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Bill Anderson, Porter Wagoner, Jean Shepard, Hank Snow, Dottie West, Don Gibson, Louvins, Browns, B.J. Thomas, etc. “How Long Has it Been” popularized by George Beverly Shea and more. Other notable copyrights “Til the Storm Passes By,” “Happy Rhythm,” “Goodbye, World, Goodbye,” “I’ve Been Changed,” “The King and I,” “While Ages Roll.” Autobiography/memoir The Song Goes On 2012. Gospel Hall of Fame 1976. Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame 1997.

JOE BILL CULP, 76, died Feb. 14.
Bass player for Tanya Tucker, Bobby Lord, Jeanne Pruett, etc. On the TV show Pop! Goes the Country. Later in local bands in Illinois.

MONROE FIELDS, 86, died Feb. 21
Singer, mandolinist, guitarist, fiddler, steel guitarist and bass player who backed Carl Sauceman, Jim & Jesse, Jimmy Martin, Lester Flatt and Bill Monroe. Co-writer of Jim & Jesse bluegrass favorite “Please Be My Love.” Cuts by George Jones, Aaron Tippin, John Anderson, Melba Montgomery.

ALAN MAYOR, 65, died Feb. 23
Photographer of Nashville music scene for five decades. Work appeared in MusicRow, The Tennessean, Music City News, etc. Much publicity work for labels, publishers and organizations. Book in 1999, The Nashville Family Album. Also contributed to such books as Finding Her Voice: Women in Country Music and Definitive Country: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Country Music.

BOBBY EMMONS, 72, died Feb. 23.
Award winning songwriter and keyboard player. As member of The Memphis Boys, inducted into Musicians Hall of Fame. First gained prominence in late 1950s as member of Bill Black Combo. Working under producer Chips Moman at American Studios, Memphis Boys recorded with Dusty Springfield (“Son of a Preacher Man”), Neil Diamond (“Sweet Caroline”), Joe Tex (“I Gotcha”), B.J. Thomas (“Hooked on a Feeling”), Merrilee Rush (“Angel of the Morning”), Box Tops (“The Letter,” “Cry Like a Baby”), Elvis Presley (“Suspicious Minds.” “In the Ghetto”), Roy Orbison, Dionne Warwick, Bobby Womack, Delbert McClinton, Wilson Pickett, Solomon Burke, John Prine and more. Moved to Nashville and became equally well known as co-writer of such BMI awarded hits as Waylon Jennings’ “Women Do Know How to Carry On” and “The Wurlitzer Prize,” Tanya Tucker’s “Love Me Like You Used To,” George Strait’s “So Much Like My Dad,” B.J. Thomas’s “Help Me Make It to My Rocking Chair” and Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings’ “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love.)” Session work continued with Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Larry Gatlin, Johnny Paycheck, Crystal Gayle, Bobby Bare, Earl Scruggs, Oak Ridge Boys, others. Emmons songs also recorded by Billy Swan, Ray Price, Jimmy Dickens, Ricky Skaggs, Tammy Wynette, Brenda Lee, Billy Joe Royal, Gary Stewart, etc.

JAMES “SPIDER” WILSON, 79, died Feb. 26.
Enduring country guitar great whose career spanned six decades and included a very long stint in Grand Ole Opry staff band, 1953-2006. Began career in 1947 as teenaged member of Jimmy Dickens’ band. Also toured with Ray Price. Became member of Opry staff band at age 18. Also notable as session musician backing such stars as Faron Young, Marty Robbins, Buddy Emmons, Dolly Parton, Bill Anderson, plus Dickens and Price. Young’s “Sweet Dreams” (1956), Price’s “My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You” (1957) and Skeeter Davis’s “The End of the World” (1962) are among hits featuring his guitar. Wilson a familiar face and sound on TV. Spent 29 years in band of Ralph Emery’s The Morning Show on WSMV-Channel 4. Also in “house band” on nationally syndicated TV series hosted by Bobby Lord.

RICHARD BASS BARISH, age unknown, died Feb. 27.
Member of Faron Young’s Deputies for 20 years. Guitarist, bass player, band leader. Also recorded with Ray Price.

KENT FINLAY, 77, died March 2.
Proprietor of Cheatham Street Warehouse music venue in San  Marcos, TX. Opened in 1974, it hosted debut performance of George Strait & The Ace in the Hole band on Oct. 13, 1975. Others who gained prominence in the club included James McMurtry, Hal Ketchum, Bruce Robison, Joe Ely, John Arthur Martinez, Terri Hendrix, Tish Hinojosa, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Also a songwriter with songs recorded by such co-writers as Walt Wilkins, Todd Snider, Randy Rogers Band, Slaid Cleaves. Mentor to many Central Texas writers and musicians.

ASA ALBERT JOLSON, 67, died March 4.
Former owner of Masterlink Studio and Al Jolson Enterprises on Music Row. Also a music publisher. Son of pop-music legend Al Jolson (1886-1950).

WADE JESSEN, 53, died March 5.
Chart director for Billboard magazine for country, gospel, bluegrass and Christian music. Head of magazine’s Nashville bureau. Also on radio as a host on Sirius/XM’s “Willie’s Roadhouse” channel. Formerly a DJ at KNEU in Roosevelt, Utah, then as midday personality and music director at KSOP in Salt Lake City. At WSM-AM in Nashville, he was named Billboard’s medium-market music director of the year in 1994. Leadership Music Class of 1995.

GARRETT MILLER, 29, died March 6.
Member of Christian band Vonagarden. Worship-music leader in Franklin, TN. Son of Grammy-winning Native American recording artist Bill Miller.

WAYNE KEMP, 73, died March 9.
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 1999. Major hits include George Jones’s “Love Bug” (1965, revived by George Strait in 1994), Johnny Cash’s “One Piece at a Time” (1976), Johnny Paycheck’s “I’m the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)” (1977), Mel Street’s “Who’ll Turn Out the Lights in Your World Tonight” (1980), Moe Bandy & Joe Stampley’s “Tell Ole I Ain’t Here He Better Get on Home” (1980), George Strait’s “The Fireman” (1985) and Ricky Van Shelton’s “I’ll Leave This World Loving You” (1988). Also the Conway Twitty smashes “Next in Line” (1968), “The Image of Me” (1968), “Darling You Know I Wouldn’t Lie” (1969) and “That’s When She Started to Stop Loving You” (1970). Other notable songs include “Feelin’ Single, Seein’ Double” (George Jones, Emmylou Harris), “Won’t You Come Home (And Talk to a Stranger)” (Ernest Tubb & Loretta Lynn, George Strait), “I Just Came Here to Get My Baby” (Faron Young), “Burn the Honky Tonk Down” (George Jones). Many other cuts by both Strait and Jones. Others who recorded Kemp songs include Patty Loveless, Hank Williams Jr., Ronnie McDowell, Jack Greene, Ronnie Milsap, Charlie Walker, David Allan Coe, Mickey Gilley, Elvis Costello, Michelle Shocked, Tom Petty, Charley Pride, Doug Sahm, Flying Burrito Brothers. Kemp also a recording artist for Decca, MCA, United Artists, Mercury, Door Knob. In 1969-1986, he placed 24 singles on country charts. Biggest hit as a singer was 1973’s “Honky Tonk Wine.”

JERRY BRIGHTMAN, 61, died March 9.
Longtime steel guitarist in Buck Owens’s Buckaroos. Regular on TV’s Hee Haw. Also the manager of the Wheeling Jamboree, 1977-82.

DON DAVIS, 86, died March 9.
Steel guitarist who performed and/or recorded with Hank Williams, Cowboy Copas, Pee Wee King, Hank Garland, George Morgan, Minnie Pearl, Carter Sisters & Mother Maybelle, Tex Ritter, Jimmy Dickens, Porter Wagoner, Delmore Brothers, Elton Britt, Gene Autry, Dinah Shore, Johnny Bond, many others. In road bands of King and Morgan. In house band of The Ozark Jubilee and The Alabama Jubilee. Founded Wilderness Music publishing with Harlan Howard. Produced Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells, Lawrence Reynolds (“Jesus Is a Soul Man”), Connie Cato, Ruby Falls, others. Operations Manager for Waylon Jennings. Co-writer of songs recorded by Jennings, Morgan, Ray Price, Dottie West, Mel Tillis, Roy Clark, more. Formerly married to Anita Carter. Member Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Autobiography Nashville Steeler: My Life in Country Music (with Ruth White, 2012).

BILLY BLOCK, 59, died March 11.
Creator and host of the two-decade weekly “Billy Block Show”/“Western Beat Barn Dance” showcases and radio show. A promoter, songwriter, record producer, manager, owner of Western Beat Records, bandleader, music journalist. Stars who helped launch their careers on his show included Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Ashley Monroe, Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert. Recording session drummer for Steve Cropper, John Scott Sherrill, Little Milton, Tony Orlando, P.F. Sloan, Walt Wilkins Band, Garnett Mimms, Essra Mohawk, Woodys, Frank Black, Rick Vito. Member of The Bum Steers, The Zydeco Party Band, Ya Ya, The Big Happy and other bands. Began career in Houston, performing and/or recording with Freddy Fender, Billy Joe Shaver, B.W. Stevenson, Delbert McClinton, Townes Van Zant, Roy Head. Moved to L.A. 1985 and appeared in TV commercials for Miller Beer, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Disney theme parks. Launched “Western Beat” there in 1991, showcasing Jim Lauderdale, Lucinda Williams, Buddy Miller, etc. Re-launched show in Nashville 1996. Founded Americana’s first TV series, 2000’s Western Beat with Billy Block on CMT. Journalism included Buddy: The Texas Music Magazine, Music Connection, MusicRow, Blink, Music City News, The Gavin Report. Known as “The Godfather of Americana” and “Americana’s First Impresario” or “Mr. Nashville.” Leadership Music class of 2000.

BILLY DAVIS, 59, died March 11.
Nashville rock guitarist and singer who performed in resurrected incarnations of such classic rock groups as Foghat, The Outlaws and Badfinger. Formerly in the Binghamton, NY band Actx. (full name: William Frank Davis).

BUD CARTER, 83, died March 12.
Designer, builder and repairer of steel guitars. Considered one of the instrument’s true masters. Inducted into Steel Guitar Hall of Fame 2009. (real name: Mervin Carter).

DON ROBERTSON, 92, died March 16.
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 1972. Classics include “I Really Don’t Want to Know” (Eddy Arnold 1954, Les Paul & Mary Ford 1954, Elvis Presley 1971, recorded by nearly 200 others). “I Don’t Hurt Anymore (Hank Snow 1954, Dinah Washington 1954, also recorded by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Rodney Crowell, Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Martina McBride, Dottie West, Hank Thompson, others). “Hummingbird” (Frankie Laine 1955, Les Paul & Mary Ford 1955). “You’re Free to Go” (Carl Smith 1955). “Born to Be with You” (Chordettes 1956, Sonny James 1968, plus Dion, Dave Edmunds, Bing Crosby, Anne Murray, Duane Eddy, The Browns, etc.). Also “Go Back You Fool” (Faron Young, 1955), “Condemned Without Trial” (Eddy Arnold, 1953), “With This Ring I Thee Wed” (Hank Snow, 1956) and “I’m Counting on You” (Kitty Wells, 1957). “Not One Minute More” (Della Reese 1960). “Please Help Me I’m Falling” (Hank Locklin 1960, Janie Fricke 1978). “I Can’t Help You (I’m Falling Too)” (Skeeter Davis 1960). “Ringo” (Lorne Greene 1964). “I Love You More and More Every Day” (Al Martino 1964, Sonny James 1973). “I’m Yours” (Elvis Presley 1965). Also “I Stepped Over the Line” (Hank Snow, 1964), “The Queen of Draw Poker Town” (Hank Snow, 1965), “Ninety Miles an Hour” (Hank Snow, 1963). “Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger” (Charley Pride 1967). “There’s Always Me” (Ray Price 1979). “With Their Kind of Money and Our Kind of Love,” “Your Picture Still Loves Me” and “Yes” (Billy Swan 1982-83). Presley recorded 15 Don Robertson songs, many for film soundtracks. A recording artist, himself, Robertson had 1956 pop hit “The Happy Whistler,” plus “Born to Be with You” 1960 pop single as half of The Echoes (with Bonnie Guitar) and 1965 solo country LP Heart on My Sleeve. Pioneered “slip-note” style of piano playing later popularized by Floyd Cramer. Piano accompanist for Chet Atkins, Jessi Colter, Nat King Cole, Ann-Margret, John Prine, Jerry Wallace, Nancy Wilson, Pride, Price, Presley, others. Played his song “Pianjo” as animatronic bear character “Gomer” opening long-running “Country Bear Jamboree” attraction at Disneyland and Disney World.

A.W. CHAFFIN, 95, died March 18.
Co-founder of Nashville’s enduring Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater in 1967. (full name: Asberry “John” Warden Chaffin).

LORRAINE “TOTSIE” SISSON, 89, died March 20.
Unofficial photographer at Virginia’s “Old Dominion Barn Dance” in the 1950s. Photos later published in Bluegrass Unlimited.

AL BUNETTA, 72, died March 22.
Manager of John Prine and the late Steve Goodman (1948-1984). Ran their record labels Oh Boy (Prine) and Red Pajamas (Goodman). Also booking agent, record producer. Grammy Award as co-producer of 1986’s A Tribute to Steve Goodman LP. Formerly road manager for Young Rascals. Previously in management for Bette Midler, Al Green, Manhattan Transfer. Leadership Music class 1994.

J. KAREN THOMAS, 50, died March 26.
Portrayed “Audrey Carlisle,” Mayor’s wife, on first season of ABC-TV series Nashville. Multiple other film, television, stage roles. Also Music City jazz vocalist with CDs Love Just Happens and J. Karen Live!

SANDY MASON THEORET, 75, died April 1.
Singer-songwriter who wrote Crystal Gayle’s 1979 hit “When I Dream” and co-wrote the 1998 Garth Brooks No. 1 smash “Two Pina Coladas.” Other songs include “Only Love” (Don Williams), “All I Want to Do in Life” (George Jones, Jack Clement, Marianne Faithfull), “After All” (Johnny Cash), “I’d Even Let You Go” (Paul Anka, Debby Boone), “Feel the Love Go Round” (Petula Clark). More than 100 other cuts. Began career as ventriloquist, TV performer and recording artist for Roulette, MGM, Hickory, Epic, Mercury and JMI. Later solo albums Only Love (1982), There Goes That Song Again (2001), Romance (2003), Angels in Disguise (2004), Out There and In Here (2008).

DOUG GILMORE, 78, died April 3.
Songwriter, TV producer, artist manager. Football star at Vanderbilt who graduated to being manager of Roger Miller. Wrote 1970s TV music for Sonny & Cher, John Denver and more. Collaborated with Delaney Bramlett, Leon Russell, Sonny Curtis, Meredith Willson, etc. Produced Dean Martin Presents Music Country for NBC-TV 1973-74. He and Mickey Newbury co-wrote “She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye,” 1969 smash for Jerry Lee Lewis also recorded by Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, Don Gibson, Hank Snow, Del Shannon, Charlie Louvin, Lonnie Mack, Brook Benton, Ed Bruce, Jack Greene, Swamp Dogg. Top-10 hit writer of “Doo Wah Days” for Mickey Gilley 1986. Co-wrote Reba McEntire 1987 No. 1 “What Am I Gonna Do About You.” Many collaborations with John Brannen on 1988 LP Mystery Street. Songs also recorded by Dude Mowrey, Daron Norwood, Ray Stevens, Johnny Paycheck, Crickets, Tom Jones, Fleetwood Mac, Waylon Jennings, Lee Hazelwood. Produced blues festivals in Clarksdale, MS with co-writer Gary Vincent. Worked with Morgan Freeman on 2008 blues documentary.

BOB BURNS, 64, died April 3.
Drummer founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee 2006.

JANE FABIAN, 74, died April 6.
Co-founder, President, Company Manager, Administrator, Managing Director, teacher, honorary lifetime board of directors member and tireless booster of Nashville Ballet for more than 40 years.

JAMES BEST, 88, died April 6.
Played Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard.

AUDREY BRYANT, 76, died April 7.
Nashville r&b singer whose 1959 single “Let’s Trade a Little” appeared on the Grammy winning 2005 CD Night Train to Nashville. Her “Good Good Love” was reissued on the 2001 CD Nashville Rock N Roll. As a regular cast member on Noel Ball’s Bop Hop teen TV show on WSIX-TV beginning in 1954, she was probably the first black woman to regularly appear on Nashville television. (full name: Audrey Jean Bryant-Wilkins).

TUT TAYLOR, 91, died April 8.
Dobro master with solo albums on Rounder, World Pacific, Takoma and United Artists. Grammy Award for 1995’s The Great Dobro Sessions with Jerry Douglas. Recorded with Porter Wagoner, Leon Russell, Norman Blake, John Hartford, others. Co-Founder of Nashville’s Old Time Pickin’ Parlor club (1971), GTR instrument store (1970, now Gruhn Guitars) and Tut Taylor’s General Store (1979). Produced Brother Oswald, Mark O’Connor, Douglas, Blake, etc. (full name: Robert Arthur Taylor).

MILAN BOGDAN, 73, died April 11.
Engineer, editor, mixer for more than 50 years. Noted for digital editing for CD reissues by dozens of country superstars. Engineer/mixer for Hank Jr., Oaks, Loretta, Alabama, Isaac Hayes, K.C. & Sunshine Band, Patty Loveless, George Jones, Floyd Cramer, Dirt Band etc.

BILL ARHOS, 80, died April 11.
Producer, president and GM of TV’s Austin City Limits from its start in 1974. Also a former board member of PBS and the CMA. Show is longest running music TV series in U.S. history, and its spin-offs include an annual music festival and a concert venue. Only TV series to have been awarded a National Medal of Arts.

CHUCK SAGLE, 87, died April 13.
Producer, arranger, conductor who worked in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Nashville for such labels as Mercury, Epic, Reprise, Motown and ABC-Dot. At Mercury, produced The Dell-Vikings, The Danleers and The Diamonds (1957’s “Little Darlin’”). At Aldon Music in NY discovered Carole King and was music director for Barry Mann, Bobby Darin, Jack Keller, Neil Sedaka (1959’s “Oh Carol”). At Epic arranged and conducted for Roy Hamilton, Jack Jones, Link Wray, Sal Mineo, Lenny Welch, Tony Orlando. Conducted on Ed Sullivan Show, Tonight Show, etc. At Reprise in LA, music director with Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman, Soupy Sales, The Hi-Lo’s, Les Baxter. Arranger for The Manhattans (1972’s “One Life to Live”) and at Motown. To Nashville in 1972, arranged for ABC-Dot’s Brian Collins, etc. Also at Starway-King, plus arrangements for The Establishment and Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band. Other clients included Gene Pitney, Joni James, LaVern Baker, Clyde McPhatter, Chico Hamilton, The Arbors. Solo LPs Ping Pong Percussion (1961), Splendor in the Brass (1962), Contrasts (1962).

RAY “BUTCH” POOL, 75, died April 13.
Guitarist and bluegrass songwriter. His “The River” was recorded by Lynn Morris and by Bill Grant & Delia Bell.

BILLY RAY HEARN, 85, died April 15.
Gospel Music Hall of Fame member and GMA Lifetime Achievement honoree. CCM visionary who founded industry giant Sparrow Records 1976, now part of Capitol CMG Label Group. In 1971 began one of CCM’s first labels, Myrrh Records, which helped launch Amy Grant. Director of publishing and promotion for Word. Consolidated Nashville as world headquarters of gospel by moving Sparrow here 1991. Launched careers of Steven Curtis Chapman, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Michael W. Smith, Andrae Crouch, etc.

NANCY MONTGOMERY, 60, died April 17.
Co-writer of top-10 country hits “I Wanna Hear it From You” (Eddy Raven, 1985), “Love Can’t Ever Get Better Than This” (Ricky Skaggs & Sharon White, 1987) and “The Gift” (McCarters, 1988). Also Reba McEntire’s “Why Not Tonight” (1986), Highway 101’s “Baby I’m Missing You” (1992) and Justin Froese’s “Finally Here”(2014). Songs also recorded by Waylon Jennings, Irene Kelley, Billy Montana, McGuffey Lane, Kendalls, Rhonda Vincent, Lacy J. Dalton, Whites, Mark Collie, Lynn Morris. Actor with many commercial credits and 2010 recurring role on CW network’s The Vampire Diaries.

DAN WILSON, 69, died April 21.
Song plugger at Tree International Publishing for 20 years, 1976-1996, who rose to position of Vice President of Creative Services. Also a songwriter with cuts by Ricky Skaggs, Del Reeves, Oak Ridge Boys, Jerry Reed, Wanda Jackson, Roy Clark, Bobby Bare, etc. Co-writer of T.G. Sheppard’s 1982 hit “War Is Hell (On the Home Front Too),” Sonny Curtis 1981 hit “Good Ol’ Girls.”

TEX LOGAN, 87, died April 24.
Bluegrass fiddler who backed Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Don Stover, Lilly Brothers, Old & In the Way (with Jerry Garcia, David Grisman). Writer of the holiday standard “Christmas Time’s A-Coming.” (full name: Benjamin Franklin Logan).

RUTH POE, 90, died April 26.
Half of mandolin-guitar duo The Poe Sisters with sibling Nelle Poe (Yandell). Cast members of Opry 1944-46 and members of Ernest Tubb touring troupe. German LP (Cattle Records) of their radio performances 1989: The Poe Sisters Early Stars of the Grand Ole Opry. (married name: Ruth Poe Weir).

STEVEN GOLDMANN, 53, died April 30.
One of the most prolific and successful country video directors. More than 200 clips, 1991-2013. CMT Video Director of the Year in 1993, 1996, 1997. “I Think About You” for Collin Raye ACM Video of Year 1996. Six Shania Twain clips, including “I’m Outta Here” Canadian CMT Video of Year 1996. Seven Kathy Mattea videos, including “Walking Away a Winner” and 1997 CMA Video of the Year “455 Rocket.” Directed “This Kiss” for Faith Hill, the 1998 TNN, CMT and Nashville Music Awards Video of Year. Nine videos for Alan Jackson, including “Drive” 2003 ACM Video of Year, plus “I’ll Go on Loving You” (1998), “Little Man” (1998), “Pop a Top” (1999). Six videos for Emerson Drive, including “Moments” 2007 Canadian Country Music Association Video of Year. Ten videos for Ty Herndon, including career-launching “What Mattered Most” (1994). Six videos for Martina McBride, including “My Baby Loves Me” (1993), “Life #9” (1993), “Safe in the Arms of Love” (1995). Seven hit clips for Pam Tillis; eight videos for Wade Hayes. Other video hits include “When My Ship Comes In” (Clint Black, 1992), “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” (Shenandoah & Alison Krauss, 1994), “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” (Lorrie Morgan, 1994), “Places I’ve Never Been” (Mark Wills, 1996), “How Long Gone” & “Red Dirt Road” (Brooks & Dunn, 1998 & 2002), career-launching “Long Black Train” (Josh Turner, 2003), “The Secret of Life” (Faith Hill, 1998). Also directed videos for Trace Adkins, SHeDAISY, Mavericks, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lonestar, Ricochet, Anne Murray, Lee Roy Parnell, Ronnie Milsap, Suzy Bogguss, Mark Chesnutt, Marty Stuart, others, plus many for Canadian artists such as Michelle Wright, Patricia Conroy, Paul Brandt, Terri Clark. Also directed films Our Country (Gaylord, 2003), Broken Bridges (Paramount, 2006), Trailer Park of Terror (Summit, 2007) and award-winning short subject 50 Odd Dollars (2000), plus episodes of TV’s Missing (Lifetime, 2004).

Owner of durable Lawrence Record Shop on Lower Broad in downtown Nashville.

TERRY GRAHAM WARREN, 51, died May 3.
Christian-music singer, songwriter and minister. Host of Praise the Lord TV show on Trinity Broadcasting. Former all-American linebacker at Florida State and NFL veteran of Dallas Cowboys.

HERB McCULLOUGH, 70, died May 5.
Veteran Nashville songwriter with more than 100 album cuts by Diamond Rio, Mel McDaniel, Rhett Akins, Josh Turner (“Baby’s Gone Home to Mama” 2006), Charley Pride, Moe Bandy, Mark Chesnutt, John Anderson (“Down in the Orange Grove” 1988), Hal Ketchum, Highway 101, Wade Hayes, T.G. Sheppard, etc. Noted for bluegrass songwriting like “Man with the Travelin’ Teardrop Blues” Del McCoury Band 2001. Also Americana cuts by Rattlesnake Annie, Barry & Holly Tashian, Hobo Jim, Jim Rooney, etc. Frequently collaborated with Shawn Camp and dulcimer virtuoso David Schnaufer (1952-2006).

DOTTIE DILLARD, 91, died May 6.
Member Grammy-winning Anita Kerr Quartet. Sang backup on discs by Red Foley, Johnny Cash, Jim Reeves, Perry Como, Bob Dylan, Skeeter Davis, Ray Price, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, Webb Pierce, Brook Benton, Connie France, Jimmie Davis, etc. Hits featuring her vocals Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (1958) and “I’m Sorry” (1960), Burl Ives’ “Holly, Jolly Christmas” (1964), Dottie West’s “Here Comes My Baby” (1964), Bobby Bare’s “Detroit City” (1963), Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely” (1960) and “Running Scared” (1961), Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” (1957), The Browns’ “The Three Bells” (1959), many more. Estimated that Dillard sang on 1/4 of all records made in Nashville in 1960s. On WSM beginning 1945. Formed quartet with Kerr, Louis Nunley & Gil Wright 1955. Won Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts with group 1956. Billed as “The Little Dippers,” scored top-10 pop hit with “Forever” 1960. In 1962-63, made pop charts with “Joey Baby” and “Waiting for the Evening Train.” Quartet was part of ground-breaking 1964 country package tour of Europe alongside Reeves, Bare and Chet Atkins. Group’s LP We Dig Mancini won pop Grammy Award and collaboration with George Beverly Shea on Southland Gospel Favorites won gospel Grammy, both in 1965.

FLOYD DAVID BROWN, 91, died May 8.
Idaho radio entrepreneur who founded and ran KMFE 1973-83, first FM station in Boise area to program country music. Host of KMFE’s “Comfy Barndance” live weekly showcase for local talent. Also a DJ and owner of a radio/TV/audio/guitar/record store in Elliott, ID. Father of Sony Music Nashville media VP Allen Brown.

GUY CARAWAN, 87, died May 9.
Folk singer who came to Nashville in 1960 and taught civil rights demonstrators to sing “We Shall Overcome.” After being introduced on streets of Nashville, song became worldwide social-justice anthem. Musical director at Highlander Folk School near Monteagle, TN. Also popularized “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.” Introduced the hammer dulcimer instrument to many. Recorded LPs for Flying Fish and June Appal labels. Books We Shall Overcome (1963), Ain’t You Got a Right to the Tree of Life (1967), Freedom Is a Constant Struggle (1968), Voices From the Mountains (1975). Lifetime Achievement Award from Folk Alliance 2009.

JOHNNY GIMBLE, 88, died May 9.
Country fiddle great. CMA Instrumentalist of Year five times. ACM Fiddler of Year nine times. Two Grammy Awards with Asleep at the Wheel, 1993 & 1995. National Heritage Fellowship from NEA 1994.  Former member Bob Wills Texas Playboys. Backed hundreds of stars on records — George Strait’s “Right Or Wrong” (1984), Marty Robbins’ “I’ll Go On Alone” (1952), Connie Smith’s “Where Is My Castle” (1971) and “If It Ain’t Love” (1972), Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December” (1973), Bob Wills’ “Faded Love” (1950), Conway Twitty’s “You’ve Never Been This Far Before” (1973), plus discs by Joan Baez, Paul McCartney, Boots Randolph, Porter Wagoner, Faron Young, Bobby Bare, Hank Snow, Dolly Parton, Jerry Jeff Walker, Doc Watson, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Ronnie Milsap, Don Williams, Johnny Cash, Reba McEntire, Guy Clark, Vince Gill, Tracy Byrd, Chet Atkins, Randy Travis, Trace Adkins, Manhattan Transfer, Everly Brothers, Jimmy Buffett, Leon Russell, Carrie Underwood, etc. Member Nashville Superpickers band, Willie Nelson’s band and his own Texas Swing group. Appeared in Nelson’s 1980 film Honeysuckle Rose and portrayed Wills in 1982’s Honky Tonk Man. Also regular on TV’s Hee Haw, NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion and PBS’s Austin City Limits. Recorded more than a dozen solo albums between 1974 and 2010.

MICHAEL DEPUTATO, 48, died May 9.
Former VP of New Media at Universal Music Group in Nashville. Helped stage first Digital Summit conference 2005. Leadership Music class 2006.

FRANK WOODS, 74, died May 13.
Attorney, entrepreneur, politico who helped launch CMT, the Americana Television Network, Shop at Home Network. Broker for LIN Broadcasting to acquire various radio & TV stations, cable channels, real-estate companies, Starday/King Records (briefly, 1970). Also Democrat fund-raiser.

B.B. KING, 89, died May 14.
Memphis-spawned blues legend whose first records were on Nashville’s Bullet label 1949. Returned to Music City to record 1982 LP Love Me Tender. Opened namesake nightclub downtown 2000. Among collaborators over the years Marty Stuart, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Keb’ Mo,’ Sheryl Crow. Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame 1987. Grammy Lifetime Achievement 1987. National Medal of Arts 1990. NEA National Heritage Fellow 1991. Kennedy Center Honors 1995. Presidential Medal of Freedom 2006.

JIM BERK, 54, died May 14.
Multimedia Entertainment exec, producer/songwriter/publisher for First Media Communications. (full name: James Lawrence Berk II).

ARITA TRAHAN, 64, died May 16.
Actor, theatrical entrepreneur and acting coach. Worked with Act I, Circle Players, other troupes. Founded Big Bawl Baby Productions. Many commercial, film, documentary, TV-movie and voice-over credits.

JOE WILSON, 77, died May 17.
Long-time director of the National Council for the Traditional Arts. Staged 50 national and international tours featuring Appalachian musicians such as Ricky Skaggs. Reinvigorated National Folk Festival, which came to Nashville in 2011. Spearheaded Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Center and Crooked Road heritage-music trail. Formerly a sideman for Marty Robbins and a journalist.

ELBERT WEST, 46, died May 18.
Singer-songwriter co-wrote Tracy Lawrence hits “Sticks and Stones” (1991) and “Can’t Break It to My Heart” (1993). Also cuts by Tim McGraw, John Michael Montgomery, Davis Daniel, Tim Culpepper, etc. Recording artist on Broken Bow with Livin’ the Life solo CD 2001, charting single “Diddley.”

JANI McDONALD, 69, died May 20.
Model and actor with numerous theater roles, TV commercials and voice-over credits.

Interactive Marketing Manager for Grand Ole Opry 2002-2011. Formerly in creative services at CMA. Wife of former Mavericks bass player Robert Reynolds.

BOB STEGALL, 85, died May 27.
Former Abbott Records artist and Louisiana Hayride performer. Steel guitarist and pianist. Worked in Johnny Horton’s band plus Hackberry Ramblers and Road Runners. Recording studio owner in Louisiana. Publishing companies in Nashville. Father of Keith Stegall.

MIKE HYLAND, 65, died May 28.
Nashville publicist with Elektra/Asylum, Network Ink, Hyland Company, Gaylord Entertainment, Full Court Press in 1979-2009. Clients Hank Williams Jr., Asleep at the Wheel, Waylon Jennings, Keith Whitley, Riders in the Sky, Jerry Lee Lewis, Kentucky HeadHunters, Charley Pride, Eddie Rabbitt, Leon Russell, Acuff-Rose, Almo/Irving, House of Gold, MCA Music, Monument Records, Bluebird Cafe, Country Radio Seminar, Minnie Pearl Museum, NARAS, WSM-AM/FM, WKDF-FM, WLAC-AM/FM, Ryman Auditorium. Formerly rock p.r. for Humble Pie, Dave Mason, Procol Harum, Rascals, Cat Stevens, Traffic, Fillmore East, Capricorn Records roster of Allman Brothers, Elvin Bishop, Bonnie Bramlett, Delbert McClinton, Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, Martin Mull, Sea Level, Livingston Taylor, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts.

SLIM RICHEY, 77, died May 31.
Guitarist who founded the bluegrass label Ridge Runner Records. Roster included Alan Munde, Country Gazette, Sam Bush, Joe Carr. Also ran Warehouse Music, marketing mail-order bluegrass instructional material.

JEAN RITCHIE, 92, died June 1.
Appalachian folk-music icon. Revived, popularized the dulcimer, preserved hundreds of traditional mountain songs, recorded more than 30 albums, wrote seven books, helped establish Newport Folk Festival, wrote songs for country and bluegrass stars. Songs recorded by Johnny Cash, Kathy Mattea, Bobby Goldsboro, Kenny Rogers, Seldom Scene, Johnson Mountain Boys, Emmylou Harris, New Coon Creek Girls, Michelle Shocked, June Carter Cash, the Trio (Harris, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt), Roger McGuinn, Laurie Lewis and more. Repertoire influenced Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, Doc Watson, Joan Baez, Kingston Trio, Oscar Brand, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Alice Gerrard, others. Her LP None But One won a 1977 Rolling Stone Critics’ Choice award. Subject of 1996 documentary Mountain Born: The Jean Ritchie Story.Appeared in 1996 TBS six-hour documentary series America’s Music: The Roots of Country. National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship and induction into Kentucky Music Hall of Fame 2002. Tribute CD 2014, Dear Jean: Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie,featured Seeger, Collins, Mattea, Janis Ian, Robin & Linda Williams, Tim O’Brien, Suzy Bogguss, Dale Ann Bradley, others. Widow of photographer and documentary filmmaker George Pikow (1922-2010).

RICHARD WATSON, 49, died June 1.
Grandson and guitar accompanist to Doc Watson (1923-2012) in 1991-2012. Son of Merle Watson (1949-1985). Albums include Feeling the Blues (1992) and Grammy-nominated Third Generation Blues (1999).

TONI DAE, 76, died June 3.
Songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, George Jones, Aaron Neville, Tammy Wynette, Tracy Byrd, Mark Chestnut, others. BMI Award for “Lovin’ What Your Lovin’ Does to Me” Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty, 1981. (real name: Helen Jo Hamm).

RICK STAUB, 61, died June 5.
Magician with his Magic of the Starrs touring troupe. Public speaker. Business manager for other entertainers.

RON KERR, 78, died June 8.
Former owner Sound Stage Studio, leased longterm by producer Jimmy Bowen. Artists recorded there Garth Brooks, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams Jr., Oak Ridge Boys, Waylon Jennings, many others. Now owned by Black River Entertainment.

RANDY HOWARD, 65, died June 9.
Former Warner and Atlantic country artist. Charted “All American Redneck” (1983), “Ring of Fire” (1988). Performer on Volunteer Jam XIII (1987). Previously Macon, GA disc jockey, program director.

VAN IRWIN, 95, died June 10.
Since 1949, the owner of Nashville’s WNAH gospel radio station. (full name: Van Takersley Irwin Jr.).

JIM ED BROWN, 81, died June 11.
Country Music Hall of Fame 2015. Grand Ole Opry cast since 1963. CMA Duo of Year 1977. Charted 72 titles 1954-81 as group member, solo act and duet partner. Singer in The Browns on “Looking Back to See” (1954), “Here Today and Gone Tomorrow” (1955), “I Take the Chance” (1956), “I Heard the Bluebirds Sing” (1957), “The Three Bells” (No. 1 pop crossover 1959), “Scarlet Ribbons” (1959), “The Old Lamplighter” (1960), “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” (1960), “Then I’ll Stop Loving You” (1964), more. Solo hits “You Can Have Her” (1967), “Pop A Top” (1967), “Morning” (1970), “Southern Loving” (1973), “Sometime Sunshine” (1974), “It’s That Time of the Night” (1974), etc. Duet hits with Helen Cornelius “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You” (1976), “Saying Hello Saying I Love You Saying Goodbye” (1977), “If the World Ran Out of Love Tonight” (1978), “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (1978), “Lying in Love with You” (1979), “Fools” (1979), “Morning Comes Too Early” (1980), “Don’t Bother to Knock” (1981), others. Formerly on Louisiana Hayride, Ozark Jubilee. Host 1970s syndicated TV series Nashville on the Road and The Country Place, and 1980s TNN cable TV shows You Can Be a Star and Going Our Way. Syndicated radio show Country Music Greats 2003.

HUGH CARDEN, 82, died June 15.
Manager of superstar Conway Twitty (1933-1993) for three decades. Ran various Conway Twitty Enterprises businesses and was executor of Twitty’s estate.

PAT PATRICK, 68, died June 16.
Leader of Pat Patrick Band, Nashville’s top party/show band. Creative director of recording studios Audio Media, Grand Central Studios, Pearl Trax. Prolific jingle ad creator —  Holiday Inn, GMC, Chevrolet, Disneyland, Goodyear, Tidy Cat, Kmart, Buick, etc. Recorded million-selling Disney children’s albums Mousercize, Rock Around the Mouse, Mickey Mouse Disco, others. Grand Music Group publisher of “High Cotton” (Alabama), “1982” (Randy Travis), “What’s Going on in Your World” (George Strait), “Out of Your Shoes” (Lorrie Morgan). Produced Christian stars First Call, Steve Green, Bruce Carroll, Amy Grant. (full name: Richard Curry Patrick III).

DELORES DINNING EDGIN, 86, died June 17.
Prolific Music Row session singer as a founder of The Nashville Edition, with thousands of country recording credits. Group was in “house band” on TV’s Hee Haw for 25 years. Fill-in member of Dinning Sisters 1949 and LaDell Sisters on Opry in 1950s. Co-founder of Music City Christian Fellowship, which staged finale “Sunday Morning Country” gospel concerts of annual Fan Fair/CMA Music Festival celebrations.

BOBBY HILL, 82, died June 18.
Canadian country radio pioneer. Host of CJAD “Alouette Square Dance” 1952. Recorded Canada’s first bluegrass single 1957. Broadcast “Bobby Hill on Tour” national CBC radio series 1960s.

CHUCK ATKINS, 76, died June 20.
Former sideman for Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Jeanne Pruett, etc. Known as “The Guitar Man,” he owned World of Music in Homestead, FL for 25 years.

ROY VAN HOY, 87, died June 21.
Professional drummer, also postman, policeman. Father of songwriter Rafe Van Hoy.

STEVE WALLER, 69, died June 26.
Mandolin player, harmony vocalist and chief songwriter in The Sawtooth Mountain Boys bluegrass band. Weekly radio show in 1970s on KLOO in Corvallis, Oregon. Albums Bluegrass (1975), Ocean of Tears (1996), Blue Side of Lonely (2000).

MIKE PIGOTT, 61, died June 29.
Top p.r. exec founded McNeilly, Pigott & Fox. Clients included Country Music Hall of Fame, Tennessee Titans, Bridgestone Arena, Nissan Stadium, etc. Formerly award-winning reporter Nashville Banner. Competitive ballroom dancer. Co-founder of Swine Ball.

HAZEL WALTMAN, 94, died June 20.
Operated famed Sunset Park country venue in PA for 50+ years with husband Lawrence.

JACKIE MOFFATT, 86, died June 30.
Drummer for Jimmy Dickens, George Jones, Minnie Pearl, Bobby Helms (on “Jingle Bell Rock), Grandpa Jones, Jim Reeves and many jazz artists.

RED LANE, 76, died July 1.
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 1993. Top-10 hits “Til I Get It Right” (Tammy Wynette, 1973), “Darling You Know I Wouldn’t Lie” (Conway Twitty, 1969; Elvis Costello, 1994), “New Looks From an Old Lover” (B.J. Thomas, 1981), “Walk On Out of My Mind” (Waylon Jennings, 1968), “They Don’t Make Love Like They Used To” (Eddy Arnold, 1969), “Miss Emily’s Picture” (John Conlee, 1981), “My Own Kind of Hat” (Merle Haggard, 1979; Alan Jackson, 1999). His standard “Til I Get It Right” recorded by dozens — Kenny Rogers, Trisha Yearwood, Solomon Burke, Bob Dylan, Wynonna. Catalog also includes “The World Needs a Melody” (Johnny Cash, Kingston Trio, Bill Anderson, Chuck Wagon Gang, etc.), “Blackjack County Chain” (Willie Nelson, Del McCoury, Henson Cargill, Jack Palance, etc.), “Would These Arms Be In Your Way” (Keith Whitley, Vern Gosdin, Mark Chesnutt, etc.). Other hits “Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa” (George Strait, 2003), “My Friend On the Right” (Faron Young, 1964), “Country Girl” (Dottie West, 1968), “Yours For the Taking” (Jack Greene, 1980), “The Eagle” (Waylon Jennings, 1991), “Come See Me and Come Lonely” (Dottie West, 1978). Cuts by hundreds — Reba, Oaks, Loretta, Dickens, Paycheck, Bobby Bare, George Jones, Ray Charles, Ann-Margret, Roy Clark, Lee Ann Womack, etc. Formerly an artist on RCA with four charted singles. Session musician and guitarist in bands of Justin Tubb, Dottie West, Merle Haggard. Co-wrote “Ride This Train” segments on The Johnny Cash Show ABC-TV 1969-71. National Coca-Cola jingles with Dottie West. Honored at Country Hall of Fame “Poets & Prophets” series 2010. (real name: Hollis DeLaughter)

JACK EUBANKS, 78, died July 1.
Guitarist, producer, recording artist. Session guitarist leader on six Alabama LPs, plus guitar on records by Kenny Rogers, Charley Pride, Ed Bruce, Mike Douglas, Leona Williams, Louis Armstrong, Connie Francis, Wynn Stewart, The Platters, etc. Producer of The Chuck Wagon Gang. Band member Leroy Van Dyke, Johnny Cash. TV and Opry appearances. Solo albums as well as member Monument Records act The Nashville Guitars. Active four decades on Music Row.

AL WYNTOR, 68, died July 5.
WSM-AM program director who became co-host of 1989-94 TNN cable TV series Video Morning. Later host of syndicated radio show Nashville Insider. Formerly at WHK in Cleveland and WDAF in Kansas City. (real name: Irvin Rusley).

JIMMY SHIELDS, 70, died July 11.
Former leader of the Nashville rock bands The Anglo-Saxons and Stonehenge. (full name: James E. Shields Jr.).

HANK SASAKI, 78, died July 14.
Japanese country star known as “The Cowboy From Japan.”

BUDDY BUIE, 74, died July 18.
Producer/songwriter/manager. Created 1967-72 Classics IV hits “Spooky,” “Traces,” “Stormy,” “Every Day With You Girl,” “Change of Heart,” “What Am I Crying For.” Also produced/wrote Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “So In To You” (1977), “Imaginary Lover” (1978), “I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight” (1978), “Do It Or Die” (1979), “Alien” (1981) and remake of “Spooky” (1979). “Traces” a 1972 country hit for Sonny James also recorded by Ronnie Milsap, Brenda Lee, many more. Cowrote B.J. Thomas singles “Most of All” (1970), “Mighty Clouds of Joy” (1971), plus Sandy Posey’s “I Take It Back” (1967), “Something I’ll Remember” (1968), Tommy Roe’s “Party Girl” (1964), Roy Orbison’s “Afraid to Sleep” (1965). Produced The Candymen (1967’s “Georgia Pines”), Billy Joe Royal (1969’s “Cherry Hill Park”). Co-owned BGO Records (Buckner & Garcia’s 1982 “Pac-Man Fever”) and Studio One (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alicia Bridges, etc.). Later wrote for Wynonna (“Rock Bottom”), Garth Brooks (“Mr. Midnight”), Travis Tritt (“Homesick,” “Back Up Against the Wall”). Formerly road manager Roy Orbison. Georgia Music Hall of Fame 1984. Alabama Music Hall of Fame 1997. (real name: Perry Carlton Buie).

J.B. PRINCE, 58, died July 18.
Bluegrass fiddler who played with The Green Valley Ramblers, The Bluegrass Cardinals and Ralph Stanley, among others.

MARK D. PERRY, 59, died July 19.
Voice and performance coach in the Nashville music industry.

RON WHITAKER, 54, died July 19.
Son of Lillimae Whitaker and bass player in her band The Dixie Gospel-Aires.

JIM RAGLAND, 67, died July 19.
Bass player in the early Nashville rock ’n’ roll band The Original Charades. (full name: James Black Ragland, Jr.)

WAYNE CARSON, 72, died July 20.
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 1997. Wrote or co-wrote “Somebody Like Me” (Eddy Arnold, 1966), “The Letter” (Box Tops, 1967;  Al Green, 1969; Joe Cocker, 1970, many others), “Do It Again a Little Bit Slower” (Jon & Robin and The In Crowd, 1967), “Nine Pound Steel” (Joe Simon, 1967), “Cussin’ Cryin’ and Carryin’ On” (Ike & Tina, 1967), “Neon Rainbow” (Box Tops, 1968), “Keep On” (Bruce Channel, 1968), “Soul Deep” (Box Tops, 1969), “Something’s Wrong in California” (Waylon Jennings, 1969), “Who’s Julie” (Mel Tillis, 1969), “No Love at All” (Lynn Anderson, 1970; B.J. Thomas, 1971, many others), “Tulsa” (Waylon, 1971), “Always on My Mind” (Brenda Lee, 1972; Elvis, 1973; Willie, 1982; Pet Shop Boys, 1988, many others), “I See the Want-To in Your Eyes” (Conway Twitty, 1974), “Drinkin’ Thing” (Gary Stewart, 1974), “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles)” (Gary Stewart, 1975), “Slide Off Your Satin Sheets” (Johnny Paycheck, 1977), “Whiskey Trip” (Gary Stewart, 1978), “Barstool Mountain” (Moe Bandy, 1979), “That’s the Only Way to Say Good Morning” (Ray Price, 1979), “The Clown” (Conway, 1982), “A Horse Called Music” (Willie, 1989; Randy Travis, 1998), “Dog Day Afternoon” (Shelby Lynne, 1990), “Last of the Love Song Singers” (Eddy Arnold, 1993), “I Want Some More” (Dan Auerbach, 2009), etc. Recording artist for Decca, Monument, Elektra, MGM, EMH, Private Stock. Life Lines LP on Monument 1972. Former performer on TV’s Junior Jubilee. Saluted by Country Hall of Fame “Poets & Prophets” series 2011. Song of Year Grammy, CMA, NSAI for “Always on My Mind.” Son of country radio and Ozark Jubilee act Shorty & Sue Thompson. (real name: Wayne Head).

DARON NORWOOD, 49, died July 22.
Texas-bred country artist of the 1990s. Charted with “If It Wasn’t For Her I Wouldn’t Have You” (1993), “Cowboys Don’t Cry” (1994), “If I Ever Love Again” (1994), “The Working Elf Blues” (1995), “Bad Dog No Biscuit” (1995), “My Girl Friday” (1995). Albums Daron Norwood (Giant, 1993), Ready Willing and Able (Giant, 1995).

PATSY STONEMAN, 90, died July 23.
“Keeper of the flame” for Stoneman Family. Long campaigner for father Ernest V. “Pop” Stoneman (1893-1968) induction into Country Hall of Fame. Played autoharp, guitar, jaw harp and banjo. Began career with family then formed own group 1963 as one of bluegrass music’s first female bandleaders. Assumed leadership of The Stonemans after Pop’s death. Albums Stoneman Christmas (1969), Dawn of The Stonemans’ Age (1970), In All Honesty (1970), California Blues (1971), First Family of Country Music (1981), For God and Country (1990), The Stoneman Tradition (2012), etc. Radio show At Home with The Stonemans 1987. Voice used in Disneyland’s “Country Bear Jamboree.” Sister of fiddle champ Scott Stoneman (1932-1973), mandolin virtuoso Donna and Hee Haw comic Roni. (Married name: Patsy Stoneman Murphy).

JIMMY CASE, 87, died July 24.
Owner of Ace Productions and Aaron Records. Early booker of Loretta Lynn. Performer in Jimmy Case & The Cherokees. Formerly in The Blue Grass Champs on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts TV show.

JOHNNY SLATE, 77, died July 24.
Songwriter, publisher, manager, producer during 40+ year career. BMI awarded songs “Better Love Next Time” (Dr. Hook, 1979), “Blaze of Glory” (Kenny Rogers, 1982) and Razzy Bailey hits “Friends”
(1981), “I Keep Coming Back” (1981), “Loving Up a Storm” (1980) and “Tonight She’s Gonna Love Me (Like There Was No Tomorrow)” (1979). Also cowrote Joe Diffie’s “Next Thing Smokin’” (1992), Younger Brothers’ “Nothing But the Radio On” (1982), Joe Sun’s “Shotgun Rider” (1980), Eddy Arnold’s “Don’t Look Now (But We Just Fell in Love)” (1981), plus Razzy Bailey singles “What Time Do You Have to Be Back to Heaven” (1978), “I Ain’t Got No Business Doing Business Today” (1979), “Everytime You Cross My Mind (You Break My Heart)” (1982). Songs recorded by Johnny Cash, Ringo Starr, George Jones, Delbert McClinton, Tammy Wynette, Tom Jones, John Denver, Sammy Davis Jr., Exile, Loretta Lynn, Millie Jackson, Roger Miller, Charlie Rich, etc. Former publishing exec at Tree, Warner Bros. Own companies Out of Slate, Windchime, Sandstorm, Affiliated Publishers Inc. (API). Management company IMAGE handled Larry Henley, Joe Diffie, Sons of the Desert, Tim McGraw, Ty Herndon, others.

VINCE COMBS, 81, died July 25.
Mandolinist for Hylo Brown and own band Vince Combs & The Shadetree Grass.

BUDDY EMMONS, 78, died July 29.
Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. Innovator who expanded the instrument’s boundaries and marketed his Sho-Bud and Emmons pedal-steel models. Played in bands of Jimmy Dickens 1955-56, Ernest Tubb 1956-62, Ray Price 1962-67, Roger Miller 1967-72, Everly Brothers 1988-99. Session musician who played on Tubb’s “Half a Mind,” Price’s “Night Life” and “Touch My Heart,” Faron Young’s “Sweet Dreams,” Judy Collins’ “Someday Soon,” plus records by Everlys, Ray Charles, Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, John Anderson, many more. Solo record Steel Guitar Jazz (1963) the first jazz LP by a pedal steel player. Recorded in Swing Shift Band with Ray Pennington 1980s. Tribute CD in 2013 featured Emmylou Harris, Willie, Rodney Crowell, Paul Franklin, many others. Saluted by Country Music Hall of Fame 2013. Known as “The Big E.”

WALT JOHNSTON, 81, died July 31.
Former president of Pearl Drums and of his own Nashville drum company, WorldMax U.S.A.

LYNN ANDERSON, 67, died July 31.
CMA Female Vocalist 1971. Grammy Award “Rose Garden” 1971. ACM Top Female Vocalist 1967 and 1970. Sang 18 top-10 hits: “If I Kiss You” (1967), “Promises Promises” (1968), “No Another Time” (1968), “That’s a No No” (1969), “Stay There Til I Get There” (1970), “Rose Garden” (#1 country, also #3 pop hit, 1971), “You’re My Man” (#1, 1971), “How Can I Unlove You” (#1, 1971), “Cry” (1972), “Listen to a Country Song” (1972), “Fool Me” (1972), “Keep Me in Mind” (#1, 1973), “Top of the World” (1973), “Sing About Love” (1973), “Talkin’ to the Wall” (1974), “What a Man My Man Is” (#1, 1974), “Isn’t It Always Love” (1979), “You’re Welcome to Tonight” (with Gary Morris, 1984). Other notable singles include “I’ve Been Everywhere” (1970), “Rocky Top” (1970, now a TN State Song), “No Love at All” (1970), “He Turns It Into Love Again” (1975), “I’ve Never Loved Anyone More” (1975), “Paradise” (1975), “Wrap Your Love All Around Your Man” (1977), “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” (1980). Duet partners: Jerry Lane, Liz Anderson, Gary Morris, Ed Bruce. The only country voice on network TV in 1967-68 as a regular on The Lawrence Welk Show. First female country artist to sell out Madison Square Garden. Accomplished, award-winning equestrian. Former wife of songwriter-producer Glenn Sutton (1937-2007). Daughter of singer-songwriter Liz Anderson (1930-2011). Longtime partner of songwriter Mentor Williams.

TANDY RICE, 76, died Aug. 3.
Talent agent/manager who built Top Billing into powerhouse. At its peak, 18 clients, including Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Jim Ed Brown, Kendalls, Tom T. Hall, Helen Cornelius, Jeannie C. Riley, Jerry Clower, Billy Carter. Former publicist for Waylon Jennings, Chet Atkins, Kitty Wells, Hank Williams Jr., Show Biz Inc. Media celebrity profiled in Newsweek, Washington Post, People, Playboy, New York Times, etc. Host WLAC’s “Good Morning Nashville,” WTVF-TV’s  “Morningline,” WKRN-TV’s United Cerebral Palsy Telethon. Judged Miss America Pageant that crowned Vanessa Williams 1983. CMA board president 1981. Founding council Leadership Music. IEBA Hall of Fame 2011. NATD Hall of Fame 2014.

BILLY SHERRILL, 78, died Aug. 4.
Country Music Hall of Fame 2010. Musicians Hall of Fame 2008. Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame 1984. ACM Pioneer Award 2011. Alabama Music Hall of Fame 1995. Producer, songwriter and label executive. Produced iconic records: Tammy Wynette’s 1968 “Stand By Your Man,” George Jones’s 1980 “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” Charlie Rich’s 1973 “Behind Closed Doors,” Johnny Paycheck’s 1978 “Take This Job and Shove It,” Tanya Tucker’s 1972 “Delta Dawn.” Songwriter Grammy Awards for “Almost Persuaded” (David Houston, 1967) and “A Very Special Love Song” (Charlie Rich, 1974). CMA Song awards for “Til I Can Make It On My Own” (Tammy Wynette, 1976) and “The Most Beautiful Girl” (Charlie Rich, 1973). Has 52 BMI-awarded songs, including “Too Far Gone,” “My Elusive Dreams,” “Soul Song,” “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad,” “Stand By Your Man.” BMI ICON Award 2010. Produced and cowrote 23 David Houston hits, including “Livin’ in a House Full of Love” (1965), “A Loser’s Cathedral” (1966), “With One Exception” (1967), “Already It’s Heaven” (1968), “My Woman’s Good to Me” (1969), “I Do My Swinging at Home” (1970). Produced and cowrote 24 Tammy Wynette hits, including “I Don’t Wanna Play House” (1967), “Take Me to Your World” (1968), “Singing My Song” (1969), “He Loves Me All the Way” (1970), “My Man” (1972), “Another Lonely Song” (1973), “Woman to Woman” (1974), “You and Me” (1976). Produced landmark George Jones/Tammy Wynette duets, plus dozens of solo Jones hits, including “A Picture of Me (Without You)” (1972), “The Grand Tour” (1974) and “Bartender’s Blues” (with James Taylor, 1978). Sherrill-produced Jones mega hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today” frequently cited as greatest country record of all time. Record productions made Charlie Rich a star. Also produced Joe Stampley, David Allan Coe, Jody Miller, Marty Robbins, Johnny Duncan, Johnny Rodriguez, Johnny Cash, Janie Fricke, Barbara Fairchild, Bobby Vinton, Jim & Jesse, Elvis Costello, Ray Charles, Mickey Gilley, Freddy Weller, Moe Bandy, more. Top exec at CBS/Columbia/Epic. Discovered Wynette, Tucker, Barbara Mandrell, Lacy J. Dalton, Shelby Lynne. Pioneered influential “countrypolitan” style as major sonic architect of his era. Earlier in career, produced Staple Singers, The Poppies, Ted Taylor, Barry & The Remains, Scotty Moore. Former solo pop recording artist and exec at Fame, Sun.

AUDREY AULD, 51, died Aug. 9.
Australian country singer-songwriter. Former duet partner of Bill Chambers. Debut CD The Fallen 1998. In Nashville 2007-2014. Albums include Tonk (2013), Hey Warden (2015), the latter featuring songs co-written with prison inmates. (married name: Audrey Auld Mezera).

BOB JOHNSTON, 83, died Aug. 14.
Songwriter and record producer who brought Bob Dylan to Nashville for Blonde on Blonde (1966), John Wesley Harding (1967), Nashville Skyline (1969) and Self Portrait (1970). Produced Johnny Cash LPs At Folsom Prison (1968) and At San Quentin (1969) plus hits “A Boy Named Sue” (1969), “Folsom Prison Blues” (1968), “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (1970), etc. Also produced Marty Robbins hits “Ribbon of Darkness” (1965), “Tonight Carmen” (1967), “I Walk Alone” (1968), “My Woman, My Woman My Wife” (1970) and Michael Martin Murphey’s “Wildfire” (1975), “Geronimo’s Cadillac” (1972), “Carolina in the Pines” (1975). In New York, produced Simon & Garfunkel LPs Sounds of Silence (1966), Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (1966), Bookends (1968) and Patti Page hit “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” (1965). Also produced Pozo Seco Singers, Statler Brothers, Earl Scruggs, Claude King, Doug Kershaw, Byrds, Loudon Wainwright III, Pete Seeger, Tracy Nelson, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Mike Bloomfield, Carl Perkins, Shel Silverstein, Jimmy Cliff, Billy Joe Shaver, Aretha Franklin, Lindesfarne, John Mayall, Waterboys, Dan Hicks, Joe Ely, Hoyt Axton, Wayne Toups, others. Regarded as the person who made Nashville a recording destination for pop/rock acts, he also brought to town Leonard Cohen, Simon & Garfunkel, Moby Grape and more. Former head of a&r at CBS in Nashville. Son of songwriter Diane Johnston (“Miles and Miles of Texas”). Husband of songwriter Joy Byers (“It Hurts Me”). (real name: Donald William Johnston).

J.D. ROBINSON, 59, died Aug. 14.
Bluegrass multi-instrumentalist backing Clyde Moody, Ramblin’ Tommy Scott’s Medicine Show. Teacher at John C. Campbell Folk School in NC.

JACK IRVIN, 88, died Aug. 18.
Broadway singer-actor who later led Crossville’s Cumberland County Playhouse. In Broadway cast and understudy to Richard Burton in Camelot 1962 & performed in it at Kennedy Inaugural Ball. With Liza Minelli & Christopher Walken in 1963 revival of Best Foot Forward, singing “Buckle Down, Winsocki.” Entertained during 1967 Opry Birthday Celebration in Minnie Pearl Fried Chicken presentation. In 1976 movie Nashville Girl. Later roles in regional productions of Cats, Annie, The Secret Garden, Captain’s Courageous, Foxfire, etc. (Full name: Robert Etheridge Irvin Jr.)

BILLY CONSTABLE, 56, died Aug. 22.
Multi-instrumentalist who backed bluegrass stars Charlie Moore, Doug Dillard, Kenny Baker, Josh Graves. Later with jam bands Acoustic Forum, Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, etc.

JEFF WALKER, 65, died Aug. 24.
President of The AristoMedia Group/Marco Music Group offering publicity, radio promotion, web development, video promotion and label distribution services. Longtime advocate of international outreach of country music. Coordinator of annual Global Artist Showcase performances during CMA Music Festival. On Country Radio Broadcasters board 35 years, honored with CRB President’s Award 2015. Longtime member of CMA board, honored with its Jo Walker Meador International Award & CMA President’s Award. CMA Australia Lifetime Achievement Award. British CMA International Services Award. Canadian CMA Leonard T. Rambeau International Support Award. Began music career at Con Brio Records 1975-79, with roster including Don King, Dale McBride, Reg Lindsay, Jan Howard, Chester Lester and future wife Terri Hollowell. Son of arranger/conductor/producer Bill Walker. Father of AristoMedia’s Jon Walker and Christy Walker Watkins.

BOOMER CASTLEMAN, 70, died Sept. 1.
Singer-songwriter noted for collaborations with Michael Martin Murphey. The two recorded as The Lewis & Clarke Expedition and co-wrote songs such as their charted 1967 pop single “I Feel Good (I Feel Bad)” and The Monkees-popularized “(What Am I Doin’) Hangin’ Round” of 1967-68. Duo starred in 1969 TV pilot The Kowboys. Other collaborations “Boy From the Country,” “You Can Only Say So Much,” “Blood Brothers” and Texas favorites “Ft. Worth I Love You,” “Texas Morning” and “West Texas Highway.” In addition to Murphey, their songs recorded by B.W. Stevenson, Rusty Weir, Lyle Lovett, Ray Wylie Hubbard. Castleman invented string-bending Palm Pedal for guitars 1968. Solo pop hit “Julie Mae” 1975. Produced Meri Wilson 1977 hit “Telephone Man” and co-wrote songs on her LP. Moved to Nashville 1970s. As a guitarist, backed Tammy Wynette, David Alan Coe, Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, George Hamilton IV, Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, Dave Dudley, Big Al Downing, Johnny Rodriguez, Tom Jones, etc. Also recorded as studio backup vocalist. Produced Ronnie Prophet, Mike Alan Ward, Bobby David, Kim Morrison, Rodney Lay, others. Formed BNA Records and recorded 1981 revival of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” for the imprint 1981. Sold BNA to BMG/RCA 1993. (real name: Owens Castleman).

LOGAN NEILL, 61, died Sept. 1.
Bluegrass mandolinist and guitarist in Whiskey Before Breakfast. Hosted bluegrass show on WMNF in Tampa. Booked and promoted shows. Co-founded Florida Bluegrass News.

HAL WILLIS, 82, died Sept. 4.
Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member. Top-10 hit 1964 “The Lumberjack.” Also charted with “Doggin’ in the U.S. Mail” 1966.Member of duo Hal & Ginger Willis. Toured with Hank Snow and Elvis Presley 1956. As songwriters, cuts by George Jones, Kitty Wells, Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb, Bobby Helms, Charlie Walker, Rosie Flores, Hot Rize, Wilburn Brothers, etc. Flatt & Scruggs 1962 hit with “Just Ain’t.” Patsy Cline recorded “Walkin’ Dream.” They also co-wrote both Hal Willis hits. Ginger Willis died 2003. Hal & Ginger Willis inducted into Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame 2010. (real name: Leonard Gauthier).

JOHNNY MONTGOMERY, 87, died Sept. 4.
Bluegrass bass player. Worked with Boys From Shiloh, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Dixie Gentlemen, Cumberland Mountain Boys.

RICHARD WILLIAMS, 75, died Sept. 8.
Singer-songwriter-pianist who co-founded The Casuals, Nashville’s first rock ’n’ roll band, 1956. Group scored minor pop hits with “My Love Song for You” (1957), “Mustang 2+2” (1964) and recorded for Dot, Sound Stage 7, Monument. Brenda Lee’s band 1958-1975. Later a solo nightclub entertainer in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

MARTIN PARKER, 63, died Sept. 10.
Drummer in 1989 Reprise Records group Billy Hill (“Too Much Month at the End of the Money”). Also in bands of Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs. Worked with Patty Loveless, Alison Krauss, Vestal Goodman, Earl Scruggs, Bonnie Raitt, Crystal Gayle, Don Schlitz, Gail Davies, O’Kanes, etc. On records by Willie Nelson, Jerry Douglas, Steve Earle, etc. Husband of stylist and Dolly Parton personal assistant Ira Parker.

VERONICA GREENE, 37, died Sept. 17.
Accounts manager for MMA Creative who led sponsorship acquisition and management team for Americana Music Association.

JOE DOBBS, 81, died Sept. 21.
Fiddler and 20-year host of “Music From the Mountains” on West Virginia Public Radio. Autobiography: A Country Fiddler (2011).

DEWITT SCOTT, 83, died Sept. 23.
Founded Scotty’s Music, known internationally, and Mid-Land Records, largest steel-guitar label in the world. Also launched International Steel Guitar Convention and Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. Author of 30+ steel instructional books. Four solo steel albums. Performed on Oklahoma City and St. Louis TV shows.

SHARON EAVES, 58, died Sept. 25.
CEO of Fan Clubhouse, offering artists website development, online ticketing, pre-sale CD campaigns, merchandise management, online marketing promotions, social media management and fan-club services. Clients included Brad Paisley, Gary Allan, Scotty McCreery, Jerrod Niemann, Phil Vassar, Montgomery Gentry, Clay Walker, Lonestar, Bryan White, Keith Urban, etc. President of R&J Records. Wife of producer/engineer Tom Harding.

HUGH WRIGHT, 63, died Sept. 25.
Drummer and co-founder of country band Boy Howdy. Biggest hits 1993-94 “A Cowboy’s Born With a Broken Heart,” “She’d Give Anything,” “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore.”

FRANKIE FORD, 76, died Sept. 28.
Rockabilly star, famed for 1959’s “Sea Cruise.” Member Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

BILLY JOE ROYAL, 73, died Oct. 6.
Country and pop hit maker. Began pop career with 1965’s “Down in the Boondocks,” penned by Joe South, who also wrote Royal’s pop hits “I Knew You When” (1966), “These Are Not My People” (1967), “Hush” (1967). Last big pop hit “Cherry Hill Park” (1969). Resurfaced in country music in 1980s with “Burned Like a Rocket” (1985), “Old Bridges Burn Slow” (1987), “Members Only” (with Donna Fargo, 1987), “I’ll Pin a Note on Your Pillow” (1987), “Out of Sight and On My Mind” (1988), “Tell It Like It Is” (1989), “Love Has No Right” (1989), “Till I Can’t Take It Anymore” (1989), “Searchin’ For Some Kind of Clue” (1989), “I’m Okay” (1992), etc. Gold Record for 1987 LP The Royal Treatment. Georgia Music Hall of Fame induction 1988.

ROBERT E. BAYS, 94, died Oct. 6.
Former first chair of the horn section of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. French horn player who was a teacher and administrator at Peabody College in Nashville, the University of Texas in Austin and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana (Director of the School of Music). President of National Association of Schools of Music 1979-82.

GARY PAUL MARMITT, 58, died Oct. 7.
Former Nashville musician who owned several radio stations in southeast Georgia.

NORA FIKE, 75, died Oct. 9.
Copacabana showgirl and dancer who married Lamar Fike (1935-2011), the colorful road manager of Brenda Lee and Elvis Presley and the “godfather” of Elvis’s “Memphis Mafia.”

FAYE SPEER, 86, died Oct. 13.
Periodically a member of legendary gospel group The Speer Family. Widow of Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Brock Speer (1920-1999).

RITA MUNSEY, 71. died Oct. 15.
Singer and accordion player on Knoxville TV who became Miss Tennessee in 1964 and competed in the Miss America Pageant. (married name: Rita Munsey Doss)

JOHN JENNINGS, 62, died Oct. 17.
Producer, guitarist, songwriter, recording artist. Best known for co-producing all of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s hit albums and singles. Co-wrote her hits “Never Had It So Good” (1989) and “Going Out Tonight” (1991). Also produced albums for Janis Ian, John Gorka, Robin & Linda Williams, Bill Morrissey, Rankin Family, Beausoleil. Guitarist on records by Kathy Mattea, Indigo Girls, Iris DeMent, George Jones, Cheryl Wheeler, Ricky Skaggs, Joe Diffie, Darol Anger, Tony Rice. Solo albums Buddy (1997), I Belong to You (1998), More Noise From Nowhere (2001), Four (2005), It’s All Good (2007), Everybody Sing (2010).

DOUG MAYES, 93, died Oct. 18.
Member Country Radio Hall of Fame (2002). Longtime North Carolina TV and radio broadcaster. Host of WBT’s “Carolina Country Style” in 1950s & 1960s. Former guitarist and fiddler with Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith.

BILL KEITH, 75 died Oct. 23.
Bluegrass Hall of Fame member. Highly influential banjo virtuoso who developed and popularized the melodic style. Invented, manufactured and marketed banjo tuning peg that became the Beacon Banjo Company. Former member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. Also in Jim Kweskin Jug Band and Muleskinner. Backed Ian & Sylvia, Jonathan Edwards, Bee Gees, Jim Rooney, Peter Rowan, others. Collaborator with Tony Trishka, Clarence White, Darol Anger, David Grisman, Bill Amatineek, Tony Rice in developing Dawg Music. Rounder Records artist.

MAGGIE PENN, 73, died Oct. 27.
Illinois booking agent who founded the Traditional Country Music Foundation.

FRED THOMPSON, 73, died Nov. 1.
Nashville attorney who became a Watergate counsel (1973), a U.S. Senator (1994-2003), a Presidential campaigner (2008) and a successful actor. Films included Marie (1985), No Way Out (1987), Days of Thunder (1990), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Die Hard 2 (1990), Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007), Alleged (2009). A regular on NBC-TV’s Law and Order, 2002-2007. Memoir: Teaching a Pig to Dance (2010).

TOMMY OVERSTREET, 78, died Nov. 2.
Country star of the 1970s with 11 top-10 hits: “Gwen (Congratulations)” (1971), “Ann (Don’t Go Runnin’)” (1972), “Heaven Is My Woman’s Love” (1972), “(Jean Marie) You Were a Lady” (1974), “That’s When My Woman Begins” (1975), “Don’t Go City Girl On Me”(1977), etc. Frequent guest on Hee Haw.Cousin of pop superstar Gene Austin (1900-1971), who mentored him. Manager of ABC Records Nashville office 1967-74. More than 30 international tours. International Rodeo Association’s Entertainer of the Year in 1979, 1980, 1982. Star in Branson in 1980s. Placed 34 singles on Billboardcharts, 1969-86, including “If Love Was a Bottle of Wine” (1977), “Yes M’Am” (1978), “Fadin’ In, Fadin’ Out” (1978), “This Time I’m In it for the Love” (1977), “What More Could a Man Need” (1979) and cover of Gary Puckett pop hit “Young Girl” (1976). Recorded more than 25 albums, authored a memoir and co-wrote a children’s book. His songs recorded by Tony Booth, Pat Boone, Tommy Cash.

ROY NEILL ACUFF, 72, died Nov. 5.
Former Hickory Records artist. Son of Roy Acuff (1903-1992).

CHARLIE DICK, 81, died Nov. 8.
Widower, road manager and guardian of the estate of Patsy Cline. Portrayed by Ed Harris in movie Sweet Dreams. Also former promotion man for Starday Records. Founding member of R.O.P.E. Documentary video producer with Hallway Productions. Notable Music City bon vivant.

ALLEN TOUSSAINT, 77, died Nov. 10.
New Orleans pianist, songwriter, singer, producer whose r&b songs were popularized in country music by Joe Stampley (“All These Things,” 1976), The Judds (“Working in the Coal Mine,” 1985), Glen Campbell (“Southern Nights,” 1977), The Oak Ridge Boys (“Freedom for the Stallion,” 1974), Jerry Lee Lewis (“I Like It Like That,” 1979), Floyd Cramer (“Java,” 1962), Alison Krauss & Robert Plant (“Fortune Teller,” 2007), Vince Gill (“What Do You Want the Girl to Do,” 1993), etc. Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame 2009. National Medal of Arts 2013.

RAMONA JONES, 91, died Nov. 17.
Champion old-time fiddler. Wife, accompanist and duet partner of Country Hall of Famer Grandpa Jones (1913-1998). Veteran of bands Sunshine Sue & Rock Creek Rangers, Happy Valley Girls, Bradley Kincaid, Bailes Brothers. Recorded for King, Decca, Monument, RCA, Starday, CMH, etc. Regular on TV’s Hee Haw for 25 years. Four solo LPs, including Back Porch Fiddlin’ (1976), Lady’s Fancy (1986). Managed Grandpa Jones Family Dinner Theater in Mountain View, AR. Heritage Award at 1996 Uncle Dave Macon Days in Murfreesboro. Cookbook: Ramona Jones Recipes (1986). Autobiography: Make Music While You Can (2000).

KENNETH KRAUSE, 86, died Nov. 19.
A 20-year veteran percussionist with Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Composer, arranger, conductor. Toured with Henry Mancini, Tom Jones. Taught at Belmont, Trevecca. Composed “Hey God” children’s musicals. Formerly with Atlanta Symphony, Atlanta Pops Orchestra.

RAY BATTS, 90, died Nov. 20.
Country recording artist with Bullet Records (1953’s “Bear Cat Daddy”/“Wild Man Boogie”) and Excello Records (1954’s “Stealin’ Sugar”/“Maybe It’s You, Sweetheart, Maybe It’s Me”). Former radio star with own show on WMAK. Later much more famous as Nashville furniture mogul with five stores and two La-Z-Boy outlets. Memorable jingle: “That’s why Ray Batts is our kind of Furniture Man.”

BOBBY BARKER, 71, died Nov. 20.
Country songwriter of “The Girl Who Waits on Tables” (Ronnie Milsap, 1973), “I Cheated Me Right Out of You” (Moe Bandy, 1979), “I Didn’t (Every Chance I Had)” (Johnny Rodriguez, 1988), “Mirror Mirror” (Barbara Mandrell, 1989), “My Woman Loves the Devil Out of Me” (Moe Bandy, 1981), etc.

TED HARRIS, 78, died Nov. 22.
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member inducted 1990. Hits written include “Chasin’ a Rainbow” (Hank Snow, 1959), “Crystal Chandelier” (Carl Belew, 1965, covered by many others), “Once” (Ferlin Husky, 1966), “Rainbows and Roses” (Roy Drusky, 1966), “Paper Mansions” (Dottie West, 1967), “You and Me Against the World” (Bobby Lord, 1970), “Here I Go Again” (Bobby Wright, 1971), “The Happiness of Having You” (Charley Pride, 1976), “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” (Glen Campbell & Steve Wariner, 1987). Songs also recorded by Crystal Gayle, Leroy Van Dyke, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, Wilburn Brothers, Cal Smith, Conway Twitty, Floyd Cramer, Jerry Wallace, Ray Pillow, Kitty Wells, Wilma Burgess, Porter Wagoner, Vern Gosdin, Johnny Duncan, Charlie Louvin, Jean Shepard, Margie Singleton, Connie Smith, etc. Won 87 SESAC awards. Four-time SESAC Country Songwriter of the Year.

PHILA RAWLINGS HACH, 89, died Dec. 2.
Grande dame of Southern cooking. A television pioneer with one of America’s first cooking shows, Kitchen Kollege, which she hosted on WSM-TV in 1950-56. Created one of the first cooking manuals for the passenger aviation industry. A peer of Julia Child and Duncan Hines. Published more than 15 cookbooks for Opryland U.S.A., Cracker Barrel, Knoxville World’s Fair United Nations, etc.

Freelance writer who previously worked at WIVK, RCA Nashville, Big Machine Label Group and Warner Bros. Nashville. Wife of NS2 CEO Darin Lashinsky.

ROBERT URBAN, 73, died Dec. 5.
Australian country and rockabilly drummer. Member of the  Northern Suburbs Country Music Club in Queensland. Influential father of Keith Urban.

BOBBY H. TRULL, 69, died Dec. 6.
Emmy Award winning cameraman for WTVF-TV, Channel 5.

DON CHAPEL, 84, died Dec.6.
Country songwriter. Biggest hit 1969’s “When the Grass Grows Over Me” (George Jones), nominated as CMA Song of the Year. Other Jones cuts include “From Here to the Door” and Jones & Melba Montgomery duets “Let’s Get Together” and “Call Off the Party Tonight.” Married to Tammy Wynette 1967-68 and she recorded Chapel songs “All Night Long,” “Joey,” “My Heart Is Soakin’ Wet” and David Houston duet “Together We Stand, Divided We Fall.” Also songs for Ray Price (“Misty Morning Rain’), Eddy Arnold (“Baby That’s Living”), Charlie Louvin (“Loving You Is a Way of Life for Me,” etc. Songs recorded by 50+ artists, including Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, Faron Young, Rhonda Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lynn Anderson, Johnny Paycheck, The Osborne Brothers, Webb Pierce, Conway Twitty. Brother of Martha Carson (1921-2004) and Jean Chapel (1925-1995). Father of singer Donna Chapel, uncle of singer-songwriter Lana Chapel, grandfather of music & technology entrepreneur Michael Amburgey. (real name: Lloyd Franklin Amburgey).

DON PFRIMMER, 78, died Dec. 7.
Award winning country songwriter with five decades of hits. In the 1970s: 1974’s “Any Old Wind That Blows” Lonzo & Oscar, 1978’s “Power of Positive Drinking” Micky Gilley. In the 1980s: 1980’s “My Heart” Ronnie Milsap, 1981’s “Drifter” Sylvia,  1981’s “By Now” Steve Wariner, 1981’s “The Matador” Sylvia, 1982’s “I Never Quite Got Back” Sylvia, 1983’s “You Put the Beat in My Heart” Eddie Rabbitt, 1984’s “Christmas At Our House” Barbara Mandrell, 1984’s “Victims of Goodbye” Sylvia, 1985’s “She Keeps the Home Fires Burning” Ronnie Milsap, 1985’s “You Should Have Been Gone By Now” Eddy Raven, 1986’s “You’re the Last Thing I Needed Tonight” John Schneider, 1989’s “Love Will” Forester Sisters. In the 1990s: 1991’s “Meet in the Middle” Diamond Rio, 1992’s “Come in Out of the Pain” Doug Stone, 1993’s “Love Without Mercy” Lee Roy Parnell, 1996’s “All I Want Is a Life” Tim McGraw, 1997’s “She’s Sure Taking It Well” Kevin Sharp. In the 2000’s: 2000’s “My Love Goes On and On” Chris Cagle, 2003’s “My Front Porch Looking In” Lonestar, 2004’s “Mr. Mom” Lonestar, 2005’s “Class Reunion (That Used to Be Us)” Lonestar. Songs also recorded by Tanya Tucker, Jim & Jesse, Louise Mandrell, Don Williams, Lee Greenwood, Charlie Louvin, Keith Whitley, Oak Ridge Boys, Lorrie Morgan, Porter Wagoner, Tammy Wynette, Michelle Wright, Billy Dean, George Jones, Rita Coolidge, Bryan White, Jo Dee Messina, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Steve Holy, Neal McCoy, etc. Solo CD in 2010 Merry Ex-mas: Holiday Songs for the Divorced and Soon to Be. Won 14 ASCAP awards; 2015 nominee for Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

BONNIE LOU, 91, died Dec. 8.
Country star on Cincinnati’s Midwestern Hayride, 1945-1972, on WLW radio and NBC & ABC network television. Formerly on Kansas City’s Brush Creek Follies (as “Sally Carson”) on KMBC and CBS radio network. Top-10 country hits 1953’s “Seven Lonely Days” and “Tennessee Wig Walk.” Transitioned to rockabilly with 1955 pop hit “Daddy-O.” Other teen tunes included “Two Step, Side Step,” “La Dee Dah,” “Little Miss Bobby Sox,” “No Rock and Roll Tonight,” “Teen Age Wedding,” “The Barnyard Hop,” “I Let the School Bell Ding-a-Ling” and 1958’s “Friction Heat.” Albums include Bonnie Lou Sings, Daddy-O, It’s Christmas Time Again, Raining Down Happiness. Starred on local Cincinnati TV programs The Paul Dixon Show, The Fifty Fifty Club, etc.In the 1980s, an Ohio country radio DJ. Member Rockabilly Hall of Fame. (real name Mary Joan Kath Okun).

LABREESKA HEMPHILL, 75, died Dec. 9.
Matriarch and lead singer of gospel’s Hemphill family. Entered gospel music as a member of The Happy Goodman Family. The Hemphills began recording in 1966. Six No. 1 hits include “He’s Still Working on Me,” No. 1 for 8 months and Gospel Song of the Year 1981. Other key songs “I Claim The Blood,” “Grandma’s Rocking Chair,” “Unfinished Task,” “Consider the Lilies.” Hemphills have eight Dove Awards from GMA. Also the author of four inspirational books. Family a pioneer in the customized tour-bus industry with Hemphill Brothers Coach Company. Wife of Joel Hemphill. Mother of singer Candy Hemphill Christmas and tour-bus executive Trent Hemphill.

HOSS BURNS, 56, died Dec. 16.
Former WSIX country-radio DJ. Host of nationally syndicated Country Hitmakers radio series and of numerous national radio specials. Two-time CMA nominee as an air personality. Veteran voice-over artist. Singer. Songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Eddy Arnold, Doug Stone, Dionne Warwick and two dozen more. Best-known song holiday favorite “Just Put a Ribbon in Your Hair.” The first country-music personality to publicly disclose his HIV-positive status. (real name: Robert Charles Burns).

HOWARD HARVEY, 84, died Dec. 17.
Former acrobat, dancer. Also a trumpet player in the Harvey Brothers Orchestra. Later in the hotel, meeting and planning industries.


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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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