Nashville-Related Music Obituaries 2019



By Robert K. Oermann

It’s hard to say goodbye, but each year we have to offer “hail and farewell” to some of our most revered contributors.

During the past year, the Nashville music community lost such country personalities as Earl Thomas Conley, Joe Sun, Bonnie Guitar, Steve Hall/Shotgun Red and Jim & Chuck Glaser of The Glaser Brothers. Our non-country community bid adieu to Jackie Shane, Rick Elias, Sarah Gaines and Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook.

Our songwriting losses included Whitey Shafer, Glenn Martin, Jimmy Work and Russell Smith. Departing the bluegrass/acoustic world were Mac Wiseman, John Cohen and John Starling. But our greatest losses probably occurred in Music Row’s behind-the-scenes community – Harold Bradley, Fred Foster, Keith Case, Busbee, Jay Frank, Reggie Young, Joe Mansfield and Ralph Murphy, among others.

These are our fallen comrades from the past year:

STEVE RIPLEY, 69, died Jan. 3.
Singer-songwriter leader of The Tractors. Band hit country charts 1994 with “Baby Likes to Rock It,” “Santa Claus Boogie,” “Tryin’ to Get to New Orleans.” Seven albums, including Double Platinum debut CD. CMT Video of Year “Baby Likes to Rock It.” Two Grammy nominations. Owner of The Church recording studio in Tulsa, plus Stillwater Sound in Oklahoma City (earlier) and The Farm in Pawnee County (later). Also session guitarist, record producer, engineer, inventor of “stereo guitar” Backed Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, J.J. Cale, Eddie Van Halen. Produced Johnnie Lee Wills, Roy Clark/Gatemouth Brown, New Grass Revival, etc. Hosted “Oklahoma Rock & Roll” radio show for OK Historical Society. Curator of Leon Russell archive.

TERRY BOCK, 81, died Jan. 3.
Promoter of J.D. Sumner & Stamps, LeGarde Twins, David Houston, others. Owned traveling truck exhibit The Nashville Country Music Museum. Carnival entrepreneur. Formerly hair stylist to Nashville stars.

GUY STEVENSON, 89, died Jan. 4.
Member Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys 1973. SPBGMA Bass Player of Year 1975, ’76. ’77. Own band as guitarist The Winning Team bluegrass/gospel ensemble. Co-wrote “Southern Flavor” IBMA winner as Recorded Event of Year 2015, as recorded by Becky Buller.

PHIL THOMAS, 74, died Jan. 5.
Country songwriter. Catalog includes “Me and the I.R.S.” (Paycheck 1978), “Colorado Kool-Aid” (Paycheck 1978), “Drinkin’ My Way Back Home” (Gene Watson 1984), “Now You’re Talkin’” (Mel McDaniel 1987), “Most of All I Remember You” (McDaniel 1984). Songs cut by Strait, Alabama, Mandrell, Randy Travis, Montgomery Gentry, John Conlee, others. Father of Kori Plunkett of “Plunkett’s Playhouse” radio show on Hohenwald’s WMLR and of Brandi Warden of Moonkiss Music Publishing and wife of Wagoneers’ member Monte Warden.

FLOP TIDWELL, 69, died Jan. 6.
Former owner of The Exit/In nightclub. He was a graduate of the University of Tennessee, an All-American fast-pitch softball pitcher, and served in the U.S. Army.  (real name: Daniel Michael Tidwell).

JEANETTE SCOTT, 62, died Jan. 7.
Secretary of R.O.P.E. (Reunion of Professional Entertainers)

FRANK ARNETT, 81, died Jan. 7.
Steel guitarist for Marty Stuart. Previously toured with West Coast country acts Wynn Stewart, Merle Haggard, Rose Maddox, Buck Owens, etc.

CAROL JOHNSON, 85, died Jan. 9.
Singer-songwriter with Jim & Jesse on their TV show, at the Opry and on albums for Epic, Old Dominion. (Married name: Carol Brantley Bass).

JUANITA JACKSON, 81, died Jan. 11.
Business manager and wife of Grand Ole Opry star Stonewall Jackson.

SHIRLEY BOONE, 84, died Jan. 11.
Recording artist, author, philanthropist, TV personality. Wife of pop star Pat Boone, daughter of Country Hall of Fame member Red Foley (1910-1968) and Three Little Maids country singer Judy Martin (Eva Overstake, 1918-1951), niece of Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Jenny Lou Carson (Lucille Overstake, 1915-1978), mother of Debby Boone (“You Light Up My Life” 1977, “On You on the Road to Loving Me Again” 1980, etc.). Recorded “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” 1950 with sisters and dad Foley, billed as “The Little Foleys.” Duet LPs with Pat Side By Side (1959), I Love You Truly (1962). On family LPs Pat Boone Family (Grammy nominated, 1971), All in the Boone Family (1972), Pat Boone Family in the Holy Land (1972), Nashville-recorded The Family Who Prays (1973), The Boone Family Christmas (1975), Pat Boone Chevy Showroom (1959). She performed on such specials as Pat Boone & Family (1968), Pat Boone & Family Thanksgiving Day Show (1962), The Pat Boone & Family Christmas Special (1969), The Pat Boone & Family Easter Special (1970), The Pat Boone & Family Thanksgiving Special (1978), a second Pat Boone & Family Christmas Special (1979) and Together with Shirley & Pat Boone (1983). Religious author One Woman’s Liberation (1972), The Honeymoon Is Over (1980), more.

WHITEY SHAFER, 84, died Jan. 12.
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member. Catalog of the early 1970s includes “Lord, Is That Me” (Jack Greene, 1970), “Tell Me My Lying Eyes Are Wrong” (George Jones, 1970), “I’m Sorry If My Love Got In Your Way” (Connie Smith, 1971), “You Babe” (Lefty, (1972), “I Can’t Get Over You to Save My Life” (Lefty, 1973), “Dream Painter” (Connie, 1973), “The Rainbow in Daddy’s Eyes” (Sammi Smith, 1974), “I Never Knew What That Song Meant Before” (Connie, 1974), “The Baptism of Jesse Taylor” (Johnny Russell, Oaks, Tanya, Connie, 1974), “I’ve Got My Baby On My Mind” (Connie, 1974)  “I Never Go Around Mirrors” (Lefty, 1974), “That’s the Way Love Goes” (Rodriguez, 1974; Haggard, 1984), “Lucky Arms” (Lefty, 1974), “I Just Started Hatin’ Cheatin’ Songs” (Moe Bandy, 1974), “Honky Tonk Amnesia” (Bandy, 1974). Then came “It Was Always So Easy to Find an Unhappy Woman” (Bandy, 1975), “Bandy the Rodeo Clown” (Bandy, 1975), “Falling” (Lefty, 1975), “I Got a Lot of Hurtin’ Done Today” (Connie, 1975). “The Biggest Airport in the World” (Bandy, 1976), “She Took More Than Her Share” (Bandy, 1976), “She Just Loved the Cheatin’ Out of Me” (Bandy, 1977), “Soft Lights and Hard Country Music” (Bandy, 1978). More success with “Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” (Strait, 1985), “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” (Strait, 1987), “Overnight Success” (Strait, 1989), “I Wonder Do You Think of Me” (Keith Whitley, 1989), “Beer and Bones” (John Michael Montgomery, 1993). Songs also recorded by Willie, Trace, Gene Watson, Mark Chesnutt, Jewel, Anne Murray, John Anderson, Jerry Lee, Loretta & Conway, John Conlee, Eddy Raven, Frizzell & West, Carl Smith, Billy Walker, Ed Bruce, Osborne Brothers. Kenny Chesney, Lee Ann Womack, Randy Travis, Tippin, Diffie, Lorrie, Jeannie Seely, more. Much admired honky-tonk singer on RCA, Musicor, Hickory, Elektra, other labels. Charted as vocalist with “You Are a Liar,” “If I Say I Love You Consider Me Drunk” 1980-81. (birth name: Sanger D. Shafer).

BONNIE GUITAR, 95, died Jan 13.
Country-pop hit maker, session guitarist, label owner, songwriter, record producer. ACM Female Vocalist 1966. First prominent 1955 as L.A. guitarist for 4-Star/Abbott/Fabor artists Dorsey Burnette, Jim Reeves, Tom Tall, Ferlin Husky, Ned Miller, etc. First singing hits “Dark Moon” (1957), “Mister Fire Eyes” (1957), “Candy Apple Red” (1959). In Seattle, formed Dolton Records. Discovered, produced, played guitar for The Fleetwoods on label — “Come Softly to Me” (1959), “Mr. Blue” (1959), “Magic Star” (1960), “Tragedy” (1961), “The Great Imposter” (1961), “Outside My Window” (1960), “Lovers By Night Strangers By Day” (1962). Dolton’s other big act Rock Hall of Famers The Ventures “Walk Don’t Run” (1960), “Perfidia” (1960), “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” (1964), etc. She recorded on Dolton as The Echoes with Don Robertson (“Born to Be With You,” 1960). To Nashville as artist on Dot with “I’m Living in Two Worlds” (1966), “Get Your Lie the Way You Want It” (1966), “The Tallest Tree” (1967), “You Can Steal Me” (1967), “A Woman in Love” (1967), “Stop the Rain” (1968), “Leaves Are the Tears of Autumn” (1968), “That See Me Later Look” (1969), “Allegheny” (1970). Duet with publisher/songwriter Buddy Killen “A Truer Love You’ll Never Find” (1969). Her Dot LPs included Two Worlds (1966), Miss Bonnie Guitar (1966), Award Winner (1967), A Woman in Love (1968), Affair (1969). Also recorded for Columbia, MCA, Playback, etc. Talent coordinator for Dot, RCA (1961-62). Produced Mac Wiseman, others. Co-wrote Susan Raye hit “The Cheating Game” (1973). Resident entertainer Noteras Lodge in Soap Lake, WA 1983-85. Revival albums Yesterday (1985) Today (1985), You’re Still the Same (1989). Weekly nightclub appearances at age 93. (Birth name: Bonnie Buckingham).

LES SEARS, 70, died Jan. 15.
Bluegrass radio DJ for 14 years in Virginia. Festival emcee, bluegrass historian. Also multi-instrumentalist in the Keepin’ Time Band. Died during a performance on stage.

VICKIE SALAS, 66, died Jan. 16, 2019
Longtime companion to Bill Anderson. He and Salas first met when she was 19 and married to his guitar player. After the couple divorced, Salas moved back to Michigan, remarried and spent the next nearly 20 years in Washington, D.C.

REGGIE YOUNG, 82, Jan. 17.
Ace session guitarist in Memphis, Nashville. Musicians Hall of Fame member in the Memphis Boys. Played on 120 charted singles while in Memphis 1964-71 – Dusty Springfield (“Son of a Preacher Man”), B.J. Thomas (“Hey Won’t You Play Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” sitar on “Hooked on a Feeling”), Elvis (“Suspicious Minds,” “In the Ghetto”), Box Tops (sitar on “Cry Like a Baby”), Neil Diamond, John Prine, Dionne Warwick, Herbie Mann, etc. To Nashville 1972 for sessions with Kenny Rogers (“Lucille”), Willie Nelson (“Always on My Mind”), Reba (“Little Rock”), Waylon (“Lukenbach, Texas”), Hank Jr. (“Family Tradition”), Dobie Gray (“Drift Away”), Merle, George Jones, Tammy, Cash, Jerry Lee, Dolly, Strait, Kris, Jessi Colter, Highwaymen, Carl Perkins, J.J. Cale, B.B. King, more. Previously guitarist for Johnny Horton on Louisiana Hayride, member of Bill Black’s Combo (“White Silver Sands”). Solo album 2007,  Forever Young.

SARAH GAINES, 59, died Jan. 17.
Dove winning CCM star. Member of duo Billy & Sarah Gaines 1974-2000. They sang lead in Living Sacrifice (1977-80). Performed on TV’s The 700 Club 1978. Debut duo LP Billy & Sarah Gaines 1986 included top-10s “Come Drink at My Table,” “You Are Faithful,” “In His Eyes,” “Risen in Me.” He’ll Find a Way LP 1988 held No. 1 CCM hits “Always Triumphant” “How Great His Heart Must Be.” Friends Indeed 1990 had “While You Wait,” “Friends Indeed.” No One Loves Me Like You (1991), Love’s the Key (1993) had hits “Right Here at Home,” “The Same All the Time,” “God’s Amazing Love,” “I Found Someone,” hit BET video, “That Is Why.” Dove Award for Generation to Generation 1994. Three other Dove nominations. Sarah & Billy also backup vocalists for Amy Grant, CeCe Winans, dc talk, etc. Signed to Warner/Alliance for Come On Back 1996 with Michael Omartian, Anointed, CeCe Winans, Chris Willis participating. Appeared on TNN’s Sam’s Place and on the TBN special Pat Boone’s Gospel America 1997. Sarah solo kiddie CDs Miss Kitty and the Neighborhood Play Place (2006) and Miss Kitty’s Neighborhood Christmas Show (2007).

BETH COLEMAN, 51, died Jan. 18.
Bluegrass singer & bandleader in New Jersey’s Beth Coleman Band. Two CDs. Hosted weekly bluegrass radio show WDVR Delaware, NJ.

JACK ROSS, 72, died Jan. 20.
Nashville singer-songwriter via 1973 duet LP Sedalia with Woody Bowles., solo LP 1975 Quite the Handyman. Later a nature photographer, graphic artist, painter.

MAXINE BROWN, 87, died Jan. 21.
Country Music Hall of Fame member as alto voice in sibling trio The Browns with brother Jim Ed Brown (1934-2015) and sister Bonnie Brown (1939-2016). Their 1959 “The Three Bells” first Nashville Sound record to hit No. 1 pop. She & Jim Ed duet on KLRA’s Barnyard Frolic 1952 in Little Rock. They co-wrote first top-10 country hit “Looking Back to See” 1954. Song since recorded by Justin Tubb & Goldie Hill, Buck Owens & Susan Raye, Canadian Sweethearts, George Jones & Margie Singleton, Bill Anderson & Jan Howard, Collins Kids, etc. Bonnie joined siblings 1955. Trio hits with “Here Today and Gone Tomorrow” (1955), “I Take the Chance” (1956), “I Heard the Bluebirds Sing” (1957), “Would You Care” (1958), “Beyond the Shadow” (1959). Browns starred on Louisiana Hayride and Ozark Jubilee 1950s. Massive pop, country, international hit “The Three Bells” 1959, followed by  “Scarlet Ribbons” (1959), “The Old Lamplighter” (1960), “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” (1961). Joined Opry cast 1963. Toured widely, U.S. and overseas. Browns also on hit national TV—Ed Sullivan Show, Arthur Murray Show, Perry Como Show, American Bandstand, Jerry Lewis Show, etc. Later hits—“Then I’ll Stop Loving You” (1964), “Everybody’s Darlin’ Plus Mine” (1964), “I’d Be Just Fool Enough” (1966), “Coming Back to You” (1966). Trio ended 1967. Jim Ed had hugely successful solo career. Maxine also recorded solo, notably self-written “Sugar Cane County” 1969. Trio reunited at Opry periodically. Reunion CD Family Bible 1996. Maxine & Bonnie also on Jim Ed’s final CD In Style Again 2015. Autobiography Looking Back to See: A Country Music Memoir 2005.

TERRY JENNINGS, 62, died Jan. 25.
Author of Waylon: Tales of My Outlaw Dad (2016). Founder Korban Music Group. Worked in booking, publishing, touring. Son of Waylon Jennings. Brother of Shooter Jennings.

JIM HAYES, 78, died Jan. 27.
Radio entrepreneur in Williamson County – WAGG, WIZO, WAKM. Consultant in tower construction, broadcast engineering.

EDD EASTER, 84, died Jan. 30.
Mandolinist member of North Carolina bluegrass-gospel group The Easter Brothers for 60 years. More than 35 albums for King and other labels. Easters wrote Dove Awarded gospel songs “They’re Holding Up the Ladder,” “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me,” plus more than 300 other songs. Group noted for superb three-part harmony singing.

HAROLD BRADLEY, 93, died Jan. 31.
Country Music Hall of Fame inductee 2006. Musicians Hall of Fame inductee 2007. Grammy Trustee Award 2010. Session guitarist in Nashville’s “A Team,” believed to be most recorded instrumentalist in history. President of AFM Local 257, 1991-2008. With older brother Owen Bradley (1915-1998) built Quonset Hut, first entertainment business on Music Row. Began in Ernest Tubb’s band 1943. Backed  Eddy Arnold, Bradley Kincaid on Opry. First recording session Pee Wee King 1946. He and Owen played first recording session in The Castle, Nashville’s first recording studio 1947. Played on Nashville’s first country million-seller, Red Foley’s “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” 1949. Performed on Nashville’s first television broadcast 1950. For 60+ years, sessions for Elvis, Brenda, Buddy Holly, Orbison, Jerry Lee, Clyde McPhatter, Ruth Brown, Carl Perkins, Everlys and other Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers. Also backed Country Hall of Famers Arnold, King, Tubb, Foley, Hank Williams, Tammy, Loretta, Ray Price, Patsy, Jimmie Davis, Webb Pierce, Jim Ed Brown, Don Gibson, Jim Reeves, Chet, Statlers, Bill Anderson, Kitty, Pride, Tom T. Hall, Conway, Roger Miller, Willie, George Morgan, Marty, Lefty, Faron, Hank Snow, Floyd Cramer, Bob Wills, Dolly, Carl Smith, Cash, Hank Thompson, Sonny James. Heard on classics “Battle of New Orleans,” “Swingin,’” “Here in the Real World,” “Crazy,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Stand By Your Man,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Bunny Hop,” “Make the World Go Away,” “Big Bad John,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “King of the Road,” “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” “It’s Only Make Believe,” “Long Black Veil,” “For the Good Times,” “Farewell Party.” Also backed pop acts Ivory Joe Hunter, Patti Page, Brook Benton, Connie Francis, Ann-Margret, Burl Ives, Leon Russell, Bobby Vinton, Al Hirt, Four Aces, Paul Anka, Newbeats, Robert Mitchum, Michael Nesmith, Tom Jones, Pete Fountain, Henry Mancini, Joan Baez, George Beverly Shea, Damita Jo, Boots Randolph, Perry Como, more. Solo artist on Columbia with Bossa Nova Goes to Nashville (1963), Misty Guitar (1964) Guitar for Lovers Only (1966), Guitar for Sentimental Lovers (1972). Also  member of The Nashville Guitars. Produced records for Mandy Barnett, Sandy Kelly, Eddy Arnold, Slim Whitman, Billy Chinnock, others. In addition to guitar, played bass, banjo, vibraphone, percussion. First president of NARAS Nashville chapter 1965-66. Won Recording Academy Superpicker Award every year 1974-1979. AFM Lifetime Achievement Award 2006. Belmont scholarship in his name 2019.

CHARLIE BROCCO, 64, died Feb. 4.
Revered audio engineer at East Iris Studio. Grammy 2014 for work on Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailor Different Park. Also worked with Randy Houser, Patty Griffin, Will Hoge, Barenaked Ladies, more.

JUDY ENGELS, 69, died Feb.5.
Former Up With People entertainer who became Nashville’s first Arts Commissioner.

KYLE YORLETS, 24, died Feb. 7.
Guitarist and lead singer of Nashville pop/rock band Carverton. The musician grew up on a dairy farm near Carlisle, PA. He graduated from Belmont University in May 2017.

MARTHA McCRORY, 98, died Feb. 16.
Cellist who performed in Nashville Symphony. Session musician on Music Row for Elvis, Dolly, Loretta, Cash, Chet, Dylan, Minnie Pearl, Ernie Ford, Jim Nabors etc. Director of Sewanee Summer Music Center. Namesake of performance hall on Sewanee campus.

STEVE FERGUSON, 67, died Feb. 18.
Program director and morning drive host for WTHO in Thompson, Georgia. 2010 recipient of MusicRow‘s CountryBreakout Reporter of the Year and 2019 recipient of the the Randy Jones Award.

FRED FOSTER, 87, died Feb. 20.
Country Music Hall of Fame member, Founded Monument Records 1958, label home of Kris, Dolly, Willie, Tony Joe White, Roy Orbison, Jeannie Seely, Ray Stevens, Connie Smith, Larry Gatlin, Grandpa Jones, more. First hit “Gotta Travel On” Billy Grammer 1959. Orbison Monument hits “Only the Lonely” (1960), “Running Scared” (1961), “Crying” (1961), “Blue Bayou” (1963), “Oh Pretty Woman” (1964), etc. Other pop hits Ray Stevens “Gitarzan” 1969, Tony Joe “Polk Salad Annie” 1969, Billy Swan “I Can Help” 1974. Monument instrumental hits “Mexico” (Bob Moore, 1961), “Yakety Sax” (Boots Randolph 1963). Country hits Seely “Don’t Touch Me” 1966, Robert Mitchum “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me” 1967, Grandpa “T for Texas” 1963, Henson Cargill “Skip a Rope” 1968, Dolly “Dumb Blonde” 1967, Kris “Why Me” 1973, Gatlin “Broken Lady” 1976, many Billy Walker and Charlie McCoy singles. Also on Monument, top songwriters Boudleaux Bryant, Harlan Howard, Cindy Walker, Norro Wilson, Bobby Russell, Don Robertson, Wayne Carson, Billy Joe Shaver, Bob Morrison, Hank Cochran. Foster also founded Sound Stage 7 Records 1963 with r&b roster Joe Simon, Arthur Alexander, The Dixie Belles, Ivory Joe Hunter. Also released records by Lloyd Price, Gene Allison, Percy Sledge, Robert Knight. Founded Combine Music publishing. Last Foster Monument LP The Winning Hand 1983 with Kris, Willie, Dolly, Brenda. Later produced Willie/Merle/Ray Price CD Last of the Breed (2007), Willie’s You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker (2006), Ray’s Beauty Is (2104).

ALAN PERDUE, 49, died Feb. 20.
Bluegrass mandolin maestro in Mountain Heart. Won IBMA Emerging Artist Award 1976. Also worked in After Five and in Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice. Child prodigy at age 6 in The Deep Valley Boys.

Bluegrass show impresario. Named SPBGMA Promoter of the Year 2007, 2009, 2015.

JACKIE SHANE, 78, died Feb. 22.
Nashville r&b singer, session drummer of 1950s, 1960s. Transgender performer. Nightclub star Boston, L.A., Toronto, Nashville, more. Recorded for Sue, Modern, Caravan, Stop, Paragon, 1960-69. Singles “Any Other Way,” “In My Tenement,” “Money,” “I’ve Really Got the Blues,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Stand Up Straight and Tall,” “New Way of Lovin,’” etc., plus 1967 live LP. Performed 1965 on Nashville’s Night Train TV series. Shared stages with Etta James, Impressions, Jackie Wison, Joe Tex, Bobby Hebb, Jimi Hendrix, T-Bone Walker, Temptations, O’Jays, etc. As studio percussionist, backed Lillian Offitt, Lowell Fulsom, Joe Cocker. Also appeared on WVOL and in New Era club. Vanished from show biz, retired to Nashville 1971. Music reissued 2017 as Grammy-nominated compilation Any Other Way. Subject of CBC-TV documentary and 12-story-high mural in Toronto.

TODD MILSAP, 49, died Feb. 23.
Production manager for superstar father Ronnie Milsap.

MAC WISEMAN, 93, died Feb. 24.
Country Music Hall of Fame, Bluegrass Hall of Fame member. Known as “The Voice With a Heart.” Recording artist, label exec, radio host, music-festival impresario. Last living founder of CMA. Hits “Ballad of Davy Crockett” (1955), “Jimmy Brown the Newsboy” (1959), “Your Best Friend and Me” (1963), “Johnny’s Cash and Charley’s Pride” (1969), “My Blue Heaven” (1979). Also associated with “Tis Sweet to Be Remembered,” “Love Letters in the Sand,” “I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home,” “I’ll Still Write Your Name in the Sand,” “Shackles and Chains.” Recorded 65+ albums for Dot, Capitol, MGM, RCA, CMH, Music Mill, Hilltop, Churchill, Starday, others. Also recorded with Flatt & Scruggs, John Hartford, Merle, Monroe, Woody Herman, Charlie Daniels, Merle Travis, Doc Watson, Del McCoury, Brother Oswald, Osborne Brothers, Johnny Cash, John Prine, more. Began career as WSVA Virginia radio DJ 1944. Joined Molly O’Day band 1946, played bass on her hit “Tramp on the Street.” Host of WCYB Farm and Fun Time in Bristol, VA, sharing airtime with A.P. Carter. Joined Flatt & Scruggs, then Bill Monroe 1949, singing lead on “Travelin’ Down This Lonesome Road,” “Can’t You Hear Me Calling.” Joined Louisiana Hayride on KWKH Shreveport & toured with Hank Williams. Cast of Old Dominion Barn Dance 1953. Signed with Dot Records 1951. Served as Dot A&R exec in L.A. 1956-63, overseeing roster including Jimmy C. Newman, Reno & Smiley, Bonnie Guitar, Pat Boone, Leroy Van Dyke. Regular on TV’s Town Hall Party. Starred at The Mint in Vegas with Stonemans as his band. Co-founded CMA 1958 & served as first board secretary. Managed WWVA Jamboree in Wheeling, WV 1965-68. Performed at Newport Folk Festival, Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, etc. Own bluegrass festival Renfro Valley, KY 1970-83. Co-founded International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) 1983. Narrated 1992 documentary High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music. President of R.O.P.E. (the Reunion of Professional Entertainers) 1990-94. Four-term secretary-treasurer AFM Local 257 beginning 1997. Bear Family boxed sets of his music 2003, 2006. Late career albums include Standard Songs for Average People with Prine 2007, Songs From My Mother’s Hand 2014, I Sang the Songs with Peter Cooper & Thomm Jutz 2017. National Heritage Fellowship award 2008. Autobiography All My Memories Fit to Print 2015.

Owner of the Printer’s Alley nightspots The Brass Rail, Embers Showcase, Stable Restaurant, Western Room, Black Poodle, Ronnie Prophet’s Carousel Club in 1969-76.

JOHN KILZER, 62, died Mar. 12.
Memphis rock singer-songwriter whose songs were recorded by country’s Trace Adkins (“Then Came the Night”), Rosanne Cash (“Green Yellow and Red”), Bruce Channel (“Black Widow’s Room”), Tommy Shane Steiner (“Then Came the Night”), others.

JUSTIN CARTER, 35, died Mar. 16.
Texas country singer. Independent single “Love Affair,” plus five independently produced music videos. Accidentally shot during a video production.

DEWAYNE SMITH, 72, died Mar. 16.
Dubbed “Son” as half of country/comedy act Geezinslaw Brothers with Sammy Allred (1934-2018). Recorded for Columbia, Capitol, Lone Star, Step One labels. Charted with “You Wouldn’t Put the Shuck on Me” (1966), “Change of Wife” (1967), “Chubby” (1967), “Help I’m White and I Can’t Get Down” (1992). TV appearances included Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, Roger Miller, Perry Como, Jackie Gleason, Jimmy Dean, Ralph Emery, etc. Regulars on Pop! Goes the Country. Austin Music Hall of Fame 2005.

RICK JOHNSON, 64, Mar. 18.
Renfro Valley bluegrass entertainer 1980s. Member Southern Blend with two LPs on Old Homestead 1987, 1988. Formerly with Bluegrass Drifters.

MAGGIE LEWIS WARWICK, 79, died Mar. 29.
Country singer-songwriter, label owner, promoter. Cast member Louisiana Hayride 1958 then Nashville songwriter from 1960. Catalog “Reconsider Me” (Narvel Felts, 1975; Johnny Adams, 1975; Ray Price, 1969; John Wesley Ryles, 1971; others), “Soul Shake” (Peggy Scott & JoJo Benson, 1969; Delaney & Bonnie, 1970), “Mountain of Love” (Charley Pride, 1982; Bobby G. Rice, 1971); Johnny Rivers, 1964); Harold Dorman, 1960; David Houston, 1963; Ronnie Dove, 1968; others) plus Jeannie C. Riley singles “The Girl Most Likely” (1968), “There Never Was a Time” (1969), “The Rib” (1969), “Country Girl” (1970), “My Man” (1970), “Oh Singer” (1971). Songs also recorded by Bruce Willis, Connie Francis, Loretta, David Houston, Conway, Dolly, Lynn Anderson, etc. Recorded and toured as solo. Returned to Shreveport 1981 & founded Ram Records. Label’s songs featured in The Green Book movie. Launched campaign to revive Louisiana Hayride 1997 saving Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium. Chairman Louisiana Music Commission.

BILLY ADAMS, 79, died Mar. 30.
Rockabilly Hall of Fame member. Cult-favorite singles 1957-61 “Rock Pretty Mama,” “You Heard Me Knocking,” “You Gotta Have a Duck Tail,” “Return of the All American Boy,” “The Fun House,” etc. Recorded for Quincy, Dot, Nau-Voo labels. Later a gospel act & writer of hit “I Saw the Man” for Happy Goodman Family. Comeback CD Legacy (2000).

MARITA O’DONNELL, 65, died Mar. 30.
Promotion exec at BNA, Curb. Previously WDNE (Elkins, WV), KOUL (Corpus Cristi), KFTX (Corpus), WQSV (Ashland City).

RICK ELIAS, 64, died Apr. 2.
CCM star. Four solo CDs, including 1990 Rick Elias & The Confessions with hit single “Confession of Love.” Founding band member Rich Mullins’ Ragamuffin Band 1993-2002. Produced Mullins, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Aaron Neville, Randy Stonehill, others. Wrote/produced soundtrack songs for That Thing You Do!, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Dawsons Creek. Teacher at Contemporary Music Center in Brentwood.

JIM GLASER, 81, died Apr. 6.
Member Tompall & The Glaser Brothers with siblings Tompall Glaser (1933-2013) and Chuck Glaser. CMA Vocal Group 1970. Hits included “Gone On the Other Hand” (1967), ”Through the Eyes of Love” (1967), “California Girl” (1969), “Wicked California” (1969), “Gone Girl” (1970), “Faded Love” (1971), “Rings” (1971), “Sweet Love Me Good Woman” (1972), “Ain’t It All Worth Living For” (1972), “Lovin’ Her Was Easier” (1981), “Just One Time” (1981), “It’ll Be Her” (1982), “I Still Love You” (1982). Competed on TV’s Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts 1957. Sang tenor backup for Marty Robbins (“El Paso”), Johnny Cash (“Ring of Fire”), Hank Snow, John Anderson, others. Songwriter of “Woman Woman” Gary Puckett & Union Gap, “Running Gun” Marty Robbins, “Thanks a Lot for Trying Anyway” Liz Anderson, “What Does It Take” Skeeter Davis, “Sittin’ In An All Night Café” Warner Mack, “And I’m Still Missing You” Bill Anderson, “Who Were You Thinking Of” Texas Tornados. Solo recording career with hits “When You’re Not a Lady” (1982), “You Got Me Running” (1983), “The Man In the Mirror” (1983), “If I Could Only Dance With You” (1984), “You’re Getting’ To Me Again” (No. 1, 1984), “Let Me Down Easy” (1984). ACM New Male Artist 1983. Co-owner Glaser Sound, known as “Hillbilly Central” headquarters of 1970s “outlaw” movement. Co-owner Glaser Publications with song catalog including “Gentle On My Mind,” “Streets of Baltimore,” “Where Has All the Love Gone,” etc. Documentary film 2013 From Nebraska Ranchers to Nashville Rebels: The Story of the Glaser Brothers.

EARL THOMAS CONLEY, 77, died Apr. 10.
Big country hit maker 1970s, 1980s with 40 charting titles. First charted on GRT with “I Have Loved You Girl” 1975. First top-40 hit “Dreamin’s All I Do” 1979 on Warner Bros. First top-10 “Silent Treatment” on Sunbird 1980, followed by first No. 1 “Fire & Smoke.” Signed to RCA, scored 17 No. 1 hits in 1980s, including “Somewhere Between Right and Wrong” (1982), “Holding Her and Loving You” (1983), “Don’t Make It Easy For Me” (1984), “Nobody Falls Like a Fool” (1985), “I Can’t Win For Losing You” (1986), “That Was a Close One’ (1987), “What I’d Say” (1988), “Love Out Loud” (1989). Duet partners included Anita Pointer (1986 “Too Many Times”), Gus Hardin (1984 “All Tangled Up In Love”), Emmylou Harris (1988 “We Believe In Happy Endings”), Keith Whitley (1991 “Brotherly Love”). Wrote or co-wrote 19 of his charted singles, including “Your Love’s On the Line” (1983), “Angel In Disguise” (1984), “Chance of Loving You” (1984), “Love Don’t Care Whose Heart It Breaks” (1985), “Smokey Mountain Memories” (1982), “After the Love Slips Away” (1982), etc. First artist to have four No. 1 hits on same album (1984’s Don’t Make It Easy For Me). Influenced Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, many others.

BOB CORNETT, 89, died Apr. 11.
Bluegrass festival promoter. Created Festival of the Bluegrass in Louisville, Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL.

CLYDE FRANKLIN, 80, died Apr. 15.
Creator/owner of The Bluegrass Center in Asheville, NC. Formerly in New England bluegrass bands, including Keys to the Highway.

AL ANTEE, 74, died Apr. 23.
Nashville concert promoter 1970s-1990s, previously a theater and arena manager. (full name: Alfred James Antee).

MONTE MONTEITH, 78, died Apr. 23.
Bluegrass bandleader in DC area. Groups included Rocky Ridge Ramblers. Also Skytone Bluegrass Band with two albums.

AL SHUSTERMAN, 75, died Apr. 24.
Country DJ for 30 years. Hosted show “Backwoods Bluegrass” on KUBU Sacramento.

TROY SHAFER, 38, died Apr. 28.
Former star of reality TV series Nashville Flipped, 2016-17. Pop musician who performed locally with Billy Falcon.

ROY CROCKETT, 91, died Apr. 28
Bluegrass recording artist in Pleasant Valley Boys on Kanawha, REM, Lemco, D&R record labels.

LARRY CARTER, 62, died Apr. 30.
Bluegrass radio personality on “Bluegrass for Breakfast” show in East Tennessee. Stations included WLAF La Follette and WCXZ Harrogate. Also multi instrumentalist in several bands.

JOHN STARLING, 79, died May 2.
Founding member of Seldom Scene. Expressive bluegrass lead singer in band 1971-79 for seven albums. Returned to group 1986, 1993-94. Two solo LPs, Long Time Gone, Waitin’ on a Southern Train. Duo LP with Carl Jackson Spring Training (1991) won Grammy Award. Formed Carolina Star & recorded 2007 CD Slidin’ Home. Collaborated with Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Claire Lynch. Songwriter of “C&O Canal,” “Gardens and Memories,” “He Rode All the Way to Texas,” “Mean Mother Blues,” etc.

FRANCES L. SCOTT CARTER, 89, died May 5.
Seamstress who designed and sewed the costumes for TV’s Hee Haw.

GLENN MARTIN, 86, died May 12.
Hit songwriter noted for Charley Pride’s Grammy-nominated “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” (1970), Haggard’s “It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad)” (1972), Tammy’s “I Still Believe in Fairy Tales” (1975). More than 200 cuts. First top-20 hits 1969 with Ray Price recording “April’s Fool” and Bobby Bare releasing “Which One Will It Be.” Other early hits “I’m Just Me” Pride 1971, “It’ll Come Back” Red Sovine 1974, “Memories Of Us” George Jones 1975. More success with “Liars One Believers Zero” (Bill Anderson, 1976), “The Pay Phone” (Bob Luman, 1977), “Where Are You Going, Billy Boy” (Bill Anderson & Mary Lou Turner, 1977), “If We’re Not Back in Love By Monday” (Haggard, 1977; Millie Jackson, 1977). Martin’s tunes recorded by Hall of Famers Buck, Jean Shepard, Charlie McCoy, Eddy Arnold, Don Gibson, Emmylou, Tubb, Tillis, as well as Jones, Wynette, Haggard, Anderson, Price, Bare, Pride. Others who recorded his tunes include Wanda Jackson, Cal Smith, Norma Jean, Neal McCoy, Donna Fargo, Keith Whitley, Jack Greene, Freddy Fender, Ed Bruce, Moe Bandy. Co-founder of NSAI. Father of songwriters Tony Martin, Troy Martin.

BEAU BRUCE, 49, died May 13.
Former MCA Music Publishing writer-relations exec. Son of singer-songwriter Ed Bruce & music entrepreneur Patsy Bruce. Brother of songwriter Trey Bruce.

JOHN GOODSON, 54, died May 21.
Banjoist in Gospel Plowboys with two CDs and many bluegrass festival appearances.

DAN MITCHELL, age unknown, died May 22.
Best known as co-writer of “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” (Alabama, 1984). His first top-10 hit as a songwriter was with Moe Bandy’s 1981 recording of “Rodeo Romeo.” Bandy scored again the following year with Mitchell’s “”Only If There Is Another You.” He wrote and produced “The Last Outlaw” for Johnny Paycheck, who he managed. Mitchell was also the head of Little General Records. He also wrote jingles for companies like Toyota, Dole Pineapple, Lucky Strike cigarettes, Bella Napoli, Roger’s Clothing for Men and Crossroads Mall.

RALPH MURPHY, 75, died May 28.
Songwriter, publisher, artist, producer, Music Row ambassador. Longtime ASCAP Nashville executive. At various times, also president at NSAI, head of Nashville chapter Recording Academy, national NARAS trustee. Began performing and writing songs age 14. Recording artist and Mills Music songwriter 1965 age 19 in London. British pop hits as songwriter 1966 via Billy Fury, Vanity Fare, James Royal. Migrated to New York 1969 and then began producing million-selling records for Canadian rock groups April Wine, Mashmakhan, others in Toronto. First Nashville hit 1971 via Jeannie C. Riley “Good Enough to Be Your Wife.” Moved to Music City 1978. Formed Picalic Publishing with hit songwriter Roger Cook. Topped charts 1979 with Crystal Gayle singing his “Half the Way.” Also co-wrote Ronnie Milsap “He Got You” (No. 1, 1982), Kathy Mattea’s “Seeds” (1992), Cliff Richard’s “A 21st Century Christmas” (2006). Songs also recorded by Randy Travis, Shania Twain, Don Williams, Ray Price, Lynn Anderson, etc. Nashville ASCAP’s Vice President of International Membership. Mentor to many fledgling songwriters. Book: Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting: How to Write Hit Songs. Won CMA’s Jo Walker-Meador International Achievement Award 2011, induction into Canadian Country Hall of Fame 2012, SOCAN Special Achievement Award 2019, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Mentor Award 2019.

MAY DEAN EBERLING, 78, died May 28.
Winner of regional Emmy as producer/host at WTVF NewsChannel5. Shows included Mornings on Five, The Plus Side of Nashville. As first executive director of Nashville Historical Commission helped to save Ryman Auditorium, Hermitage Hotel, Customs House, Edgefield, Germantown. Former chair of Metro Arts Commission. Honored as YWCA Women of Achievement.

WARREN L. BONE, 75, died June 3.
Member pioneering Nashville rock ‘n’ roll band The Fairlanes 1960s. Member of Nashville retro big band The Establishment 1980s. Also played bluegrass. Pianist, guitarist, bassist.

RAY DEATON, 66, died June 4.
Highly regarded bass singer, multi-instrumentalist, bass player. In Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, co-founder of IIIrd Tyme Out, in Anita Fisher Band.

RIVER KELLY SMITH, 3, died Jun. 6.
Son of singer-songwriter Granger Smith.

TONI FOGLESONG, 92, died June 7.
Former vocalist in Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians. President Nashville Symphony Guild 1978-80. Longtime minister of music Trinity Presbyterian, Second Presbyterian in Nashville. Vocal teacher. Widow of vet Music Row exec & Country Hall of Fame member Jim Foglesong (1922-2013).

JERRY FORAN, 73, died June 7.
Banjo picker, guitarist, band leader. Own band Jerry Foran & The Bluegrass Revolution recorded two LPs 1980s.

PEGGY PASCHALL, 87, died June 8.
Pianist. Accompanist for Nashville Ballet, Memphis Ballet. Toured in recitals as soloist, chamber-music performer. Also soloed with Nashville Symphony.

CHUCK GLASER, 83, died June 10.
Member Tompall & Glaser Brothers with Jim Glaser (1937-2019) & Tompall Glaser (1933-2013). Group scored 17 top-40 country hits 1966-82, “California Girl,” “Rings,” “Loving Her Was Easier,” etc. Solo single 1974 “”Gypsy Queen.” Glasers also won Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts 1957. Recorded for Marty Robbins 1958 & wrote act’s first single “Five Penny Nickel.” Joined Opry 1962. Sang backup for Robbins, Cash, Orbison, Claude King, Hank Snow, George Jones, more. His songs recorded by Cash, Snow, Suzanne Lane, Anita Carter, others. Co-owned Glaser Sound Studios, birthplace of country “outlaw” movement. Managed Glaser Publications with such copyrights as “Gentle On My Mind,” “Streets of Baltimore,” “Woman, Woman.” Opened Nova Agency, booking Jones, Waylon, Dr. Hook, Jerry Lee, Coe, Amazing Rhythm Aces & others. Produced records for Snow, Jack Greene, Jeannie Seely, etc. Later promoted Christopher the Christmas Tree album/animated TV special). Solo CD 2016 That’s When I Love You the Most. Father of Music Row financial advisor Louis Glaser, grandfather of the same firm’s Zach Glaser. Documentary film From Nebraska Farmers to Nashville Rebels: The Story of The Glaser Brothers (2013).

JOHN A. HOBBS, 91, died June 12.
Developed, managed and/or owned Nashville Palace nightclub, Music Valley Museum, hotels, convenience & liquor stores. Major booster of Nashville music. Instrumental in early careers of Randy Travis, Ricky Van Shelton, others.

LUKE THOMPSON, 91, died June 12.
Multi instrumentalist on fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin in Green Valley Cutups on KWKH Louisiana Hayride Shreveport, LA. Top promoter of bluegrass in Louisiana via radio, festivals, jamborees. Appeared in 1970 movie Last of the Mobile Hotshots. Also stage emcee and instrument builder/repairer of mandolins for Buck White, Mark O’Connor, etc.

VERN YOUNG, 95, died June 14.
Traditional country singer/guitarist/bandleader. Released six CDs in 1990s. Formerly in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys (1951), ex radio DJ.

DENNIS JONES, 62, died June 14.
Sound engineer who became top bluegrass DJ with shows “Goin’ Across the Mountain” and “The Gospel Truth” on WNCW in Spindale, NC. Also a well-known festival emcee.

ANNE BOATMAN, 71, died June 16.
Producer/manager at country TV channel TNN. Formerly known as “Opry Annie” when assistant to Bud Wendell at National Life & Grand Ole Opry. Widow of Hee Haw director Bob Boatman (1930-1989).

MICHAEL NELSON MORENA, 67, died June 18.
Former owner of Nashville recording studio Platinum Lab.

JERRY CARRIGAN, 75, died June 22.
First-call Music Row session drummer from 1965 on. On records by Kenny Rogers (“The Gambler”), Charlie Rich (“Behind Closed Doors”), Jerry Lee Lewis (“Middle Age Crazy”), George Jones (“He Stopped Loving Her Today”), Kristofferson, Dolly, Waylon, Loretta, Reba, Cash, Orbison, many more. Also Tom Jones, Johnny Matthis, John Denver, Joan Baez, etc. In Denver’s touring band 1981-89. Jingles for Coke, KFC, McDonald’s. Formerly in Muscle Shoals backing Arthur Alexander, Jimmy Hughes. Member Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

JEFF AUSTIN, 45, died June 24.
Singer, mandolinist, songwriter, co-founder of progressive bluegrass group Yonder Mountain String Band. Group recorded for Frog Pad, SCI-Fidelity, Vanguard, Yep Roc labels. Subsequent solo career.

DAVID MADDOX, 72, died July 1.
Prominent music biz attorney with many celebrity clients. Accounts included Nashville Musicians Union and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Assistant Professor at Belmont University’s Curb School of Music.

LeROY E. MUMMA, 82, died July 2.
Bluegrass fiddler with 2009 solo CD It’s About Time, backed by Danny Paisley & Southern Grass. Formerly with banjo player Johnny Wisnant (duo LP on Rounder 1974), plus The Bailey Brothers & Paisley’s group.

HOYT HERBERT, 87, died July 5.
Banjo picker and radio host. Played with Charlie Monroe, Lefty Frizzell, others. In Lincoln County Partners 14 years (LP 1974) with eight years on TV in Charlotte, NC. Also in Strings of Five (LP 1980). Dubbed “The Voice of Bluegrass” for 30 years on WFMX Statesville NC.

MARTHA LAMPRECHT, 71, died July 6.
Formerly in business affairs at BMI on Music Row.

JERRY BARNEY, 81, died July 9.
Country journalist, instrumentalist and songwriter recorded by Lonzo & Oscar, Lefty Frizzell & more.

RUSSELL SMITH, 70, died July 12.
Singer-songwriter leader of Amazing Rhythm Aces. Wrote and sang 1975’s “Third Rate Romance,” “Amazing Grace (Used to Be Her Favorite Song),” 1976’s Grammy winning “The End Is Not In Sight.” Solo artist with five charted country singles in 1984-89 and albums Russell Smith (1982), The Boy Next Door (1984), This Little Town (1989), The End Is Not In Sight (2001). Hit songwriter for others—“Big Ole Brew” (No. 1 Mel McDaniel, 1982), “Heartbeat In the Darkness” (No. 1 Don Williams, 1986), “Don’t Go To Strangers” (No. 1 T. Graham Brown, 1987), “Keep It Between the Lines” (No. 1 Ricky Van Shelton, 1991). Member of 1990s country novelty group Run C&W with CDs Into the Twangy-First Century (1993) and Row Vs. Wade (1995). Amazing Rhythm Aces albums included Stacked Deck 1975, Too Stuffed To Jump 1976, Toucan Do It Too 1977, Burning the Ballroom Down 1978, Amazing Rhythm Aces 1979, How the Hell Do You Spell Rythum 1980. Group appeared on Saturday Night Live, Austin City Limits, other national TV shows & toured with Jimmy Buffett, Leon Russell, Eagles. Other Aces charted singles “Ashes of Love” (1978), “Lipstick Traces” (1979), “I Musta Died and Gone to Texas” (1980). Group broke up 1981. Smith continued to write for others: 1977’s “Dancing the Night Away” for Tanya Tucker & also covered by Crystal Gayle, Leo Sayer, The Oak Ridge Boys, Johnny Lee; 1989’s “Honky Tonk Heart” for Highway 101, 1985’s “Old School” for John Conlee,1993’s “Do You Know Where Your Man Is” for Pam Tillis. “Third Rate Romance revived by Sammy Kershaw (1984) & also by Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs Revue, Jesse Winchester, Starland Vocal Band, Drifters, Fabulous Poodles, more. Others who sang his tunes John Anderson, Etta James, New Grass Revival, Lee Greenwood, Sweethearts of Rodeo, Shelby Lynne, George Jones, Kenny Rogers, Cleve Francis, Travis Tritt, Kathy Mattea, Ronnie McDowell, Kix Brooks, Barbara Mandrell, Ricochet, Chely Wright, Andy Griggs, Kendalls. Demand for Aces led to reunion CDs Ride Again (1995), Out of the Blue (1996), Chock Full of Country Goodness (1999), Nothin’ But the Blues (2003).

JERRY GOFF, 84, died July 12.
Founder/leader of Southern-gospel act The Singing Goffs. Known as “Mr. Gospel Trumpet,” a preacher, author, TV personality, singer, emcee,  songwriter, as well as instrumentalist. Singing Goffs hits “I’ll See You in the Rapture,” “Please Search the Book Again,” “Tear Stains in the Sand,” “I Am Blessed,” “Who Do I Know In Heaven?” Singing Goffs released 25+ albums 1970-1990. Notable vocalists in group included Bill Dykes, Dave Rowland, Barry Hess, Wally Goff, Dave Thomas, Tank Tackett, Gary Valentine. Jerry Goff co-founded Gospel Music Association. Inducted into Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame 2002. Formerly sang in LeFevres, Thrasher Brothers. Voted Male Vocalist of Year 1984 by Gospel Music News. Married “Little” Jan Buckner of Wendy Bagwell & Sunlighters, and in later years, Jerry and Jan performed together. Goff an in-demand evangelist, show emcee, revival leader, entertainer on “Singing at Sea” cruises, co-host of Creekside Gospel Music Conventions, familiar figure at National Quartet Convention. Songwriter who wrote most of group’s hits. Also published inspirational books & poems.

RUSTY WILCOXEN, 68, died July 17.
Producer on TNN-TV series Nashville Now (1983-86), American Music Shop (1992), Grand Ole Opry Live (2000) as well as specials such as Steve Wariner’s Christmas Memories (1991). Guitarist member of The Network All-Stars Band, comprised of TNN workers. (full name: Russell Wilcoxen Jr.)

ROGAN ALLEN, 67, died July 17.
Arguably Nashville’s finest home builder. Constructed residences for many music folks – John Prine, Shane McAnally, Jared Followell (Kings of Leon), Kellie Pickler, etc. Bon vivant, roots-music booster, innovative designer, collector. Son of legendary WLAC r&b DJ Bill “Hoss” Allen. Brother of Charlie Daniels tour director Bebe Evans. Father of Marcie Allen Van Mol, whose agency is powerhouse in music-star & corporate branding partnerships.

RENFRO PROFFITT, 69, died July 25.
Lead guitarist for Ralph Stanley on 1977’s Clinch Mountain Gospel. Also backed Curly Ray Cline (1977’s It’s Bread and Water), Keen Brothers (on Old Homestead Records), Big Sandy Bluegrass Boys. (real name: Troy L. Proffitt).

LARRY BRINTON, 88, died July 25.
Newsman who made his mark at Nashville Banner (1955-1979), WTVF Channel 5 (1979-2001), Channel 4 (2001-2008). Reported on Nashville Sit-Ins, Patsy Cline plane crash, Stringbean murders. Portrayed self in Sissy Spacek movie Marie (1985), based on Gov. Blanton scandals.

DICK LAIRD, 74, died July 29.
Mandolinist and tenor singer in bluegrass band Bluestone with four CDs 1999-2015.

MIKE JENKINS, 67, died Aug. 1.
Western-swing vocalist in Southgate, Overland Express, Blue Daze, recording on three albums.

GINA PUTMAN, 45, died Aug. 5.
Song-publishing worker at Sony-Tree 14 years, then hair & makeup stylist. Daughter of Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Curly Putman (1930-2016).

DAVID BERMAN, 52, died Aug. 7.
Former leader of the Nashville indie rock bands The Silver Jews and Purple Mountains. Silver Jews CDs = Starlite Walker (1994), The Natural Bridge (1996), American Water (1998), Bright Flight (2001), Tanglewood Numbers (2005), Lookout Mountain Lookout Sea (2008). Purple Mountains CD 2019.

RUTH WILHAN GALVARRO, 91, died Aug. 27.
Actor on early daytime TV shows Bride and Groom, General Mills Star Matinee in 1950s. In Nashville following 1995, acting in videos for Brett Eldredge (“Raymond”), George Canyon (“My Name”); in independent films Prism, Blood Rogues; as a reader for Talking Library.

DONNIE FRITTS, 76, died Aug. 27.
Songwriter of “We Had It All” (Waylon Jennings), “Breakfast in Bed” (Dusty Springfield), “You’re Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning” (Charlie Rich) formerly signed by Combine Music in Nashville. Songs also recorded by Ray Charles, Roy Clark, Wayne Carson, Dolly, Conway, Willie, Brenda, others. Keyboard sideman for Kristofferson. Appeared in movies A Star Is Born, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, Convoy, Jayne Mansfield’s Car. Solo albums Prone to Lean, Everybody’s Got a Song, One Foot in the Groove, Oh My Goodness. Alabama Music Hall of Fame 2008.

KEITH CASE, 79, died Sept. 3.
The most important booker of acoustic music in Music Row history. At various times, Case represented Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, John Hartford, Mary Gauthier, Suzy Bogguss, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jesse Winchester, Billy Joe Shaver, Robert Earl Keen, Elizabeth Cook. Booked bluegrass acts Blue Highway, Seldom Scene, King Wilkie, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Sierra Hull, Steeldrivers, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, Ralph Stanley. Also David Bromberg, Dan Tyminski, Fairfield Four, other Americana artists. Key figure in career of Alison Krauss & Union Station. Also associated with Maraca Berg, Mike Ferris, Rhonda Vincent, Pete Wernick, Hot Rize, Tim & Mollie O’Brien, Del McCoury Band, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Jeannie Kendall, Ronnie Bowman, Greencards, Gurf Morlix, Slaid Cleaves. Key figure in career of Alison Krauss & Union Station and in casting soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou. Founding member of IBMA & important figure in Folk Alliance.

FRANK EMPSON, 85, died Sept. 3.
Chief photographer for The Tennessean covering politics, sporting events, entertainment 1950s-1990s. Also portrait painter, sketch artist.

KYLIE RAE HARRIS, 30, died Sept. 4.
Texas country singer with three albums. Cowriter with Jon Randall, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Dave Berg.

DAVID SCOTT SIMON, 58, died Sept. 5.
Musician and songwriter known to many via his job at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop.

AL EMBRY, 82, died Sept. 9.
Manager, agent, talent promoter. Formerly v.p. at Hubert Long Agency booking Tammy, George, Statlers, Merle, etc. Own agency booked Jerry Lee, Wild Country (later Alabama), Gilley, others. Exec produced Cinemax Fats Domino special.

CARL KNIGHT, 89, died Sept. 13.
Country recording artist for RCA. Songs recorded by Loretta, Jerry Lee, Mel, Pride, Del Reeves, others. Appeared in Burt Reynolds movie W.W. & The Dixie Dance Kings. 

FAYE SMITH, 83, died Sept. 13.
Longtime BMI exec in Nashville & New York. Rose from receptionist to Corporate Events Coordinator. Mother of BMI music exec Alison Smith.

JACK LAWLESS, 60, died Sept. 15.
Member of touring duo Lawless & Mae with wife Rebecca Mae Lawless. Album: Ole Time Gospel Favorites.

JOHN COHEN, 87, died Sept. 16.
Roots-music great. Co-founder 1958 of influential old-time string band New Lost City Ramblers, 15 albums on Folkways. Group headlined ground-breaking 1966 European tour co-starring Cousin Emmy, Stanley Brothers, Roscoe Holcomb, Cyp Landreneau’s Cajun Band. Founded Friends of Old Time Music, which brought to New York Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Clarence Ashley, Mississippi John Hurt, Writer of articles & reviews in Sing Out!, Bluegrass Unlimited, etc. Co-editor New Lost City Ramblers Song Book (1965). Documentary filmmaker The High Lonesome Sound, The End of an Old Song, Fifty Miles From Times Square, Musical Holdouts, Sara and Maybelle, Post Industrial Fiddle, The Ballad and the Source, etc. Discovered & produced Roscoe Holcomb. Also produced LPs Mountain Music of Kentucky, High Atmosphere, Old Love Songs and Ballads. Photographer with books There Is No Eye (2001), Young Bob: Early Photographs of Bob Dylan (2003), The High Lonesome Sound: The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb (2012), Walking in the Light (2015), Speed Bumps on a Dirt Road (2019).

CHUCK DAUPHIN, 45, died Sept. 18.
CMA Media Achievement Award 2014. Country journalist for Billboard, Roughstock, others. Radio personality as “Crazy Chucky” on WDKN in Dickson, TN, WNKX in Centerville, TN, WSM-AM in Nashville, Sirius XM. As one of the most well-respected journalists within the industry, the veteran radio and music journalist was presented with the 2014 CMA Media Achievement Award.

DAVID TURNER, 64, died Sept. 18.
Member of Josh Turner’s road crew for more than a decade. David ‘DT’ Turner died from injuries sustained from the Josh Turner Crew Bus Crash in California. DT was the beloved Monitor Engineer and Technical Super Hero of the Josh Turner team. Some of the artists he worked with were Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, Bailee & The Boys, The Wilkinsons, Eddie Rabbit, and Patti Loveless. The quote that best resonates about DT’s immense knowledge: ‘DT has forgotten more about Pro Audio than most techs will ever know!’. Kind, caring, thoughtful, accessible, Godly, and truly delightful were other ways he was described. He left behind his wife Jamie, Daughter Ada, and his grandchildren when he was called home by God.

PHRAN GALANTE, 64, died Sept. 23.
Former label employee at Chrysalis, RCA, Arista specializing in marketing. Produced videos for Alabama, K.T. Oslin, Ronnie Milsap, Alan Jackson. Award-winning Nashville charity board member for TPAC, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, United Partnerships in Animal Welfare, T.J. Martel Foundation. Wife of music exec Joe Galante. Sister of Leadership Music’s Debbie Linn.

JO-AN ANDERSON FOX, 68, died Sept. 23.
Nashville talent manager, marketing director, television-development executive. Client list included Bobby Vinton, Jerry Vale, Perry Como, Engelbert Humperdinck, Marty Raybon, Johnny Mathis. Formerly v.p. of A&R, marketing & artist development at Grand Vista Music. Also with TV production company Prometheus Entertainment and own firm Blue Velvet Music Group.

ROBERT HUNTER, 78, died Sept. 23.
Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting 2013. Lyricist best known for collaborating with Jerry Garcia (1942-1995) on songs for Grateful Dead, from “Dark Star” (1968) through “Touch of Gray” (1987). Country-rock classics on Workingman’s Dead & American Beauty LPs 1970: “Uncle John’s Band,” “Friend of the Devil,” ”Sugar Magnolia,” “Ripple,” “Playing in the Band,” “Truckin.’” Also collaborated with Little Feat, New Riders of  Purple Sage, Elvis Costello, Bruce Hornsby, Los Lobos, Bob Dylan. In Nashville with Jim Lauderdale on songs for 2010 CD Patchwork River and 2012’s Carolina Moonrise. Several solo albums, including Tales of the Great Rum Runners (1974), Tiger Rose (1975), Rock Columbia (1986), Liberty (1987), A Box of Rain (1991). Into Rock Hall of Fame with Dead 1995. Hunter & Garcia into national Songwriters Hall of Fame 2015.

MICHAEL LEWIS HUTCHINS, 68, died Sept. 25.
Session guitarist, songwriter, film scorer, guitar teacher.

JOHN HOWARD TIPTON JR., 92, died Sept. 26.
National Life insurance mogul who was Chairman of the Building Committee for Opryland USA.

DON HOGLEN, 87, died Sept. 27.
Multi-instrumentalist former member of Mac Wiseman’s first band The Country Boys. Recorded 1954 tunes “Little Old Church in the Valley,” “When the Roses Bloom Again,” “Wabash Cannonball,” “Fireball Mail” backing Mac. Later performed with several groups at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.

CLIVE ANDERSON, 81, died Sept. 28.
Engineer at WLAC for DJs John Richbourg, Hoss Allen, Gene Nobles who later became a top Nashville realtor. (full name: Edward Clive Anderson Jr.)

BUSBEE, 43, died Sept. 29.
Songwriter/producer. Co-wrote hits for FGL (“H.O.L.Y.”), Maren Morris (“My Church,” “80s Mercedes”), Keith Urban (“The Fighter”), Lady A (“You Look Good”), Carly Pearce (“Every Little Thing”), Hunter Hayes (“Storm Warning”). Co-produced Pearce, Morris, Lady A, Lauren Alaina. Also produced and/or wrote for/with Pink, Gwen Stafani, Kelly Clarkson, Rachel Platten, Rascal Flatts, Garth Brooks, Katy Perry. (real name: Michael James Ryan). Started Altadena in 2019, which is a growing force in the launching and development of careers of artists, producers, and songwriters in a variety of genres, with offices in Los Angeles and Nashville.

LARRY WAYNE RICE, 72, died Sept. 30.
Former bass player for the ‘60s rock band The Nashville Shadows.

ALLEN HENRI LESNICK, 63, died Oct. 3.
Chief Operating Officer of Randi Events. Michigan State University graduate.

DENNIS JOHNSON, 62, died Oct. 7.
Residential designer, “realtor to the stars,” specializing in luxury homes. Formerly at Disneyland. Husband of music manager Fletcher Foster.

ED McGOWAN, age unknown, died Oct. 8.
Known as “Max.” Manager and husband of roots-country artist Rattlesnake Annie.

KENNY DIXON, 27, died Oct. 12.
Kane Brown’s drummer and career-long accompanist.

DALLAS HARMS, 84, died Oct. 12.
Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member (1989). Singer, songwriter, producer, Best known in U.S. as songwriter of Gene Watson hits “Paper Rosie” (1977), “The Old Man and His Horn” (1977), “Cowboys Don’t Get Lucky All the Time” (1978). Also wrote Billy Walker’s “A Violin That Has Never Been Played” (1978) and dozens of songs for Canadian country artists. As a recording artist placed 20 singles on Canada’s RPM charts, including the No. 1 hit “Honky Tonkin’ (All Night Learn)” (1982). Produced Canadian country acts Artie MacLaren, Cathy Chambers, Larry Mattson, Glen Logan, Wayne Rostad, Neville Wells, Brent Williams, Lynn Dee, etc. Photographer, graphics artist who designed own album jackets.

JAY FRANK, 47, died Oct. 13.
Music-industry tech visionary, author, exec. Senior v.p. of streaming marketing at Universal. Previously founded DigSin, DigMark services. Former exec at Yahoo, The Box, CMT. Wrote books Hack Your Hit & Futurehit.DNA. Managed Kane Brown. Board Leadership Music, Community Foundation, Academy of Country Music.

RAYMOND FAIRCHILD, 80, died Oct. 13.
Acclaimed, individualistic banjo stylist. Recorded prolifically for Rural Rhythm & Skyline labels. Five-time winner of Banjo Player of the Year from Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music. Guest appearances on Opry, Hee Haw, TNN. Since 1988, operated Maggie Valley Opry in North Carolina.

BOB KINGSLEY, 80, died Oct. 17.
Country radio legend. Hosted American Country Countdown With Bob Kinglsey & Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 national shows for 60 years. Country Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame (1998), National Radio Hall of Fame (2016). Namesake & first recipient of annual Bob Kingsley Living Legend Award. Radio specials for/with Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Alabama, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, etc. Hosted America’s Music Makers syndicated show. Awards from ACM, CMA, CRB, Country Aircheck. Previously at KFOX, KGBS, KFI, KLAC.

SONNY CURTIS, 83, died Oct. 11.
Steel guitarist in The Jones Boys 1964-79. Played on many George Jones LPs. Then in Tammy Wynette’s band 1975-80. Also backed Charley Pride, Conway Twitty, Minnie Pearl, Roy Clark, Jean Shepard, Johnny Paycheck, Bobby Bare. Solo CD Reflections 2002.

PHILIP JACKMAN, 88, died Oct. 13.
Theater director, drama teacher, actor in plays, commercials, TV shows, films. In Nashville since 1991.

MARTIN KATAHN, 91, died Oct. 17.
“Nashville Sound” session violinist on records by Elvis, Cash, Reba, Patsy, Merle, Waylon, Crystal, Dylan, Jerry Lee, Kris, Statlers, Bill Anderson, Don Williams, Hank Snow, Connie Smith, Charlie Rich, Eddy Arnold, Don Gibson, Ray Stevens, many others. Best known as creator of The Rotation Diet with many books and articles on health and nutrition. Husband of classical-piano recording artist Enid Katahn.

TRUETT FOSTER McKEEHAN, 21, died Oct. 22.
Nashville rapper who performed/recorded under the names TRU, Shiloah, Truett Foster and truDog. Son of Christian rap star TobyMac.

JOE SUN, 76, died Oct. 25.
Country singer-songwriter. Originated “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You” (1978), later a No. 1 hit for Dolly Parton (1980) and “What I Had With You” (1979), later a hit for John Conlee (1981). Co-wrote “I Came On Business For the King,” cornerstone gospel song of The Hemphills. Placed 15 songs on country charts 1978-85, including top-40 tunes “High and Dry” (1978), “I’d Rather Go On Hurtin’” (1979), “Out of Your Mind” (1980), “Shotgun Rider” (1980), “Bombed, Boozed and Busted” (1980), “Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk” (1982). More than a dozen albums, 1978-2017. Winner Billboard Best New Country Male Artist 1978. Later big in Europe with own German TV special 1989. Also cartoonist in The Tennessean, actor in 1985 Sissy Spacek movie Marie, record promoter for Hi and Ovation labels. (real name: James Joseph Paulson).

JOE MANSFIELD, 77, died Oct. 31.
VP of marketing/sales at Capitol Records in Nashville 1990-92, then consultant for Garth Brooks, Wynoona, Willie Nelson, etc. President/CEO of Asylum Records in Nashville. Formerly VP of marketing for Columbia Records in NY working with Journey, Chicago, Springsteen, Aerosmith. Also with RCA and Capitol in NY. Began career at KMAC/KISS radio in San Antonio 1962. Still working for Garth at time of death.

DOT HINDMAN, 98, died Oct. 31.
Former CFO at House of Gold publishing. Also owned several music-publishing firms in Music City. (full name: Dorothy McCracken Hindman).

DAN McGEACHY, 66, died Nov. 6.
Graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts who became a prominent actor and singer in Nashville theater community. (full name: Daniel Patrick McGeachy IV).

SKIP WOOLWINE, 61, died Nov. 7.
Radio announcer and/or salesman for WSM, WLAC, Y-107, WPLN, WRVU. Hired at 17 by WSM as youngest announcer in station’s history. Produced first European broadcast of Grand Ole Opry 1980. Voice-over work for local and national commercials. Founding director of Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. Launched own ad agency 1990 representing Nashville Superspeedway. Musician in rock bands The Eldorados, The 1969 Band. Led group Fade to Black for 25 years, performing for Predators & two gubernatorial inauguration parties. Later in real estate. Father of musicians Hicks & Huntre Woolwine of rock band Dr. Soul’s. (full name: Emmons Hicks Woolwine III).

JOSEPH SWEAT, 83, died Nov. 15.
Former reporter for Billboard and Associated Press covering music. Later press officer for Vanderbilt, editor of Catholic Register, Tennessee Town and City. Exec director of Tennessee Muncipal League, lobbyist for ACLU.

FREDDA LEE, 74, died Nov. 17.
Co-host of Nashville fishing TV show On the Line, along with Linda England. They also cowrote the book Bass on the Line and were regulars on Channel 4 with Rudy Kalis segments “Fishing Tips.” Professional bass angler in tournaments for 17 years. Previously publicist of Jim Reeves Museum and model/actor in New York on Tonight Show, Mike Douglas Show, Girl Talk, What’s My Line, etc. Also in L.A. as film actor, notably in 1966 Elvis movie Spinout.

BILLY RAY REYNOLDS, 79, died Nov. 29.
Songwriter/guitarist. Wrote hits “Working Man” (John Conlee, 1985), “Don’t Believe My Heart Can Stand Another You” (Tanya Tucker, 1976), “Country Music Love Affair” (David Frizzell, 1985), “It’ll Be Her” (Tompall Glaser, 1982). “It’ll Be Her” also recorded by Cash, Waylon, Jack Clement, Eddy Arnold, David Rogers, Debbie Boone, Gibson Brothers. Songs recorded by Dickie Betts, Bobby Bare, Conway Twitty, Alison Krauss, Tom Jones, Rodney Lay, Gary Stewart, Barbara Fairchild, etc. Formerly guitarist in Jennings band The Waylors on albums Ladies Love Outlaws, Honky Tonk Heroes, Dreaming My Dreams, The Rambling Man. Also worked with Willie, Kris, John Hartford, Johnny Rodriguez, Jessi Colter, Billy Joe Shaver, Ian Tyson. Later an actor in film & TV— Rainmaker, Roots, The Journey of August King, In the Heat of the Night, I’ll Fly Away. Solo albums Whole Lot of Memories (2002), Country Music Love Affair (2018).

AL ROSS JR., 83, died Dec. 1.
Businessman behind Nashville honky-tonks Rippy’s Bar & Grill, Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Steakhouse, The Diner, Honky Tonk Central, Old Hickory Country Club, plus Panama City Beach branch of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. Partner of Tootsie owner & Lower Broadway entrepreneur Steve Smith.

RAEANNE RUBENSTEIN, 74, died Dec. 2.
Celebrity photographer. Published more than 10 books, including Honky Tonk Heroes (1975), Gone Country (1997). Works exhibited in Dublin, London, Los Angeles, New York, Nashville and in Life, People, Rolling Stone, Time, Village Voice, many others. Began career at Andy Warhol’s Factory and at Fillmore East in NY shooting Hendrix, Joplin, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Yoko, Lou Reed, Kiss, Pink Floyd, Leon Russell, Joe Cocker, Cameo, MC5. Muhammed Ali, Abbie Hoffman, Rodney Dangerfield, Dustin Hoffman, Jagger, Dylan, more. Co-founded Warhol magazine Interview and female online publication Dish. In Nashville since 1998 shooting Country Music Hall of Famers Loretta, Acuff, Garth, Porter, Alan Jackson, Willie, Waylon, Buck, Kris, Pride, Kitty, Merle, Brenda, Cash, Dolly, Vince, George Jones, Conway, Oaks, Emmylou, Roger Miller, Glen, Brooks & Dunn, Reba, Alabama, Eddy Arnold, Chet, Mel, Tammy, Strait, Randy, plus Wynonna, Steve Earle, Martina, Shania, Dwight, Tim McGraw, Toby, Faith, K.T., LeAnn Rimes, Billy Ray, Wariner, Pam Tillis, Tritt, Crowell, John Anderson, etc. Also produced, directed, photographed 10 short movies.

ROBERT MANSELL MOSES, 71, died Dec. 4.
Former president of studio Sound Media, piano player at O’Charley’s. Later liquor distributor via Capitol Distributing and own Best Brands companies.

LARRY T. WILSON, 61, died Dec. 5.
Singer, songwriter, harmonica player. Songs recorded by Sammy Kershaw, 4-Runner, Marty Raybon, Larry Cordle, David Frizzell. Played in Dixie Flyers, Big Muddy, Hurricane Warning Band usually as leader of house band at Flora-Bama Lounge in Gulf Shores.

SHIRLEY A.THRALL, 81, died Dec. 6.
Television exec in Nashville, previously Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, New York. Wife of Pop! Goes the Country TV producer Dick Thrall.

JACK SCOTT, 83, died Dec. 12.
Country, pop, rockabilly singer-songwriter. Hits include “My True Love” (1958), “Leroy” (1958), “Goodbye Baby” (1959), “The Way I Walk” (1959), “What In the World’s Come Over You” (1960), “Burning Bridges” (1960). Highly regarded by rockabilly fans for “Leroy,” “Geraldine,” “Save My Soul,” “Midgie,” “Strange Desire,” “One of These Days,” “Grizzly Bear,” “Baby Baby,” “Go Wild Little Sadie,” “Cruel World.” Tribute LP 1960 I Remember Hank Williams. Gospel LP 1960 The Spirit Moves Me. “What In the World’s Come Over You” was Sonny James top country hit 1975 also revived by Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Wanda Jackson, Tom Jones. “Burning Bridges” 1967 hit revival by Glen Campbell also recorded by Mike Curb Congregation, George Jones, Bill Nash, Billy Edd Wheeler, etc. “The Way I Walk” recorded by The Cramps, Robert Gordon, Link Wray, Guitar Wolf, Swamp Zombies and country’s Starlight Drifters. Country artist on RCA 1963-66 and Dot 1973-75. Star of rockabilly revival shows, particularly overseas 1977-2017. Member Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. (real name: Giovanni Scafone Jr.)

VIVIAN GILLEY, 80, died Dec. 13.
Manager and wife of Mickey Gilley. Also assisted in managing his Houston nightclub Gilley’s, made famous in Urban Cowboy movie.

BOB MATHER, 68, died Dec. 14.
Retired vice president of administration at EMI Publishing. Former program director at WMOT in Murfreesboro.


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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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