Tag Archive for: Lifenotes

Lifenotes: Dene Hallam

deneLifelong radio man Dene Hallam is being mourned by friends in the industry following his death on Friday night (11/20) following a brief illness. The veteran programmer was currently working as PD for the Moby In The Morning show in Atlanta. Hallam had been in radio since the 1970s, and through the decades earned the respect of his peers nationwide. He was 55 years old and leaves behind three daughters.

A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, 11330 Woodstock Rd., Roswell, GA 30075. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to an educational trust for his daughters. The trust has been set up at the Fidelity Bank in Roswell. Contact branch manager Michele Owenby at 404-553-2175 for details on making a donation.

Lifenotes: Billy Deaton [updated 11/3]


Updated: Arrangements for Billy Deaton. Visitation will be Thursday, November 5 from 4-7 PM at Woodlawn Funeral Home. The funeral will be Friday, November 6 at 11:30 AM, also at Woodlawn Funeral Home.


Longtime Music Row talent agent Billy Deaton died Saturday evening, Oct. 31. He was 74 and had battled a lengthy illness.

Deaton came to Nashville in 1969 to handle Faron Young’s booking and management. He established The Deaton Agency and throughout his 30 years in business, worked in various capacities with Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis, Bill Anderson, and Tom T. Hall.

He had a hand in writing and publishing the country hits, “Louisiana Man,” and “Wine Me Up!”

Deaton was an active member of the Nashville Association of Talent Directors. He was a former officer of the organization and received numerous awards from NATD. The Mississippi native and Air Force veteran was known around Nashville as “The Deacon.”

Visitation is planned for Thurs., Nov. 5, with funeral services to be held on Fri., Nov. 6. Details are incomplete at this time.


Lifenotes: Kimberly Kilgore Wilson

Kimberly Kilgore Wilson, daughter of the late songwriter Merle Kilgore, passed away October 27, 2009 in Nashville after a battle with cancer. The 51-year-old mother of three was born in Shreveport, LA and moved to Nashville at a young age following her father’s success in the music business. Friends say Wilson was an musician, animal lover, and seamstress, with expert knowledge of furniture. She was preceded in death by husband, Jesse Wilson, and her father, Merle Kilgore.

She is survived by sons Eric Williams, Philip Pomeroy, and Seth Pomeroy; mother Dot Patrick; sister Pamela Compton; brother Steve Kilgore; former husband Dave Pomeroy and many others.

Visitation will be today (10/29) from 2-8 PM at Hendersonville Funeral Home and Memory Gardens, and tomorrow (10/30) from 12-2 PM, preceding the 2 PM funeral. Burial will immediately follow in the Memory Gardens. Donations in Wilson’s name may be made to the American Cancer Society or Alive Hospice.

Nashville Scene: Johnny Jones, 1936-2009

A vital piece of Nashville’s R&B history fell silent Wednesday, Oct. 14 with the death of legendary blues guitarist Johnny Jones. Read more.

ShortNotes: Darryl Worley, George Jones, Lifenotes

Darryl Worley has recorded “Bring It On,” the new theme song for the Titans Radio Network. The song was co-written by Worley, Jim “Moose” Brown and the Titans’ own starting quarterback, Kerry Collins. Prior to the Titans game this Sunday, October 11 against the Indianapolis Colts, Worley and Collins will be featured guests on Titans Radio.


Lifenotes: Ruth McGinnis, a classically trained violinist and frequent collaborator of Amy Grant, died Tuesday at age 52. She had suffered with ovarian cancer in recent years. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. today (10/9) at the Marshall Donnelly Combs Funeral Home, and a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Christ Church Cathedral.

Barbara Bates, mother of Black River recording artist Jeff Bates, also passed away on Sunday, October 4.


George Jones will appear on CBS Sunday Morning this Sunday, October 11. Host and interviewer Bob Schieffer visited Jones’s Nashville home and also stopped by the Ryman Auditorium late this summer to talk musical history, and much more with the legend.


Ralph Stanley II, Randy Kohrs, and Ken Mellons are among the artists playing the Keith Whitley Memorial Tribute Concert at the Nashville Palace tomorrow (10/10) starting at 8:30 PM. Proceeds will go to help Bonnie Cherrie Hill (co-founder of The Keith Whitley Association) with costs incurred during her cancer treatment. Admission will be $20 at the door. www.lyricfrizzell.com.

Lifenotes: Music Industry Entrepreneur Shelby Singleton


Shelby Singleton (L) and Jerry Kennedy (R) in 2000.

Music Row entrepreneur Shelby Singleton died today, October 7, 2009, at age 77. The record executive, producer, and publisher is perhaps best known for purchasing the Sun Records catalog in 1969.

The Texas native was a Mercury regional sales rep when the label brought him to town as part of its Nashville team. He ended up heading the label’s Nashville and New York A&R departments a year later, working with all genres and even bringing r&b folks like Clyde McPhatter to Music City to record. During Singleton’s Mercury tenure, he worked with artists George Jones and Roger Miller, and hired a then unknown guitarist named Jerry Kennedy, who would eventually be his successor, running the Nashville office.

According to the Encyclopedia of Country Music, Singleton was a “tremendously successful and colorful country A&R man… and one of the Nashville industry’s true characters.” He wore many hats throughout his career. As a producer, Singleton recorded three No. 1 hits in one day at the Quonset Hut: “Walk On By” by Leroy Van Dyke, “Ahab the Arab” by Ray Stevens, and “Wooden Heart” by Joe Dowell.

In 1966 Singleton left Mercury and formed the Shelby Sigleton Corporation with headquarters on Belmont Boulevard. He also opened Plantation Records and released the major hit “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Jeannie C. Riley, which he produced. After the success of “Harper Valley,” Singleton purchased the Sun masters in 1969 and re-released much of its product by Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis, during the 1970s. In 1997 he merged Sun with the Brave Entertainment Corporation.

Lifenotes: BMI Board Member Don Thurston

Don Thurston, a former BMI Board member who was instrumental in developing the organization’s Nashville office, has died at age 79 after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease. During his 60-year career he founded and served as President of Berkshire Broadcasting. In addition to the BMI board, he was the National Association of Broadcasters Joint Radio-TV Chairman, NAB Radio Chairman, and was acknowledged with the NAB’s Distinguished Service Award.

Jack Sander, BMI Board Chairman, released this statement:

“We were saddened to learn of the passing of one of the broadcast industry’s most admired and respected leaders, a man who played a seminal role in the growth of BMI, our former Board member, Don Thurston. Don served on the Board from 1990 to 2005, was its chairman from 1994 to 1997, and led the initiative to move much of its operations staff to a new, state of the art building on Music Row in Nashville, saving the company tens of millions in operating expenses and preparing its technical infrastructure for the digital age.”

Updated: Lifenotes: Rick Schulman

George Jones and Rick Schulman

George Jones and Rick Schulman

Entertainer Rick Schulman Finney died suddenly Tuesday morning, September 29, at his home in Nashville at age 63.

During his colorful career as Rick Schulman, he was a songwriter, studio sideman, advertising pitch man, movie actor and Nashville nightclub star. He was the co-writer of the hit 1980 George Jones and Johnny Paycheck duet “When You’re Ugly Like Us (You Just Naturally Got to Be Cool).”

He was adopted by the Schulman family, who owned a variety store and barbecue stand on Jefferson Street. His musical style was heavily influenced by the blues musicians in the neighborhood. While in boarding school in Cleveland, Ohio, he worked as a rock ‘n’ roll disc jockey.

Returning to Nashville after graduation, Schulman joined the house band of the syndicated R&B television show Night Train. There, he worked with Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard, Fats Domino and others on the program.

On Music Row, he was signed as a staff songwriter by Cedarwood, Tree and ATV Music. Bobby Bare, Johnny Russell, Freddy Hart, Dr. Hook, The Newbeats, O.C. Smith and Charlie Rich are among those who recorded Schulman’s songs.

As a studio musician and vocalist, he backed Jack Clement, Johnny Cash, John Hartford, John Prine, June Carter Cash and Waylon Jennings, among others. He was a member of Jack Clement’s Cowboy Ragtime Band.

“Rick was a wonderfully talented singer with both a high and low range like that of a piano and the power of an entire brass section,” said Clement. “I’m going to miss him.”

When the Exit-In nightclub opened in 1971, Schulman became its main opening act. His stage repertoire in the 1970s and 1980s was memorable for humor in such songs as “Falling in Love with My Hand,” “Mamma’s Ugly Baby,” “When I’m Drinking,” “I Picked a Lemon in the Garden of Love” and “Submarine Song.”

“Rick could complement anyone from any genre of music,” said the Exit-In’s co-founder Owsley Manier. “He performed at the Exit-In more times than any other act in our history. He was a Nashville treasure.”

Schulman appeared in cameo roles in a number of music videos. His film credits include parts in Ernest Goes to Jail, Ernest Scared Stupid, The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Concrete Cowboy, Framed and The Witness. He was also in TV movies aired by HBO, Cinemax, PBS, NBC and Fox. He did character voices for Disney and Sesame Street. His advertising voice-over work included such national brands as McDonald’s, Budweiser, NASCAR, Popeye’s Fried Chicken, Ford, Chevrolet, Red Roof Inn, Ken-L-Ration and Pace’s Picante Sauce, among many others.

“He was also the most naturally funny and entertaining person I ever met,” said Rick Sanjek, his friend and former roommate. “He lit up every room he ever entered with his wit, warmth and giving spirit.” Their third roommate was Randy Rayburn, now one of Nashville’s most successful restaurateurs.

After his adoptive parents died, Rick Schulman sought out his biological parents and took Finney as his last name. It was the maiden name of his biological mother.

Rick Schulman Finney is survived by his wife Eleanor Whitworth Finney and son David Whitworth. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Belle Meade.

Dennis Knutson, Byron Hill, Eddie Burton, Micki Furhman, Rick Shulman, and Jim Rushing, at the ATV Music Nashville office, circa 1982. Photo: www.byronhillmusic.com

Dennis Knutson, Byron Hill, Eddie Burton, Micki Furhman, Rick Shulman, and Jim Rushing, at the ATV Music Nashville office, circa 1982. Photo: www.byronhillmusic.com

Lifenotes: CRS Founder Tom McEntee

crs-41Tom McEntee, a longtime music businessman best know as founder of Country Radio Seminar, passed away in Florida on Sept. 24, 2009. After starting CRS, now in its 41st year, McEntee spent a decade as the organization’s Executive Chairman/President.

McEntee started the radio tip sheet Country Music Survey, and spent time as country chart editor of Cashbox Magazine. His career also included radio promotion gigs, stints in publicity, bio writing, artist management, and songwriting.

He played a role in the careers of Jimmy Buffet, Alabama, The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Eddie Rabbit, Earl Thomas Conley, Jimmy Dean, The Kendalls, Hank Williams Jr., Ronnie McDowell, Susan Marshall, and Lefty Frizzell. He helped Alabama get its first record deal, and wrote the liner notes for Frizzell’s last album.

An award winner several times over, McEntee’s plaques included the Country Radio Broadcasters President’s Award, the Nashville Mayor’s Award, and the BMI Commendation of Excellence.

Les Paul Has Died

les-paulFrom Gibson Guitar: New York, NY…August 13, 2009…Les Paul, acclaimed guitar player, entertainer and inventor, passed away today from complications of severe pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plain, New York, surrounded by family and loved ones. He had been receiving the best available treatment through this final battle and in keeping with his persona, he showed incredible strength, tenacity and courage. The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks for the thoughts and prayers from his dear friends and fans. Les Paul was 94.

One of the foremost influences on 20th century sound and responsible for the world’s most famous guitar, the Les Paul model, Les Paul’s prestigious career in music and invention spans from the 1930s to the present. Though he’s indisputably one of America’s most popular, influential, and accomplished electric guitarists, Les Paul is best known as an early innovator in the development of the solid body guitar. His groundbreaking design would become the template for Gibson’s best-selling electric, the Les Paul model, introduced in 1952. Today, countless musical legends still consider Paul’s iconic guitar unmatched in sound and prowess. Among Paul’s most enduring contributions are those in the technological realm, including ingenious developments in multi-track recording, guitar effects, and the mechanics of sound in general.

A private funeral service will be held in New York. A service in Waukesha, WI will be announced at a later date. Details will follow and will be announced for all services. Memorial tributes for the public will be announced at a future date. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Les Paul Foundation, 236 West 30th Street, 7th Floor, New York, New York 10001.

Click for more on Les Paul.

Keith Urban statement on Les Paul:
“I have a mix of emotions today. On one hand, I am deeply saddened at Les Paul’s passing, and on the other a feeling of incredible gratitude and awe for his unquantifiable contribution to the world of music. His name adorns so many of the creations that I communicate through every night out here on the road…He is also very present every time I set foot in the studio and am able to lay multiple tracks as I record, when I use echo, etc., the list of his inventions, in addition to his famous signature model Gibson, are extraordinary. I also feel that even in his nineties, the fact he was still playing every Monday night in New York is perhaps the most beautiful and inspiring achievement of all. As Vince Gill would say, “Go rest high on that mountain Les…cause son, your work on earth is done.”

Statement from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum:
“Without Les Paul, we would not have rock and roll as we know it. His inventions created the infrastructure for the music and his playing style will ripple through generations. He was truly an architect of rock and roll.”–Terry Stewart, Pres. and CEO

“Les Paul was truly a unique human being. He was an artist who made his mark as a tremendously influential guitarist. He was also an inventor, the man responsible for the solid-body electric guitar and multi-track recording. Few people have accomplished as much as Les did in his legendary career. We will truly miss him.” —Jim Henke, vice president of exhibitions and curatorial affairs

Joe Satriani Statement:
“Les Paul set a standard for musicianship and innovation that remains unsurpassed,” said Joe Satriani.  “He was the original guitar hero, and the kindest of souls. Last October I joined him onstage at The Iridium club in NYC, and he was still shredding. He was and still is an inspiration to us all.”