keskiviikko 24. joulukuuta 2014

Singer & Songwriter : HUGH X. LEWIS:

Hugh X. Lewis was said to be born in the town of Yeaddiss, Kentucky, the son of a Church of Christ minister. He grew up in southeast Kentucky in Cumberland. He has been writing and performing country music since his teen-age years.
After high school, he went to work with the U.S. Steel Corporation's Mine Operations in Lynch, Kentucky and stayed there for about ten years. Though such work might leave one tired and sore, Hugh found the time to perform in weekend shows in the Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia areas - he just knew he would one day end up in Nashville.

He eventually worked his way up to the position of foreman at his job in Lynch. He also continued his musical career, performing on WSAZ's Saturday Night Jamboree show in Huntington, West Virginia.
Hugh recalls getting breaks early in his career from appearances on television in Johnson City, Tennessee. A radio station in Cincinnati, WLW, held a talent search contest and Hugh won out for two years in a row, which lead to other opportunities. His appearances on the famed Renfro Valley Barn Dance drew encouragement from the legendary John Lair. But what got the momentum going for him was when he won a Pet Milk contest that got him a guest spot on the Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round in Knoxville. He ended up doing frequent appearances on the Barn Dance and sometimes hitch-hiked from Lynch, Kentucky to do those shows.

One of the regulars on the noon-time show back then was another Hall of Fame songwriter by the name of Don Gibson. When Don started to get attention and eventually moved to Nashville, Lowell Blanchard started giving Hugh more time on the air as Don's replacement.
Still, music was not a steady source of income. Hugh continued working at the mines and continued his songwriting dreams. One day, he finished a song called "B.J. the D.J." At that time, he only had one contact in Nashville, a boyhood friend by the name of Bud Beal. Bud got him a meeting with Jim Denny. When Mr. Denny heard the song, he told Hugh that it was a hit song, and to go on home; he'd get the song recorded and be in touch with him. The song did get recorded - by Stonewall Jackson, who notes it was one of the largest selling records of his career and would go on to record about 11 songs written by Hugh X. Lewis.

The year was 1963 and Hugh decided it was time to move to Nashville and made the move by himself initially. He got himself a job selling advertising space for a magazine during the day and at night, continued to hone his songwriting skills. He spent about two months in a boarding house which he calls the two most miserable months in his life, before he was able to bring his wife Ann and the kids to town in a Ryder truck.
His first year in Nashville brought him a fair amount of recognition for his number one tunes - BMI awards for "B.J. the D.J." and "Take My Ring Off Your Finger" which was sung by Carl Smith. Through his songwriting career, he's had tunes recorded by folks such as Charley Pride, Del Reeves, Jim Ed Brown, Little Jimmy Dickens, Jimmy C. Newman, Bobby Goldsboro, Lynn Anderson and many more.

The year of 1965 saw Hugh get a recording contract with Kapp Records and Paul Cohen with the assistance of John Denny at Cedarwood Publishing. His very first record of "What I Need Most Is You" went to number 12 on the charts. He enjoyed hits with other tunes such as "Out Where The Ocean Meets The Sky", "I Better Call The Law On Me", "You're So Cold, I'm Turning Blue". and "Wish Me A Rainbow" among others.
From 1968 to 1971, Hugh and his llfe-long friend, Bud Beal, co-produced a syndicated television show called the "Hugh X. Lewis Country Club". The show enjoys the distinction of being the longest running single-sponsor, multi-market country music show in history! That show was sponsored by the Whirlpool Corporation subsidiary, Heil-Quaker Corporation, who his friend Bud worked for as an advertising manager.
It was the first time a major manufacturer had produced its own country music show. One of the first guest stars were Del Reeves and Lynn Anderson. A group that later went on to become one of the Opry's favorite groups, the Four Guys were regulars on the show as were the band, the Country Clubbers and the announcer, Bud Beal. Fans might recall that one of the features of the show was a "Wall of Fame" in the background.

Hugh's career took him around the country and world. He retired in 1984, but as he notes, "once a ham, always a ham", came out of retirement in 1998 as the "Country Ham, Colonel Hugh X. Lewis". He's done several CD's and videos, with the very latest being a Gospel album titled, "Stand Up And Be Counted".
He does numerous television appearances and has had a feature role in a movie called "Summer of Courage".

He is enshrined in the "Walkway of Stars" at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and was recently nominated for the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, which now displays much of his career memorabilia on display in Renfro Valley.
Music isn't all that Hugh was been a part of. He's been in four movies:
'Gold Guitar', 'Cotton Pickin' Chicken Pickers' and 'Forty Acre Feud'. 


perjantai 19. joulukuuta 2014

 Bluegrass & Country ~ ERNIE SYKES:

Ernie started his professional career at age 17, playing bass in his dad's band, The Sykes Boys, which also included Buddy Merriam. Right after high school, he joined the Bluegrass Cardinals which led to his becoming established in the bluegrass field. Since then, Ernie has worked with such greats as Don Stover, The Osborne Brothers, Jimmy Martin, Don Reno and Bill Monroe. He was also a founding member of the group Livewire along with Scott Vestal, Robert Hale, and Wayne Benson. Ernie's diverse musical interests have led him well beyond the parameters of bluegrass. In 1999, he was featured on three movie soundtracks, and was honored with a Grammy citation for participating on a recording with Marty Stuart and Earl Scruggs. In 2001 Ernie was called to The Cayman Islands to help record an album of island music. 2001 also saw the release of his first solo LP, COUNTRY JUKEBOX on his own Old Hickory label.   Ernie is currently the bass player for the Buddy Merriam Band.

One sample track - "You're The Devil in Disquise" - just for listening:

torstai 18. joulukuuta 2014


Dave McEnery was born on 15 December, 1914, in San Antonio, Texas. He enjoyed singing Red River Valley when he was at high-school, and this earned him the nickname, Red River Dave. As a young man, he became a yodelling cowboy and a lasso twirler at rodeos. His big break, however, came in 1939, when he took part in a television broadcast from the New York World's fair, singing one of his self-penned musical chronicles, Amelia Earhart's Last Flight. During the 1940s his height and good looks helped him to play the part of a singing cowboy in a number of Hollywood films.

Red River Dave might be known as a Country singer, but he was really much more than that. He was a folk singer in the true tale-telling folk-singing tradition. Many of his songs were narratives of current events, told in the Country fashion that was natural to him.

The 1950s saw him commenting musically more and more on the news events of the day, with stand-outs being The Ballad of Emmett Till, released in early 1956 on TNT 9005 and telling of the brutal murder of a young black boy in 1954, The Ballad of Marilyn Monroe, and The Flight of Apollo Eleven, though this is but a small selection.

Red River Dave at the New York World's Fair, 1939 (Bill Benner, fiddle, Roy Horton, Bass)

  • Tony Russell (The Guardian) *
Country music had no more indefatigable chronicler of current affairs than Red River Dave McEnery, who has died aged 87. He versified world news, whether headline stories or column-fillers, from the Ballad Of Patty Hearst to the Night That Ronald Reagan Rode With Santa Claus. He was also fast; he once wrote 52 songs in 12 hours while handcuffed to a piano. Some of his compositions faded. Perhaps only devotees remember The Clinging Lovers Of Kenya, based on the report of a couple who could not be freed from a sexual embrace, but in Amelia Earhart's Last Flight, a tale of the aviatrix who disappeared in 1937, he dug a small nugget from country's golden vein of tragedy songs, and the piece is on its way to becoming a country standard.
After rope-spinning on the rodeo circuit, McEnery became a cowboy singer and yodeller on the radio, taking his professional name from one of his favourite songs, Red River Valley. At the 1939 New York World's Fair he took part in an experimental television broadcast, possibly the first to feature a country singer. In those patriotic times he also composed I'd Like To Give My Dog To Uncle Sam.
In the 1940s he was heard on Mexican border radio stations and later on WOAI in his home town of San Antonio. Tall and personable, he joined the Hollywood posse of singing cowboys, appearing in Swing In The Saddle (1948), Echo Ranch (1949) and numerous short features.
Responding to Wink Martindale's Deck Of Cards and to McCarthyism, he wrote the Red Deck Of Cards, in which a prisoner-of-war freed from North Korea relates how his captors used cards to inculcate communism. "They told us that the ace meant that there is the one god, the State, and the deuce meant that there were two great leaders, Lenin and Stalin." But he also wrote and recorded the Ballad Of Emmett Till, the true story of a black man lynched in Mississippi.
In the late 1960s he concentrated on his real estate interests, but within a few years he was back, based in Nashville and looking remarkably like Buffalo Bill, with his long white hair, moustache and beard. He wrote and recorded, often on his own label, Reveal, pieces such as The Ballad Of Marilyn Monroe and The Flight Of Apollo 11, as well as compositions about the Jonestown massacre and the Iranian hostage crisis.
He is survived by his companion, Virginia Gottwald.
· "Red River" Dave McEnery, singer and songwriter, born December 15 1914; died January 15 2002. 

DOWNLOAD 8 songs

keskiviikko 17. joulukuuta 2014

JERRY HANLON ~ Famous in Nashville and Ireland:

Born 28 December 1933, near Kickapoo, Peoria County, Illinois, USA. He first played piano and sang as a child, before teaching himself the guitar, being inspired by Jimmie Rodgers. He served in the US Air Force, where he pursued his interest in country music.
 During his service career, he won several awards from the American Red Cross for his work entertaining in hospitals. He began writing songs and in 1958, one, a tribute to Rodgers, led to him meeting the latter’s widow, Carrie. Impressed by Hanlon, she encouraged him and introduced him to Ernest Tubb, who offered him appearances on his radio shows and took him on some tours.
 In 1961, he guested on Tubb’s Midnight Jamboree, singing ‘Boy With A Future’ (after Tubb’s death, Hanlon showed his appreciation of his help by recording the tribute ‘E.T. We’re Missing You’). His easy singing style and the occasional yodel saw him go on to play the Grand Ole Opry and form his own band, the Midwest Playboys, with whom he toured extensively in the 60s. He had various single releases between 1964 and 1978, although none charted.
 Between 1987 and 1994, he completed 10 very successful European tours that saw him play various venues in Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia. His Irish ancestry has helped him become especially popular in Ireland, where his song ‘The Calling (Home)’ has been recorded by Irish country singers, including Sean Cuddy.
 In January 1993, he underwent open-heart surgery but surprised everybody with his speedy return to his personal appearance commitments. He devotes a great deal of time entertaining for the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Organisation in America and for the handicapped, both in America and Ireland.

1988 - Jerry Hanlon and his Midwest Playboys - Left to right -  Don Hanlon (Drums and Vocal) - Jerry Hanlon (Guitar, Keyboards & Lead Vocals) - Joe Smiles (Bass Guitar and Vocals) -  Robby Hull (Lead Guitar and Vocals).