In Memoriam: Part One
Few things have more of an impact on the human psyche than the passing of our loved ones, including those that have acted as our inspirations. In song, their collective stories live on in our hearts and our heads. Each note can remind us where we have come from and move us in ways we never knew before.
Because of this, Engine 145 feels the need to honor our past and recognize those that have passed on, leaving their mark forever on a rich musical tapestry behind them. Heartfelt thanks go to those on this list that dedicated their lives to the music that we find such passion in. May their memory and songs live on eternally.
Allen, Harley – The son of bluegrass artist Red Allen, singer-songwriter Harley Allen passed away in March of 2011. The younger Allen is credited with hits including Blake Shelton’s “The Baby,” Joe Nichols’ “I’ll Wait For You,” and Darryl Worley’s “Awful, Beautiful Life” and also had cuts recorded by Alan Jackson, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan, Garth Brooks, Josh Turner, the Del McCoury Band and more. Jon Weisberger wrote a lovely piece on Allen for the Nashville Scene; read it here.
Anderson, Liz – A songwriter known for co-writing “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers,” to name just one, passed away at the age of 81. She also co-founded the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Here is the obituary Bill Friskics-Warren wrote for the New York Times
Baker, Kenny – Named to the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1999, Kenny Baker is considered to one of the most influential fiddlers in the history of bluegrass music. He was the longest tenured member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, spending 25 years with The Father of Bluegrass. Peter Cooper wrote a piece on Baker’s passing for the Tennessean.
Barlow, Jack – Barlow, who passed away July 29 at the age of 87, recorded “I Love Country Music.” He spent many years in Nashville where he continued singing with artists like Johnny Cash, George Jones, Lefty Frizzell, Dottie West, Patsy Cline, Mel Tillis, Porter Wagoner, Chet Atkins, Boots Randolph and more.
Barton, Billy – Songwriter Barton was best known for “A Dear John Letter” recorded by Ferlin Husky and Jean Shepard. The song was a Number 1 country hit in 1953 and crossed over to the pop charts as well. The songwriter also wrote 1953’s “Forgive Me John, 1954’s “I Love You,” and the 1958 smash for Webb Pierce, “You’ll Come Back.”
Bramhall, Doyle – Bramhall started a band called The Chessmen with Jimmie Vaughan while in high school before moving to Austin and forming Texas Storm with him. He played with The Nightcrawlers in the 1970’s which included Jimmie Vaughan’s younger brother Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar. Bramhall co-wrote the tune “Dirty Pool,” which appeared on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s debut album, Texas Flood.
Cerney, Todd – Cerney was a frequent rock/pop collaborator that had significant success in the country market as well. His songs were covered by acts like Restless Heart, John Anderson, Ty Herndon, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Steve Holy, whose recording of “Good Morning Beautiful” spent several weeks at the top of the charts. Cerney played guitar, mandolin, harmonica, keyboards and sang lead and backing vocals with artists such as Kenny Rogers and played mandolin for the Dixie Chicks.
Cooper, Wilma Lee – Cooper, who teamed with husband Stoney Cooper as a top country duo for some three decades and earned the title “The First Lady of Bluegrass,” passed away in September at the ripe old age of 90. Elizabeth Cook probably said it best, “Sad to know of the passing of Wilma Lee Cooper, a personal hero and original punk rockin honky tonk girl.” Here is the obituary written for the New York Times.
Cox, Patsi Bale – A best-selling author who assisted superstars Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lynn, Wynonna Judd, Garth Brooks and others in penning their autobiographies died in November following a long battle with emphysema. She was 66. Here is a piece from the Tennessean about Cox’s passing.
Craig, Charlie – Craig was a Grammy-nominated songwriter who was credited with such songs as Kitty Wells’ “Every Step of the Way,” Travis Tritt’s “Between an Old Memory and Me,” Keith Stegall’s “I Think I’m in Love,” Johnny Cash’s “I Would Like to See You Again,” and Alan Jackson’s “Wanted,” among others.
Crain, Tommy – The Charlie Daniels Band lost two band members this year, with Crain being the first as he passed away in January at the age of 59. Crain joined the CDB in 1975 and he is credited with co-writing more than 60 songs during his tenure, which ended in 1990. His rhythmic guitar riff was the sound for the “band of demons” that joined in with the fiddling devil on “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” a song he was credited with as a co-writer.
Croker, James “Glen” – Guitarist, singer and emcee Glen Croker, the last surviving member of the Hackberry Ramblers, passed away on August 23 in Lake Charles, LA, at age 77, following a lengthy illness.
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