Wilma Lee Cooper Passes; Alley Between Ryman and Tootsie’s Gets Makeover; New Music Videos

Ken Morton, Jr. | September 19th, 2011

  • Wilma Lee Cooper, a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 50+ years, passed away at the age of 90 late last week. 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.” Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper had remarkable record success in the late 1950s and early 1960s on Hickory Records with a bluegrass sound. The duo had seven hit records between 1956 and 1961, with four top ten hits on Billboard charts, notably “Big Midnight Special” and “There’s a Big Wheel.” Check out this cool performance.
  • Bela Fleck and his upcoming Concerto for Banjo (to be performed with the Nashville Symphony) is the subject of Peter Cooper’s newest column.
  • Steve Azar’s new album Delta Soul Volume One has just been mastered and is set for release in mid October. According to the press release, “it is a mix of the sounds and musical lessons learned growing up in Greenville, MS. In true Steve fashion, it’s honest and pure and the lyrics are a journey through the places he’s been and the people he’s known.”
  • The 37 steps between the Ryman Auditorium and the back door of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge are getting some love.
  • Andy Griggs has written a theme song for the LSU Tigers, his alma mater.
  • Concord Records will release Ray Charles’ Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles, on November 15. The collection will highlight the artist’s collection of ABC-Paramount singles during from 1960-1972 and feature 106 songs, 30 of which have never been made available on CD before.
  • Billy Dean’s daughter Hannah Dean recently had her own debut on the Grand Ole Opry stage and sang “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
  • Country music flirter Kelly Clarkson will have her Stronger album land on October 24th and the track listing includes her duet with Jason Aldean.
  • Taylor Swift covered Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” on September 11.  She also landed two spots in the latest Guinness Book of World Records.
  • Lynn Anderson will be honored at the first annual WHINNY Awards on October 6th. The award is designed to shine a light on people who use their high visibility to save, protect and promote the equine industry.
  • Amy Grant and Vince Gill will be presented with The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s 18th annual Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award in November; the award honors philanthropic spirit.
  • A new Texas-based, singer/songwriter reality show called Troubadour, TX will debut on the CW soon.
  • Blake Shelton and Chuck Wicks are comparing sizes to see whose is bigger.
  • Legendary singer songwriter Billy Joe Shaver became the 42nd artist to record a Live at Billy Bob’s Texas CD and DVD at Billy Bob’s Texas, The World’s Largest Honky Tonk this past Saturday.
  • The bandanna-ed one known as Trent Tomlinson has a brand new single that’s been released by Skyville Records called “A Man Without A Woman” that you can listen to here. My Kind of Country gave it an A-.
  • Kellie Pickler revealed another possible song off her upcoming album called “Where’s Tammy Wynette When You Need Her?”
  • The music industry lost a singer/songwriter and a good music aficionado with the passing of Mark Wehner this past week. Wehner created/produced the weekly Americana Tonight showcase series in Nashville, a great vehicle for presenting live Americana performance to the industry. Mark was also an Americana artist himself with two releases, including That’s The Way That It Goes (Hayden’s Ferry Records.) and Wait … I Wasn’t Finished. Peter Cooper did a feature on him just a week or two ago as he entered hospice.
  • Bucky Covington has been signed to a new, yet-to-be-revealed music label and has new music planned for release by the end of this year.
  • New (or new to you) music videos with a couple of shouldn’t-miss live performances. Any favorites?

Jack and White – “Telephone Games”

David Chamberlain - “Cowboy Up on a Funky Bull”

Daniella Mason – “Sleep”

The Coloradas – “Crooked Youth”

Jordan Gabrielle – “Easy”

Andy Gibson – “Wanna Make You Love Me”

The Reliques – “The Love of God”

The Milk Carton Kids – “I Still Want a Little More”

James Scott Bullard – “Skin and Bones”

Danielle Hogan – “Raise Your Glass”

Josh Charles – “Life Ain’t Fair”

The Otto Brothers – “Be Magnificent”

Amy Allen – “Love Fool”

Louise Egan – “Bar Flies”

Martina McBride – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (MDA Telethon Performance)

Steel Magnolia – “You and Tequila”

Marc Broussard – “Into The Mystic” (Van Morrison cover for Studio 1290)

AJ Lee and the Tuttles - “Hickory Wind”

The Farewell Drifters – “We Go Together” (Music City Roots)

Connie Smith – “I’m Gonna Sing, Sing, Sing” (Music City Roots)

Connie Smith – “Amazing Grace” (Music City Roots)

  1. Rick
    September 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I really enjoyed that interview with Kim Richey. Its time for Kim to move back to the States and get more involved in the Americana scene! I think she should get together with Elizabeth Cook to write some songs as I’m sure she’d have a good time regardless of the resulting output. That girl needs a big old can of all American whoop-ass to get her in gear! (lol) Go Kim!

    Yesterday I attended the annual “Gram Jam” concert here in LA that celebrates the life and music of Gram Parsons. Its staged by a personal friend of Gram’s named Pamela Des Barres who told stories of her personal adventures with Gram back in the day between artist sets. Featuring a good range of LA country and Americana musicians, the show was mostly songs written by Gram or performed by him, the Flying Burrito Brothers, or the Byrds. Pamela brought along two of Gram’s embroidered shirts he wore at his concerts, one she had embroidered for him herself. One shirt was given to her by Gram’s ex-wife and the other by Marty Stuart and they are treasured possessions and personal links to Gram. Today is the anniversary of Gram’s untimely death at age 26 in 1973 at the Joshua Tree Hotel. R.I.P Gram.

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