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Feb
7

Josh Abbott Admits to Infidelity, Asks For Forgiveness

February 7, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  48 Comments
josh-abbott

Picture via Twitter

Texas country singer Josh Abbott of the Josh Abbott Band took to his Twitter account late Friday afternoon to admit to his fans that he’s been untrue to his wife, Amanda Abbott, and to ask for forgiveness from his fans. Josh said he would write a more lengthy letter to fans in the future, and says that he is 22 days sober.

The Josh Abbott Band is one of the biggest-drawing bands in the Texas country scene. Formed in 2006 in Lubbock, TX while Abbott was attending Texas Tech University, their latest album Small Town Family Dream debuted at #3 on the Billboard Country Charts. The band’s video for the Adam Hood and Brian Keane-penned single “I’ll Sing About Mine” came in at #1 on Saving Country Music’s Best Music Videos of 2013.

Below is Josh Abbott’s plea to his fans for forgiveness:

At some point down the road, I’m going to write a letter to you all that needs to be written…for right now, I have a few things to say:

I have not been the Christian husband that I needed to be in my marriage. I have destroyed my marriage through multiple problems, including:

Problems w/ alcohol abuse, infidelity, and language. Somewhere along the last several years I have lost myself as an accountable human being. The temptations that we as artists and celebrities face are unreal to many of you. But regardless, I have to own up to my mistakes as a man. I’m 22 days sober and hope that I can continue to control my addictions. I want to be an honorable and godly man and this is the first step. I hope the songs I have written have inspired you and given you feelings because that’s why we do what we do. That part is real. What hasn’t been real is the perception that my marriage is perfect & I’m an incredible husband. I’m not.

I hope all of you reading this will understand. that the only things that truly matter in life are your relationships w/ family, friends, & God. Be better. Please pray for us in this time. Being a celebrity doesn’t give us the right to treat our marriages with disrespect. At some point someone has to say it’s not okay!And please don’t send your prayers my way. Send them to @ASouthernHippie and her family. They’re the ones crushed by all of this.

Later in response to some Twitter replies, Josh Abbott posted:

Please stop saying you respect me. I’m not someone you should respect. I’ve cheated on my wife. That’s as low as a person can get. Just pray. I didn’t post this to get my wife back. I posted because we agreed I need to be accountable to fans who think I was better than I really was

Feb
6

UPDATED: Randy Travis Getting His Voice Back, Makes Public Appearance

February 6, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  19 Comments

randy-travis

***UPDATE – Randy Travis made his first public appearance since his stroke on Friday, 2-8-14. See full update below.

Randy Travis is beginning to regain his voice, and there are more positive signs in the recovery of the ailing country star according to his family and other sources.

Randy’s father Harold Traywick has told Closer Magazine that, “He’s getting his voice back now, little by little.” Another unnamed source says that Randy is “anxious to get back to work and connect with his fans,” and is willing to do “whatever it takes to regain everything [he] lost.” Randy has been working through grueling physical therapy sessions to improve his strength and motor skills. “Randy’s doctors are extremely pleased with his progress,” says the source.

There is even word that Randy is working on plans to promote his latest album Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am that was released on September 30th, 2013 amidst Randy’s health woes. This news comes on the heels of photos of Randy on his ranch that surfaced in late January, showing the singer smiling and in good spirits.

Randy Travis was initially admitted to the hospital on July 7th, 2013 for viral cardiomyopathy, or a weakening of the heart muscle. While being treated for the condition at The Heart Hospital in Plano, TX, Travis suffered a stroke as a complication to the treatment, and had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. The surgery was successful, but Travis remained in the hospital until late July when he was moved to a rehabilitation facility to deal with the effects of the stroke. While in rehab, Travis contracted pneumonia according to friend Sammy Kershaw. Travis remained in inpatient care until October 11th when he returned to his ranch in Tioga, TX.

In November of 2013, Randy’s father Harold Traywick gave the grim outlook that Randy Travis may never perform again, saying that Randy was paralyzed on his right side and could barely speak. Since then, the news has been more upbeat about Randy’s recovery, with news that he had progressed from needing a wheelchair, to being able to walk with a walker, to now being able to walk on his own.

Specifics on Randy’s condition have been hard to come by for fans worried about the long-term effects from Randy’s recent health problems, leading to much speculation and concern. Randy himself has still yet to make any public appearances or statements since his recent health scare.


***UPDATE 2/8/14: Randy Travis made his first public appearance since his heart problems & stroke at a Smiles For Life benefit concert in Dallas, TX on January 30th. Randy’s good friend Neal McCoy invited him backstage and posted this picture on February 7th. “Pretty honored this was Randy’s first time out and his first time to have Cowboy boots on since his illness,” said McCoy. “Gettin’ Better!!!”

neil-mcCoy-randy-travis-first-public-appearance

 

Feb
4

CMT To Unveil New “Ow! My Balls!” Reality Show

February 4, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  28 Comments

ow-my-ballsCMT, who has been dramatically reshaping their broadcast schedule recently, featuring a whopping 7 new reality TV shows in their latest lineup, is looking to add yet another one called Ow! My Balls! in the upcoming months. The show reportedly features a man continuously getting hit in his testicles, with no other significant plot or characters.

CMT has said that by 2016, they want to have four complete nights of original reality show programming, with the flagship being the controversial show Party Down South from the same producers of MTV’s Jersey Shore. Party Down South has been criticized by many for perpetuating negative Southern stereotypes, promoting imbecile behavior, and generally dumbing down society. Ow! My Balls! is likely to ruffle feathers even further, and was recently green-lighted with full production on the show to start soon in hopes of adding the it to next season’s lineup.

However cartoonist, voice actor, and director Mike Judge, best known for the animated series King of the Hill, and for being the director of the 2006 dystopian cult film Idiocracy, is not too happy over the upcoming reality show, and is taking action. Judge first showcased the Ow! My Balls! concept in Idiocracy, and the show portrayed in the movie virtually mirrors the one in production for CMT. Judge’s depiction of the show was meant to illustrate how the human population is slowly devolving into a state of anti-intellectualism, devoid of curiosity, and resulting in a uniformly unthinking society.

Lawyers for Mike Judge have sent CMT a “cease & desist” letter.

“This is clearly a case of intellectual property infringement by CMT,” says Mike Judge’s Lawyer Spencer Frankenfurter. “If the network had negotiated with us for the rights to use the concept, or had at least asked permission, then maybe we would be more accommodating. But as it stood, CMT wanted to make all the dough, while Mr. Judge took it in the … well, you know.”

Feb
1

Hank Williams Museum Remembers Wayne Mills in Exhibit

February 1, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  15 Comments

wayne-mills-3Slain Outlaw country music artist Wayne Mills will be remembered in a new exhibit at The Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Alabama called “Alabama Outlaws” to be unveiled in special ceremony on Sunday, February 9th, 2014. The ceremony is free and open to the public, and will transpire between 1 PM and 4 PM. It will be attended by Wayne’s widow, Carol Mills, and his young son Jack.

The exhibit will feature many personal items from Wayne Mills, including Wayne’s signature hat, his cowboy boots, and his Alabama football jersey. Mills was from the small town of Arab in northern Alabama, and aside from being a noted musician and performer, played football for the University of Alabama.

The artifacts to be put on display at the Hank Williams Museum were personally collected from the stage display at Wayne’s funeral on December 8th, 2013 by another Alabama country music artist, Jamey Johnson. The Montgomery native personally delivered the items to the Hank Williams museum, and the performer has also offered space in his display at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville to showcase Wayne’s legacy. Wayne Mills and Jamey Johnson were close friends, and had played shows together the week of Wayne’s killing.

Wayne Mills was gunned down on November 23rd, 2013 at the Pit & Barrel bar in Nashville while attending an after hours gathering. Chris Ferrell—the owner of the Pit & Barrel—faces 2nd Degree Murder charges in the case. The 44-year-old singer and songwriter was once a mentor to Jamey Johnson, as well as to CMA Entertainer of the Year Blake Shelton, and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, and had over 15-plus years of touring experience. Mills received the Guardian Award from the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame a month before his death to recognize his “hard work and unwavering commitment to their music and their fans and best exemplify the tradition of those who came before.”

On March 2nd, The Outlaw Music Association will be holding a Wayne Mills Benefit at The Limelight in Nashville.

Jan
30

UPDATED: Clear Channel DJ Bobby Bones May Leave Radio

January 30, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  41 Comments

bobby-bones-show***UPDATE: Bobby Bones has decided to stay with Clear Channel. See his video below.

Influential Clear Channel country music DJ Bobby Bones might be calling it quits according to a letter he posted to his listeners and fans on Twitter Thursday evening (1-30). The morning show DJ for WSIX in Nashville that is the flagship of Clear Channel’s country music syndicated network started on the job after being moved from an Clear Channel pop station in Austin just less than a year ago. Since then his show has taken off, and is currently carried by over 50 Clear Channel stations across the country.

Bobby Bones’s meteoric rise has been making news lately, with Saving Country Music and CBS News running features on the DJ. He also recently made headlines by getting in a heated Twitter argument with recent Grammy winner Kacey Musgraves. Bobby Bones is a big part of Clear Channel’s plans as it partners with CMT in the midst of a country music media arms race. Bobby Bones has done some work on television, and this could be where he is headed, apparently with his crew of friends that he brought along with him from Austin that also make up The Bobby Bones Show.

Originally from Arkansas, Bobby Bones started with Clear Channel as a local DJ in Austin, TX for the Top 40 pop station 96.7 KISS FM, with his Bobby Bones Show eventually being syndicated to a few other regional markets. Though Bobby had big offers to move to the West Coast, he stayed in Austin and became a local favorite, winning “Best Radio Personality” by the Austin Music Awards from 2004-2008. In February of 2013, Clear Channel finally convinced Bobby to move to Nashville, and to make the switch from Top 40 radio to country. He was recently named as a nominee by the Academy of Country Music for National On-Air Personality of the Year for the upcoming ACM Awards.

But Bobby’s leaving is not set in stone yet. He’s said to be pondering the decision, and will make his decision public at noon Central on Monday (2-3). See the full context of his letter to his fans below.


***UPDATE (1-31-14 4:00 PM CST): Bobby Bones has decided to stay with Clear Channel. “Obviously it was television,” says Bobby. “I’ve decided to stay on the radio, and stay with IHeartRadio and Clear Channel instead of take this other offer that was really good, but would have taken me off the air.”

See his video explaining his decision below.


The original Bobby Bones letter:

As you may have heard or read on the internet, Ive been offered a ‘job” outside radio that has me reconsidering my decision to do mornings.

I love radio. I love even more the listeners of the show, and the culture we have created of “Keepin’ It Real.” That’s why Im addressing this now, because Im going to get off of twitter for the next few days because of the rumors.

so, lets just cut to the chase as they say

On Monday before 3p, I must let my agent know whether or not Im accepting the offer. If I do, that will be the end of The Bobby Bones Show.

and to prove that is NOT a ratings stunt, I will not be making my announcement on my show. I will think it over this weekend. and on Monday at noon, I will come on the radio on our local affiliate WSIX, explain the situation, and give you my answer.

I never wanted money to come into play in these decisions. But sometimes it does have actual influence. and I have the cance to do something that Ive wanted to do for a very long time.

I will be letting you guys know everything  at NOON CST on our Nashville affiliate WSIX. I get 0 ratings for noon. and Im not requesting any other stations carry it. IF they want to, they can.

I just wanted to give you guys a heads up because you are the most loyal listeners I have ever seen/heard anywhere. you guys have created us.

I will think long and hard about it. I will talk with my friends. I will have conversations with Jay Shannon and Michael Bryan. as well as Rod Phillips. guys who are important to me professionally and personally.

again, this isn’t a ratings stunt. and i could have dragged this out for a long time. but i have chosen not to. However it was starting to reach message boards, etc so I needed to address it.

Monday. Noon central. on WSIX.

Thanks B

Bobby Bones also subsequently posted, “for those asking ill be taking all of my friends with me! the whole crew will have new jobs. relax. my show mates are my BFF’s. all good.”

Jan
29

Ben “Cooter” Jones Pens Open Letter to CMT Over “Party Down South”

January 29, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  27 Comments

As Saving Country Music has been reporting, many people are incensed over CMT’s new reality show Party Down South made by the same producers of Jersey Shore and part of CMT’s new lineup that includes 7 new reality series as country music continues to get squeezed off of Country Music Television. Ben “Cooter” Jones, an original cast member of The Dukes of Hazzard as mechanic Cooter Devenport and a former United States Congressman, has taken the point on the matter, wanting CMT to at least remove its placement of ads for the show amidst what is advertised at programming fit for family entertainment. The ads for the show themselves have very questionable content.

CMT Whores Itself with New “Party Down South” Show

Now Ben “Cooter” Jones has crafted an open letter to CMT and its parent company Viacom, calling the show the “most offensive and sleaziest thing ever to make it to a national audience.” Read the letter in its entirety below.


AN OPEN LETTER TO VIACOM INC. AND THE COUNTRY MUSIC TELEVISION NETWORK (CMT)

To Whom It May Concern:

Your company Viacom, under the aegis of CMT (a network in the MTV group) is committing an act of what can only be called “cultural pornography” by airing a production entitled “Party Down South”. It is a so-called “reality show” in which a group of young men and women who call themselves “proud Southerners” do things which no one, Southern or otherwise, could possibly be “proud” of.

In one episode we are informed by your advance press that the characters will urinate on themselves and then upon each other. (We are also informed that we can get a raunchier version on an “app”.) May we assume that your Executive Chairman, Mr. Sumner Redstone and that your President and CEO, Mr. Phillipe P. Dauman have screened this show and fully approve of its content?

ben-cooter-jonesWell, I suppose not, since yours is a corporation with over $22 billion in assets, and those big-shots are probably too busy to sit around watching drunken louts urinating on each other, huh? But you have invested quite a bit in this vile travesty of a “show”, since CMT has ordered ten episodes of this slimy creature and has spent another fortune promoting it.

And so I have a bone to pick with you. I have several reasons to detest this show, which is without a doubt the most offensive and sleaziest thing ever to make it to a national audience already neck-deep in offensive sleaze, much of it courtesy of your corporation.

My objections are to some extent personal. For starters, I have been a part of the “Dukes of Hazzard” since 1979. As you know, “The Dukes” has been a continuing hit, a beloved part of Americana which has brought great attention to CMT with its extraordinary cable ratings. The reason “The Dukes of Hazzard” has been a solid franchise for 35 years is that it is family show in the best sense of that phrase. It is a show the whole family can enjoy together without worrying about what the kids are going to see and hear. It is like the old “B” westerns of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, when the good guys always did the right thing, and the bad guys got their comeuppance, and there was great action and comedy and music, and nobody ever really got hurt. Our show used cars instead of horses, and the Duke boys became heroes to several generations of folks in the American Heartland and everywhere else for that matter. I was the trusty sidekick “Cooter” and the affection that people feel for that show is as much an honor to me as having been twice elected to Congress.

So when CMT started airing some truly execrable commercials for “Party Down South” during the showing of “The Dukes”, I and thousands of other viewers were appalled. I know from 35 years of daily contact with our fans that there were countless young kids watching our show and therefore being exposed to these really trashy commercials. So we complained “en masse”. But apparently your company could care less about the concerns of your audience. You have not ever acknowledged the problem and have continued to show the smut.

I am also offended by your portrayal of the South. Hollywood’s depiction of the South has famously been the stuff of scores of books, articles, and dissertations. We in the Southland are

accustomed to being mocked, stereotyped and accused of all sorts of decadence and hatreds. The South has become a convenient whipping boy for the sins of the entire United States. But since we don’t produce the films and the television shows, your false version of us becomes the “accepted truth.”

“Party Down South” is a show about 4 men and 4 women who are obviously being told by these Hollywood/New York producers to drink as much booze as possible and then to do the most banal and boorish things conceivable. And these morons succeed at depraved acts that would have made the Marquis DeSade blush.

Idiotic alcoholic behavior exists all over the world. It is not to be celebrated. We can only hope that one of these “Party Down South” bozos doesn’t kill somebody while driving in a blackout. It happens somewhere every night in America. That’s the real “reality.”

So Viacom, you are robbing young kids of innocence with your commercials. You are insulting the South without a clue of the richness and diversity of our many Southern cultures, and you are glorifying drunken debauched behavior for no reason except that old bottom line. Oh yes, and you are doing it on the Country Music Television network which was built by appealing to rural heartland viewers with a sense of tradition and genuine values. What’s up with that?

When the standards of programming are relentlessly lowered until the unacceptable becomes acceptable, what then? For it has already happened. “Party Down South” is Exhibit A. But what comes next? How do we stop this social corrosion and the degrading of mores? Shouldn’t that be of great concern to those in control of our national media? Can’t you say more than “If you don’t like it, turn the channel?”

Do y’all understand why we are upset? Do you care? Is anybody home? I fear I know the answer to those questions.

 

Jan
28

Big Machine to Make Motley Crue Country Tribute Album

January 28, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  72 Comments

motley-crue-001Glam metal band Mötley Crüe confided in the world today that they are calling it quits after three decades, and are doing so in a dramatic fashion by signing a legally-binding contract that stipulates that the band cannot tour after 2015—the time after an upcoming 75-city final tour is scheduled to wrap up.

But buried in the litany of announcements and side stories about the Mötley Crüe retirement was a little nugget of info with a country music angle. Apparently the band has signed a contract with Scott Borchetta and Big Machine Records—the home of Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, and Tim McGraw—to produce a country-themed Mötley Crüe tribute album to be released this summer.

Scott Borchetta was at the press conference announcing the Mötley Crüe retirement, and proclaimed himself a “not-so-secret” fan of the Crüe, saying, “Our album will highlight just how great the Mötley Crüe song catalog is.”

Mötley Crüe will not be playing any of the music on the album, and the band is not planning to “go country”. Instead the music will be handled by a list of current country stars. Confirmed artists already on board for the tribute album include Big Machine artists Florida Georgia Line, Brantley Gilbert, and Justin Moore, as well as LeAnn Rimes Eli Young Band, and reality star Cassadee Pope.

Insert your favorite anecdote about how modern country is nothing more than rehashed 80′s hair metal here.

Jan
28

Willie, Kris, & Merle Working on Musketeers Album

January 28, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  14 Comments

willie-nelson-kris-kristofferson-merle-haggardAt the 56th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, country legends Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Merle Haggard performed a medley of songs together along with Blake Shelton, with the occasion being Kris Kristofferson receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award and having his first self-titled album inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. But this grouping wasn’t accidental, or an augmented version of the supergroup The Highwaymen that Willie and Kris were once a part of with Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.

A long-planned, and even longer-rumored album and grouping of Willie, Merle, and Kris called “The Musketeers” has been in the works for years. Saving Country Music first reported on the potential supergroup in January of 2011 when the three men were assembled as part of Merle Haggard’s recognition by the Kennedy Center Honors. Haggard told Rolling Stone at the time:

We got to eat a little something together. We didn’t know what the hell this food was, but we thought it was funny. We (Merle and Willie) talked about doing that together, but with the presence of Kris, we talked about the three of us doing it. I’m sure if we’re healthy and live to do it, we’ll do it. We thought about the title: the Musketeers. You know, because there’s the three of us. We’ll come up with some little way of describing ourselves I guess and put it together into a show.

“The Musketeers” might just be a placeholder for the eventual name, but apparently the three Country Music Hall of Famers are still serious about the idea, and are working on music. When asked by Billboard before The Grammy Awards if a collaboration between the three men could be in the offing, Willie Nelson responded, “We’re working on one now.” When asked when fans could expect something, and if it could be this year, Willie responded, “As soon as we get it together. Could be.”

Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson have toured together in an acoustic show numerous times since 2009, and Willie Nelson worked with Merle Haggard in 2007 on the album Last of The Breed. Willie and Merle also collaborated on the Townes Van Zandt classic “Pancho & Lefty.”

Finally stimulating The Musketeers to go from talk to actual tracks might be the recent revelation from Kris Kristofferson that he’s beginning to experience memory issues.

Jan
27

Cooter from Dukes of Hazzard Battles CMT’s “Party Down South”

January 27, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  37 Comments

cooter-davenport-dukes-of-hazzardI knew something was amiss when in the same week, the name of Ben “Cooter” Jones of all people had been evoked on Saving Country Music multiple times, and for multiple reasons; first in an album review for the Ben Davenport Band, and then as part of the backlash to CMT’s new show Party Down South. Best known as the real-life counterpart of The Dukes of Hazzard character “Cooter Davenport”—Hazzard County’s mechanic and Duke Boy ally—Ben Jones has lead an industrious life to say the least, and at 72 years of age is showing no signs of slowing down.

Jones is the owner-operator of the Cooter’s Place Dukes of Hazzard museums and gift shops that have locations in Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee—dedicated to preserving the legacy of iconic television show. Aside from being an actor, Jones has also been a playwright, once penning a one-man play about baseball player Dizzy Dean, and is also known as a political essayist. And then of course there was that little thing when he was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Georgia’s 4th District from 1989 to 1993 before being displaced through redistricting.

ben-cooter-jonesBen Jones is a music lover as well, and has been putting his heart into hosting and helping to organize The Shenandoah Jamboree at the Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns in Virginia that holds forth the first Saturday of every month, March through November, and features traditional country talent like Tommy Cash and Barbara Fairchild. “It’s a wonderful show,” says Shenandoah Valley resident Bob Rimel. “Ben “Cooter’ Jones is trying very hard to keep country music alive, especially here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.”

Jones is also the frontman of “Cooter’s Garage Band” that plays classic country, rock and roll, and 50′s doo-wop. “They are a band full of talented musicians, and they let me sing; but really I am just an actor pretending to be a singer,” says Jones. “We have been performing together for fifteen years now.”

As if Ben Jones didn’t have enough on his plate, he has also decided to join the voices of dissent again CMT’s new reality show Party Down South. Incidentally, reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard also air on CMT, and the confluence has created a showdown between CMT and Cooter. As a former actor on a Southern-based television show, Ben “Cooter” Jones’ opinions seem especially poignant, and like Saving Country Music, was shocked at the content of simply the ads for the show. Jones told rockingodhouse.com,

I am not pleased with the commercial that airs during our show’s time slot called “Party Down South.” The Dukes of Hazzard is a family-friendly show, and people watch it with their children and families. They have no place showing a commercial that promotes smut, drunks, and filth in-between commercial breaks of The Dukes of Hazzard. The show Party Down South makes the South look stupid, and not all of us Southerners act like that. It is from the same people who produced Jersey Shore; it’s a load of trash, and I don’t like it. Now, people have the right to watch whatever they want, and I am a grateful to be back on CMT. I just don’t believe that they should show dirty, filthy commercials during the breaks in our show. Nobody of decency and in there right minds would care to see that load of junk anyway!

Ben Jones waged a battle with CMT to get the ads running during The Dukes of Hazzard pulled, especially during a 35th Anniversary event, and apparently won. On Monday (1-27), Ben Jones released this message:

If I’m not mistaken, and I sure hope not, it looks like Hazzard Nation has won
another important victory for good clean fun. Yesterday’s Dukes 35th Anniversary Marathon
was free of those sleazy commercials for the pathetic “Party Down South” show.
Dukes fans let CMT know in no uncertain terms how they felt about this insult to
family viewers and how they felt about their kids being exposed to this trash.

They don’t want to admit it, but I’ve got a feeling our message got through. I think it
would be a good idea to thank them for their response to our concerns. (And I also
think it would be a good idea to “keep their feet to the fire” on this one.)

Some folks have written to me thanking me for taking a strong stand on this. But it wasn’t me,
it was a whole lot of y’all standing up for what is so obviously right. CMT and their sponsors
have hopefully seen their mistake and have corrected it.

By the way, they are claiming “Party Down South” is a “hit”, even though it didn’t finish in
the top 100 shows playing last Thursday night. Some “hit”! They don’t measure old syndicated re-runs like
“The Dukes”, but I’ll bet you a dollar we whipped them.

Thanks for all of your support of our show for all these years. America loves the “Dukes”!

Ben Jones aka “Cooter”

It looks like decades later, Ben “Cooter” Jones is still fighting for what’s right in the South.

Jan
23

Curb Records to Release Hank III “Ramblin Man” Album

January 23, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  52 Comments

hank-williams-iii-ramblin-man-albumYes, the Curb Records saga for Hank3 continues.

The grandson of Hank Williams and the son of Hank Jr. is having to deal with yet another post-contract release from Curb records, this time called Rambin’ Man, slated for release on April 1st. Insert your April Fool’s jokes here. The album will include 8 tracks of outtakes, unreleased material, and cover songs Hank3 contributed to tribute albums and other projects during his Curb years. Most of the music is stuff Hank3 fans have already heard, repackaged to look like a new album.

Hank3 entered into a 6 album contract with Curb in the late 90′s after a child custody suit and a judge forced him to get a “real job”. Curb was able to stretch Hank3′s album count to 7 by releasing Hillbilly Joker in 2011; a “hellbilly” album Curb initially rejected, but released after Hank3 had fulfilled his contract at the end of 2010. Then Curb released an outtakes album in 2012 called Lone Gone Daddy that brought the total of Curb releases on Hank3′s 6-album contract to 8. Ramblin’ Man would make it 9.

With the news of the release of Long Gone Daddy, Hank3 fans knew Curb still had unreleased material from the 3rd generation star, because a cover of Johnny Paycheck’s “I’m The Only Hell (My Momma Ever Raised)” that was rejected on his Damn Right, Rebel Proud album had yet to surface. Though Curb decided at the time that the cover song was not fit for public consumption, similar to how they rejected Hank3′s Hillbilly Joker album altogether, they see perfectly fit to release the song now on this new record.

Hypothetically, Ramblin’ Man would be the last of Hank3′s material from the Curb era, though the inevitable “Greatest Hits” card has yet to be played by the label.

Some other interesting notes from the track list: “On My Own” was a song from Hank3′s previous Curb record Risin’ Outlaw. “Ramblin’ Man” is a song by Hank Williams that Hank3 once recorded a cover of with The Melvins, as was Merle Haggards “Okie From Muskogee”. “Fearless Boogie” is a ZZ Top song Hank3 once covered on the tribute Sharp Dressed Men. “Marijuana Blues” originally appeared on Rare Breed: The Songs of Peter LaFarge.

Hank3 has previously encouraged fans to burn these albums and share them instead of buy them. He’s also indicated intention to release new material in 2014.

Ramblin’ Man Track List:

  1. Ramblin’ Man
  2. Fearless Boogie
  3. Okie From Muskogee
  4. The Only Hell (My Momma Ever Raised)
  5. On My Own [Full Length Version]
  6. Marijuana Blues
  7. Hang On
  8. Runnin’ & Gunnin’
Jan
21

Photos of a Recovering Randy Travis Surface

January 21, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  14 Comments

randy-travis-ranch-2Photos of a recovering Randy Travis have finally been surfacing on Twitter over the recent days—the first glimpse concerned country music fans have seen of the future Country Hall of Famer since he suffered a stroke and subsequent health issues in July of 2013. A smiling Travis looks to be on the road to recovery.

Randy Travis was initially admitted to the hospital on July 7th, 2013 for viral cardiomyopathy, or a weakening of the heart muscle. While being treated for the condition at The Heart Hospital in Plano, TX, Travis suffered a stroke as a complication to the treatment, and had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. The surgery was successful, but Travis remained in the hospital until late July when he was moved to a rehabilitation facility to deal with the effects of the stroke. While in rehab, Travis contracted pneumonia according to friend Sammy Kershaw. Travis remained in inpatient care until October 11th when he returned to his ranch in Tioga, TX.

randy-travis-ranch-1On January 19th, family friend Anthony Maurizio posted a black and white photo of Randy with his fiance Mary Beougher standing behind him, with the caption “Glad to see Randy Travis healing nicely.” Bobby and Lisa Vaughn also posted photos of Randy on Jan. 19th sitting in a covered ATV at his ranch in Tioga.

In early November, Randy’s father Harold Traywick gave the grim outlook that Randy Travis may never perform again, saying that Randy was paralyzed on his right side and could barely speak. Since then, the news has been more upbeat about Randy’s recovery. Artist Bonnie Paul who has co-written songs with Randy said through Twitter on December 9th, 2013 that Randy was out of the wheelchair and able to walk with a walker. Then on December 20th she said that Randy was walking on his own.

Specifics on Randy’s condition have been hard to come by for fans worried about the long-term effects from Randy’s recent health problems, leading to much speculation and concern. Randy himself has yet to make any public appearances or statements since his recent health scare, and there has been no official word from doctors on the severity of his condition or the long-term prognosis.

Photos from Anthony Maurizio:

randy-travis-recovery

randy-travis-3

Jan
19

UPDATED – Texas Country Legend Steve Fromholz Passes Away

January 19, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  31 Comments

steve-fromholzThis story has been updated.

Singer, songwriter, Poet Laureate, and the author of the Texas Trilogy, Steven Fromholz passed away Sunday afternoon (1-19) according to the Texas Music Chart. He was 68.

Fromholz was killed at the Flying B Ranch near Eldorado, about 40 miles south of San Angelo while preparing to go on a wild hog hunt. While moving a gun from one vehicle to another, the firearm fell to the ground because the lower portion of its case was unzipped, and the gun discharged, injuring Fromholz who later died at an Eldorado hospital.

Born in Temple, Texas on June 8, 1945, Fromholz rose to become a towering figure of words and music in his home state of Texas, and amongst his famous music friends. He wrote the song “I’d Have To Be Crazy” made popular by Willie Nelson, and also had songs recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, and John Denver amongst others.

Fromholz was also an actor, a playwright, a producer, and a poet; most notably being named the Poet Laureate of the State of Texas in 2007 by the Texas State Legislature. He was the author of several books, and a respected man of letters, leaving behind an indelible legacy of both chronicling and canonizing the unique experience of being a Texan.

Steve Fromholz started out in music after serving in the Navy in the 1960′s. His first band was called Frummox with Dan McCrimmon, and Fromholz also played with Stephen Stills and Rick Roberts before pursuing a solo career. He once worked with Mike Nesmith of the Monkees and his label Countryside Records.

steve-fromholz-2Fromholz was one of the members of The Folk Music Club—an organization founded on the campus of the University of North Texas in Denton, and included other notable members Ray Wylie Hubbard, Michael Martin Murphy, and co-founder of the Armadillo World Headquarters, Eddie Wilson. Fromholz once served as President of the distinguished club that is given credit for inspiring such Texas music institutions as Austin City Limits and South by Southwest.

His hard-to-find, definitive album Here to There is considered a classic of Texas country music, despite it’s out-of-print status. It includes his signature work called “The Texas Trilogy”—a three song opus that went on to define his career. It inspired a book by Craig D. Hillis and Bruce Jordan, and Fromholz penned his own Texas Trilogy book later as well.

Fromholz was heavily featured in Jan Reed’s book on the formation of the Texas music scene, The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock. He had the best stories, and was blessed with a knack knack for telling them like nobody else.

Steve Fromholz was an entertainer, a historian, a brilliant orator, and most importantly, a proud and noble Texan.

Jan
16

The Autopsy Report of Wayne Mills Released

January 16, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  69 Comments

wayne-mills-3On November 23rd, 2013, country artist Wayne Mills was shot and killed in Nashville at the Pit & Barrel Bar by the bar’s owner, Chris Ferrell. Mr. Ferrell claimed self-defense, and is currently facing 2nd Degree Murder charges brought down by a Grand Jury on December 6th, 2013. Ferrel was released on bail on December 16th, 2014.

Chris Ferrell was in court Thursday (1-16) for a “discussion date” and to take care of some minor procedural defense motions. The company holding Chris Ferrell’s bond had agreed to take less than the usual 10% to secure his release, but needed to get court approval, and this was granted. Ferrell also filed a change of address under the conditions of his bond. His next appearance in court will be February 6th.

The Autopsy Report

The autopsy report was also made available for the first time through the Medical Examiners Office. According to the Medical Examiner, Wayne Mills was killed by a gunshot wound to the back of the head, and the death was ruled a homicide. There was also no evidence that the gunshot wound was caused by a discharge at close range because of the lack of soot or gunpowder surrounding the wound, meaning the shot came from distance.

Though some reports had Wayne Mills being shot multiple times, Wayne only suffered one gunshot wound. However, multiple other injuries were found on his body. Wayne’s 4th and 5th ribs were broken, and he had abrasions on his forehead, temple, scalp (unassociated with the gunshot), and contusions on his chest, arms, forearms, left thigh, and right knee.

The summary of the autopsy states,

Autopsy findings are significant for an entrance gunshot wound on the posterior parietal scalp with fragment exit and injury to scalp, skull, and brain. A bullet is recovered in association with this gunshot wound. Associated injuries include scalp, subdural, and subarachnoid hemorrhage, fractures to the right frontal and parietal bones, cortical and white matter contusions of the brain, and hemorrhage throughout the wound path. Other injuries include abrasions of the left side of the forehead, left temple, posterior occipital scalp, and abdomen, left-sided rib fractures, and contusions of the lateral chest, arms, forearms, left thigh, and right knee. Evidence of therapy and tissue procurement is noted.

The cause of death is a gunshot wound of the head, and the manner of death is homicide.

The ’tissue procurement” noted in the autopsy summary and throughout the autopsy report is for the organs that were removed from Wayne as an organ donor.

Toxicology

The autopsy report also included a postmortem toxicology workup testing for a wide spectrum of substances in Wayne’s body. The report concluded that Wayne’s blood alcohol level was 0.221. Mills also tested positive for amphetamine, at 23 ng/ml. No other substances came back positive. Saving Country Music has tried to confirm or deny if a similar toxicology report was ordered on Chris Ferrell after the incident, but has been unable to obtain that information.

Shooter Jennings Cooperating with Investigators

Questions have arose about the proximity of musician Shooter Jennings and his manager Jon Hensley on the night of the shooting, especially after his name was brought up in court during Chris Ferrell’s bond hearing, as reported by The Tennessean. Writer Neil Hamilton whose book Outlaws Still At Large includes an introduction by Shooter, at one point posted a blog that included many questions about Shooter’s involvement the night of the shooting. After feeling public pressure, Hamilton removed the blog post. Jennings says he left 5 minutes before the shooting happened, and Shooter was not named in the original indictment as a direct witness to the killing. Shooter subsequently posted a comment on a previous Saving Country Music story on the Wayne Mills case, saying,

I assure everyone that I have spoken in detail to the investigators about the events of the night Wayne died. But I also personally believe that speaking publicly about it, at this point, candidly and in detail could hurt the process underway. From what I can tell from the detectives I’ve spoken to, they’re working hard to piece together what happened. I, nor my friends, were there when the actual incident occurred and cannot truly have any answers as to what happened in the moments leading up to it. Just please respect the process — and I’m doing everything personally to understand why such a horrible thing would happen and want to know myself more than anyone. Wayne’s family were terrible victims here and his fans feel that pain because of their love of his music and their loss of his talent. Until this case building is over, I just don’t feel it wise to make a public record. Hope you all can understand…

Wayne Mills Benefit in Nashville

On March 2nd, The Outlaw Music Association will be holding a Wayne Mills Benefit at The Limelight. Announced performers so far include Dallas Moore, Rowdy Johnson Band, Whitey Morgan,  Kara Clark, Jesse Keith Whitley, Whey Jennings, Chris Gantry, Tom Ghent, James Austin, Billie Gant, JB Beverley, Buck Thrailkill, Joshua Morningstar, Pete Berwick, Pure Grain, Mike Owens, Brigitte London, Rory Kelley and the Triple Threat, and Larry Fleet, with more to be added.

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For more information on the Wayne Mills case, please read The Death of Wayne Mills 6 Weeks After (Update & Analysis). Saving Country Music will continue to try and keep people updated on the progress of the case.

Jan
15

Trace Adkins Brawls with Impersonator / Enters Rehab

January 15, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  30 Comments

trace-adkinsCountry star Trace Adkins has checked himself into rehab according to Country Weekly after taking his first drink in 12 years and ending up in an altercation with a Trace Adkins impersonator aboard a “Country Crusin’” cruise ship headed for Jamaica. According to TMZ, the Adkins impersonator was in the midst of a Karaoke routine when Adkins got in a physical altercation with him. When the cruise ship arrived in Jamaica, Adkins left the ship and subsequently checked himself into rehab. Adkins was scheduled to continue on the cruise, but his performances have subsequently been canceled.

Singer Steven Barker Liles for the group Love & Theft  was also aboard the cruise ship, and told radio.com that it was when the impersonator started signing autographs similar to Adkins is when the singer snapped. But according to Liles, no punches were thrown. Adkins just got into the impersonator’s face.

Adkins had been open and candid about his battles with alcohol in the past, and about his sobriety over the past dozen years. A publicist for Adkins released a statement, saying, “Trace has entered a treatment facility after a setback in his battle with alcoholism. As he faces these issues head-on, we ask that his family’s privacy will be respected.”

This is not the first time Adkins has been to rehab. After pleading guilty to drunk driving charges, he spent a month in the Cumberland Heights Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center near Nashville in December of 2002.

Adkins does not have any more scheduled performances until February 8th in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Jan
14

DJ Bobby Bones Gets Into Feud with Kacey Musgraves

January 14, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  114 Comments

kacey-musgraves-bobby-bones-2A few weeks ago Saving Country Music posted a feature on Clear Channel country DJ Bobby Bones—the young, hip cash cow for Clear Channel’s Nashville-based WSIX radio station that is syndicated to 50+ radio markets across the country, making him the de facto face of country music radio’s rapid consolidation at the hand of large media companies. Bones was also the man to replace long-time, legendary WSIX DJ Gerry House, making Bones the symbol to many as the changing of the guard from old to new behind the country radio microphone.

Bobby Bones has been a polarizing figure from the beginning, but just ratcheted up a notch by getting in a public battle with Kacey Musgraves over the last few days through Twitter. Musgraves conducted an interview with Bobby Bones on November 5th, the day before the 2013 CMA Awards, like many of the artists that performed or that were up for awards or in attendance did. According to Bones, the interviews were conducted in a rapid-fire succession, and sometimes he didn’t even know who the artists were he was interviewing.

When it was Kacey Musgraves’ turn, apparently she entered the interview area not through the normal entrance. The interview lasted roughly 1 1/2 minutes, and never aired in full on The Bobby Bones Show. However Bobby did take about 20 seconds of the interview, and used it as part of a segment he called, “Is Kacey Musgraves Annoyed?” The segment basically lampoons Kacey as being rude, uninterested, and awkward.

On Monday (1-13) Bobby Bones tweeted, “Will @KaceyMusgraves ever respond to my tweets. Enter your answer now; A: yes, B: no,” with Kacey Musgraves responding, “If you’d play our original interview in full and tell people how you unfairly re-edited it I might think about talking to you.” Bobby Bones then responded, “I did play the thing in full. I just played OVER AND OVER when you were rude.”

Listening to the entire “Is Kacey Musgraves Annoyed?” segment from The Bobby Bones Show and then watching the video of the interview, it is clear that Bobby Bones did not play the interview in its entirety. (see below)

Bobby Bones then seemed to offer an olive branch to Kacey, saying, “Im a fan. Ive had 2 miserable experiences with you. we both are known shit heads. we should be friends instead,” but then followed it up with the combative, “dont honor me with ‘think about talking to you’. like Im a peasant. you aren’t any better of a human than anyone else.”

Subsequently Kacey Musgraves has responded with:

I normally wouldn’t take part in this kinda stuff but since it’s gotten outta hand: The original interview that audio was taken from, unfairly edited, and played on air can be found through the link on this page (see below. Watch it for yourself. For the record: I am a songwriter and a musician. That’s what I’ve been passionate about my entire life and it’s really sad that the focus got taken away from that. Above all- I’m human. Not a robot. Especially at 8 AM. I don’t stroke egos and that doesn’t make me a “shit head.” When you hear the music that means so much to me to make, that’s all that should matter.

—=Video of Original Interview=—

Audio of “Is Kacey Musgraves Annoyed?” Segment:

UPDATE (1-14-14 7:00 PM CST): Bobby Bones has posted a note to Kacey:

I shouldn’t have called us both “shit heads”. I should have called me a “shit head” and you “slightly stubborn” haha. I really am a fan, and have said so numerous times on my show. For the record, there was no editing involved in any segment. For comedy purposes, we played back parts of the interview over and over. Parts that we thought were extremely funny, and even parts that were self deprecating.

That’s what I’m paid to do, entertain. Much like you. Sometimes you hit Sometimes you miss Sometimes, you do both at the same time. Which seems to be the case here. We’re both similar people. both working with a mentality and culture that we love so much and also agree could use a little social change.. And that way I admire your voice. Not just your physical one, but your intellectual one.

I will remain a fan, and maybe one day we can talk it out like real homies, and not Twitter warriors fighting with our keys. However, I am a much better fighter on my keyboard. Or we can write songs about each other. I bet mine is funnier! would love to see you soon. Id Sting and Lex Lugar can come together as one. Im sure one day you and I can too. I also bet 100 dolloars you will win best new artist at the Grammys. Don’t let me down.

Rev Bobby Jones Jr. Esquire III

Jan
12

Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band Crash Bus in Colorado

January 12, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  13 Comments
The Broken Band

The Broken Band

(This story has been updated, see below)

Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band crashed their shuttle-sized tour bus nicknamed “Eagle Hawk” Sunday night (1-12) while traversing the snowy Colorado roads in the midst of a 6 week Winter tour. Nobody was seriously injured, but members of the band suffered bumps & bruises and the bus was totaled. “We are all okay but I crashed the bus and it’s totaled,” says upright bass player Jared McGovern. “The roads were super icy and I slid and crashed into a truck parked on the highway…It was scary as all hell but aside from some bumps and bruises everyone is ok. Liz (fiddle player) is gonna have a nice shiner.”

Apparently a large truck had come to a complete stop in a lane on the highway because it didn’t have chains for the snowy conditions, and when McGovern came up behind it, he couldn’t stop fast enough to avoid it. The truck driver, not McGovern, was cited in the accident and it was determined to be the truck driver’s fault. The accident happened on I-70 near Silverthorne.

The band played at The Lions Lair in Denver on Saturday night (1-11), and was trying to make it to a show at The Black Nugget in Carbondale, CO when the accident occurred. “Were running way behind tonight. I-70 is extremely scary right now but we got snow chains on and are taking it easy on our way to Carbondale,” the band had posted on their Facebook page earlier in the evening. Carbondale is west through the Rocky Mountains on I-70 from Denver, and the area had been experiencing snow. Along with Jayke Orvis, the tour also consisted of James Hunnicutt, and the Urban Pioneers that include Jared McGovern and fiddle player Liz Sloan.

The band is looking for a new vehicle to finish up the rest of their tour with. The tour started on January 3rd in Ohio, and the next scheduled date is January 14th at The Celt in Salt Lake City. The tour is scheduled to head through Montana and down the West Coast, through Texas and the South and end up in New York State in late February. They are planning to play a makeup show at The Black Nugget in Carbondale on Monday (1-13).

Anyone willing to sell, loan, barter, or otherwise procure a touring vehicle for the band should contact them through Facebook. They are working with the truck driver’s insurance company to attempt to procure a rental or replacement vehicle to continue the tour.

UPDATE (1-13-14 2:35 PM CST):  “We are currently hanging out in a hotel in Silverthorne, CO trying to figure out the best to cancel the fewest amount of shows and get back on the road. The insurance company is working our claim but it could be 3 days before we know anything. We hope that we will be handsomely reimbursed but we have no guarantees and we don’t have a whole bunch of money on hand. We have a busted van full of records though so we’re gonna try and sell em. For a $50 donation we will send you a copy of the new Bless This Mess record hand signed by all the members of the Broken Band. We really hate to beg but we hate cancelling shows even more. Please send donations via paypal to brokenbandllc at gmail dot com. Thank you all for your ongoing support. We seriously couldn’t do this without you.”

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Jan
9

Lead Guitar Player Will Indian Passes Away

January 9, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  31 Comments

will-indianCountry music has lost one of the most tasteful lead guitar players to ever fill a break. Will Indian, lead guitarist for country legend James Hand, as well as the guitarist for The Nortons, The Cornell Hurd Band, and many others, has passed after contracting a fatal infection last month. Will suffered from Hepatitis C. He died Wednesday night (1-8-14) according to his family.

Will Indian was the defining element of the James Hand sound, and so many other bands and artists that were fortunate to have him lend his guitar playing to them over the years. He was not a flashy or fast guitar player, but his taste was impeccable and unparalleled, and his use and appreciation for space, tone, and subtly in his playing is what won him wide appreciation amongst his peers. Indian toured the country and world with James Hand and others, and was a staple of legendary Austin venues like The Broken Spoke, the Saxon Pub, and Austin’s hottest new venue, The White Horse. In recent years, his illness kept him from playing on the road, but he remained a fixture of Austin clubs.

Friends, fans, and fellow musicians threw a benefit for Will in July 21st of 2013 at the Saxon Pub, to help with the cost of his Hepatitis C treatments; a disease he had battled for over 37 years. James Hand, The Rhythm Rats, The Nortons, and many other acts played the benefit. In an interview with the Austin Chronicle before the benefit, Indian led on to the severity of his condition, but had hope he would recover.

I’ve tried the cures, but none have worked for me. I now have cirrhosis that was complicated by a recent pulmonary embolism in my right lung. I have had to cut back on gigs but have Wednesday Happy Hours at the White Horse with the Nortons. I am on a liver transplant list at the Methodist Hospital in Houston. I am on a maintenance program with medications that keep me stable.

It feels great and humbling to have the support from the friends I have made and people who are fans that tell me how much my music has meant to them. I am starting to archive my musical history of television, recordings, and photographs for an upcoming webpage.

Will Indian also was a guitar teacher, and worked with the schools in Dripping Springs just outside of Austin where he lived. His most recent work can be heard on the recent Jame Hand record Mighty Lonesome Man and Cornell Hurd’s Drop In On My Dream.

“I subscribe to the idea that music is a gift to share.” — Will Indian

Jan
7

The Death of Wayne Mills 6 Weeks After (Update & Analysis)

January 7, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  19 Comments

wayne-mills-2It has now been six weeks since the shooting death of country music artist Wayne Mills on November 23rd, 2013 at the Pit & Barrel bar in Nashville by Chris Ferrell—the owner of the Pit & Barrel, and the defendant in the case that claims self-defense, and is currently facing 2nd Degree Murder charges brought down by a Grand Jury on December 6th. Ferrel was released on bail on December 16th.

The case has now entered a period where information and progress might be slow, as prosecutors and the defense try to decipher if the matter can be settled with or without a trial. Fans of Wayne Mills may be frustrated by the lack of progress or information, but as Saving Country Music has found out after talking with numerous legal experts, the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office, and the Davidson County Criminal Court, it could take many months, or even longer for the case against Chris Ferrell to resolve, and the killing of Wayne Mills to come to a close.

The next court date for the defendant Chris Ferrell is January 16th in front of Judge Steve Dozier at 9 AM at the Birch Building in Nashville. The date is not considered a pretrial hearing, but a “discussion date” by the court—a procedural court appearance that happens roughly every 4 to 5 weeks during a pending criminal case to determine and update what the status of the case is with the court and all parties.

If new evidence is discovered, a “discovery” date could be filed with the court where the new information would be submitted into the criminal process. A similar instance happened when Chris Ferrell had his bond reduction hearing on December 16th, and a bullet lodged in the wall of the Pit & Barrel not initially discovered by police investigators, but a private investigator hired by Ferrell, was submitted into evidence. Discovery dates are not set on a specific timeline, but transpire if and when a new discovery is made and the date can be set by the courts.

As far as how long it could be before there is a trial set for Chris Ferrell, Susan Niland of the District Attorney’s office says, “You can’t even ballpark how long it could take for a trial to be set.” A lot depends on scheduling between the courts, prosecutors, and the defense attorneys. Since there is only one defendant in the case, it may not take as long as if there were multiple defendants with multiple attorneys.

Chris Ferrell Mug Shot from Previous Arrest

Chris Ferrell Mug Shot from Previous Arrest

But a trial may not happen at all. “Each side tries to set a resolution,” Susan Niland explains. “95% of cases resolve without a trial.” That means that Chris Ferrell could decide to plead guilty before the case could go to trial, could work out a deal with the prosecution, either to plead guilty to lesser charges, or to receive a lesser sentence by settling without a trial. Because of the severity of the charges, murder cases tend to go to trial more often, but it can’t be assumed a trial will happen in this case.

As Susan Niland explains, if every case brought by District Attorneys resulted in a trial, the courts would be backed up for decades. It is usually the goal of District Attorneys to settle cases without a trial. It is usually the desire of defendants to settle without a trial as well because a trial is a costly endeavor for a defendant. However if Chris Ferrell believes he is completely innocent of the charges, he may decide to go the trial route. A trial may be the only way Ferrell could fully exonerated himself from the charges, as opposed to taking a plea down to lesser offenses or for a lesser sentence, barring any new evidence surfacing that proves his claim of self-defense and the charges are dropped. Likewise if prosecutors feel the 2nd Degree Murder charges are completely warranted and no deal for Ferrell is fair, the case may still end up at trial.

Prosecutors and the defense negotiate back and forth based on the evidence of the case, the potential motive, and however strong either side feels their case is.

Other Charges Against Chris Ferrell

At the discussion date on January 16th, other charges facing Chris Ferrell from a previous incident could also be brought up. Ferrell faces charges for “Vandalism Under $500,” “Domestic Assault with Bodily Injury,” and “Interference with a 911 Call” stemming from an incident on July 17th where alleged victim Stacey McCoy was allegedly attacked and assaulted by Ferrell. Ferrell broke the key to McCoy’s car and then tried to prevent her from calling 911. This case also resulted in a Grand Jury indictment that was handed down the same day the 2nd Degree Murder charges were brought against Ferrell on December 6th. The charges resulted in their own $2,500 bond, but aside from both cases involving the same defendant, the two cases are autonomous. All three charges in the domestic assault case are misdemeanors.

At one point, two of the three previous charges were reported as having been dismissed. Previously, the general court had decided to only bring the charge against Ferrell for vandalism, but when the matter was brought up to the Grand Jury, the Grand Jury decided to bring all three charges.

Wayne Mills Autopsy Report

Despite numerous reports that the autopsy has been concluded on Wayne Mills, according to the Medical Examiners office, as of today (1-7-14), the autopsy has yet to be concluded. The Medical Examiner estimates it to take 8 to 14 weeks for the autopsy to be concluded, and a report to be filed. The lack of a completed autopsy report also could factor in the progress of either a settlement or a trial.

Other Questions

Besides the misidentification of Wayne as another songwriter Clayton Mills for nearly 10 hours into the investigation that resulted in Wayne’s widow being unable to see the singer before he died, the information on how and where the killing transpired, and where the witnesses were in proximity to the killing leaves many questions. Initial reports said the killing happened inside the Pit & Barrel, and people outside that had left the bar right before the shooting occurred heard gunshots and called the police. But the information that came out during Chris Ferrell’s bond reduction hearing was the Chris Ferrell himself was the one that made the initial 911 call, though outside witnesses could have made subsequent 911 calls.

Also during the bond reduction hearing, The Tennessean reports that “Police found a trail of blood from the parking lot to just inside the front door, where Mills lay, breathing but unconscious.” This statement seems to allude that Mills could have been shot outside the bar, not inside. But Mills could have been shot inside the bar initially, attempted to exit the bar, and then turned around as he started to bleed. However this could have put any witnesses outside in more direct contact with the altercation than the initial reports suggested. Saving Country Music has obtained copies of both indictments from the Grand Jury, from the 2nd Degree Murder charge, and the multiple charges from the domestic assault incident in July. Names of three separate witnesses to the shooting that are not members of the Nashville Police Department are listed in the indictment.

Witnesses & Motive

The Tennessean report from Chris Ferrell’s bond hearing also states, “Ferrell testified that he posed for a group photo at 4:08 a.m. alongside Mills, musician Shooter Jennings, and others. The crowd had dissipated by the time he called 911 to report the shooting at 4:56 a.m.” Shooter Jennings reportedly left roughly 5 minutes before the killing, and is not listed in the 2nd Degree Murder indictment as a direct witness. The other witnesses stated they had cleared out of the Pit & Barrel before the killing occurred. But that doesn’t mean that Jennings and the other witnesses do not have further information that could be important to the case.

The physical evidence from the crime scene is an important element, but if the prosecution is to going to refute that Chris Ferrell acted in self-defense, they must establish a motive of why Chris Ferrell purposely wanted or tried to hurt and/or kill Wayne Mills. These witnesses may have more information on the moments before the killing that could help establish a motive. If the killing was somehow an accident, Chris Ferrell could still be responsible, but the killing may not fall under the jurisdiction of 2nd Degree Murder, but a less-severe manslaughter charge.

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Fans of Wayne Mills may want justice and a quick resolution to the charges stemming from a killing, but murder cases can sometimes take years to resolve. And the Wayne Mills murder case seems to be an especially complex one.

Jan
6

Ray Price Widow Pens Touching Letter To Fans

January 6, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  5 Comments

Nearly three weeks after the passing of country music titan Ray Price on December 16th, and his wife Janie Price has published a very touching letter to Ray’s fans about her husband, and the days proceeding his death. Ray was remembered in public memorials both in his home of Mount Pleasant in east Texas on Saturday, December 21st, and in the Dallas suburb of Richardson on December 28th.

ray-price-2Hello Friends,

I wanted to stop by for just a moment to tell you that I am just now able to speak to you.

The days have been a blur since I lost Ray on December 16, 2013.

Only God knows how I was able to make all of the arrangements for the first Memorial Service, the Funeral and the Entombment at Restland.

The hardest part of all was walking into our home alone and looking at Rays favorite chair empty and knowng I will never see him there again.

I have been confined to bedrest under Doctors orders for extreme exhaustion. I am slowly recovering but still so very tired.

Ray had been hospitalized over and over again since January, 2013. Of course, as you know, entirely for the last three months.

Ray fought bravely to live for as long as he could. When we were given the Ultimate End Of Life Prognosis by the Doctors, I watched as Ray simply accepted his fate.

Ray made every final decision for the end of his life decisively with the same poise and confidence he displayed every time he stepped center stage, picked up a microphone and began to sing,

Ray faced Death with an unflinching bravery that astonished every person in his presence up to the very last breath he breathed.

I was reminded daily of the reasons I had given up a golden
opportunity to have my own career so many years ago and had so carefully chosen this man to be my husband. Ray prepared me for facing all of the perils of a marriage to a famous country music star. He left me with a warning of how disastrous the end would be.

Rays Love For Me Has Sustained Me. I Chose Ray Because Of His
Kindness, Gentleness, Strength And Courage.

What A Great Honor To Have Been Chosen By Ray Price Be His Wife! What A Great Man!

Earth’s Loss Was Heaven’s Gain!

I Pray I will regain my strength and that I will be able to go forward with the plans and dreams that Ray entrusted me to carry on for him.

I Am So Proud To Tell You That I Am Mrs. Ray Price!

Blessings To All, Janie Price


Jan
5

Justin Townes Earle Gets Hitched

January 5, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  12 Comments

justin-townes-earle-wifeApparently while none of us were looking, Justin Townes Earle went off and got hitched. Mr. Mysterio divulged his new relationship status in some recent tweets, saying in part, “Oh yea I forgot to tell all!! I married the best most beautiful person I have ever known. I think I know what it means to be truly happy now.” According to a recent article in the Boston Globe’s Lifestyle section, the nuptials happened in mid October in Tahoe.

“It was kind of an immediate thing,” Earle explained to The Globe. “We met four months before we spent one week together in Texas and two weeks together in Salt Lake. We just decided to do it because our families tend to complicate our lives, and we thought this is our day and has nothing to do with anybody else and we shouldn’t have to run around on our wedding day and take care of people, which is exactly what would have happened. I believe it’s not about the other people. I think a lot of women want weddings . . . but it gets completely out of control. People are spending ridiculous amounts of money on weddings. Go buy a house. Take a vacation.”

Just like Justin Townes Earle, his wife is a tall one that likes tattoos. “My wife is pretty well ‘sleeved’ in the right arm and has pieced together tattoos diagonal across her body. When she was 11, she was the national US water-skiing champion and then she did freestyle half-pipe snowboarding when she was a teenager and then started racing Super-G. Her form is absolutely stunning. Now she’s a gyrotonics teacher so she’s 6’3’’ with an amazing body and those tattoos. And I’m 6’4”.”

Justin is between albums after finishing up a five contract stint with Bloodshot Records, and has been having trouble with his new label Communion Records who is insisting he turn in 30 songs to them before they will pay for studio time so the label can “help” him make the record. “I have not, and never will write 30 songs in a year,” Justin insists. “That isn’t art it’s vomit. I write a record. Quality matters not quantity!”

No name has been divulged yet on the new Mrs. Townes Earle.

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