One of the first women in country music to break down the gender barrier, and a six decade member of the Grand Ole Opry, has died. Jean Shepard, famous for recording such iconic songs as “A Satisfied Mind,” “Beautiful Lies,” and her duet with Ferlin Husky on the iconic “A Dear John Letter” passed away Sunday, September 24th. She was 82-years-old.
On his 79th birthday, one of the most legendary performers in country music history has died. According to numerous sources, Merle Haggard passed away this morning, April 6th. This story is developing, and Saving Country Music will keep you abreast via continued updates as details emerge and remembrances pour in.
Though Young was considered mostly a background member of the Outlaw movement for many years, his appearance on the legendary Outlaw documentary Heartworn Highways helped awaken the world to his talent. Though he still remained mostly known through the songs he wrote that others performed, Young had a strong solo career and released a total of 14 albums.
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Devastating news out of Bakersfield, California Friday night that country legend Red Simpson has passed away. According to the performer’s family, Red died today, January 8th. Simpson was just getting ready to release his first official record since 1973 in February with his best friend Mario Carboni. He was 81-years-old.
Tommy Overstreet, best known for his hit “Ann (Don’t Go Runnin’),” has died at his home in Hillsboro, Oregon. The countrypolitan singer, who amassed a total of five Top 5 singles and eleven Top 10 singles over his career, passed away on Monday morning (11-2). He was 78-years-old. Known as “T.O.” by many fans, he was born on September 10th, 1937 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
David Rodriguez, a beloved and influential Texas singer, songwriter, poet, and part of an extended musical family, passed away on Monday (10-26) at his home in the Netherlands according to his family. He was 63-years-old. Word quickly spread around the Austin and Texas songwriter community, and the Rodriguez-influenced Lyle Lovett dedicated his final song to Rodriguez at his show at Austin’s Paramount Theatre.
One of the most revered and recognizable voices in American pop and country music has passed away. The “boy from down in the boondocks,” Billy Joe Royal, died on Tuesday, October 6th at his home in Marietta, North Carolina. The Valdosta, Georgia native and world renown singer was 73-years-old. According to reports, he passed away quietly in his sleep.
One of the most important, influential, and successful producers in the history of country music has passed away. Billy Sherrill, known as one of the fathers of the “Countrypolitan or “Nashville Sound,” and a Country Music Hall of Fame and Musician’s Hall of Fame inductee, died Tuesday (8-4) morning due to illness. He was 78-years-old.
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Lynn Anderson, the singer of 12 country music #1’s, and known as the “Great Lady of Country Music,” has passed away according to reports. She died Thursday night (7-30) of a heart attack at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Anderson was 67-years-old.
One of the most important and influential steel guitar players in the history of country music has died. Buddy Emmons, known as the “The World’s Foremost Steel Guitarist” passed away Wednesday evening (7-29) according to reports. He was 78-years-old.
You may not be comfortable with how exactly to define the quasi country, quasi-rock music that comes out of the Texas / Oklahoma region known as Red Dirt, but what you can be confident in is that it would never have come to life like it did without a man named Tom Skinner. Bass player, songwriter, and father of Red Dirt music Tom Skinner passed away Sunday evening, July 12th.
Texas Playboy, Million Dollar Band member, and legendary country and Western Swing fiddle player Johnny Gimble has passed away. Known best as one of the primary fiddle players in Bob Wills’ Western Swing band the Texas Playboys, Gimble spent his life charming audiences and being revered as one of the Godfathers of Texas fiddle music. “My hero passed away today. Godspeed Johnny Gimble. We love you,” said current Western Swing fiddle maestro Jason Roberts
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Joe B. Maudlin, the long-time bass player for The Crickets and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, has died in Nashville according to The Tennessean. As the backing band for Buddy Holly, and an irreplaceable element of early American music, The Crickets helped forge the sound that would later become an essential building block for successful artists and bands such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and beyond.
A country music legend, and one of the oldest living country music performers from country’s golden era, is gone. “Little” Jimmy Dickens, one of the most venerable members of The Grand Ole Opry and a country music Hall of Famer, was admitted to the hospital on Christmas for an undisclosed illness, and passed away on Friday, January 2nd. He has just turned 94 on December 19th.
Tragic news out of Nashville where where prolific and beloved bass player Henry Strzelecki has passed away after being struck by a vehicle while out for a walk Monday, December 22nd. Strzelecki experienced severe injuries including major head trauma in the accident, and was in a coma over the holidays. He eventually passed away from the injuries on December 30th.
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Astounding and acclaimed country music vocalist Dawn Sears, known for being one of the members of the Western Swing outfit The Time Jumpers, a frequent collaborator and backup singer for fellow Time Jumper Vince Gill, and a noted solo artist releasing multiple albums on her own, died of lung Cancer on Thursday, December 11th. She was 53-years-old.
The lawyer who was at the very center of revolutionizing country music in the mid 70’s as part of the Outlaw movement with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, has passed away. Neil C. Reshen, the man who negotiated Willie Nelson out of his RCA contract, and also helped negotiate the creative freedom for Waylon Jennings within RCA, passed away on Sunday, December 6th.
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Bob Montgomery, most famous for being the teenage friend, songwriter, and duo partner of Buddy Holly, and for writing iconic country songs like “Back in Baby’s Arms” by Patsy Cline, and “Misty Blue” recorded by Eddy Arnold, Wilma Burgess, and many others, has died according to his son and fellow musician Kevin Montgomery. He was 77-years-old.
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Ever since October 1st when Reno, Nevada-based country outfit Hellbound Glory posted on their Facebook page “31 more nights… till the death of Hellbound Glory…” speculation has run rampant about what might befall the band on All Hallows’ Eve as it fastly approaches. Subsequently Hellbound Glory has booked a concert they’re advertising by saying “Witness The Death of Hellbound Glory.”
An important and beloved member of the Texas Music Scene passed away unexpectedly on Monday morning (10-20). Singer and songwriter Ronny Spears had just played a show at Hank’s in McKinney, TX with frequent collaborator and dear friend Robby White on Saturday night, and 36 hours later fans were shocked to hear of his passing. It was White who told Ronny Spears’ many fans the terrible news.
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