Stonewall Jackson Back on the Opry & Bunch of Other Stuff
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the Hank 3 music blog about Hank III Listening Parties happening around the country. I might have more about this in a future blog.
If you read my blog from yesterday and thought you saw some of the language change, you were not high. Or maybe you were high, but the language changed also. After I posted that blog, someone in the know told me that the Jimmy Kimmel gig IS NOT CONFIRMED! There’s still definitely a chance it’ll go down, or that Hank III will play another LA show like The Tonight Show, or Carson Daly’s thing, they just haven’t confirmed any of that yet, so stay tuned.
Also, Galea Bad Housewife has posted her cover of Hank III’s Straight to Hell, so go over there and check that out. I wrote about her in my Ode to the Hellbetties blog. The significance of this is it’s the first time anyone has officially covered a Hank III song, where he’ll get royalties from it and the whole bit. Other artists covering Hank III’s songs is a great way to get III’s music out there.
Stonewall Jackson Back at the Opry
It might seem like a small victory to some, but not if you’re Stonewall or a Stonewall fan. This also has some significance in the movement to Reinstate Hank Williams into the Grand Ole Opry.
For those of you who do not know who Stonewall Jackson is you can click here, but he is a long time Opry performer who recently had his performances cut to the point that he no longer was considered ‘full time’ and was not able to get health insurance and other benefits.
So Stonewall started a lawsuit against to Opry for $20 million for age discrimination. Stonewall, like so many aging performers believed in a code of the Opry: Perform a set number of dates each year, even when you could make more money playing tour dates and always have a place to play when the hits stop coming. But like so many Opry performers, Stonewall was being forced out, a trend that started when Gaylord Entertainment, the current owner of the Opry, brought in Pete Fisher (the same man that said the Opry would never reinstate a dead man) in 1998.
Nobody knows exactly how the lawsuit was settled, but Stonewall is back on the Opry performing with other legacy members like Little Jimmy Dickens again. This is very good news.
I think this development also has some significance with the movement to reinstate Hank Williams to the Opry, because it involves the Opry reversing a decision it made about a performer. It also shows what public pressure can do, and what can happen when the Opry has a public relations nightmare on their hands. The story of Stonewall, a legendary performer who has been an Opry member since 1956 being denied health benefits became a juicy story for media outlets, especially with the current economic situation. The media stories and the lawsuit eventually made it where it was not worth it to the Opry to save whatever money they were saving by denying Stonewall benefits.
If the Opry found itself in a similar situation with Hank Williams, where whatever principles the Opry was holding firm to were not worth the public relations problems they were causing, then they would have no other choice but to bow to public pressure.
I feel and have always felt that this course of action is the best way to make the Reinstate Hank movement successful. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll have the time to iterate exactly how I think this can be done.
Eugene N. Brice
December 22, 2015 @ 8:31 am
I noticed on a recent Marty Stuart show, Stonewall Jackson performed and sat on sideline
as guests do. After Connie Smith sang, she did not join Stonewall on sideline and did not
appear at end of show on stage to thank guests on the show. I know Connie was married
to Carl Smith and I wonder if there is hard feelings toward Stonewall suing Grand ‘Ol Opry
from Country music artists? Thanks.