As we look back on 2021 and before we look forward to 2022, it’s important we take the time to pay tribute to these individuals who left a mark on the country and roots music world that will never fade. Here are the performers, players, songwriters, and others we lost in 2021.
One of country music’s critically-important performers from the Golden Era of the 50’s and 60’s, and one of the Grand Ole Opry’s most regular performers throughout the years, has passed on to that big stage in the sky. Stonewall Jackson was not a nickname.
With the recent deaths of some of country music’s oldest living legends and links to its past such as Don Maddox of Maddox Brothers and Rose at the age of 98, and Sue Thompson at 96, it seems like a suitable time to ask, who are some of the oldest legends of country music still living?
Bill Hayes, Bill Pittman, Billie Jean Horton, Bobby Bare, Bobby Osborne, CW McCall, Jesse McReynolds, Jim and Jesse, Leroy Van Dyke, Loretta Lynn, Merv Shiner, Ray Howard, Rose Lee Maphis, Stonewall Jackson, The Osborne Brothers, Violet Hensley, Willie Nelson
Jan Howard’s death was marked with obituaries enumerating her many accomplishments in country music, including her hits, her collaborations with John Anderson, and her long tenure at the Grand Ole Opry. But when it comes to Jan Howard, it was just as much about the work she did off the stage, and out of the spotlight.
Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Connie Smith, George Strait, Grand Ole Opry, Hal Ketchum, Jan Howard, Jean Shepard, Jimmy C. Newmann, Keith Urban, Little Jimmy Dickens, Mack McKenzie, Marty Stuart, Patty Loveless, Stonewall Jackson, Terri Clark
As tax season approaches and we get the opportunity to tie a bow around the doings of 2019, it’s always interesting to look back on the year at the Grand Ole Opry to see which performing members are paying their proper dues to country music’s most historic institution, and which one’s aren’t.
Alan Jackson, Barbara Mandrell, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Chris Janson, Dan Rogers, Dustin Lynch, Gene Watson, Grand Ole Opry, Hal Ketchum, Kelsea Ballerini, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan, Luke Combs, Patty Loveless, Reba McEntire, Rhonda Vincent, Ronnie Milsap, Stonewall Jackson, Tom T. Hall
As the most storied institution in country, the direction of the Grand Ole Opry is always a hot topic, especially among traditional country fans. And many were unhappy with how the Opry functioned under the Pete Fisher regime. Of course the biggest question for Grand Ole Opry fans is who will be Pete Fisher’s replacement, and what direction will the new leadership take the institution?
With the passing of the 94-year-old “Little” Jimmy Dickens at the beginning of 2015, it’s a reminder for us to cherish the final living links to country music’s most legendary past who can still tell stories of how country music once was. The amount of performers who were important in forming the very foundation of country music are quickly fading away.
Bill Monroe, Billie Jean Horton, Bobby Osborne, Buck Owens, Buck White, Carter Stanley, Don Maddox, Eddie Arnold, Elvis, George Jones, Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Harold Bradley, Jan Howard, Jean Shepard, Jesse McReynolds, Jim and Jesse, Jim Ed Brown, Joe Pennington, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks, Lee Ann Womack, Lefty Frizell, Little Jimmy Dickens, Maddox Brothers & Rose, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis, Owen Bradley, Pee Wee King, Ralph Stanley, Ray Price, Red Simpson, Ricky Skaggs, Rose Maddox, Roy Acuff, Roy Orbison, Stonewall Jackson, Studio 'A', The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Grand Ole Opry, The Quonset Hut, The Stanley Brothers, The Whites, Tompall Glaser, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
When it comes to the preservation of the history and sound of country music, you can make the case there is nobody who does it better and with more passion and dedication than Marty Stuart. Tireless and true to his convictions, from his music, to his archive of memorabilia, to his presence on television and the Grand Ole Opry stage, and to some of the thankless things he does well out of the public eye…
B-Bender, Badlands Ballads of the Lakota, Brandy Clark, Clarence White, Connie Smith, Corb Lund, Del McCoury, Don Maddox, Gene Parson, Hummingbyrd, Jim Lauderdale, Johnny Cash, Justin Townes Earle, Lester Flatt, Let There Be Country, Marty Stuart, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Porter Wagoner, Roland White, Stonewall Jackson, Sturgill Simpson, The Byrds, The Grand Ole Opry, The Kentucky Colonels, The Marty Stuart Show
Did you know the first song to ever be featured on Breaking Bad was a classic country tune by Stonewall Jackson? They may not play real country on the radio anymore, but there’s many different ways you can skin a cat. As popular and critically-acclaimed TV series like Breaking Bad breathe new life into television, they have become an invaluable market for showcasing quality country and roots music from the past and present.
When looking at the historical timeline of country music, many times it is big events that set the wheels of change in motion, for the good and the bad. Whether it is intrusion of pop or rap into country, or the ill-treatment of country music greats, here are some of the most embarrassing moments in country music history.
Alan Jackson, Bob Dylan, Chris Gains, CMA Awards, Darius Rucker, DeFord Bailey. Jason Aldean, Dirt Road Anthem, Garth Brooks, George Jones, Grand Ole Opry, Hank Williams, Jakob Dylan, Jason & the Scorchers, Jessica Simpson, John Denver, John Hartford, Keith Urban, Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, Ludacris, Olivia Newton John, rap, Rascal Flatts, Reinstate Hank, Ryman Auditorium, Sheryl Crow, Stonewall Jackson, Struggle, Taylor Swift, Waylon Jennings
The problem with The Grand Ole Opry is that it is owned by a public company, Gaylord Entertainment, who is beholden to shareholders and profit margins before the Grand Ole Opry’s charter of preserving the roots and traditions of country music. The Country Music Hall of Fame on the other hand is a private, not-for-profit institution.
First off some house cleaning 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 […]
If you think that Hank Williams Sr. is the only person to get crossways with the Opry, check out this sordid history: DeFord Bailey: DeFord Bailey was the most influential harmonica player of the early 20th Century, and is known as the ‘Lost Legend of the Grand Ole Opry.’ The Opry owes this dude a […]