Thursday, January 18, 2018

Will 2018 Be Dottie West’s Hall of Fame Year? By Ron Harman

Will 2018 Be Dottie West’s Hall of Fame Year?
By Ron Harman

Strong-willed and charismatic Dottie West was one of the female artists who blazed a new trail for women in country music, helping to shape the way women were, and continue to be, perceived in the industry. Her legacy among the first trendsetting women in country music is unquestioned, and her work stands on its own merit.

So why then, over 26 years after her untimely death, is Dottie West not honored in the Country Music Hall of Fame?

That question was prevalent at the “Dottie West Birthday Jam” which was held this past October at the Third & Lindsley music venue in Nashville.
Dottie had a sharp, keen eye for talent. She was instrumental in the careers of fellow Grand Ole Opry members Jeannie Seely, Larry Gatlin, and Steve Wariner.
“Dottie was one of the first artists to record one of my songs, and she encouraged me to move to Nashville,” notes Jeannie, who hosted the Dottie West Birthday Jam. “Those who knew Dottie remember her selfless demeanor and how she was always helping others,” Jeannie adds, “so it was only fitting that her Birthday Jam was a benefit to raise money for the Nashville Musicians Emergency Relief Fund.”

Larry Gatlin was among those to join Jeannie onstage at the October event honoring their longtime friend. In his 1998 autobiography Larry wrote: “She [Dottie] loved good songs and songwriters, and they all flocked to her – Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, and Red Lane. I would soon become part of this crowd – the wildest and most talented bunch of songwriters I’ve ever seen – and I would meet them, all because of Dottie.”
Unable to attend the Birthday Jam in person, Steve Wariner addressed the crowd via a video message by saying, "You know, Dottie West knocked down a whole lot of doors that a lot of girl singers walked through later on, and I just hope they realize it. The first girl singer to win a Grammy in 1964, first female country artist. That is huge, and reason enough for me for her to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

Others performing at the Dottie West Birthday Jam included David Frizzell, Jimmy and Michele Capps, John Schneider, Tony Toliver, Dottie’s daughter Shelly West, her sons Kerry and Dale West, and her granddaughter Tess Frizzell.
Dottie was known for her heart-of-gold manner, and for feeding lonely or needy artists and songwriters her home-cooked meals. In her 2005 memoir Looking Back To See, Hall of Fame member Maxine Brown wrote: “Dottie was the only one who ever invited me and my children to her home for Sunday dinners. I’ve always been grateful for her kindness to my children and me.” Maxine, the only surviving member of The Browns, is among the many who have joined Steve, Jeannie, and Larry in support of Dottie’s Hall of Fame induction.
Also included on that list of supporters is the name of Kenny Rogers. In a 1978 press release for their duet album Every Time Two Fools Collide, Kenny credited Dottie with further establishing and cementing his career with country music audiences.
Fast forward 36 years to the opening of the Kenny Rogers exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Kenny addressed the crowd that evening by emphatically stating: "But mostly I want to go on the record right now saying, we need to get Dottie West in here. That girl deserves this, and if there's anything I can do, I'm gonna do it."

Dottie recorded duets with not only Kenny, but also with Jim Reeves, Don Gibson, and Jimmy Dean – and like Kenny, they all have plaques hanging in the Hall of Fame today.
Dorothy Marie Marsh grew up as a poor farm girl in little McMinnville, Tennessee. She had the guts and drive to become a music major at Tennessee Tech, then later began her quest in search of singing fame by landing a job at the Cleveland, Ohio, country TV show Landmark Jamboree.
During that time she would get to work with Opry singers and Nashville talent who would make guest appearances on the show. Dottie would later cite female stars of the day and future Hall of Famers Mother Maybelle Carter, Patsy Cline, Minnie Pearl, and Brenda Lee (another present-day supporter for Dottie’s Hall of Fame induction) as important teachers during that period of her life.
Dottie began writing songs in 1961, and her songwriting effort “Is This Me?” became a Top 5 hit for Jim Reeves. That led to a recording contract on RCA for Dottie and the beginning of her own hit-making career.
They called them “girl singers” when Dottie began her career in country music, and there weren’t many of them around. Women had an uphill fight, and Dottie was right there in the trenches. She became a pioneer in establishing females as both songwriters and solo vocalists, and she helped change the status from mere “pretty little girl” stage decoration to female headliner.

Dottie stepped into the solo limelight with her self-composed single “Here Comes My Baby,” which garnered her the first Grammy Award ever presented to a female country artist and led her way to membership in the Grand Ole Opry. What many don’t realize is that Dottie’s subsequent recordings earned her 15 additional Grammy nominations. That’s more nominations than even Elvis received.
Dottie’s motivation, determination, and frankness allowed her to break barriers for women in country music. “I don’t speak for others, though, I speak for me. I tell it like it is,” she once said. But in speaking for herself, she spoke for her generation of women.
In a 1985 interview, Dottie said, “Finally, they know that we can sell tickets to concerts and we can sell records.” And she did both. Dottie performed on stages everywhere from clubs, festivals, and county fairs, to casinos, cruise ships, arenas, and stadiums. Along the way she placed 63 records on Billboard’s country singles chart, including five No. 1 hits. She also charted 23 country albums as well.
Dottie appeared in stage productions, in motion pictures, and on television shows like Solid Gold, Midnight Special, The Love Boat, The Fall Guy, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Hollywood Squares, Hee Haw, American Music Awards, and many others. She rode on her own float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, she was the ringmaster on a Circus of the Stars special, and she was a guest on TV shows hosted by John Davidson, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Glen Campbell, Barbara Mandrell, Ralph Emery, and others.
Dottie received a prestigious Clio advertising award for “Country Sunshine,” two CMA Awards, and several BMI Awards for her songwriting. In addition to Jim Reeves, Dottie’s songs have been recorded by Perry Como, Dean Martin, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, The Browns, Skeeter Davis, Tammy Wynette, Lorrie Morgan, and many others.
Dottie’s successful career took her though over 25 years of country stardom, through thousands of autographs and photos with fans, and through milestones, triumphs, and tragedies.
On September 4, 1991, Dottie died at the age of 58 as the result of injuries she had sustained in an automobile accident five days earlier on her way to perform on the Grand Ole Opry. At her funeral, Kenny Rogers said: “When she sang about pain, she felt pain; when she sang about love, she felt love; and when she sang about beauty, she felt that beauty. While some performers sang words, she sang emotions.”
On the 25th anniversary of Dottie’s accident, Jeannie Seely placed a wooden cross along the Briley Parkway exit ramp in memory of her close friend and mentor. The cross is one of the many Nashville reminders of Dottie’s legacy. Her Bob Mackie outfits are on display in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and in the Willie Nelson & Friends Museum, and she’s represented in an Opry exhibit at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. There’s a mosaic mural of Dottie made from guitar pics at the Famous Saloon which is co-owned by May West, Dottie’s granddaughter. A guitar with Dottie’s name on it sits in a case at Legend’s Corner on Broadway, and there’s a mural honoring Dottie at The Row restaurant located near Music Row.
What’s missing, though, is Dottie’s plaque in the Country Music Hall of Fame rotunda.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a lot of people accepted country music who didn’t before because of performers who reached out to bigger audiences like Alabama, Dolly Parton, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell, Kenny Rogers, Dottie West, the Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Travis, George Strait, and Reba McEntire. With the exception of Dottie, all of those artists are now represented in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In the 1990s Garth Brooks continued to spread country music to wider audiences. After his 2012 Hall of Fame inductee announcement, Garth revealed in an interview that he actually attempted to turn his induction down, feeling that there were others that were more worthy than him. “I’m trying to enjoy the day,” Garth continued to explain, “and at the same time, all you can think about are the people that need to be in here that aren’t in here yet. So now it’s every Hall of Fame member’s job to make sure that we push and push to make sure all those people get in here…and they should have been here before Garth Brooks.”

Dottie knocked down doors in a “good ole boy” era that wasn’t readily going to let the girls in. Of the 133 current members in the Country Music Hall of Fame, 78% are males, 12% are duos or groups, and 10% are females. The last solo female artist to be inducted into the Hall of Fame was six years ago.

Dottie West was one of the most admired, talented, creative, identifiable, original, influential, giving, supportive, and impactful artists and entertainers in country music history. The Country Music Association (CMA) states their mission for the Hall of Fame is to recognize the most significant contributions to the advancement of country music. Hopefully that recognition will include the induction of Dottie West in 2018.
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Thursday, December 7, 2017


Vassar Continues ‘A Christmas Tour’ with Kellie Pickler
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (December 7, 2017)– Country music hitmaker Phil Vassar will bring holiday cheer to "Fox & Friends" when he performs festive tunes Tuesday, December 12. Vassar will stop by the morning show before he attends the USO's NY Anniversary Armed Forces Gala and Gold Medal Dinner.

Tuesday, December 12
"Fox & Friends"
6AM to 9AM ET
Click here for more information

Vassar and critically-acclaimed country music singer/songwriter and television personality Kellie Pickler continue entertaining audiences across the U.S. on their A Christmas Tour.  They also collaborated on a new, original holiday tune “The Naughty List.”

"The Naughty List" was written by Vassar and Juliana Songs, and co-produced by Vassar and long-time friend Dane Bryant, who also co-produced Vassar’s first Christmas album, Noel.

For more information on Phil Vassar, visit and follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Dec. 8 Madisonville, KY The Glema Mahr Center for the Arts
Dec. 9 El Dorado, AR Griffin Music Hall
Dec. 10 State University, AR Fowler Center @ Arkansas State University
Dec. 14 Hamlet, NC Cole Auditorium & Community Center
Dec. 15 North Canton, OH Canton Palace Theatre
Dec. 16 Rising Sun, IN Rising Star Casino Resort
Dec. 17 Dearborn, MI Ford Community & Performing Arts Center
Dec. 20 New Brunswick, NJ State Theatre
Dec. 21 Annapolis, MD Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts
Dec. 22 Frederick, MD Weinberg Center for the Arts
Dec. 23 Charlottesville, VA The Paramount Theater


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (December 6, 2017) - Today the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum announced The Judds will be featured in an exhibit opening Aug. 3, 2018. 

The exhibit will explore the lives and careers of the GRAMMY®-winning mother-daughter duo. Wynonna and Naomi Judd brought a fresh acoustic sound to country music, with unmistakable harmonies surrounding Wynonna’s powerful lead vocals. The Judds dominated the country charts during the 1980s and ’90s, and have sold more than 20 million albums and registered 20 Top 10 hits.  

"The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is sacred ground regarded with reverence and respect. I am so overjoyed to have the Judds career encapsulated in this new exhibit," Naomi said. “I'm so proud of all the success Wynonna has accomplished and we owe everything to the fans who welcomed the Judds music into their homes."

"I am truly humbled and grateful to partner with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to honor the Judds legacy and relive some of the special moments we shared with our fans. What an honor," Wynonna said.

For more information on Naomi Judd, follow her on Facebook and Instagram or visit For more information about Wynonna Judd, follow her on FacebookInstagramTwitter or visit

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Naomi Judd to Guest Announce During December 9 Grand Ole Opry and Sign Copies of "River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope" Prior to Show
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (November 30, 2017) - Naomi Judd will be all over national television, radio and online media next week when she releases the paperback version of “River of Time: My Descent Into Depression and How I Emerged With Hope.”

The Grammy-winning country icon, best-selling author and actress will appear on TODAY, Dr. Oz, Access Hollywood, Varney and Co., Huckabee, HARRY, Honky Tonkin' with Tracy Lawrence, SiriusXM's Prime Country and MORE as Judd opens up about "River of Time." Judd will also appear on the Grand Ole Opry as a Guest Announcer December 9 and sign copies of the book prior to the show.

December 5
8:00am and 9:00am

December 6
Dr. Oz (syndicated)
Click here for listings

Access Hollywood (NBC)
Click here for listings

December 8
Varney and Co. (Fox Business)
Click here for listings

December 9
Huckabee (TBN)
Click here for listings

December 21
HARRY (syndicated)
Click here for listings

December 2-3
Honky Tonkin’ with Tracy Lawrence
Click here for listings

To be announced:
Town Hall w/ Naomi Judd and host Charlie Monk
SiriusXM Prime Country (Ch. 58)
Click here for more information

“I wrote it with the sincere hope of offering encouragement to the 40 million Americans who suffer from depression and anxiety every minute of every day and night,” Judd said. “I want them to know that I understand, and I’m here to help."

Judd first captured the attention of the entire world as half of The Judds, which she formed with her daughter Wynonna. The Judds sold 20 million records, scored fifteen No. 1 hits, and received more than 60 industry awards, including six GRAMMY® awards and seven consecutive CMA Vocal Group of the Year trophies. That ride came to a screeching halt when Naomi was diagnosed with Hepatitis C––and given only three years to live. Instead of accepting her fate, the former registered nurse educated herself and pursued healing. Today, Naomi is Hep C-free––a medically documented miracle.

For more information, follow Naomi Judd on Facebook and Instagram or visit

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Photo courtesy of Ed Rode
Nashville, Tenn. (November 28, 2017) -- Country and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs climbed aboard the 75th running of the CSX Santa Train on Saturday, November 18 for a 110-mile route through Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee and performed for the crowds in Kingsport. 

Skaggs joined Santa Claus and volunteers from the Kingsport Chamber, Food City, Appalachian Power, Soles4Souls and presenting sponsor CSX Transportation in handing out more than 15 tons of gifts at the 14 stops along the route.

"I didn't know exactly what to expect, I just knew we were gonna be giving away toys, backpacks, clothing and food to the folks in the mountains, but those precious faces I saw gave me more than I gave them. A very moving event," notes Skaggs. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat. CXS was totally professional and prepared. 75 years! Then you have Santa! Awesome!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Nelons The Americana Sessions Available Today! Beloved Family Group Performs Iconic Classic Songs

(November 24, 2017 – Nashville, TN) – The Nelons, known for their intricate family harmonies and soaring vocalshave put their signature style on beloved American classics with their new release, The Americana Sessions, available today on Daywind Records
Produced and arranged by Jason Clark, the project features iconic classic compositions with intricate and stunning family harmonies, delivering the musical excellence that Kelly, Jason, Amber and Autumn are known for. From Glen Campbell's "Gentle On My Mind," to Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors," and "An American Trilogy," to "Bridge Over Troubled Water," The Nelons weave songs of faith, family, God and country in a seamless journey on what could be condisdered a songbook of American culture.

To support the new release, The Nelons have embarked on The Americana Sessions Tour, receiving rave reviews with many SOLD OUT performances in theatres across the country.
 The Americana Sessions is available now at, iTunes, Amazon and other digital retail outlets.

  1. Gentle on my Mind
  2. Colors of the Wind
  3. Coat of Many Colors
  4. You Needed Me
  5. Daddy and Son
  6. Bridge Over Trouble Waters
  7. Oh, Senendoah
  8. Take Me Home, Country Roads
  9. An American Trilogy
  10. Mama Tried
  11. Battlefield

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Recent Appearances and Performances Include The Talk, HARRY, Rachael Ray Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, Pickler and Ben, TODAY, AOL Build, HLN’s Morning Express and MORE!

‘Set The Record Straight’ Cyrus’ 15th Billboard Top 40 Country Album
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (November 21, 2017) – Momentum continues for Billy Ray Cyrus’ new album Set The Record Straight, his 15th Billboard Top 40 Country Album, which includes a new collaboration with Noah Cyrus and U.S. Navy Veteran Derek Jones on “Tulsa Time (Rokman Remix).” CLICK HERE to watch their new “Tulsa Time (Rokman Remix)” video!

“This is a party. This is a good time with a rock n’ roll band and a dance groove. So fun! Made loud to be played loud!” Billy Ray Cyrus said.

"I shared the greatest gift I have to give with him - a great song, my daughter and her talent," Cyrus said of his tribute to Don Williams with Jones, who served in Iraq as an MM3 Machinist Third Class Petty Officer .

The international country music icon is everywhere promoting Set The Record Straight, including performances and appearances on The TalkHARRYRachael Ray ShowLast Call with Carson DalyPickler and BenTODAYAOL BuildHLN’s Morning Express and MORE!

Cyrus’ Set The Record Straight also features collaborations with Joe Perry, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Bryan Adams, Glenn Hughes, Jencarlos Canela and Ronnie Milsap.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (November 21, 2017) – Conway Twitty, one of America's most-loved performers of all-time with 55 No. 1 one hits to his credit (second only to George Strait) created a musical legacy that continues to endure and thrive almost a quarter-century after his passing in 1993. Country Rewind Records has released TIMELESS, a collection of never before heard recordings from Twitty himself. The new record is now available on vinyl and it’s the first vinyl release of Conway music since the 1991 record Even Now. The vinyl is available on and Amazon.

The songs on Timeless haven't been heard since their original airing in 1972, included in a series of musical recordings from top artists at the time as part of a United States recruitment program. Singers such as Dolly Parton, George Jones, and Waylon Jennings would record fifteen-minute performances that would be distributed to over 2,000 radio stations throughout the world intended for commercial release. Tom Gramuglia of Country Rewind Records, says that he can’t wait for fans to hear these recordings - which put the recorded genius of Conway Twitty on full display for all to hear.

“These recordings were long forgotten and few people who knew of their existence. They’ve never before been made commercially available to the public and I truly felt like this music needed to be shared with long-time traditional fans, and heard by our younger generation of Millennials who have a flavor and inkling for country music recording artists that made American country music great.”

"Timeless is a truly special piece of Country Music history that reminds listeners of the exquisite musical legacy of an artist who was rightfully called "The Best Friend A Song Ever Had." The title of the album says it all. Conway Twitty was - is - and always will be 'Timeless.'" - Chuck Dauphin, Billboard Magazine

The music on Timeless is a mixture of many of the songs that made Conway Twitty a household name, such as his signature song from 1970, “Hello Darlin,” as well as a pair of deeper Twitty cuts that are no less historic or powerful - “The Image Of Me” and “Next In Line” (his first top ten and number one hits, respectively) from 1968. His band, the Twitty Birds - featuring steel guitar wizard John “Buttermilk” Hughey, bassist “Big Joe” Lewis, and drummer Tommy “Pork Chop” Markham - are featured on Timeless, as well as new musical accompaniment produced by Twitty’s daughter and son-in-law, Joni and John Wesley Ryles. Joni - who performed with her father on the 1975 classic “Don’t Cry Joni” - says this music is something that Twitty’s loyal following will want to add to their collection:

“When I heard it, I was blown away. I couldn't be prouder of Dad's performance, and the Twitty Birds did such a great job. Every Conway Twitty fan needs to hear this. My family could not be more pleased to celebrate his life in music with this compilation of treasures.” Ryles says that her family has been pleased to see that his music continues to warrant praise and attention from many of today’s biggest stars - something for which she is grateful.

While the sessions that comprise Timeless weren’t the typical Decca recording session with Owen Bradley producing, these tracks - cut at the studio of former Elvis Presley band member Scotty Moore - drip with as much perfection as anything he cut at Bradley’s Barn. It wasn't like a typical session where everything was perfected,” explained Ryles. “But, these songs are an incredible gift, and Daddy was sounding as incredible as he ever did. These recordings make my heart smile, and I think his fans will feel the same way.”

Timeless Track Listing:
1. (Lost Her Love) On Our Last Date
2. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)
3. Hello Darlin’
4. How Much More Can She Stand
5. Working Girl
6. I Can’t See Me Without You
7. I Love You More Today
8. Crazy Arms
9. 15 Years Ago
10. Honky Tonk Man
11. The Image Of Me
12. If You Were Mine To Lose
13. Proud Mary
14. Next In Line

Monday, November 20, 2017


Legendary Country Group Announces First Round of Concert Dates for 2018 Tour Schedule 
Nashville, Tenn. (November 17, 2017) — Due to popular demand, legendary GRAMMY® Award-winning country music group Shenandoah has announced an extension of its 30th Anniversary Tour into 2018. Today, the band unveiled its first round of live concert dates scheduled to take place next year as a continued celebration of Shenandoah's three decades of music. A total of 21 extended tour concerts were announced with stops in Green Bay, WI, Bremen, GA, Hinton, OK, Lubbock, TX, Pigeon Forge, TN, Greenville, AL, and more.
"I still can't believe it's been 30 years since we started this journey," notes Shenandoah's Mike McGuire. "We could've never imagined back then that we would've lasted this long. A big 'thank you' to the unsung heroes that are the driving force in any career like ours, the songwriters. They gave us great material to record and other than Marty's vocals, I believe that is the biggest ingredient that has afforded us this kind of longevity." 
Shenandoah frontman Marty Raybon adds, "It's been great watching the crowds get larger and more energized. It allows you to believe and feel that what you're doing is right. It's not only a wonderful time in life, it's a great place to spend it, in front of a multitude of people, friends and fans. I say load the calendar and bring on 2018!"
Last month, Shenandoah premiered a new song, "Noise," on SiriusXM Prime Country, marking the group's first single released to radio in 20 years. The track, available through BMG, and produced by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flattsfame, has critics raving and is quickly gaining traction at radio. The new song serves as a preview to an upcoming full-length album, currently scheduled for an early 2018 commercial release.
"Noise" is available for digital download now at iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon and Google Play. Digital review copies are available upon request.
Shenandoah's 2018 30th Anniversary Tour kicks off January 12 is Palmetto, FL. Additional tour dates will be announced soon.
2018 Shenandoah 30th Anniversary Tour schedule:

Jan 12 - Palmetto, FL - Manatee County Fair
Jan 25 - Green Bay, WI - Meyer Theatre
Jan 26 - Eau Claire, WI - State Fair
Feb 16 - Poplar Bluff, MO - Black River Coliseum
Feb 17 - Bremen, GA - Milltown Music Hall
March 22 - New Braunfels, TX - Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre
March 24 - Hinton, OK - Sugar Creek Casino
April 12 - Pigeon Forge, TN - Dollywood
April 20 - Black River Falls, WI - Ho Chunk Casino
April 28 - Lubbock, TX - Boots & Badges Fundraiser
May 12 - Greeneville, TN - Niswonger PAC
June 2 - Buffalo, TX - Leon County Expo Center
June 17 - Marinette, WI - Porterfield Country Music Festival
June 22 - Fredericksburg, TX - Rockbox Theater
June 23 - Weatherford, TX - Texas Opry Theater
July 28 - Benkelman, NE - Dundy County Fair
Aug 25 - Chattanooga, TN - Tivoli Theatre
Sept 8 - Gail, TX - The Coyote Store
Oct 11 - Greenville, AL - The Ritz Theatre
Oct 19 - Pigeon Forge, TN - Country Tonite Theatre
Nov 8 - Somerset, KY - Center for Rural Development