Thursday, October 8, 2009

Comments on the Nashville Music Garden Dedication on Sept. 29, 2009

After 30+ years as a country music fan and seeing lots of country stars over the years, last week I finally had the chance to see my two favorites in person at the same event! Today was any Barbara Mandrell fan's and/or Lynn Anderson fan's dream!!!!

I got downtown VERY early that morning. Outside near the garden, it was obvious that they were setting up for the ceremony. The garden and the area where the ceremony was held are really in the front yard of Nashville's Downtown Hilton, so I went into the Hilton lobby, figuring I'd eventually run into other people who were there for the dedication. That early, all was fairly quiet. Eventually, I saw Lynn Anderson's parents Casey and Liz come in, but before I could get anywhere close enough to speak to them, they went even further to the other side of the lobby and sat down. Some time later I looked over where they were sitting and there was Lynn talking to them! I walked over, pink hat in my hand (LYNN'S hat, that I was the high bidder for in the YWCA auction back in the summer!), and as soon as Lynn turned and looked my way, I waved at her and then went over to speak to her and give her a hug. She showed me how to carry the hat so as not to damage it, and then SHE put it on my head!

Knowing Lynn had a busy morning, I moved out of the way, back over into the middle of the lobby. By this time, other celebrities were starting to arrive. I was on my cell phone with a friend when I looked up and saw Barbara Mandrell and her husband just a few feet in front of me! Lynn came over to where Barbara was, they greeted each other and hugged, then patiently posed while a lot of us snapped pictures of them, me included.

The bouquet you'll see in a few of the shots taken inside the lobby is made out of sugar, and the brown boots the flowers are in is chocolate! The artists who had made the arrangement were there, and they got some pictures with Barbara and Lynn. I overheard one of the artists telling Barbara about watching her and her sisters on TV as a child.

Donna Fargo, Little Jimmy Dickens, Brenda Lee, Jeffrey Steele, and others gradually arrived. The friends who were there with me came in after Lynn and Barbara had moved on out of the lobby. About 30 minutes or so before time for the ceremony to begin, we went outside and found places to sit. Casey and Liz were sitting not too far in front of us, and whoever was in front of them had a dog with him/her. I saw Casey petting the dog after the dedication was over.

Ralph Emery hosted the ceremony. He introduced Barbara, who spoke for a bit and recognized Pat Bullard, the creator of the Nashville Music Garden. Then Barbara had Ralph come back to the mike and introduce Lynn, who then read the list of all the roses being dedicated that day. There was quite a long list, and all the people representing the roses came forward.

It was VERY windy outside at times, and the pink hat actually blew off my head twice! I quickly grabbed it and crammed it back on, and spent a lot of my time outside holding onto the hat with one hand!

Next, the honorees walked the Red Carpet to the actual garden area for the ribbon cutting; Nashville's mayor Karl Dean did the honors. The artists spent plenty of time posing for pictures in front of the garden, and were eventually ushered back inside for a press conference. Before going back into the Hilton, Lynn stopped by the RFD-TV table, where I got several more shots of her.

My friends and I hung out in the lobby for awhile longer, and eventually Lynn and Barbara came down the elevator together. I asked to get a picture with both of them together, which unfortunately did not take! However, I wouldn't take a million for those few seconds of just standing between Barbara Mandrell and Lynn Anderson! They are my two favorite entertainers EVER!!!!! All the kids who are now getting all excited about seeing the likes of Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.... that was ME 30+ years ago over Lynn and Barbara! Had I known then that I'd someday have the chance just to stand in between them, even though the picture I tried to get didn't work, I'd never have believed it!

Lynn and Barbara were in a hurry, so I didn't want to slow them down any more than I already had. However, I did ask Lynn how she managed to keep her hats from blowing off her head when it's windy like it was that day. She stepped back, took one look at me, and said, "Well, you've got it on backwards!" and the proceeded to take the hat off my head, turn it around, and put it back on my head the right way! LOL! When the wind blew it off, I just crammed it back on, not paying attention to how it went on!

Barbara and Lynn were on their way over to the Sommet Center (our arena where the Nashville Predators play) for a luncheon, so I figured that was going to take awhile. I really did need to get to work, so I left after the picture attempt that didn't work, as did the friends who were with me. What a GREAT day it was, and I wouldn't take a million for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are links to my pictures from that fun and fantastic day!




Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"The Wild Side Of Life"

"The Wild Side Of Life"
written by Arlie Carter and William Warren

You wouldn't read my letter if I wrote you
You asked me not to call you on the phone
But there's something I'm wanting to tell you
So I wrote it in the words of this song

I didn't know God made honky tonk angels
I might have known you'd never make a wife
You gave up the only one that ever loved you
And went back to the wild side of life

The glamor of the gay night life has lured you
To the places where the wine and liquor flows
Where you wait to be anybody's baby
And forget the truest love you'll ever know

(Repeat chorus)

When WSM-AM, the radio station I usually listen to during the day, played Hank Thompson's recording of "The Wild Side Of Life" yesterday, I decided to make this song the subject of my next blog.

At first glance, the subject matter appears to be what many would consider to be "typical country song fare": drinking, a broken relationship, etc. However, considering when this song was released, it bears a second look.

The best-known recording of "The Wild Side Of Life" was Hank Thompson's, which was released in 1952. Anyone currently living who was old enough to notice how things were in the 1950's (I'm not!) will remember that era as a time when broken marriages were rare, and wives stayed home to cook and keep house and raise children. Finding this subject matter in a song was one thing; actually seeing it played out in real life was something else entirely. That's not to say there weren't plenty of women who walked out on a seemingly good relationship in favor of a partying lifestyle; it just wasn't anything that was common at the time.

Now, 55 years after this song became a hit for Hank Thompson, if it were a new song written for this day and time, my guess is that it would be considered too "politically incorrect" to receive serious consideration for airplay. In general, I believe most country songwriters over the past 30 years or so have tried to move beyond the "typical country song fare" of drinking, cheating, and grieving lost love. It also wouldn't fly in this era for women to be held solely responsible for a relationship gone wrong.

Which brings me to the "answer" to "The Wild Side Of Life," the more-famous response song that made Kitty Wells a star.

"It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels"
written by J. D. Miller

As I sit here tonight the jukebox playin'
The tune about the wild side of life
As I listen to the words you are sayin'
It brings memories when I was a trusting wife

It wasn't God who made Honky Tonk angels
As you said in the words of your song
Too many times married men think they're still single
That has caused many a good girl to go wrong

It's a shame that all the blame is on us women
It's not true that only you men feel the same
From the start most every heart that's ever broken
Was because there always was a man to blame

It wasn't God who made Honky Tonk angels
As you said in the words of your song
Too many times married men think they're still single
That has caused many a good girl to go wrong

Released about two months after Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side Of Life," Kitty Wells' recording of "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" became the first Number One song on Billboard's charts for a solo female artist. Kitty recently celebrated her 90th birthday here in Nashville at a party broadcast on WSM-AM radio. Dozens of fellow country music artists came by to wish Kitty a happy birthday and to comment on how she had paved the way for them in the industry with this blockbuster of a song. Though written by a man, this song forced men to take a look at their own responsibility in broken relationships, something rare in the 1950's!

Interestingly, these two songs have the same melody, which is also shared by Roy Acuff's "Great Speckled Bird" and the Carter Family's "I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes."

Though Hank Thompson and Kitty Wells had the best-known recordings of these songs, many other artists have covered both of them. Ray Price, Freddy Fender, and even the British rock group Status Quo, as well as rocker Rod Stewart all recorded "The Wild Side Of Life," among others. And Patsy Cline, Lynn Anderson, and the trio of Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Tammy Wynette with a special guest appearance by Kitty Wells all recorded "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," in addition to newcomer Sunny Sweeney.

The two songs have also been recorded together as a male-female duet. Waylon Jennings and wife Jessi Colter were the first to do this in the 1970's; David Frizzell and Shelly West put their own style on the two songs together later on.

Though "politically incorrect" for this day and time, these two songs are undeniably country classics!

Enough rambling for now!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nashville Music Garden Dedication Sept. 29!

No time to start rambling and jabbering today, so I'll just share a link to some news that made my day! I am a HUGE fan of both Barbara Mandrell and Lynn Anderson, and this event will be my first time to see them in person at the same event!


Barbara Mandrell, Lynn Anderson, Ralph Emery, Patti Page, Steve Holy, Jeffrey Steele,
Donna Fargo, Jeff Cook of Alabama, Marty Raybon, Jett Williams and Many More to
‘Stop & Smell the Roses’ in Public Ceremony at the ‘Garden of the Stars’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — September 9, 2009—On September 29, 2009, Nashville, Tenn. will
become the official home of the world’s first public garden to honor entertainment icons with a
display of namesake flowers. The Nashville Music Garden, located at the corner of Fourth
Avenue and Demonbreun in the Hall of Fame Park (across from the Country Music Hall of
Fame® and Museum) is a one-of-a-kind “Garden of the Stars” that pays tribute to the artists,
songwriters, authors, television personalities, industry leaders, venues, organizations, and icons
who have made a positive impact on Nashville’s entertainment community.

The Nashville Music Garden is home to the Nashville Music Garden Collection, an assortment
of over six dozen flowering plants whose names include Barbara Mandrell, Grand Ole Opry,
Minnie Pearl, Pretty Woman, Purple Haze, Elvis, Ring of Fire, Tennessee Waltz, Alabama,
Chantilly Lace, Dolly Parton, Kiss an Angel Good Morning, Hank Williams, Reba McEntire and Amy Grant, just to name a few.

“I feel truly blessed to be part of the Nashville Music Garden. The garden will both add to the
beautification of Music City as well honor Nashville’s best!” explains Barbara Mandrell. An
avid gardener herself, the Nashville Music Garden has been her passion project for over three
years. “It is so wonderful to see all of this hard work come into bloom,” states Mandrell.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the Nashville Music Garden. There are plenty of eye-sores in the
world. Thank goodness for people who fight back with flowers. God bless ‘em!” says Pam
Tillis, another celebrated artist of the garden.

The star-studded open-to-the-public dedication ceremony, which begins at 10:30 AM on
Tuesday, September 29, will be emceed by long-standing country music television personality
Ralph Emery. Recent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Barbara Mandrell and Grammy
award-winner Lynn Anderson will serve as celebrity hosts. Other celebrities confirmed to
attend are Patti Page, Donna Fargo, Steve Holy, Little Jimmy Dickens, Jeff Cook of Alabama, Irlene Mandrell, Marty Raybon, Janice Wendell, Joe Moscheo of the Imperials (Elvis Presley), Gunnar Nelson, songwriters Jeffrey Steele, Shane Minor, Bart Allmand and Buzz Cason, and the families of songwriter Ben Peters, The Big Bopper, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, DeFord Bailey, Minnie Pearl and Jimi Hendrix with more to be announced in the coming weeks. Officials from the State of Tennessee and Mayor Karl Dean will also be in attendance.

The first 500 attendees will receive long-stemmed Rio Roses and biscuits from the Loveless
Cafe. The event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, visit

“The Nashville Music Garden will serve as an impressive collection of roses and daylilies as
well as a mixture of music and beauty. Nashvillians, and all Tennesseans, will find this garden a
place of which to be proud. Furthermore, it is important to applaud the vision of the LifeWorks
Foundation and its supporters in creating this outstanding place of environmental beauty,”
explains Derrick Smith of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

“Essentially, what we’ve created is a place where people can literally take time from their busy
day to ‘stop and smell the roses,’ and enjoy the beauty of something which transcends today’s
headlines, poor economy, crazy work schedules, family obligations and other man-made forms
of stress. By embracing nature and ‘stopping to smell the roses,’ we are reminded of our own
humanity and we can also learn to celebrate music and Nashville’s entertainment community in a whole new way,” states Pat Bullard of LifeWorks Foundation.

The event is presented by LifeWorks Foundation in partnership with Metro Parks &
Recreation and is sponsored by Hilton Nashville Downtown, Nashville Predators
Foundation, BSA, Inc. Event Services, AVI-SPL, Rio Roses, Ilex…for Flowers, WSIX,
Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee, Nashville Rose Society, Nashville Symphony,
RFD-TV and Loveless Cafe, with additional support from MidSouth Roses, Christie’s
Daylilies, Daylily World, Grayson Couture, American Rose Society, The Cocoa Tree,
Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum and At Your Service Chauffeuring.

About Metro Parks and Recreation:
The Metro Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of facilities and programs. With 115 parks covering almost 11,000 acres of land, Metro Parks offers something for everyone. Programs and services include golf, aquatics, art galleries, community gardens,
dog parks, historical sites, greenways, nature programs, sports leagues, visual arts classes, programs for children and seniors and so much more! For more information, visit

About Hilton Nashville Downtown:
Located in the heart of downtown, the Hilton is Nashville’s only luxury all-suite hotel with AAA Four Diamond Award status. The Hilton Nashville Downtown is adjacent to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Schermerhorn Symphony Center and Sommet Center while mere blocks to the Nashville Convention Center, LP Field and the entertainment district. An elegant atrium with residential charm and a grand mahogany staircase fills the lavish lobby. Indulge in award winning dining from the world-famous steakhouse The Palm, to the fun and relaxing atmosphere
of THE sportsgrille, or a delicious pastry and coffee or specialty martinis with live jazz entertainment at the Parkview Café & Lounge. 15,000 square feet of flexible meeting space is available group meetings or social events. For more information, visit or call (615) 620-1000

About Nashville Predators Foundation:
Established in 1998, the Nashville Predators Foundation strives to meet the educational, social, health and cultural needs of our community by offering unique resources and financial support to local youth-oriented organizations. Through several fundraisers held throughout the year, the
Predators Foundation has awarded more than $2 million to Nashville and Middle Tennessee-area charities and community service organizations since its creation. Last season the Predators Foundation gave out over $290,000 to the Middle Tennessee community to organizations including Against the Grain, Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, Martha O’Bryan Center, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Nashville and Safe Haven Family Shelter. For more information please visit and look under Community or call (615) 770-2321.

About Loveless Cafe:
Nationally acclaimed, frequented by celebrities, world travelers and local appetites alike, the Loveless Cafe remains unchanged in the quaint country charm and genuine Southern cooking that has made it an eating landmark of the South since opening its doors in 1951. Named "Top
Down-Home Dining Spot" by USA Today, the cafe features an all-day breakfast menu as well as a full line-up of traditional supper selections like fried chicken, pork BBQ and Southern sides. The Loveless Cafe is sure to offer one of the best meals you've ever had. For more information call (615) 646-9700 or visit

About The Nashville Rose Society:
The Nashville Rose Society, an affiliate of the American Rose Society, is a non-profit, educational organization whose purpose is to encourage interest in roses and to spread the love of roses through educational programs, annual rose shows, and a monthly newsletter Nashville Rose Leaf
with timely information about all aspects of growing America’s favorite flower. The society supports public rose gardens in Nashville including The Nashville Music Garden. For more information, visit

About Rio Roses:
Rio Roses provides consumers with roses of outstanding quality, extra long vase life, and an amazing selection of over 170 varieties. Florists trust Rio Roses because Rio Roses grows each rose with the utmost care and ensures that every flower meets the highest quality standards in the industry. For more information, visit

About Clear Channel Radio Nashville & WSIX:
Clear Channel Radio Nashville comprises WSIX-FM, WRVW-FM, WUBT-FM, WNRQ-FM & WLAC-AM. Clear Channel Radio Nashville is part of Clear Channel Radio, a leading radio company focused on serving local communities across the U.S. with more than 110 million listeners choosing Clear Channel Radio programming each week. The company's operations include radio broadcasting, syndication and independent media representation. Clear Channel Radio is a division of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. (NYSE:CCU), a leading global media and entertainment company. More information on the company can be found at

About Brantley Sound Associates, Inc. (BSA Inc.):
Founded in 1977, BSA, Inc. has longstanding and established relationships with local and national organizations such as the Nashville Symphony, Vanderbilt University, ASCAP, and events such as Bonnaroo and the dedication of the Nashville Music Garden. BSA, Inc. has the resources and personnel to provide solid staging/scenic solutions for any event whether it's inside or out, small or name it, we can make it happen! BSA, Inc. is an accredited business of the Better Business Bureau. For more information, visit, or call 615-256-6260.

About AVI-SPL’s Hotel and Rental Services:
As a division of leading AV integrator AVI-SPL, our in-house audiovisual services teams are expertly equipped to serve your event and production needs. Whether supplying a projector rental for a meeting, or providing sound and lighting production for a full-scale event, we stand
ready to serve you! As part of our unique service, we’re a vital part of the catering and banquet teams of Nashville’s premiere hotels; including the Hilton Nashville Downtown, Union Station Nashville and the Millennium Maxwell House Nashville. Our clients know that they can depend on us to assist them in impressing their audiences through our knowledge of each property, and providing the right equipment to deliver a distinctive impact. In our role, we strongly value working with the local community of Nashville, and are proud to sponsor the dedication of the Nashville Music Garden! For more information, visit or call 615-259-4975.

About the Nashville Symphony:
Led by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero and President and CEO Alan D. Valentine, the Nashville Symphony is today regarded as one of the nation’s most creative and innovative orchestras. With more than 140 performances annually, the Nashville Symphony is Tennessee’s preeminent cultural institution, offering a range of classical, pops, and jazz concerts; special events; children’s concerts; and education and community engagement programs. One of the most active recording orchestras in America, the Nashville Symphony has released a plethora of highly regarded recordings since its relationship with Naxos began in 2000. A champion of American music, the orchestra regularly commissions, premieres and records work by many of this country’s most important composers. The Symphony’s recent Naxos recording of Joan Tower’s Made in America received three GRAMMY® Awards, including Best Classical Album and Best Orchestral Performance. That recording was the orchestra’s first at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, known worldwide for its world-class acoustics. For tickets or more information, visit or call 615.687-6400.

About Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee:
The Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee is more than 70 organizations and hundreds of individuals joining together to create long-term, sustainable change in our food system through public policy, increased public awareness, and better coordination among people working from
farm to fork. Through two main initiatives, Re/Storing Nashville and Growing Healthy Kids, FSP seeks to ensure that all community residents have access to healthy, affordable food raised in a way that promotes the well-being of farmers, farm workers, and the environment.
The Food Security Partners is funded by LifeWorks Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Baptist Healing Trust, and the generous support of the community. For more information, visit

About Ilex…for Flowers:
Ilex…for Flowers is a full-service floral design company offering distinctive and interesting flowers composed into stunning arrangements for any occasion. We are located at 4548 Harding Road, Nashville, Tenn. 37205 and are a proud sponsor of the Nashville Music Garden. For more
information on our company, please call (615) 385-2800.

About RFD-TV:
RFD-TV, LLC – Launched in December 2000, RFD-TV is the nation’s first 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week television network dedicated to serving the needs and interests of rural America. Programming includes a wide-variety of shows focused on agriculture, equine, rural lifestyle and
traditional music offerings, which are uplinked via satellite from NorthStar Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, RFD-TV is distributed in over 40 million homes on DIRECTV, DISH Network, Mediacom, Charter, Suddenlink, Bresnan, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast, Time Warner and Cox cable systems located in all 50 states. RFD-TV The Magazine, the channel’s companion publication currently has over 150,000 subscribers. RFD-TV The Theatre opened in March 2007 in Branson, MO. For more information, log onto

# # #
For more information contact:
Kaleidoscope Media
Shelly Mullins
Joseph Conner

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Mindless Ramblings of a Country Music Fan

An online acquaintance recently suggested that I should try writing my own country music blog. This person had read my aimless ramblings on several message boards and evidently thought others would like to do the same. I'm not so sure about that, but I'm willing to give it a try!

I don't pretend to be an authority or an expert on country music, the city of Nashville, or the music industry in general; I'm just a longtime fan (more than 30 years - since I was 12!) and have lived in Nashville almost 23 years. I do not work in the music industry or in anything related to it, but after living around it for as long as I have, I've picked up a lot of general knowledge that might or might not amount to much!

This blog will cover a wide variety of subjects. Don't stop in here expecting to find me singing the praises of whoever has the number one record on the charts at the moment. As a fan for more than 30 years, I remember a time when talent and hard work counted for more than publicity overkill, and when fans had more say-so in what was broadcast over the airwaves. However, with the rise of the Internet and its use for self-promotion, I will have to admit that many artists now have the chance to stake out their spots in the industry when they might not have before. Those whose names are constantly in the news don't need one more person talking about them; that's not my purpose here.

I will touch on a lot that's outside the mainstream - beyond what's played on the radio and shown on TV. I am a huge fan of the legendary artists who were big in the 1970's and before and since, so expect to read plenty along those lines. You might read my aimless jabber on one song, or several songs from one writer, or goings-on in Nashville that don't get much national attention, as well as individual artists.

Please feel free to comment on anything I say, correct me if I'm wrong (on information, that is - if your opinion is different from mine, that's fine, and we need to agree to disagree), add to what I say, and help me learn. My years as a country music fan and time as a Nashville resident have taught me a lot and continue to do so, and though I will be doing a lot of talking on here, I also intend to listen and continue to learn. That's one reason why I called this blog "Listen and Talk Nashville"! So, please listen and talk right along with me!