Country Music People December 2017 - Page 7

In brief... CMA Awards An Oct. 27 shooting suspect faced aggravated assault charges in Tupelo, Miss., for wounding a man in the chest, following a Jason Aldean concert. Steven Michael Hulbert, 22, allegedly pulled out his pistol during an argument, firing a half-dozen shots, wounding a victim and damaging vehicles in the arena parking lot. The victim, who was not identified, was subsequently treated and released from North Mississippi Medical Center. Reportedly, he alerted police that the suspect was attempting to flee in his car, and he was apprehended and taken to Lee County Jail. Patrons still inside the arena were held, pending a police all- clear signal. Hulbert was held in Lee County Jail, pending $100,000 bond, paid the next day, and awaits a scheduled court hearing. Ironically, during the gig, Aldean lamented the recent assault gun massacre in Las Vegas, Oct. 1, where Stephen Paddock killed 57, wounded close to 500 other fans, and took his own life, in country music’s worst shooting on record Apparently due to gun control sympathies, following the Oct. 1 Vegas disaster, CMA’s 51st annual awards celebration again was co-hosted perpetrated by Stephen Paddock, armed with an assault weapon, killing 57 people, NRA (for the 10th time) by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, Country has since erased Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett from its website. though this time they had to walk a fine line to balance In 2010, they were among the first welcomed with open arms into the National Rifle humour with tragedy, notably the sad Las Vegas shooting Association’s then-new program NRA Country, and even earned star of the month status. incident that occurred only weeks earlier. Eric Church started Obviously, it seemed a perfect fit for the conservative association (which lobbies congress the show with an amazing a cappella rendition of Amazing with a heavy hand, dissing any gun control proposals), and Nashville’s down-home country Grace. community boasting such gun-friendly folk as Hank Williams, Jr. (Gonna Go Huntin’ Kicking off the evening’s entertainment, Underwood and Tonight) and Toby Keith (Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue, The Angry American). Paisley picked on politics by parodying Carrie’s hit Before Politically, it’s true country has long favoured far-right Republicans, proving just that in 2003, He Cheats, changing the topic to “Before He Tweets,” taking when liberal ladies - The Dixie Chicks - criticized President George W. Bush abroad, only aim at the President, with the altered lyric “And it’s fun to to return stateside to find a major industry-wide boycott of their music from which they have watch/Yeah, that’s for sure/’Til little Rocket Man, starts a never recovered, for speaking out against Bush policies. nuclear war... And then maybe he’ll think before he Tweets!” In addition to paying homage to the lives lost in the chaotic country concert in Vegas, scene of America’s deadliest shooting spree, the show recognised major names lost this - Farewell Party past year, among them Glen Campbell, Greg Allman, Don As CMP went to press news was breaking of the death of Mel Tillis Williams, Troy Gentry, CMA’s Jo Walker-Meador, Norro on Nov. 19 at the Munroe Medical Center in Ocala, Fla. He was 85. Wilson, Billy Mize, and in memoriam Carrie performed a Tillis underwent colon surgery last year and never quite regained his touching version of Softly and Tenderly. Those in the 2017 full strength. In 2014 he underwent open heart surgery. winner’s circle were Garth Brooks taking home his sixth As well as having hits in his own right, such as 1979’s chart-topping Entertainer of the Year award; Miranda Lambert was voted Coca Cola Cowboy Tillis was a prolific songwriter, actor and best female vocalist; Chris Stapleton, male vocalist; Little comedian as well as being father to singer Pam Tillis. More next month... Big Town, vocal group; The Brothers Osborne, vocal duo; Jon Pardi, best new artist; and Mac McAnally, guitarist, Ventriloquist and country comic Walter Alexander Houston, 85, died Oct. 28 at his top musician. Taylor Swift’s Better Man by Little Big Town, home in Nashville with wife Sherry by his side. “Alex” learned to throw his voice at age 3, earned song of the year; Keith Urban’s Blue Ain’t Your Color much to the amazement of his parents John and Mary Jo Houston, as he had only begun voted best single (co-produced by Keith and Dann Huff); to talk a bit earlier. Initially, Alex toured the US, Japan and Europe with his dad’s dance From a Room, Volume 1, by Chris Stapleton, as produced troupe The Echo Inn Cloggers, while winning national championships. This developed his by Chris and Dave Cobb, won best album; while the Glen desire to perform, and with his dummy “Elmer” entertained for many years, culminating Campbell-Willie Nelson collaboration Funny How Time Slips in a regular role for the duo on CBS-TV’s The Jimmy Dean Show (1957-’58). Following a Away garnered best event; and Brothers Osborne’s video It move to Nashville, he hosted his own local variety program The Alex & Elmer Show three Ain’t My Fault, directed by Wes Edwards & Ryan Silver, was years, which led to guest spots on Hee Haw, and invitations to tour as opening act for such voted tops. country artists as Alabama, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell, Johnny Cash, Charley Pride, Days later, welcome news for the CMA and ABC-TV Conway Twitty, over a 30-year career, and even guesting on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry. disclosed that the show scored a win in that night’s TV ratings, doubling its number from the year before. According Musician Terry Alan Elam, 66, of Brentwood, Tenn., died Oct. 11, following a brief to a press release, social listening impressions attained 4.56 illness. At 19 years old, Terry began working as a musician, but later veered off into artist billion, whatever, and ABC “delivered the highest rating for representation, including co-managing artists such as Vince Gill, during 28 years with any network on any night this season with entertainment Fitzgerald-Hartley Management in Nashville. “My dad was a great guy who touched a lot of programming.” lives in the Nashville music business,” recalled son Brett Elam. DECEMBER 2017 - cmp 7