Country Music People May 2019 - Page 4

cmp MAY 2019 Volume 50 Number 5 Issue 591 News Walt Trott in Nashville Duncan Warwick in London Nashville prime Editor Duncan Warwick Contributors David Allan, Janet Aspley, Donnie Ayers, Craig Baguley, Tony Byworth, Larry Delaney, Don Cusic, Julie Flaskett, Kelly Gregory, Michael Hingston, Tony Ives, Spencer Leigh, John Lomax III, Adrian Peel, Paul Riley, Alex Rossi, Wayne Smart, Chris Smith, Tom Travis, Walt Trott, Dave Watkins, Jack Watkins New release consultant: Steve Tidbury Assistant editor / Special projects coordinator Kelly Gregory Photographers Patricia Presley, Barry Dixon, Billie McAleer Printed by Micropress Distributor Seymour International Press Distributors Ltd. 2 East Poultry Avenue London EC1A 9PT Telephone +44 020 7429 4000 Fax +44 020 7429 4001 Country Music People is published the last Thursday of each month by KICKIN’ CUTS LIMITED 24 Darley Close, Wittering, Peterborough PE8 6EQ, UK Telephone +44 01780 - 783689 ©2019 Kickin’ Cuts Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means without the prior written permission of the Publisher. The Publisher accepts no responsibility for statement of fact or opinion expressed by contributors.The views of the contributors are not necessarily those of Country Music People or its editor. 4 cmp - MAY 2019 John Rich (of Big & Rich fame) and his Atlanta-based partner Ardent Commercial Realty, are in the process of buying Cotton- Eyed Joe, next door to their Redneck Riviera Club on Nashville’s Lower Broad honky- tonk tourist strip. According to the country star, responsible for such successes as Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy, there’s no better place to invest money than downtown Nashville: “There are more people wanting to get into honky-tonks on Broadway then there are spaces to put them... It’s a prime location on the hottest street in the U.S.” He didn’t divulge the purchase price, but boasted Redneck Riviera which opened in 2018 has done “phenomenal” business. Although Rich revealed the new site will also feature entertainment, it won’t bear the Redneck Riviera name, but will definitely complement neighbouring niteries. Less favourable country music club chains were created to connect to Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, reportedly a project with Frank Capri that failed miserably; and a proposed Rascal Flatts restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, that’s moving sluggishly, as Capri works behind the scenes with negative results. It was initially a huge operation, with further Rascal Flatts eateries planned in Hollywood, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Des Moines, Boise, Orlando, St. Louis and possibly other metropolitan cities. According to an Arizona Republic news report, the Phoenix-based Capri prefers to work his wonders out of the spotlight. Nonetheless, prospective contractors have reported he talks mainly about money, while focusing on squeezing developers for payments, citing mobilization fees or “draws” as he calls them for eventual construction of a Rascal Flatts’ restaurant. One such cafe did indeed open, but was shuttered a year later. Allegedly, Capri is a former mobster (George Gioia, Jr., of New York City), who cooperated with the feds since 1999 to avoid prison, and is thus part of a Federal Witness Protection Program. His newest racket’s about to end unhappily as prospective backers discover his disastrous deal with Toby Keith, who watched Capri’s cohorts build 20 such Keith grills, starting in 2009, with a promise to build another 20 that never materialized, and by 2015 all but one closed. Allegations of fraud and theft have since been reported by the Arizona Republic, as Capri’s former front man Ray Roshto, who now claims to the country duo, “Rascal Flatts, this was all Frank. He handled all the trades (meaning sub-contractors) and all the money.” Roshto added that Capri wanted his name kept off all contracts. Meanwhile Keith refused to discuss the business co-op with Capri and insisted he was only to collect royalties for name rights. By 2017, however, judges across the country ordered Capri to pay some $65 million in civil judgments to those defrauded, which led the silent partner to seek a similar deal with Rascal Flatts, utilising their marquee name to regain his monetary millions. Now it seems Rascal Flatts is calling it all off, as well, and is warning fans their restaurant involvement has come to an end. C’est la vie, y’all. Former country princess Taylor Swift surprised the Tennessee Equality Project by donating $113,000 to benefit their pro-LGBTQ advocacy group. Chris Sanders, executive director, proclaimed the group was “honoured and grateful” for her participation. Sanders added, “Taylor Swift has been a long-time ally to the LGBTQ community. She sees our struggle in Tennessee and continues to add her voice with so many good people, including religious leaders who are speaking out for love in the face of fear.” In her personal note accompany the cash gift, Taylor wrote: “Dear Chris: I’m writing you to say that I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders, standing up against the ‘Slate of Hate’ in our state legislature.”