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Music City Beat – July 2017

Nova News – Hockey play-offs enhance Country Music Fest

NASHVILLE — We called it Hockey-Tonk Town, at least for the duration of the mix of the Stanley Cup NHL skating championship finals between Nashville’s Predators and Pittsburgh’s Penguins, amidst the annual influx of fans for the Country MusicFest (once dubbed Fan Fair). Apart from being a worrisome record assemblage of folk for security officials, considering worldwide terrorist attacks, Music City cheerfully welcomed both events, with musical talents participating in both happenings. Topping it off, just 60-some miles down the highway in Manchester, was the rockin’ Bonnaroo Festival, that annually attracts some 80,000 far-out fans, giving an idea of the over-crowded check-in at Nashville airport and on the highways, departing June 12. Actually, the National Hockey League anticipated 100,000 hockey-goers in town for the Game Six finale alone, as some coughed up $4,000 or more for a single seat, while nearby parking sites were charging $80 per car. Incidentally, some of these parking places owned by corporations with headquarters as far removed from Music City as London, England, ought to be censored for pure greed. Steve Bradford, 58, didn’t have a parking problem, being an elevator-installation supervisor, his car parked on site of his current downtown building project (and it’s a boom town of sorts nowadays), while participating in both events on Lower Broad Street, aglow with numerous bars, clubs and of course the Bridgestone Arena, home to the Predators. Steve, who hails from Johnson City, Tenn., even brought his Mrs. and granddaughter over to share the festive scene: “We love both country music and hockey! This was a real treat!” In addition to being Tennessee’s capitol city, Nashville is now the state’s biggest city, according to a 2016 Census report noting Nashville proper now boasts 660,388 persons, thanks to the current boom taking place here, displacing Memphis, which dropped to 652,717, falling nearly 8,000 short of title status. It certainly was wall-to-wall people downtown here, where some artists were even offering free performances, among them Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Kip Moore, Sara Evans, Blake Shelton and Rodney Atkins, who held a “Music City Gives Back” tailgate party all afternoon before the Preds game got underway, inviting such talents as Grainger Smith, Cole Taylor and Brett Young, and Kip Moore closing the set. There were a number of so-called parties, notably Marty Stuart’s 16th annual Jam at the Ryman, where despite stellar vocalists like Wynonna Judd and Connie Smith, blues great Booker T. Jones literally stole the show, aided by Stuart’s Superlatives joining the classic artist for his show-stopping “Green Onions,” a favorite instrumental Jones & The MG’s cut way back in 1962. Then there was the Reunion Of Professional Entertainers’ annual ROPE Luncheon With the Stars, June 6, featuring traditional country headliners like Jody Miller, who scored a Grammy for her “Queen Of the House,” Rex Allen, Jr. of “Lonely Street” fame, Leona Williams, who hit with “The Bull & The Beaver,” among others were Mandy Barnett, Tim Atwood, Tommy Cash, Jeannie Seely and Bobby Marquez. Helping nightly to launch the Stanley Cup games were such singers as Dierks Bentley, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood and Faith Hill, delivering “The National Anthem,” and Carrie, of course, is Predators’ captain Mike Fisher’s wife. (That’s Mike in above photo.) Although the Pittsburgh team succeeded in winning their second Stanley Cup trophy with Game Six, most Nashvillians remain proud of the home team, having won its first title ever, copping the Western Conference win . . . And there’s always next year, as Steve Bradford reminded us, as we dried our tears. Among headliners on the Opry during festival week were Blake Shelton, Scotty McCreery, Dustin Lynch and Eric Paslay. FYI, Darius Rucker raised another million dollars for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital fund with his benefit; Ty Herndon hosted another Love & Acceptance party at the Wildhorse Saloon, June 8, featuring a wealth of talent including Lorrie Morgan, Billy Gilman, Kree Harrison and Thompson Square, on behalf of the LGBTQ movement. Although not well-advertised, there was a gaming and music party across the Cumberland River in East Nashville, proving popular, sponsored by Pepsi, introducing its new cinnamon-fused cola Pepsi Fire. Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere, so we leave it to others to cover the exciting Nissan Stadium nights with the likes of Kenny Rogers and Linda Davis duetting on “We’ve Got Tonight,” and additional star sets by Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Brett Eldridge and Tracy Lawrence, then across the river, up-and-comers such as Drake White holding forth on the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage. Busy Bryan also showed up on stage briefly at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge before Game Six, June 11, all in tune with the fans’ Watch Party viewing via portable TV screens set-up outside the arena on Lower Broad, before helping NBC kick-off its live broadcast of the game itself. Alan Jackson, seen performing free while playing his sticker-emblazoned guitar noting “Go Preds!” outside, explained, “The Preds asked us to come out here and play for y’all, and we’re just gonna try to have a good time before the big game tonight . . . I’m going to play some country music tonight. It’s just amazing to be down here in the middle of Broadway, Music City USA, where all this country music first started.”
AWARDS: The annual Country Music Television (CMT) Awards proved an exciting event, June 7, and an unofficial launch of this year’s Country MusicFest, with Keith Urban proving to be the night’s big winner. The Down Under native won best video and best male video, both for “Blue Ain’t Your Color”; best collaboration video for “The Fighter” with Carrie Underwood; and finally for one labeled Social Superstar of the Year. Others victorious include Little Big Town’s “Better Man,” best group video; Lauren Alaina’s “Road Less Traveled,” best breakthrough video; Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.” best duo video; while Carrie Underwood added to her big collection with “Church Bells,” ringing in as best female video, her 17th CMT award. Luke Bryan and Jason Derulo’s “Want To Want Me,” from CMT’s Crossroads series garnered the best performance video. Another highlight of CMT’s gala was a tribute to late Southern Rocker Gregg Allman, featuring former band member Derek Trucks aided and abetted by Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker and Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum), rendering Gregg’s signature song “Midnight Rider.”
SCENE STEALERS: Mac Wiseman was pleased that his biography – “. . . All My Memories Fort For Print” (Nova Books) – won the Association of Recorded Sounds Collection (ARSC) award as best country history book, cited during the organization’s annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, May 13. Although the Country Music Hall of Famer was unable to attend, the book’s author Walt Trott accepted, simply reminding all of Mac’s theme song: “’Tis Sweet To Be Remembered.” Trott, incidentally, also recalled his first ARSC award for “The Johnnie & Jack Story” (Bear Family, 1992), as shared with collaborator Eddie Stubbs, noting since his awards came 25 years between books, he didn’t expect to be around for a third honor. Other authors honored at San Antonio via runner-up Certificates of Merit include Tim Newby’s “Bluegrass in Baltimore” (McFarland Press); Gary Reid’s “The Music of the Stanley Brothers” (University of Illinois Press), and the Ivan Tribe-Jacob Bapst book “West Virginia’s Traditional Country Music” (Arcadia Press). In other categories James P. Leary earned best Folk History award for “Folk Songs of Another America: Field Recordings From the Upper Midwest, 1937-1946” (University of Wisconsin Press); and Peter Guralnick for best Rock History, thanks to his “Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock & Roll” (Little, Brown & Company). Mac just got news, too, that he’s been inducted into the Blue Ridge Hall of Fame, June 10, in Wtilkesboro, N.C., in recognition of his contributions to bluegrass, country and American roots music through the years. Wiseman, hailed as “The Voice With a Heart,” isn’t resting on his laurels, as he’s not only plugging his award-winning bio, but also a new tribute album on Mountain Fever label, titled “I Sang The Song” (2017), sharing the mic with such fellow players as Alison Krauss, John Prine, Shawn Camp, Jim Lauderdale, Sierra Hull and The Isaacs. Not bad for a 92-year-old entertainer   . . . A May 29 report by Dave Paulson in claimed Eric Church’s “Holdin’ My Own” tour set an attendance record at Bridgestone Arena as it came to a close, with 19,020 passing through its doors for its final gig. Church chimed in that the night before, he set an attendance record, and the second night’s show broke it! Interestingly enough, his devoted fans are referred to as Church’s Choir . . . Florida Georgia Line has revealed they plan to launch a restaurant and lounge FGL House in downtown Nashville on Third Avenue off Lower Broadway Street, and plan an early summer opening. It’s in partnership with an Ohio-based restaurant group LRC Nashville LLC. Tyler Hubbard of FGL mused, “It was a cool opportunity in our hometown here in Nashville that we love – a place we could call our own and gather with our friends, our family and our fans and create a cool environment where people can make great memories.” . . . Vince Gill may take some time away from his Monday night gig with The Time Jumpers, as reports are circulating he’s considering joining The Eagles on tour, following the loss of the group’s co-founder Glenn Frey last year. The Los Angeles Times already indicated Glenn’s son Deacon, 24, will join their summer tour. As we recall, Gill started his chart success as a member of Pure Prairie League (1979-’83), which had the hits “Amie” and “That’ll Be the Day,” while Gill was lead vocalist and a helluva guitar slinger . . . Singer Darius Rucker handed two families keys to their new Habitat For Humanity homes in nearby Murfreesboro. As a project ambassador with Ply Gem Home For Good, Rucker noted, “I’ve heard so many stories of people who are homeless. Now they have a home with an affordable mortgage they can afford because of Habitat For Humanity, and I think that’s a great thing.” Rucker handed the keys to formerly homeless recipients Charles Russell and Shari Hinton, who will live next door now to one another, each a first-time home owner. It was explained that Ply Gem supplied more than one million dollars worth of supplies to help manufacture the houses. Russell said, “It’s beyond belief that I’m a home owner now, and Habitat For Humanity made my dream happen.”
BITS & PIECES: Among those anticipating “Sir Stork” are Brittany & Jason Aldean, which will mark her first Aldean baby, though hubby boasts two offspring – Kendyl & Keeley – from his first marriage. No date given, though Jason admitted, “Been hard to keep this secret, but we couldn’t be happier to add to our family. This year just gets better and better.” . . . Country rocker Brantley Gilbert and wife Amber expect a baby, too. Brantley likewise admits, “We’ve had such a hard time keeping (it) a secret.” They wed in 2015, and reportedly Amber was the inspiration for his hit “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do.” No word on delivery date or infant’s gender yet . . . We do know the baby born to singer Justin Moore and wife Kate, June 11, is a boy named Thomas South Moore (after the singer’s granddad). The newcomer weighed in at 7 lbs., 14 oz. and measures 20-inches long, in Little Rock, Ark., their hometown. The couple are already parents to three daughters, according to Justin: “We feel even more blessed to have a healthy baby boy now to add to our family. God has given us another wonderful gift, in him . . . his sisters are already obsessed with him, as we are of all of them. Thanks for all the well wishes and congratulations. Very much appreciated.” . . . Sara and Lee Brice’s third, daughter Trulee Nanette, was born a healthy bundle, weighing in at 7 lbs., 13 oz. and was 20-inches long, June 2, in Nashville. They have two boys. Sara says, “The boys were so sweet and tender, happy to each get a turn holding her. They both spoke in soft voices and treat her like the fragile little flower that she is. We are very proud of the love they displayed.” . . . Hank Williams, Jr. is returning to ESPN-TV to ring in Monday Night Football with his familiar anthem “All My Rowdy Friends Are Comin’ Over Tonight,” which kicks off with “Are you ready for some football?” Stephanie Druley, ESPN vice president, noted, “I think it’s a return to our past in that it’s such an iconic song associated with football.” Hank first performed his ball bit in 1989, during the 20th anniversary season of Monday Night Football, but was dropped from the line-up in 2011, after derogatory remarks he made in reference to a golfing game between then-President Obama and former House Speaker John Boehner. Reportedly Bocephus stated to Fox News, “It would be like Hitler playing golf with Benjamin Netanyahu (Israeli leader),” adding on the show that he regarded both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as “the enemy.” His first reappearance will occur with Sept. 11th’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans’ Saints, during which Jason Derulo and Florida Georgia Line will also join Jr. Druley indicated she’s not concerned about any “backlash” to her re-engaging the singer for the Monday Night Football program. As the saying goes, that remains to be seen . . . The Father of Bluegrass Bill Monroe and fellow Country Music Hall of Famer Little Jimmy Dickens have been “immortalized” in bronze, as statues of the pioneering pair were unveiled at the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. Monroe, who died in 1996, age 84, joined the WSM Grand Ole Opry in 1939, and was famous for such songs as “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “Uncle Pen” and “Kentucky Waltz,” while the diminutive Dickens, noted for the novelty hits “Country Boy,” “Hillbilly Fever” and “May The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose,” first joined the Opry in 1948, and died in 2015 at age 94.
HONORS: Jason Aldean is the subject of a new exhibit – “Jason Aldean: Asphalt Cowboy” – currently displaying at the downtown Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum through Nov. 5 . . . The Academy of Country Music has announced recognition of artists for special contributions, notably Dolly Parton’s humanitarian aid in relief efforts for victims of the recent Smoky Mountain wildfire, to the tune of more than $10 million, earning her their Lifting Lives Award. Others include Bob Kingsley & Reba McEntire sharing the Mae Axton Service Award; Willie Nelson (“Hello Walls,” “On the Road Again”), Toby Keith (“I Love This Bar,” “American Soldier”) and the late Shel Silverstein, who penned #1 hits for the likes of Bobby Bare (“Marie Laveau”), Johnny Cash (“A Boy Named Sue”) and Loretta Lynn (“One’s On the Way”), all cited for ACM’s Poet Award. Additionally, George Strait receives ACM’s Cliffie Stone Icon Award; Lori McKenna’s named Songwriter of the Year (a first for a female); and the CMT series Nashville nabs the Tex Ritter Film honor, then there’s Kelsea Ballerini and Eric Church, being acknowledged, all in ACM’s Special Awards program, taping Aug. 23 at the historic Ryman here, by CBS-TV, for a later telecast . . . The National Music Council has added a trio of names to its roster of musical giants with the Council’s prestigious American Eagle Award: Crystal Gayle, Patti Smith and Harry Shearer. Country star Gayle, known for such successes as her Grammy-winning “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” and “Cry,” is a member of WSM’s  Grand Ole Opry, while Rock Hall of Famer Smith recorded the hit albums “Horses,” “Easter” and “Gone Again,” and Saturday Night Live co-star-writer Shearer, also a musician, co-starred in Rob Reiner’s cinematic classic “This Is Spinal Tap” and lent his talents to The Simpsons hit TV series. Their honors become official during the organization’s 34th annual awards gala in Nashville’s Music City Center, July 13 . . . The National Academy of Arts & Sciences has announced it will honor country’s Charley Pride and the late Jimmie Rodgers during its 2017 Special Merits Award Ceremony, at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, July 11. Recognizing their significant Lifetime Achievements, along with popular music favorites Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Nina Simone, Sly Stone and The Velvet Underground. In addition, the late Ralph Peer, famed for field recording pioneering music folk, was voted among this year’s Trustees Award recipients. Pride, of course, was the first major Black American breakthrough country star, celebrated for 29 #1 country singles (with 49 weeks in that position), 12 #1 albums, a Grand Ole Opry member since 1993, and an inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Blue Yodeler Jimmie Rodgers achieved such hits as “T For Texas,” “In the Jailhouse Now,” and “Waitin’ For a Train,” prior to his untimely death from TB in 1933 at age 35, and has since been hailed as the Father of Country Music, due to his heavy influence on such latter-day stars as Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Lefty Frizzell and Merle Haggard. He was also the first inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, along with composer-producer Fred Rose, both belatedly.
AILING: Country Queen Loretta Lynn, 85, suffered a stroke May 4 at home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., but was hospitalized in Nashville, and is currently in rehabilitation, with all scheduled dates canceled for the time being. A week later, younger sister Crystal Gayle said she is expected to make a full recovery. Gayle a recent inductee into WSM’s Grand Ole Opry cast, posted the following message regarding Lynn: Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes for Loretta. Keep them coming! We are lucky, in this day and age, to have wonderful doctors and nurses taking great care of her . . . Plus they have to put up with our dramatic and crazy family and friends.” Lynn, an Opry member since 1962, is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame (1988) . . . On a lesser scale, Chris Stapleton blamed a hand injury for postponing gigs in the near future, which included participation in the recent Country MusicFest. In a June 1st announcement, Stapleton said he had a broken bone and detached tendon in his right index fingers, preventing him from playing his guitar. “Right now, I can’t possibly give you guys the show you deserve. I always want to give you my very best. There is little in this world that I enjoy more than getting to make music with all of you night after night.” Meantime, he’s undergoing physical therapy and is hopeful he’ll be back pickin’ as good as ever real soon.
FAREWELL CURTAIN: Musician Corki Casey O’Dell died May 11, two days shy of 81. She is survived by her singer-songwriter husband Kenny O’Dell (“Let’s Shake Hands and Come Out Lovin’” (#9, 1978). Corki is a member of the Musicians Hall of Fame (2014), and in addition to session playing, performed with such talents as Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood and Sanford Clark. Vivian and Kenny were wed in 1969, and in 1973 he scored his Grammy Award-winning composition “Behind Closed Doors,” as recorded by Charlie Rich, which sold Platinum, became CMA Single of the Year and eventually was voted into the Grammy Record Hall of Fame. Corki was born Vivian Ray, May 13, 1936 in Bunch, Okla., but mainly raised in Phoenix, Ariz. In 1956, she played rhythm guitar on Sanfod Clark’s “The Fool,” a Top 10 disc. Thereafter she played rhythm guitar on Duane Eddy’s “Ramrod,” “Peter Gunn,” “Forty Miles of Bad Road,” and signature song, “Rebel-Rouser.” Corki’s guitar stylings on early records earned her the sobriquet First Rock & Roll Sidechick. Besides her husband, O’Dell is survived by their three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A visitation occurred at Nashville’s Woodbine Hickory Chapel, May 15, and the family suggested in lieu of flowers, mourners could donate to the Musicians Hall of Fame downtown.
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Country rock icon Gregg Allman, 69, died at home, May 27, while in declining health, in Savannah, Ga. The vocalist-keyboardist-songwriter scored his highest solo single “Midnight Rider” (#19, 1974), which he co-wrote with Robert Payne; however, prior to that the Allman Brothers Band, hit #2, 1973 on “Ramblin’ Man.” Gregg’s other writing credits include “Melissa,” “Black-Hearted Woman” and “Wasted Words.” His and brother Duane Allman’s trend-setting troupe pioneered the newly evolving 1970s’ Southern Rock, an amalgam relying on country, rock and R&B roots. Phil Walden and his newly-created Capricorn label saw its potential, signing the Allman band as his first act in 1969, initially impressed by Duane, a slide-guitarist, who proved himself playing session support for such Muscle Shoals’ talents as Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and Delaney & Bonnie. Besides brother Gregg, he assembled such instrumental talents as guitarist Dickey Betts, bassist Berry Oakley, drummers Jai Johanny Johanson and Derrick (Butch) Trucks, hitting the big time with their LP “The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East” (1971), thanks in no small part to Gregg’s gritty vocals and organ playing. Sadly, Duane died at 24 in an October 1971 Macon motorcycle crash, during production of their LP “Eat a Peach,” but little more than a year later, Berry died in another cycle crash in the same vicinity (and was replaced by Lamar Williams). Some say the band never attained the luster of their original band, but Gregg and company trouped onward, adding Chuck Leavell on piano, hitting their stride with such collections as “Brothers & Sisters” (1973), “Enlightened Rogues” (1979), “I’m No Angel” (1987), and “Where It All Begins” (1993), and radio-friendly singles such as “Crazy Love” and “Straight From the Heart.” Gregg’s single “I’m No Angel” reached #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks, and “Anything Goes” #3 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. The Allman Brothers Band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2011, Gregg’s “Low Country Blues” hit Billboard at #5, his highest CD charting. It’s reported that there’s yet another offering forthcoming: “Southern Blood.” Both brothers were born in Nashville, Gregory LeNoir Allman on Dec. 8, 1947; and Duane, Nov. 20, 1946. Their dad, a guitarist, was killed by a hitchhiker in 1949. In 1957, the boys family relocated to Daytona Beach, Fla., where Gregg graduated from Seabreeze High School (1965). It was in 1964, Duane and Gregg joined the House Rockers, an R&B group. When they formed their first band – The Shufflers – Gregg initially played guitar, but Duane convinced him to play Vox Organ and handle vocals. The boys cut their first record, a cover of Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” with their Allman Joys band in 1966. Subsequent bands were called Almanac, Hour Glass (which recorded briefly for Liberty in Hollywood). In 1969, after signing with Capricorn, they traveled to New York to record their first label album: “The Allman Brothers Band.” Through the years, Gregg suffered substance abuse, drugs and alcohol: “My roughest one was alcohol. It’s such a trap. I don’t know how many times I fell back.” After battling Hepatitis C, he underwent a liver transplant, “It’s the roughest thing I’ve ever been through. I’ve been in military school, through six divorces. This is worse than all that.” In 2014, Gregg did his final gig with the Allman Band. Regarding Gregg’s musical endeavors, his biographer Alan Light, who with Gregg co-wrote “My Cross To Bear” (2012), told USA Today newspaper, he feels the solo work will be revisited in time to come: “That’s kind of lost and it just didn’t have the same platform. I’ll be interested to see if people go back. I feel those are due for a certain level of rediscovery.” Allman’s marital history includes at least seven marriages, most famously to screen star Cher (1975-’79), mother of his son, singer Elijah Blue Allman, born July 10, 1946. Other children surviving Gregg are Delilah, Michael, Layla and Devon Allman. Reportedly, Gregg wed Shannon Williams in 2017. Charlie Daniels, upon hearing of Allman’s death, noted he had a feeling for the blues, “very few ever have . . . hard to believe that magnificent voice is stilled forever.”
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Legendary country-rockabilly vocalist Wanda Jackson is mourning the May 21 death of her husband-manager Wendell Goodman, following her gig at Club Saturn in Birmingham, Ala. The couple met while he was an IBM programmer in 1961. Insiders credit his guidance in prolonging her career, running Wanda Jackson Enterprises in Oklahoma City. Among his duties was packaging Wanda’s syndicated TV series Music Village. The pair became born-again Christians in 1971, releasing her premier gospel album “Praise the Lord,” she then signed with Myrrh Records, which released a trio of gospel discs on the star. Among her country cuts were the self-penned ballads “Right Or Wrong” (#9, 1961) and “In the Middle of a Heartache” (#6, 1962). Actually, her first country Top 10 occurred at age 16 via a Decca duet with Billy Gray, “You Can’t Have My Love” (#8, 1954), a song co-written by Gray and Hank Thompson, the man who introduced Jackson to Capitol Records. Inspired further by Elvis Presley, she began singing in rockabilly fashion, scoring a 1960 Top 40, via “Let’s Have a Party” (first recorded by Elvis). The Goodmans, parents to two children, marked their 50th wedding anniversary in 2011, the year rocker Jack White produced her comeback CD “The Party Ain’t Over.” She became a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Jackson, Tenn., and was officially cited as an influence in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Goodman’s funeral services were held at the Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, May 26.
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Singer-songwriter Norro Wilson, 79, died June 8, following a lengthy illness. Although Norro attained greater success behind the scenes as producer and writer for stars such as David Houston, George Jones, Charley Pride, Charlie Rich, Margo Smith, Joe Stampley and Tammy Wynette, he charted 10 tunes himself, half of which he wrote, while a singer on Billboard’s 1970s’ country singles list, most notably the Top 20s “Do It To Someone You Love” and “Everybody Needs Loving.” His final vocal credit was a Warner’s duet with Margo Smith, “So Close Again,” a 1977 Top 40 they co-wrote. Far more rewarding financially were the David Houston cuts “Baby, Baby (I Know You’re a Lady)” (#1, 1969), “Wonders of the Wine” (#6, 1970); “After Closing Time” (#6, 1970), Charlie’s duet with Barbara Mandrell; “Soft, Sweet and Warm” (#8, 1972), “Good Things” (#2, 1972), “I Love You, I Love You,” again with Mandrell (#6, 1973), and “Can’t You Feel It” (#9, 1974); plus his later Margo Smith collaborations: “Take My Breath Away” (#7, 1976) and “Still a Woman” (#7, 1979). Of course, the Charlie Rich cuts “The Most Beautiful Girl” (#1, 1973), “A Very Special Love Song” (#1, 1974), “I Love My Friend” (#1, 1975) and “Beautiful Woman” (#10, 1978) were very special to Norro, as “ . . . Love Song” earned both artist and writers Grammy awards, and “Most Beautiful Girl” became a crossover hit (#1 pop), selling Gold, firsts for Norro. The George Jones hits were equally impressive, being “The Grand Tour” and “The Door,” both #1 releases (1974), plus the Top Five weeper “A Picture of Me Without You” back in 1972. Stampley’s rendition of Wilson songs included “If You Touch Me” (#9, 1972), “Soul Song” (#1, 1972), “Bring It On Home” (#7, 1973) and “Take Me Home To Somewhere” (#5, 1974). Tammy Wynette enjoyed enhanced success thanks to his contributions: “I’ll See Him Through” (#2, 1970), “He Loves Me All the Way” (#1, 1970), “My Man” (#1, 1972), “Another Lonely Song” (#1, 1973) and “(You Make Me Want To Be) A Mother” (#4, 1975). Charley Pride’s chart toppers “Never Been So Loved In All Of My Life” (1981) and “Night Games” (1983) were Wilson winners, too. Additionally, Tanya Tucker’s “Love’s the Answer” (#5 1972), Jody Miller’s “Good News” (#9, 1973) and Mickey Gilley’s “You’ve Got Something On Your Mind” (#10, 1985) also boasted the Norro touch. Numerous other artists also notched Billboard via Norro songs, among them Claude King, Bob Luman, Diana Trask and Keith Whitley. Norris Wilson was born April 4, 1938, son of Marietta & George Wilson, a barber, in Scottsville, Ky. In fact, Norro started singing in a Barbershop Quartet while in high school. After attending Western Kentucky State College, he began his career in earnest in 1957, with the Southlanders Gospel Quartet, which took him to Nashville, where in the 1960s he began working with Al Gallico Music as a writer and song-plugger, which he termed “street fighting.” At Gallico he met frequent co-writer Carmol Taylor, a true character, who in turn introduced him to future co-writers Billy Sherrill and George Richey. He and Carmol started up their own publishing company – Taylor & Wilson Music – a BMI affiliate. Their first two successes were Johnny Paycheck’s “Drinkin’ and Drivin’,” and John Anderson’s “1959,” in 1979 and 1980, respectively, both written by new young writer Gary Gentry. One of Wilson’s reminiscences concerned a trip with Carmol and Billy Sherrill to New York to pick up a new car Billy bought. At the airport Billy hired a chauffeured limousine to drive them to the pick-up point. Carmel rode in the front beside the driver, who explained some of the touristy sights en-route, one being Grant’s Tomb. Billy aware of Carmol’s absent mindedness, asked did he know who was buried in that tomb? After thinking a few minutes on it, Carmol seriously replied, “No! Who is buried there?” Wilson remembered he and Billy laughed so hard they nearly ended up on the floorboards. During Norro’s hitch as A&R chief at RCA Records, he signed newcomer Keith Whitley, producing his album “A Hard Act to Follow” (1984). In 1987, he headed up Merit Music, and finally formed Norro Productions in 1990, representing such acts as Sammy Kershaw, including production on Sammy’s subsequent albums. In tandem with fellow writer-producer Buddy Cannon (Bud-Ro Productions), in 1998, Norro worked with artists such as George Jones and Kenny Chesney. In 1996, his achievements were duly recognized by induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and a personal satisfaction was in being named to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame (2008). Wilson was a boating enthusiast, enjoying nothing more than reading, relaxing on his boat. He was also deeply devoted to his family. Surviving him are wife Patsy, daughter Christy Myers, son David Wilson, and a granddaughter. Services were scheduled at Westminster Presbyterian Church, June 15, during which attendees were encouraged to tell stories and share memories of Mr. Wilson, whom some affectionately called “Captain Marvel.” The family suggested in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Alive Hospice.