Carrie’s captain comes home . . . Dolly, a National Treasure
NASHVILLE — The Nashville Predators will bid adieu to its captain, Mike Fisher, who just announced he will retire and spend more time at home with singer-wife Carrie Underwood and their boy Isaiah. Mike, 37, scored 42 points last season, including one of the more spectacular power plays, scoring four points in the Stanley Cup Finals as the Preds battled Pittsburgh’s Penguins for the championship. Over 17 seasons, Fisher played 1,088 National Hockey League games with the Ottawa Senators and Predators. He skated with the latter team six-plus seasons, totaling 237 points in 413 games. The team’s center player in a page 1 write-up to Nashville’s daily newspaper The Tennessean, stated in part, “This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I know I’ve made the right one. I’ve decided to retire from the NHL. I kept praying for peace about the next step in my life. A peace that said this is God’s will for your future. A peace that said whether or not this was the right time to walk away.” Despite losing to the Penguins, Mike could look back on their winning the Western Conference and bringing many more fans to Nashville hockey in the playoffs. Fisher added, “I believe that this team, that this city, is going to win a championship, and I’m going to be the biggest fan. No one will be happier than I will be to see it happen, because these fans, they deserve it.” Meanwhile, Mrs. Fisher on her Instagram account, wrote (along with a photo of her guy on the ice), “I sure am going to miss watching you play and cheering you on with the rest of Smashville, but I so look forward to seeing what God has in store for you in this next chapter of your life . . . Isaiah and I love you so much and are so excited to be able to have you home a lot more.”
Scene Stealers: Dolly Parton’s cited by Parade magazine as a National Treasure in its July 16, 2017 edition, claiming, “Besides her Grammy wins (8), songs she’s written (more than 5,000), #1 hits (25) and acting gigs (“9 To 5”), Parton’s top claim to fame may be her good works. Her Imagination Library (established in 1995) has sent more than 85 million books to kids in the U.S., Canada and the UK. Last year, after wildfires ripped through the Great Smoky Mountains, her Dollywood Foundation gave $1,000 a month for six months to every family (more than 900) that lost their home.” In addition, Dolly’s NBC film “Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” just received a 2017 Emmy nod for Outstanding Television Movie. Winners will be announced Sept. 17 on CBS-TV. This is her third nomination . . . Rumors are flying regarding singers Miranda Lambert and Anderson East, indicating that Miranda popped that all-important question to Anderson: Will you marry me? And East said yes indeedy! Yet, for the record, neither has confirmed they are officially engaged. East, 29, is an R&B artist who hails from Athens, Ala., and is best known for his Top 20 single “Satisfy Me.” And as we write this, he’s performing at the Edmonton Folk Festival in Canada. Lambert, 33, split with hubby Blake Shelton two years ago when he co-starred with rocker Gwen Stefani on NBC’s The Voice. Miranda’s #1’s include “Over You” and “Somethin’ Bad” (with Carrie Underwood).
Bits & Pieces: As the 40th anniversary of the death of rock ‘n’ roll king Elvis Presley approached (he died Aug. 16, 1977), Presley Enterprises conducted a public auction of some 315 lots of Elvis items, including a grand piano, that netted some $1.5 million during the event at Graceland, Aug. 12, in Memphis . . . Former country star Taylor Swift testified in a Denver courtroom, Aug. 10, regarding an alleged groping incident by DJ David Mueller during a 2013 media appearance preceding her concert in the city’s Pepsi Center. When Swift’s camp reported to station KYGO-FM about Mueller’s action, management citing a morals clause in his contract, dismissed him. Two years later, Mueller filed a $3 million lawsuit against the singer claiming career damage, which prompted Swift to sue him over a “despicable, horrifying and shocking” encounter when the radio host reached under her skirt and grabbed the cheek of her derriere. On Aug. 11, District Court Judge tossed out Mueller’s lawsuit stating the singer could not be held liable since he failed to prove she set out to have him fired. In her counter-suit, she sought a symbolic $1 (one dollar) and the opportunity to stand up for other women experiencing similar humiliating acts. The jury has yet to rule on her claim . . . Reba McEntire’s former Wilson County 83-acre estate near Nashville was sold for $5 million to Paul Burch, who plans to build 15 new homes on a portion of the property. The proposed development’s called Cherokee Meadows, and is subject to approval by the county plans commission. The singer and her former husband, musician-manager Narvel Blackstock, separated in 2015, filing for divorce after 26 years of marriage. They have a son Shelby, 26 . . . A Jerry Lee Lewis tribute appearance at Skyville Live, Nashville, Aug. 24, featuring such stars as George Strait, Kris Kristofferson, Toby Keith, Lee Ann Womack and Chris Stapleton, was taped for later viewing by fans of “The Killer,” whose hits range from rock classics like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” to country clicks such as “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous” and “Middle Age Crazy.” He turns 82 Sept. 29.
Honors: A pair of Lynns are among the latest female country icons being saluted at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Nashville: That “Rose Garden” gal Lynn Anderson’s exhibit, which begins Sept. 15 and runs to June 24, 2018, is titled: “Lynn Anderson: Keep Me In Mind” (named after her 1973 #1 song). She died in 2015 at age 67. (That’s Lynn’s photo on right.) “Anderson’s TV background and her ability to bring show business dynamism to recording and concert performances helped her achieve crossover success,” noted Kyle Young, museum CEO. The other display honors Loretta Lynn via “Blue Kentucky Girl” running from Aug. 25 to Aug. 5, 2018. Loretta, 85, recently suffered a stroke, but reportedly proclaimed, “I am so happy the Country Music Hall of Fame has asked me to be one of their main exhibits in 2017 . . . gonna show off my 50 some odd years in country music. They best have a big space, I have a lot of stuff! I’m so proud to share my life, and music with the Hall of Fame. Y’all come see us!” . . . Five names were added to the prestigious Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame this year: Walt Aldridge, Vern Gosdin, Jim McBride, Dewayne Blackwell and Tim Nichols. According to organization chairman Pat Alger, “The quality of the songs that emanate from the legendary songwriting community is most often the standard by which songwriters measure their success.” Aldridge hits include Earl Thomas Conley’s “Holding Her and Loving You,” while Gosdin’s known for classics like “Chiseled in Stone.” McBride collaborated with Alan Jackson on his “Chattahoochee” cut, and Nichols’ successes include Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.” Blackwell’s responsible for such as “Make My Day” and “Friends In Low Places.” The five will officially be inducted at their annual songwriters gala, Oct. 23, at Music City Center . . . The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame will induct native talents of the Bluegrass State – (the late) David (Stringbean) Akeman, Dale Ann Bradley, Jason Crabb, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jackie DeShannon and Bobby Lewis – during its annual induction ceremony, May 11, 2018, in Somerset, Ky.
Final Curtain: Veteran guitarist Steve Chapman, 74, died July 29. He had been a regular with such bands as Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours and Bill Anderson’s Po’ Boys, as well as playing with such other artists, among them Roy Acuff, Charlie Louvin, Billy Walker and Mandy Barnett. While with the Po’ Boys, he performed on their instrumental LP “The Casual Country Feeling.” Chapman, a Virginia native, got his first taste of professional pickin’ on Reno & Smiley’s Top O’ The Mornin’ TV series on WDBJ-Roanoke. He earned his spurs as a Nashville studio musician, supporting such notables as Donna Fargo, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ronnie Milsap and George Strait, and was hailed as a great fingerpicker. Survivors include his wife Sue, and children Michele, Danny, Steven Jr., Tonia, Jennifer and Jason; and several grandchildren. A celebration of life service was conducted at Hermitage Funeral Home & Memorial Gardens, Aug. 4.
Steel Guitarist Kayton Roberts, 83, died July 13 in Nashville. For some 30 years, he played in Hank Snow’s Rainbow Ranch Boys, and was a member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Mo. His unique guitar stylings are heard on such Snow LPs as “Snow in Hawaii,” Ricky Skaggs’ “Sings the Songs of Bill Monroe,” Randy Travis’ “Trail of Memories,” Hank Williams III’s “Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’,” Aaron Tippin’s “You’ve Got To Stand For Something,” Billy Joe Shaver’s “The Earth Rolls On” and his own “Valley Of the Roses.” His wife Iva Lou preceded him in death, and survivors include children Louie, Jan and Martin Roberts; and five grandchildren. Services were held at the Church of Grace Park, White House, Tenn., July 23.