Thursday, November 10, 2011

CMA Recap

Or should that be NMA? Just as Texas music has a variety of styles, Nashville can claim the same thing. Should it all be lumped under 'country'. Not in my book. I'll be the first to say that not everything coming out of Texas is 'cowboy' or 'country'. But at least they don't try to tell me it is. They let me pick and choose for myself.

None of the wins surprised me last night. And that includes the Entertainer of the Year. They are going to milk that girl's sales for all they can and with E of Y on her resume they can jack up the costs again. When does the insanity stop?

One group I am looking deeper into is TheBandPerry. I've not given them much of a listen, but if they aren't rockin' the house, their sibling harmony may stand a chance.

Another one is American Idol winner Scotty McCreery. The kid has a voice. And he has talent. Now if he'll just stick to his roots and not let the Nashville scene eat him alive, he might do okay.

One of the most beautiful moments last night was the tribute to Glen Campbell. The man is one of the last living legends of his era. I agree with many of the posts on the above site that he should have been allowed to sing last night. Were they afraid he was going to embarrass them? Please! Handing him a guitar and then cutting him off was about as disrespectful as you can get. They all do a fine job of that themselves. Nashville has lost its heart and thinks with its wallet. Watching him sit in the audience and sing along with the tribute performers was beautiful. Glen is in the throes of Alzheimer but is scheduled to perform 2 final concerts in Branson on December 2nd and 3rd. You can check out the details HERE

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Country Blessings
The Country Angel

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CMA Preview

Okay, some of you know this whole CMA thing is a big issue with me. Am I the only one under sixty that remembers when CMA truly stood for Country Music Association? And that what you heard on stage really WAS country music? I think Ralph Emery got the ball rolling when he hosted the show Pop Goes the Country. Because Pop and Rock are what they are passing off as country music. And it's why I listen and promote Texas/ Cowboy music.

I know, like everything else Nashville it's all about the dollar signs. Attracting a younger audience that can afford and will spend their money on CDs, concert tickets, concert memorabilia, yadda yadda yadda is all they look at. DOLLARS and CENTS.

I'm not saying some of these people can't sing. Some of them have great voices and I have my favorites because I like the song. I just don't appreciate them trying to sell it to me as COUNTRY.

Alan Jackson had a song out several years ago about Murder on Music Row. The chorus speaks volumes for the rape and murder that has taken place over the years:

For the steel guitars no longer cry
And you can't hear fiddles play
With drums and rock 'n' roll guitars
Mixed right up in your face
Why the Hag wouldn't have a chance
On today's radio
Since they committed murder
Down on music row

But tonight I'll be watching and tweeting during the 45th annual CMA's. I guess because I keep hoping I'll catch a glimpse of what Country Music used to be.

Country Blessings!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Looking Back

When I think Texas music, I not only think of the current artists I listen to like W.C. Jameson, Mike Blakely, Thomas Michael Riley and Jake Martin to name a few, but the good ole boys like Willie Nelson, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. But last week, another group came to my mind and I began searching for them. They were moderate chart artists with MCA back in the early 1980's. James and Michael Younger.

If the name doesn't ring a bell, don't feel bad. A lot of people don't recognize them. But they were two of my favorite people - well, their entire band, The Younger Brothers (until a conflict with another band came about). Nothing But the Radio On was one of their bigger songs. Country station call-letters were dubbed into the lyrics on records (remember those) sent out to radio stations across the country.

I first met the guys in Baton Rouge LA in 1982 at a little place called Texas Dance Hall. Always having a knack for getting back stage, the guys gave me a brief interview. I wrote articles on the guys for local papers where ever they were to perform and caught them on the road several times over the course of their career.

Then I put my budding freelance career on hold to be a full-time mom and the guys dropped off the recording radar soon after. Often times over the past twenty years I've wondered 'where are they now?'. I even played a couple songs of theirs to Mike Blakely because his music reminded me a lot of them. James (Williams) Younger and Mike Blakely are both extremely talented song writers and their styles are similar. I thought it would be cool if I could get them together sometime. I'm still waiting.

So last week I did the Google thing again. This time I came up with a lead. Not only did I find James and Michael but that they had a Texas music life before MCA picked them up as a country band.

For now, I'll leave you with this thought and see if it rings a bell...

The Playboys of Edinburg (Texas, not Scotland).

Country Blessings

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crossing Fingers

I didn't think asking for higher speed internet was going to be this much trouble! Geez. After having Hughes Net try to make it my fault, we've finally put in a brand new modem and so far so good. I hope I'm not speaking too soon.

While I've been off-line, I've not been off-loop. I've been making a LONG list of people I want to bring to you. Some are new faces to the business, some have never left us and some fall more into the category of 'Where are they now?'. I'm really looking forward to bringing you some good stuff as we close out the year.

For those of you who don't know, when I'm not freelancing I'm writing novels. Right now I'm working on one for a 'Call for Submissions' by The Wild Rose Press. They are releasing a 15 book series based on my favorite people... Texans. It's for their HonkyTonk Hearts series. One key element must run through all 15 books. At least one pivotal scene must take place in the Lonesome Steer bar - just a few miles outside Amarillo off old Route 66. Sounds like the perfect setting for a romance to me. You can bet if I can sell this puppy, it will be dedicated to all my friends in the Texas music community who inspire me.

I haven't forgotten I promised you way back when an interview with a special guest. I'm still working out the details with his people but we're getting closer. In the mean time, I'll be bringing you other talented folks and what they're up to these days.

Country Blessings

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fire Aid with Thomas Michael Riley!

I'm back on-line and back to business - finally! Wanted to make sure everything was running smoothly before I jumped in.

Just getting this in. If you guys are looking for something to do this weekend, I can't think of anything better.


Saturday, September 10

Fredericksburg KOA

4:00pm - 11:00pm

Fredericksburg KOA, the town of Fredericksburg and the whole Hill Country are teaming up for a benefit concert this weekend. Saturday night, I'm joining Texas native & Grammy award winner Rick Trevino live at the Fredericksburg KOA to benefit Texas Wildfire Relief.

Press release

"FireAid" has now grown to include many state & local artists who have generously donated their performances to such a worthy and timely cause.

The concert starts at 4pm with a pickers circle including Jake Martin, Bill Lewis, Cowboy Doug Davis, Shannie, Hayden Whittington, and Art & Lisa...with more artists likely to sit in...

At 6pm it's Sol Patch, leading the way to Hill Country Legendary Artist Thomas Michael Riley at 7:30pm.

Rick Trevino will be headlining at 9pm, performing old favorites like "She Can't Say I Didn't Cry", "Doctor Time" and "Running Out of Reasons to Run" and new hits such as "Better in Texas", "Whole Town Blue", "Separate Ways" and "Remember the Alimony".

During Saturday's concert, a live auction of items donated by local merchants will be held with proceeds going to Texas Wildfire Relief. Donations of bottled water, sports drinks, gloves for firefighters and, of course, cash will be accepted immediately and throughout the event at the Fredericksburg KOA located at 5681 US Highway 290 East in Fredericksburg. Non-perishable food items, snacks for the firefighters' pockets and pet foods are just to name a few...

Tickets to Saturday's "Fire Aid" concert are $15 per person and can be purchased at Absolute Charm, 709 W. Main St., The Race Barn, 35 Fair Drive, Tejas Smoke Depot, 1639 US Highway 290 West and of course at the gate at Fredericksburg KOA, 5681 US Highway 290 East.

BYOB...Bring your own cooler, lawn chair, and your donation! Load your car up! We're all going to help!

For more information or questions about this wonderful event, please feel free to contact Fredericksburg KOA at (830) 997-4796.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Technical difficulties

I apologize for the laps in reporting over the weekend and in not being able to showcase our final Entertainer of the Year nominee. Apparently my Hughes Net modem is overheating and I am unable to stay on line for more than about 10 minutes. We are working to rectify this issue. In the mean time, I'm sitting in McDonalds making a quick post while the 3-year-old granddaughter is occupied with her french fries.

I'll be back as soon as I can to update everything. In the meantime...

CONGRATULATIONS to Shake Russell for winning the Entertainer of the Year! If you read back over our introduction post about him last week, you'll see he is very deserving of this honor - as were all the people nominated.

See you soon!
Country Blessings!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Entertainer of the Year Nominee - TMR

I apologize for not getting our next nominee introduced yesterday. Storms rolling through kept me off line and have created technical difficulties with my wireless. The hazard of living rural. So I’ll tell you about Tommy (not to be confused with the afore profiled Tommy Alverson) today. Then tomorrow before all the festivities get underway down in Linden, I’ll tell you about our final nominee in the Entertainer of the Year category.

Today, it’s all about Thomas Michael Riley. I introduced you to Tommy last year when he appeared in this category. The fact he’s here two years running tells me he isn’t here by chance. The powers that be recognize what fills this long, tall Texan – pure talent! People, this man can sing and write a lyric in nearly every sub-genre of Texas music, and do it with heart. He was also nominated in 2010 for Song of the Year – In the Garden and for Album of the Year and won for his Tommy cd. In the Garden appears on the Live From Luckenbach cd.

The first time I heard Thomas sing ‘Livin this Time’ my heart skipped a beat. I wanted to be standing in front of the stage, my back snuggled up against my guy and lose myself in the music. His passion for life comes through and he wants to share it with the world. And he does – in his music. Whether he’s encouraging you to LIVE or singing the 'Chicken Chokin’ Blues', every note he plays reaches out to each individual listening He makes you a part of what he enjoys and who he is. Aside from Entertainer of the Year, Thomas Michael Riley is also up for Vocal Duo of the Year with his good buddy, Mike Blakely for their collaboration of ‘Live From Luckenbach. To get a sampling of Tommy's voice and to order his cd's, follow the link to MyTexasMusic

Good Luck Thomas!
Country Blessings

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Entertainer of the Year Nominee - Mike Blakely

Next up for Entertainer of the Year is my dear friend, Mike Blakely. Aside from Entertainer of the Year, Mike also shares the spotlight with his good buddy, Thomas Michael Riley in the Vocal Duo category for their collaboration of Live From Luckenbach.

Mike has made quite a showing on the Texas Music Awards in the past, being nominated for Entertainer of the Year in 2006 and in 2009. He’s also been nominated for Duo of the Year with John Arthur Martinez in 2008 and his album Rarest of the Breed was up for Album of the Year in 2009.

Mike is one of the busiest people I know in the business. When he’s not working on his ranch, volunteering, spending quiet time with Annie or traveling Europe, you can find him at a myriad of venues around his home state.

One place you’ll find him is at the River City Grille in Marble Falls TX for TexAmericana Tuesday Night as well as being there the first Wednesday of every month. His guests include John Arthur Martinez, Thomas Michael Riley and Larry Nye. You just never know who you’ll find on stage with Mike – unless you subscribe to his weekly newsletter.

It’s been a stellar year for Mike. Not only is he nominated for Entertainer of the Year and in the Vocal Duo category with his good buddy Thomas Michael Riley (which we’ll feature tomorrow), but he also became a happily married man. Annie is a part of Mike. They aren't just husband and wife, they’re connected like so few couples seem to be these days. Not only is she one of the sweetest people I have yet to meet, she’s an accomplished photographer and writer in her own right. Check out her page ~ Annie Blakely Through her eyes, you’ll get a rare glimpse of the man many of us are lucky to know personally.

One of Mike’s biggest events every year is FANDANGO. This year’s event at it’s new (and from what I understand – permanent) location, raised over $2,200 for military charities, including Llano Military News, Fisher House, and Hunts For Heroes. The money was raised through the golf tournament, kayak race, and an auction.

You can catch up with Mike on his FACEBOOK fan page and at learn all you ever wanted to know about his vast array of talent at his WEBSITE.

I’ve known Mike for over 15 years and as in any good relationship, I’m always learning new things about him. You can bet if I’m ever in Texas a trip to see him and meet his wife, Annie, is on my list.

Good Luck, Mike!

Country Blessings

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Entertainer of the Year Nominee - Shake Russell

Today we meet up again with Shake Russell. This isn’t the first time we’ve featured Shake. We talked about him when he was up for Vocal Group (and won) in 2010. He’s been in this category (Entertainer of the Year) before, having won both in 2004 and 2008. He’s also won Founders Award (2007) as well as Vocal Group of the Year (2008) as part of the Shake Russell Trio. That’s quite a track record, but then Shake is quite the artist.

He’s not only a soulful singer with a style that reminds me of Arlo Guthrie, but he’s a talented songwriter as well. He’s won the BMI Million Air Award twice for songs he
co-wrote with Clink Black and has won the BMI Writer Award FOUR times!
The man has quite a resume.

Shake is one of the few I’ve come across so far that is not an original Texan. Born in Independence MO, Shake gathered bits and pieces of style like moss to a stone as he traveled the country before making the lone star state his official home in the mid-70’s.

With all the talent Shake Russell possesses, it doesn’t surprise me to see him nominated in any available category in any awards organization. I’m just glad he’s a Texan at heart and sharing his talent with the rest of us. I hope you'll take a few minutes to browse his website: Shake Russell . And when you're done there, head on over to his page at MyTexasMusic and give a listen to some of his great tunes.

Good Luck on Saturday, Shake!

Country Blessings!

Monday, July 4, 2011

TMA Entertainer of the Year Nominees – 2011

Five days separate us from July 4th and the biggest night in Texas Music - the 9th Annual Texas Music Awards. We have 5 nominees - one for every day of the week. And may the best entertainer win! Thank you to Lucky and Jinelle Boyd at My Texas Music for providing the jpgs for my articles. You guys are the best and make my job so easy!

I’m kicking off the list of nominees this week with the very talented Tommy Alverson. Take a couple minutes to check out his website- Tommy Alverson . When I look at Tommy, I see your average good ole boy who just happens to be amazingly talented. Whether you catch him at the local cafĂ© shootin’ the breeze with his buddies, or performing on stage, Tommy Alverson is everything he portrays.

This isn’t the first time he’s graced this category. He was nominated and won Entertainer of the Year in 2006. With nine albums to his credit, and all the experience that comes with them, he has earned the right to be a part of this category again. It’s songs like Texas Me, I Wish I Was Thirty Again and Anytime Anywhere from his most recent album – Live Again – that showcase his longevity in the business. Personally, I’ve developed an attachment to his 2007 album – Live at Poor David’s Pub. Whichever of the nine albums you purchase, you won’t be disappointed and bound to pick your favorites. Not only is he one heck of a musician and songwriter, he also produces and was nominated for Producer of the Year in 2008 for Randy Brown’s Hard Face to Face album.

When he’s not performing around the country and in Europe, you can find him at the Tommy Alverson’s Family Gathering. This year marks the 14th year of the event. It will be held at Loyd Park in Grand Prairie Texas and will showcase great talents such as Walt Wilkins, Mike Blakely, Steve Helms, Blacktop Gypsy and Susan Gibson just to name a few. Click HERE to learn more about the event and purchase your tickets for this 3-day Texas event.

Tommy, we wish you the best of luck on Saturday night.

Country Blessings!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Featured Artist - Mandy Mercier

Today, I have an interview to share with you. Mandy Mercier is one of seven nominees for the inaugural category of the ACADEMY AWARD OF DISTINCTION. Remember, this is a new category for the 2011 TMAs. The Academy of Texas Music celebrates musical diversity, and the projects of these nominees might not precisely fit the criteria of the other award categories. They are unique and worthy of recognition. This award will be determined 100% by public vote.

Mandy Mercier is a powerhouse of talent. She is half Irish and half Cajun French and is a singer-songwriter, harmony vocalist and violin/fiddle player. As a rock-blues singer and songwriter Mercier has released five albums on various labels including Wild Cantinas Records, Frog Records and Halt Music, and has been a guest vocalist on compilation albums with Lost Art Records, Watermelon, Deep South Productions and Dock Entertainment (Spain). She has also worked as a side musician. Many who hear her perform have compared her to the great Janis Joplin – not for the sound but for the way she makes you feel. Mandy touches your soul with every note she sings.

Awarded "Female Vocalist of the Year" from the Los Angeles Chapter of the California Country Music Association in 1992, she has also been inducted into the Academy of Country Music , despite the fact she doesn’t consider herself a country singer, and won Honorable Mention in the "M-TV Beach House Band" competition (1994). Her song, "Wild Dreams of the Shy Boys" won an Honor Award in the Great American Song Contest, Contemporary Acoustic/Folk category in 2004 and was nominated for "Singer-Songwriter of the Year 2008" by the Academy of Texas Music.

Welcome, Mandy Mercier!

Thanks for joining us in the Country today, Mandy. It is such a pleasure to have you sit with us.

First off, I love the cover for Singer in a Roadhouse Band. The ‘scrapbook’ style layout is just beautiful. Is it a good depiction of your style? Yes, I’d say so!! The design was actually done by Oasis, whom you’ve probably heard of – they press up CDs and have a great art department. My previous CDs featured artwork by Guy Juke, legendary Austin poster artists. I asked them to try to “match” the style, cover-wise (please feel free to see my website “Discography”) and yes, the scrapbook (photos) are to represent the different times in my life when I wrote or demo-ed the songs.

You have quite an impressive musical background between your heritage and the mentorship of Itzhak Perlman. Is there any part of that you feel comes through more than another in your music? Well, I started out as a songwriter, who was blessed with the ability to learn an instrument fairly easily. I’m not a virtuoso, but I started with violin as you know, back in a school music program in elementary school (I’m a big advocate of those programs!) then later added piano and guitar. I also played drums (!) for several years in high school and that enables me to be a decent percussionist in a band situation. To get back to your question (!) my ability to play has let me work with, and also learn from, some amazing artists, that is, other singer-songwriters who have certainly made an impression on me and from whom I’ve learned a lot about both writing and performing. At the same time I’ve always wanted to “do my own thing” with songwriting, as far as self-expression.

For any of our readers who don’t know about you or haven’t been to your website (shame on them), you are far from new to the music scene and a true example of fame doesn’t happen over night. What’s been the toughest part of the climb? I know this will sound either non-politically correct or old-fashioned, but for me it has been trying to make a living in the music business as a woman. I am thrilled that young women today are simply taking their power and at the same time, young men seem to accept them much more easily. For me, earlier in life especially, it was very hard to separate out the roles of woman and musician. As a bandleader I was often not given proper respect; as a side musician, often I felt I was hired for my looks (!) rather than abilities, and then also disappointingly, the fact that I was a woman, onstage, would distract from the person I was backing up, even though I would never “hotdog” or try to distract from the front person. I honestly feel if I had been a guy, it would have been much easier for me, definitely in both the bandleader and “sideman” roles. Again though I’m glad times are changing!! Viva the young ladies!!

You’ve literally been coast to coast honing your craft and playing with a broad spectrum of musical talents and genres. Do you feel influenced by one more than another or are you a happy mix of all your experiences? I try to integrate all the great music I’ve been privileged to be a part of, and just plain listen to, into, as you say, a happy mix or “gumbo” of all the times I’ve been around all kinds of music. At one point in Austin, I would go to sing (or listen to) blues at Antone’s or Hut’s one night (Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Cobras), to Emmajoe’s (Butch Hancock, Jimmie Gilmore, Lucinda, Shake Russell, John Vandiver), Spellman’s or the Alamo Hotel (Blaze Foley, Townes Van Zandt, David Rodriguez) for folk music (not to mention the incredible Uncle Walt’s Band), Steamboat for rock and great (fun) cover bands (Christopher Cross, Denim), and pretty much everything in between. I myself played at all these clubs which makes my stuff, as you kindly say, eclectic but at the same time I hope I’ve integrated what I’ve heard and learned into my own sound.

Reviewers repeatedly compare you to the great Janis Joplin. That’s quite a comparison. How does that make you feel when you hear it? Well, I’m humbled of course. I don’t really think I sound like Janis so much as that I have a lot of passion when I sing, which of course she had to an amazing degree. It’s a great compliment to be compared with her. I do a little more songwriting (although she did also write, which not everyone gives her credit for) and I think my style is a little more varied; but I have great respect for her. Despite people who don’t appreciate her as much as I do, I’ve noticed that as much as she’s known for her passionate and intense singing style, her phrasing was impeccable, and she never, ever sang off-key – quite an accomplishment given the sound systems back in those days!! Not a lot of monitor sound going on!!

We know what the reviewers have to say. But what do you want people to carry with them after seeing you perform? Well, I’ve said this before and I’m not necessarily talking about myself, although I would say I definitely aspire to this: I think all musicians playing live are performing the role of a sort of shaman – I quote Julia Cameron, who wrote “The Artist’s Way,” who either said or implied, “The impulse toward art is ultimately the impulse toward God.” I think people come to hear music to have fun certainly (!) and to meet people, but also to release energy (of course) and be comforted, uplifted, inspired in some way. I know the great people I go to listen to have that effect on me and I hope I can provide it (that service to the audience) in some small way.

You were last nominated for Songwriter of the Year in 2008 with the Texas Music Association. This year, you are in an inaugural category for the Academy Award of Distinction. What does being in this category mean to you? Well, again it’s a great honor. I love being a part of the Academy and any recognition from them is inspiring and encouraging. This is a neat category in that people vote for the winner as opposed to other categories where the Board judges and chooses the winners. However I think some bands have a large following and the Academy’s procedures of also recognizing artists who are less known (yet!) is great for those who haven’t yet been found by a larger audience. I really mean it when I say, it’s a privilege to be nominated.

I love how you list the yearly performance highlights on your website. With 2011 only half over, what do you want to add to the list this year? Well, I’d like to do more traveling, would love to go to the West Coast again, also New England, places I’ve lived before (that would also include Colorado, and New York). Europe of course, where Texas music is so appreciated (!) (if you can carry enough CDs in your luggage, I’ve heard you can cover some travel costs!!). I am always glad and honored to play tribute concerts, benefits and reunions. We have one coming up in October, the 2nd annual reunion of the Austin Outhouse, where Blaze Foley, Champ Hood, Pat Mears, Lost John Casner and many other great friends played with me and whom I used to love to go see.

What’s on the horizon for Mandy Mercier? Any projects you can give us a sneak peek on? I’d like to do some Cajun-influenced songs featuring more of my fiddle playing. I’d also like to do a whole album of songs by other friends, although I always sneak in one or two on every album (Blaze Foley, Calvin Russell, other friends who are no longer with us whose music I love to carry on).

What would you do if you couldn’t write or perform any longer? Would you go back to editing? (yes folks, she used to be an editor in New York) Oh, yikes. No, I think the book industry is pretty much done as a career. I’m a good editor but the books I read, either the writer knows how to write (and punctuate!) or they don’t; it’s incredible the spelling and grammatical (and usage) errors I see in books sometimes!!! I like working with writers and editing their work on a freelance basis. What I enjoy other than music is photography (got to figure out that digital format! I still use film); I love gardening (when it’s not so hot out!!), and of course (again) travel. Visiting friends and family, and maybe another secret project I’ll tell you about at some point!! Thanks for asking :-)

Mandy, thank you for your time today. Good luck on the nomination!
Thank you!!

If you've not checked out Mandy's website, please take a few moments to get to know her there...

You can order all of her albums at

Beginning Monday, I'll introduce you to the Entertainer of the Year nominees as we count down to the biggest night of the year for the Texas music community. Until then, have a safe 4th of July weekend and remember why we celebrate!

Country Blessings!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Place of Dreams...

I know I promised to showcase the Entertainer of the Year Nominees for this year, but today’s post focuses on something much more important. That is getting the venue ready for the event. With the 9th Annual Texas Music Awards event only ten days away there is so much left to do in having the building ready on time. Lucky and Jinelle Boyd, of the Academy of Texas Music, have been working round the clock between their “day” and their “job of passion”.

This past Friday and again on Sunday, the Academy of Texas Music held a Facebook-a-thon to raise money for much needed improvements (and I use that word very loosely). The building they’ve acquired, and hope to make a long-term home for Texas Music in general, finally got a flushing toilet. That should give you an idea of the shape of the building. Friends have been enduring the horrid, unseasonably hot temperatures in an attempt to have the building ‘passable’ for this year’s awards. You can follow THIS link to see photos of the building in progress. Donations are badly needed to make this our ‘Mother Church of Texas Music’ - otherwise known as the 'Texas Music World Headquarters'. Over the weekend, the acadamey raised just over $800 – a far cry from what is needed to have the air conditioning units in place… let alone everything else needed. Can you imagine attending the awards next weekend and having NO AC?

Thank you to the dozens of artists who gave CDs to be used as ‘thank you’ gifts for anyone who donated.

I donated, with pride, to the FB-a-thon on Sunday and will continue to do so every month until the building is finished in all it’s grandeur. Keep in mind, I only gave $40 and my monthly donation will be a far cry from that. But every bit will help. Whether you are a musician or a fan of great music, I hope you’ll help the academy on their journey. You can go HERE and click on the link below the photos where it says ‘Help the Building Fund’. It’s as simple as using your pay pal or credit card. And if you’re in the Linden area, I’m sure extra hands are always a welcome site. If you can do nothing more than drop off cold beverages or a subway platter to nourish the dedicated workers, your donation will be appreciated.

Country Blessings

Friday, June 24, 2011

Welcome to Linden Texas!

Linden Texas is home to the 9th Annual Texas Music Awards. Linden is the county seat of Cass County and one of the oldest towns on record in Northeast Texas. This small town of 2500 people has the reputation of producing fine music across the board from Blues to Country/ Western and everything in between. It seemed only right to bring the TMA's back to Linden. (They were showcased here their first year) Musical legends such as Scott Joplin, Aaron "T-Bone" Walker and Don Henley have called Linden home.

Other notables such as The Ward Bros. Stuntmen of Texas, whose members took part in many Hollywood westerns and Cynthia Helferstay Henderson, Actress/ playwrite who wrote episodes for shows we all watched such as Happy Days and Star Trek- The Next Generation grew up here.

Though the venue is smaller than in past years, TMA is going to make up for it in the talent available that one music-packed day. The event begins at Noon and ends with the after-party at Auntie Skinners Riverboat Club around 1 a.m.! It will cost you $30 to hit all three segments of the award show but music at Tin Star Steakhouse and the after-party are FREE!

If you're planning to go to the awards, make sure you check out the Tin Star Steakhouse link for discount coupons!

Monday, I'll be back to showcase the Entertainer of the Year line-up. You don't want to miss it!

Have a great weekend!
Country Blessings!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Getting back on track!

It just seems the world keeps spinning and there are days I feel like I'm on a hamster wheel. LOL
I'm working on finishing up the articles showcasing the Texas Music Association nominees and introducing you to some really talented artists.

The weather in the Ozarks went from stormy/ rainy - preventing me from being on-line to being so unseasonably HOT. Toss three weeks of company into the mix and writing just wasn't a conducive activity. Company is gone, temps have dropped to a comfortable degree and the storms - for the most part - have passed.

So now it's back to business. I'll see you tomorrow with the showcase list and who you'll be meeting in the final weeks as we begin to countdown to the Awards - in their new home! Oh yeah, I'll give you all the details on that, too!

Country Blessings

Friday, May 27, 2011

Meeting a Legend

Over the course of my time in the music arena, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the legends. Until a couple weeks ago, the highlight of my list was the great Faron Young. That was before I heard the musical talent of Eddie Adcock.

I went down to the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View Arkansas without a clue as to what to expect. I hadn’t done my research on thumb picking. What I did know was that Buddy Case can play a guitar like nobody’s business. Or so I thought. It was Buddy that drew me to OFC, it was Eddie Adcock who left me with a lasting impression of true bluegrass finger style.

Eddie Adcock was born in VA. There’s his first positive. I was first introduced to ‘traditional’ music in the back hills (and I’m talking Walton’s Mountain area) of the Blue Ridge. I could relate to where this man got his roots. Like most traditionalists, Eddie absorbed the seasonings of his talent by listening to the Grand Ole Opry, Wheeling Jamboree and the Old Dominion Barn Dance on the radio. He hung around the Scottsville's Victory Theater where the likes of the Carter Family and Hank Williams performed.

Having taught himself to play stringed instruments on the family farm near Charlottesville VA, practicing until his fingers bled, he’s played with some of the greats such as Mac Wiseman and Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. His break came when he joined The Country Gentlemen in 1959. The Country Gentlemen were a progressive band integrating the then popular folk music into the traditional bluegrass, attracting a younger audience.

As I sat in that auditorium I felt the awe from the other musicians on the stage with him. His playing, despite recent health issues, was amazing. Eddie’s wife, Martha, first noticed the tremors affecting his playing. Eddie was diagnosed with an ‘essential tremor’, an involuntary trembling in the head or hands that afflicts 10 million Americans. In 2008, he underwent surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville to correct the problem. As you’ll see from the YouTube video Here (courtesy of ABC News), Eddie was awake AND playing the banjo during the surgery to help the surgeons put the electrodes in the proper place.

Eddie says it still isn’t perfect. Something isn’t connecting right again but he’s still playing. Eddie Adcock can not NOT play. It’s who he is. He suggests beginning musicians get the basics down and then develop their own style. "Even if they play as well as someone like Earl Scruggs, they'll never be Earl Scruggs," he says. "Nothing's wrong with someone helping you get started. Then back off and let God give you your music." (quote from

If you ever have the opportunity to hear this man play – GO! And if you are lucky enough to jam with him, know that you are in the presence of greatness and learn from the master.

Country Blessings

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mountain View AR

What a beautiful trip down to Mt. View Arkansas last week. I drove in misty rain most of the way, enjoyed the coolness of the auditorium for a couple hours then made the three-hour trip back home in the drizzly rain. But I wouldn't have missed the time at the Ozark Folk Center for anything.

I wasn't able to meet up with Buddy Case and his wife, Karen. Sadly, Karen's mother passed away on Saturday so they were unable to attend the Thumb picking competition this year. My condolences to Karen and her family for their loss.

I did enjoy the jam session performance on Friday afternoon. It was a chance for some of the competitors to arrive and loosen up a bit before the weekend festivities got underway. I heard some unbelievable picking like I haven't heard in years. Legends such as Comer "Moon" Mullins, Eddie Adcock, Darryl Nixon and a young man by the name of Ben Hall made up the main jammers. They were accompanied by a 'washtub' picker whose name I didn't catch.

Thumb picking originated at the turn of the 20th Century and was made famous by Merle Travis and Chet Atkins. The basic concept uses one or two fingers to pick the lead notes on the strings while the thumb carries the base.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Returning from short hiatus

I didn't mean to run out on everyone. My apologies. I was experiencing some internet issues and a living room remodel. Didn't need either right now but both proved to be for the best in the end. The living room looks awesome and I have my own High Speed internet at home. No more making a 80 mile round trip and 7 hours away from home to get caught up.

Speaking of getting caught up, I'll be back in here tomorrow to do some updates. On Friday I am going to Mt. View Arkansas to see a friend of mine, Buddy Case (we've showcased his talents here) compete in the National Thumbpicking Competition. I haven't seen Buddy and his wife, Karen, in over a year so I'm looking forward to the reunion and hearing him play. I'll have news of the event, with pics, on Monday.

Until tomorrow...

Country Blessings!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Weather Delay

Happy May everyone!

A lot of places across the midwest and southern states have been pounded with heavy rain and severe storms over the past couple of weeks. My little corner of south-central Missouri was no exception. Though we didn't get hit near as hard as a lot of places, it did rain almost continuously for seven days. Thunder and lightening were evident for what seemed 24/7... leaving 17" of rain in it's wake and me without a lot of internet time. No research, no writing, no email...

But the worst of the storms have passed (I hope) and I now have high speed internet at the house -no more boonies dial-up for this country angel! High speed all the time means I can better keep up with everything you guys are doing and report it a lot faster to my growing network of readers and (hopefully) your fans.

I have visitors coming in this week for an extended writers weekend. Then I'll be back to business - better than usual - beginning Monday morning.

In the mean time, check out your favorite artists over at MyTexasMusic and have a great long weekend! Oh, and don't forget... if you haven't made plans to attend Fandango yet, there's still time. All the information you need is in the previous post.

Country Blessings
The Country Angel

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Man, if you want an awesome Texas music weekend, this is one annual event you DO NOT want to miss! Besides, I need roving reporters to tell me all about it as I won' t be able to make the trip this year. :-)

FANDANGO is only 1 month away so time to make travel plans is running short. Here's all the info you need:

Friday, May 13 - $15.00

Saturday, May 14 - $20.00

Weekend pass - $30.00 (save five bucks!)

Fandango tickets now on sale!

You have two choices: phone, or internet. The internet option requires a $3.00 convenience fee tacked onto the ticket price. No extras fees for the telephone option.

To buy tickets by phone, call the Llano Chamber of Commerce at 325-247-5354. Have your credit card handy. Your tickets will be available at will call at the Fandango.

To purchase tickets on the internet, log onto and click on the Fandango logo.

On the Fandango page, scroll down to the link to

(A $3.00 fee is added to the ticket price to purchase on line.)

Fandango Location: Llano River Golf and RV

located 1.5 miles west of the Llano courthouse on Ranch Road 152.

This facility is perfect for the Fandango. There’s a covered pavilion, so we’ll have no rain worries. The grounds are on the banks of the gorgeous Llano River . Bring your kayaks or canoes. A small dam impounds a nice little lake at the resort. The golf course, RV park, and pavilion are all located together on this stretch of the river. Once you arrive, you won’t want to leave!

Camping: The RV slips with full hookups have all been reserved, but not to worry. There are acres and acres available for RVs without hookups, or for tents. No need to call in advance. Simply show up and pay for your camping fee. It’s only $5.00 per person per night.

This is a BYOB event. Coolers welcome. No glass, please. No pets.

Rooms in town:

Call the Llano Chamber of Commerce at 325-247-5354

or go to

Llano hotels book up early this time of year for various events. The C of C will have tips on B&Bs and available motels.

Also, Cedar Lodge is only 20 minutes away on Lake Buchanan – 512-793-2820.

Schedule of Events:

Thursday – May 12 – Sponsor’s Party. Live music by Mike Blakely and Woody Eastman. Beer, wine and food provided by River City Grille. (If you’d like to be a Fandango Sponsor, reply to this email to inquire. There are perks galore if you’re a sponsor!)

Friday, May 13

10:00 – Golf tournament. Get your 4-man team together for the scramble. Shotgun start. Prizes! This is a fund-raising event in support of U.S. military men and women. Lunch for golfers provided by River City Grille. $40 per player, payable at the Fandango. Let us know if you’re golfing, or need team members.

Friday music, beginning at 5:00:

Jeff “Wild Horse” Posey ( Fort Worth )

John Fullbright ( Oklahoma )

Casey Hubble Band ( Austin )

Mike Siler ( Nashville )

Walt & Tina Wilkins ( Austin )

Susan Gibson (Wimberly)

john Arthur martinez with John Greenberg and Mike Blakely.

Saturday, May 14

11:00 a.m. – kayak races!

Noon – basketball free-throw shooting contest

3:00-5:00 – book signing featuring Texas authors

Saturday music beginning at 1:00

Jake Martin (Luckenbach)

Kylie Rae Harris (Stephenville)

Josh Grider ( Austin )

Duke Davis and Buckshot ( Fredericksburg )

Rodney Hayden ( Austin )

The WC Jameson Band (Texas Hill Country)

Courtney Reed (Llano)

Adam Carrol ( East Texas )

Chris Wall ( Austin )

Davin James & The Bullnettle Band (Spring, TX)

Mike Blakely & The Whiskey Traders