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WKZU Updates Archives for 2014-06

KUDZU SALUTES!

KUDZU SALUTES GENE WATSON

Classic Country Style

Since arriving on the charts almost four decades ago with the classic "Love In The Hot Afternoon," Gene Watson has remained one of the format's most distinctive stylists. Hits like "Farewell Party," Fourteen Carat Mind" and "Got No Reason Now For Goin' Home" have helped to define his sound to a generation of country music fans. But, where did that love of the format come from? The singer tells Billboard that his latest disc, "My Heroes Have Always Been Country," offers a little bit of a history lesson. "I think the reasoning behind the CD project was to enlighten all the people out there where Gene Watson came from, and how I came to be. I think these artists that recorded these songs and these songs tell that story. I was listening to them in the clubs back before

Gene Watson had a song to sing or had a contract. These songs are some of my all-time favorites, and these artists are all heroes of mine. I just thought it would be nice to let all the folks know this is where it came from."

 

The collection kicks off with his take on Dottie West's Grammy-winner "Here Comes My Baby." Watson tells The 615 he was and is a fan. "She was a phenomenal artist. I loved her, and thought she was such a great singer and songwriter. We shared the same birthday, and I just always admired her. It's just one of those special songs. At the time, I thought I was the only man that had ever cut it. But, I was wrong – Dean Martin and Faron Young had recorded it. A good song is a good song, whether it's male or female. I just wanted to put the Gene Watson spin on it."

 

He also tips the hat to the late Ray Price on the forgotten gem "That's What She Said." Watson says Price will always be one of a kind. "That's an old song I used to do way back when. I don't know of any artist who was any better, and he wasn't just traditional

country - he could sing uptown or swing, whatever he wanted to do, he could do it as good or better than anybody else. To pay tribute to him on here was the least I could do."

 

He also covered Price on "Make The World Go Away," and paid tribute to Merle Haggard on two tracks. "It' Not Love (But It's Not Bad)' was a huge hit for Merle

Haggard back in 1972, but there's another of his songs that he had on an album that knocked me out years ago that I have wanted to record for so long. Finally, I got a chance to, and it's amazing to me that a lot of Haggard fans haven't heard 'I Forget You Everyday,' which has always been one of my favorites." The singer admits there's something that remains endearing about the lesser-known songs, and he loves bringing them to peoples' attention. "For a long time, before Gene Watson ever got his foot in the door, I lived off B-sides and album cuts. I couldn't find material. The writers weren't  writing songs for 'Gene Nobody,' so I had to go through albums and find songs that had been recorded, but not as singles. I would flip the A-side of a record over, pick out a B-side, and perform it."

 

Though next year will mark the 40-year anniversary of his first hit, he is not settling for a slowdown just yet. "We're still working and setting goals. We're planning on doing another Gospel project, and a new duet album with Rhonda Vincent. I have plans to do an original CD. We have a lot to look forward to. We're working the road harder than we have in years, and we answer the call at the Grand Ole Opry when we can.

We have so many fans who drive so many miles to see us. They keep us going." Watson believes that the numbers he continues to attract in concert offers proof that there is still a market for traditional country music. And, for that he's grateful - because he'd be a fish out of water doing anything else. "I am what I am. That's what I started out doing. I thrive on satisfying my fans. That's what we do. People are starved for traditional country music - the way it should be played on the radio, the way they want to hear it. We have people who will drive hundreds of miles to our shows. We owe everything to them!"

 

 

Contry Music Hall of Fame Museum Events

 

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME® AND MUSEUM EVENTS THROUGH JUNE 29, 2014

 

All events are included with museum admission and FREE for museum members, except as noted.  Visit the museum's calendar page for more details. http://countrymusichalloffame.org/calendar.

 

 

 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Songwriter Session w/Tim James - 11:30 p.m. Family Program: Guitar 101 - 1:00 p.m. Nashville Cats: Steve Gibson - 1:30 p.m. autograph signing* - 3:00 p.m.

New Contest Starting Soon!

KUDZU 104.9 Contest!

Starting on July 14, 2014 we kick off our next promotion - Win a spot aboard the 2015 Country Music Cruise! The Country Music Cruise features: Martina McBride, Charley Pride, Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Tippin, Restless heart and more! Setting sail in January 2015, the cruise starts in Ft Lauderdale and cruises to Nassau, St, Thomas, St Croix and Half Moon Cay. Roundtrip Airfare to the Port of call, performances, onboard events and meals are included in the grand prize package for two people.  The Grand Prize Winner will be announced August 1, 2014. TO ENTER: Submit an entry at www.countrytradiocontest.com OR text "WIN CRUISE" (two words) to 2 7 5 0 3.

KUDZU SALUTES

SALUTE TO JEAN SHEPARD – “DOWN THROUGH THE YEARS”

 

Country Music Hall of Fame® member, the legendary Jean Shepard has had quite a story to tell about her life and career, but never had the right opportunity. Understanding its potential historic significance, Gus Arrendale, President of Springer Mountain Farms Chicken and Larry Black, Executive Producer of "Country's Family Reunion" put their heads together to help her publish and distribute her long-awaited autobiography. "Down Through the Years" will to be released this week as CMA Music Festival fans descend upon Nashville.

 

Shepard rolled out the 224-page, beautifully-bound hardback at a special book-signing at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum on Friday, June 6. Matriarch of the Grand Ole Opry and its longest-standing female member, Shepard presents a first-hand account of her life and over-60-year iconic career in her own words (spanning back to the "golden age of Country Music," through her 2011 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame® and beyond), as a "personal conversation with every reader of this book." The book may be purchased exclusively through the Country's Family Reunion website for $19.99 (plus $6.95 shipping and handling) at cfrvideos.com or by calling 800-820-5405.

 

"Down Through The Years" features commentary from other Country Music stars including Bill Anderson, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Jim Ed Brown, George Hamilton IV, Del McCoury, Jimmy C. Newman, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart and Mel Tillis, to name a few. Shepard's book also includes a foreword with annotations by former US Senator Steve Faris (AR), WSM Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs and Gus Arrendale, President of Springer Mountain Farms Chicken, for which Jean is a spokesperson.

 

Regarded as a pioneer for women in country music, Shepard was signed to Capitol Records at a time when it was thought women could not sell records. Discovered by Hank Thompson following the success of Kitty Wells, Shepard appeared on the first network Country Music television show, "The Ozark Jubilee." Jean was also the first female in Country Music to sell a million records, to make a color television commercial and to overdub her voice on recordings. Shepard's career has yielded over 45 albums and 70 singles, including "A Dear John Letter," "Second Fiddle (To an Old Guitar)," "Tips of My Fingers" and "Slipping Away," to name a few. She regularly performs at the Grand Ole Opry and maintains a busy road performance schedule.

 

Here are a few excerpted facts that you may not have

known about Jean Shepard:

 

  • At age 19, Jean couldn't legally travel through the states without a guardian, so Ferlin Husky was granted guardianship. Jean went on to record the duet with Husky "A Dear John Letter" which became a #1 single.
  • Shepard started out in an all-girl band called the Melody Ranch Girls with whom she's stayed in touch throughout her career.
  • Johnny Horton was one of Jean's first boyfriends. She continued to be a close friend until his death in 1960.
  • Jean was in a near-fatal bus accident while traveling with Hank Williams Jr. When Jean was eight months pregnant, Jean's husband, Hawkshaw Hawkins, was killed in a fatal plane crash that also claimed the lives of Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas.

 

Admired by her peers and emulated by countless up-and coming female Country Music singers, Jean Shepard continues to be a strong influence in traditional music. "Down Through the Years" finally provides a female artist's perspective on the "golden age of Country Music." About Gabriel Communications: "Country's Family Reunion" (CFR), the television franchise that has presented the best of what traditional Country Music has to offer since 1996, is a product of Gabriel Communications. Owned and operated by longtime disc jockey Larry Black, "Country's Family Reunion" specializes in "Reunion" videos. The success of these videos spurred the creation of more than a dozen more projects featuring hundreds of songs and stories as well as Country's Family Reunion News, a monthly newspaper which highlights the music of yesteryear. For more information on Country Family Reunion products, please visit: www.cfrvideos.com.

 

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