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February 17

Uncle Jimmy Thompson died of pneumonia in his home outside of Nashville in 1931. The fiddle player was the first musician to perform on what became the Grand Ole Opry.

The Monroe Brothers, Bill and Charlie, held their first recording session in Charlotte, NC in 1931. Among the day’s 10 songs: What Would You Give In Exchange?

In 1947 Porter Wagoner began a three-year stint at the International Shoe Company manufacturing plant in West Plains, MO for 57.5 cents per hour.

The Everly Brothers signed a record-setting $1,000,000 contract with Warner Bros., the recording arm of the motion picture company in 1960.

Tennessee Waltz was declared Tennessee’s official state song in a resolution signed by governor Frank Clement in 1965.

Waylon Jennings recorded the Gordon Lightfoot-penned (That’s What You Get) For Lovin’ Me at RCA Studio B in Nashville in 1966.

Asylum released The Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975. The 1976 album contained one certified country hit, Lyin’ Eyes.

Mickey Gilley wons five ACM honors at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium in 1977: Entertainer of the Year, Top Male Vocalist, Album (Gilley’s Smokin’), Single Record (Bring It On Home To Me) and Song (Don’t The Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time).

David Allan Coe cut a show short in 1990 at the Flood Zone in Richmond, VA, after a drunken audience member vomited on his wife, keyboard player Jody Lynn Coe. Also performing: future Confederate Railroad singer Danny Shirley.

Billy Ray Cyrus appeared in his first network TV special, Billy Ray Cyrus: Dreams Come True, on ABC in 1993. He sang Achy Breaky Heart and Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, Tanya Tucker and Dolly Parton joined him on the video for Romeo.

Brad Paisley was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2001. He wore the yellow jacket that Buck Owens wore the night he recorded his Live At Carnegie Hall album. Paisley sang Two People Fell In Love, from his upcoming album

Capitol released the Alison Krauss album Windy City in 2017.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Guitarist Billy Byrd was born in Nashville in 1920. After working with Little Jimmy Dickens and George Morgan, he backed Ernest Tubb from 1949-1959, then returned for two more short stints with The Texas Troubadours.

Johnny Bush was born in Houston, TX in 1935. A longtime cohort of Ray Price and Willie Nelson, his biggest hit came with his 1969 version of Marty Robbins’ You Gave Me A Mountain. He also wrote Nelson’s Whiskey River.

Banjo player Buck Trent was born in Spartanburg, SC in 1938. He played with Bill Carlisle, Porter Wagoner and Roy Clark from the 1950s until 1980, when he went solo. During his tenure with Wagoner, he invented the electric banjo. Jen and Cody interviewed the banjo legend a couple years ago ahead of the Hee Haw Reunion show in Marion, VA. Hear the interview here:

Gene Pitney was born in Hartford, CT in 1940. The pop singer, known for his 1960 hit Only Love Can Break A Heart, recorded with George Jones and Melba Montgomery, and wrote Rick Nelson’s Hello Mary Lou, covered by The Statler Brothers in 1985

Red Sovine had a son, Roger Sovine, in Eleanor, WV in 1943. Roger became a significant executive with performing rights organization BMI.

Dan Whitney–a.k.a. Larry The Cable Guy–was born in Pawnee City, NE in 1963. Teamed with Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall in the Blue Collar Comedy Tours, the “get ‘er done” comic was a background vocalist on Brad Paisley’s Camouflage.


Jon Randall was born in Dallas, TX in 1969. After playing with Emmylou Harris’ Nash Ramblers, he joined Lorrie Morgan on the 1996 hit By My Side. He also wrote Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss’ Whiskey Lullaby, Dierks Bentley’s Am I The Only One and Blake Shelton’s Drink On It.

Bryan White was born in Lawton, OK in 1974. The smooth-voiced singer won the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award in 1996, honoring such hits as Someone Else’s Star, Look At Me Now and I’m Not Supposed To Love You Anymore.