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November 30

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The first documented fiddling contest in the U.S. took place in Hanover County, VA in 1736. As the tradition evolves, it confirms for country pioneers that an audience exists for their genre.

A few months after The Bristol Sessions in 1927, Jimmie Rodgers recorded Blue Yodel No. 1 (T For Texas) along with Away On The Mountain, Ben Dewberry’s Final Run and Mother Was A Lady (If Brother Jack Were Here) at the Victor Studio in Camden, New Jersey.

John Denver’s Back Home Again went to the top of the Billboard country singles chart in 1974. It was his very first #1 on the country charts. 

Randy Travis recorded Too Gone Too Long in 1986. It would become his fifth #1 hit.

256 years after the first fiddling contest in the US, Johnny Cash, Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt recorded The Devil Comes Back To Georgia in 1992 at the Castle Studio in Franklin, TN. Charlie Daniels and Mark O’Connor were also on hand. Naturally the track received a Grammy nomination.

We lost David Houston to a brain aneurysm in 1993. The Grand Ole Opry member  earned a Grammy for his signature hit, the 1966 release Almost Persuaded.

Martina McBride joined the Grand Ole Opry during the taping of a CBS-TV special, Grand Ole Opry 70th Anniversary Celebration, at the Opry House in 1995.

CBS-TV aired Dolly Parton: Treasures in 1996. The special featured Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Cat Stevens, Alison Krauss, Mac Davis, Freddy Fender, Neil Young, Charlie Rich, Kenny Rogers, Maverick Raul Malo and Blues Traveler’s John Popper.

Two legends, one session: In 1997 Bob Dylan flew to Nashville to record Lonesome River with Ralph Stanley.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Dick Clark was born in Mount Vernon, NY in 1929. Best known as the host of the pop show American Bandstand, Clark produces the American Music Awards and the Academy Of Country Music awards.

Teddy Wilburn was born in Hardy, AR in 1931. Along with older sibling Doyle, The Wilburn Brothers benefit from an association with Webb Pierce, joining the Grand Ole Opry and amassing more than a dozen hits from 1954-1966.

Bass player Bob Moore was born in Nashville in 1932. A member of Nashville’s “A-Team” of studio musicians, his hundreds of credits include Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler, Elvis Presley’s It’s Now Or Never and Loretta Lynn’s Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Songwriter/producer George Richey was born in Freeman, AR in 1935. Best known as one of Tammy Wynette’s husbands, he wrote George Jones’ The Grand Tour, Joe Stampley’s Soul Song and Lorrie Morgan’s A Picture Of Me (Without You).

Record executive and producer Jimmy Bowen was born in Santa Rita, NM in 1937. After starting in pop, he worked for MCA, Elektra and Capitol, producing hits for George Strait, Reba McEntire, Eddie Rabbitt and Hank Williams Jr., among others.

Guitarist Gordon Payne was born in 1951. He worked as a longtime member of Waylon Jennings’ band, playing on I Ain’t Living Long Like This, I’ve Always Been Crazy and Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love).

Gordon Payne (The Waylors) on stage with Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter | www.gordonpayne.com

Mindy McCready was born in Fort Myers, FL in 1975. Her sassy, confident approach nets late-1990s hits with Ten Thousand Angels and Guys Do It All The Time. Personal issues lead to a downward spiral that culminates in suicide in 2013.

Jason Boland was born in Harrah, OK. As the lead singer and guitarist for Jason Boland & The Stragglers, the musician has been one of the prominent artists in the Texas Red Dirt movement for more than 20 years.