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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Remembering Jerry Jeff Walker and Minnie Pearl. Sunday, Oct 25 2020


Two bits of music news Sunday, one very sad, the other speaking to the joy of remembrance. 


Jerry Jeff Walker died last night after a long battle with throat cancer. Forever famous as the writer of the song, "Mr. Bojangles," it was a huge hit for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and covered by dozens of prominent recording artists over every subsequent decade. Jerry Jeff was the quintessential Texas troubadour, even though he was a transplant, born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, New York in 1942. 

His first record, "Circus Maximus," was unremarked on Vanguard in 1967. Two albums followed in turbulent '68, the first again on Vanguard, and the other, "Mr. Bojangles," on Atco. Thirty-five more albums would follow on a rainbow of labels, through 2018's "It's About Time," his last, following a nine-year gap. 

It resonates more to look at his thirteen released singles that include titles of more of his memorable songs, often known when performed by others:
1968: "Mr. Bojangles"
1972: "L.A. Freeway"
1973: "Desperados Waiting for a Train" 
    and "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother"
1975: "Jaded Lover"
1976: "It's a Good Night for Singing" and "Dear John Letter Lounge"
1977: "Mr. Bojangles" (Live)
1981: "Got Lucky Last Night"
1989: "I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight" 
   and "The Pickup Truck Song"
   and "Trashy Women"
1994: "Keep Texas Beautiful"

As the New York Times wrote, "He never had a Top 40 pop hit. But his best-known composition became an enduring standard, and he became a mainstay of the outlaw country movement."

Austin American Statesman writer Peter Blackstock said, "Jerry Jeff Walker, the notorious rowdy raconteur who left a thousand beer-drinkin', hard-partyin' imitators at honky-tonk roadhouses all across Texas in his wake, penning songs of social consciousness? It's not really all that far-fetched, as it turns out." Blackstock says Walker may have written more about the country's social scene in the 1970s than he was given credit for.

A far-reaching incluence

Walker is credited with giving fellow Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark his big break by recording Walker's originals "L.A. Freeway" and "That Old Time Feeling." 

ABC-TV Channel 13 in Austin adds, "Parrotheads everywhere may have Jerry Jeff to thank for Jimmy Buffett's long-time association with Key West and the Margaritaville sound. Buffett recently recalled how his association with Walker led to his relocation to the Keys.

"'Jerry Jeff was kind enough to take me in and let me stay and live with him for a while," Buffett said. "I worked part-time in an auto repair garage, working on his car and then, when the car got fixed, we drove to Key West.'

"Michael Martin Murphy and Gary P. Nunn also went on to successful solo careers of their own after spending time in Walker's Lost Gonzo Band.

Lyle Lovett posted to social media:

"When Jerry Jeff Walker saw me taking pictures of him during his show at the @redantspantsmusicfestival on July 31, 2011, he looked right into my camera and gave me a smile. A split second later he was back into his song, entertaining the thousands of people standing in front the stage on the prairie. I’ll always remember Jerry Jeff’s kindness to me in that moment and every time I ever saw him."

The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University has acquired Walker's early recordings, including song demos he made in Houston in 1965.

Despite his diagnosis with throat cancer in 2017, Walker continued to work on songs and projects throughout his battle against the illness.

He's survived by his wife, Susan, his son, Django, and his daughter, Jessie Jane.

But we can't end with the traditional obit line.

Texas raconteur Rowdy Yates posted, "Hated hearing the news that Jerry Jeff Walker has moved on to that dancehall/icehouse in the sky. If you'd like a taste of what made him such a Texas treasure, I have something for you here:"

And you can't beat the following for an expression appropriate to the memory of the one taken from us. It comes from his fellow Texas musician, Kevin Fowler:

"2020, you can officially kiss my ass. I’m done with you. Now you’ve crossed the line. RIP, @jerryjeffwalker. Like we hadn’t lost enough this year. You took our Texas music hero! 2020, 🖕."


From Garrison Keillor's daily missive, "The Writers Almanac," for Sunday, Oct 25th:

It's the birthday of comedian Minnie Pearl (books by this author), born Sarah Ophelia Colley (1912) in Centerville, Tennessee, the youngest daughter of a well-to-do lumberjack. She majored in theater, taught dance lessons, and joined a theatrical troupe which went all over the south. While on tour she met a woman from the Alabama mountains whose manner of talking amused her. The young comedienne Sarah Colley imitated the mannerisms and mode of speech of the Alabama mountain woman in an act where she called herself "Cousin Minnie Pearl", which first appeared in 1939. Nashville radio executives saw the act and were impressed and in 1940 offered her the chance to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. It was a huge hit, and she'd continue with the Opry for more than 50 years.

She said, "The doctor must have put my pacemaker in wrong. Every time my husband kisses me, the garage door goes up."


Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, known professionally as her stage character Minnie Pearl, died in 1996.

Minnie Pearl feature copyright Garrison Keillor, The Writer's Almanac, 2020.

Remainder of this edition copyright Larry Wines and Acoustic Americana Music Guide, 2020.

Contact us through the site's message feature (if you specify it is a comment to be posted, it can be), or send questions to

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Tuneful island of sanity, inside two weeks to the election. Wed, Oct 21 edition 2020

Persisting. Subsisting. Enduring. Enjoying. Slow down at life's smorgasbord so you don't miss the tasty stuff.

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It's Wednesday, October 21

It’s the birthday of John Birks "DIZZY" GILLESPIE, born in Cheraw, South Carolina (Oct 21, 1917, died 1993). American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, educator and singer, he was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic and rhythmic complexity previously unheard in jazz. Along with C harlie Parker, he was instrumental in inventing the style of jazz known as “bebop” and also incorporated African and Cuban rhythms into his music. His songbook is a list of bebop's greatest hits -- 'Salt Peanuts,' 'Woody 'n' You,' 'Con Alma,' 'Groovin' High,' and 'A Night in Tunisia' all became jazz standards. His combination of musicianship, showmanship, and wit made him a leading popularizer of the then-new music called bebop. His beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks, and his light-hearted personality provided some of bebop's most prominent symbols.

He said, “I don’t care too much about music. What I like is sounds.”

THOUGHT FOR TODAY from one born on this date

"Biographical history, as taught in our public schools, is still largely a history of boneheads: ridiculous kings and queens, paranoid political leaders, compulsive voyagers, ignorant generals, the flotsam and jetsam of historical currents. The men who radically altered history, the great creative scientists and mathematicians, are seldom mentioned if at all."

~ Martin Gardner, mathematician and writer (born October 21, 1914, died in 2010)

Thanks to A.Word.A.Day. for the quote.


More Thoughts for today by one born on this date...

What if you slept...

What if you slept
And what if
In your sleep
You dreamed
And what if
In your dream
You went to heaven
And there plucked a strange and beautiful flower
And what if
When you awoke
You had that flower in your hand
Ah, what then?

(From “What if you slept...” in Public Domain)

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Romantic English poet (born Oct 21, 1772, died in 1834). His best-known works include “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798).

Following the publication of "Rime," Coleridge's subsequent opium addiction killed his creativity and ruined his friendship with celebrated poet William Wordsworth. Garrison Keillor tells us, "His friends hated the fact that he had wasted so much of his talent. They’d all considered him the most brilliant writer and thinker they’d ever known, but he’d accomplished so little. Near the end of his life, his friend Charles Lamb wrote of Coleridge, “His face when he repeats his verses hath its ancient glory, an Archangel a little damaged.”

Info and quotes from and about Coleridge from Garrison Keillor's daily missive, "The Writers Almanac."


Covidology 101

Two-and-a-half-million years of life. That's what America has lost in the pandemic deaths of people in the U.S. to COVID-19 in the past eight months.

That slap-up-side-the-head perspective comes from the reporting of CNN's Brianna Keller.


"Dolly Parton Moves Stephen Colbert to Tears"

By Marlow Stern, Senior Entertainment Editor, the Daily Beast
Oct. 21, 2020


Spencer Davis dead

Word came Tuesday that the leader of the Spencer Davis Group has died of pneumonia.

No word if it was COVID-related pneumonia.


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Phil Ward holds a casual 30-minute concert online, 

Wednesday Oct 21 at 4 pm PDT

"Last chance to hear (my) progressive songs before the election," says  brilliant comedic songwriter Phil Ward 

"This Wednesday, October 21, 13 days before a very important election (and 7 days before my wife’s birthday), I’ve got a matinee performance. It’s a laid-back 30-minute show at 4pm Pacific Time, and I’ll play some of my vaguely political songs to make sure we’re all laughing all the way to the ballot box, or the post office, or wherever it is you’re going to cast your vote. You’re going to cast your vote, right?

"The show's on my Facebook Band Page, Phil Ward Live. Or just search for Phil Ward Live on FB. It’ll be casual. Come as you are. Looking forward to it."

~ Phil

Art for the show, courtesy of Phil Ward

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CHRIS SMITHER joins Alice & Freebo on "Inside Live"

Wed. Oct. 21st, 5 pm  Pacific, 8 pm Eastern

Freebo tells us:

I’ve known Chris for almost 50 years, first meeting him in Cambridge, Mass in 1971 when I first began playing bass with Bonnie Raitt. Chris was one of the many excellent Boston/Cambridge folkies in that very special time in musical history, and we became good friends, both hanging out after Bonnie shows where Chris opened, as well as just hangin' out! Chris’ style is essentially a kind of hybrid blues, and it is perhaps best expressed in his iconic song “LOVE ME LIKE A MAN” made popular by Bonnie on her 2nd record, “Give It Up” The song was originally written and recorded by Chris as “I Can Love You Like A Man”, and of course Bonnie turned it around to suit her own point of view. But Chris' style also strays into his original classic folk style songs with brilliant lyrics, exquisite guitar playing. and his clever humor. I look forward to asking Chris questions about his musical beginnings, his evolving style, and certainly about those wonderful times back in the day. We’ll definitely get Chris to play a few old favorites, in addition to some songs from his brand new CD just released. 
   The following week, October 28th, MICHAEL JOCHUM with be our special guest. This show will be quite a bit different from our previous shows in that Michael is not a singer/songwriter, but rather a brilliant drummer with studio credits far too numerous to mention here. Besides his many years of playing drums on classic records, movie scores, and commercials, Michael and I have a long history of making music together as a rhythm section (bass and drums for those of you who don’t know that term). Michael co-produced and played drums on my first solo CD in 1998, appeared on several other CDs of mine, and joined me in THE ZYDECO PARTY BAND for over 5 years as well. Besides discussing Michael's illustrious history and stories sharing the “inside scoop” of the recording studio, Michael and I will be playing hands on examples of the interaction between bass and drums in the making of popular music, folk, blues, and ensemble playing in general. Please tell your musician friends about this special show, and I hope you can join us as well! 
Here's how you can tune in...5 PM Pacific, 8 PM Eastern:

Plus, we have...


   "With the election only 2 weeks away, I am frankly scared that our so called democratic system will not work in the way it was intended, and that there will be no peaceful transition of power. Even if The Democrats win by a landslide, I seriously doubt Donald Trump will admit defeat, and I fear, as I have for many months now, that he will refuse to leave office. I am also extremely worried that there will be violence in the streets as protests rage and counter vigilante reaction will be carried out by The Far Right. I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but all signs seem to be pointing in this direction.  

   "Please read this amazing and well researched article in The Atlantic Magazine that states many of these same scenarios. "May you live in interesting times" the ancient proverb states...and that we are! My prayer is that whatever happens will be for the ultimate good, and that there will be a minimum amount of violence and loss of life."



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Andy & Renee Livestream Concerts

#60, Wednesday, Oct. 21st, 7 pm PDT
 & #61 Sunday, Oct. 25th, 5 pm PDT

Wednesday, Oct. 21st, Livestream #60

7pm PDT, 10pm EDT

Andy & Renee

Watch on YouTube

Sunday, Oct. 25th, Livestream #61

5pm PDT, 8pm EDT

Andy & Renee

Watch on YouTube

The multiple award winning co-leaders of the band Hard Rain and hosts of the annual "Dylanfest" tell us, 

"We want to thank everyone for watching our Livestreams! This is the main way we are playing music and making a living these days, and we are so appreciative of you and your generosity! Haven't seen one lately? Check one out!

"Make requests from our list of 470 songs, and we'll get to as many requests as possible. See the list, and send your requests to before the show. Put the show on your Smart TV or watch on your computer, phone, or tablet, and chat with friends in the Chat Room!

"As you know, all our "In-Person" gigs have been cancelled for the last several months. We turned to doing Livestream shows to make a living and deliver the music to you. The shows are free to watch, but the option to tip us will be there for those who are in a position to do so if you are enjoying the music. You can tip at, PayPal ( or Venmo ( A portion of the proceeds go to the Los Angeles Midnight Mission. We are sustained by the generosity and support of the fans who love the music, and who tip as they are able."

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Musicians for the Greater Good brings multiartist benefit concerts

We'd like you to meet "Musicians for the Greater Good." They are a self-described "alliance of singer-songwriters who care about the environment, social justice issues and other progressive concerns."

Their mission statement goes on to say, "We believe in the power of music to help change views and influence elections. We volunteer to perform at events for critical campaigns. Among us we have created a strong collection of timely, thought-provoking musical messages that can support progressive candidates and causes."

Most of their online "performances-for-a-cause" are like mini-cyber music festivals or a multiartist evening in a venue, and include artists from all over the map.

L.A. musician Garret Swayne notified us of their latest, in which he performed.

(Don't worry if you noted the past-tense. You can still see it.)

“This Land Is Your Land concert # 9," a production of Musicians for the Greater Good and "A Concert to Elect Joe Biden!" happened Tuesday evening. It featured Tom Prasada-Rao, Shanna in a Dress, Matt Watroba, Chris Morgan, Mustard’s Retreat, and Garret Swayne.

It streamed live AND IS ARCHIVED on Youtube. 

You can sign-up for notices of their live stream concerts, and view previous performances in their archive (link at the bottom).

Here's what's available, so far:
Musicians for the Greater Good - Concert #9 from 10-20-20
1:32:44 (archived; streamed live Tuesday evening)
This Land is Our Land - Concert # 8 from 10-13-20
1:41:31 (archived; streamed live 1 week ago)
This Land is Our Land, Concert #7, 10-6-20 by Musicians for the Greater Good.
1:44:25 (archived; streamed live 2 weeks ago)
This Land is Our Land - Concert #6 - 9/29/20
1:30:25  (archived; streamed live 3 weeks ago)
Musicians for the Greater Good - Concert #5 - 9/22/20
1:37:39 (archived; streamed live 4 weeks ago)
Musicians for the Greater Good - Concert #4
1:40:32 (archived; streamed live 1 month ago)
"This Land is Our Land", MGG Concert #3 9-8-20
1:32:08 (archived; streamed live 1 month ago)
This Land Is Our Land Concert #2 - 9/1/20
1:39:26 (archived; streamed live 1 month ago)
This Land is Our Land Concert #1
1:22:46 (archived; streamed live 1 month ago)
Musicians for the Greater Good (MGG) Concert Promo
1:31 (archived; produced 2 months ago)
All at:

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Americana Music Association presents,

 October 21-24


4 nights of music, conversation and music education

Psych-rockers Making Movies, with the support of the Americana Music Association, will hold a four-night virtual event, AMERI’KANA: an exploration into American music. Featured artists will include Making Movies, Los LobosFlor de ToloacheCedric BurnsideThe Sensational Barnes BrothersBoo MitchellKevin MorbyLuke Winslow-KingNina Diaz, Addie Sartino, and many more plus youth songwriters from The Rebel Song Academy. Learn more here.
Livestream on YouTube and Facebook | Starting each night at 6 PM PST / 8 PM CST
Oct 21 - NIGHT 1

Making Movies: In Concert 
(Live from Auditorio Nacional)
Making Movies takes its electric guitars, psychedelic synths, and rumbero rhythms to Mexico City’s historic Auditorio Nacional in this concert performed November 20, 2019. Special introduction and live Q&A with Making Movies after the concert.

Oct 22 - NIGHT 2

“RSA Live” from AMERI’KANA
(Educational Panels)
Interactive panels to empower the next generation of young songwriters:
Find the Dream with music producers Steve Berlin (Los Lobos/REM) & Tim Anderson (Billie Eilish/Halsey) hosted by Enrique and Diego Chi of Making Movies
 - Fund the Dream with Erin McGrane (Artist Inc), Rhonda Lyne (Midwest Music Foundation Anthony Magliano (Quixotic) hosted by Alt-Cap

Oct 23 - NIGHT 3
Art As Mentorship Stage
(Youth Performers)
The young songwriters of the Rebel Song Academy showcase their original songs and collaborations with artists Kevin Morby, Samia, Luke Winslow-King, Nina Diaz, Making Movies and more.

Oct 24 - NIGHT 4 
(Living Documentary)
The story of American music is told by Los Lobos, Terrance Simien, Flor de Toloache, The Sensational Barnes Brothers, Rev. Charles Hodges, Boo Mitchell and more, hosted by Making Movies. Musical collaborations, interviews, and documentary footage bring a fresh perspective on the past and look toward what, or perhaps how, the future will be.

RSVP to watch the four-night immersive event.
All shows begin 6 PM (PST) / 8 PM (CST)
Go to:

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♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS – and views of interest to artists everywhere – more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers -- and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music. That includes both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The cyber porch'll be here anytime you come back from the road.

We'll be back again soon with music news and more "News of the Non-Trumpcentric Universe." (c)

Til we catch ya again on the flip side 
in this new world of the improbable unknown...