Ramblin' Rhodes

Stroll down memory lane with music columnist Don Rhodes.

2011 was chance to see performers in new ways

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Keeping with tradition, my last column of 2011 is devoted to some favorite quotes from people I interviewed during the year.

Easton Corbin: “When you’re working all the time, you want to be home more. But when you’re at home too much, you want to be back working. When it’s winter, you want it to be summer. When it’s summer you want it to be winter. I think that’s true for everybody.”

Russell Moore, on his band IIIrd Tyme Out being together two decades: “Isn’t that something? Twenty years. That sounds funny when I hear it, because so many bands don’t last that long. We’ve been fortunate to have a great fan base, and we’ve had our share of awards, rewards and accolades. … There were a few years we started to fly under the radar, but now it seems like most everybody’s paying attention to us.”

Jim Cuddy, about his Canadian band Blue Rodeo: “I think most people in the United States feel Canadian bands like us play American music, but we don’t feel that way. … I don’t think it matters to the rest of the world that we want our music to be known as Canadian, but it does to us. We’re such a small nation with our own unique musicians.”

Jessica Lea Mayfield, on touring with her family’s bluegrass group One Way Rider: “I lived on that bus in those tight quarters with my parents and brother and sister growing up. … That bus is one of the few places in the world I feel comfortable. I’ll sometimes just go sit in it when I go back home. It’s my childhood.”

Marty Stuart: “I feel that I’m at the dead center of my destiny. I’ve got the best band I’ve had in my life, and I don’t have to pander anymore to stuff that I don’t believe in. I follow my heart. It’s that simple.”

Lauren Staley Morrow, on her band Whiskey Gentry’s original song, Eula Mae, based on the true story of her husband Jason Morrow’s great-grandmother. “There was a bad storm in the mid-1940s and an electrical wire fell in the front yard of Eula Mae’s home near Oak Ridge, Tenn. They didn’t know much about electricity then, and Eula Mae was electrocuted when she grabbed the wire to move it. There were 10 kids on the front porch nearby who saw it happen, including my husband’s grandfather.”

Terry Seay, on hosting North Augusta singer/songwriter Carey Murdock: “I cannot explain how mesmerized the entire audience, including fellow songwriters, was with Carey Murdock’s performance at our house. … Surely Nashville will be blessed, as we will, to have him join our music family. All we can say is, ‘Encore! Encore!’ ”

“Ranger Doug” Green, of his Grand Ole Opry quartet Riders in the Sky: “So many things in my career have happened like that out of the blue. It’s been a great ride these past 33 years. What can I say? We’ve been lucky. It’s mind-boggling.”

Marcia Ball, on settling in Austin, Texas: “I was on my way to California when my car broke down in Austin. And it turned out nicely for me. Liberals, at that time, started gathering in sympathetic places and wanted to get out of their conservative towns. Many ended up in Austin because it is the capital of Texas and has the university and in 1970 was a hotbed of hippie culture. Joe Ely wanted to get out of Lubbock (Texas) and Stevie Ray Vaughan wanted to get out of Dallas. I wanted to get out of Baton Rouge (La).”

Rodney Crowell, on his much-praised biography Chinaberry Sidewalks: “I decided from the get-go that if I was going to write something that I wanted to take a swing at it being real literature. I knew that if I wrote some sort of a self-congratulatory account of my life that it wouldn’t put me on the map, and certainly would not have gotten me the lead review, as it did, in The New York Times.”

Benita Hill’s lyrics to her song, It’s Your Song, written as a tribute to her mother, Carmen Revelle (real name Ada Gooby), and recorded by Garth Brooks: “ ’Cause it was your song that made me sing. It was your voice that gave me wings. And it was your light that shined; guiding my heart to find this place where I belong. It was your song.”

Jefferson Ross, on songwriting. “Few songs will become money-making hits. But most songs can mean something and move someone else. Once that clicked with me, my writing got a whole lot better.”

Mason Douglas, about his father surviving Vietnam but later succumbing to ALS, a neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. “My mom eventually ended up a few years later marrying my dad’s best friend and wingman in Vietnam after he lost his wife suddenly. It seemed a perfect fit. Just last Christmas, we watched some old home footage of their time at Da Nang with audio from a couple of their missions. It was pretty incredible, especially never having seen or heard that stuff before.”

Eric Lee Beddingfield, on getting country music legend George Jones to sing on his original song The Gospel According to Jones: “We get up to leave (at a Nashville restaurant), and George and (his wife) Nancy are sitting two tables away. I ran to the studio, made a copy of the song, brought it back to the restaurant and told them it would be an honor for George just to listen to the song. I still can’t believe a couple of months later I was standing next to him in the studio listening to one of the greatest voices in country music sing on my song.”


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