Marty Martel: Grand Ole Opry Legend and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Jean Shepard, now has her first book and is now available for purchase. I have read the book and I promise you that it is everything you thought she would write and more, just the way she wanted to write it. She tells it like it should be told and the book is worth its weight in memories, great stories, and her life on the road as seen through her eyes. It has been a long time in coming, but it is finally here, and if you click on the following link, you can order it at this time:
Country Music Hall of Fame member Jean Shepard is in a reflective mood these days, and much of that stems from releasing her long-awaited autobiography, “Down Through The Years.” She admitted to Billboard that it has been a work in progress – for a while. “I’ve been working on it for at least fifteen years. At first, I didn’t think I needed to write a book. People would keep asking me if I had started that book yet, so I guess it was time.”
The book is an honest recollection of many of her career and life. She told Billboard that she approached the book in her “tell it like it is” manner, telling stories about her friendships with many stars, such as Hank Williams, Jr. and Charlie Louvin. “I did that. If they can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” she said with a laugh.
Jean Shepard Joins Country Music Hall of Fame
She begins the book on a nostalgic note, talking about her growing up years in Oklahoma and then California with her parents, brothers and sisters. “There was always somebody into something, but it was a good life. We had a few pitfalls here and there, but we overcome them.”
Shepard started playing music as a teenager, and signed with Capitol in 1952. The next year, she had a hit on her hands with “A Dear John Letter,” a duet with Ferlin Husky. But, before she could tour to promote her career, there was one detail that needed to be taken care of – that resulted in Husky becoming her legal guardian. “When ‘A Dear John Letter’ hit, I couldn’t leave the state because I was a minor. You had to be twenty-one in those days. So, my daddy signed a release for Ferlin to be my guardian. He was very good to me, but my daddy would have killed him if he hadn’t been,” she reflected.
Shepard recollects how she found out that “A Dear John Letter” had topped the Billboard charts. “Buck Owens was in the car with us, and we was going from Bakersfield to LA to cut another session. The guys in the car were betting where the record was going to be on the charts. I didn’t know there was such a thing as Billboard. We stopped and picked up a Billboard, and Buck looked at it and threw it in the back seat, looked at me, and said ‘How does it feel to have a number one record?” I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It was a thrill – totally unexpected.”
Shepard had to work extra hard to develop her career, as female vocalists were not in vogue in the format at that point, with only Kitty Wells being a dominant force before her. She smiles when she remembers one of her fellow artists’ remarks about her chances of hitting it big. “I used to go out to the shows in California and see all the entertainers go by. I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Hank Williams came through. He said ‘There ain’t many women in country music.’ I said ‘I know sir, I’m fixin’ to change that.’
And, she did just that. Shepard placed forty-five hits on the singles chart between 1953 and 1978, including her signature hit, “Second Fiddle To An Old Guitar.” from 1964. She discusses her marriages – which include a tragically short union with Hawkins – who died in a 1963 plane crash returning from Kansas City- and her forty-five year marriage to Benny Birchfield. She also laments that the business is a lot different now than it used to be, and that goes far beyond the music. “We used to have a lot of characters at the Grand Ole Opry – Lonzo & Oscar, Stringbean, Grandpa Jones – they were characters. I miss that camaraderie with those wonderful people. I loved everyone of them.” One of those characters was Jimmy C. Newman, who passed away last Saturday. Shepard said he would be missed. “I cried most of the day. He was a wonderful man, and I loved him. You could hear that ‘A-eee’ and you knew he was around. He was a great artist.”
Down Through The Years is available through www.CFRVideos.com
Article by: Marty Martel
Band of Brothers, the new Willie Nelson studio album, is entering the Billboard 200 best-selling albums chart at #5, marking Willie’s highest debut and highest position on America’s popular albums chart since Always On My Mind peaked there for four weeks at #2 in 1982.
Willie’s latest is also debuting at #1 on the Billboard Country chart, making Band of Brothers his first #1 Country album since The Promiseland hit the top slot in 1986.
With Band of Brothers sitting high on the nation’s Pop and Country charts, Natural Renegade, a Willie Nelson retrospective collection originally released in 2007, has also returned to the charts, coming in at #7 on the Top Catalog albums chart.
Willie’s second Top 10 album in less than a year–its predecessor, To All The Girls…, entered the Billboard 200 at #9 (and the Country chart at #2) in October 2013–Band of Brothers premieres 14 studio tracks including nine brand-new songs composed by America’s quintessential pop/country songwriter. Willie’s first album of predominately newly-written original material since 1996′s Spirit album, Band of Brothers is already drawing praise from music press and fans alike as a welcome return-to-form from the master tunesmith.
All 14 tracks on Band of Brothers are new recordings and none of the songs have been previously recorded by Willie Nelson.
Posted by TawnyTucker CMTT
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. -John 16:33 nkjv
“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. -Ephesians