Kevin Costner is making music personal

When I think of movies of the last 30 years, some that rise to the top of the list are “The Big Chill,” “The Untouchables,” “Bull Durham,” “Field of Dreams,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “The Bodyguard,” “Wyatt Earp,” “Tin Cup,” “The Postman,” “Thirteen Days,” “Open Range,” “The Guardian” and “Swing Vote.”

The common thread of these films is an actor who has made a tremendous mark on cinema history – Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner.

With the recent passing of Whitney Houston, I could not help but be reminded of “The Bodyguard,” the movie in which they co-starred in 1992 and the impact that movie had.
Kevin continues to make strides in film with a new three-part miniseries coming out on the History Channel on Memorial Day 2012 starring with Bill Paxton in “Hatfields & McCoys.”
I have seen the trailer for this portrayal of the American family fued that has become legendary, it will likely be a real barn burner as the old saying goes.
A few years ago, Kevin’s wife Christine encouraged him to reconnect with his musical passion and he co-founded his rock and country band by bringing together two of his 1980s bandmates from Roving Boy – songwriter John Coinman and bassist Blair Forward.
Now they work with Larry Cobb on drums, Park Chisolm singing vocals and playing guitar, Teddy Morgan playing lead guitar and producing. Bobby Yang, Roddy Chong and Luke Bulla rotate with the band playing fiddle.
Kevin said he approaches his musical journey purposefully.
“I always thought that music could build a stronger, more personal moment with people,” he said. “It could create an opportunity for genuine exchange much greater than a movie, TV interview or magazine.”

The revitalized musical passion has taken Kevin around the world performing in Europe, Asia, Canada, South America, and the U.S.
He described his performances in this way – “It would be real, full of mistakes and without apology. But most of all, there would be a chance to have some fun.”
Their first CD “Untold Truths” was released by Universal Records in 2008 and that was followed by “Turn It On” launched in Europe on Edel Records. His latest release “From Where I Stand” on Edel Records came out in 2011.
Kevin and his band feature all original material on their stage shows and are now touring across the United States and Canada. They also share their time performing for the USO and for various charitable causes between their paying gigs.
If you would like to see if they are coming your way or find out how to get one of his recordings, visit

Randy Travis going strong after 25 years

When he came on the music scene years ago, he was heralded as part of the wave of traditionalists that were taking the music industry by storm.
His voice combined with solid country arrangements ushered him into the hearts of true country music fans.

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SGMA will honor The Oak Ridge Boys

One of the most prolific groups in country music history also shares one of the longest tenures in the business – The Oak Ridge Boys.

The group actually began as the Oak Ridge Quartet a gospel offshoot of Georgian Wally Fowler’s Georgia Clodhoppers.

They were a regular part of the Grand Ole Opry ® in the 1940s and Wally helped to foster the all night sings concept as he carried the music in to large auditoriums around the country.

He sold the group to Smitty Gatlin in the 1960s and the group eventually changed its name from quartet to boys while featuring some of the field’s greatest singers such as Willy Winn, Gary McSpadden, Jim Hamill, and Herman Harper.

The group was one of the best known on the gospel music circuit of the 1960s and 70s.

Duane Allen and William Lee Golden became part of the lineup and with the additions of Richard Sterban and Joe Bonsall in the 1970s; the group known around the world took shape.

It was at the urging of Roy Clark’s manager Jim Halsey, they chose to step into country music. Initially, the move distanced the group from its established gospel audience.

Many who are exclusively familiar with their post 1974s career transition to country music may only know them for their songs such as “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue” and “Ya’ll Come Back Saloon.”

Because of their wide platform, they continued sharing the gospel music sound around the world in concerts and recordings.
It is for the impact that the group had to carry the stylings of Southern gospel music to a wider audience due to that bold choice to come to country music that they will be honored this year with the 2012 James D. Vaughan Impact Award on Oct. 3 during a special ceremony at Dollywood at the Southern Gospel Music Association’s (SGMA) annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Singing News Fan Awards.

“It is a huge honor for The Oak Ridge Boys to be presented with the James D. Vaughan Impact Award,” said Duane Allen, lead singer for the Oaks. “Southern style gospel music is the foundation of harmony, which is the sound of The Oak Ridge Boys. We all grew up loving the great gospel quartets and gospel music. We are very humbled to have been chosen to receive this award and look forward to its presentation.”

Group members Duane Allen, William Golden, Joe Bonsall and Richard Sterban will attend to accept the award, named in honor of James D. Vaughan, a Southern gospel music pioneer and one of the genre’s founders.

Past recipients include Bill Gaither, James Blackwood, Les Beasley, Bob Brumley, Mosie Lister, Paul Heil, Eva Mae LeFevre, J.G. Whitfield, Lari Goss, BarbaraMandrell, Dolly Parton and the Statler Brothers.

“The name Oak Ridge has long been associated with gospel music,” said Charlie Waller, SGMA Executive Director. “Even today the Oaks are still delivering the gospel sound to their audiences in their own inimitable fashion.

“Their endeavors to persevere have not gone unnoticed,” he said. “Their rich gospel music legacy makes us proud to honor them with the James D. Vaughan Impact Award.”

The Oak Ridge Boys enjoyed 25 top ten singles, including 13 number one hits while continuing to tour and record today, he said.

Their most popular gospel songs included “I Know,” “King Jesus” and the ever popular, “Jesus Is Coming Soon,” written by SGMA Hall of Fame member, the late R.E. Winsett, according to Waller.
The SGMA Hall of Fame Induction  Ceremony/Singing News Fan Awards are Oct. 3, 2012 at DP’s Celebrity Theatre at Dollywood, home of the Southern Gospel Music Museum and Hall of Fame.

Seating is reserved, and tickets are $75 ($55 for Dollywood season pass holders) and include one-day Dollywood admission, parking and lunch as well as Dollywood’s more than 40 rides, shows and attractions.

Tickets go on sale March 1 and must be purchased in advance by calling the SGMA office at (865) 908-4040.

The SGMA is a non-profit organization that maintains the Southern Gospel Music Museum and Hall of Fame, the only facility honoring Southern gospel music and dedicated to the historic preservation of the genre’s accomplishments, both for the music and the people. Museum hours coincide with Dollywood’s operating schedule. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information about the museum or its inductees, visit

Larry Cordle and “Pud Marcum’s Hangin'”

Songwriters are the life’s blood of the music industry. They create the tapestry upon which every artist creates their careers and their legacies. Often we never learn their names unless they are also an artist.

One of my favorite songwriters who is also an artist has created some of the songs country listeners know by heart with over 55 million of his songs sold by artists including Ricky Skaggs, Garth Brooks, Alison Krauss, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Trace Adkins and many more.
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