Tag Archives: Roy Acuff

100 Greatest Men: #26. Roy Acuff

Roy Acuff100 Greatest Men: The Complete List

Roy Acuff is responsible for not only some of the genre’s foundational recordings, but for helping to put Nashville on the map as a star of the Grand Ole Opry, a music publishing tycoon, and even a candidate for governor of Tennessee.

Not bad for a middle child from rural Tennessee, the son of a prominent family from the small town of Maynardville.  Though both of his parents were skilled musicians, his passion was baseball, and he got as far as minor league tryouts before sunstroke ended his budding career.   He chose to hone his skills with the fiddle, and began performing around the south as part of a touring medicine show.  Incorporating the southern gospel song, “Great Speckled Bird”, into his performances caught the attention of the record companies.   By the end of the thirties, he had several hits and a Grand Ole Opry cast membership to his credit.

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under 100 Greatest Men

100 Greatest Men: #58. Carl Smith

100 Greatest Men: The Complete List

One of the most successful country stars of the 1950′s, Carl Smith is as well known today for his famous relatives as for his legendary music.

Born and raised in the same Tennessee town as his childhood idol Roy Acuff, Smith taught himself guitar as a teenager.  He performed on local shows and in local bands as a teen, including the Cas Walker radio show that would later showcase a young Dolly Parton.  After a stint in the army, he did some backing musicianship until landing his own contract with Columbia Records in the late forties.

Thus began a remarkable string of commercial success.  Smith was one of the most dominant artists of the fifties, scoring a stunning 31 top ten hits during that decade.  His smooth vocal style made for a powerful contrast to the honky-tonk and rockabilly sounds of his records.   He scored signature hits with “Loose Talk” and “Are You Teasing Me”, among many others.   He became a television personality as well, often guest hosting the ABC hit, Jubilee USA.

He was also widely known for being one-half of a country superstar marriage with June Carter.  Though their marriage didn’t last too long, it did produce another future country star in daughter Carlene Carter.   After their divorce, Smith married another country star, Goldie Hill.  By the late fifties, he was also appearing in Western films.

As dominant sounds of the genre changed, Smith’s chart success dwindled a bit,  but he remained a presence on the country hit parade throughout the sixties and seventies.  He continued to both sing and act on a variety of network television shows, and wise investments allowed him to retire from the music business, though he still made some independent recordings that emphasized Western swing.

He spent the remainder of his life showing horses with Hill, until illness claimed her life in 2005.   Smith passed away five years later, leaving behind a remarkable legacy of classic country music.

Essential Singles:

  • Let’s Live a Little, 1951
  • Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way, 1951
  • Are You Teasing Me, 1952
  • Hey Joe, 1953
  • Loose Talk, 1954
  • You are the One, 1956

Essential Albums:

  • Carl Smith, 1956
  • Softly and Tenderly, 1956
  • Smith’s the Name, 1957
  • The Country Gentleman Sings His Favorites, 1967
  • Carl Smith Sings a Tribute to Roy Acuff, 1969

Next: #57. Kenny Chesney

Previous: #59. John Anderson

100 Greatest Men: The Complete List

4 Comments

Filed under 100 Greatest Men

Discussion: Kennedy Center Honors

Since 1978, the Kennedy Center Honors have recognized outstanding contributions to the cultural arts.    Presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, each year’s honorees attend a ceremony at the White House, and then a performance at the center honoring their work.   The president and first lady attend the performance.

This year, George Jones is among the five honorees.   He joins the elite list of country artists who have received the honor:

  1. George Jones (2008)
  2. Dolly Parton (2006)
  3. Loretta Lynn (2003)
  4. Willie Nelson (1998)
  5. Johnny Cash (1996)
  6. Roy Acuff (1991)

Given the criteria of the award, it’s no surprise that the above names have been honored.  The primary criteria is excellence, presumably over a long period of time.  Among those making recommendations this year for who should be honored were country music artists Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, and Reba McEntire.

Tonight’s question is fairly obvious.  Take a moment to think about the country legends who are still among us.

Which country artist should receive the Kennedy Center Honor next, and why?

(Not to be prejudicial to your choices, but my pick rhymes with laggard.)

28 Comments

Filed under Discussion