In conjunction with the organization’s 25th anniversary, the SOURCE Awards are being rebranded – they are now officially known as the SOURCE Nashville Hall of Fame Awards.
This was announced at the 14th annual SOURCE banquet. Staged on Tuesday (Aug. 23) at the Musicians Hall of Fame, the gala was marked by more heartfelt moments than ever before. Hosts Jeannie Seely and Brenda Lee were funnier than ever. The camaraderie was the warmest yet. And the star power was at a new peak, too.
SOURCE honors career women who have worked behind the scenes in the music business. The 2016 honorees were Alison Booth, Tammy Brown, Diane Cash, Nancy Jones, Callie Khouri and the late Gail Pollock. Each received hearty standing ovations.
SOURCE president Shelia Shipley Biddy told the crowd that she and Pat Rolfe and Judy Harris founded the organization and that the first meeting had only 10 or 12 attendees. Now, SOURCE has more than 120 members and to date has honored 103 music-business women. The awards were the brainchild of Kay Smith.
“Being that this is the 25th anniversary of SOURCE, we want to do something special for the founders,” said Jeannie. “Red roses symbolize love, and that’s what we feel for these ladies,” added Brenda. “We’re having a big party tonight.”
The eve’s first honoree, Alison Booth, has been in the business for 40 years, initially at MTM Records, SESAC and elsewhere, but for the past 27 at Sony Music. She is a key national figure in establishing standards and practices for recorded sound delivery, particularly in the area of metadata. These efforts ensure that all recorded product is delivered in a standardized format and that all creators are correctly identified so that everyone gets paid accurately.
RCA Nashville star Chris Young presented her honor. The 6-foot-4-inch singer’s appearance next to Brenda, who is 4 feet 9 inches tall, was hilarious.
“If metadata seems dull, think about money,” Alison quipped. “It’s also about giving credit….Thank you, SOURCE, and special thanks to everyone who has supported my efforts through the years.”
The Sony table applauded loudly. Randy Goodman, Paul Barnabee, Jim Catino and Ken Robold were among those seated there.
Little Big Town appeared on video to congratulate Tammy Brown. “You have been with us since we were wee babies,” said the group’s Kimberly Schlapman. “And you always knew a great song. We love you, girl.”
Tammy’s resume includes stints at Sound Shop Studio, Tree Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Nashville and ole song publishing. In addition to LBT, she has championed Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Billy Ray Cyrus, Keith Urban, Jude Cole and Lee Ann Womack, among many others. She withdrew from the industry when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.
“She took care of everything for me,” reminisced Paul Worley. “And she made me a better person.”
“I didn’t write a speech,” said Tammy. “I won’t talk long. I loved every second of it. I loved the artistry and working with the songwriters. Everybody is a part of this, and I don’t take any of you for granted. I have really been blessed by everything that has come my way.
“I survived the music business. I survived cancer. I survived stem-cell treatment. I survived chemo. And now I have cancer again. I haven’t been able to work for the past eight years. Everybody has showed me love. It’s been so much fun tonight. I’m very, very honored. And I thank you.”
“If you can’t see why she was a success, well, you’re just blind,” Brenda stated.
Grand Ole Opry great John Conlee inducted Diane Cash. She and he both began their careers in Nashville at WLAC radio. Both then moved to MCA Records, John as an artist and Diane as a promoter. Then she went to work for John Conlee Enterprises, where she remains today.
“I’ve enjoyed it so much,” said Diane of her career. “This is a terrific honor. It’s great to receive the recognition.”
Montomery Gentry appeared on video to congratulate Nancy Jones. She married the legendary George Jones in 1983, when he was at the height of his cocaine and alcohol addictions. She got him sober, became his manager and put his career on the right path.
Since his death in 2013, she has continued to burnish his legacy. She has opened the excellent George Jones Museum downtown, launched George Jones White Lightning Moonshine and Vodka and has spurred the creation of No Show Jones, a 2017 feature film about his life. Can’t wait to see it.
“I don’t make speeches; I’m not very good at this,” said Nancy. “But I love y’all, and thank you for this. It was all worth it. I feel like I was put on this earth to save a good and wonderful man. Shelia Shipley Biddy, you explained everything to me. I do want to thank you for helping me to understand the music business.
“I know George Jones is in Heaven right now, smiling at me. The very last words that George said after not talking for three or four days were, ‘Well, hello there. I’ve been looking for you. My name is George Jones.’ That was God’s way of letting me know where George was.”
Actor and aspiring country artist Kiefer Sutherland appeared on video to congratulate all of the honorees. Actor/singer Charles Esten then inducted Callie Khouri. “It’s not only an honor, it’s our opportunity to say thank you,” said the star of her Nashville TV series. “There is nobody who should be pushed into the light more than my friend Callie Khouri. In country music, you say it all starts with a song. In Hollywood, it all starts with a script. It all starts with the characters you have created. She is the source of so much change in my life. Nashville is our home, because of Callie Khouri. They say, ‘Write what you know.’ Callie writes some of the most powerful and charismatic women on screen. Callie writes who she is.”
In addition to Nashville, Oscar winner Callie’s credits as a writer/director include Thelma and Louise, Something to Talk About, Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Hollis and Rae and Mad Money. She is a former Music City resident.
“I thank you with all humility for this award,” she said. “To be able to bring this show back here to Nashville has been nothing but a privilege. There is a sisterhood who helped each other in this business. One of these days, it’s not going to be a glass ceiling. It’s going to be a glass floor.”
Leading her cheering section were her record-producer husband T Bone Burnett, plus the Big Machine power couple Scott Borchetta & Sandi Spika Borchetta. That label markets the TV show’s soundtrack albums.
Jeannie told the tale of inductee Gail Pollock. Gail worked at Monument Records, Studio One, Independent Producers Corp. and her own We Make Tapes. Her co-worker in the last two businesses was producer, engineer and rock ‘n’ roll guitar legend Scotty Moore. She next became Scotty’s manager, record-label executive and constant companion.
One of Gail’s dreams, said Jeannie, was to be honored by SOURCE. When Gail became terminally ill last year, the board took the unprecedented step of not only voting her in, but making her award in advance and presenting it to her son. He took it to Gail’s bedside last November, and she died two hours after receiving it.
Said Roger Hamlett on video, “She was the definition of the SOURCE Award.”
Scotty Moore was to have accepted on her behalf yesterday. But he followed her in death last June. Gail’s son Wayne Pollock and daughter Stacy Stone accepted. “She loved the music business and loved being a part of it,” said Stacy. “Thank you, SOURCE people, for honoring my Momma.”
The place was full of fabulons. Not the least of them were prior SOURCE honorees Audrey Winters, Karen Conrad, Debi Fleischer-Robin, Celia Froehlig, Sandy Neese, Rose Drake, Jo Walker-Meador, Sally Williams, Mary Del Scobey, Pat McCoy, Areeda Schneider-Stampley, Paula Szeigis, Bonnie Garner, Bebe Evans, Joyce Jackson, Corky Wilson and Carolyn Sells. Not to mention such erstwhile spouses as Chuck Neese, Charlie McCoy and David Conrad.
The past, present and future of the Nashville music biz attended. Working the very merry room were John Dorris, John Ozier, John Lomax III, Shawn Williams, Shawna Collins, Scott Siman, Stacy Schlitz and Sheree Spoltore, who was the co-chair with Suzanne Lee. They lived it up with Maurice Miner, Martha Moore, Moore & Moore, Debbie Linn, Debbie Carroll, Lisa Harless and Lisa Sutton. Each time the last-named goes out, she wears something of her mother’s. So Sutton was breathtaking in Lynn Anderson’s diamond rings, diamond pendant and diamond wrist cuff.
Sherod Robertson, Sherrill Blackman, Sarah Brosmer, Sherry Bond, Susan Meyers Woelkers, Brandi Simms, Thom Schuyler, Cindy Hunt, Bob Doyle, Dave Brainard, Diane Pearson, Don Cusic, Gilles Godard, Gene Ward, Tracy Gershon, Teresa George and Tatum Allsep schmoozed alongside Mandy Barnett, Blake Chancey, Lori Badgett, Beverly Keel, Whitney Daane, Jason Morris & Jewel Coburn, Jackie Monahan, Erika Wollam Nichols, Mike Vaden, Charlie Monk, Cathy Gurley, Louis Glaser, Lyndie Wenner and Becky Harris.
Andrew Kintz was collecting congratulations on his new gig at First Tennessee Bank. Rita Allison was collecting compliments on losing 40 pounds. Joe & Linda Chambers were collecting accolades about their splendid hosting museum. Company president Gus Arrendale was collecting thanks for his Springer Mountain Farms being the presenting sponsor. By the way, this company also supports a lot of bluegrass and traditional-country artists.
At the finale, Brenda and Jeannie serenaded us all with “Happy Trails.” It was, fittingly, written by a woman: Dale Evans.
Eric T. Parker • August 19, 2016
Sun Diner will pay homage to Sun Records artists (including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash) with music, creative menu names, decor and merchandise.
John Singleton from Sun Studio in Memphis attended a lunch preview for media on Friday (Aug. 19), while Kevin Keller, TC Restaurant Group’s Director of Operations, introduced dishes.
Located at 105 Third Ave. S., Sun Diner will offer breakfast all day, including its signature donut breakfast sandwich and chicken waffles.
The establishment is said to be currently hiring staffers.
Eric T. Parker • August 18, 2016
The Music Row Ladies Golf Tournament—presented in 2016 by Keith Urban and sponsored by ASCAP, City National Bank and Tim McGraw—has announced that the long-running charity event has raised over $1.95 million dollars for United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee in its three-decade history. The 30th annual tournament took place on Monday, August 15 at Old Natchez Country Club in Franklin, Tennessee.
As always, the tournament’s participant teams were encouraged to dress in costume, with awards for best dressed. First place was awarded to Team Razor & Tie’s “Christmas In August.” Second place went to Team Vaden Group’s pirate theme. Team Black River Entertainment’s “Peter Pan” took the third place trophy. Musicians Hall of Fame’s Kay Smith received the spirit award for having participated in 29 of the 30 tournaments to date, and Sony/ATV Music Publishing’s “Team USA” were given the “MRLGT Foursome Spirit” Award.
Sponsors included Joe Don Rooney and Tiffany Rooney, who sponsored the “19th Hole” after-party; Jason Aldean, who is the tournament’s longtime beer sponsor; Reba, who returned to sponsor the photo booth for the third consecutive year; and Toby Keith, who sponsored a booth in “Tent City” that featured his Wild Shot Mezcal brand for the sixth year in a row.
Robert K. Oermann • August 6, 2016
Hit Nashville songwriter Richard Fagan has succumbed to liver cancer.
He died Friday (Aug. 5) with his wife by his side, The Tennessean reported.
Working with a variety of collaborators, Fagan was responsible for such country hits as John Michael Montgomery’s “Be My Baby Tonight,” “I Miss You a Little” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” as well as George Strait’s “Overnight Male.”
As a writer, Fagan had six Top 10 hits, 20 charted songs and more than 65 recorded titles.
His songs were sung by Shania Twain, Hank Williams Jr., Neil Diamond, George Jones and The Blues Brothers, among many others. Albums containing his songs have sold more than 25 million copies. His works have appeared on the soundtracks of five feature films and in national television sports broadcasts.
Noted for his colorful lyrics and novelty numbers, Fagan was just as colorful as a personality. His high-strung personality often manifested itself in an irreverent sense of humor.
Richard Fagan was born in 1947. His father died of tuberculosis when the boy was 3, and he was raised in the housing projects of South Philadelphia. His mother cleaned homes and offices for a living. Fagan’s education was on the rough streets of his hometown.
He picked up the guitar at age 14 and began leading street-corner harmony groups shortly thereafter. Fagan was drafted and sent to Vietnam, where he turned 21. His tour of duty included singing war protest songs, going AWOL, growing his moustache and being arrested for having subversive literature.
Following his discharge in 1968, he became a homeless vagabond. He married and had a son, but when the marriage ended in 1975, he sank into drug and alcohol abuse. He again became homeless.
But he also began writing songs. Philadelphia music entrepreneur Tom Oteri recorded Fagan singing his works in 1976 and began sending the tapes to industry tastemakers. Producer Bob Gaudio heard and liked one of them. Gaudio had famously worked with The Four Seasons, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand. He took Fagan’s “The Good Lord Loves You” to Neil Diamond, and it became an adult contemporary hit for the singer in 1980.
Guadio also got the songwriter a pop recording contract with Mercury Records and produced his debut LP Richard Fagan. It was released in 1979. But the follow-up LP was shelved by the label two years later and Fagan lost his recording contract. In 1985, he made his first exploratory trips to Nashville.
Up to this point, he had mainly written songs alone. In Nashville, he discovered he enjoyed co-writing. His collaborators over the ensuing years included Larry Alderman, Robb Royer, Ed Hill, Patti Ryan, Ralph James, Rich Grissom and Gordon Kennedy.
Fagan and Oteri moved to Music City in January 1986. Within a week, Con Hunley became the first country star to record one of his tunes, “Blue Suede Blues.” In 1988, Fagan had his first Top 10 success when Moe Bandy recorded his “Americana.” It became an official campaign theme song for President George H.W. Bush, who was a big country fan.
Next, Opry star Mel McDaniel had a Top 10 success with Fagan’s “Real Good Feel Good Song.” McDaniel also recorded 1989’s “You Can’t Play the Blues (In an Air Conditioned Room),” which was covered by The Blues Brothers in 1992. In the early 1990s, the songwriter also began providing novelty tunes to such comedy acts as Pinkard & Bowden, Ethel & The Shameless Hussies, Cledus T. Judd, Kacey Jones and his own band, Phillybilly.
In 1992, Strait included “Overnight Male” on the multi-million-selling soundtrack album of his movie Pure Country. Twain sang Fagan’s “Crime of the Century” on the soundtrack of the Nicolas Cage thriller Red Rock West the following year. Kevin Costner’s 1996 film Tin Cup included Patty Loveless singing the songwriter’s “Where Are You Boy.”
Meanwhile, Tom Oteri’s daughter, Cheri Oteri, gained national fame as a manic comic force on NBC-TV’s Saturday Night Live in 1995-2000. She memorably lampooned Barbara Walters, Judge Judy, Kathie Lee Gifford and other celebrities and starred opposite Will Ferrell in the “Spartans Cheerleaders” segments.
During this same period in Nashville, Tom Oteri ran Fagan’s publishing company as Collin Raye, B.B. Watson, Jason Ringenberg, Ray Kennedy, Chris LeDoux, The Crickets, Jeff Carson, Shenandoah, Ricochet and others were snapping up the songwriter’s compositions. The team’s publishing company was called “OF music,” the “O” standing for Oteri and the “F” standing for Fagan.
The songwriter reached the peak of his success when John Michael Montgomery hit the top of the charts with a trio of his works in 1994-97. Clay Walker had a big 1996 hit with “Only on Days That End in ‘Y.’”
Fagan’s band Phillybilly released its self-titled CD in that same year. As the lead vocalist of a later group called Superfan, Fagan was widely heard singing the rocking “My House” promoting the 2002 Winter Olympics for eight months on NBC-TV. That song has subsequently been used in more than 30 major-league sports facilities nationwide.
Fagan had a comeback on the country charts with Hank Williams Jr. singing his “Why Can’t We All Get a Longneck” in 2004. He also had cuts with a number of independent-label artists.
Then old demons returned to haunt Richard Fagan. According to The Tennessean, he and Oteri drank heavily on Saturday, April 26, 2008 and had a huge argument around 9 p.m. Fagan slashed Oteri’s wrist with a pocketknife. They were roommates, business partners and longtime friends.
Oteri, 69 at the time, was not a big drinker and was noted for his congenial personality, fatherly manner and gentle disposition. He was not argumentative. He was also weak and ill at the time. Fagan had never been violent and was much loved by Oteri’s adult children.
At about 10:45 p.m. that night, Fagan was arrested on a D.U.I. charge while driving in East Nashville. He called a friend to check on Oteri. After entering the home, this friend called the police. Gaetano Thomas Oteri was pronounced dead at the scene.
Fagan was charged with homicide. He was ordered to enter an alcohol and drug treatment facility. Tom Oteri’s death was later ruled an accident.
Kacey Jones and Cledus T. Judd continued to record his songs, but mainstream country stars stopped recording his works. He reportedly had been ill for some time before he was correctly diagnosed.