Archive for the ‘Passings’ Category

Rest in Peace, Ira Doyle Nelson, Jr.

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

photo: George Fowler

We received sad news today. Ira Doyle Nelson, Jr., younger brother of Bobbie and Willie Nelson, passed away today, April 15th, 2015, of natural causes.  He was 77 years old.


Doyle spent his life in many transportation related jobs including driving tour busses for folks such as Jon Bon Jovi, Van Halen, John Fogerty and his brother Willie. He spent several years serving transporation needs for the television and film industry.

Doyle was a gentle man, who will be dearly missed.


Doyle is pictured here with Bobbie and Willie Nelson and families.

Bill Arhos, creator of Austin City Limits, passes (1934 – 2015)

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

photo:  Todd V. Wolfson
by: Kevin Curtin

Bill Arhos, the man who built the stage television viewers have experienced Austin music on for over 40 years, died on Saturday afternoon following a long illness. He was 80.

Arhos, a longtime executive at KLRU (formerly KLRN), worked at the public broadcasting station beginning with its local launch in 1961. In the fall of 1974, he created Austin City Limits, whose pilot episode starred Willie Nelson. At the time, a live music show starring hippie musicians from Texas was a left-field concept.

“Back then, stations were education focused and the idea of doing a music show didn’t fit into what public broadcasting could be,” said Terry Lickona, who succeeded Arhos as Austin City Limitsexecutive producer in 1999. “KLRU thought he was crazy.”

Arhos ensured the show’s sustainability by convincing PBS affiliates nationwide to pick up the program and thus fund it year after year. Four decades after the fact, it’s the longest running music show on television. More than simply Arhos’ legacy, it’s Austin’s.

“Bill was a great friend to Austin Music. He loved the music of Texas and created Austin City Limits to showcase it,” says Ray Benson, whose Asleep at the Wheel became ACL’s second taping. “When we met in 1975, I was a young 24-year-old living in South Austin with dozens of other aspiring musicians. Bill recognized the great potential in all of us and created a show that gave us worldwide exposure.”

Lickona describes Arhos, who was from the tiny East Texas town of Teague, as a classic Texan who chewed tobacco, fished, told great stories, and loved country music.

“Bill couldn’t be a guitar-playing country singer, so he lived vicariously through them,” he states.

Arhos’ affinity for Lone Star singer-songwriters like Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt forged Austin City Limits’ identity and remained a guiding creative force throughout his career.

“I couldn’t book a show until he approved,” admits Lickona.

His sense of humor also livened up the workplace. When Austin City Limits archivist (and Chroniclemusic scribe) Michael Toland began working at KLRU 20 years ago in shipping and receiving, Arhos liked to assist with the morning mail call.

“Though he was GM of the station, Bill used to help me put everybody’s mail in the mailboxes,” recalls Toland. “His running joke – and he had a lot of them – was to pick up the envelopes addressed to our development department and say, ‘That’s not a million-dollar check. That’s not a million-dollar check, either.’

“This went on for a couple of years, until I moved up in the organization. I imagine he assisted my successor as well until his retirement.”

That playfulness remained vibrant after his retirement in 1999. When he was inducted into Austin City Limits’ first Hall of Fame class last April alongside Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Darrell Royal, he quipped, “It’s a little intimidating to be in a class of the first inductees [since] three of the four have bronze statues around town!”

“That was a very emotional evening,” Lickona remembers of the April ceremony at Studio 6A, the show’s home before moving downtown to the Moody Theater in 2011. “His health was deteriorating by then and we honestly didn’t know if he would show.”

Two months later, Arhos came to ACL’s new digs for a star-studded 40th anniversary of epic proportions and sat in the front row, no doubt amazed at the cultural phenomenon his creation has become. When Lickona pointed him out, he received a standing ovation.

Bill Arhos will be laid to rest at Texas State Cemetery in a private ceremony. A celebration of his life and influential career is currently being planned. Maybe he’ll even get a bronze statue.

Missing Poodie Locke

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

picture credit:

Still hard to believe, we lost Poodie Locke five years today, and he is still missed, every day.

Mickey Raphael, Mark Rothbaum, Poodie Locke
photo:  Cathy Cunningham




Thanks to Margie Lemon, for sharing this picture she took of Poodie at Farm Aid II, in Austin, in 1986. Margie and her family and business continue to support


DSC_0192 by you.


Poodie and Chris Nelsen. Grand Rapids, Michigan-1982.


Jason Hardison has written a tribute to Poodie Locke that appears in the Summer 2009 Texas Monthly.


Johnny Knoxville posted this at his site

I had a good friend pass away yesterday. Poodie Locke, Willie Nelson’s stage manager for 34 years, died of a heart attack Wednesday in Briarcliff, Texas. I kept this photo of me and him by my bed up until I moved into our new house. He used to laugh and tell people, “Knoxville keeps a picture of me next to his nightstand.” It was true. He was a tequila swiggin’ big, round, bear of a man and he was as sweet as they come. Poodie was just funny as all hell, too, and the best dancer I ever saw. My cousin Roger Alan Wade and I once had him on our radio show, The Big Ass Happy Family Jubilee, and you can listen to that below.

Most memorably, Poodie was never in bad spirits. I mean, don’t get me wrong, ol’ Poodie was usually in the spirits (and I was right there with him), but he was always positive, always smilin’. “Waco Texas’s Prettiest Baby of 1952? was full of good advice, too. One time, he sagely told me, “It’s alright to step on your dick, Knox, just don’t stand on it.” At his restaurant, Poodie’s Hilltop Bar and Grill in Spicewood, Texas, he put a sign up at the door that said, “There are no bad days.” When Poodie was around there sure wasn’t, but now that he’s passed on I think today is going to be kinda rough.

I love you, Poodie. Rest in peace, buddy.



Tuesday, January 28th, 2014


Pete Seeger, folk musician and activist, passed away today at the age of 94.

Rest in Peace, Pete Seeger

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014


Thank you Pete Seeger

Willie Nelson and Pete Seeger, Farm Aid 2013 (Saratoga
Springs, NY)
Photo:  Hans Pennink

Rest in Peace, Steven Fromholz (Service Friday 1/24/14, McKvett, TX)

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Steve Fromholz, Farm Aid (7/4/1986) (Austin, TX)

According to Steven’s sister Angela, there will be a short, graveside service at Ft. McKavett Cemetery at Ft.   McKavett, Texas at 2:00 p.m. this Friday, January 24th.   It is not a private ceremony, and the family welcomes and those who wish to attend.  Ft. McKavett is about 22 miles from   Menard, TX. There will be a small reception at the McKavett Fire Station which   adjoins the cemetery after the services.


Steven Fromholz, a gifted and esteemed songwriter who was named poet laureate of Texas in 2007, has died, according to his family. He was 68.

Fromholz’s “I’d Have to Be Crazy,” which was covered by Willie Nelson, was probably his best-known work, though “Texas Trilogy” – an epic narrative centered around central Texas Bosque County – was his career-defining piece, a richly detailed and characterized trio of songs (“Daybreak,” “Train Ride” and “Bosque County Romance”) that was covered by his admirer Lyle Lovett Lovett, who called Fromholz a “friend and teacher,” said “Texas Trilogy” “isn’t a song, it’s a transcendent Texas bible, a local setting with universal meaning.”

“Steven Fromholz and his work will be remembered, enjoyed and studied as music and literature forever,” Lovett said. “His insight into human nature was equaled only by his ability to write about it in such detail that he made his listeners feel as if they were standing in the shoes of his characters, seeing what they saw, feeling what they felt.”

Fromholz was born in Temple. He attended North Texas State before joining the Navy. After his discharge he headed to California, where he started writing poetry and fell under the spell of folk music in the ’60s, which is when he formed the duo Frummox with Dan McCrimmon in Colorado. The duo recorded one little-heard album called “Here to There,” which was released in the late ’60s. It included Fromholz’s enduring “Texas Trilogy.”

After a pair of albums, the duo split, and Fromholz began recording as a solo artist. In addition to his work as a songwriter, Fromholz became a beloved river guide in Big Bend, where his gift for storytelling made him a popular navigator.

He drew renewed attention in 1998 when Lovett covered “Texas Trilogy” as well as Fromholz’s playful “Bears.”

Fromholz suffered a severe stroke in 2003, which pulled him away from the stage for several years. But he recovered and continued to write, record and perform until the end of his life.

Ray Price remembered

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

By Lou Antonelli

Hundreds of people – including colleagues from the music industry – crowded the First Baptist Church for a memorial service Saturday afternoon honoring County Music Hall of Fame member Ray Price.

Price died Monday in hospice care Dec. 16 after losing a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 87.

Pastor Clint Davis noted the large number of people who were willing to brave the cold, wet weather to attend the memorial.

The event, noted Davis, was to “celebrate a life well lived on this very sad and special day.”

“He left a deep and indelible imprint on our culture,” added Davis.

Long-time country radio personality Bill Mack of Fort Worth, who knew Price for 60 years, said he asked him many years ago why he settled down in Mount Pleasant.

He said Price told him, “It’s a pleasant town, how do you think it got that name?”

Mack  brought greetings from Willie Nelson, who had called him that morning. He said Nelson told him to say “Without a Ray Price, there wouldn’t have been a Willie Nelson.”

Nelson noted Price gave him his first big break when he was hired to play bass in Price’s band, The Cherokee Cowboys, after Don Young (whose stage name was Johnny Paycheck) quit.

“He asked me, ‘Can you play bass?’” wrote Nelson. “I said, ‘Who can’t play bass?”

“Well, he found out I can’t play bass,” said Mack as he finished Nelson’s anecdote.

Mack spoke of his long and deep friendship with Price, who made him his official spokesman. “He was a marvelous pal, just a  good man to be around.”

Mack as well as the other eulogists praised Price as down-to-earth. “He never seemed to realize he was a start, he just knew people liked to hear him sing.”

The interludes in the memorial service were filled by a country music quartet playing songs such as “In the Garden”, “Danny Boy” and “Let’s Make a Memory Today” – all Price songs – on a stage before a large display of poinsettias, floral tributes, and photos of Price and his wife of 45 years, Janie.

Eddie Stubbs, a radio host with the Grand Ole Opry, came from Nashville to offer condolences from the county music industry.

“He was as good as any of his contemporaries,” said Stubbs, “and no one was his superior.”

Price was responsible for the last major musical innovation in classic country music, the 4/4 shuffling beat, noted Stubbs.

Over his 65 year career, Price earned the respect of his colleagues by constantly perfecting his craft, said Stubbs. “As a result, his voice is just as fresh today as it was 65 years ago.”

Mack agreed that Price retained his vocal skills until the end, “He just got better as time went by.” His last album is yet to be released.

Both Mack and Stubbs spoke of Price’s deep religious faith. Mack pointed out that both Faron Young and Marty Robbins has died in December, and he added – somewhat choked up – that perhaps Jesus brought him home to heaven “to sing for him on his birthday.”

Stubbs added that Price’s religious conviction was quiet but sincere, and mentioned that one time he learned Price supported a charity that helped elderly Jews immigrate to Israel from Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Stubbs said he expressed some surprise at Price’s support of a Jewish charity. He said Price’s opinion was that more Christians should feel the same way, “I plan on spending eternity with one of them.”

“Ray Price was just a country boy who spent a third of his life in Mount Pleasant, but was known around the world” said Stubbs.

Another eulogist, Dallas Wayne – the Sirius XM radio DJ for the country channel Willie’s Roadhouse – said Price was a gentleman off the stage as well as on, possessing “heart and soul, grace, dignity, elegance and character.”

He credited Price’s music for drawing him to his career. “He had that kind of voice that sang from the heart, you know he put his heart and soul into his music.”

A natural gentleman, Wayne said – reflecting on his given first name – “He was the epitome of the word “noble”.

Other speakers included Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass – a member of the extended Price family – and former District Judge Lanny Ramsay of Mount Vernon, who got to know Price as he prepared his will.

Bass said Price was the same as a family member as he was in public, “he was a very umble man and down to earth.”

Ramsay said Price never stopped being a gentleman, and even in his last days, when they were discussing his estate, he apologized as he had to blot his nose because of an oxygen tube.

Price lived in Mount Pleasant for 31 years; he was born in Wood County, in the small community of Peach outside Perryville.

The benediction at the end of the service was given by Shiles Hubbell, chaplain of the Cypress Basin Hospice, which cared for Price at the end of his life.

A funeral is planned for Dec. 28 in Dallas by the Restland Funeral Home.


Ray Price

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
by:  Calvin Gilbert

When Ray Price died Monday (Dec. 16), the world lost one of the greatest singers in the history of country music — or any other genre, for that matter. Aside from his smooth, effortless vocal style, his greatest talent was recognizing a great song when he heard it.

The world eventually came to understand the magic created by songwriters such as Harlan Howard, Hank Cochran, Bill Anderson, Roger Miller, Mel Tillis, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Price identified it immediately, recording “Heartaches by the Number,” “Night Life,” “For the Good Times” and other songs that became country music standards.

Price recorded for several labels during his lengthy career, but his work for Columbia Records serves as the cornerstone of his discography. For those wanting a solid introduction, Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings imprint offers The Essential Ray Price, a two-CD set containing 40 tracks. Legacy’s 16 Biggest Hits package features a basic overview of his key Columbia tracks. Completists — or fans with plenty of disposable income — might consider The Honky Tonk Years 1950-1966, a 10-CD set released by the Bear Family Records, a German label.

In assessing Price’s vast catalog of recordings, a list of 10 definitive hits only scratches the surface, but here’s a quick recap of some of his most memorable recordings:

“Release Me” (1954)
Price first appeared on the country chart in 1952 with “Talk to Your Heart” and scored two additional Top 10 singles before recording “Release Me,” a song written by Eddie Miller and William Stevenson. The musical influence of Hank Williams was still firmly intact, and “Release Me” became a classic. By the ’70s, it had been recorded more than 200 times, including crooner Engelbert Humperdinck’s version which became an international pop hit in 1967.

“Crazy Arms” (1956)
With its shuffle beat, “Crazy Arms” spent 20 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s country songs chart and essentially defined Price’s early sound. The song was written by Ralph Mooney, a steel guitarist who later spent many years playing in Merle Haggard’s band, and Chuck Seals.

“My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You” (1957)
Texas swing legend Bob Wills had a profound influence on Price and his Cherokee Cowboys band, so it’s somehow appropriate that Price’s second No. 1 single was written by Wills and Lee Ross. It remained at the top of the country chart for four weeks.

“City Lights” (1958)
In addition to being Price’s third single to top the chart — a position it retained for 13 weeks — “City Lights” also launched the career of songwriter Anderson, another future member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“Invitation to the Blues” (1958)
Long before Roger Miller became a superstar in the ’60s with hits such as “Dang Me” and “King of the Road,” he was a member of Price’s band. Originally recorded by Rex Allen, Miller convinced his boss to record it, too. Price’s version was on the flip side of “City Lights” and peaked at No. 3.

“Heartaches by the Number” (1959)
Oddly enough, one of Price’s signature songs didn’t top the country chart, but it made it to No. 2 and helped establish Howard’s songwriting career. Price didn’t reap the rewards of a crossover hit, unfortunately. Guy Mitchell’s cover version spent two weeks at No. 1 on the pop chart later in 1959.

“Heart Over Mind” (1961)
Although Tillis was already enjoying success as a songwriter, Price’s recording of “Heart Over Mind” came two years before Bobby Bare released Tillis’ classic “Detroit City.” It’s another shuffle song with the fiddles kicking things off through a by-then familiar riff.

“Night Life” (1963)
At this point, “Night Life” is widely identified as a staple of the original song medley Nelson performs during the opening segments of his concerts. Even late in his career, it remained one of Price’s signature songs, too, even though the single only peaked at No. 28 on the country chart.

“Danny Boy” (1967)
With somber lyrics set to the tune of the Irish folk song, “Danny Boy” was a departure from the other country music on the radio in the mid-60s. Even though Price had already started moving to a more polished sound, the lush orchestration turned out to be an indication of the musical direction that led to his biggest hit, “For the Good Times.”

“For the Good Times” (1970)
The recording of the Kristofferson song was a defining moment for Price. With a shimmering violin section backing him, “For the Good Times” hit No. 1 on the country chart and No. 11 on the pop chart. The success resulted in a wider audience and more opportunities for appearances on national TV shows. He continued the direction with three subsequent No. 1 country hits — “I Won’t Mention It Again” (1971), “She’s Got to Be a Saint” (1972) and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” (1973).

Hear samples from these 10 hits at

Rest in Peace, Ray Price, thanks for the music

Monday, December 16th, 2013


Rest in Peace, Lou Reed, thanks for the music

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Lou Reed, Farm Aid 2015

Jody Payne, guitar player for Willie Nelson, passes

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Photo by the great Jay Janner

Guitarist Waylon was part of the Willie Nelson & Family band for 35 years before he retired in 2008. Baldwin County Coroner Stan Zinson says Payne died Saturday morning, at a local hospital. He said Payne got up early in his home in Stapleton, Alabama, feeling ill, and his wife Vicki called an ambulance.

Rest in Peace, Jody Payne

Saturday, August 10th, 2013


Jody’s wife, Vicky, shared these recent photos of Jody.



“My funny friend Don Bowman” — Willie Nelson

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Don Bowman passed away on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.  He was 75.  Don Bowman often opened for Willie Nelson & Family from late ’70’s until the early ’90’s, when he chose to stay in Branson after Willie Nelson & Family’s long run there.  Thanks to Lyn Vyles and Budrock for sharing information and pictures about Don. 

Willie wrote the liner notes for one of Don’ Bowman’s albums:

“One thing I like about Don Bowman is that he makes me laugh even when I don’t feel like it.   He has always affected me this way.   When he was a disc jockey in Lubbock, Texas, he broke up the whole city with this weather forecast, “Fair and warmer and his orchestra”, his Station Break, “This is K something or other serving the Portland-Vancouver area” — remember, he’s still in Lubbock, Texas.  I could just see his boss Herman Mullet, driving down a west Texas highway, late for a sales meeting in Odessa, hearing this on his car radio, coming to a screeching halt in the middle of the road, beating his head against the dashboard and screaming, “Where did I go wrong?”

Don Bowman is a funny, funny man — and in this album you will find many opportunities to break up, double over, or split your sides.  For instance, “What Kind of Fool Am I” is a very beautiful song that has been butchered by one of the world’s funniest butchers — my funny friend Don Bowman.  How Come It Is, She thinks I Don’t Care — well, you pick one, play it, listen, or as Don would say, “List-ten” — and try not to laugh.  I guarantee you can’t do it. ”

— Willie Nelson



The talents on Don Bowman are varied. He is a singer and guitarist, a monologist of subtle humor, a song writer and a budding film performer. He has also been a successful disc jockey. Don, who was born in Lorenzo, Texas, was doing turntable duty at a San Diego Radio Station in 1960 when he sent some of his song paradies to RCA Victor’s head man in Nashville, Chet Akins, with the request that he submit the material to Homer & Jethro. Chet did — and Don became a regular contributor to the duo’s albums. Several years later, acting upon Atkins’ advice, Don quit a $20,000 a year broadcasting job in Minneapolis and came to Nashville to be near the writing and recording activity. It was a wise move. In 1963 Bowman was recording his own material in the RCA Victor studio — Chit Atkins, Make Me a Star. Atkins really did, and today Don is a favorite recording artist and Opry laugh-getter. When Don isn’t touring with state shows, he lives in the penthouse of a high-rise apartment building in Nashville and concentrates on songwriting.


Goodbye to an Old Friend
By Joshua Clark

Goodbye to an old friend

As I was driving into work Thursday morning, I heard that country music songwriter and comedian Don Bowman had passed away Wednesday morning at a nursing home in Forsyth. He was 75.

He was one of the funniest men of country music, and counted legends like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson as his closest friends. He had careers as a D.J., singer, songwriter and comedian.

Bowman recorded eight albums with his biggest single, “Chet Atkins, Make Me A Star,” spending four months on the country charts in 1964, peaking at No. 7 on the Cash Box charts. Other singles include “For Loving You” with Skeeter Davis, “Folsom Prison Blues 2,” and “Poor Old Ugly Gladys Jones” with Jennings, Nelson and Bobby Bare.

He also spent time opening for Jennings, Roger Miller, Merle Haggard, Bare and Bill Anderson. In addition, he spent 17 years on the road opening for Nelson before deciding to stay in Branson.

Bowman had his biggest professional success as a comedian. Throughout his career, he has appeared on the big screen, the small screen, onstage and on record. He received the inaugural award as Comedian of the Year from the Country Music Association, getting the nod over fellow comedians Ben Colder and Homer & Jethro in 1967.

After moving to Branson in the early 1990s, he portrayed “Seemore Miles” for the Moe Bandy Show. As a songwriter, Bowman may be best known for co-writing one of the biggest hits in the career of Jennings, “Just To Satisfy You.” The song hit No. 1 twice, once for Jennings in 1969, and once for Jennings and Nelson in the early 1980s. He also took the old Mother Maybelle Carter tune “The Wildwood Weed” and updated it in the 1960s.

I first met Bowman in 1995 when he was performing with Bandy. He was already a family friend, and that friendship was extended to me. I’d take Bowman to the movies, or to a show, or have a cold adult beverage from time to time, and always had a blast. In 2007, a group of friends and I took Bowman to see Willie Nelson in Joplin. He was treated like royalty by the band and the crew, and I got a story that I still tell to this day. It was without a doubt one of the greatest nights of my life.

Bowman suffered a stroke a few years ago and lost his ability to speak. Even though he had difficulty communicating, he never lost that outlaw twinkle in his eye.

Bowman will be remembered for his warped sense of humor and touching song lyrics. He will be missed. Goodbye old friend…


Rest in Peace, George Jones

Friday, April 26th, 2013


“West has been in my backyard all my life. My heart is praying for the community that we call home.” — Willie Nelson

Thursday, April 18th, 2013