Archive for the ‘Passings’ Category

We miss you already, Merle Haggard; rest in peace

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016


The word “legend” usually makes an appearance at some point when discussing Merle Haggard. It’s an acknowledgment of his artistry and his standing as “the poet of the common man.” It’s a tribute to his incredible commercial success and to the lasting mark he has made, not just on country music, but on American music as a whole. It’s apt in every way but one.

The term imposes an aura of loftiness that’s totally at odds with the grit and heart of Haggard’s songs. “I’d be more comfortable with something like “professor,” he once told a reporter, and the description suits him. Studying, analyzing and observing the details of life around him, Haggard relays what he sees, hears and feels through his songs. The lyrics are deceptively simple, the music exceptionally listenable. Others who have lived through those same situations recognize the truth in the stories he tells. But Haggard’s real gift is that anyone who hears his songs recognizes the truth in them. When a Merle Haggard song plays, it can make an innocent-as-apple-pie grandma understand the stark loneliness and self-loathing of a prisoner on death row; a rich kid who never wanted for any material possession get a feel for the pain of wondering where the next meal will come from; a tee-totaling pillar of the community sympathize with the poor heartbroken guy downing shots at the local bar.

As a result, Haggard found his songs at the top of the charts on a regular basis. Immediately embraced by country fans, he also earned the respect of his peers. In addition to the 40 #1 hits included here, Haggard charted scores of Top Ten songs. He won just about every music award imaginable, both as a performer and as a songwriter, and in 1994 was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Celebrating the life of Joey Floyd in Forth Worth (February 20, 2016)

Sunday, February 21st, 2016


Thanks so much to Janis Tillerson, who attended the memorial service for Joey Floyd service in Forth Worth on Saturday and shared the program. Paul and Janie English, and Billy English and Martha English, all from Forth Worth, also attended the service with Janis.  LG Gorham and Tom Hawkins flew in in the morning for the funeral to honor their friend and flew home later the same day.



Joey Floyd, Wendy Strout Gorham, and LG Gorham

Obituary from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Joey Michael Floyd Obituary
Joey Michael Floyd, professional musician, beloved husband, son, brother and uncle, went to be with the Lord on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. Joey was 47 years old. Service: A service celebrating his life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Pantego Bible Church, 8001 Anderson Blvd. Following the service, Joey will be laid to rest in Emerald Hills Memorial Park.
Family and friends will gather from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday in the Great Room at Robertson Mueller Harper. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, consideration of contributions to MusicCares, 1904 Wedgewood Ave., Nashville, Tenn. 37212, in his memory, is suggested. Born Dec. 17, 1968, in Arlington, Joey was the son of Jerry Jay and Penny Lu Rigby Floyd.
He began playing guitar with his Grandpa Frank Rigby at an early age and at 5 years old auditioned for the Grapevine Opry with Johnnie High. At the age of 10 he played Willie Nelson’s son in the major motion picture “Honeysuckle Rose,” and with his sister, Jill, began touring with Willie and the Family for the next two years, embarking on a lifelong friendship. Joey and Jill continued playing music, becoming the first regulars on Johnnie High’s Country Music Revue before Joey graduated from Eastern Hills High School in 1987.
After attending TCU, Joey and Jill continued to pursue music with their own band, Eldorado, playing such events as Farm-Aid and Willie’s 4th of July Picnic. In 1997, Joey joined Toby Keith’s Easy Money Band playing acoustic and electric guitar, fiddle, banjo, as well as backup vocals. Joey played all over the world sharing his many gifts including roles in such films as “Leap of Faith,” “Broken Bridges,” and “Beer for My Horses,” numerous television shows such as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Ellen,” “The View” and many others as well as USO tours, the Super Bowl, the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Halftime Show, and countless live performances on awards shows.
Despite his many talents, Joey remained a humble man who never met a stranger. He worked hard, played hard, and loved harder. He loved making people laugh with his quick wit and sharing new jokes with old friends like Willie Nelson. He loved cooking, touring with the Easy Money Band and watching his favorite shows, “Judge Judy,” “Seinfeld” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” with Laurin and their two dogs, Cowboy and Diesel. Survivors: In addition to his wife of eight years, Laurin Wright Floyd, Joey is survived by his parents, Jerry and Penny Floyd; and sister, Jill and her husband, Mike Muzyka, and their daughters, Kennedy and Logan.

Published in Star-Telegram on Feb. 17, 2016


Guitarist Joey Floyd passes

Monday, February 15th, 2016


We learned that musician Joey Floyd has passed away from complications related to his bout with cancer.

jerry joey2

photos: Jerry Schatzberg

Willie Nelson fans first met Joey when he played the part of Buck Bonham’s son, in the 1980 movie  ‘Honeysuckle Rose’.  Joey went on to form his own band, “El Dorado”.


photo: Barbara Davidson

He was a long time member of Toby Keith’s band, playing guitar, fiddle, banjo.    Joey is  reportedly responsible for initially introducing Toby and Willie.  Toby made the news and paid tribute to Joey on his facebook page.

His band played at Farm Aid in Ames, Iowa in 1993.


Willie Nelson, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, “One More Cowboy”

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Rest in Peace, Dan Hicks, who died on February 6, 2016, at 74.

Dan Hicks, a singer, songwriter and bandleader who attracted a devoted following with music that was defiantly unfashionable, proudly eccentric and foot-tappingly catchy, died Saturday at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He was 74.

The cause was liver cancer, said his wife, Clare.

Hicks began performing with his band, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, in the late 1960s in San Francisco, where psychedelic rock bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead dominated the music sound. The Hot Licks’ sound could not have been more different.

At a time when rock was getting louder and more aggressive, Hicks’ instrumentation — two guitars (Hicks played rhythm), violin and stand-up bass, with two women providing harmony and backup vocals — offered a laid-back, all-acoustic alternative that was a throwback to a simpler time, while his lyrics gave the music a modern, slightly askew edge.

He came to call his music “folk swing,” but that only hinted at the range of influences he synthesized. He drew from the American folk tradition but also from the Gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt, the Western swing of Bob Wills, the harmony vocals of the Andrews Sisters, the raucous humor of Fats Waller and numerous other sources.

“It starts out with kind of a folk music sound,” Hicks explained in a 2007 interview, “and we add a jazz beat and solos and singing. We have the two girls that sing, and jazz violin, and all that, so it’s kind of light in nature, it’s not loud. And it’s sort of, in a way, kind of carefree.”

Songs like “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?,” “Milk-Shakin’ Mama” (“I found the girl who keeps the ice cream/And now it’s I who scream for her”) and “Hell, I’d Go,” about a man whose fondest wish is to be abducted by aliens, displayed his dry and often absurd wit, as did his gently self-mocking stage presence. But he had his serious side, too: “I Scare Myself,” a longtime staple of his repertoire, was a brooding, hypnotic minor-key ballad about being afraid to love.

Hicks’ records never sold in the millions, but at the height of his popularity in the early 1970s, he and his band appeared on network television and headlined at Carnegie Hall, and he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Fellow musicians were among his biggest fans: Guest artists on “Beatin’ the Heat” (2000), the first Hot Licks album after a long hiatus, included Bette Midler, Elvis Costello and Tom Waits, while Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett joined him in the studio four years later for “Selected Shorts.”

Daniel Ivan Hicks was born on Dec. 9, 1941, in Little Rock, Ark., the son of Ivan Hicks, a career military man, and the former Evelyn Kehl. His family moved to Santa Rosa, Calif., near San Francisco, when he was a child.

He took up drums in sixth grade and guitar as a teenager. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in broadcasting, he performed in local folk clubs while also playing drums with dance bands.

From 1965 to 1968, Hicks was the drummer and occasional vocalist with the Charlatans, widely regarded as the first San Francisco psychedelic band, although he himself remembered it as less a band than “just kind of some loose guys.” While still with the Charlatans, he formed the first version of the Hot Licks.

The group’s 1969 album, “Original Recordings,” sold poorly, but three subsequent albums for the independent Blue Thumb label established it as a successful touring act.

Hicks nonetheless disbanded the group in 1973, at the height of its popularity. “It was getting old,” he explained in 1997. “We became less compatible as friends. I was pretty disillusioned, had some money, and didn’t want to do it anymore.”

His career stalled after that, but he returned in the 1980s with a new group, the Acoustic Warriors, which duplicated the Hot Licks instrumentation without the female singers. In the late 1990s, he added two singers and brought back the Hot Licks name.

The band, with frequent changes in personnel, toured regularly and continued to perform occasionally in recent years when Hicks’ health allowed, most recently in December in Napa, Calif.

In addition to his wife, Hicks is survived by a stepdaughter, Sara Wasserman.

“I will always be humble to my dying day,” Hicks, tongue in cheek as usual, said when interviewed in 2013 by Roberta Donnay of the Hot Licks. “On my dying day I will explain to the world how lucky they have been to be alive the same time as me.”

Rest in Peace, Jackie King

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016


Guitarist Jackie King, who toured and recorded with Willie Nelson and Family, passed away on January 24th, following a stroke, and heart attack.  He gave this 2002 interview to the San Antonio Current,  his home town.

Jackie of All Trades

“They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.” — Charlie Parker, as quoted by jazz critic Nat Hentoff in liner notes from Jackie King’s The Gypsy (Indigo Moon)Spend any time at all with virtuoso jazz guitarist Jackie King, and you’ll come to two conclusions: first, that he has an uncanny awareness of the connectedness of all things. Perhaps that’s why a typical year in King’s career will find him touring the world as a member of Willie Nelson’s Family band; putting the finishing touches on Getting Into Jazz, Volume II, a book on guitar instruction (Mel Bay Publications); performing on National Public Radio’s Piano Jazz as a guest of Marian McPartland; working on a trilogy of albums based on celestial themes (Moon Magic on the Indigo Moon label); and sitting with his family at Mr. Gatti’s on the South Side, speaking with me about plans to record an album on the Solitary Confinement label with his son, San Francisco bay area rapper DOBAD, a poet and artist known for his edgy lyrics and free-style chops. “Yeah, jazz and rap have so much in common. Both are uncensored music of the streets. In rap, the voice is used like an instrument. You can hear bebop phrasing. And rap free styling is pure improvisation, just like jazz.”

Then he laughs, which brings us to the second conclusion: he has an uncanny awareness of the humor in all things — perhaps something to do with that connectedness. King is a great storyteller, especially when the joke is on him. He tells of the time when he and Nelson were being honored at the American Indian Exposition in Anadarko, Oklahoma. One participant, an older gentleman, asked King to autograph a dollar bill. He looked at the signature, then at King. “You’re not Willie Nelson?”

King laughed. “Do I look like Willie Nelson?”

The man shrugged. “I don’t know what Willie Nelson looks like.” He then looked at the dollar bill and said, “Oh, well, I guess I can still spend it.”

King roars with laughter.


Growing up in San Antonio, King was introduced to guitar by his father, who played in a Western swing band. He studied with local legend Spud Goodall and began playing professionally at age 12. His teen years found him listening to jazz, transcribing Charlie Parker’s sax solos for guitar, and beginning his life-long friendship with Nelson. In the late ’60s, he moved to San Francisco with his buddy, Doug Sahm, and played with jazz greats such as Chet Baker and Bill Evans. After teaching at the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles, he returned to San Antonio and opened the Southwest Guitar Institute, where alumni like blues guitarist Neal Black and pedal-steel player Gib Wharton benefited from his musical philosophy: “Be true to yourself. The motive is the manifestation.” He now divides his time between homes in San Antonio and San Francisco.


Still Missing Bee Spears

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

December 9th marks  anniversary of the date of Bee Spears passing.

DSC_0822 by you.


photo:  Janis Tillerson


photo thanks to Carol Sidoran, 12.9.12

Rest in Peace, Bradley (8.01.1998 – 11.12.2015)

Friday, November 13th, 2015


So sad to hear that Paula Nelson’s dog Bradley has passed away.   He was so sweet.  I got to hang out with him during a couple of Paula and her band’s shows here in Colorado, and fell in love.  He was one of a kind.  He was so protective of Paula.   He would watch her walk up on stage, and watch her entire show.  Her biggest fan, and she was his.

“It breaks my heart to bring this news….I lost my best friend Bradley this morning. He was my everything. Words cannot describe my sadness. But he left this world peacefully and he will always be in my heart and watching over me.

Love you my Bradley

xoxoox Paula


Bradley came to Colorado on every tour, even in the winter. He never complained, either. Paula shopped and made sure he had warm clothes.

bradley4 bradley1

Rest in Peace, Charlie Dick

Sunday, November 8th, 2015


Charlie Dick, husband of Patsy Cline, has passed away.


Charlie with friends, at Tootsies, in Nashville.

Rest in Peace, Buddy Emmons

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Buddy Emmons wrote, “Are You Sure ” together.
by:  Julie Thanki

Pedal steel guitar innovator Buddy Emmons has died at the age of 78. Nicknamed “The Big E” for his height, Mr. Emmons, a member of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, played with some of country music’s finest, including Little Jimmy Dickens, Ernest Tubb and Ray Price, and his work forever changed the genre. The number of musicians he influenced over the past half-century is immeasurable.

“Buddy Emmons was truly a musical genius,” says Eddie Stubbs, WSM DJ and “Grand Ole Opry” announcer. “He had an unbelievable gift and was so forward thinking. He was placed here at a pivotal time, when the pedal steel guitar was a relatively new instrument. He took it to another level and expanded (the instrument’s) boundaries.”

Buddy Gene Emmons was born on Jan. 27, 1937, in Mishawka, Ind. His father bought him his first lap steel guitar at the age of 11, and the young boy quickly took to the instrument. Soon his parents noticed his musical aptitude and bought him a triple-neck steel guitar.

At 16, Mr. Emmons dropped out of school, then moved to Detroit to play in Casey Clark’s band. It was in this city that country music star Little Jimmy Dickens discovered him in the summer of 1955; by the July Fourth weekend of that year, Mr. Emmons was making his “Grand Ole Opry” debut as part of Dickens’ backing band, the Country Boys. With Mr. Emmons and guitarists Spider Wilson and Howard Rhoten, the band “reached its zenith,” Stubbs said after Wilson’s death in March.

In 1956, Dickens dissolved his band, and Mr. Emmons found a job as part of Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours. His crying pedal steel licks were an integral element of songs such as Tubb’s 1958 hit single “Half a Mind.”

Not only was Mr. Emmons a stunning musician, he also was a remarkable innovator, and would frequently tinker with his steel guitars, experimenting with different tunings and pioneering the split-pedal setup, which can be heard on “Half a Mind.” Mr. Emmons and musician Shot Jackson formed the Sho-Bud Guitar Co. in 1956. Less than a decade later, he’d leave Sho-Bud and create the Emmons Guitar Co. with Ron Lashley.

Mr. Emmons also was a talented songwriter. He and Willie Nelson co-wrote “Are You Sure”; this song was recently recorded by Kacey Musgraves for her 2015 album, “Pageant Material.” He recorded several solo albums over the course of his career as well. His 1963 release “Steel Guitar Jazz” was the first jazz record featuring pedal steel. He’d later join forces with Ray Pennington to form the Swing Shift Band; they’d release a handful of records together.

He’d return to Nashville in the mid-‘70s and would continue doing session work for some of country music’s top artists through the 1980s and ‘90s, including George Strait, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood and John Anderson. In the late 1980s, he also accepted an offer to tour with the Everly Brothers, and he’d remain with them for 12 years.

Mr. Emmons retired from music after the death of his wife, Peggy, in 2007, whom he had married in 1967.

Remembering Johnny Gimble

Monday, June 8th, 2015


Willie Nelson, Johnny Gimble, Lukas Nelson, Austin

Thanks, Dandy

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

This was from a show at Carl’s Corner, Texas, @WilliesPlace.  Dandy at the table, with someone I don’t know, I’m sorry, and Janis from Texas and me.

Gwyneth “Dandelion” Seese passed away, after a long illness.   Dandy, as many of us fans and friends shortened her name too, was a great friend of Willie Nelson, his family and fans.   Fans, historians, archivists, we all have a lot to thank Dandy for.  Before the internet and Willie Nelson’s websites, and before FaceBook, that’s how we found out tour schedules, heard about new albums coming out, and saw pictures and read stories of other fans. Her “Willie’s World”, published by her and her niece, were anticipated monthly, by fans around the world:




Willie would send her letters to his fans to publish:

Willie Nelson and family posted this on his website:

Gwyneth “Dandalion” Seese passed away yesterday after a long and painful illness. Fellow country disc jockeys, once Willie and Dandalion they met they hit it off right away. She was also a genuine fan of his music, playing his songs regularly on the air.

Dandy became the first official president of the Willie Nelson Fan Club, and remained with the fan club until her death. She kept thousands of fans in touch with Willie Nelson and Family long before social media made it easy. She was old school; writing articles, reading fan mail and caring about the fans. She typed, cut and pasted all the fan club newsletters and faithfully mailed them out to fans for over 30 years.

Dandalion was loved by many who knew her and she will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.


One of my favorite Dandy and Willie Nelson stories is this one she told:

Dandy said that on the day that Selena  (famous Texan, “The Queen of Tejano music,”) got shot in 1995, she got a call from Willie.

“Dandy.  Willie,” he said, very serious.

“Hi Willie, how are ya?,” Dandy said.

“Dandy, how are you and I doing?  We’re doing all right, aren’t we?”

“We’re doin’ fine, Willie.  Why?”

“Well, you’re my fan club president, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Well,  I just heard Selena’s fan club president shot her, so I wanted to see if you and I were doing okay, or if I needed to worry.”


I knew Dandy only through her connection with Willie Nelson & family.  To learn more, read the article by Erik Starck, published in 2009: –>


Thanks for the music, BB King

Friday, May 15th, 2015


Rest in Peace, BB King

Friday, May 15th, 2015

We lost one of the greats. B B King passsed last night, in Las Vegas. He has been off the road from his tour since April, because of illness. He was 89.

Thanks for the music, Johnny Gimble

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Rest in Peace Johnny Gimble.

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.