Rest in Peace – In Memoriam 2020. May each of these special souls rest in peace. This is a blog that I hate to write, but I wanted to remember some of the icons we lost this year.
I know I will leave someone out, but these are the ones that hit me the hardest. – In Memoriam 2020.
Billy Joe Shaver – He will “Live Forever” just like his song says. Music and songwriting legend that always took time for his fans. I wanted to write a blog when he passed, but I couldn’t write the words. Billy Joe meant a lot to mean and was a constant encourager to me in songwriting and keeping the creativity going. I can remember a lot of sweaty hugs after his shows where he told me loved me and to keep going. He never knew how much he meant to so many.
John Prine – Another void that will never be filled was created when Mr. Prine left us. Songs like “Sam Stone,” “Lake Marie,” and “Paradise” all coming from one writer? Are you kidding me? This guy will be remembered like Cole Porter or Shakespeare long after we are all gone. His Midwestern joy showed through in every thing he did. He was another hero that encouraged me to keep writing and keep going. Every album he did got better, and he was truly like a fine wine getting better with age.
Charley Pride – He was a trailblazer in country music that was known for chart topping songs and a country styling that was bar none. “Is Anybody Goin to San Antone?” and “Snakes Crawl at Night” were two of my favorites. Who can forget to “Kiss an Angel Good Morning?” He will be remembered for breaking down barriers and taking music by storm.
Jerry Jeff Walker – Writing “Mr. Bojangles” alone would make JJW immortal, but there were so many other songs like “Taking it as it Comes,” “LA Freeway” and on and on. Add to that the “gonzo” lifestyle, and Jerry Jeff proved what it meant to be an artist.
Little Richard – No one influenced Rock and Roll more than Little Richard. Elvis and Bob Dylan all copied him. He continues to influence generations. We all know “Tutti Fruiti” by heart. One of my big regrets was not going to see him in Vegas one time when I was there. I should’ve skipped that business meeting. He will be wailing away on a piano in the great beyond now.
Johnny Bush – Texas dancehall stalwart, wrote “Whiskey River.” He was a very underrated talent all around.
Justin Townes Earle – He left us much too soon. His body of work is outstanding for the short time we had him here. We’ll never forget.
Joe Diffie – Nice guy and native Oklahoma, I can remember him before he had the hits. And, he had plenty of hits. Still was a nice guy, through and through. The last time I saw him was in the Las Vegas airport and was his usual friendly self.
Paul English – If Willie Nelson writes a song about you, you know you are something special. Long-time drummer and moneyman for Willie, Mr. English had a rough exterior but was friendly, too. ‘They said we look suspicious, but I believe they like to pick on me and Paul.”
W.S. “Fluke” Holland –- Original drummer for Johnny Cash in the Tennessee Three. This guy saw a ton of music history. He will be missed.
May God bless the families of all these special folks. May their spirits know how much them meant to each of us – In Memoriam 2020.