When It Comes To Country Music, He’S Known As ‘The Man Who Started It All’


A couple of Mondays ago, the Tonto Community Concert Association kicked off its 32nd season at the Payson High School Auditorium with the Gibson Brothers, a nationally renowned bluegrass band from New York.

For those of us who love the down-home sound of mountain music, the concert was a great start to what promises to be another outstanding season of musical talent coming to Payson.

Of all the great music that the Gibson Brothers performed the night of their concert, my favorite song was “Blue Yodel No. 4” by Leigh Gibson, who brilliantly sang Jimmie Rodgers’ original 1929 hit.

Jimmie Rodgers makes a very interesting story.

Rodgers was born in Meridan, Miss. on Sept. 8, 1997. His affinity for entertaining came at an early age, and the lure of the road was irresistible to him. By age 13, he had twice organized and begun traveling shows, only to be brought home by his father.

Mr. Rodgers found Jimmie his first job working on the railroad as a water boy. Here he was further taught to pick and strum by rail workers and hobos. A few years later, he became a brakeman on the New Orleans and Northwestern Railroad.

Rodgers went on to become the first nationally known star of country music and the direct influence of many later performers, from Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams to Lefty Frizzell and Merle Haggard.

But not only did Rodgers have a major influence on the beginning of “country” music (His brass plaque in the Country Music Hall of Fame reads, “Jimmie Rodgers’ name stands foremost in the country music field as The man who started it all.”), he was also inducted in 1986 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his early influence on rock ’n’ roll.

Tragically, Jimmie Rodgers died of tuberculosis in 1933 at age 35.

During his short musical career, Rogers became known by three different nicknames. Two were “America’s Blue Yodeler” and “The Singing Brakeman.”

This week’s music trivia question is: Can you name Jimmie Rodgers’ other nickname? (to which the Gibson Brothers’ Leigh referred to Rodgers at the concert).

Was Rodgers’ other nickname: A) “Gentleman Jim,” B) “The Possum,” C) “The Tennessee Plowboy,” or D) “The Father Of Country Music?”

This week, if you’re caller number five and have the right answer, you’ll win a $25 gift certificate to The Boutique, courtesy of owner, Sandra Whitenack. Located next to Wendy’s, this fine shop specializes in one of a kind accessories and clothing and is open seven days a week.

Now, let’s check out how we did with last week’s trivia question, which was: Can you name the contemporary country music singer whose current hit, “The Boys of Fall,” has soared up Billboard’s country music chart and now sits at No. 3 (and this week is at No. 2)?

Is this country artist A) Kenny Chesney, B) Alan Jackson, C) Toby Keith, or D) Bryan Adams?

The correct answer was Kenny Chesney.

Like Chesney, Alan Jackson and Toby Keith rose to country music fame in the early 1990s and are still going strong today. Each have a hit on this week’s Billboard country chart.

Bryan Adams was a popular 1980s-1990s rock singer/songwriter, best known for his 1991 classic, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.”

Congratulations to last week’s music trivia winner, Leroy Watson of Pine, who has been a trivia winner several times in the past.

Last weekend was a really busy three-event music weekend for Ann and me. On my Web site, you can view pictures from the Big Brothers Big Sisters annual Bowl for Kid’s Sake fund-raiser at Rim Country Lanes, Senior Circle’s fall picnic at Rumsey Park and the Steve Sheehan-Audrey Meesig wedding at the Mazatzal Casino.

Both Steve and Audrey are graduates of Payson High School, Steve in 2004 and Audrey in 2006. Steve is employed as a cook at the casino and Audrey as a receptionist at NPG Cable.

Lastly, wasn’t that a great Eagles tribute concert last weekend at the casino? Professional, non-stop, high energy and ear-shattering volume. I loved it!

Have a great week!

DJ Craig

Phone: 468-1482

Web site: www.DJCraigInPayson.com


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