Archives for posts with tag: Larry Black

The Janie Price Interview on the First Anniversary of Ray’s passing.

Janie Price, photo courtesy- Rick Moore

Janie Price, photo courtesy- Rick Moore

“If you knew just half of the story, you couldn’t get through it without crying. Ray came up to Nashville under the direst of circumstances. He was so ill, feeling so bad and weak. Chemotherapy just wears you out. This man just walked out of that house and, by golly, he got on that tour bus and he came back until he was satisfied he had that volume and that depth to his voice and then would resonate down to the lowest. Ray was able to do this. I was married to one of the most incredible men that has ever walked the face of this earth. This man was a true man. I am so proud to be his wife.” – Janie Price, December 2014

Ray Price spent the last couple of years of his life crafting his final masterpiece, Beauty is… The Final Sessions. A collection of carefully compiled gems, this is a love letter to his wife, Janie Price. Ray worked with legendary Record mogul, Songwriter and Producer Fred Foster [Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Billy Grammer, Ray Stevens, Kris Kristofferson, Tony Joe White, Larry Gatlin, Charlie McCoy, Al Hirt, Boots Randolph, Jerry Byrd, Billy Joe Shaver, Grandpa Jones, The Velvets and Robert Mitchum] to build on a bed of lush strings and orchestration reminiscent of the best of Countrypolitan.

???????????????????????????????????????A combination of Texas Country treasures by Cindy Walker [Until Then] and Willie Nelson’s “It Will Always Be” along with standards like Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer” and the 1957 Vic Damone classic “An Affair To Remember” at the bequest of the love of his life has proven to be a benchmark for 2014 in modern day Nashville.

Ray Price was joined by Vince Gill [Beauty Lies In The Eye of The Beholder, Until Then] and Martina McBride [An Affair To Remember] on the most personal project of his career.

Janie Price took time to look at Ray Price’s final thoughts and to talk about his friends and recent discoveries regarding the modern age of digital media and social networking.

Brad Hardisty – The Nashville Bridge: Jeanie, it sounds like you have been busy promoting the legacy of Ray Price and his final recording over the last few months.

Jeanie Price, wife of legendary performer, Ray Price: I was down at Larry’s Country Diner and Jeannie Seely and John Conley were there and did a tribute to Ray. They sang some of his songs and it was so neat. I had co-hosted that with Bill Anderson a couple of months ago and they are in the process of getting that 5 DVD set ready. It’s already for pre-orders now. Larry Black had me come back to talk about that we did yesterday. I did the Mike Huckabee Show in October. He is going to do a special on Ray and that is going to air the 13th and 14th [last weekend] of this month around the time of Ray’s Anniversary of his passing on December 16th. I did The Texas Music Scene with Ray Benson. I went down to Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth and it was a day that they had their offices closed so they let us use one of they’re really neat rooms. I met with Dallas Wayne and the production crew all from Texas Music Scene there and filmed a documentary and that started running last week and the response we had from that was absolutely remarkable. I was on WSM with Bill Cody this morning so, I have been busy.

TNB: Who would have guessed that this last album would have such an impact?

JP: Absolutely. You’re telling the facts there because Ray talked to Fred and he asked Fred, he said, before he cut this album, “Do you think that it is humanly possible that an old fellow like me could possibly have another record in this industry? Do you think I can even chart or even get one released, get a record company interested in me?” Fred told Ray everything has changed in this industry and it is certainly not the same place that it was when you and I were in our heyday. But, Fred said, “I will tell you one thing, if anybody can do it, Ray Price can.” Fred Foster was right.

TNB: I think Ray did the right thing by insisting on having strings and the classic Countrypolitan sound.

JP: You know Brad, Ray and I were together forty five years. We were married 43 ½ years and I had taken over his business prior to that and I was there in the beginning of the time when Ray moved from Nashville and came back home to Texas. The reason that he left Nashville was over that very thing. It was the issue of the fact that he had wanted to enlarge the sound of Country Music. Ray wanted to take Country Music to town and to upgrade the sound and make Country Music something that everybody would be proud to listen to.

TNB: Ray was really one of the pioneers of the big Nashville Country sound.

JP: Ray Price paid the dues. He put his money where his mouth was and I can tell you for a fact. I was his book keeper and I wrote every check for Ray Price for the last 45 years and he spent his life’s fortune on moving Country Music into the modern day. When Ray and I first met, he was carrying a 22 piece Orchestra and he was working with so many violins and cellos and violas plus he had a horn section. He had so many musicians.

TNB: I bet that was a challenge on the road.

JP: Ray was working in places that didn’t have a stage big enough to hold them all. It was pretty funny. These guys would set up on the side of the stage. But by golly, he did it.

TNB: Strings were a trademark of his sound.

Ray Price publicity portrait

Ray Price publicity portrait

JP: Ray believed so strongly that the violin was the most classic and versatile of instruments. He said he felt that it replaced the human voice. So, by adding a multitude of strings all at the same time; eight violins, ten violins, it was like having a choir behind you singing. That was Ray’s imagination saying I think we can create this sound and we are going to be able to duplicate a sound that will replace all these people. The violin is going to be the one to do that. I think that he was right.

TNB: Eddie Stubbs [WSM], during the recent tribute, pointed out that Ray carried on the tradition of the violin or the fiddle at a time when it was disappearing in Country Music.

JP: Well, you’re right. The old time fiddle was going away so Ray just changed it. Ray said it was the same instrument and it just sounds different depending on whose holding it and how you play it. Ray wanted to hear those beautiful voice-like strings and so that’s why he had them playing.

TNB: Wasn’t that a great tribute?

JP: I was there that night. I was backstage and they told me they just wanted me to come up and thank those involved and how much we appreciated them doing this tribute. I was sitting backstage and I was on the right hand side of the stage facing the audience where the podium was and Eddie Stubbs was standing there. I was just enjoying the show. It was a sad time for me because it had only been three and a half months since I had lost Ray. At the end of the show, Eddie said, “Now folks, I’ve got a real special person here tonight. I want you all to make her feel welcome. I want you all to say hello to Ray Price’s wife, Janie.” Well, it just scared me to death. I had no clue that he was going to ask me to come out on that stage. After all, that is the Grand Ole Opry isn’t it?  told my sister my legs are just killing me. I cannot stand up and she said, “You better do something? Eddie Stubbs is standing there with his arm out wanting you to come out there.” I finally was able to get to my feet. I was out there and Eddie said,”Now Janie, I want to tell you somethin’.” Eddie told me the exact date in 1952 when Ray Price walked out on that very spot and made his very first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Eddie told me the song he sang. Eddie said “What do you think about that?”

TNB: I bet that was a surprise.

JP: I was just dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t know why it came out of my mouth but, I said how old was I? Ray was twenty years my senior and I was just thinkin’ that I was just a kid. I said, “How old was I? Eddie said “Janie, a woman who will tell you her age will tell you just about anything.”

TNB: That was a good safe answer.

JP: All the audience just laughed and that relaxed me and it just made me laugh. Eddie said “Well, I just want you to turn to this audience and I want you to tell these fans out here what this album means to you and what Ray’s idea and plans were for this album.” I don’t know how I got through it but I just turned to the audience and I told them that Ray had pancreatic cancer and he had fought it for twenty five months. Before he left this world, he had made the decision that he wanted to do one last thing. He said I don’t want to just go home and sit down and die. I want to do something with the remaining days of my life and do something that is meaningful.

TNB: How did he get started?

JP: Ray picked up the phone and talked to Fred Foster. He asked Fred if he would be a part of it and he said”I would love to be a part of this!” Martina McBride, when she found out about it, she was just so thrilled at the chance to be on the album with Ray. She came over and sang on “An Affair To Remember” which is the song that I just begged Ray to record for so many years.

TNB: I think anybody would have jumped at the chance to work with Ray.

JP: It was just a combination of a dream that my sweetheart husband had. He wanted to have one last album before he left this world and it has been left in my hands to go out and do the promotion and do everything that Ray would have done and had every intention of doing.

TNB: It must have been a huge undertaking with his health issues at the time.

JP: Ray had developed some serious side effects and had some health problems that were caused by those reactions that we simply did not anticipate that pro longed his ability to take chemotherapy. It was during that period of time when Ray was recovering from those side effects to the medication that the cancer had spread pretty quickly beyond where we would not be able to do any treatment for it and he realized that he was not going to be here.

TNB: I bet that was a difficult situation, knowing that this would his final project.

JP: He wanted to be here so badly. He wanted to be a part of another hit record and to leave his fans with one last album. He dedicated it to all the people who supported him all these years. So, he asked me if I would step forward and do what he would have done. I told him I had never done anything like this before. He said you are just going to have to make yourself available. He said I have got the right people in place.

TNB: Ray was confident in your abilities.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

JP: Ray said all you are going to have to do is what they tell you to do. I said but, I don’t know what to say. Ray said “I tell you what I want you to do. I want you to call my good friend Eddie Stubbs.” He said you ask Eddie, you tell Eddie that I want him to help you and give you support and to try to tell you how to handle these interviews. Ray said,”He will talk you through it” and he did. Eddie broke down and started crying when I told him what Ray said. Eddie Stubbs said “I would love to do that.” Eddie has spent many, many, many conversations on the phone in the beginning of this and giving me tips. I thought, I’m so lucky to have a master like Eddie Stubbs giving me pointers. Eddie is a big part of this. Eddie and Ray were close friends. Eddie Stubbs was closer to Ray than any other human being those last years of Ray’s illness and I know he called every week and talked with Ray as long as Ray was able to talk. When Ray could no longer talk, he started talking to me and Eddie kept an update with all his fans on his show on WSM. Eddie told Ray as long as I have a job and until they fire me, I am going to play a Ray Price song every time I am on the air.

TNB: What role has social media and internet played in helping to get the word out on this album?

JP: As you know, that is instant media and it just goes everywhere. It is worldwide. There is no limitation. Radio stations are limited as far as their signal will broadcast but internet is limitless. I have done several internet radio shows and they have gone all over the country and that has made a huge difference. It’s like it has opened up whole world. Now, that is hard for older people like us that are not accustomed. We think if we are texting on a telephone we are doing really good. These young people are becoming so computer literate and they just live on that internet. They do their entire life, business and everything on the internet so they are picking up on things. this morning when I was on WSM, Martha [Publicist] tweeted it on her account and Bill Cody did the same thing on WSM’s and Martha just posted “Janie Price is live on the air with Bill Cody and Charlie” and if you would like to listen, click on right now and within less than a minute there were 352 people on those lines in less than a minute. I don’t know how many people ended up listening to it but there were bunches of them.   Ray loved the internet. Do I have time to tell you what he said about it?

TNB: Go ahead.

JP: Ray opened up his Facebook page and it was something that just thrilled him. Ray had no clue that so many people would join his Facebook page and so after it was posted, there were 118 people that had already clicked on it. Before our web designer got off the line we already had 500 people that liked his page.

TNB: One last question. The newer Country is really different. Do you find younger Country fans that are going back and looking for the roots and recognizing Ray Price for what he did?

JP: From what we are being told, that is what has turned this record around. That is exactly what is happening. Ray’s fan base was the same age and he was 87 years old when he passed away. We have lost so many of those people. How do we account for all this huge gigantic sales of Ray Price’s album? Well, these people all had children, who had children, who all now have children and they all have been raised on Ray Price’s music. And it has been handed down and now people like Ray Benson are talking this project on The Best of Texas. There are so many new young artists on there and they have brought in so much of the young crowd and there is a younger generation that is just falling in love with Ray Price. We wish he was here to see this because that was always his dream. He said “I have been the singer for all these old folks all these years and I would love it if the younger generation would start liking my music. That would thrill me to no end.” He said, “That would make this old man’s heart proud.” That is what has happened.

Message from Eddie Stubbs, WSM Radio and best friend of Ray Price-

Eddie Stubbs and Ray Price at WSM, twitter photo

Eddie Stubbs and Ray Price at WSM, twitter photo

Ray Price was an extraordinary singer. He was a true vocal and musical stylist–an absolute American original. It was a special blessing to have known him for over twenty years. We did many, many interviews together over those years. There were numerous occasions that I drove four and five hours each way to see Ray in full-concert. I’ve never regretted a single mile of those travels. On-stage Ray Price was pure class–a term you rarely hear used to describe an act in any form of entertainment. He was a super-hero to me, and it was always a privilege to just to be in his presence.”

  • Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmail.com
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Interviews with Dierks Bentley, Ricky Skaggs and many more –

Dierks Bentley during Simply Bluegrass taping, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Dierks Bentley during Simply Bluegrass taping, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Larry Black gathered some of the most well-known names in Bluegrass Music to record live for the Gabriel Communications’ series Country’s Family Reunion to be titled Simply Bluegrass featuring Ricky Skaggs and Bill Anderson as co-hosts with musical guests that have spanned decades.

Larry Black, Ricky Skaggs & Bill Anderson at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo - Brad Hardisty

Larry Black, Ricky Skaggs & Bill Anderson at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ricky Skaggs explained that it took over two years to put this together. Larry Black added, “Well, it took two years to get Ricky convinced to do it.” Ricky, after a quick laugh explained, “It took two years to where I could get my schedule to where I could do it.  But, you know we started talkin’ about doin’ this a couple of years ago. We started trying to plug in bands and people and availabilities and that kind of thing and I am so glad we did.

Rhonda Vincent, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Rhonda Vincent, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Lee Gibson of The Gibson Brothers shared, “It’s a bit surreal to sit there and I’m sitting so close to Ramona Jones who since I was a young boy before I became musical at all, was a part of our entertainment and our life on Hee Haw or when I watched any kind of Country Music Awards Show you would see Grandpa [Jones] and Ramona. I never thought I would be in the same room let alone standing there and singing a song in front of her.

Sierra Hull at Simply Bluegrass, photo - Brad Hardisty

Sierra Hull at Simply Bluegrass, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ricky Skaggs working with Larry Black put an incredible roster together that included everybody from Ramona Jones and Del McCoury to Sierra Hull who has put out two great albums under the guidance and production of Alison Krauss.

Sam Bush, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Sam Bush, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Sam Bush known as part of the Newgrass movement beginning in the late 60’s – early 70’s said, “Well, for starters, we are fans of each other so I have already got to hear The Gibson Brothers. I have already got to hear Rhonda Vincent and at first I thought you had to have an AARP card to get in here but then fortunately, Sierra Hull showed up. I have been influenced by a lot of people in this room. I used to see The Osborne Brothers on television. The Osborne Brothers were really, really, so progressive in their day. They are overlooked. Obviously, I was influenced by Doyle Lawson. I was influenced by Ricky Skaggs to want to learn to play the mandolin because he started before I did. He is two years younger than me and I started to see him on local Bowling Green, Kentucky TV. Ricky Skaggs sat in with Flatt and Scruggs on their television show. So, when I saw this kid playing the mandolin I thought this was the greatest thing I had ever seen and I wanted to do it too. It’s nice that many are contemporaries and we get to play on the same gigs and stuff. So, that’s one of the nice things about it. We play a lot of festivals but, we get to “horse around” more today.

The Whites at Simply Bluegrass, photo - Brad Hardisty

The Whites at Simply Bluegrass, photo – Brad Hardisty

Sharon White, who is Ricky Skaggs’ better half and a long time member of The Whites said, “Well, we started out playing acoustic music, playing bluegrass music and I mean we still do a lot of concerts that are considered bluegrass concerts and we love these people. I think my favorite part about being here today is that I am a big fan of everyone in the room plus some of these men like Bobby Osborne and Jesse McReynolds, Del McCoury and Mac Wiseman are legends and to hear their stories and to be part of this day it is just a real blessing. You know it really just feels like a family. We love each other. We are fans of each other. It’s a great thing,” Sharon than added, “When I got here and everyone was seated, I told Larry Black, you can really tell this is a Bluegrass family reunion. Everybody is holdin’ their mandolin or guitar and everybody has their instrument because that such a part of being in Bluegrass.

Ricky Skaggs, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Ricky Skaggs, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Ricky Skaggs felt the best way to understand Bluegrass Music is to play it. Ricky said, “You really just got to play it. You know you can study it all day long but until you get your hands on it, it’s like a farmer; until he gets his hands in the dirt, he’s never going to know about farming!

Jerry Douglas says that his most favorite part of being one of the world’s greatest Dobro players is the performance and getting out on the road.  Jerry said, “I like playing live. You can’t take it back. In the studio, nowadays especially, it’s so easy to make something perfect and the idea as musicians is to make something as perfect as possible in the moment and I was good at it and learned a lot from it.

Jerry Douglas ay Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Jerry Douglas ay Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Jerry Douglas reminisced about how the live aspect used to be when Music Row was really Music Row in Nashville when he said, “I can remember walking down Music Row when there was snow. When Nashville used to get snow, remember that? I’d park my car at one studio and walk to two or three sessions back then.

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Dierks Bentley, photo - Brad Hardisty

Dierks Bentley was probably the most mainstream current Country Artist in the room and he shared when he first really got an interest in Bluegrass Music saying, “I moved here to do country music when I was nineteen but, that same year I walked into a little bar called The Station Inn here in Nashville and my life kind of changed forever. I saw a band there called The Sidemen made up of different guys from The Del McCoury Band and The Osborne Brothers. It was a really special night that changed my life for me and I’ve been a big Bluegrass fan ever since.”

Dierks Bentley at Simply Grass, photo - Brad Hardisty

Dierks Bentley at Simply Grass, photo – Brad Hardisty

For Dierks it was a real community feeling that won him over and he said, “The authenticity of the music, real and honest, not just the music part but also the Bluegrass community is such a great community of folks: a real place to call home for a kid from Arizona. The whole community just took me in and I found myself at pickin’ parties and weddings and just a lot of cool, cool, things. It gave me a musical foundation. Terry Eldridge who sings with the band The Grascals was my mentor.  I paid five dollars for my Tuesday night door fee cover charge to get in and hear The Sidemen play so those were my lessons:  listenin’ to Terry and Ronnie McCoury who is up there on mandolin a lot. It really was a bluegrass education sitting there and listening to those guys play.

The Grascals at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo - Brad Hardisty

The Grascals at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo – Brad Hardisty

Dierks would eventually get his guitar out and learn some licks saying, “I went to a lot of picking parties. I would bring my Martin in my truck and it would stay in the case in the truck. I would be too nervous to get it out. I never wanted to get the guitar out of the back of my truck.  But, eventually I would get enough nerve to pull it out and play but, it’s never ending, even tonight just playing is just nerve racking playing in front of that audience.  It’s pretty cool to be a fly on the wall and just hang out and hear them tell stories just off the top of their head like they are just hanging out in their living room.

Bobby Osborne at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo  courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Bobby Osborne at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Bobby Osborne will be marking 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2014 and shared how he and his brother decided to record “Rocky Top” which became a hit in 1967 and is the official song of University of Tennessee and of eight official songs of the state of Tennessee. Bobby was grateful to be a part of such a special historic taping and he said, “I have always been interested in the history of Bluegrass and Country music for that matter, you know, because I have always listened to Country and Bluegrass songs also. I’m very happy to be a part of this today. A lot of us are happy to be here today. We don’t get a chance to get together that often, you know, like we are today so, it’s really nice to be here and I am enjoying it very much. It’s really interesting to hear the stories that all of us have gathered in our minds through the years. It really is.”

Reno and Mac Wiseman at Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Gabriel Communications

Reno and Mac Wiseman at Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Gabriel Communications

Ricky Skaggs noted how spontaneous Bluegrass music is when he said, “This music is very organic. It changes every night. You never know what’s going to come. You never play a solo the same way twice. That’s what makes it fun. Every time Country loses its way and gets so far away from the center from what it should be then bluegrass music goes straight to the top because that is the alternative. That’s the real Country. Those were the records that we fell in love with and we learned as young kids and we loved those little “hickies” in a record that wasn’t perfect and we would make the same mistakes. You know, like Beatles fans will play the same mistakes and go to the wrong chord in the wrong place, where George or John might have played somethin’ totally different and these crazy Beatles groups like 1964 … the tribute bands. They will make the same mistakes just to keep the records right just because they love it, you know.

Rhonda Vincent and Dailey & Vincent warming up backstage at Simply Bluegrass, photo - Brad Hardisty

Rhonda Vincent and Dailey & Vincent warming up backstage at Simply Bluegrass, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ricky explained the real difference between Country and Bluegrass music by saying, “It’s built around a band. It’s not built around a lead singer. I mean you got to have a lead singer to sing the stuff but bluegrass that’s the difference in bluegrass and Country. Country is usually built as a band in the background and the lead singer is up front and he is doing his deal and they are just kind of supporting him. A bluegrass band, everybody is just as important. You got to have the mandolin, you got to have the fiddle, you got to have the guitar and you know obviously you got to have good singin’ and you got to have good playin but it is built around a band.

Del McCoury signing commemoratove poster, photo - Brad Hardisty

Del McCoury signing commemoratove poster, photo – Brad Hardisty

With this much talent in the room, the idea of collaboration had to come up and Ricky shared, “I am always up for something, I just had Jamie Johnson from The Grascals ask me to do something with them. They are going to re-record “Waitin’ For The Sun To Shine”, a song that I had hit with back in the eighties.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom