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Sandy Salyers
Michigan Country Music Hall of Fame (1995)
WION Ionia, MI

About The Artist

His parents named him George, but country music fans came to know this native of Prestonburg, Kentucky as Sandy Salyers. He moved to Michigan back in 1942 where he lived since then except for a tour of duty serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Sandy started his musical endeavors at an early age. He started singing when he was just 9 according to a 1995 interview, entering and winning his share of talent shows. He also sang baritone in a church choir for four years. He told Teresa Frith of the Maple Valley News that one of the highlights early on was when he and his brother got to sing at a land auction in Prestonburg, Kentucky. That came about when the main act that had been hired to appear didn't show, Flatt and Scruggs, so instead of just going around town and putting up posters for the show, the promoter put them on as singers on the show.

From about 1962 to 1965, he was a country music disc jockey in Ionia, Michigan at radio station WION. He decided he wanted to add to his career choices and left the radio work for a time to go to Barber school where he graduated in August of 1966.

During his stint at WION, he got to interview Miss Minnie Pearl during her appearance at the Ionia Free Fair in 1962. He also shared the stage with Ernest Tubb that same year.

He was a promoter of country music; his efforts led to many country music shows being brought to Ionia, including acts from the legendary WSM Grand Ole Opry.

He was the owner of the Northway Records label as well as the Northway Music publishing company (affiliated with BMI). His songwriting efforts did not go unnoticed in Nashville as Surefire Music Co. published three of his songs:

  • No Future For Me
  • Storybook of Love
  • Extra Boyfriends
He was said to have written about 200 songs back in 1965 and had released eight songs on his own.

Later, in the 1970s, SAndy moved to Nashville, Michigan where he built "Sandyland Park" where he would continue promoting country music to fans in Michigan and had over 100 shows at the park from 1978 to 1982.

A 1985 promotional flyer for Sandyland Park gives a good idea of the acts that Sandy booked to his park. During that summer season, fans would get to see such stars as Jimmy Dickens, Rex Allen Jr., Big Al Downing, Ernest Tubb, Cal Smith, Moe Bandy, The Original Drifting Cowboys, Jimmy C. Newman along with local acts such as Don Lincoln, who it should be noted, opened every show at Sandyland Park.

He mentions in the 1995 interview that he had started the Norway Recording Studios around 1983 and had a record or song that reached number 29 on the music charts, but that song couldn't be recalled for the interview. He operated that company from 1983 to 1985.

He looked back on his career in that interview and noted he came close a couple of times to getting that big break. In one case, a record company ni Nashville had offered him a contract, but he wasn't ready to give up his steady job that paid the bills. He noted that a record contract "...doesn't insure an artist of anything except a chance to make money."

In addition to being inducted into the Michigan Country Music Hall of Fame, he was inducted into the Western Branch of the Michigan Classic Country Museum in 1990 "...for his support in preserving country music and his encouragement to his fellow musicians."

Back in 1995, he owned and was still working at a barber shop and a sports shop in Nashville, Michigan where he had lived since 1972.

Sources & Credits

  • Country Song Roundup; No. 90; October 1965; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • "Nashville Man Elected to Michigan Country Music Hall of Fame; Teresa Frith; Maple Valley News; 1995; Publication date unknown; (Copy of article courtesy of Linda Smith, Lansing Michigan)
  • "Michigan Country Music Hall of Fame"; Michigan Magazine; Volume 5 Number 2; Aug-Sep-Oct 1996; (Article copy courtesy of Linda Smith, Lansing, Michigan)

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