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"Country My Eye, It's Hillbilly Where I Come From...Hillbilly music was played back years ago more for enjoyment than anything else. It expressed feelings, thoughts, told stories of happenings, religious beliefs. You might say it is a history of people which was almost forgotten."
Ola Belle Reed - Pickin Magazine November 1974

Doug Davis - Country Music Classics Doug Davis' Country Music Classics
—Story Behind The Song

If You Ever Change Your Mind
Most hit songs have been delivered to recording artists thru a music publisher's rep — but according to Crystal Gayle - her 1980 number one — "If You Ever Change Your Mind," — was sent directly to her. The song was written by Parker McGee — who had already scored the first two England Dan and John Ford Coley pop hits - "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight," and "Nights Are Forever." Crystal commented, "That is a beautifully written song and it's the kind of song that appeals to me. I love ballads and if you'll look at my chart records — it's easy to see that I'm known more for ballads than up-tempo songs." Crystal Gayle's Columbia Records single, "If You Ever Change Your Mind" came on the country music charts September 13th, 1980 and was at the top of the list on November 29th. It was her 26th charted song and her 8th number one.
—Jul 3, 2014

What's New - Featured Articles

WSM Grand Ole Opry WSM Grand Ole Opry WSM went on the air on October 5, 1925 to much fanfare. A fellow from WLS in Chicago, George D. Hay, came to Nashville to be a part of that first broadcast. What would become the Grand Ole Opry went on the air November 28, 1925 with nothing more than announcer Mr. Hay and Uncle Jimmy Thompson on the fiddle; he was accompanied by his niece, Eva Thompson Jones on piano. Our update of this program takes the Opry from its beginnings to about the 1950's. The radio logs in the Nashville papers were used to show readers who was appearing each week, though those logs did not show the 'guests' during a segment. Click away and take a look back at some of the names of the early Opry.

Betty Amos Betty Amos Betty came from a musical family. She was about done with high school in 1952 when her brother suggested to Bill Carlisle that she might be a good fit for his show; she became part of The Carlisles and found herself at KWKH's Louisiana Hayride. She was the female voice on Bill's hit, "No Help Wanted" and "Is Zat You Myrtle?" She went on her own with a band called the Lump Boys. She did however still record with the Carlisles until about September 1954. Later she signed with Starday where she recorded with Judy and Jean (Jean was Betty's sister). We were able to meet her along with Judy and Jean at an International Country Music Conference in Nashville.

Bonnie Baldwin Bonnie Baldwin Bonnie Baldwin was a native of Coolville, OH. She joined WWVA in Wheeling, WV as part of Joe Barker's Chuckwagon Gang. She started doing duets with Millie Wayne (sister / half-sister of Curley Miller). She was with WWVA from about 1943 through 1960. She later did disc jockey work at WMOD in Moundsville, WV. She also hosed a children's television program in Steubenville, OH and would do songs between the cartoons that were shown.

Billy Barton Billy Barton He was born John Ralph Grimes in London, KY. He performed and recorded under the names Billy Barton, Hillbilly Barton and Laurel London. He first recorded for the Grande Record Co. out of Bakersfield, CA. Later he was on the Abbott record label. He married "Wanda Wayne" in December 1954. Later, he did promotional work for Fabor Robison's Radio record label. He wrote the hit "A Dear John Letter" that became a big hit and country standard for Ferlin Husky and Jean Shepard.

Kathy Dee Kathy Dee Kathleen Potts was the name her parents gave her. She became known as Kathy Dee. She was on the Landmark Jamboree show in Cleveland for a time and appeared with future Grand Ole Opry star Dottie West. She joined the cast of the WWVA Jamboree in the mid-1950's. She married George Dearth and her stage name was in effect a shortened version of her last name. Her early recordings include a song she wrote when she was just 14 years old. She earned a "Knights of the Blue Nose" certificate for her three month tour entertaining the troops in Thule, Greenland near the Arctic Circle. She lost her sight later in life due to a diabetic condition.

Frank Dudgeon Frank Dudgeon Frank was known as the "West Virginia Mountain Boy." He was influenced early on in his career by Bradley Kincaid, who was on WLS at the time. Frank tried his luck; started in Zanesville, OH then moved on to Columbus, OH and WWVA in Wheeling, WV.

Tony Fiore Tony Fiore The accordion was a popular instrument in early country music, but like the steel guitar, seems to have fallen out of favor. Tony Fiore was a 'prodigy' on the accordion and began touring at a very young age with the likes of Cal Shrum who was trusted by his parents to watch over him as the band toured. He appeared in several movies with stars such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Later, he left the 'Hollywood' scene and settled into a life teaching music in Fresno, CA and later northern California.

Ray Guyce and His Lonesome Valley Boys Ray Guyce A Hoosier state native, the research of Ray's career took a bit as his last name was seen spelled different ways. His professional name most often seen was Ray Guyce. He formed a band called the Lonesome Valley Cowboys back in 1945. He opened a recording studio in Smithville, IL. He was on the first "live" television show broadcast from Evansville. "The Ole Coon Hunter" as he was sometimes called signed a high school singer Glenna Dene to his Brite Star label. His appearances seemed limited to the Evansville area and surrounding region. He continued doing appearances u to 1981.

Brenda Holly Brenda Holly Brenda Holly was from Evansville, IN and her singing got her noticed at an early age. When she was just 11 years old, in the fifth grade, she was signed to the Brite Star record label and recorded with Ray Guyce and his Lonesome Valley Boys. She later recorded for Eunice Records of Evansville also. But her career seemed limited to her younger years. Her adult life was a bit on the tragic side with poor health and a marriage that did not last. Her later life was documented in the local newspaper.

Shot Jackson Shot Jackson As a fan of the steel guitar, this site likes to feature some of the great names associated with the instrument. Shot Jackson was known as an expert on the steel guitar and dobro. He even developed and manufactured several models of the instruments. He was also a backup musician for such folks as Roy Acuff, the Bailes Brothers, Johnnie and Jack and Kitty Wells. His career spanned over 40 years. He played on the KWKH Louisiana Hayride for a time. Then went to Nashville with Johnnie and Jack and played on the WSM Grand Ole Opry. He later joined forces with steel guitarist Buddy Emmons to form the Sho-Bud company.

Molly O'Day Molly O'Day Molly O'Day's musical career perhaps lasted only about a decade, but she left an impact. She began in 1939 as Lois Williamson. While with Ervin Staggs and his Radio Ramblers, she had a new stage nickname - Dixie Lee Williamson. She next wrote to Lynn Davis (who later became her husband) at WHIS in Bluefield, WV trying to convince him to let her be a part of the group. Their career together took them to various venues and radio stations. But Molly was uncomfortable with all the attention perhaps. She came down with tuberculosis which slowed her down considerably. She became friends with Hank Williams. In her obituary, it was said that Dolly Parton was "profoundly influenced" by Molly.

Roni Stoneman Roni Stoneman She was a member of the second generation of the famed Stoneman Family. She was quite an entertainer to say the least. Your webmaster got to meet her at a past International Country Music Conference in Nashville. While playing my dobro at an informal picking session with others at RCA's Studio B, Roni stepped up to provide the rhythm to the song that the others seemed to not know - a memory that lasts a lifetime. She was on the Hee! Haw! show for many years. One can only imagine her on stage singing the comedy song "Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog" while the Stonemans were doing a show at the Black Poodle in Nashville. When she visited the conference, she always had stories and advice that held her audience's attention.

Olaf Sveen Olaf Sveen Olaf gained fame in Canada as an accordion player. But, he was actually born in Norway! He immigrated to Saskatchewan to help his brother on his farm. But he also came with a love for music. He became a member of Eddie Mehler and his Southern Playboys in the early 1950's. They got a program on CKRM in Regina. But the pickings were lean in terms of income and the life he led showed it. Read his description of what he found in the "rowdy dance halls." In a 1975 interview, he said he had sold over 200,000 records in the 21 years prior. Needless to say, not your everyday story, but in a sense, very similar to those who struggled early on and kept at it to become successful.

Mary Lou Turner Mary Lou Turner She was born in Hazard, KY. Her parents later moved to Dayton, OH. As a teen-ager, she was a guest on the WLW Midwestern Hayride show. She became a part of WWVA's Jamboree U S A as it was called then and stayed nearly eight years. When Jan Howard left the Bill Anderson show, Mary Lou became her replacement in January of 1973. She left Bill's show in 1980, formed her own band and went on tour. Later, she and her husband found a home in Branson, MO.

Millie Wayne Millie Wayne Millie was from McKeesport, PA and a featured vocalist with Curley Miller's Plowboys. Curley often referred to her as his sister. While at WWVA, she started to do duets with Bonnie Baldwin. Her only known recording was on the Cozy label in the early 1950's. After she left WWVA, she went to her home town where she became a disc jockey on weekdays and a 'live' show on Saturdays.

Wanda Wayne Wanda Wayne Betty Lou Parvin was born in Jasper, AL. But her stage or professional name was Wanda Wayne. She married a hillbilly singer / songwriter by the name of Billy Barton (real name John Ralph Grimes) in December 1954 when she was 18 and he was 25. She did her first recording for King records in 1953 in Hollywood, CA. Later on, she and Billy lived and worked in Idaho and Washington.

Da Costa Woltz and his Southern Broadcasters Da Costa Woltz and his Southern Broadcasters Author Ivan Tribe wrote an article for our site about Da Costa Woltz which we did some additional research for. Mr. Woltz was born in 1892. He was from the Galax area of Virginia. The four piece band he led only did four recordings for the Gennett record label in 1927. In our research, we found some other sources for old newspaper articles from Mr. Woltz' home area that helped provide more details about his life - mainly his political career and not so much his musical career. His group was one of the earliest to make records.

Dortha Wright Dortha Wright Dortha Wright is seen on a popular youtube video, introduced by Tex Ritter as she sang "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" on the Town Hall Party television show - when she was just a teen-ager. She later did a couple of recordings. But her career seemed to dissolve and she settled into a domestic life, perhaps occassionally singing at church or other local events.

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Or let our Hillbilly AI technology pick a couple of biographies for you to read. (Hillbilly AI is actual intelligence for generating random biograhies.) Keep clicking around - there's always something new spopping up on Hillbilly-Music.com.

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