Arts and Entertainment

Sheryl Crow "Feels Like Home" (Warner Bros)

Johnny Paycheck

Hell-raising country singer

Dolly Parton, Hammersmith Apollo, London

Hello, Dolly: the long-awaited return of the Queen of Nashville

Obituary: Mary Reeves

ONE OF the most enduring images of popular music is that of Jim Reeves, the good-natured, utterly trustworthy romantic singer who was country music's answer to Nat "King" Cole. In reality, "Gentleman Jim" was created and nurtured by Jim's wife and later widow, Mary Reeves. She wrote in Music City News in March 1966 that "he was a husband, perfection personified", but her fingers were firmly crossed at the time.

Pop: From tragedy to triumph

She sang with George Jones and Tammy Wynette, but listening to Shelby Lynne's latest album, it's hard not to wish that she'd gone it alone sooner.

Obituary: Wee Willie Williams

ALTHOUGH THE legendary rock 'n' roll singer Gene Vincent recorded hundreds of titles, he never bettered the results of his first moments in a studio, recording "Be-Bop-A-Lula" in Nashville in May 1956. Everything came about by chance and circumstance including the hiring of his rhythm guitarist, Wee Willie Williams.

Obituary: Henry Kimbro

FOR THE first half of this century the stars of the baseball Negro Leagues battled prejudice and sometimes near-poverty in a still firmly segregated America. Henry Kimbro was one of the last survivors from that era.

Arts: Still a player

At 74, the legendary director Robert Altman is back again. He talks to Andrew Gumbel about the studios and not selling out

American Times: On the road to salvation - God sends a sign to the heathen in the Chevy

YOU ARE driving along in the relaxed American way, just getting from A to B and minding your own business, when your attention is grabbed by a gigantic black billboard. "That `Love Thy Neighbour' Thing," reads the neat, white text, "I meant it - God".

Pop: Album review - various artists More Oar - A Tribute To the Skip Spence Album Jericho

SKIP SPENCE, who died earlier this year, was the American equivalent of Syd Barrett: a former member of Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape, the songs on his solo album Oar were, so legend goes, written during his six-month stay in a psychiatric ward, upon release from which he rode a motorcycle (in his pyjamas) straight to Nashville and recorded the lot, solo, in one day.

Perks that keep the workers in their place

WITH ALMOST 3,000 guest rooms and more than half-a-million square feet of meeting space, the Opryland Hotel outside Nashville boasts of being the biggest hotel and convention centre in the world. So why is this highly acclaimed colossus currently renovating a second-hand motel with 300 beds a half-hour's drive up the road? And why did it appoint a manager with experience of supervising student hostels to run it?

Pop: Too much of a good thing

STEVE EARLE AND THE DEL McCOURY BAND RFH / SHEPHERD'S BUSH EMPIRE, LONDON

E.X.H.U.M.E.D.

She was the First Lady of Country and she was a survivor. She'd lived with drug addiction, depression and D.I.V.O.R.C.E. And then she died. What killed Tammy Wynette? And why?

POP: FIVE UNMISSABLE AMERICANS

1

Obituary: Boxcar Willie

FOR LECIL Travis Martin, a.k.a. Boxcar Willie, Saturday 14 April 1979 was a defining moment in his career. Handed a bare 15-minute slot at the 11th International Festival of Country Music at Wembley that Easter, the 47-year-old Texan brought the house down, propelling himself instantly toward a kind of superstardom.

Obituary: Brock Speer

THE SPEER Family was among the first white gospel groups in America. Undertaking 200 concerts a year, the family inspired and encouraged numerous groups and they only disbanded last year due to the ill-health of their leader and bass vocalist, Brock Speer. However, outside the world of gospel music, Brock Speer will also be remembered as a backing vocalist on the early recordings of Elvis Presley.
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