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*BILLY STRANGE: MR. GUITAR MAN--As fine a guitarist as ever strapped on a Fender, Billy Strange was part of the fabled Wrecking Crew; a friend to and songwriter for Elvis Presley, whose song ‘Memories’ became one of the King’s latter-day monuments; a skilled and inventive producer-arranger whose resume includes Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,’ for which he came up with the classic descending bass riff opening. “I have played every kind of music in the world,” Strange said. ‘If they needed somebody in a small group who knew what the hell they were doing in the studio, that was me.’ The 81-year-old Strange died in Nashville on February 22.
*LOUISIANA RED: ‘A PERMANENT SPRING OF PURE BLUES’--Iverson Minter, professionally known as Louisiana Red, an award winning blues guitarist, harmonica player, songwriter and singer who recorded more than 50 albums, died on February 25 in Hanover, Germany. A tribute to the man whom his friend and sometime musical partner Bob Corritore extolled as ‘a powerful downhome blues artist who could channel his teachers into his own heartfelt musical conversation, delivered with such moving passion and honesty that it would leave his audiences indelibly touched.’
*FRETWORK: PRESSING ON--The popular viol consort triumphs at Carnegie Hall following a 25th anniversary year that saw a founding member die by his own hand and another long standing cohort take her leave. The future beckons.
*THE GIVING TREE BAND OFFERS A PERSONAL TAKE ON THE GRATEFUL DEAD--In an exclusive to TheBluegrassSpecial.com, the Giving Tree Band sends a report of its contribution to The Dead Covers Project, along with a video of its terrific rendition of Robert Hunter’s ‘Brown-Eyed Women.’
ROBERT SHERMAN WAS SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS
It is certainly true that musicians live on through their songs long after they have departed this mortal coil, but Robert Sherman is going to be around longer than most, because the songs he wrote with this brother Richard, mostly for beloved Walt Disney films, including Mary Poppins, are so deeply embedded in our cultural DNA.
*FREDDIE SOLOMON: ‘HE WAS SUCH A LEGITIMATE GUY’-- Freddie Solomon, who gave up his dream of being a professional quarterback to become an outstanding receiver for the Miami Dolphins (1975-77) and a San Francisco 49ers team (1978-85) that won two Super Bowls, died on February 13 in Tampa, FL, after a nine-month battle with colon and liver cancer. He was 59.