John Prine, Nashville's Brilliant Neighbor

52 minutes ago
Neilson Hubbard

There is a pall of sadness over Middle Tennessee as we reel with the news that our beloved John Prine has died. You see, John Prine was one of us. We could easily imagine him sharing a glass of sweet tea over supper with us. While we peered up at the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan on their pedestals or a distant stage, John was always right there, standing beside us.


John Prine, one of the most influential songwriters in American history and an icon of roots and Americana music, has died at age 73 following more than a week of intensive care in Nashville for COVID-19. He burst onto the songwriter scene as a fully mature artist in 1971 with a self-titled album full of masterpieces, endured through two bouts of cancer, and enjoyed a late career celebration for his incisive, charming 2018 album The Tree of Forgiveness.

Two years ago, a book of biography, art and musical manuscripts was published under the title John Hartford’s Mammoth Collection of Fiddle Tunes. Assembled by his daughter Katie Harford Hogue and musicologists including MTSU Center for Popular Music Director Greg Reish, it was the first-ever public documentation of John Hartford’s prolific composing, culled from 68 hand-written journals spanning 22 years. Now, the same team has brought some of those tunes to a recording.

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Jesse Dayton performed a stripped down duo set for WMOT's Wired In session from City Winery in Nashville Feb. 17, 2020. Dayton and his bass player performed songs from his most recent albums, including On Fire In Nashville, a seven-song EP featuring "May Have To Do It". The EP was recorded live at the Filming Station during AmericanaFest 2018. 

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Kelsey Waldon’s country comes from northwest Kentucky with an esthetic born in Nashville’s studios in the 1970s. Her acoustic guitar was bolstered by Telecaster and pedal steel, the ideal cocktail for her stories of growing up (“Kentucky 1988”), the road (“White Noise / White Lines”) and tobacco farming (“Black Patch”). “Sunday’s Children” is possibly the bravest song on her Oh Boy Records album of last year, given that its warnings about church brainwashing would certainly not be taken to heart in her native terrain.

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Watch Bonnie Bishop's video session from our 895 Sessions during SXSW from The Backstage at El Mercado in Austin, Texas. Bishop performed songs from her 2019 album, The Walk and her 2016 album, Ain't Who I Was.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Nashville based Bridgestone Americas says it will begin sending its employees back to work on Monday.

In a press statement released Wednesday, the company says it hopes to have its tire manufacturing operations back in full production by early May.

Bridgestone says the move comes in repsponse to increased demand for tires by pandemic essential service providers.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- The state Department of Education is making another resource Tennessee parents can use to keep their pre-school children learning while they shelter at home.


The department has arranged for state residents to use the online learning tool ReadyRosie.


The company says its web based activities are appropriate for preschool aged children.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Tennessee appears to be experiencing less racial disparity among COVID-19 patients than the nation as a whole.


The Centers for Disease Control says, to-date, about 33 percent of patients hospitalized in the U.S. for coronavirus are African American. That’s more than twice the proportion of black residents to the total population reported by the Census Bureau.


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP/WMOT) — Executive compensation is the subject of a rare dust up between President Donald Trump and fellow Republican Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander.


Trump Wednesday called the $8 million annual salary paid to the head of the Tennessee Valley Authority “ridiculous.” The comment came as Trump spoke to reporters about possible new federal pandemic relief funding.


Alexander fired back via Twitter saying White House Staff were “spreading inaccurate information.”


Loretta Lynn & Patsy Lynn Russell

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn's friendship in the early '60s created an unbreakable bond between the two country music trailblazers.

In a new memoir “Me and Patsy: Kicking Up Dust,” Lynn reveals the backstage stories of the two friends who leaned on each other through good times and bad.

Lynn says Cline was like her sister, teaching her how to shave her legs, lending her clothes and teaching her how to navigate the male-dominated music business.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Unemployed Tennesseans waiting to receive an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits from the federal government will need to wait a bit longer.

Tennessee Labor and Workforce Development Department spokesman Chris Cannon says the department is having to reprogram its computer system to accommodate the changes from the federal coronavirus relief package.

Cannon says programers are working as quickly as possible to make the changes, but he cannot give a date when the work will be completed.

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Middle Tennessee’s economy took another big hit with the announcement this week that Nissan is furloughing all of its production staff in Smyrna and Decherd.

CNN Business quotes a Nissan North America spokesperson saying workers should seek unemployment benefits through at least the 27th of April. Nissan closed the plants in mid-March but kept workers on the payroll.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- A new survey suggests more than six out of ten Middle Tennessee nurses feel unprepared for the coronavirus health crisis.


The Nashville based Tennessee Nurses Associaiton says the poll was conducted by email in late March. A total of 471 responses was received. The Association acknowlede that the poll was not conducted scientifically.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- State Commissioner of Health Dr. Lisa Piercey says Tennessee plans to release more data about confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the next two week.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ten people have now died in a coronavirus outbreak at a Tennessee nursing home where more than 100 people tested positive. 

Sumner Regional Medical Center spokesman Kyle Brogdon confirmed the additional fatalities from the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing.

State health officials said more than 70 residents and more than 30 staffers tested positive at the facility, which was temporarily evacuated.

The state contracted out a deep cleaning of the facility and inspected it.


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Mayor Bill de Blasio is warning that New York City could require an additional 45,000 medical workers by the end of April to help reinforce a hospital system that has been stretched dangerously thin by the COVID-19 crisis.

In separate press conferences, both the governor of New York and the mayor of New York City said social distancing as well as the restrictions on nonessential businesses are working to flatten the curve of the coronavirus.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking in Albany, pointed to lowering rates in the state of hospitalizations, intubations and people admitted to ICUs, telling reporters, "Our efforts are working. They're working better than anyone projected they would work. That's because people are complying with them."

Forget living paycheck to paycheck. Many families have lost work during the pandemic and are running out of cash as they wait for unemployment checks and government rescue money to arrive.

These are highly unusual times, and family budgeting recommendations are also unconventional.

Kathy Hauer, a financial planner based in Aiken, S.C., says she's telling people to do things she's never recommended before: "Defer as many payments as possible and and worry about it later."

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