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RIP, Harry Dean Stanton (September 15, 2017) Character Actor & Singer-Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on September 15, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton
July 14, 1926 – September 15, 2017

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Harry Dean Stanton, the beloved character actor and singer/musician passed away from natural causes at the age of 91. To many, he was that down-on-his-luck bad guy whose face they’d seen in many of his 250+ films but whose name they could never remember.  Stanton was also a singer who haunted LA clubs for decades, playing in front of adoring fans of both his music and his films.  Born in Irvine, Kentucky, Stanton served in the US Navy during WWII. Upon his return to the states, he eventually settled in Los Angeles where he took up acting. Throughout his career, he earned critical praise for his work in art house and mainstream movies alike.  His long resume includes, Paris, Texas, Two-Lane Blacktop, Repo Man, Christine, and  The Green Mile.  His TV credits are equally impressive, having appeared on Gunsmoke, Two And A Half Men, Big Love and more.  As for his career/hobby as a musician, Stanton sang and played the guitar and harmonica in his own band, the Harry Dean Stanton Band (or as it had previously been called, Harry Dean Stanton Stanton & the Repo Men), mostly playing covers LA’s seedier clubs throughout the ’80s and ’90s. But, he could also be found on stage alongside the likes of Bob Dylan, Chaka Khan, Bing Crosby, and Bono.  In 2014 Omnivore Records released his debut album – at the age of 88 – Partly Fiction.  A soundtrack to the documentary, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, it collected his intimate and sometimes heart-breaking covers of American folk classics.

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RIP, Grant Hart (September 14, 2017) Drummer For Husker Du

Posted by themusicsover on September 14, 2017

Grant Hart
March 18, 1961 – September 14, 2017

Photo Credit: 99thFloor via Wikimedia Commons

Grant Hart, drummer and co-songwriter for the influential alternative rock band, Husker Du lost his battle with liver cancer.  He was 56. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hart was just 10 years old when his older brother was killed by a drunk driver.  Hart took over his brother’s record collection and drum set, and within a few years, he was playing in small local bands.  In 1979, while working at legendary St. Paul record store, Cheapo Records, Hart met customer, Bob Mould. They, along with drummer, Greg Norton, formed Husker Du shortly thereafter.  The band started out as hardcore punk but eventually crossed over to a a bit more mainstream sound with Hart being credited by some as bringing melody to punk rock. It was a time when the music scene in the Twin Cities was thriving with the likes of Prince, the Replacements, and Soul Asylum, to name a few. In all, Husker Du released six studio albums, two live albums, and a couple of EPs before calling it quits in 1987.  Hart went on to release a handful of solo albums and EPs before forming Nova Mob in 1989. After Nova Mob’s run, he returned to making solo records.

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RIP, Jessi Zazu (September 12, 2017) Lead Singer Of Those Darlins

Posted by themusicsover on September 12, 2017

Jessi Zazu Wariner
1989 – September 12, 2017

Jessi Sazu, Center. Photo Credit: Guitarplaya1525 via Wikimedia Commons

Jessi Zazu, the lead singer of popular Nashville indie garage band, Those Darlins has lost her battle with cancer. She was 28. Formed in 2006 after Zazu, Nikki Kvarnes, and Kelley Anderson met at a Rock and Roll camp, the band released their self-titled debut to positive reviews and local fan acclaim.  This afforded them the opportunity to tour with the likes of the Black Keys, Dr. Dog and JEFF the Brotherhood which expanded their fan base even more. Those Darlins’ early sound leaned Americana and Traditional, but over the next few years, they took on a more garage rock vibe. The band’s line up changed as well – bassist Adrian Barrera replaced Anderson who left the band in 2012. Throughout their run, they released one EP, three albums and several singles.

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RIP, Troy Gentry (September 8, 2017) Montgomery Gentry

Posted by themusicsover on September 8, 2017

Troy Gentry
April 5, 1967 – September 8, 2017

Photo Credit: nola.agent via Wikimedia Commons

Troy Gentry, of the popular American country duo, Montgomery Gentry, died in a helicopter crash in Medford, New Jersey, on September 8, 2017.  A passenger in the helicopter, the 50-year-old was in town for a scheduled performance.  Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Gentry began playing with local friend and drummer, Eddie Montgomery in 1990. Over the next several years, they morphed into different bands and configurations until they finally settled on Montgomery Gentry, and were signed to Sony Nashville in 1999. What followed was a remarkable string of hits, both at country radio and on the charts, with songs like, “Roll With Me,” ”Back When I Knew It All,” and ”Lucky Man.”  In all, the band has sold over six million albums to date. Montgomery Gentry were also a very popular concert draw across much of the US and beyond, as fans lined up for their electrifying Southern Rock-influenced sound.  At the time of Gentry’s death, they were reportedly working on the follow-up to their 2015 album, Folks Like Us.

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RIP, Don Williams (September 8, 2017) Country Music Legend

Posted by themusicsover on September 8, 2017

Don Williams
May 27, 1939 – September 8, 2017

The Country Music world mourns the loss of one of its most distinctive song stylists with the passing of Don Williams after a short illness. He was 78.

A native of Floydada, Texas, Williams was born May 27, 1939. He grew up in Portland, TX, graduating there in 1958. Music had always been a part of his upbringing, entering – and winning – a talent contest when he was just three years old. For his efforts, Williams received an alarm clock. He began playing guitar during his teen-age years, learning the songs that he heard on the radio during that period. He and his friends played in local bands around the area.

In 1969, Williams soon found his way to Nashville. By 1971, he had a songwriting contract with the publishing company owned by Jack Clement. The next year would see Williams ink a recording deal with Clement’s JMI Records. He made his chart debut with “The Shelter of Your Eyes” in 1973, and was soon hitting the charts time and again with a much more laid-back sound than a lot of the music coming out of Nashville at the time. 1974 would see Williams top the charts for the first time with “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me.” From that point all the way through 1991, each Williams single would hit the Top-40 on the Billboard Country charts. His 1970s hits included such chart toppers as “Tulsa Time,” “She Never Knew Me,” and “It Must Be Love.” His career grew steadily through label shifts to ABC/Dot, MCA, Capitol, and finally RCA. Williams also gained a devoted following overseas in such unlikely spots as England, Ireland, and New Zealand , and even South Africa and Kenya – where he reached superstar status. He was named the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1978.

The 1980s saw no slow-down in Williams’ recorded output, with the singer notching his biggest hit with 1981’s “I Believe In You,” which not only topped the Country charts, but crossed over to No. 24 on the Hot 100. By this time, he had earned the nickname “The Gentle Giant” for his trademark mellow sound, and the hits continued to pile up throughout the rest of the decade – “Stay Young,” “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” and “One Good Well” being three of his biggest of the 1980s. His final top ten came in 1991, with “Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy,” a song that Josh Turner – a Williams fan – would record in 2006.

Though the changing of the guard at radio slowed down Williams’ chart success, he continued to perform for sold-out crowds in America and abroad, playing a final tour in 2006. However, retirement was not in the cards for the singer, who returned to the road in 2010 – the same year that he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Williams’ return to the spotlight also included a pair of albums on Sugar Hill, 2012’s And So It Goes, and 2014’s Reflections, which included contributions from Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Keith Urban. It was a sign of his enduring appeal that both albums hit the Top-20 on the Billboard Country Albums charts – his biggest rank there in three decades.

In 2016, Williams decided that the time was right for his final performance, calling it a career after one of the most successful careers in the history of the Country Music business. “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support,” the 76-year-old Williams said in a statement at the time. Last year also saw the final release of Williams’ career, a live CD and DVD recorded in Ireland. In 2017, the singer was the subject of a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, that included performances of his hits by artists such as Lady Antebellum and Garth Brooks. [Source: Webster Public Relations]

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