In Memoriam: Whitey Shafer (1934 – 2019)

January 13, 2019
Editor In Chief

Sanger D. “Whitey” Shafer (October 24, 1934 – January 12, 2019) was an American country songwriter and musician. He wrote numerous hits for stars such as George Jones, Lefty Frizzell, and George Strait.

Born and raised in Whitney, Texas, Shafer’s musical career began in his hometown of Whitney where he played in a school band. In the following years he toured the U.S., performing with, among others, the then-unknown Willie Nelson. In 1967 Shafer moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he signed with the Blue Crest Music Publishing Company. There he wrote two songs for George Jones, “Between My House and Home” and “I’m a New Man in Town”, along with many other tunes for lesser-known acts. Shafer signed contracts with Musicor and RCA as a singer, but he was never as successful as he was as a songwriter.

In the early 1970s Shafer signed an exclusive contract with Acuff-Rose Music. In the following years he wrote many songs which went on to become successful on the U.S. country charts, including several No. 1’s. His songs included “The Baptism of Jesse Taylor” for Johnny Russell, “Tell Me Lying Eyes Are Wrong” for George Jones, and a series of hits for Moe Bandy. He had a longstanding friendship with Lefty Frizzell, whom he had met at his record label. He and Frizzell wrote the song “That’s the Way Love Goes” together, a hit for Johnny Rodriguez and also Merle Haggard in 1983; they also wrote “I Never Go Around Mirrors” (which Frizzell recorded in 1973 and turned into a top 25 country hit a year later) and “Bandy the Rodeo Clown” for Moe Bandy, which became a major hit shortly after Frizzell’s 1975 death. After Frizzell’s death Shafer wrote the tribute song “Lefty’s Gone” recorded by George Strait for his Something Special album.

Three divorces helped him with his song writing in the 1980s when Shafer wrote “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” (1985; with Darlene Shafer) and “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” (1987; with his fourth wife Lyndia J.). Both of these were No. 1 hits for George Strait, and both were nominated for CMA’s Song of the Year.[3] “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” was also nominated for a Grammy Award, for Best Country Song (lost to: Paul Overstreet & Don Schlitz for “Forever and Ever, Amen”).

In the middle of the 1980s Shafer released two albums, I Never Go Around Mirrors and So Good for So Long, containing his greatest hits. In 1989 Keith Whitley chose the Shafer penned, “I Wonder Do You Think of Me”, as the title track and the first single released after Whitley’s death and went to No. 1. Also in 1989 Shafer was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Shafer continued to write for musicians such as John Michael Montgomery, Lee Ann Womack, and Kenny Chesney. In 2004, Shafer’s recording of “All My Ex’s Live In Texas” appeared on the soundtrack to the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. – Wikipedia

Monday 9pm: Feature Country Artist – Montgomery Gentry

January 22, 2018
Editor In Chief

Montgomery Gentry is an American country music duo consisting of vocalists Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, both natives of Kentucky. Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry began performing in the 1990s as part of two different bands with Montgomery’s brother, John Michael Montgomery. Although Gentry won a talent contest in 1994, he reunited with Eddie Montgomery after Gentry was unable to find a solo record deal, and Montgomery Gentry was formed in 1999. The duo was known for its Southern rock influences, and collaborated with Charlie Daniels, Toby Keith, Five for Fighting, and members of The Allman Brothers Band.

Montgomery Gentry released six studio albums for Columbia Records’ Nashville division: Tattoos & Scars (1999), Carrying On (2001), My Town (2002), You Do Your Thing (2004), Some People Change (2006), and Back When I Knew It All (2008), and a Greatest Hits package. These albums produced more than twenty chart singles for the duo on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including the number 1 hits “If You Ever Stop Loving Me”, “Something to Be Proud Of”, “Lucky Man”, “Back When I Knew It All”, and “Roll with Me”. Ten more of their songs reached the top 10 on the country charts, including the number 3 hit “Gone”, the most played country song by a duo in 2005. Tattoos & Scars, My Town, and You Do Your Thing are all certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. In 1999, they were awarded Favorite New Artist—Country at the American Music Awards. Both the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association named them Duo of the Year in 2000, an award for which they have been nominated by both associations in every year since. In 2009, they were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

On September 8, 2017, Gentry died in a helicopter crash in Medford, New Jersey, where the duo was scheduled to perform that evening. – Wikipedia

Thursday 6pm: Top 50 Country Hits of 1999 with Ron Kovacs

December 7, 2017
Editor In Chief

Join Ron Kovacs Live 6pm ET for the Top 50 Country Hits of 1999

Thursday 6pm: Top 50 Country Hits of 1998 with Ron Kovacs

November 30, 2017
Editor In Chief

We continue through the 90’s with 1998 and the Top 50 Country Hits of the year.  Live with Ron Kovacs on RadioMaxMusic. 

Friday 8am: Top 50 Country Hits of 1997 with Ron Kovacs

November 24, 2017
Editor In Chief

Join Ron Kovacs Live with the Top 50 Country Hits of 1997

In Memoriam: Mel Tillis (1932 – 2017)

November 20, 2017
Editor In Chief

Lonnie Melvin Tillis (August 8, 1932 – November 19, 2017) was an American country music singer and songwriter. Although he recorded songs since the late 1950s, his biggest success occurred in the 1970s, with a long list of Top 10 hits.

Tillis’ biggest hits include “I Ain’t Never”, “Good Woman Blues”, and “Coca-Cola Cowboy”. On February 13, 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts for his contributions to country music. He also won the Country Music Association Awards’ most coveted award, Entertainer of the Year. Additionally, he was known for his speech impediment, which didn’t affect his singing voice. His daughter is country music singer Pam Tillis.

Following his heyday in the 1970s, Tillis remained a songwriter in the 1980s, writing hits for Ricky Skaggs and Randy Travis. He also wrote his autobiography called Stutterin’ Boy. (The title comes from Tillis’ speech impediment.) Tillis appeared as the television commercial spokesman for the fast-food restaurant chain Whataburger during the 1980s. Tillis continued to record and have occasional hits through the decade, with his last top-10 hit coming in 1984 and his last top-40 country hit in 1988; like most country artists of the classic era, his recording career was dented by changes in the country music industry in the early 1990s. He also built a theater in Branson, Missouri, where he performed on a regular basis until 2002. In 1998, he teamed up with Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings, and Jerry Reed to form The Old Dogs. The group recorded a double album of songs penned entirely by Shel Silverstein. In July 1998, Old Dogs Volumes 1 and 2 were released on the Atlantic Records label. A companion video, as well as a Greatest Hits album (composed of previously released material by each individual artist), were also available. In the 1990s, Tillis’ daughter, Pam Tillis, became a successful country music singer in her own right, with hits like “Maybe It Was Memphis” and “Shake the Sugar Tree”.

The Grand Ole Opry inducted Mel Tillis on June 9, 2007. He was inducted into the Opry by his daughter Pam. Along with being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, it was announced on August 7 that year that Tillis, along with Ralph Emery and Vince Gill, were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Tillis had been unwell since January 2016 with various illnesses. Tillis died of respiratory failure in Ocala, Florida, at the age of 85. He is survived by his six children: singer-songwriter Pam Tillis, songwriter Mel “Sonny” Tillis, Jr., Carrie April, Connie, Cindy and Hannah Tillis. – Wikipedia

RadioMax will feature the music of Mel Tillis Tuesday November 21, 2017 at 6pm.

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