John Hartford died seventeen years ago today, but his influence on today’s bluegrass and acoustic scene remains as strong and direct as any other founding figure in the music, including Bill Monroe himself. That’s because Hartford, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer, showman and historian, was a ground breaking pioneer of progressive, individualistic string band music from the 1960s until his untimely death from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Illustration by Jim Franklin

There are 858 highway miles between Austin, TX and Nashville, TN. Musicians have been wearing deep ruts in the road in both directions for almost 50 years, fostering an artistically rich symbiotic relationship. Musicians have migrated back and forth. Songs and stories and ideas about art were exchanged, influencing American music and Southern culture. And that fascinating, colorful dichotomy is going on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum this week.

Chris Phelps

Just days after she was nominated for three Americana Music Awards, Margo Price began a three-night run at the Ryman Auditorium. Landing even one headlining show at the Mother Church is part of the holy trinity of country music career landmarks, falling in stature and difficulty between playing the Grand Ole Opry and induction into the Hall of Fame. So when Price said “I feel like I’m dreaming” early in the show, we understood.

Parker Millsap WMOT Studio A Session

Parker Millsap visited WMOT's Studio A for a video and recording session in April 2018. Check out four songs from his current album, "Other Arrangements"

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A prominent Southern Baptist Convention leader has been removed as president of a Texas seminary following allegations that he made abusive and demeaning comments to women.

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary board of trustees said in a statement that 75-year-old Paige Patterson was removed Wednesday following a 13-hour meeting.

The statement says the board decided to "to move in the direction of new leadership."

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Mayor David Briley has added a long-debated $125 million flood protection system for the downtown area to the city's proposed capital improvements budget.

Amazon

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  With Memorial Day fast approaching you might be interested to learn that some historians believe the annual remembrance for veterans evolved out of a much older southern tradition called Decoration Day.

Unlike Memorial Day, there’s no fixed date for Decoration Day. Each cemetery where it’s practiced chooses its own date, usually in late spring or early summer.

The late historian Alan Jabbor researched Decoration Day as practiced in the South. He spoke at the Library of Congress about how the events typical unfold.

tn.gov

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he's allowing legislation billed as a push against sanctuary cities to become law without his signature, saying it has stirred up irrational fear on both sides.

Haslam told reporters Monday that Tennessee has no sanctuary cities and state law prohibits them. He said it's not a mass deportation bill.

Haslam said it's best for Tennessee to move on.

The legislation bars local "sanctuary" policies and threatens to withhold future state economic and community development money from those not complying.

wallethub.com

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A new study suggests Tennessee’s drug addiction problem may get worse before it gets better.

WMOT’s reporting partners at Wallethub.com have ranked the states by problem drug use. Tennessee ranked in the top 15 worst in the nation when considering factors such as the number of opioid prescriptions written, meth lab seizures, addiction rates, and rehab availability.

But Wallethub analyst Jill Gonzalez says the numbers reveal Tennessee has an even worse problem when considering drug abuse by young people.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The former dean of the Vanderbilt Divinity School is out with a new book that highlights some of the contradictions of Christianity as it’s practiced in the American South.

Dr. James Hudnut-Beumler is a Distinguished Professor of American Religious History. His latest research took him to eleven southern states and more than ten years to complete.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The State of Tennessee is waiting for a waiver from the federal government that will allow it to end all TennCare Medicaid payments to abortion providers.

The state withdrew all public funding for abortion procedures in 2011. But state health care dollars have continued to flow to organizations like Planned Parenthood to support other forms of medical treatment for women.

tbi

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge has ruled that a lawsuit by local prosecutors against prescription opioid producers can proceed.

According to a news release from the law firm representing the prosecutors, Sullivan County Chancellor E.G. Moody ruled this week against multiple motions to dismiss by the drug companies.

In the complaint, district attorneys general for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts target Purdue Pharma L.P. and its related companies, Mallinckrodt PLC, Endo Pharmaceuticals and three convicted opioid dealers.

ICOM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a 20-year-old man has pleaded guilty to vandalizing a Tennessee Islamic Center with profane references to Allah in spray-paint and strips of bacon left at an entrance last July.

Charles Dwight Stout III was initially charged with civil rights violations.

U.S. Attorney Donald Cochran said Stout now faces a year of supervision and must pay for the damage after pleading guilty to conspiracy and to causing damage to religious property because of its religious character.

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tennessee.gov/education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen is out with a plan she hopes will get Tennessee’s troubled TNReady online academic testing system back on track.

McQueen held a press conference Thursday to announce several changes following serious problems with this spring’s end-of-school-year testing.

McQueen says the state will re-open bidding to attract new testing vendors, and require current vendor Questar to do more to avoid problems this coming school year.

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Senate hopeful Marsha Blackburn

Jun 14, 2018
marshablackburn.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  WMOT is spending the summer talking with the 2018 mid-term candidates for statewide office.

On Thursday we spoke with Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn who hopes to win Tennessee’s junior Senate seat.

Blackburn announced her candidacy last fall using a YouTube video to introduce herself. She begins that video by saying:

“I’m a hard-core, card carrying Tennessee conservative. I’m politically incorrect and proud of it.”

eig.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A Nashville economist is questioning the way a Washington DC based advocacy group is using economic data to highlight the growing disparity between mid-state communities.

The Economic Innovation Group uses federal statistics divided by zip codes to show large disparities between, for example, prosperous Williamson County and struggling North Nashville.

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Take a look at the corrections page. We're making the same kinds of mistakes over and over. Names. Numbers. Titles. We're getting those, and other things, wrong.

This month has been especially busy. From reporters to producers to editors, it's clear that we aren't always double-checking the basics.

The result is that some great stories have corrections notes attached to them. That's a shame.

So, once again:

Twenty-two people were injured and one suspect is dead after a shooting at an all-night art event in Trenton, N.J.

Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said Sunday at a news conference that 17 of those who were injured sustained gunshot wounds, and four people were in critical condition, including a 13-year-old boy.

85d1be28-74f9-4c99-801c-635670e09e8e
Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

Bells chimed from the Montgomery County Courthouse clock tower Sunday for the first time since World War II. County officials held a dedication ceremony for the tower, hailing it as the focal point of the community.

Residents – who haven’t seen a tower atop the courthouse in more than 70 years – braved scorching heat and lined the streets of Crawfordsville to see its dedication.

The first tower was taken down in the 1940s after a painter discovered it was leaning toward the street. Its bell was melted down to make ammunition for the war effort.

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