Traditional Country Fans Respond to Blake Shelton's Insults with Benefit Concert

The furor raised by Nashville country music superstar, Blake Shelton, when he complained that fans of older and more traditional sounding country music were not attending his concerts or buying his CD's, has a response. He publicly called them 'old farts and jackasses.' There has been a response all right, in Miami, Florida, of all places.

"We took immediate offense," said Bob Everhart, president of The National Traditional Country Music Association since 1976. "There's a tremendous difference in the 'country' music of today, compared with 'country' music of the past. These are two very distinctly different genres of music. Neither are related to the other. For Mr. Shelton to call me, and all of us who genuinely care for country music of the past 'old farts and jackasses' because we don't care for his music, is an insult mightly hard to ignore. America has always been a 'free' country where opinion, values, likes and dislikes are freely spouted, ignored or paid attention to. We are paying very close attention to Mr. Shelton's insults."

"Tom & Bernie Worrell started planning a benefit concert for "Horse Country" in Miami, last year. It was originally called a TRIBUTE TO ED SULLIVAN in an effort to raise money for the legal defense of "Horse Country," to stop condos, high-rises, huge shopping malls, and other huge construction efforts to deprive them of their 'grandfather- claused' property in Miami. The entire area is set aside to raise families and horses, not cement urban sprawl. So far the area has maintained its existence, but every year more and more intruders appear on the scene. Legal defense costs continue to rise. The concert set for February 23rd at the German-American Club in Miami, has had a name change, honoring Mr. Shelton. It is now called A TRIBUTE TO CLASSIC COUNTRY MUSIC and Tom & Bernie have arranged a huge program featuring some of the best old-time country artists living today."

Tom & Bernie have lived in "Horse Country" for over 35 years. "It's why we invested our savings in this Miami neighborhood." said Bernie, a Delta Airline employee. "We wanted to raise horses, and we still do. My husband Tom is a computer specialist, and together we quickly changed the name of our upcoming all-day music festival fundraiser to one more in keeping with what we stand for. A TRIBUTE TO CLASSIC COUNTRY MUSIC is exactly what it means, and we are happy to say, Blake Shelton has not been invited."

"We've gone to a lot of extra work, expense, and time, to find some of the very best 'classic' country artists available," Tom added. "Terry Smith is sort of our headliner. He's from Nashville, and one of their most prolific 'real' country music songwriters and performers. He wrote "The Far Side Banks of Jordan" for Johnny and June Carter Cash, which was their signature song before they passed away. It's such a meaningful song, with words that reflect exactly how long-time married couples feel toward each other. I've never heard anything recorded by Blake Shelton that can come anywhere close to this. Terry Smith songs have been recorded by a massive number of country music stars, starting with Roy Acuff, The Oak Ridge Boys, Kitty Wells, Allison Krauss, The Cox Family, Chris LeDoux, The Statler Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Patty Loveless, George Hamilton IV, The Lewis Family, and many many more. We are very pleased he will be in Miami to help us with this benefit show."

"We were also very fortunate to get one of the most highly travelled Smithsonian Institution recording artists," Bernie added. "Bob & Sheila Everhart travel the world performing, promoting, and preserving America's great traditional country music. They were just in New Zealand, performing with the New Zealand Symphony. Their songs, and the stories of their songs, inspired the Smithsonian to have them take their show on the road, calling it a 'Traveling Museum of Music.' Bob is president of The National Traditional Country Music Assn., and is very disturbed at the slander of Blake Shelton. What a crude and cruel man Mr. Shelton is."

"It's going to be an all-day double-whammy classic country show," Tom added. "Jackie Shewey, known as the 'Pride of the Prairie' will be with us from Nebraska; Rick & Harriette Andersen, noted musicians from Iowa; Lee Muller known as the Kansas Tornado for his strong stand on keeping traditional country music soft, tender, and real. Bob Keim is also coming from the sand-hills of Nebraska to make it a perfect 'old-time' gathering. I think perhaps the one act I am most excited about is one my wife performs with. They are called the Mescher Bones. Bernie, her brother Jerry, and Jerry's wife Sharon, all play two-handed bones. So capable is their work preserving this oldest form of percussion sound, they were written up as a PHD thesis by a professor from Ireland. Jerry Mescher was on the Ted Mack show, a winner, performing with his father Albert."

The German-American Club in Miami is located at 11919 SW 56th St. 10-person tables can be reserved by calling Bernie Worrell directly at 305-342-6795. The program will begin shortly after noon on February 23rd, with two shows offered. Food and beverages are available at the club.

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