Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Brian Dugger

Emerson Drive drives and drives

Fans rarely see the rigorous lives that many of their favorite artists live. They see Kenny Chesney or Martina McBride being adored by thousands of fans, gracing magazine covers, or showing up on television, and think it's the perfect life.

What they don't see or hear about is Neal McCoy being on the road 300 days a year, artists on the road struggling with health problems because they aren't eating healthy meals or getting enough sleep

because of the bumpy bus rides, or Dierks Bentley having to get a

P.O. Box because he's never home to collect his mail.

Here's a typical story from the road: Emerson Drive recently spent 52 hours straight on their bus after performing a show in Alberta, Canada. During their 2,284-mile trip to Lynchburg, Va., an owl flew into their windshield, smashing it. While driving around trying to find a

place to get it fixed, three deer ran into the bus, causing additional damage. They got the windshield fixed but didn't have time to get the body of the bus repaired. But, hey, they pulled in to Lynchburg

in time to take the stage, and the fans never knew any difference.

When asked about the trip, band member Danick Dupelle summed it up quickly: "It was long."


Congratulations to Columbus native and lead singer of Rascal Flatts,

Gary LeVox, and his wife, Tara. She delivered the couple's second child, Brooklyn Leigh, at 12:09 p.m. on March 21. Brooklyn was 7 pounds, 2 ounces and is the baby sister of 3-year-old Brittany.

Tara went into labor just as Rascal Flatts was in Savannah, Ga.,

wrapping the final show of their "Melt Tour." Gary spent all night on the phone with Tara, then the bus dropped him off at the Nashville hospital at about 6 a.m. The band will be taking a two-month break because of the birth and to record a new album.


For fans of alternative country music, 1980 Sylvania Southview

graduate Todd Novak is thriving in the San Francisco area heading a band called The Cowlicks. Their CD is called Cowboys with Attitudes, and it is getting wide play in Northern California and in

some European markets. Their Web site is


My buddy Dierks Bentley is hobbling around on crutches these days

after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and severely bruising his knee during a show on the Kenny Chesney tour.

Apparently Dierks had joined Kenny and Keith Urban during the finale

and jumped from a raised portion of the stage rather than taking the stairs.

"Between 20,000 fans screaming and too much time in Kenny's vibe room bartaking in free rum, I felt pretty invincible," he said. "I saw the

stairs but opted to jump instead. It was definitely a 'what was I thinkin' moment."


Speaking of Kenny, he's still rolling. His current single, "When the

Sun Goes Down," became his fastest single to hit No. 1. It reached the top of the Billboard and Radio and Records charts in nine weeks.


I got a neat note from area resident Kathy Ruple. Apparently her

daughter, Rebecca, celebrated her 8th birthday by going to see George Jones at the Stranahan.

Weeks before the show, the excited youngster sent George a note with a picture included.

Shortly thereafter, the Possum gave the young girl a thrill by returning her note: Hi Rebecca, Thank you for the picture of you. You are a doll. I am glad that you are going to see me on March 26. Take care, George Jones.

Those kind of gestures make fans for life.


Hard to believe, but megastars George Strait, Alan Jackson, and

Jimmy Buffett are going to join together for a concert on May 29 at Texas Stadium in Dallas.

That trio accounts for more than 120 million records sold, more

than 80 No. 1 singles, and too many awards to count. If you want to make the trek, tickets go on sale tomorrow at 11 a.m., and can be purchased at 214-373-8000 or at Tickets range from $39.50 to $124.


Jessi Colter, wife of the late Waylon Jennings, has returned to the

stage. Her and her son, Shooter Jennings, sold out a show at the Continental Room in Nashville recently.

The duo has a song on the upcoming Universal South release, "Songs Inspired by the Passion of the Christ." It will be released April 6.


And finally, Travis Tritt is getting ready to hit the airwaves again.

After taking some time off to spend with his family, Travis' "The Girl's Gone Wild" will be released in May. It will be the first single off his upcoming album, "My Honkytonk History."

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