I met a few other artists I forgot to mention earlier--I've met so many, it is hard to keep track,I went thru my photo albums last night and kept saying "on no,I forget this artist,this group,!"..Doah!..
"The Sweethearts Of The Rodeo" ,consisted of Kristine Arnold and Janis Gill (Janis was Vince Gill's wife in the 90's ,but divorced him after he was caught cheating with Amy Grant,his new wife now!)--they are sisters,and a country duo,who had many big hits in the late '80's and early '90's..
They were also two favorites of mine,and a best friend "Randy" I grew up with,we went to several of their concerts,one was held at a Holiday Inn hotel in Peabody MA ,and another at the Attleboro high school,we were quite surprised two top selling artists would bother performing at such tiny venues--but we later learned they did the high school concert to donate the proceeds to the school ,which was in need of repairs and supplies..
I also saw them at the Warwick Musical Theater,when they opened for The Statler Brothers..
(I have story about how I was denied a meet & greet there--after the show I went to the area the artists could rest and eat at,I saw Kristine at the table,she smiled and waved when she saw me,but a security cop blocked my path and said "no admittance,only staff & artists can come here"..
I told him I had a backstage pass,he said "I don't care"..
I said "I just want to go talk to Kristine for a minute"..
He says "They have already left!--they are on a plane back to TN by now".
I looked him in the eye and said "she's right over THERE!--and she was waving for me to come over"!..
"Sorry Sir--I said they left--now GET OUT"..
So I left there feeling bummed and P-O'd...that was the last time they performed anywhere nearby too,and they stopped touring and recording not long afterwards.
I did get a postcard from Kristine a few weeks later,she said she was sorry I did not get allowed to go speak to her,but if they let me do it,then everyone else would have had to been allowed to also,and we were in a big rush to eat and get to the airport that night"..
I felt better after reading that..
My friend and I were in their fan club,and several others too,so we could get backstage passes to meet them after a show,and he gave them many hand made gifts like birdhouses,after he heard one of them (Kristine) say she loved birdhouses on a TV interview,and feeding birds..
Two weeks later my friend Randy got a letter from her,with a photo of his birdhouse hanging outside her home in Nashville..he was elated to see she actually kept & used it..
Holly Dunn also did the same when he gave her one too..
He used to write back to her,and he'd always get an answer,though sometimes it was months before he'd get a reply,due to her being on tour so much..
Sadly my friend died from a heart valve failure in November 1994, after a botched pacemaker installation,he was only 36,and he passed away just a few months after he got that letter..(My other long time best friend died 9 months to the day prior too,in February that year,of heart disease,he was only 36 also.)
I wrote to all the fan clubs Randy & I had joined to tell them the sad news,and Holly Dunn put my letter in her fan club newsletter,with a photo of him posing with her after she had performed at Hunter Mountain NY just a few months prior..
Holly also sent me a personal condolence card,sent from her home address,it wasn't just a "form letter" from the fan club,it came from her personally..I still have it too..
I also got personal condolences from Kristine & Janis,Kathy Mattea,Suzy Bogguss,who we'd met several times after many concerts,they all knew us on a first name basis..
It was rough going to their concerts after he passed away,it felt so surreal ,but all of them took me aside at the meet & greet and gave me hugs and they were moved to tears when they saw me there alone..it was very nice of them to be so supportive and compassionate..they are not just "talented",they are human too,and not afraid to show it..
Another group we liked was "Wild Rose",a "electrified bluegrass" all female band that was just plain amazing,they all were very talented and easy on the eyes..
When I went to Fan Fair in 1992 with Randy,the first time I dared travel more than 150 miles in my old '81 Chevy van,we were delighted to find out they were going to hold a concert at a theater within walking distance of the KOA we camped at..
They blew us away "live",and after the show we tried to meet them,but a big black security guard told us "get lost--no autographs"..
We started walking back to the campground and decided going behind the theater would make the walk much shorter,so we went behind the building..
We then saw their tour bus parked next to the building,and one of the band members was lugging a heavy suitcase to the bus--my friend said "Hey--let's see if I can get a picture of her & the bus at least"..he started taking pictures,and the woman looked at him and said "hey,your going to get in trouble,your not supposed to be back here !"..
My friend said "Oh--sorry,I just wanted to get a picture"..he had a hat on he'd just bought at the concert with the band's name on it,and the woman said--"well,you ain't gonna get a very good picture that far away--c'mon over here !"..
We ended up not only getting pictures of their bus,but all of the band members too,and we even got elected to help carry their gear to the bus!..they were all very nice,but the woman we first met said "we have a LOT of guys stalking us--nothing personal,but we had to hire a few big dudes to keep us safe--some fans really go overboard ya know!"..
We proceeded to tell them how much we liked their songs and ability to play,sing,and how we taped about every show on TNN they were ever featured on..they were very impressed we knew all their names,and asked if we were going to Fan Fair,we said yes,we drove here from MA in hopes of meeting our favorite artists,and this is an unexpected pleasure"..they invited us to visit their booth there,and the next day we were about third in the line to meet them again!..
I met many other artists and celebrities at Fan Fair the 4 times I went in the 90's..
I met Tom T.Hall,he asked if I was related (because my last name is the same!)--I said "I don't think so,but I wouldn't mind at all if we were !"..
One year Maureen McCormic ("Marcia Brady") was there,she had recorded a country album,and I had to meet her,having had a huge crush on her when the Brady Bunch was on TV..she told me "every guy I've met says that"--she also told me some things they said I cant print here !..she still looked great..
Another celebrity that recorded an album was there to promote it too--Crystal Benard!..got to talk to her awhile..
Also met "Goober" (George Lindsay),"Grandpa Jones" from Hee-Haw,who told me his first "gig" was on WBZ in Boston,in the late 1920's,that was where he got nicknamed "Grandpa" because he talked slowly with a drawl..was quite surprised to hear that!..
The General Lee Dodge Charger was on Display there too one year,and "Bo & Luke Duke" and "Uncle Jesse" were there,but I wasn't able to hang around to meet them,the line was a long one,and I had a fan club party to attend..No Daisy Duke though!..
I met Sam & Dave from TNN's "Shade Tree Mechanic" show there also..and several of TNN"s video hosts and staff like Katy Haas,Al Wyntor,Shelly Mangrum,some other artists I met were Linda Davis, Tanya Tucker ,Bobbie Cryner, Patty Loveless,Donna Ulissse,Crook & Chase,Crystal Gayle, and a few dozen lesser known artists too..
Eddie Rabbit walked by when I was posing for a picture with Ronna Reeves,and it was rumored Randy Travis had been spotted walking around also!..
I used up about 10 rolls of 35mm film in one day there !..
It would have been really cool if there was cell phones with cameras back then..
One thing you got when you bought tickets to Fan Fair back then,was several free coupons to various businesses and eateries in Nashville,"star tours" ,bus rides to see the artists homes,and also you could eat for free at the "Chuck Wagon Gang" cowboy style BBQ that would set up there..
One year my mom had gone with me,and we decided to eat at the Chuck Wagon,there was a large tent with tables like a school cafeteria set up,and there was only one table way in the back with a few empty seats..so I had my mom "hold" two seats,and I stood in the line to get the food..
When I came back and sat down,and started to eat,a husky tall guy with a big cowboy hat pulled down over his eyes asked "mind if I sit here"?...my mom said "we don't mind at all"..he thanked us and went about eating,and I couldn't help but notice he looked to be hiding...I kept trying to get a look under his hat,and he saw me looking and said "Please,DON"T yell out my name"!..
"I wont..don't worry--your secret is safe with me"..
I knew who it was..Garth Brooks!..he was not scheduled to attend Fan Fair that year,but decided to drive to Nashville from Oklahoma to surprise his fans!..(and he ended up signing autographs and posing for pictures for 24 straight hours,without even taking a bathroom break I heard later on!)..
My mom was clueless,she didn't really follow music much ,and had no idea who he was..
About 30 seconds later,a girl sitting a few tables away screamed out "OMG--GARTH "!,and started snapping pictures...we were nearly crushed to death when about 100 people flocked over in hopes of getting to meet him..
Another neat encounter I had there was when we were on a shuttle bus heading back to our hotel--a limo pulled up beside us at a stop light..I heard some girls screaming in a car behind it..
The moon roof on the limo opened up,and Terri Clark popped her head out!--one of the girls came running up to the limo,and tossed a cassette tape,Terri caught it,signed it,and tossed it back to her!--I yelled her name and she looked my way,and I snapped a picture of her,and it came out great!..I took it to one of the concerts I went to see her at Indian Ranch,and showed it to her in the meet & greet line-- she said "Wow,I remember that day--I had just won best female vocalist at the TNN awards the night before!"..
She wanted a copy of the picture,so I let her keep it--I always had "doubles" made,plus I had the negatives...