This may come as a surprise to some of you considering I live in Nashville, but I don’t really like country music. I enjoy some of the old stuff, say, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and the like, but contemporary country just doesn’t do it for me. (Maybe it’s because I believe men shouldn’t flat iron their hair.) However, I do have an appreciation for the country music industry, which is basically the foundation of Nashville. Everywhere you go, and everyone you meet has some connection to the music industry, whether they be your friend’s “musician” (aka unemployed) boyfriend, your plumber who doubles as a drummer after hours, your favorite dive bar that also hosts one of the best secret songwriter’s nights in town, or, that random family friend that happens to be one of the most well-known men in country music. That man for me was Cowboy Jack Clement, who passed away at the age of 82 on Thursday.
Cowboy Jack was a jack of all trades, working as a recording artist, performer, engineer, songwriter, and producer most of his life. He was born in Memphis, joined the Marines, and once he came back, got a job at Sun Records, the label made famous by Elvis Presley. He discovered Jerry Lee Lewis and worked with other upstarts such as Roy Orbison, and once he moved to Nashville, collaborated with Johnny Cash, Charley Pride, and at one point down the line, Bono. He’s probably most well-known for his work with The Highway Men, aka Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. He produced Johnny Cash’s signature hit, “Ring of Fire” and penned Cash’s “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess Things Happen That Way,” Waylon Jennings’ “Let’s All Help the Cowboy (Sing The Blues),” and many, many more.
My husband and his dad were close with Jack, and were fortunate enough to be invited over to his house to watch his home videos from time to time. Before you roll your eyes, these weren’t your run of the mill boring videos of family vacations; they were tapes Jack made whenever he and his country music star buddies came over to hang out. He compiled some of them into a documentary, “Cowboy Jack’s Home Movies,” but the best ones never made it out in public, and sadly, were destroyed in 2011 when Jack’s house burned down. Here’s one of those videos, featuring his buddy Johnny Cash:
My husband says one of the funnier memories he has of Jack was the remote control fart machine he kept in his guest bathroom. When his friends went to answer Mother Nature’s call, Jack would mess with them by pressing the button over and over, cracking everyone in the room up, or sometimes just himself. Jack loved to have fun; in fact, the first line of this Country Music Hall of Fame bio is one that I try to keep in mind everyday: “We’re in the fun business. If we’re not having fun, we’re not doing our job.”
Keep rocking on, Cowboy. This news and views is for you.
— After a few weeks of nothing but football news, we finally got some basketball recruiting news on Thursday. First, it was reported that 2014 power forward Angel Delgado trimmed his list to five: Kentucky, Florida State, Virginia, Fordham, and Seton Hall. Now, it’s not every day that the five of those schools lock horns in a recruiting battle. Kentucky is the only school on the list that hasn’t offered Delgado yet, and it’s pretty safe to say that if/when they do, he will be a Cat. Later on, Delgado denied that he was down to five schools via Twitter:
— Angel Delgado (@angelluis45) August 8, 2013
A source tells KSR that Delgado has already decided that if UK offers, he’s coming, even if fellow power forwards Cliff Alexander or Trey Lyles commit to UK as well. Delgado is currently playing for the Dominican Republic National Team, coached by none other than Orlando Antigua, and will attend Huntington Prep this fall, so he will get plenty of opportunities to earn that offer.
— If you listened to the radio show this morning, you may have heard some juicy scoop about this year’s basketball team. Matt spoke to some friends-in-the-know in Lexington yesterday, who told him just how impressive Julius Randle has been this summer. According to this source, “Julius Randle is a star. If there’s a better player in the country, it ain’t many.” The same person said that Randle is farther along than John Wall, Anthony Davis, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were at the same point in their careers. Wow. In addition, the trio of Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, and Marcus Lee look like the best group of big men in the country.
— But wait, there’s more! We’ve got reason to believe that the Cats are now the favorite for former IU commit Trey Lyles, considered the fifth best player in the class by Rivals. Add in Emmanuel Mudiay, the third best player in the class who many think is a heavy UK lean, and Karl Towns, UK’s lone 2014 commitment, and you’ve got a pretty great group so far. Don’t sleep on Stanley Johnson either. He visits for Big Blue Madness in October and is very high on the Cats.
— Speaking of former IU commits, 2014 shooting guard James Blackmon Jr. also decommitted from Indiana on Thursday. Blackmon Jr. (son of former UK player James Blackmon) committed to IU way back in September 2010, and says he wants to be 100% sure of his decision before the signing period. No word yet on if UK is interested, but it is worth noting that Blackmon and Trey Lyles are very close, and the news comes very soon after we heard that Lyles now considers UK his favorite. Hmm….
— Two more tidbits: 2014 point guard Tyler Ulis has Kentucky in his final four, along with Michigan State, USC and Iowa (UK hasn’t offered yet). Also, Jahlil Okafor, the number one player in the 2014 class, tweeted today that he does not have a leader, despite rumors that he’s a heavy Duke lean. Earlier this week, Okafor announced he will visit Kentucky for the Alumni Game on September 9th. Could the tide be turning in Cal’s favor?
— In future scheduling news, John Calipari dropped a hint on Twitter Thursday afternoon that a series with UCLA may be in the works. One of Cal’s goals since coming to Kentucky has been chasing UCLA’s eleven national titles, and now that Cal’s buddy Steve Alford is in charge, why not schedule a series between the two?
— Your Nate Willis update: there’s still no word on the JUCO cornerback’s eligibility for this season, but on Thursday night, he tweeted that he hopes to know something by Monday: “I’ll be glad when this class stuff gets handle and I can know what my next move can be… Hopefully I’ll know something by monday! #BBN”
We hope so, too.
— Sadly, there was no media availability after Thursday’s football practice, so there isn’t any news to report. However, FAN DAY is Friday, so if you’ve been waiting to see Stoops’ Troops in person, now’s your chance. Here’s the schedule, along with a map of where the players will be signing autographs:
6 p.m. — Doors open, autograph session begin. Each player can only sign one autograph. Kentucky football posters and schedule cards available outside each gate for fans to pick up entering the stadium for autographs.
7:15 p.m. — Autograph session ends
7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — Open practice (Note: In the case of inclement weather, the open-practice portion will be canceled because there the Nutter Field House isn’t large enough to accommodate fans.)
That’ll do for now. I’m getting an early start to my weekend, but Drew will be back soon to take you through Friday.