Monday, February 29, 2016

FEBRUARY 28, 2016
Donny Catron performing with the
Tennessee Gentlemen at Turkey Track
Bluegrass Festival, Waldron, AR
circa 1981
     Marty Scarbrough, program director at KASU-FM 91.9 ( on the campus of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR, honored the life and the memory of Donny Catron on the air on Sunday, February 28, 2016. Donny passed away at age 60 on February 21, 2016, at his residence in Mountain Home, AR. Marty's weekly program called Down Home Harmonies dedicated a total of about forty-five minutes to a program from 2009 at Bluegrass Monday (4th Monday each month) at the Collins Theatre in Paragould, AR, in which the Tennessee Gentlemen were the guest artists. Donny, his brother Doyle Catron, and the Coffey Brothers made up the band during that time.
     Marty Scarbrough gave a brief rundown of the influence that Donny and the Tennessee Gentlemen had on the Mid-South bluegrass music scene for more than 30 years. Marty mentioned the many festivals the band played, and awards the band won at awards shows by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA).
     Returning home from a weekend of parlor pickin' at Country Oaks Bed & Breakfast in Mountain View, AR, we listened to Down Home Harmonies and the portion dedicated to Donny Catron and his other beloved musical pals in the Tennessee Gentlemen. Here is the selection of songs, many of which became known as "Donny's songs": Beulah Land; I Just Want to Thank You, Lord; Satan's Jeweled Crown; Were You There When They Crucified My Lord; The Lighthouse; Go Rest High on That Mountain; Tall Dark Stranger; Cajun Baby; Corinna, Corinna; Snowbird; and Bluegrass Melodies.
Donny will be missed by his family, friends, and the many fans who loved him. He was a dandy!
Thanks to KASU-FM 91.9 and Marty Scarbrough for the special programming in memory of Donny.

Link to webcast of the funeral service:
Pick away!


Sunday, February 28, 2016

February 28, 2016
     Many of you know what Arkansas pickin' is like, especially around Mountain View and Stone County. Arkansas bluegrass pickin' is down-to-earth, all-acoustic, and all the time! There is somebody pickin' just about anytime at Scott and Shay Pool's music store on the Square. When the weather has lost its winter chill, there will be pickers in gazebos, on porches, and in front yards all around town.
     Several cuts above just reg'lar ol' bluegrass pickin', there is pickin' with a touch of elegance. Country Oaks Bed & Breakfast is one such place where the pickin' is first class. Built and managed by innkeepers Jerry and Carole Weber, the beautiful property offers designer-class rooms in two mansion-like buildings, clean and comfortable beds, plenty of acreage to roam about, tasty breakfast meals to start a guest's day off right, and parlor pickin' on occasion. Their four-legged assistants are Dusty, Tinker, Roscoe the rescued dogs, and of course, Pearl, the serene and gorgeous cat! It's a fine mix of people and pets and we love it!
     We went over to a recent parlor pickin' where four musicians whose names you already know provided beautiful instrumental and vocal music for the twenty guests in attendance for the weekend. The musicians were Gary Rounds (guitar and vocals), Pam Setser (dulcimer, spoons, and vocals), Tim Crouch (fiddle and mandolin), and Irl Hees (upright bass and vocals).The artists played two great sets with a break for coffee and cake in the middle of the activities. It was lovely.
     This particular group played with enthusiasm tinged with sadness at the recent death of their friend and fellow musician, Donny Catron. We must tell you that over the last year or so, these great musician friends of Donny's rallied around him with jammin' sessions, performance gigs to play, albums to cut with him, calls, texts, and anything else you could imagine to stay close to their friend who was so very ill but continued to play and sing. It was a beautiful thing! Former Tennessee Gentlemen, Richard Bailey and Ron Owen had also kept in recent contact with Donny, along with Ken Irwin of Rounder Records. However, as one of Donny's familiar songs says, "the show must go on," and so it did and so it will.
     Here is their wonderful selection of tunes for that special night in the parlor at Country Oaks, with many of the songs serving as reminders of their friend Donny Catron: Set 1: Steel Rails, Arkansas Traveler, Arkansas, Walkin' in Jerusalem, Scotland the Brave, Unknown Legend, Maiden's Prayer, The Field Behind the Plow, The Water Is Wide, Sin City, Dragging the Bow, Songbird, Two More Bottles of Wine, and Closing Nashville Down
Set 2: Orange Blossom Special, Walkin' After Midnight, Tennessee Blues, Amazing Grace, Crying My Heart Out Over You (guest Tacie Johnson), Pass Me Not (Tacie Johnson), Help Me Make It Through the Night, Crooked Ridge, Desperado, Milk Cow Blues, What a Friend, 8 More Miles to Louisville, Watermelon, Back Up and Push, Green Light on the Southern, Georgia, Farmer's Daughter, The Lighthouse, Way Downtown, How's the World Treating You, Red-Haired Boy, Darcy Farrow, and I Don't Love Nobody.
Bluegrass in the Parlor at Country Oaks
Mountain View, AR
Irl Hees (bass), Tim Crouch (fiddle), Pam Setser (dulcimer),
Gary Rounds (guitar)
Irl Hees , Tim Crouch, Pam Setser
Gary Rounds (guitar)
Irl Hees and Tim Crouch

Tim Crouch and Pam Setser

Pam Setser and Gary Rounds
Irl Hees and Tim Crouch
Gary Rounds and Tacie Johnson
Tim Crouch and Pam Setser (dulcimer)
Tim Crouch (mandolin), Pam Setser (spoons),
Gary Rounds (guitar)


Monday, February 22, 2016

January 16, 1956 - February 22, 2016
L to R: Richard Bailey, Steve Gregory,
Troy Castleberry, Donny Catron
The Tennessee Gentlemen
Cover Story Bluegrass Unlimited, October 1981
by Betty Westmoreland
     The Tennessee Gentlemen, Memphis, TN, have lost another member of their bluegrass family. Word has come that Donny Catron passed away in Arkansas at the age of 60. Catron had been in ill health for several years, but his smile never waned and he was always ready to sing. The multi-SPBGMA award-winner and lead singer for the Gents for some 30+ years was known far and wide as the highest high lead in the business...and one of the best entertainers to hit the bluegrass festival circuit. While his voice may be stilled here on Earth, no doubt he is singing in that Angel Band with his pal and band leader Troy Castleberry and others who've already gone on to glory. The band closed many a show at their Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Shack with  Donny leading the familiar song, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" Those who are familiar with the band and the Shack can hear him singing that song right now. When it came to lead and tenor singing, no doubt that Donny Catron was "da man!" We shall miss you, Donny!
 *SPECIAL NOTE:  KASU 91.9 FM or featured Donny and the Tennessee Gentlemen on Down Home Harmonies in a memorial tribute from a show in 2009. We hope you caught this special programming on radio or on the Web on Sunday (2/28/16) from Noon to 12:35 PM CST. Then again, at 2:45 PM CST, KASU Program Director Marty Scarbrough closed out Down Home Harmonies with the Tennessee Gentlemen. Following the earlier portion at 12:35, Donna Ulisse and The Poor Mountain Boys' show from Monday, February 22, 2016, was broadcast. If you missed their 'live show or just wanted to hear it again, that was your chance!
      We will take you down "The River of Memories" quickly here. Enjoy the trip!
L to R: Richard Bailey, Troy Castleberry, Donny Catron, Steve Gregory
at the Bluegrass Shack
Cake for Celebration of Second Anniversary
of the Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Shack,
Lucy, TN

At the Shack: Troy Castleberry, Richard Bailey, Donny Catron
Donny Catron 'played' the gold toilet plunger (at rear) as he
imitated Louis Armstrong's trumpet in "Won't You
Come Home, Bill Bailey?"
The Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Shack
Pleasant Ridge Road, Lucy, TN
Is that Dolly or Donny singing Dolly's
classic "Coat of Many Colors"?
Troy Castleberry and Donny Catron share the stage
with their friend Gary Johnson, who knew every
bluegrass song that ever was
SPBGMA Award Winners at The Lodge of the Four Seasons
Lake Ozark, MO
Richard Bailey, Ronnie Owen, Donny Catron, Troy Castleberry
Troy Castleberry, Donny Catron, and Steve Gregory
at a bluegrass festival
Troy Castleberry, Donny Catron, and Steve Gregory
at SPBGMA Awards, Lodge of the Four Seasons
Lake Ozark, MO
L to R: Richard Bailey, Troy Castleberry, Donny Catron, Steve Gregory
at benefit fundraiser for WKNO in Memphis, TN
Tennessee Gentlemen at Barton Coliseum
Little Rock, AR
L to R: Richard Bailey, Troy Castleberry,
Donny Catron, Ron Owen
Richard Bailey at a Festival
Carolyn Castleberry at Popcorn Machine
Tennessee Gentlemen
Bluegrass Shack, Lucy, TN
Donny Catron at Turkey Track Festival
Waldron, AR
Back side of the Tennessee Gentlemen
Bluegrass Shack, Lucy, TN
Richard Bailey at Turkey Track
Waldron, AR
Troy Castleberry, Charlie Derrington,
Donny Catron, Ron Owen at the Bluegrass Shack
Donny Catron at SPBGMA Awards
Lodge of the Four Seasons
Lake Ozark, MO
Troy Castleberry at SPBGMA Awards
Lodge of the Four Seasons
Lake Ozark, MO
Ron Owen at SPBGMA Awards
Lodge of the Four Seasons
Lake Ozark, MO
Front L to R: Ron Owen, Richard Bailey,
Troy Castleberry
At Rear in Center, Donny Catron
SPBGMA Awards, Lake Ozark, MO
Richard Bailey at Tennessee Gentlemen
Gig in Downtown Memphis, TN
Marquee for KIX 106 Show at the New Daisy Theater
featuring the Tennessee Gentlemen
and the River Bluff Clan
SPBGMA Awards Show
L to R: Richard Bailey, Troy Castleberry,
Wayne Southards, Stuart Brownlee
Troy Castleberry at Southaven, MS,
Bluegrass Festival
Mike Swanner at Southaven, MS,
Bluegrass Festival
L to R: Mike Swanner, Troy Castleberry,
Wayne Southards, Stuart Brownlee at
the Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Shack
Troy Castleberry at the Bluegrass Shack
L to R: Richard Bailey, Troy Castleberry, Carolyn Castleberry,
Wayne Southards, Janet Southards (behind Wayne) Jan Brownlee,
Stuart Brownlee at the Bluegrass Shack
Troy Castleberry at the Bluegrass Shack
A favorite hat and a cigarette
Carolyn Castleberry in the kitchen at the
Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Shack
Album "Just Us"
L to R: Donny Catron, Richard Bailey, Steve Gregory,
Troy Castleberry
Album "Sunday Morning"
Gospel Bluegrass by the
Tennessee Gentlemen
Album "Here We Go Again"
L to R: Stuart Brownlee, Donny Catron, Troy Castleberry,
Richard Bailey
Album "Heading West"
Front: Troy Castleberry
Standing: Wayne Southards, Richard Bailey
Stuart Brownlee