Johnny Cash’s great-niece was found murdered Wednesday morning (March 19) at her home in Baxter, Tenn., a community located approximately 75 miles east of Nashville.
Investigators for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim as 23-year-old Courtney Jean Cash. She was the granddaughter of Tommy Cash, the younger brother of the late Johnny Cash.
According to Herald-Citizen newspaper in Cookeville, Tenn., she had been stabbed to death and her body hidden in a box. Austin Johnson, the victim’s boyfriend, was seriously injured and remained in critical condition Thursday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Wayne Gary Masciarella, 26, of Cookeville was arrested Wednesday and charged with first degree murder. He is being held without bond in the Putnam County jail.
Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews said Masciarella is believed to be an acquaintance of the couple and had likely been allowed inside their home before the altercation occurred. Cash and Johnson are parents of a young daughter.
“We ask for your prayers for the Cash family at this time,” Tommy Cash, 73, said Thursday in a written statement. “Courtney and her boyfriend are beloved members of my family and, like you, we have a lot of questions and emotions that we are beginning to sort through today. We ask for you to respect our privacy and appreciate all the support that the public and media has always offered my family as we handle the loss of my granddaughter, pray for the father of my great-grandchild and journey through the search for justice on this violent act.
“We are completely heartbroken. It is a time like this that we are grateful for our faith and trusting the loving guidance of God.”
- 2005, Keith Urban’s “Making Memories Of Us” video has its television premiere on CMT
- 2002, Faith Hill performs “There You’ll Be,” from the movie “Pearl Harbor,” during the Oscar awards at Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre. “For The Birds” wins Best Animated Short; the movie features a score created by Riders In The Sky
- 1984, Toby Keith marries Tricia Lucus
- 1977, Songwriter Natalie Hemby is born. Married to producer Mike Wrucke, she pens Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” and “Tornado”; and the Miranda Lambert hits “White Liar” and “Baggage Claim”
- 1998, Naomi, Wynonna and Ashley Judd attend the Oscars in Los Angeles, where Trisha Yearwood performs “How Do I Live,” from the movie “Con Air.” Ashley presents an award and gets flak for a high, revealing hemline
- 1993, Bruce Springsteen surprises the audience at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey, when he rips off his shirt and launches into Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart.” “Everybody gets a giggle out of it,” he says, “but that tune is just damn good”
- 1985, Ray Charles and fellow chess player Willie Nelson appear at #1 on the Billboard country chart with “Seven Spanish Angels”
- 1922, Fiddlin’ John Carson becomes the first “hillbilly” artist to play on the radio, performing on Atlanta’s WSB. His first song: “Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane”
- 2003, The Dixie Chicks march to #1 on the Billboard country chart with “Travelin’ Soldier”
- 1995, Dwight Yoakam earns a platinum album with “Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room”
- 1971, Merle Haggard wins a trio of honors in the sixth Academy Of Country & Western Music awards at the Hollywood Palladium. He claims Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year, and his Strangers take Top Touring Band
- 1958, Hank Williams Jr. makes his public stage debut at the age of eight at the Nancy Auditorium in Swainsboro, Georgia. The facility is owned by Webb Pierce and music executive Jim Denny
- 2000, Sugar Hill releases Nickel Creek’s self-titled debut album
- 1998, Clint Black stops at #1 on the Billboard country chart with “Nothin’ But The Taillights,” co-written with Steve Wariner
- 1988, Randy Travis wins three times at the 23rd annual Academy Of Country Music awards, aired on NBC from Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. He earns Top Male Vocalist, and “Forever And Ever, Amen” takes Single Record and Song of the Year
- 1981, “Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground” lifts Willie Nelson to #1 on the Billboard country chart
One of the song’s writers, Jimmy Robbins, talked with Radio.com, and he admitted the two singers almost weren’t used.
“(Miranda)’s on a different record label, so there’s a whole other world of red tape,” Robbins said, “so many people that have to approve of it for him to be able to use it.”
Then there’s the added issue of whether the cut will even make the cut.
“Songs get cut, and don’t make records, and get cut again. But once we heard Keith and Miranda sing ['We Were Us'], it would have been hard to hear anybody else sing it because it sounds like it was made for them,” he said.
Robbins also talked about how the song wasn’t necessarily going to be a duet until he and his co-writers Jon Nite and Nicolle Galyon started writing the second verse.
“That didn’t happen until we got to the second verse, and thought, ‘maybe a guy could say this, too.’ That’s when we all got pretty excited about it,” he said.
Urban, too, heard the song as a duet and set his sights on Lambert to sing with him. “I think that Keith had been toying with the idea of a duet, and my publisher knew that. He toyed with the idea of a few different people, but (Lambert) was always his first choice,” Robbins explained.
“It’s easy to listen to and kinda hard to write, to tell a story without really telling a story. It leaves it up to the individual to piece (the story) together and make it their own,” Robbins said of the nostalgic song about an old love. One that turned out to be an up-tempo duet, as opposed to the super-ballad kind of duets that are the norm. And one that is now nominated for an ACM Award for vocal event of the year.
- 2004, Tim McGraw moves to #1 in Billboard with “Watch The Wind Blow By”
- 1998, Steve Wariner gives his first public performance of “Holes In The Floor Of Heaven” during the Grand Ole Opry
- 1984, The Judds make their first large-venue appearance, opening for The Statler Brothers at an arena in Omaha
- 1954, Jim Seales, of Shenandoah, is born in Hamilton, Alabama. The guitarist is a key ingredient to such hits as “Next To Me, Next To You,” “The Church On Cumberland Road” and “Two Dozen Roses”
Oh, Tim, you have pals in all the right places, don’t you?
The two may cross paths as headliners at the NCAA March Madness Music Festival in Dallas in just a few weeks. Last year during the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year show, McGraw had the incredible honor of paying tribute to the American icon.
“He’s one of the coolest guys I’ve ever been around and [I'm] proud to count him as a friend,” McGraw said.
But it’s not just a personal admiration — it’s professional, too. Musically speaking, the country superstar says it doesn’t get much better than Springsteen.
“He’s an American treasure. I think he’s one of those icons of music that rarely comes along. … You look back through history and there’s only a handful of ‘em, and he’s certainly one of those guys that’s inspired so many people,” McGraw said.
There’s a lot of love for Springsteen in the country music community. Heck, Eric Church crafted a monster hit by combining the memories of young love and the American rocker’s timeless music in the aptly-titled single “Springsteen.”
Remember, back in 2012, Lady Antebellum was over the moon to open for the legend at London’s Hard Rock Calling Music Festival in Hyde Park. There’s even concert footage online of the trio covering his classic hit “I’m on Fire” during their shows.
Kip Moore, who’s been called the “Hillbilly Bruce Springsteen,” once told TV host Kelly Ripa that he was a “big fan of Bruce” and that the comparison was a “humbling thing.”
Springsteen himself is apparently a slice of humble pie — not that I would know firsthand, sadly. Perhaps that’s why a nickname like “The Boss” or any other name that could suggest authority or elitism would be bothersome to him. He’s anything but elitist by all accounts I’ve heard. He may not be “The Boss” in his mind … but he is “the man” to McGraw, and me, too.
Springsteen is set to bring his tour to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on April 17. I wonder how many of his superstar country friends and fans will be in the audience? Maybe a date night for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill?
- 2010, The Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett collaborate on “Margaritaville,” “Chicken Fried” and “Toes” as a new episode of “CMT Crossroads” premieres
- 2004, The Library of Congress adds 50 titles to its National Recording Registry. The new additions include “Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison,” Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys’ “New San Antonio Rose,” plus music by Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen and Carole King
- 1994, Neal McCoy picks up a #1 single in Billboard with “No Doubt About It”
- 1968, Tom T. Hall marries Dixie Deen, whom he affectionately calls “Miss Dixie”
It’s pretty obvious Trisha Yearwood is good in the kitchen, with a couple cookbooks on the New York Times best-seller list and a cooking show. But it turns out, all that cooking has made her even better onstage.
“I thought I was comfortable in front of audience before, but doing the cooking show has been really helpful. I don’t have a script, so it’s very ad lib. The recipes are the script,” Yearwood told me when she was in Chicago on Sunday (March 16) for the International Home and Housewares Show, promoting her new lines from the Cookware Company and Furi Knives.
“And I’ve realized that I like not having a script because it comes off more natural. I’m always talking and talking and talking, and that’s really helped me in my live show. I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable onstage. Some of that might be because I’m 49, and you start to lose the filter, but it’s kind of freeing to just be yourself,” she said. “So I’ve had more fun on this tour that I ever remember having.”
This tour is Yearwood’s first in five years. And a lot has changed about being on the road since then. But one thing that hasn’t changed a bit? Yearwood’s band.
“I was so lucky that the guys in my original band all said yes,” she said. “So I’m onstage with family. There’s not anybody on that stage that hasn’t been in my band for at least 15 years. That was a comfort factor. We’ve been traveling down the road together for years.”
One of those musicians, her guitarist, has been with her 23 years. So when he was celebrating a birthday on the road, the cook in Yearwood wasn’t about to bring him a store-bought cake. “I usually try to bring something I made at home on the road. So I made his favorite — German chocolate cake — and brought it out on the first day,” she said, “and we all ate that on the bus.”