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Thomas Rhett’s ‘Life Changes’ Debuts As #1 All-Genre Album

ALL ACCESS congratulates VALORY MUSIC CO. artist THOMAS RHETT and his team for a #1 all-genre album debut on “Life Changes,” which totaled 123,000 equivalent album units its first … more

Americana Music Association Unveils 14th Annual Honors & Awards Performers, Presenters

The AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION revealed its initial performer and presenter lineup for its 14th annual HONORS & AWARDS SHOW at the RYMAN AUDITORIUM, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th, hosted by … more

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Arkansas to become open carry state on August 15th

Arkansas will become the nation’s 45th open carry state on August 15th of this year. This result arises from the Arkansas legislature’s enactment of HB 1700, a bill sponsored by Representative Denny Altes (R – Fort Smith) which amended Arkansas Code § 5-73-120 (Carrying a weapon).

Police shooting inspires instant protest in Little Rock


Frustration over the Trayvon Martin case boils into a protest at 12th and Jefferson.
by David Koon

Nobody has to say it, but the timing couldn’t have been worse.

Two days after a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of all charges in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, with black America boiling over with frustration about the justice system, a Little Rock police officer shot and killed 26-year-old Deon Williams near the corner of 12th and Jefferson.

According to a LRPD release, just before noon on Monday, Officers Grant Humphries and Terry McDaniel saw a Chevy Suburban on 12th Street that they believed to be stolen. (Officials would later confirm that the truck was, in fact, not stolen.)

When the officers pulled the SUV over, police say, the driver jumped out and fled. McDaniel pursued on foot, while Humphries took off in the squad car, trying to cut Williams off. As McDaniel chased Deon Williams into the backyard of a house on Adams Street, a gun fell out of Williams’ waistband, according to the police. When Williams stopped to pick up the gun and turned toward McDaniel, the police narrative says, McDaniel feared for his life, and fired three times. Williams, who was paroled in May after serving two years in prison on charges of possession of a controlled substance and robbery, was pronounced dead at UAMS at 12:17 p.m.

McDaniel, a black officer, has used deadly force at least once before. He fatally shot a man who pulled a gun on him when interrupted during a daytime home burglary on Thayer Street last year. The burglar had earlier fatally shot one man and wounded another at the home.

Information about the shooting spread through social media. At 1 p.m., someone tweeted that the person killed by the police had been an 11-year-old boy, shot nine times in the back. A crowd of angry people began to gather at the Hess gas station on 12th street, just across from the crime scene.

By 1:30 p.m., the biggest swell of the crowd had grown to at least 200, simmering under the July sun. Dozens more watched from the parking lots of businesses and the yards of nearby houses. Several of the protestors closest to the sidewalk, where the police soon lined up in a black wall of uniforms, held signs that called for justice for Bobby Moore, the teenage burglar who was shot by LRPD officer Josh Hastings in August 2012 as Moore tried to flee a West Little Rock apartment complex. Hastings’ manslaughter trial in the case ended in a hung jury last month.

As the protest grew, crowding into the rectangle of shade under the awning of the gas station, the clerk at the station came to the door, ushered the last customers out, then locked it behind them, followed by a set of heavy steel bars. Soon, the neon beer signs in the windows went out, along with the lights inside. A man came to the doors and tugged on them. Another splashed ice tea against the glass, then threw the can against the doors. Kids with cell phones filmed him, waiting for something worthy of YouTube to happen, but instead he just walked away in disgust, disappearing back into the crowd.

Overhead, a state police chopper circled the intersection of 12th and Jefferson at 300 feet. At the edge of the crowd, people cursed it, many of them screaming obscenities at the sky and flipping the bird with both hands, trying to telegraph their anger and frustration to the pilot.

Ernest Franklin, president of Say Stop the Violence, was there, sweating into a suit coat as he walked among the crowds of angry young people in tank tops and shorts. He said he had talked to police on the scene, asking them to close 12th Street to keep curious drivers from driving by. Soon after we spoke, the street was blocked to most traffic.

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“I’ve asked them to get somebody down here other than the police officers,” he said. “Right now, the whole nation, no matter where you go, they’re mad at the police. We do understand that the police officers have to do their job, but people are out here looking for justice and to get justice served, whatever that is going to take.”

The police brought in more squad cars, running them in almost bumper to bumper in the eastbound lane of 12th Street. “Nobody goes into the crowd,” an officer standing in the street said, and the word went on down the line. One man taunted the cops, saying, “What if it was your kid going down the alley? Y’all ain’t perfect.” Another man shouted, “Fuck America! That’s how I feel.”

Asa Muhammad was standing at the corner of 12th and Jefferson, watching investigators work across the street. A member of the Nation of Islam, Muhammad was at the Pulaski Country courthouse during the Josh Hastings trial.

“The police brutality and the police actions toward our people is not justice,” Muhammad said. “It doesn’t take the police gunning down our people to make an arrest or stop a crime … one shot or a taser to the leg could take a man down, but not a deadly force bullet to his heart or in his back to kill him. They’re professionals. They have tasers. They’re taught to shoot a weapon. But unfortunately, just like Bobby Moore was shot, this gentleman was shot. Another loss for our community.”

Muhammad said a lot of the anger on display had to do with the economic conditions many blacks find themselves in. “If our economic situation was better, and our people were afforded jobs to do better for themselves, then the vast majority of this wouldn’t be. But unfortunately, in this area, the vast majority of the people you see are unemployed. That has a great effect on what’s going on.”

More cops came. A roaring line of black and white Harley-Davidsons. A lumbering SWAT truck. Dozens of cops stretched their line down the turn lane of 12th Street, just behind the row of squad cars. Someone threw a can of soda, which sailed over the line and landed in the street.

Schwanda Daugherty was there in the edge of the crowd. “This is a community thing,” she said. “I’m here to support them even though I don’t know the young man. We’re out here, we’re going to protest, we’re going to show that we care. … There’s a lot of frustration. It’s happening, and we want everybody to know it’s happening. It’s a racial issue. It never went away, and it’s never going away. But we’re going to stand up and fight.”

As the afternoon wore on, tensions rose. At times, the crowd pushed forward toward the patrol cars, at others, they shrank back to the shade. A woman tried to get others to hold hands and form a human chain along the street, but was ignored until she gave up. Another woman in a gray halter-top shouted over the angry din of the crowd: “All we are to them is monkeys and dogs.” Someone threw a brown bottle that thumped in the grass on the other side of the street. The helicopter buzzed overhead, forgotten now that there were plenty of terrestrial cops to hate.

[page]

Then, walking along the edge of 12th Street, supported by friends, came a sobbing woman named Shemedia Shelton. Shelton was the owner of the Suburban Williams had been driving, and identified herself as Williams’ wife.

“You didn’t have to kill him,” she screamed. “Trayvon wasn’t enough? You didn’t have to fucking kill him. You didn’t have to kill him. You didn’t have to fucking kill him.”

Chastity Duffy, the woman supporting Shelton, said that they’d just picked Williams up from Tucker Penitentiary two months before.

“He was just trying to do what was right for his wife and kids,” Duffy said. “He didn’t do nothing.” At Duffy’s elbow, clinging there, shambling along in the sun toward the protest, Shelton wailed variations on a single sentence: “Can anybody tell me what I’m supposed to tell my kids?”

The heat came down, broken by periodic clouds. For three minutes, a burly cop stood in the door of a cruiser and spoke into a loudspeaker, telling the crowd to disperse, that they were participating in an unlawful assembly, that they would be arrested if they didn’t comply, saying it over and over like a machine. The crowd roared back at him, drowning him out with taunts and curses. There was a sense that something was going to happen. Eventually, the officer on the loudspeaker stopped, his voice replaced by that of a man who said he wasn’t a police officer, that he wanted to lead them to a park where they could continue the protest, that there would be a candlelight vigil that night they could attend. The crowd clenched into a fist before him and shouted him down too. Though a peaceful vigil would be held that night at the State Capitol, that moment was too angry and hot for talk of peace.

Police Chief Stuart Thomas appeared, along with City Manager Bruce Moore, both standing in front of the Family Dollar store across the street. Behind them, the shooting investigation started to wrap up. Police tape came down. A flatbed came for the Suburban Williams had been driving. Soon, the line of Harleys fired up and roared away, followed by most of the squad cars, some making a slow U-turn in the street.

Across the street, Chief Thomas spoke to the press, pulling further back when the chants of “fuck the police” became loud enough for the mics to pick them up and spoil a quote. “As we were working the case, a lot of information got out,” Thomas said. “People were a little bit misinformed about the circumstances … it just kind of built up from there. There are a lot of other issues at play, both locally and nationally.” A minute later, someone shouted “Look out!” as a full plastic bottle came out of the crowd, over the street, and over Thomas’s head — a hail-Mary lob that would have done any quarterback proud. The bottle splattered eight feet away in the parking lot, next to a snarl of police tape.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said of being the target of the bottle. “It’ll calm down when we’re out of here.”

Soon after, the last of the cops pulled away, and the crowd soon did as Thomas had predicted. By the time the TV stations did their 5 p.m. live shots from the corner of 12th and Jefferson, there was just a single man in a white T-shirt, holding a sign. Once the cameras turned off, he disappeared, too.

Standing on the corner, watching people buy gas at the Hess station and 12th street roll full of cars again, it was hard to believe the anger of the day had ever happened. Then a woman pulled up to the herd of TV trucks and rolled down her window. “What is it,” she asked, “open season on black people?”

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Country Music Hall Of Famer Mel Tillis Dies At 85

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAMER and GRAND OLE OPRY member MEL TILLIS passed away this morning (11/19) from suspected respiratory failure. He was 85. TILLIS began battling intestinal disease last … more

KMPS/Seattle Flips To All Christmas; Format Flip Rumored

ENTERCOM Country KMPS/SEATTLE has apparently made an abrupt flip to all-CHRISTMAS late today (11/17), with rumors flying about a format change after the holidays, with staff layoffs to … more

Got Year End Hot Picks? All Access Wants ‘Em!

ALL ACCESS NASHVILLE wants your Hot Picks for 2017. What are the five hottest singles of the year, according to YOU? By YOU, we mean radio station, record label, and affiliated Country music … more

Blake Shelton Appears On ‘The Ellen Degeneres Show,’ Reads Mean Tweets

WARNER BROS./WMN's BLAKE SHELTON appeared on nationally syndicated "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW" yesterday (11/16) to discuss being named PEOPLE's "Sexiest Man Alive" … more

WIVK/Knoxville’s Tony & Kris Hold Bake Sale To Help Buy Out Coach Butch Jones’ Contract

CUMULUS Country WIVK/KNOXVILLE morning host "TONY & KRIS" are doing their part to help the UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE shoulder the financial burden of buying out Coach BUTCH … more

Chase Rice Appears On ‘CBS This Morning’

BROKEN BOW RECORDS' CHASE RICE appeared TODAY  (11/17) on CBS-TV's "CBS THIS MORNING" to discuss his new album, "Lambs & Lions," which streets today. RICE … more

Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman To Release ‘Dear John,’ Tribute to John Hartford

Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman 'Dear John,'

Texan Robert Ellis and Coloradan Courtney Hartman bonded backstage at a music festival in 2013 over their mutual love of John Hartford songs. After a few years of friendship and collaboration led to the creation of ‘Dear John,’ a collection of both well-known and obscure material that reveals witty and tender layers found in Hartford’s lyrics. The album also allows Ellis and Hartman to showcase their perfectly blended vocals and the playful ebb and flow of their shared guitar playing.

“I feel like Courtney Hartman and I must have known each other in a previous life. We share a deep love and obsession with a lot of the same music. There is a unique cross-section of songwriting craft, tradition and it’s context, and musicality that we both really get excited by,” says Ellis. “John Hartford is sort of the apex of this and it came as no surprise to me that he was a big influence on both of us and what we do. These songs, and playing them with Courtney really seemed to recharge my spirit in some way. Through playing these songs we are connected to each other and to John in a way that makes me feel like I’m at home.”

The album encompasses ten cuts that span John Hartford’s 30+ discography including his best-known song “Gentle on My Mind” – later recorded by Glen Campbell – for which Hartford earned two GRAMMY awards for Best Folk Performance and Best Country & Western Song. Versions of the song were also recorded by Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Bing Crosby, Lucinda Williams, and most recently Alison Krauss.

Throughout his career, Hartford earned two additional Grammy awards, for ‘Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording’ for his record ‘Mark Twang,’ as well as Album of the Year for his work on the watershed soundtrack to ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’

John Hartford’s son Jamie noted, “They have captured a subtle part of my dad that gets overlooked way too often. Now they have an obligation to the world to get this out. I wish them much success.”

From the 1980s onwards, Hartford had Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. On June 4, 2001, he died of the disease at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 63.

In support of the new release, Ellis and Hartman will hit the road for a limited tour kicking off on December 9 in Austin, TX at the Cactus Cafe, and ending at Stage One in Fairfield, CT on December 21. In between, they will make stops in Baton Rouge and Denver before two nights at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.

Hear their gloriously heartfelt rendition of “Gentle on My Mind” below, and see ‘Dear John’ track listing and tour dates below:

‘Dear John’ Track List:
– Old Time River Man
– Them Way Long Time Ago Times
– Gentle On My Mind
– Right in the Middle of Falling for You
– Here I Am In Love Again
– Howard Hughes Blues
– Morning Bugle
– Delta Queen Waltz
– Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie
– We Did Our Best

Robert Ellis & Courtney Hartman Tour Dates:
12/7 – Dallas, TX @ The Rustic
12/8 – San Antonio, TX @ The Rustic*
12/9 – Austin, TX @ Cactus Café
12/13 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Manship Theatre
12/15 – Denver, CO @ Swallow Hill Music
12/16 – Austin, TX @ Moody Theater^
12/18 – NYC @ Rockwood Music Hall (stage 3)
12/19 – NYC @ Rockwood Music Hall (stage 3)
12/21 – Fairfield, CT @ Stage One
12/26 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues^
*Robert Ellis full band w/ Courtney Hartman opening
^Robert Ellis full band opening for Robert Earl

KVOO, KXBL/Tulsa, OK Names Brian Jennings PD

SCRIPPS Country KVOO and Classic Country KXBL/TULSA, OK has added BRIAN JENNINGS as PD, effective MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27th. JENNINGS fills the vacancy created when GREG MOZINGO resigned from the … more

‘Tis the season

‘Tis the season to celebrate in the four central cities of Northwest Arkansas. Although it may seem to come earlier every year, the holidays officially kick off tonight in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville

It takes city works more than 3,300 hours to put up almost half a million lights on the square for “Lights of the Ozarks,” now in its 24th year. There will once again be carriage rides and camel rides on the square, beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving, and choirs will perform on the square starting at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

FAQ

Lights of the Ozarks

WHEN — Through Jan. 1, with the lighting ceremony and parade at 6 p.m. today

WHERE — Downtown Fayetteville square; the parade will begin at the Fayetteville Public Library and travel down Mountain Street to East Avenue to Center to Block to Dickson.

COST — Free

INFO — thelightsoftheozarks.com

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Bentonville

The downtown square will be a “Winter Wonderland” starting Nov. 18 with the lighting ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m. A Christmas parade is scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec. 9.

The city is perhaps best known during the holidays for The Rink at Lawrence Plaza, a pop-up ice skating venue that also opens Nov. 18. Hours are 5-7:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 9 p.m. on Friday, noon to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 4:45 p.m. Sunday. Find out more at playbentonville.com.

FAQ

Frosty Flix

WHEN — Skate-along begins at 5 p.m. with the movie at 6:30 p.m.: “Frozen” on Nov. 25; “The Grinch” on Dec. 2; and “The Santa Clause” on Dec. 16

WHERE — The Rink at Lawrence Plaza in Bentonville

COST — $10 presale, $15 day of event

INFO — playbentonville.com

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Springdale

Christmas on the Creek comes back to Springdale Nov. 25 for its second year with activities all afternoon and the Christmas Parade of the Ozarks at 6 p.m. on Emma Avenue. Now in its 21st year, the parade will be themed “Christmas Around the World.” This year’s Children’s Christmas Train, a fundraiser for the Children’s Safety Center of Washington County, is Dec. 2, leaving from the A&M Railroad depot. Buy tickets at amrailroad.com.

FAQ

Christmas on the Creek

WHEN — Photos with Santa, 1-5 p.m., Shiloh Museum cabin; 2-6 p.m., Handmade Winter Market; 3-6 p.m., student recycled art sculpture competition, Shiloh Square Pavilion; 4-5 p.m., live music; 5:30 p.m., lighting of the region’s largest live Christmas tree near Shiloh Square; 6 p.m., Christmas Parade of the Ozarks

WHERE — Just off of Spring Creek in downtown Springdale, with the parade on Emma Avenue

COST — Free admission with items for sale

INFO — 236-4256

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Rogers

Main Street Rogers goes Hollywood this year with the theme for the Christmas parade, set for 7 p.m. Dec. 1. A pre-parade program at 6 p.m. at the Frisco Stage features a dance from “The Nutcracker” by Ballet Westside and a performance by the Northwest Arkansas Celebration Singers. The second Holidays on the Bricks, a downtown-wide holiday open house, continues through that weekend, and Santa will be at the caboose from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9. Main Street Rogers also hosts holiday movies Dec. 22 and Dec. 23 at the Victory Theatre.

FAQ

Holiday Movies

WHEN — “It’s a Wonderful Life,” 7 p.m. Dec. 22; “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” 10 a.m. Dec. 23; and “Elf,” 1 p.m. Dec. 23

WHERE — Victory Theatre in downtown Rogers

COST — $10 on Dec. 22; $5 on Dec. 23

INFO — 936-5487

Entercom Announces New Sales Practices, Including A 5% Ad Inventory Reduction

ENTERCOM's merger with, and takeover of, CBS RADIO is being accompanied by the announcement of what the company calls three new business practices, including a reduction in ad inventory. … more