Mike Sudhalter | October 30, 2007
I was sad to hear about the death of Porter Wagoner on Sunday evening. Like many in the younger generation of country music fans, I'd come to appreciate Wagoner's music just recently.
Whenever I'd watch the Grand Ole Opry during the 1990's, he was always the most recognizable and gracious host. I was blessed to have seen him before on the Opry last June.
The first Wagoner album I purchased was Wagonmaster, and I thought it was a classic. I've bought individual songs by Wagoner, and I love the classics like "The Carroll County Accident", "Company's Comin'" and "Skid Row Joe."
I'd heard that Wagoner's nickname was "The Thin Man From West Plains", and I remember thinking about that when I passed through the south central Missouri town on my way back to southwest Missouri from Memphis.
I think it's symbolic in some ways that Wagoner died just a day after Josh Turner was inducted as an Opry member.
Turner, 30, will be called upon to carry the same torch - the torch of traditional country music - that Wagoner did for so many years. He's off to a good start, but he's got a long ways to go.