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Tillis dies at 85

Sunday, November 19, 2017 – Long-time country star Mel Tillis, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, passed away early this morning in Ocala, Fla. at 85.

Tillis, who was also known for his stutter, battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.

Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born in Tampa, Fla. on Aug. 8, 1932. Throughout his 60-plus year career, the Grand Ole Opry member recorded more than 60 albums, had 35 Top Ten singles, 6 number 1 hits ("I Ain't Never," "Coca-Cola Cowboy," "Southern Rains," "Good Woman Blues," "Heart Healer" and "I Believe In You") and was named the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year.

Tillis wrote more than 1,000 songs, 600 of which have been recorded by major artists including Kenny Rogers ("Ruby, Don't You Take Your Love To Town"), George Strait ("Thoughts Of A Fool") and Ricky Skaggs ("Honey, Open That Door"). In February 2012, President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts.

Tillis leaves behind six children (Pam Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Shorey, Sonny Tillis, Carrie April Tillis and Hannah Puryear), six grandchildren, a great grandson, a sister (Linda Crosby) and brother (Richard Tillis), the mother of five of his children (Doris Tillis) and his longtime partner (Kathy DeMonaco).

More news for Mel Tillis

CD reviews for Mel Tillis

Me and Pepper CD review - Me and Pepper
This disc, which features Tillis riding his horse Pepper on the cover, contains its share of highlights. One in particular, "Lying Time Again," smartly rhymes its title with a popular hit by substituting "lying" for "crying." Tillis' full-bodied vocals bring out the lyric's pathos when he moans, "Lord, the stories never end/And it's lying time again." With "This Is Me," Tillis distances himself from all the prior losers in a woman's life. »»»
Your Body is an Outlaw CD review - Your Body is an Outlaw
The reissue is the least satisfying of three out at the same time. Its title is clumsy, at best, and its lyric isn't much better. "Your body is an outlaw/Stealin' from my soul." Tillis is pictured on the back cover aiming a rifle, supposedly to support the album's outlaw image. But despite having "outlaw" in its title, this is not Tillis' attempt to ride the country outlaw movement bandwagon. Nevertheless, both the title track, which features daughter Pam on »»»
Southern Rain CD review - Southern Rain
Collector's Choice Music released three previously out-of-print Mel Tillis Elektra Records albums at the same time. "Southern Rain," "Your Body Is an Outlaw" and "Me and Pepper" all date back to Tillis' 1979-82 period and contain plenty of fine Tillis singing. The finest CD in this trio is "Southern Rain." Although its title track also represents Tillis' last number one country hit, it's not the disc's best song. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Rising Appalachia buck the mainsteam, and that's fine with them – Rising Appalachia would not be accused of being in the musical mainstream. Not too many bands who combine folk and Appalachian sounds with new world music could possibly be. And that suits the sister-led duo of Chloe Smith and Leah Song just fine. In fact, at one point, Chloe made it clear she did not embrace radio play as a sign of success... »»»
Concert Review: Bingham plays with something to prove – Ryan Bingham mainly focused on songs from his sixth album "American Love Song," for this lively show. Backed by a supportive band that also included two female backup singers and a fiddler, Bingham's eclectic setlist touched upon country, singer/songwriter folk, rock and blues. Bingham reached for lively country sounds early on, with... »»»
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