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  • August 4, 2020 CDT

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  • Dec 14, 1819
    Alabama becomes the 22nd state to join the union. Among the country artists it yields: Hank Williams, Sonny James, The Louvin Brothers, Vern Gosdin, Emmylou Harris, Jamey Johnson, William Lee Golden and, of course, the band Alabama
    Nov 16, 1873
    W.C. Handy is born in Florence, Alabama. Recognized as the Father of the Blues, he's referenced in the 2003 Lonestar hit "Walking In Memphis." Handy enters the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983
    Dec 22, 1891
    Elonzo Huble Williams is born in Macedonia, Alabama. Son Hiram Hank Williams becomes one of country music's legendary figures
    Jul 8, 1895
    Fiddler George Wilkerson is born in Stevenson, Alabama. He founds The Fruit Jar Drinkers, a string band that becomes an early staple of the Grand Ole Opry, where the act remains until the 1970s
    Aug 12, 1898
    Jessie Lillybelle Skipper is born in Butler County, Alabama. She becomes the mother of Hank Williams
    Apr 15, 1900
    J.L. Frank is born in Limestone County, Alabama. He becomes the first major promoter and manager in country music, working with Gene Autry, Roy Acuff, Eddy Arnold and Minnie Pearl. Frank joins the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967
    Aug 8, 1900
    Lucky Millinder is born in Anniston, Alabama. A big-band leader, he lands two of his singles on an early version of Billboard's country charts during 1944: "Sweet Slumber" and "Hurry, Hurry"
    Jul 24, 1908
    Jazz trumpet player Cootie Williams is born in Mobile, Alabama. He makes an appearance on Billboard's folk chart--later to evolve into the country charts--in 1944 with his recording of "Red Blues"
    Dec 25, 1908
    Alton Delmore is born in Elkmont, Alabama. With younger sibling Ramon, he forms The Delmore Brothers, whose mix of country and the blues makes them a popular Grand Ole Opry act in the 1930s and a 2001 entry in the Country Music Hall of Fame
    May 1, 1910
    Radio executive Ott Devine is born in Gadsden, Alabama. He becomes program director of Nashville's WSM Radio in the late-1950s, and works as the manager of the Grand Ole Opry from 1959 until his retirement in 1968

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