COWBOY IS STILL HERE
There's nothing like packing up your household, moving and starting to set it all up again in another place, to make you take stock of your precious memories and reaquaint you with the stuff you have saved over your lifetime. Anne and I are in the middle of that process right now, as we just moved into a new home this month ( June 2011) and are just starting to find new and proper places for it all. I took multiple trips over to the new house with our personal stuff, family heirlooms, and 24 track master tape recordings, musical instruments etc, I felt I just couldn't bear to risk to anyone else moving for me.
The news of late with the flooding out west and the thousands of folks, who are suffering great losses, has made me think about how it would be to lose those things. I don't know how or if I could handle it. We dodged a bullet last year in the great flood of Nashville and are thankful for that, but endured stories of great losses by folks both in and out of the music community. Another bullet hit me in the heart on Saturday June 25th, with the lead news story on the 5 O'Clock news. This time it wasn't rain, but fire at Cowboy's
Cowboy to anyone who has been in or around the music biz for a while in Nashville, is all you need to say to know you are talking about Jack Clement and Cowboy's is only one place ... The Cowboy Arms Hotel & Recording Spa on Belmont Boulevard.
I first heard of it and it's colorful proprietor Cowboy Jack, a decade or so before I ever even considered a move to Nashville. ( I've been in Nashville for almost a quarter of a century .... man I'm getting old )... I was doing a gig in Sarasota, Florida in the mid 1970's, when I met two legends from the folk field; Jim Rooney and the late Eric Von Schmidt, who were promoting their book, Baby Let Me Follow You Down about the early days of the '60's folk music scene in Cambridge, Mass.
Jim Rooney, who went on to a successful career as a music producer (Nanci Griffith , Hal Ketcham etc) told me he was learning recording from Jack. I saw the Cowboy Arms for the first time a few years later on the cover of Gum Tree Canoe, one of my favorite John Hartford albums, I wore it out playing it in my guitar store in Clearwater, Florida in the early '80's and it introduced me to recording engineer, Richard Adler who has become a lifelong friend. When I first moved to Nashville, I too looked up Jack and sought his advice. I write briefly about those experiences in my music bio "If The Devil Danced" I also have met and become friends over the years with many musicians and artists who have passed through or have been touched in some way by Cowboy and his unique approach to songs, and life in general. The stories about Cowboy would fill many a book . I really still love to hear Cowboy render No Expectations, Brazil, When I Dream or one of his own philosophical songs, I Guess Things Happen That Way. He is a smooth singer.
Well Cowboy, there is nothing much more I can say, but I know there are many of us, who are really saddened by your loss, but are thankful that ...you are Still Here, to play another day
Electrical fire consumes Music Row legend's home
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
The Nashville Fire Department believes an electrical fire that began in wiring inside a wall was the cause of a fire that heavily damaged the Belmont Boulevard home and recording studio of Music Row legend "Cowboy" Jack Clement Saturday.
Firefighters said the fire began around 2 p.m. in the attic. Clement has lived and worked in the house for 30 years, naming the headquarters the "Cowboy Arms Hotel and Recording Spa." Johnny Cash recorded four albums there and Alison Krause recorded her first album at age 15 in Clement's studio.
Fire fighters were able to rescue Clement's gold records. Clement rescued his three cats and his favorite guitars, including a 1951 Gibson guitar.
Clement is a legend in music circles; a singer and songwriter, but also the man behind many stars. He discovered Jerry Lee Lewis, produced Charlie Pride, Waylon Jennings, Eddie Arnold, Louis Armstrong and U2, among others.
Clement and a female companion had been at home asleep when the fire broke out, according to the woman's son, Kevin Pittman. Pittman heard the smoke alarms and rescued the couple. Pittman said he smelled a toxic smoke, which he believed was caused by recording masters being destroyed. He feared that never-before released masters of Johnny Cash were lost in the fire.
From Nashville Tennesean June 25
Cowboy Jack Clement's house damaged in fire
Nashville firefighters have extinguished the blaze at the Belmont area home of country raconteur Cowboy Jack Clement but Clement said he is not being allowed to go in the house to see if he can save recordings and other memorabilia from a lifetime of producing records and making country music. Known for wearing Hawaiian shirts, shorts and cowboy boots, Clement was waiting out the fire in his back yard, dressed in Elvis pajamas. Clement also said his “baby,” his favorite guitar, a Gibson J200 that he bought in 1951, had been saved from the blaze.
The fire at the brick and stucco Tudor-style house on Belmont Boulevard just south of Stokes Lane was called in around 2 p.m. and fire crews were on the scene minutes later.
Clement was in the back yard when his girlfriend’s son heard smoke detectors going off upstairs and warned the couple. Everyone, including his three cats, Fred and Ginger and Edwina, got out of the house safely and there were no injuries
Capt. Steve Holt of the Nashville Fire Department said 18 trucks and about 40 firefighters took about an hour to bring the blaze under control.
“It was a very hot fire. heavy smoke, all in the attic,” Holt said.Firefighters had some difficulty fighting the blaze because the heavy ceiling in the studio was hard to penetrate.
No cause is known but the fire marshal is on the scene. Firefighters will remain there tonight to make sure the home does not reignite.
UPDATES : About a year later in 2012 I am happy to say The Cowboy Arms was back in business looking just like it did
April 2013 On the week that Jack turned 82 years young he was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame !!!!!!