Roy Clark, country guitar virtuoso, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died
By KRISTIN M. HALL
Friday, November 16
Country star Roy Clark, the guitar virtuoso and singer who headlined the cornpone TV show “Hee Haw” for nearly a quarter century and was known for such hits as “Yesterday When I was Young” and “Honeymoon Feeling,” has died. He was 85.
Publicist Jeremy Westby said Clark died Thursday due to complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Clark was “Hee Haw” host or co-host for its entire 24-year run, with Buck Owens his best known co-host. Started in 1969, the show featured the top stars in country music, including Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Charley Pride, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, as well as other musical greats including Ray Charles, Chet Atkins and Boots Randolph. The country music and comedy show’s last episode aired in 1993, though reruns continued for a few years thereafter.
“‘Hee Haw’ won’t go away. It brings a smile to too many faces,” he said in 2004, when the show was distributed on VHS and DVD for the first time.
“I’ve known him for 60 years and he was a fine musician and entertainer,” Charlie Daniels tweeted on Thursday. “Rest In peace Buddy, you will be remembered.”
Keith Urban, who won entertainer of the year Wednesday night from the Country Music Association, also honored Clark on Thursday. “My first CMA memory is sitting on my living room floor watching Roy Clark tear it up,” Urban tweeted. “Sending all my love and respect to him and his family for all he did.”
Clark played the guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, harmonica and other instruments. His skills brought him gigs as guest performer with many top orchestras, including the Boston Pops. In 1976 he headlined a tour of the Soviet Union, breaking boundaries that were usually closed to Americans.
And of course, he also was a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
His hits included “The Tips of My Fingers” (1963), “Yesterday When I Was Young” (1969), “Come Live With Me” (1973) and “Honeymoon Feeling” (1974). He was also known for his instrumental versions of “Malaguena,” on 12-string guitar, and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”
He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009, and emotionally told the crowd how moving it was “just to be associated yourself with the members of the Country Music Hall of Fame and imagine that your name will be said right along with all the list.”
Clark won a Grammy Award for best country instrumental performance for the song “Alabama Jubilee” and earned seven Country Music Association awards including entertainer of the year and comedian of the year.
In his 1994 autobiography, “My Life in Spite of Myself,” he said “Yesterday, When I Was Young” had “opened a lot of people’s eyes not only to what I could do but to the whole fertile and still largely untapped field of country music, from the Glen Campbells and the Kenny Rogerses, right on through to the Garth Brookses and Vince Gills.”
Clark was guest host on “The Tonight Show” several times in the 1960s and 1970s when it was rare for a country performer to land such a role. His fans included not just musicians, but baseball great Mickey Mantle. The Yankees outfielder was moved to tears by “Yesterday When I Was Young” and for years made Clark promise to sing it at his memorial — a request granted after Mantle died in 1995.
Beginning in 1983, Clark operated the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre in Branson, Missouri, and was one of the first country entertainers to open a theater there. Dozens followed him.
He was a touring artist as late as the 2000s. Over the years, he played at venues around the world: Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sporting Club in Monte Carlo, the Grand Palace in Brussels and the Rossiya Theatre in Moscow.
Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia, and received his first guitar on his 14th Christmas. He was playing in his father’s square dance band at age 15.
In the 1950s, Clark played in bands in the Washington, D.C., area. In 1960, he got the chance to front the band of country singer Wanda Jackson. He also performed regularly in Las Vegas. He got his first recording contract, with Capitol Records, in 1962.
He appeared on Jimmy Dean’s TV show “Town and Country Time” and took over the show when Dean left.
Clark and Owens worked together for years, but they had very different feelings about “Hee Haw.” Owens, who left the show in 1986, later referred to it as a “cartoon donkey,” one he endured for “that big paycheck.” Clark told The Associated Press in 2004 that “Hee Haw” was like a family reunion.
“We became a part of the family. The viewers were sort of part owners of the show. They identified with these clowns, and we had good music.”
Clark said the hour-long program of country music and corny jokes capped off his career.
“This was the icing on the cake. This put my face and name together.”
Former AP writer Joe Edwards contributed to this report.
Chris Stapleton wins big at CMAs, Keith Urban nabs top prize
By MESFIN FEKADU
AP Music Writer
Thursday, November 15
Chris Stapleton won the most awards at the 2018 Country Music Association Awards and had the show’s best performance, almost capping a perfect night.
That was until Keith Urban surprisingly won the top prize — entertainer of the year — moments before the three-hour show wrapped Wednesday night.
Urban’s actress-wife, Nicole Kidman, was in tears as the singer walked onstage to collect the award at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Baby girl, I love you so much,” he said. “I’m shocked beyond shocked.”
Urban last won entertainer of the year in 2005 and also beat out Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney for the prize.
“I wish my dad was alive to see this,” the Australian performer said.
Stapleton, however, cleaned house at the CMAs, winning four awards including male vocalist, song and single of the year.
“I want to thank my kids who put up with me being gone quite a bit and not getting to be as a good daddy that I would always like to be,” said the father of four and soon to be five, since his wife, singer-songwriter Morgane Stapleton, is pregnant.
Stapleton also won the performance of the night: His supergroup featuring Mavis Staples, Maren Morris, Marty Stuart and his wife gave a soulful and powerful performance of “Friendship,” a song made famous by Pop Staples, the iconic singer’s late father. They then performed “I’ll Take You There,” jamming onstage along with a choir. They earned a standing ovation from the audience.
When Stapleton won single of the year — where he won as both a performer and producer — earlier in the show, he said he was “thinking about the people in California right now” and he wants to “dedicate this award to them.”
He was referring to the 12 people who were killed at a Southern California country music bar last week, who were also honored at the top of the show when Garth Brooks held a moment of silence as the names of the victims were displayed on the screen.
“Tonight let’s celebrate their lives. Let the music unite us with love,” Brooks said.
The CMAs, which aired on ABC, also took time to honor those affected by the deadly wildfires in California.
“We send our love to you,” said Carrie Underwood, also mentioning the “brave firefighters.”
Underwood worked triple-duty as co-host, performer and nominee at the CMAs. She was teary-eyed when she won female vocalist of the year.
“Thank you God. I have been blessed with so much in my life,” she said. “Thank you family. Thank you country music. Thank you country music family. …It’s all about family around here.”
She kept the positive and uplifting theme of the show going when she gave a rousing performance of her song “Love Wins.” It features the lyrics, “I believe you and me are sisters and brothers/And I believe we’re made to be here for each other.”
Kacey Musgraves, the only woman nominated for album of the year, won the prize for “Golden Hour.”
“This is really, really crazy timing — 10 years ago today I moved to Nashville. That’s so crazy,” she said.
“I’m so proud of it,” she said of the pop-leaning country album, which was inspired by Sade, the Bee Gees and others. “It’s inspired by this beautiful universe, and all of you, and mostly love.”
Dan + Shay lost in all four categories they were nominated in but gave an impressive performance of their hit “Tequila.” When Brothers Osborne won vocal duo of the year, John Osborne said, “I thought this was going to go to Dan + Shay. Make some noise for those boys.”
“I don’t know why we keep winning this,” John Osborne said when he first walked onstage.
“If this was in Florida there definitely would be a recount,” added T.J. Osborne, which earned laughs from the crowd.
Luke Combs, who has the year’s most-streamed country music album, sang onstage with a red cup in his hand and won new artist of the year.
“God, I love country music, man,” said Combs.
Brooks performed a touching new song dedicated to his wife, Trisha Yearwood, who was teary-eyed and was hearing the song for the first time. Recent Country Hall of Famer Ricky Skaggs performed alongside Brad Paisley and Urban.
Underwood and Paisley returned as CMA hosts for the 11th time this year, telling jokes at the top of the show, which ranged from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” to Underwood’s pregnancy.
Underwood seemingly revealed a secret about the child, saying it will be a “Willie” after Paisley repeatedly asked about the sex of the baby.
Jorge Drexler dominates Latin Grammys with 3 wins
By REGINA GARCIA CANO and SIGAL RATNER-ARIAS
Friday, November 16
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Uruguayan Jorge Drexler owned the Latin Grammys on Thursday, picking up three awards including song and record of the year for “Telefonia” at a ceremony where other stars used their platform to promote messages of unity and justice.
Drexler also won best singer-songwriter album with “Salvavidas de Hielo.” Spanish sensation Rosalia followed him with two awards, best urban fusion/performance and best alternative song, for the flamenco and trap hit “Malamente.”
“I do not know what to say,” Drexler said when receiving the last award of the night for “Telefonia,” which he also played during the ceremony with Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade and El David Aguilar, all playing string instruments.
Rosalia said she owed her success to flamenco, which she described as her “foundation,” and dedicated her awards to her brother and other women in the music industry who have “made her take strength.”
“I’m not going to stop fighting until I see the same number of men and women in the studio,” she said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin walked the red carpet as the evening’s nominations leader with eight nods, but took home only the trophy for best urban music album.
The Latin Grammys are known as an awards show where artists take political stands. During the show and in backstage interviews, artists alluded to such topics as immigration and violence affecting several countries.
“In these times of crisis, art becomes a medium that reminds us of the urgency of justice and the need to find solutions that invite unity … tolerance and inclusion,” host Ana de la Reguera said before norteño group Calibre 50 performed “Corrido de Juanito,” which tells the story of a man who immigrated to the U.S.
Mexican rock band Mana, honored Wednesday as the Latin Recording Academy’s Person of the Year, also took the stage performing a medley that included its hits “Labios Compartidos” and “Clavado en un Bar.”
The academy bestowed the honor on the band for its achievements and contributions to the Latin community and support of environmental protection and human rights causes.
“We will continue fighting for the rights of the immigrants who have made this country great in the last century,” lead singer Fher Olvera said, referring to the United States. “They were the difference for this country to be as big as it is. We will fight for Mother Earth, we will fight for women’s rights and we will continue fighting to make songs from the heart and soul.”
The band took the opportunity to announce that after two years without playing live, they will start a world tour next year.
Marc Anthony, Will Smith and Bad Bunny kicked off the night with a performance of their racy single “Esta Rico.”
Laura Pausini won for best traditional pop vocal album with “Hazte Sentir,” while the trophy for best salsa album was given to Victor Manuelle with “25/7.”
“Daddy, this is for you,” Manuelle said looking up after mentioning his father’s death earlier this year.
The coveted Latin Grammy for best new artist went to Karol G. She defeated nine other artists, including Angela Aguilar, Anaadi, El David Aguilar and Alex Ferreira.
Most of the night’s awards were presented during a pre-telecast ceremony. Among those who walked away with trophies were Lafourcade for best folk album with “Musas (un homenaje al folclore latinoamericano en manos de Los Macorinos), Vol. 2,” Aterciopelados for best alternative album with “Claroscura” — their first album in a decade — and Linda Briceño, who became the first woman to be honored as producer of the year.
“I am very grateful,” Lafourcade said after receiving her trophy. “I want to dedicate this to Mexico, to Latin America, to all our brothers who are arriving to Mexico, who come from many places, that are going through difficult times. Our hearts with you.”
Absent from the ceremony, the extremely private Luis Miguel won the award for album of the year with “¡México por siempre!” defeating an eclectic group of established and rising artists that included Balvin, Pablo Alboran (“Prometo”), Drexler (“Salvavidas de hielo”), Kany García (“Soy yo”), Lafourcade (“Musas, un homenaje al folclore latinoamericano en nanos de Los Macorinos, Vol. 2”), and Rozalen (“Cuando el rio suena…”), among others.
After Thalia revealed Luis Miguel as the winner, the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena had mixed reactions, with some booing and whistling because the star did not picked up his trophy.
“He is not here is with us but … hey, hey, calm down! I’m going to personally deliver it to him,” she said with a wink, which served to appease the audience and generate an ovation.
The 19th Latin Grammys Awards ceremony was telecast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Ratner-Arias reported from New York.
Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO and Sigal Ratner-Arias at https://twitter.com/sigalratner .
What is augmented reality, anyway?
November 16, 2018
Sponsored Affiliate Researcher in Interactive and Social Computing, University of Michigan
Maximilian Speicher is affiliated with C&A Europe.
University of Michigan provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Augmented reality systems show virtual objects in the real world – like cat ears and whiskers on a Snapchat selfie, or how well a particular chair might fit in a room. The first big break for AR was the “Pokémon GO” game, released in 2016 with a feature that let players see virtual Pokémon standing in front of them, ready to be captured and played with. Now, technology companies like Microsoft and Mozilla – the company behind the Firefox browser – and even retail businesses like IKEA and Lego are exploring the potential of AR.
Where I do research, an AR lab at the University of Michigan School of Information, it seems everyone knows about AR and is excited about the technology becoming popular among the general public. My colleagues and I watch videos of impressive AR demonstrations, try out new applications and play with new devices. The research community’s enthusiasm may be why several experts – including some I talk with – say they expect AR to be commonplace in five years, or envision AR glasses replacing smartphones within a decade.
Exploring the possibilities of augmented reality.
But as an AR researcher with expertise in both industry and academia, I disagree with those optimistic views. Most people in the U.S. haven’t heard of AR – and most of those who have don’t really know what it is. And that’s just one barrier between augmented reality today and a future where it is everywhere. Overall, there are three major challenges to be overcome.
When I first tried AR glasses three years ago, they quickly overheated and shut down – even when trying to do something fairly basic, like placing two virtual objects in a room. While there has been a lot of improvement in this respect, other problems have emerged. The HoloLens system – one of the most advanced AR headsets – essentially requires a user to carry a Microsoft Kinect system and a computer on their head, which is quite heavy and limits the user’s field of view. A different issue are AR experiences that work across systems.
Even “Pokémon GO,” the most popular app that actually uses AR, drains smartphone batteries extremely rapidly. And the AR function doesn’t make the game much better – or really different at all – though it is neat at first to see a Pikachu standing on the lawn in front of you. With so little benefit and such a severe hit to device performance, every player I know, including me, has turned off the AR mode.
Lack of real uses so far
Just as people turn off AR in “Pokémon GO,” I’ve never seen or heard of anyone actually using IKEA’s furniture app as it’s allegedly intended; the app has just 3,100 reviews in Apple’s app store, far fewer than the 104,000 for “Pokémon GO.” It’s supposed to be useful to people seeking to redesign their living spaces, letting them use their smartphones to add virtual furniture to actual rooms.
Apple and Google have released AR toy and demo apps built with their new platforms ARKit and ARCore – such as playing with virtual dominos. They are engaging, and the 3D models look great. They do what they’re designed to do, but their functions aren’t especially useful.
This is partly due to the fact that AR, like the internet, is just a basic technology that needs people to create uses for it. The internet started as Arpanet in 1969, but began to grow widely only when Tim Berners-Lee invented the “World Wide Web” – a now-dated term – in 1989. And it wasn’t until the 2000s that regular people who used the internet could also create online content for others to consume. That level of development and innovation has not yet happened for AR, though Mozilla is taking initial steps in this direction by trying to bring AR to everyday web browsers like Firefox.
Even people who use Snapchat don’t think of it as an augmented reality app – though that’s exactly what it is. It’s AR technology that figures out where to put the dog ears, heart eyes or whiskers on their friends’ faces – and sends rainbow vomit out of their mouths. People who don’t know what augmented reality is, or who have never consciously experienced it – even if they use it daily – aren’t going to make a purchase just because a product has some AR capability.
There’s also some confusion in labeling and marketing of AR technologies. Many people have started to hear about virtual reality, which is generally an immersive fully virtual world that doesn’t include aspects of the user’s real environment. The distinctions get fuzzier with mixed reality – sometimes labeled “MR” but other times “XR.” Originally the term meant anything in between a fully real and a fully virtual experience – which could include AR. But now Microsoft is saying products and apps are MR if they provide both augmented and fully virtual experiences. That leaves customers unclear what’s being advertised – though they’ll know it might not be very useful and may run their phone batteries down quickly.
I’m with my AR-optimist friends and colleagues in seeing a lot of potential for the future, but there’s a long way to go. They – and I – are already working hard on making the hardware better, finding useful applications and clarifying product labeling. But it will take lots of this hard work and probably many more years before mainstream America lives in a truly augmented reality.