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Ky. singer Baldridge will be missed

November 17, 2017 GMT

I just wanted to start off this week’s music column by saying how heartbroken I am for the passing of sweet Kentucky songbird Jessica Lynn Baldridge.

Baldridge, who was 34, passed away unexpectedly at her home in Raceland, Kentucky, on Monday.

From a talented musical family, Baldridge had been on the scene since she was 13 performing with her family and that year winning first runner-up in the True Value Jimmy Dean Country Showdown.

By 14, she had recorded her first CD, and she went on to share the stage with such icons as Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, Kathy Mattea and many more.

I would say that it truly was always a blessing to hear her sing and to work with her as well. Last summer, I judged the Colgate Country Showdown with her alongside some former co-workers at WTCR, and we really had a great time seeing the next generation of young singers trying to break into the scene and just enjoying the soul shine of good company.

Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17 at First Baptist Church, Russell, Kentucky. Burial will follow at Bellefonte Memorial Gardens. Ken Gowin will officiate. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jessica’s memory to Ashland Animal Rescue Fund or Greenup County Animal Shelter.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Steen Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to steenfuneralhome.com.

A ‘Mississippi Woman, Louisiana Man’

Grammy-winning country

artists Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will be the subjects of an exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opening Friday, Nov. 17. Titled “Tim McGraw & Faith Hill: Mississippi Woman, Louisiana Man,” the exhibit will chronicle the parallel singing careers that started in adjacent Southern states and merged — as spouses and performing partners — in Nashville. Among the many artifacts in the exhibit will be the mirror from McGraw’s dressing room, upon which he proposed to Hill, and she accepted.

The exhibition will incorporate a wide array of memorabilia representing milestones and significant moments in the couple’s lives, from HilFs Mississippi upbringing and singing in church, to McGraw’s youthful promise as a baseball player, and, later, their high-profile lives as entertainers with dozens of top hits and a slew of industry awards between them. The couple, whose individual careers have celebrated multi-platinum records, sold-out tours, No. 1 hits and multiple Grammy, ACM and CMA awards, has also built their “Soul2Soul” tour franchise together, one of the most successful running tours in the history of country music.

The couple’s “Soul2Soul” tour will be in Charleston at 7:30 p.m. June 1, 2018, and tickets are on sale Thursday, Nov. 17, the same day the duo releases “The Rest of Our Life,” their first album together.

Go online at http://charlestoncivic.center-wv.com/ for more info.

Swimming pools, movie stars and hillbilly music

The Kentucky Music Trail concert series may be over, but that doesn’t mean that some of the great artists from the Country Music Highway aren’t still rolling back home. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 17, to see Betsy Lane, Kentucky, native Dwight Yoakam, who will perform at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14,2018. Tickets are $39, S69 and S89 and can be purchased at the Paramount box office, by phone at 606-324-0007, or online at www.paramoun-tartscenter.com.

Popular since the early 1980s, Yoakam has recorded more than 20 albums and compilations, charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 25 million records. He has recorded five Billboard No. 1 albums, 12 gold albums and nine platinum albums, including the triple-platinum “This Time.”

Yoakam is currently touring off his latest album, “Swimming Pools, Movie Stars,” with bluegrass versions of many of his hit songs, as well as a bluegrass version of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Go online at http://www.dwightyoakam.com/ for more info.

West Virginia artist rolling home

Christian Lopez, the red-hot Nashville-based Americana artist who hails from the Eastern Panhandle, is rolling back to the Mountain State for a show next Wednesday, Nov. 22, at the Clay Center in Charleston.

Lopez, who was named one of Rolling Stone’s 10 New Country Artists You Need To Know in July just released his sophomore album, “Red Arrow,” on Sept. 22.

The 23-year-old multi-instrumentalist, who I got to interview earlier this fall before he returned to play “Mountain Stage,” is the real deal and is making the state proud with his homegrown songs carved out of musical influences that range from Pink Floyd to outlaw country.

Tickets to the Sound Checks concert series show featuring Porch 40 and Lopez are available now for $15 and at the door for $20.

This special Thanksgiving Eve event will feature on-stage seating, cash bars and a local food truck.

Go online at https://www.theclaycenter.org/ for more info.

Dave Lavender writes about music for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at laven-der@herald-dlspatch.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @DaveLavenderHD.