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Larry Groce

Greg Brown and I go back a long way, somewhere around four decades. Before Mountain Stage existed, I would sometimes do a National Endowment for the Arts program called Artist-in-Residence that included workshops in schools and a concert in the community. Iowa was a big participant in this program, and I went there many times. Of course, Iowa's favorite folk singer was Greg Brown, and he sometimes did the program, too.

It was very sad to read about the death of Nashville singer and songwriter Russell Smith. He visited the Mountain Stage four times: Solo in 1992, with Run C&W in 1993 and with The Amazing Rhythm Aces in 1996 and 1999.

If all he had written was "Third Rate Romance," he would be in my personal Hall of Fame, but he did so much more. With Aces, Run C&W and solo, he showed in his songs and his performances that rare combination of extreme wit and heart felt emotional depth. He was just a good ole country boy when he visited us. I wish he could come back again.

May 14 is my "Deadiversary." It's the first time I saw the legendary group Grateful Dead. It was on that date in 1970 at what was then-called Meramec Community College, outside of St Louis. It wasn't until years later that I went back and found that show in the extensive Grateful Dead archive and checked out the set list.