This weeks' host of the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree is no stranger to Country music fans worldwide. Leona Williams was born into a musical family. At the age of fifteen she launched her career in Country music by establishing her own radio show on KWOS in Jefferson City, Missouri. It was from this platform that her life and career took a turn on the road that would lead her to Nashville, Tennessee.
Williams came to Nashville in the late 1960s where she was involved in many projects. Among those was a stint in Loretta Lynn's band, "The Coal Miners", as a bass guitarist and vocalist. Subsequently, she was signed to Hickory Records where she wrote and recorded her own music. Among her releases on the label were "Once More" and "Country Girl With Hot Pants On".
In the 1970s she joined Country music icon Merle Haggard's band, replacing Haggard's estranged wife Bonnie Owens. During this tenure, Williams wrote two number one hits for the singer-"Someday When Things Are Better" and "You Take Me For Granted". The two also charted a top ten Country duet entitled "The Bull And The Beaver" and a lesser known "We're Strangers Again". The couple were married from 1978 to 1983. Williams was also married to singer/songwriter Dave Kirby from 1985 until his death in 2004.
Among the accolades to her name, Williams is credited as being the first female Country artist to record an album inside of a prison. The album, entitled "San Quentin's First Lady" was well received. Williams has also been honored with a 1999 induction into the Country Music Association of Texas Hall of Fame, the 2002 George D. Hay Award and induction that same year into the Missouri Country Music Hall of Fame. She was more recently honored with the Reunion of Professional Entertainers (R.O.P.E.) top honor of Entertainer of the Year for 2011.
Every weekend Williams can be found on the road in front of her adoring fans. A portion of that road may take her through her hometown of Vienna, Missouri where in October 2013 a stretch of US Highway 63 was named in her honor. Williams is quoted as saying, "I want to credit my family and friends and the folks of Vienna for thinking so highly of me." Her success and notoriety are certainly not confined to Vienna. The artist keeps a regular schedule on the road, has made appearances on the world famous Grand Ole Opry and has just completed her fifth consecutive European tour. There are no intentions of slowing the pace. Williams is an example of the desire for traditional Country music and no one is more true to form to the genre than she.
Appearing as Williams' guest on the Midnite Jamboree will be her son, Ron Williams. A successful artist in his own right, Ron Williams was born into a highly talented musical family. He can be found on the road both as a single act and appearing with his mother. He can be seen regularly appearing on RFD-TV, as well as on stages ranging from the Wild Horse Saloon to the Ryman Auditorium and abroad. He also finds time to be a loving husband and father to wife Amy and their two daughters, Alexis and Olivia.
The Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree is a free event each Saturday night at midnight Central time in the Texas Troubadour Theater adjacent to the Ernest Tubb Record Shop #2 located at 2416 Music Valley Drive in Nashville, TN. The performance is always free. It can also be heard through the facilities of 650AM WSM radio or online at www.wsmonline.com. For more information call 615-884-2474.