Kentucky-reared singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton was named artist of the year Wednesday by the Americana Music Assn. Meanwhile, Alabama's Jason Isbell took two other top honors -- album of the year for his latest release "Something More Than Free" and song of the year for "24 Frames." Results were announced at the AMA's awards ceremony in Nashville, where the organization also paid tribute to four respected Americana musicians who died during the previous year: bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley, country music giant Merle Haggard, esteemed Texas troubadour Guy Clark and New Orleans R&B, rock and funk mastermind Allen Toussaint. "You take musical traditions from England, Ireland, Scotland, Spain a little bit, a little bit from France, and blend them together with a rich variety of African musical traditions, and stir it up," Grateful Dead member Bob Weir, who also took home the association's performance award, said during the tribute segment. "You let it simmer for 200 or 300 years and see what happens," Weir added.
In "Shooter," an action-thriller premiering Tuesday on USA, Ryan Phillippe plays Bob Lee Swagger -- who is not a televangelist, as his name might suggest. Rather, he is an elite Marine sniper who goes on the lam after being framed in a tangled geopolitical plot. Based on the largely forgotten 2007 film starring Mark Wahlberg and the novel "Point of Impact" by Stephen Hunter, the series (executive produced by Wahlberg) was originally scheduled to debut in July but was postponed following the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, then again after the shooting deaths of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. One can understand why executives at USA were squeamish about the pilot. It opens with a gun firing at the camera as Phillippe explains, in detailed voice-over, the three ways a bullet can kill someone and then cuts to images of the assassinations of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Lee Harvey Oswald.
Gary Glasberg, executive producer and show runner of CBS' hit "NCIS" and the creator and executive producer of its spinoff, "NCIS: New Orleans," has died. A statement from the network said that Glasberg, who was born in New York City, had died in his sleep. No other information was given. Glasberg joined "NCIS," which revolves around a team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, in 2009 as a co-executive producer and writer. He became its show runner in 2011.
From Laramie, Wyo., to Austin, Texas, to New Orleans, and now in Nashville, singer and songwriter Luke Bell has touched down in several of the most musically inspiring parts of the country en route to a nascent career that earned him a spot early in the day Saturday at the 2016 Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio. His sound is raw and energetic, rooted in country tradition with a strong dose of the literate facet of the folk tradition -- with a dash of Western yodeling dropped in just for fun. "There was a guy in Laramie that started kind of a small folk scene," Bell said a few minutes after his set on the Palomino stage. "I was listening to people like John Prine," he said, "then I moved to Austin for a couple of years and got into the Texas Tornadoes and that scene. Then I went to New Orleans.
Howard King, 91, stands inside Ebenezer Baptist Church, Sunday, July 10, 2016, in Atlanta. King has been a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church since the height of the civil rights movement, when he got to know then-pastor Martin Luther King Jr. King says he understands the frustrations of young black activists in the wake of two more killings of black men by police, and he says anyone who "calls themselves Christian" should speak out about institutional racism that remains entrenched decades after the civil rights movement. Yet King also condemns the killing of five Dallas police officers by a lone gunman seeking retaliation for the killings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. "There is no justification for taking life _ black, white, green or yellow," he says.