Gent Jim remembered

Al Grant
Al Grant

When American country singer Jim Reeves died in a plane crash, in 1964, he left behind a legacy.

With 18 top 40 singles charting this side of the Atlantic, including 13 after his death, it’s fair to say his music has lived on, bringing country to a wider audience.

Scottish singer Al Grant has been recreating the smooth tones of the Texan for years now, and he brings his tribute show to Lowther Pavilion, tonight,

The concert will present a unique insight into the life and music of Jim with video footage and narration by Al’s wife – country singer Isla Grant.

Al is best known in his native Scotland where he toured the pubs and clubs, but he sprung to popularity when he first started to emulate his hero Jim Reeves.

Since then, his interpretation has taken him far and wide as everyone wants to hear the silky smooth tones of Al that sounds eerily like Jim Reeves.

Originally a country singer, ‘Gentleman Jim’ reached amazing heights as a pop balladeer and since his death in an air crash his fame has snowballed into cult proportions.

His career started by chance, when he got a job as announcer on KWKH, the station that owned the Louisiana Hayride - the show which helped launch some of the biggest names in country music.

It was one of Reeves’ jobs to announce the Saturday night Hayride show and he was even allowed to sing occasionally.

One night in 1952, Hank Williams failed to arrive and Jim was asked to fill in. In the audience was Fabor Robinson, owner of Abbott Records, who immediately signed Reeves to a contract. After a number one record with ‘Mexican Joe’, RCA signed him in 1955 amid considerable competition.

He toured the UK in 1963 and tragically, on a flight back to Nashville from Arkansas on July 31, 1964, Jim and his manager Dean Manuel (also a piano player with his backing group the Blue Boys) ran into a violent thunder storm just a few miles from Nashville’s Beery Field and crashed, killing both men.

Reeves was then voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967 and has continued logging posthumous hits as recently as the 80s.

Tickets for this two hour extravaganza are priced at £20.50. They’re available from 01253 794221 and at www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk.