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Cliff Gerken
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July 25, 2020

Hi Rhonda and Herb. My name is Cliff Gerken. I wish to make this short (will try). Through the last few decades I've introduced myself and ran into you a few times even though I know how it is when it comes to remembering so many people. When you signed with contract at Giant Records ( I knew Darrell and Clay there). I was signing to Capitol Records. Your duet record with D. was great. Another favorite of mine was the recording “ That’s why I sing this Way” One of my all-time favorites. He was one of the finest male country singers we had. Back to you and I. Our careers began about the same time. I moved from MO to Nashville in 1985 working the road with LeRoy Van Dyke. And later others. Soon I remember auditioning for Larry Black (as you may have done in that trailer behind the open house) and got my start on "You Can Be A Star”. Our activities throughout those years in Nashville just jog jagged in and around each other -of course with your resulting in great success. I finished runner up in season two. (Linda Davis’) Lang Scott won the first season (the were only dating then). Your season must have been just in there somewhere. After all those repeats, I got a deal with Jim Foglesong at Capitol Records. Seems like the judges were Francis Preston, Gail Davies, and Jim Foglesong. Of course on set were all of Bill Anderson‘s great band, Larry Black and Jim Ed., Francis Preston and Ed Penney from Terri Gibbs "Somebody's Knockin" fame produced numerous sessions on me for Capitol records that went nowhere. LOL. It was a crazy time where Jimmy Bowen had taken Foglesong gig at MCA and he was establishing a roster at Capitol with Tanya Tucker. T Graham Brown, Billy Dean, Sawyer Brown, Marie Osmond, Dan Seals and many many more. Perhaps the most time consuming was that of the G-man. Garth! In the meantime I worked many years as the music buyer, second hand to David for the Ernest Tubb record shops and honestly midnight jamboree for over 20 years. Still recording demos and spec sessions when they came about. Each week networking through the industry at those weekly number one parties at BMI and ASCAP, gold record parties at the record labels, and signing celebrations. Later on Steve Gibson and Al Perkins got a development deal going for me at Warner Brothers but again it was a spec session and we just didn't have the right songs. My running buddy and idol in those days what's Steve Wariner and I guess I tried to look and sound too much like him to find my own identity I grew up in Cole Camp Missouri very close to you. We fished and went to many Bible camps and the neck of the woods where you and Herb have recently moved. My dad had the only grocery store,locker plant and German restaurant in our small hometown of Cole Camp MO. I was 23 before I graduated from CMSU in Warrensburg and made the leap to Nashville with Leroy. Haha. That was in 1984-85 and I stayed there until 2008. I left Nashville and came back to Missouri because of some health issues. I had a very large family (6 kids) and we lost my dad and three of my brothers within the span of a year-and-a-half last July so my mom really has needed me. My oldest brother took over my dad's grocery store in Cole camp for the last twenty years but sold it recently and bought a place on the lake that I know is very close to you. He’s 12 miles from Eldon. I’m going to try and come see you there on July 11. Maybe one day we can hook up and catch some crappie. LOL but I won't make this note any longer than it already is. I just wanted to let you know what a great fan I am of your families. Love your mom, I love Darren and there is no finer voice than Jamie's as far as I'm concerned in the male bluegrass genre and no finer than yours in the female genre category.Feel free to send me a short note back if you like inclined otherwise I hope to meet you one day on the lake take great care. I’d love to visit in person with you one day anger over all of our coincidences throughout the past 30 years and our Nashville acquaintances.

If you have time sometime while we're in this quarantine check out my Facebook page all the way near the bottom folks had asked me a lot about my Nashville days and so some of my activities are there. Hope you get on the road soon I know it's unlike you to sit around. Also congratulations on your Grand ole opry induction. Sincerely Cliff Gerken. Text 417-231-5212. Email Cwgerken@yahoo.com.

This is way, way too long. But thank you if you made it to the end. Looking forward to running into you soon since we live so close now.


Cliff Gerken

p.s. I’m going to send in another post a photo my nephew caught a few weeks ago on Truman lake. Show it to her and tell him he’s got some competition across the waters. LOL
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