I can never fathom the strange symmetry behind celebrity deaths, but here's another one: Bonnie Owens, who was married to Buck Owens, died on Tuesday after a long struggle with Alzheimers. A month or so earlier, Owens himself passed on.
Casual fans might not be aware of Owens, but hard-core heads know Owens and the crucial role she played as both singer and muse to two of the genre's greatest songwriters, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. She was married to both of them, and the two men openly acknowledged how important Owens had been to their development as musicians and stars. Even after Haggard and Owens split, the pair continued to tour together. "Just Between The Two of Us," a great break-up record in the Conway Twitty-Loretta Lynn mold, was a massive hit for Haggard and Owens in 1964 and played no small role in Haggard's ascension to country superstar. Owens, whose voice sounded somewhat like Lynn's, was a crucial architect of the Bakersfield Sound that bred Haggard and Owens, but all of the solo work is currently out-of-print, at least as far as I can tell (let me know if you know otherwise.)
So raise a glass to a great country gal, ya'll.