. . . or Reba and me? Here we are when she was 31, reining “Female Vocalist of the Year” and I, her 24 year old former Nashville agent backstage at The Portsmouth Music Hall in New Hampshire, It was a 2 pm Sunday Matinee “sold out” show. By 5pm or so, the show was over and we went out dining with the band and promoter enjoying fresh Maine lobsters & libations at a local eatery.
Backstory . . when I first listened to my advanced copy of her new MCA album and learned that the lead single would also be the title of the album “Whoever’s in New England”, I took notice. The song referenced the city of Boston (and heartbreak). As a young agent working diligently to make a name for myself in the crowded Nashville music community, I knew that it would really be a big ‘feather in my cap’ if I were to book her a concert date in Boston to help promote her new record company’s objectives of continued major radio airplay and increase her talent fees whereby enriching us financially at the agency.
The following day upon entering my office, I picked up the phone and called the program director at WBOS, the big cheese radio station in Boston. During our conversation, it was suggested that I phone Boston City Hall and speak with a gal named Amy in the “Parks and Recreation Department” who was planning a “Concert on the Commons” concert series of popular artists of the day. Needless to say, not only did I secure a booking for she, but also Ronnie Milsap (another agency client of ours) as the headliner of the double bill.
Wikipedia, (for what it’s worth) states, “the song was considered to be one of her signature, breakthough songs. . . . The album’s phenomenal success proved to be a turning point in McEntire’s career. It was the singer’s first platinum record, and solidified her new superstardom when she was named the ‘Entertainer of the Year’ by the Country Music Association in autumn 1986”. A few months later, she won the Grammy Award for “Best Female Country Artist” (Note: her only solo country Grammy ever in her career). But hey, TV, Broadway and all of the rest isn’t so bad either.
Thank you Reba for the opportunity to have been a part of the early days. You’ve done well for yourself.