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VOL. 36 | NO. 5 | Friday, February 3, 2012

Walker-Cunningham's 'purpose': Deliver country music to Europe

By Tim Ghianni

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British native Trisha Walker-Cunningham has for almost three decades been harvesting the Nashville talent pool and booking them for performances in England and on the continent.

The Nashville-based talent buyer and festival organizer’s resume includes:

•Booking Porter Wagoner and His All Girl Band for a tour of the U.K. and Ireland

•Putting Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash together on stages in London, Paris, Ireland and Switzerland

•Introducing Kathy Mattea to the U.K. by putting her as the opener for Randy Travis at the Royal Albert Hall

•Taking Reba McEntire to Europe for the first time

•Organizing many tours of the U.K. and Ireland by Johnny Cash and the Carter Family

•Setting up a U.K. and Ireland tour for Buck Owens

•Organizing six years worth of Emmylou Harris tours with the Nash Ramblers across Europe

•Organizing George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s last European venture.

She came to Nashville after working with Mervyn Conn on the International Festival of Country Music and says she knows for a fact that Europe needs to be tapped by artists.

When she landed here, she wasn’t sure what she was going to do. Then she realized “I had a purpose… I’m going to try to bring as much country music over to Europe as I can.

“I’ve been blessed to be able to take so many artists to Europe for the first time.”

She notes that many of the most successful artists in England and in Europe are people like Hamilton who took the time to explore the market when at the peak of popularity and continues to nurture a strong fan base.

Her best friend, Billie Jo Spears, who died of cancer in December, “never stopped touring” England and Europe after first going there at her 1970s U.S. peak.

Because of her devotion to the British fans who adored her, a Country Music People story in the 1990s dubbed Spears “The Queen Mother of Country Music.”

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