"Merle Kilgore was an original. He was a friend, a mentor, a singer, a songwriter, my manager, and the
most trustworthy person I ever have known. Merle was a storyteller and could tell
a story like nobody's business." - Hank Williams Jr.
Nashville, TN (May 25, 2017) - Mark Rickert, author of THESE ARE MY PEOPLE (the Merle Kilgore Story), will make two national radio appearances to promote the book's release. On Sunday, May 28, Mark will guest host alongside DJ Doc Walker live from Graceland at 3 p.m. CT on Sirius XM's ELVIS Radio Channel 19, and on Tuesday, May 30, he will join WSM-AM's Devon O'Day on the Nashville Today Show at 5:15 p.m. CT. Rickert, the grandson of Country legend Kilgore, will chat about his book, which offers up fascinating and entertaining stories about his relative and Merle's many famous friends, including Elvis. "Daddy Merle loved The King - and he appreciated irony," notes Mark. "He'd really get a kick out of me appearing on the radio to share the Kilgore story."
That story is well-known to Country music insiders. Merle got his start in the business at the age of 14, carrying Hank Williams Sr.'s guitar. He co-wrote "Ring Of Fire" with June Carter Cash, managed Hank Jr. for more than two decades, and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His mercurial wit and temperament led him through an ever-evolving life that included stints as a recording star, DJ, song-plugger, promotion man, music executive, entertainer on the Louisiana Hayride and the Grand Ole Opry, and more. THESE ARE MY PEOPLE (WriteLife Publishing) is available for purchase now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and offers insights into the private lives of Merle and his people. Names like Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, Faron Young, Webb Pierce and Bocephus populated "Daddy Merle's" tales, and Rickert reveals many of those incredible stories here for the very first time, along with more than 20 unique black and white photos.
Early readers are saying:
"Merle Kilgore seemed larger than life. Nobody knew that better than Mark Rickert, his grandson - who captures the true essence of Merle in this book."
- Chuck Dauphin, BILLBOARD
"Mark's book is so alive it's like a surprise gift 'visit' with Merle. He has captured the intense character of a man so full of life and love for music and people and the remarkable story that took him from a quiet life in Shreveport and propelled him into the larger-than- life personality so beloved by the entire Country music family."
- Maggie & Alton Warwick, Louisiana Hayride
"It's rare that you find a story as interesting as Merle's. I've got to read it again."
- Ron Huntsman, President Huntsman Inc.
"We had a very close relationship," Rickert recalls. "I listened to his stories for hours on end, summer after summer. He was a character and his friends were superstars. His was a story I always believed should be told." Mark has told it here and gives readers an engaging book, presented in a unique format.
Mark Rickert grew up in a Country music household, just a few miles from the Opryland USA Theme Park and the Grand Ole Opry, and only a block from the home of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager. Mark's father worked as a Nashville tour guide, but it was his grandfather, Merle Kilgore, who showed him the backstage side of the business. Before publishing his first novel, THE TONE POET, Mark served eight years as a photo-journalist for the U.S. Army Reserve, spending a year of that service in Baghdad, Iraq, writing for military publications. In 2008, he earned a Master's in English Literature from Middle Tennessee State University. Today, he works as chief of public affairs for an Army recruiting battalion in Annapolis, Maryland.
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