Taking Names: Paisley endows scholarship at Tennessee university

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Brad Paisley’s country music career started in earnest at Belmont University. He’s taking steps to make sure someone else gets the same chance.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Paisley has endowed a scholarship at the Nashville, Tenn., school’s Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, where he graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration after majoring in music business.

The West Virginia native got his first taste of Nashville at Belmont and met many of the friends who would become collaborators over the course of his career. He’s gone on to win Grammy Awards and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year in a hit-filled career that’s taken him to the pinnacle of country music.

Mr. Paisley said in a news release that “this is the least I can do in appreciation.”

The scholarship will go to a deserving student with a demonstrated need.

Cult favorite author Crews dies in Florida at age 76

Author Harry Crews, a hell-raiser and cult favorite whose hard and crazy times inspired his extreme but comic tales of the rural South, died Wednesday in Gainesville, Fla. He was 76 and had suffered from neuropathy, his ex-wife, Sally Ellis Crews, said.

“He had been very ill,” she told the Associated Press on Thursday. “In a way it was kind of a blessing. He was in a lot of pain.”

Thanks in part to motorcycle accidents and nerve damage in his feet, he had walked with a cane in recent years. But his career remained active. An excerpt from a forthcoming memoir had been published in the Georgia Review and there was talk of re-issuing his books, many of them out of print, in digital editions.

He wasn’t widely known, but those who knew him - whether personally or through his books - pledged eternal devotion. A wild man and drunken sage in the tradition of Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson, he wrote bloodied, freakish stories drawn directly from his own experiences, including boxing and karate. Mr. Crews sported a tattoo with a line from an E.E. Cummings poem, “How do you like your blue-eyed boy Mister Death,” on his right bicep under the tattoo of a skull.

“My nose has been broken I think six times,” he said in an undated interview with the online magazine Vice.

“For a long time I never knew which side of my face it was gonna be on from year to year. But I liked boxing for a long, long time and I like karate and I like blood sports. I like a lot of things that are really not fashionable and really not very nice and which finally, if you’ve got any sense at all, you know, are totally indefensible. Anybody who is going to defend much of the way I’ve spent my life is mad.”

Mr. Crews wrote 17 novels, including “Feast of Snakes” and “The Knockout Artist,” numerous short stories and novellas, and the memoir “A Childhood.” He also taught graduate and undergraduate fiction writing workshops at the University of Florida from 1968 until his retirement in 1997.

Jerry Lee Lewis ties knot for seventh time

Rock ‘n’ roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis has married for a seventh time in Mississippi, and the new bride is his cousin’s ex-wife.

The Adams County circuit clerk’s office said the marriage license shows Mr. Lewis was married March 9 to Judith Ann Coghlan Brown in Natchez, Miss. Mr. Lewis, 76, is famous for hits such as “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”

The bride, who is in her early 60s, was previously married to one of Mr. Lewis‘ cousins and was close to his daughter, Phoebe Lewis, said the bride’s sister, Carolyn Coghlan Gremillion of Madison. She said Ms. Brown started working for Mr. Lewis several years ago as his caretaker.

Mrs. Gremillion said the wedding was small. The only guests were Mrs. Gremillion and her husband, and Lewis‘ sister and her husband.

“She’s real happy,” Mrs. Gremillion told the Associated Press on Friday. “They have a really very loving relationship. I guess she’s probably really taken better care of him than anybody.”

Mrs. Gremillion said Mr. Lewis had a wild reputation when he was younger, but added, “He’s a very different man now. You know how people change as they grow older. He’s a very spiritual man.”

Ms. Brown previously was married to Lewis‘ cousin Rusty. They divorced in 2010. Rusty’s older sister, Myra Gale Brown, married Mr. Lewis in 1957 when she was 13 and was his third wife. That marriage caused shock waves for Mr. Lewis‘ career.

His last marriage ended in 2004 when he divorced Kerrie McCarver after 20 years together.

Mr. Lewis‘ memoir is due to be published by It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, in 2013.

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