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Top-Rail News Flash 13 June 2019 * Mike Johnson Celebrates 38 Years of Music Productions!

Posted by [email protected] on June 14, 2019 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Howdy Top-Rail Bunch! Hope everyone is well, or as well as one can be under our current weather conditions and political climate. Not going there!

   In our last Top-Rail News Flash we provided a brief update on our doings, with a promise of details to come. So, here goes. Seventy-three years ago on Thursday, 13 June 1946, Mike Johnson came into the world. Thirty-eight years ago in April 1981, he went to Nashville for his first professional recording session at Jim Maxwell’s Globe Recording Studio! Thirty-two years ago, on 13 June 1987, he created Roughshod Records for his country songs, You and Me Records, and You and Me Music Publishing for his non-country songs. And today, 13 June 2019, for its 32nd label anniversary, he released a You and Me Records 2-song CD Single featuring him singing two of his “Roger Miller” style songs; “Cockco Doodle Doo!” on track 1, and “Preposterous” on track 2. Miller’s release of “King of the Road” back in 1965 while he was in high school was the spark that inspired him to try his hand at songwriting. It’s now available at our Roughshod Records Web Store and you can hear, [but not download] both songs on our You and Me Records Website! Incidentally, we pay the postage on single-item orders in the United States. That is, if you only purchase one item, we’ll cover the postage.

Yep, that’s Mike on the CD Cover in 1972 on his 1968 Kawasaki A7SS Avenger that he bought brand new in Yokosuka, Japan while he was in the Navy. Some of you may remember that bike and a few others that he had back then. Following his active duty discharge from the USS Constellation CVA-64 in February 1969, Mike packed his saddle bags and his Winchester Model 94 Carbine, and headed out from San Diego, California in March 1969 on a grueling 6-day winter trip home, fighting freezing cold and rain in Southern California, snows in Arizona and New Mexico, and fierce cross-winds in West and Central Texas! The weather eased up around Dallas with mainly blistering cold to contend with for the remainder of his trip, with one mishap in Macon, Georgia, before he arrived in Washington DC. He over-shot his turn and tried to make it anyway and the bike slide off the shoulder and into a ditch. He landed on his head and saw the bike bounce out of the ditch and fall. Fortunately he was wearing a helmet. Several cars slowed down to view him but kept going. One car stopped and an elderly lady rolled her window down, shook her finger at him and rolled the window back up and drove off. The bike wasn’t seriously damaged and after resting he continued his journey. Mike left his 1958 Oldsmobile in the care of a Navy buddy back in San Diego, who in turn, loaned it to another Navy buddy who went AWOL. The car was never recovered!

“Mike Johnson Celebrates 38 Years of Music Productions! 1981 to 2019”

Our DVD “Mike Johnson Celebrates 38 Years of Music Productions!” is done and is also available from our Roughshod Records Web Store. This is an audio/visual production that features a photograph and a song excerpt from all 73 releases Mike has produced from May 1981 to June 2019. It contains seven chapters that you can switch to and from, with a brief commentary providing a little insight on each chapter. Chapter 1-Introduction; Chapter 2-Pre-Roughshod Releases; Chapter 3-Roughshod Cassettes; Chapter 4-Roughshod CDs 1-40; Chapter 5-Roughshod CDs 41-54; Chapter 6-You and Me CDs 1-6; and Chapter 7-Dedication. A word of CAUTION for customers: This DVD is NTSC [US] formatted and burned on 8.5GB Double Layer discs and might not play on DVD Players and Computers manufactured more than 5 years ago. It will definitely play on Windows 7 machines. A Youtube version of the DVD is currently on our YouTube Channel. Though Mike has been very busy musically, he always had a full-time job and set aside portions of his salary to fund everything.

Roughshod Records Web Store 

Bill Gibson, a noted local musician and friend had his 1966 custom built Batmobile damaged while on his way to a local benefit show in which the vehicle would be featured back in May 2019. Bill is a metal worker and built the car himself, and it even has its own Batcave. He also enjoys traveling on his several Harleys, a particular favorite being his “Then Came Bronson” Harley Sportster.” Mike was also a fan of that TV show starring Michael Parks, and put on just as much mileage as they did when he was biking.

Mike’s long time best friend and old trucking buddy, Jimmy Rae, is back home in Virginia. He’d spent the past month traveling back and forth to Florida to tend to his terminally ill mother who was on her last leg. He was with her when she passed on the night of the 30th of May 2019. Jim was also a Roughshod Records staff member back in the late 1980s.

We recently received a notice from Paul Lawrence that they buried his brother Ted on 1 June 2019 after a long bout of illness and chemotherapy. Paul and Ted are two of three sons of Jack and Ida Lawrence, founders of Lawrence Record Shop on Lower Broadway in Nashville. It was just a couple doors down from Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop. When Mike finished his 1981 recording session in Nashville, he made his rounds armed with demos of his upcoming new 45rpm “King of the Fish.” Impressed, Jack Lawrence became the first retailer to order and stock the new single, and they continued to carry each of Mike’s releases, right up until the store was closed a few years ago. Ted and Mike were drinking buddies during the 1980s. When Mike wasn’t performing in one of the local haunts the two of them were bar-hopping up and down Lower Broadway. Sometime during Mike’s long trucking hiatus, Ted sustained a serious injury that got progressively worse. Paul had lost his childhood sweetheart and wife of 45 years back in 2013, I believe, and that took a great toll on him. Around 2016, his mother Ida Lawrence instructed Paul to close the store and Johnny Cash museum founder Bill Miller acquired the building. We sure had a lot of good times back then!

Rocky Guttmann, another best friend, informed us that Fiona’s Irish Pub in Alexandria, Virginia suddenly closed its doors this month. Mike had been there for Rocky’s show last weekend on the 8th of June and everything seemed fine. Rocky has been one of their featured headliners for many years. Martin, the owner, had just opened another Fiona’s in Crystal City, Virginia back in April 2019. Now both are closed with no explanation as yet. Bummer, it was a really nice place. No worries though, cause Rocky is a well respected and sought after musician, and will have no trouble picking up another venue. Some of you might remember that a few months back Mike re-mastered Rocky’s 1993 Cassette and produced it on CD. Well we finally managed to wade through all the hoop-la, medical issues, and drama, and posted a promotion video on our YouTube Channel, featuring song a excerpt of each song. 

“Long Way Home… from Cassette to CD!” Rocky & Harry

For some time now Bob Everhart, president of the National Traditional Country Music Association based in Anita, Iowa, has been informing and reminding all NTCMA members that the Old-Time Country Music Festival will NOT be held in LeMars, Iowa this year. This is about the fourth time in its 44-year history that the week-long event was hit with an outrageous fee hike. It appears that the fair board demanded this year and next year’s rental fee up front! So this year the 44th Annual Old Time Country Music Festival will be held at the Christensen Field House in Fremont, Nebraska on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th of October 2019. So mark your calendars if you’re planning on attending. Prior festivals were a week long and had 10 music stages, whereas this one will have no more than 4 stages! Attendance has been slowly declining because the members, some of whom have been coming since the first one in 1976, are dead or dying off. Mike has performed at 9 of those festivals over the years. It’s a truly sad thing, as we remember when Bob started this festival back in 1976. It was attended by musicians and fans literally from around the globe who shared Everhart’s love and desire to preserve and promote traditional country, bluegrass, gospel, and American roots music. The naysayers said it wouldn’t last, that the event would eventually turn to modern music! Well Bob has had the last laugh! No modern music here! Good thing those doubters didn’t try holding their breaths or go on a hunger strike!

Mike talked with Terry Smith a few months ago and was stunned to see that he was home and was enjoying some extended down time from his music touring. We were glad to hear that because ever since he retired from his teaching job around 1994 he had been going almost non-stop on the music circuit, putting in hours and miles similar to Mike’s when he was trucking! Terry songs have been very good to him over the years, with numerous known and unknown artists covering them, starting with Johnny Cash recording “Far Side Banks of Jordan” back in 1976. He’s back on the road again, and working on a new release.

When Mike Johnson was publishing his quarterly Top-Rail Chatter Magazine, he made friends with a number of other publishers around the country. With some of them, like Allen Foster’s “Songwriters Monthly” and Ralph Compton’s “Hard Country Beat” they even swapped subscriptions. Allen folded his long running publication and tried to retire, but he just couldn’t get away from writing. He did some free lancing, and lately informed us that “Most of my writing is for BestReviews, part of the Tribune family. It’s not entertainment, but they treat me right, so I’m happy. And I get to write every day. How have you been?” 

The Jacob Austin Band out of Texas is pretty well known on the bluegrass-gospel circuit. His dad, a member of the band, has been home from hospitalization since the 23rd of May 2019. He had succumbed to some type of stomach disorder that drained his energy and kept him from eating. Last report is that he’s doing well on a careful diet and medication. We wish him well. James Adelsberger met and performed with him at the 2015 Old-Time Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa. At the 2016 LeMars Festival, the fantastic mandolin player performed with Mike and James a number of times, and again with Mike when he returned for the 2017 festival. You’ll see a number of videos of us performing together on our YouTube Channel.

Do you ever get distracted when you’re searching for something for an immediate project you’re working on and you come across something that you’d forgotten about and find yourself going down memory lane? Well had a lot of that going on this past year or so. While searching our video archives for some specific footage, Mike came across some of the Eastern Shore Opry shows he had filmed back in the 1990s. Home based in Crisfield, Maryland, the Eastern Shore Opry was founded by Pat, Trudy, and Patrick Costello, also known as the “God Knows We Tried String Band.” Mike was a member of their Opry cast for a couple of years and met and interacted with a number of known and unknown musicians. The following clip is the opening of a September 1996 show that occurred just after the sudden passing of Bill Monroe, better known as the Father of Bluegrass. Charlie Sizemore, a gracious person, who mentored under Monroe, was the headliner that and Mike was the show’s M/C that night. 

Charlie Sizemore remembers Bill Monroe 14 September 1996

Our friend Aharon is enjoying his retirement from his dry cleaning business, though he goes there a couple of times a week to do shoe repairs. Mike is doing well and still undergoing post-stroke follow-up treatments. I reckon I’ve said a Texas mouthful in this issue and should wrap it up. We wish all of you good health, and continued good health and happiness. And for you music road warriors still out there plying your trade, safe journeys and keep it between the ditches. We might even cross trails along the way.

Once again, our YouTube Channel contains over 940 videos of various lengths with over 15 Playlists to simplify some of your viewing experience. No click-bait, no blogs, and definitely no go-fund-me-money-begging requests! Our Roughshod Records Website has about 10 pages chocked full of music, label history, a detailed discography, web store, and tons of photographs! Check it out! 

Adios amigos, from myself and birthday boy, Mike Johnson!

Joe Arnold, manager Roughshod Records

Top-Rail News Flash * 1 June 2019 brief updates

Posted by [email protected] on June 14, 2019 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Howdy Top-Rail Bunch!

We hope everyone is doing well. Especially our friends who have been repeatedly hammered with bad weather. This is just a very brief heads-up to let you know that we're still kicking and have a new CD Single from You and Me Records that will release on 13 June 2019, the label's 32nd anniversary. On that day it will also be available from our Roughshod Records Web Store.

Roughshod Records Web Store * "Cockco Doodle Doo!"

We are currently in the last stages of a DVD/Video that chronicles 73 releases produced by Mike Johnson since 1981. More details and other doings in our next News Flash after the 13th.

For those of you who like reading about some of our country music pioneers of yore, check out Diane Diekman's Country Music Newsletter. It's always loaded with great stories, often from the original sources. Diane, a former Navy Greenshirt, is also the biographer for Faron Young and Marty Robbins. 

Diane Diekman's Country Music Newsletter 

That thing on Mike's heart is still there. It hasn't moved, grown, or shrank, but the VA doctors are still trying to identify it and what, if anything, to do about it. More follow-ups and tests to come. Other than a couple of interrupting fevers, he's doing okay.

Adios from Mike Johnson and myself! Keep it Country, and keep it between the ditches!

Joe Arnold, manager

Roughshod Records * You and Me Records

P.O. Box 100933 Arlington, Va. 22210" target="_blank">" target="_blank">" target="_blank">

Year 2018 Update!

Posted by [email protected] on January 5, 2019 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Top-Rail News Flash * 30 December 2018

Mike Johnson & James Adelsberger Music "into American Music History Again!" Video

Howdy Top-Rail Bunch!

   As the year 2018 comes to an end, I'd like to wish all of you an upcoming happy, safe, and satisfying 2019 New Year! What an interesting year 2018 has been. Particularly the onslaught of bad weather all over the country which put a damper on my road trips to the Carolinas and Florida! Having crisscrossed this country in a semi for nearly 20-years, on all kinds of roads, and in all kinds of weather, I am once again reminded that the old adage, "Don't mess with Mother Nature!" rings true. For those who have survived, and/or lost family members, friends, pets, and property, we here at Roughshod Records offer our since condolences and wish you a speedy recovery. A number of my friends also suffered some heavy losses as well.

   I'm happy to announce that I finally finished editing the March 2018 Recorded Sound Reference Center video that I shot at the Library of Congress of them accepting our newest music productions for inclusion in their permanent music collection. It also features "Juarez" a song that I had our gifted musician James Adelsberger compose for his 2015 Instrumental CD "Country Sounds." The presentation video is now posted on our YouTube Channel, so check it out.

Mike Johnson & James Adelsberger: Into American Music History Again!

   Unfortunately, Reference Librarian Janet McKee had retired about a year or so ago, but Reference Librarian Bryan Cornell was still there and graciously accepted the new additions. For those of you who aren't aware, Janet McKee spearheaded collecting my music with the acquisition of 114 of my yodeling songs and my first two CD releases in April 2007.

   Though I stopped doing live performances in the Washington/Northern Virginia area in January 2017, my production works are keeping me quite busy. Among them is preparing music, videos, and photographs from my vast catalogs for the Library of Congress, my long overdue art book, re-printing some of my out-of-print novels, and finishing and publishing James Adelsberger's first song book. Not only does James play over a dozen instruments, he transcribes notated music, composes film scores, and wrote the fantastic fiddle parts for his classical violinist friend, Michael Romans, to record for our CD releases!

   Also in March I produced Dale Heeren's very first CD for his Kitty Creek Records, and he has been very excited that it has taken off like hot-cakes with lots of interviews and sales! It's also available on CD Baby and I produced and posted a promotional video on my YouTube Channel.

"They Call Me a Weekend Cowboy"

Dale Heeren: They Call Me a Weekend Cowboy

   Having recovered substantially well from the May 2018 series of mini-strokes that affected my balance and vision, I can drive my car again. In September I produced a CD for my long-time local music friend, Rocky Guttmann, called "Long Way Home... from Cassette to CD." This wonderful collection of songs were written and originally produced on cassette in 1993 by Rocky Guttmann and Harry Pritchett. Rocky's wife Mary Ann is enduring a painful recovery from a knee replacement surgery. Also in September, the last of the Bell women, my aunt Johnnie Lou Burbank passed away shortly after her 87th birthday. She was my mother's younger sister, and third of four siblings, with a brother as the sole survivor.

   I'd been toying with the idea all year, and finally decided, better late than never and released a 2-song CD single on You and Me Records on 13 December 2018. Short version... You and Me Records was created in 1987, along with Roughshod Records, for my non-country and border-line country songs. Unfortunately a lot of those songs were released by Roughshod with a country twist. When I signed James Adelsberger in 2012 his musical versatility paved the way for You and Me releases and we produced four CDs, one of them, "Country Sounds" which received the 2016 Instrumental CD of the Year Award from the Rural Roots Music Commission. Overwhelmed with projects and not having enough time for an album I decided on a 2-song single and titled it "SideKicks Antics" featuring one song each from mine and James' Roughshod CDs. This 5th You and Me production is now available at our Roughshod Records Web Store with a quick and easy checkout platform.

   My good friend Aharon, finally got to retire at the end of the summer when he leased his dry cleaning/shoe repair business to the former manager of the dry cleaning plant that did his customers' laundry. Aharon had been repairing my boots since 1995 and spends a few hours a day helping the new owner learn the ropes before leaving for good! Frankly, he's a workaholic so I don't think he wants to make the break.

   I spent Christmas with my dear friends Rocky and Mary Ann and visited my good friend Linda Caldwell at her Assisted Living Home in Fredericksburg. She owned the Coffee House of Occoquan and hosted scores of musicians for almost two decades. It would be nice if some of you would drop in for a visit. I finally got to see my old music buddy Bill Gibson [Tiffany Tavern] perform at Seibel's and Brenda Weitzel and Bert Huser [Coffee House] making up for lost time performing at JWs, as well as semi-retired Rocky Guttmann making the 100-mile trip to perform at Fiona's. Sorry guys, I've been so back-logged that I haven't finished editing recent videos of you that I filmed.

   Oh, that brings up another point. My YouTube Channel initially started out to showcase my music, then became an extension of my out-of-circulation [1995-2004] Top-Rail Chatter Magazine to showcase the many talented musicians I've met, taped, and or, performed with over the years. My Channel has over 920 videos, which includes about 15 Playlists to make it easy to find some of you. If I posted videos of you performing, please feel free to share the links so that your family, friends, and other contacts can enjoy your performances. I always send the links to all of my contacts, but that's only a drop in the bucket compared to what your collective involvement can do! Share the ride!

   On a somber note, the National Traditional Country Music Association's 44th Annual Music Festival will be held in Fremont, Nebraska for 2019. The Plymouth County Fairground Board in LeMars, Iowa doubled their fees for 2019 and wanted it all in advance, so NTCMA President Bob Everhart found a place in nearby Nebraska. The long-standing week-long event has been scaled back to four days. Sadly a lot of our members and supporters who have been coming since day one, are dying off and new blood is only trickling into this organization and festival event that started in Avoca, Iowa over four decades ago. We most recently lost Rick Andersen, a beloved person, harmonica player and guitarist, who performed with his wife Harriett on the upright Bass, for decades, and have backed me on stage a time or two.

   A big highlight for me this month was receiving a Christmas Card from my long-time Nashville friends, John and Lois Shepherd! I met them at Millie & Al's Bar, which was next door to the Ryman Auditorium [now Legend's On the Corner] during Easter week in 1981 following my first official Nashville recording session at Jim Maxwell's Globe Recording Studio. They graciously shared their stage with me and have done so many times since as I became a Nashville regular throughout the 1980s and 1990s! Long-standing Icons at Robert's Western Wear on Lower Broadway, I was so thrilled to know that this dynamic duo is still around! During that week I also became friends with Robert Moore, and performed at his Rhinestone Cowboy Honky Tonk years before he opened Robert's Western Wear. Ah, Lower Broadway was such an exciting place back in the 1980s and '90s!

   Not so long ago I discovered that CD Baby was stealing my SoundExchange royalties!!! When I confronted them they said they saw I had "unpaid" SoundExchange royalties and decided to collect them for me! Never bothered to tell me, though! And, of course, take their cut. That didn't fly too well since I was already a SoundExchange member long before ever placing any of my music on CD Baby! Hmm, let me explain... SoundExchange collects money from digital streaming platforms, takes their cut, and gives you the rest. Simple. CD Baby collects your royalties from SoundExchange, take their cut, and gives you the rest! See anything wrong with this picture? I ordered CD Baby to return all my royalties they had collected from SoundExchange and warned them that I would be keeping a close eye on them in the future. I also ripped SoundExchange for having "unpaid" royalties in my active account, and allowing CD Baby to collect then without bothering to consult me! Their excuse was a glitch in their system! Still, to this day, neither of them have answered my request to see a copy of their written agreement authoring the collection/payment of royalties.

   This is also one of reasons I haven't placed any new music on CD Baby, and created my own web store. I noticed this transgression when I was checking my CD Baby account and also noticed that CD Baby had deceptively listed SoundExchange as a sales outlet in its Opt-In Section. When I challenged that, they removed it and placed it in their sign-up policy whereby they would automatically collect royalties for their non-SoundExchange CD Baby members, and probably unsuspecting SoundExchange members on CD Baby! Because of my many projects, I had become a little lax in my routine monitoring of my music, and look what happened!

   Also be forewarned that CD Baby dumped their YouTube Monetization Agreement with Rumblefish Music Licensing and has taken over that licensing themselves. Following a recently posted promotional video of the songs on Dale Heeren's CD, I immediately received copyright claims from YouTube informing me that CD Baby had lodged a copyright claim on the song content. I informed them that I was the CD producer and have a written contract with Dale Heeren that authorizes me to create promotion material of his songs. CD Baby insisted their claim was valid and refused to remove it. Their arrogant refusal to acknowledge my valid contractual rights made me contact Dale, explain to him what was happening, and instructed him to opt-out of CD Baby's YouTube Monetization licensing. He did and the copyright claims disappeared from my his video promotions. A little while back a similar thing happened with a video I posted of me and James listening to my Texas friend PJ Price on my car's CD player! At that time Rumblefish was still monitoring YouTube videos and when I explained that my video did not contain an uploaded track, they watched it and removed their claim.

   The U.S. Congress recently passed the 2018 Music Modernization Act, a "long-overdue" Bill that is designed to "guarantee" that all music creators are paid their just royalties by the digital music streaming services that use their music. The Statutory Royalty Rate is about 9.5 cents [varies with song length] and platforms like Spotify, for years, have been paying music creators only a percentage of a penny per stream! [Taylor Swift's law suit against Spotify] Some of them even had the audacity to claim they can't afford to pay royalties even though they charge their listeners a subscription fee!!!

   SoundExchange was created by the Copyright Tribunal over a decade ago to collect and distribute streaming royalties. My experience with them has been very rocky. And they still don't seem to have their act together. For, one, royalty payments to them by streaming platforms was voluntary, and every time SoundExchange updated their systems, my music data got purged from their system and I've had to constantly re-submit it. Frankly, since their payout is so miniscule they are on my low priority list. And they still don't have a platform whereby you can see that they have the current listing of all of your songs in their catalog, like you can with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

   Even though the 2018 Music Modernization Act makes it mandatory that streaming platforms pay up, I can't help but wonder how long it will take before it turns into an exclusive bankroll for the big music producers and creators and once again leave us little guys on the short end of the music pole! Everybody wants to use our music for free, or pay us as little as possible!

So, that's it. I hope you had a wonderful, warm, and satisfying Christmas, and once again, I'd like to wish you a bright, safe, and wonderful New Year!

NEW ADDITIONS to the Recorded Sound Reference Center's permanent music collection:


RCD51-13082016-1 "Let Me Die In a Honky Tonk!" - Mike Johnson & spec sheet

RCD52-13082016-2 "My Heart Still Sees" - James Adelsberger & spec sheet

RCD54-13062017-3 "Covering James Adelsberger" Mike Johnson & spec sheet


YCD2-13062017-1 "Going Places" - James Adelsberger & spec sheet

YCD3-13062017-2 "Here We Go Again" - James Adelsberger & spec sheet


Mike Johnson & James Adelsberger 2016 Lifetime Achievement & CD of the Year Awards

Mike Johnson & James Adelsberger 2016 Main Stage performance with Terry Smith & Bill Lear


2016 Mike Johnson Old Time Country Music Festival Award Folio - 4-page

2016 James Adelsberger Old Time Country Music Festival Award Folio - 4-page

2016 Roughshod Records SideKicks Old Time Country Music Festival Award Folio - 4-page


Mike Johnson 2002 Hall of Fame Award

James Adelsberger 2015 Pure Country CD of the Year Award

James Adelsberger 2016 Instrumental CD of the Year Award

Mike Johnson 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award

Mike Johnson 2017 Legendary Honky Tonk CD of the Year Award


Mike Johnson & James Adelsberger 2016 Music Awards presented by Bob Everhart

Mike Johnson, James Adelsberger, Bill Lear and Terry Smith 2016 Main Stage Performance

James Adelsberger meets Grand Ole Opry Legend Claude Gray 2016 Main Stage rear

Adios Amigos from Mike Johnson!

Roughshod Records * You and Me Records * P.O. Box 100933 Arlington Va. 22210

Copyright 2018 Roughshod Records * All Rights Reserved

Into American Music History Again!

Posted by [email protected] on April 30, 2018 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Howdy Top-Rail Bunch!

   Looks like Spring has finally sprung upon us. Here's just a short recap and/or update on what's been going on around here at Roughshod Records. Since January 2018, Mike Johnson has been rather busy trying to keep up editing and archiving his huge video footage collection. A number of new edits have been added to our YouTube Channel, which now hosts about 893 video clips. Incidentally, if you happen to be any of our videos, be sure and share them with your family, friends, and other contacts.

Veteran's Affairs Hospital Drama:

   Earlier during the year Mike had a dramatic experience at the VA Hospital while undergoing a heart scan. The procedure had to be terminated because he developed a severe allergic reaction to the iodine in the contrast dye. This was a first, and he put off any more tests until about a month ago. There were some issues with the monitoring set-up procedure, and after about four failed attempts, Mike pulled the plug on that and got dressed! He told them there would be no more tests for at least a year, if ever!

   Make no mistake about it, Mike has always received excellent care and treatment from the VA, and this incident in no way diminishes his feelings about them. In fact, he has several upcoming appointments which he will most definitely keep. Unlike most, Mike is not afraid to speak up and cut things off, if he perceives something isn't working the way it should.

Other Happenings:   

   On a recent visit to see Linda Caldwell, Floyd Harrison, Editor of the Lorton Valley Star tagged along for a surprise visit. He lost his driver's license. Linda owned the former Coffee House of Occoquan and now resides in Heartfields of Fredericksburg, a Senior Assisted Living Home. For nearly 20-years her establishment hosted scores of musicians from near and far to perform as featured guests on Friday nights, and her Saturday night Open Mics. Floyd was usually on hand to photograph, interview, and feature a number of them in his Lorton Valley Star, our own Mike Johnson, included.

   Mike's best friend Rocky Guttmann, one of the most successful solo acts in Northern Virginia has semi-retired from music to spend more time with his wife, Mary Anne, and the grandkids. But he still does every other weekend at Fiona's Irish Pub in Alexandria, and is building up a following in the Richmond area, where he now resides.

  Mike's veteran buddy Roy Jobber is out of the hospital and recovering from an infected foot injury. Mike and Roy served on a local police department during the 1970s. Roy is also one of the label's music sponsors. Leo Maimone, a childhood Boy Scout friend from the 1950s is currently in the hospital undergoing treatments for a reoccurring hernia incident. Mike turned a couple of Leo's poems into songs and recorded them. "Pigtails and Bubblegum" and "Liquid Hell." "Liquid Hell" was also recorded by James Adelsberger, who laid some exciting foot-stomping tracks to it. It was released on James' "Old Time Country Songs Are They Really Dead and Gone?" CD in 2014 and received the Rural Roots Music Commission's "Pure Country CD of the Year" Award in 2015 at the Old Time Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa.

Kitty Creek Records Production:

   Mike produced this new, and very first CD for Dale Heeren on Heeren's own Kitty Creek Records. It was released on 13 March 2018, and a CD Sampler, containing excerpts of the 7-song release, on 14 March 2018. Dale was very excited about this project which actually began formulating around November 2017. Originally Mike rejected the notion, us having a full plate of our own around here. Then, around mid-January 2018, Mike revisited the idea and made a proposal. He would provide a release that Dale could post on CD Baby, and then take over additional productions.

   Agreed, Dale sent Mike the song files, and we converted them from MP3 128-kbps to MP3 320-kbps format. We then created a Master CD Disc, encoded it with artist, label, title information, a barcode and ISRC Codes for each track. Dale provided a photograph for his CD cover and Kitty Creek Records logo, and we did everything else. The graphic designs for the cover, the CD label and tray liner. The CD Cover layout was sent to our printer, Tyler Print in Alexandria, Virginia, and when they arrived, me and Mike inserted the tray liners and covers into the jewel cases and shrink wrapped them and sent 30 copies off to Dale! We also created and produced his CD Sampler. Dale electronically registered his new CD with the Copyright Office and Mike Johnson delivered Dale's deposit copies to the Copyright Office on Good Friday, 30 March 2018.

   Unfortunately, in various interviews and comments about his new release, Dale gives the impression that he did everything and that Mike Johnson 'assisted' him and 'helped me step by step trhough the processes necessary in today's music world' instead of acknowledging and naming Mike as the Producer. We also paid all of the production expenses. This basic violation of music protocol, wherein a new release always names the artist, label, and the producer, was further perpetuated by Bob Everhart's review of Dale's CD [April 2018 Issue of TRADITION Magazine and Country Music News International] in spite of the fact that he was given detailed information about Dale's CD during its production!

Into American Music History Again! Recorded Sound Reference Center at Library of Congress:

While at the Library of Congress, Mike stopped by the Recorded Sound Reference Center to drop off additional material for their "Mike Johnson" collection. He also discovered that Reference Librarian, Ms. Janet McKee had retired. McKee spearheaded this venture back in April 2007, when she voiced a concern that their collection didn't have a lot of Black Yodelers' yodeling songs. She and Acquisitions Technician Peter L. Stark, [also retired] acquired 114 of Mike Johnson's yodeling songs, his first two CDs, and a 45-page soft bound biography, for the Recorded Sound Reference Center's permanent music collection.

Over the years the Center acquired more materials including 16 DVDs of Mike's performances for the Library's Motion Picture Division. So, Library Technician Bryan Cornell, Janet McKee's co-worker, accepted our 5 latest CD productions, along with their spec sheets for easy cataloging and a number of photographs of Mike & James' awards and being awarded. Also included were two DVDs for the Motion Picture Division. Mike is currently editing and preparing a clip of these new acquisitions presentation for posting on our YouTube Channel. Library Technician, or more correctly, Reference Librarian Harrison Behl took over Janet's spot, and was otherwise engaged during our Good Friday presentation and videotaping. We'll definitely include him the next go round. Be sure and visit the Roughshod Records Photo Gallery and our YouTube Channel to see photos and live footage of the presentation.

The new acquisitions are;

1. DVD: Mike Johnson & James Adelsberger Awards Ceremony & performance at the 2016 41st Old Time Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa, where Mike receives the Lifetime Achievement Award and James receives the Instrumental CD of the Year Award.

2. DVD: Mike Johnson & James Adelsberger 2016 Main Stage performance with Mike's old friends, Terry Smith and Bill Lear. This was a particular treat for James' Grandparents who are die-hard Terry Smith fans.

Roughshod Records CDs:

51st CD "Let Me Die In a Honky Tonk" 2016 * Mike Johnson (Received the 2017 "Legendary Honky Tonk CD of the Year" Award)

52nd CD "My Heart Still Sees" 2016 * James Adelsberger (Nominated for 2017 "Original Classic Country CD of the Year" Award)

54th CD "Covering James Adelsberger 2017 * Mike Johnson 

You and Me Records CDs:

3rd CD "Going Places" Instrumental 2017 * James Adelsberger

4th CD "Here We Go Again" Instrumental 2017 * James Adelsberger

   For those of you who don't know, both of Mike Johnson's labels, and You and Me Music Publishing, were created on 13 June 1987 by Mike during his Nashville recording days. However, the songs that should have been released on You and Me Records were released on the Roughshod label. Mike has always been busy, but he simply had too many irons in the fire, including his full-time job as a long-distance trucker, to be juggling two labels and two publishing companies, magazine publishing, etc. He was retired from trucking when he signed up James Adelsberger in 2012 and saw this gifted musician's versatility as the perfect vehicle to produce You and Me Records material.

So, that's it in a nutshell. Make no mistake, we're still plodding along, a little slower albeit, but still moving forward. And we hope to see some of you at this year's 43rd Old Time Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa!

Adios, from myself and Mike Johnson. And, Happy Easter 2018!

Joe Arnold, manager, Roughshod Records

Roughshod Records turns 30 in June 2017!

Posted by [email protected] on June 6, 2017 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Created on 13 June 1987 by Mike Johnson, singer, songwriter, and Country Music's No.1 Black Yodeler, the label has produced and released 8 cassettes [4-albums & 4-singles] and 53 CDs.

Also created on that date was You and Me Records, and You and Me Publishing, for his non-country songs. Unfortunately those songs ended up on the Roughshod label with a country twist, until 2012 when James Adelsberger was brought aboard. In December 2014, You and Me Records released its 1st CD, "SideKicks Christmas Special" a 2-song single featuring a Mike and James duet.

In November 2015, You and Me Records released a 12-song Instrumental featuring James Adelsberger and music tracks he created for their 2014 releases, and a couple of compositions James wrote for the project. This CD received the Rural Roots Music Commission's 2016 "Instrumental CD of the Year" Award at the 41st Annual Old Time Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa, where Mike Johnson also received a "Lifetime Achievement" Award.

Releasing on 13 June 2017 are You and Me Records 3rd and 4th CDs; "Going Places!" and "Here We Go Again!" two 12-song Instrumentals featuring our fantastic musician James Adelsberger.

Mike Johnson wrote his 1st song in 1957, began performing in the mid-1960s, and began recording in Nashville in 1981. Prior to creating Roughshod Records he produced and released 2 45rpm singles and 3 cassette albums.

Visit our web site for a detailed history.

Joe Arnold, manager

Roughshod Records

Roughshod Records SideKicks at El Ranchero 15 October 2016 in Arlington Va.

Posted by [email protected] on October 6, 2016 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

On Saturday 15 October 2016, our award-winning Roughshod Records SideKicks James Adelsberger and Mike Johnson will be performing at El Ranchero Bar & Grill in Arlington, Virginia from 7pm to 9pm. Recently back from the 41st Annual Old Time Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa, where James received the Rural Roots Music Commission 2016 “Instrumental CD of the Year” Award for “Country Sounds” and Mike received the National Traditional Country Music Association 2016 “Lifetime Achievement” Award for nearly four decades of country music involvement.


Nestled at the bottom of the hill on Wilson Blvd between North George Manson Drive and North Glebe Road, this iconic establishment has been serving Arlington County since 1984. So, come on down and belly up to the bar or grab a table and enjoy a wide variety of authentic home-made Mexican cuisine while our SideKicks treat you to some good old-fashion country music. As an added bonus, El Ranchero owner, Youssef Boushor, is offering a 20% discount to any of our friends who attend the show!


Joe Arnold, manager

El Ranchero Bar & Grill, 4617 Wilson Blvd. Arlington Va. 22203 * (703)524-1010 * 11:30AM to 10:00PM Monday through Sunday


James Adelsberger Instrumental CD of the Year & Mike Johnson Lifetime Achievement Awards

Posted by blackyodel[email protected] on October 6, 2016 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (0)

On Monday, 29 August 2016, at the 41st Annual Old Time Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa, in a ceremony on the Main Stage, officiated by Bob Everhart, president of the National Traditional Country Music Association, James Adelsberger was presented the Rural Roots Music Commission 2016 “Instrumental CD of the Year” Award, and Mike Johnson was presented the National Traditional Country Music Association 2016 “Lifetime Achievement” Award for his decades of traditional country music involvement. On 13 August 2016, and just in time for the festival, Roughshod Records released its 51st and 52nd CDs; Mike Johnson’s 14-song “Let Me Die In a Honky Tonk!” and James Adelsberger’s 13-song “My Heart Still Sees.”


James and Mike left Virginia on Saturday 27 August 2016 and arrived in LeMars, Iowa on Sunday 28 August 2016. Two early to check into their room at the Amber Inn Motel, they headed over to the festival grounds to touch base with the Everharts, the festival organizers, and catch up with some old friends. After setting up their product table they did what everyone comes to do. Play music! They started an impromptu jam session in the plaza and soon drew a respectable crowd and accompaniment by Jacob Austin on his mandolin.


Towards noon, Sunday, Bob Everhart, president of the National Traditional Country Music Association, showed up to kick off the week-long 41st Annual Old Time Country Music Festival with a short speech and a prayer. The organization was started in 1976 with the express purpose of preserving America’s roots music; country, bluegrass, gospel, and folk. And he’s done just that with 10 different stages, attracting hundreds of musicians and fans from around the globe!


Mike and James did over a dozen performances throughout the week, together, James solo, and James backing up a number of other acts who love his guitar picking. A big highlight for James was Mike getting his long-time friend Terry Smith to perform on stage with them. Terry is the songwriter of “Far Side Banks of Jordan” and James’ grandmother is his biggest fan. She was tickled to death to get photos and a video of James performing with Terry. Another highlight for James was Mike introducing him to Grand Ole Opry star, Claude Gray, and presenting him with our latest CDs. Claude received the National Traditional Country Music Association 2016 Living Legend award, and did a stand-up performance on the Main Stage. Also a member of the NTCMA Mike and Claude first met back when the festival was being held in Missouri Valley, Iowa, and kept in casual touch.


Though a number of his festival friends have passed on to Hillbilly Heaven, or could no longer travel, Mike was very pleased to re-connect with those who did show; Terry Smith, Bill Lear, Mary Nell Eidson, Marge & John Duttweiller, Fred Lawson, Larry Harms, Jackie Shewey, Francis Hahn, Kathy Dovel, Dale Eichor, Elaine Peacock, Gordon Wilcox, Ben Steneker, Harold Condray, Lee Muller, Rick & Harriett Andersen, to mention a select few. And James was equally excited to meet with the new friends he made in 2015 when he made a solo trip to the festival; Jacob Austin, Rod Brandt, Janine Sherry, Ed & Betty Rydell, and Red Johnson, to mention a few. And to all you new fans and friends they made, Mike and James say “It was a pleasure meeting you and we hope to see you again!”


After a very busy week of playing music and catch-up Mike and James checked out of their motel on Saturday morning, 3 September 2016 and headed over to the festival grounds to say their good-byes. They arrived in Virginia on Sunday evening loaded with lots of good memories, about 1500 photographs and about 20 hours of video footage. They took 2 guitars each, 3 cameras, and 2 camcorders. Check out our YouTube Channel to see some of the performers and Mike and James’ awards presentations.


Joe Arnold, manager Roughshod Records


Roughshod Records 51st & 52nd CDs released August 2016

Posted by [email protected] on August 9, 2016 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Howdy Y'all!

   It gives me great pleasure to announce that on 8 August 2016 Roughshod Records officially released its 51st and 52nd CDs! Two more great albums by Mike Johnson and James Adelsberger, filled with ballads, yodeling, drinking and good love and love done me wrong songs1 The stuff that made country music, Country Music!


   RCD51 "Let Me Die In a Honky Tonk!" is a 14 song treat, featuring Mike Johnson singing the types of songs he grew up on, and writes. Johnson turned 70 in June 2016, and this release also demonstrates, he’s not ready to hang up his spurs. As usual he wrote all the songs and his label-mate & co-owner, James Adelsberger brought them to life, along with the assistance of his fantastic fiddling friend, Michael Romans.

   Honky tonking with the title cut “Let Me Die In a Honky Tonk!” “Could You Spare Me a Quarter” and “I Will Hitch a Ride With Joe” to trucking and truck stops in “Break One-Nine!” and “Bertha” and good and bad love “Nuthin’ Honey” “How Come They All Know” and There’s Something In Between Us” and four yodeling songs in all, to make up for the lack of any on his last release. This release is classic Mike Johnson keepin’ the “country” in his music!


   RCD52 “My Heart Still Sees is a 13 song wonder featuring James Adelsberger’s coming-of-age debut as an artist no longer in the shadow of his mentor. James applies his newly developed unique style to some very carefully self-selected songs and delivers them with warmth, emotion, and deliberation. From passion in “My Heart Still Sees” “Pictures On the Wall” “Another Lonely Night” and “Face Without a Name” to ballads like “Sittin’ In a Truck Stop Down In Georgia” “He Wrote the Song On the Jukebox” and “High Lonesome” [a yodeling song] and back-up choruses, James paints some very vivid pictures on the mind’s walls.

   Though Mike Johnson wrote all of the songs, James wrote new music for four of them, explaining that he had some ideas he wanted to try out. Mike loved them and approved the new co-writes, especially “Here We Go Again” to which James not only wrote new music, but also added several verses, and a Bob Wills western swing touch!

Once again we were fortunate enough to get Michael Romans to provide more of his fantastic fiddling. James, who turned 21 in March 2016, is living proof some young’uns do know a thing or two about traditional country music!


Both of these great CDs are available at our Roughshod Records Web Store.


Joe Arnold, manager Roughshod Records


Open Mic at Joe's Place

Posted by [email protected] on April 20, 2016 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

   As you know, the Roughshod Records SideKicks [Mike Johnson & James Adelsberger] have been doing some regular shows at Joe's Place in Woodbridge, Virginia on the 1st & 3rd Saturdays of the month from February 2016 to May 2016. This was an effort to help Joe's Place become the music gathering place it once was when it was just a mile down the road on US Highway 1. The shows went quite well, and we extend a special and heartfelt thank you to our featured guests for making it happen;

1. Brenda Weitzel & Bert Huser 6 February 2016

2. Jeff Seidel & the Wallaboosie Brothers 20 February 2016

3. Bill Gibson the Story Teller 5 March 2016

4. Anthony James 19 March 2016

5. Bob Ellis the Man with the Golden Voice 2 April 2016

6. Larry Rice Fiddler & Music Instructor 16 April 2016

7. Rocky Guttmann helped kick off the Thursday Night Open Mic 14 April 2016

   There are two more shows left on our Winter/Spring ticket. James Adelsberger, all-around musician on 7 May 2016 and Tom Hawk, the Yodelin' Professor on 21 May 2016. BE THERE! 

   And a big, big, thanks to two of our great friends and supporters Aharon Polatain owner of A1 Clarendon Valet in Arlington, Virginia for making and supplying the curtains for the bar side of Joe's Place, and Rocky Guttmann, who performed at James' surprise CD release party in December 2015, bought us a new Yamaha PA system and a brand new Washburn Acoustic Electric Guitar for Mike!

   In a continued effort to try and bring the music back to Joe's Place, Mike decided to experiment with a Thursday Night Open Mic from 6pm to 9pm. Ana, Joe's owner, was very receptive to the idea and decided to give it a go for several weeks. If it works out, the Open Mic will run through the summer until the 2nd week in August 2016. Later that month the boys are off to the 41st Old Time Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa. Last year James received the 2015 "Pure Country CD of the Year" award from the Rural Roots Music Commission and this year Mike is slated to receive the Lifetime Achievement award. This popular week-long festival is sponsored by the National Traditional Country Music Association home-based in Anita, Iowa.

   Stay tuned, and back soon for photographs of our Roughshod Records SideKicks shows.

Joe Arnold, manager, Roughshod Records

Happy 21st Birthday James Adelsberger

Posted by [email protected] on March 15, 2016 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Today, 14 March 2016, our young studio engineer and recording artist, James Adelsberger celebrates his 21st birthday!

This is a very welcomed event given that last Monday, 7 March 2016, James was having his infected appendix removed. He's doing fine and on behalf of him, his family, and myself, we'd like to thank all of you concerned fans and friends who wished him a speedy recovery.

Happy Birthday James, and I hope you have many more in the future!

Mike Johnson & Roughshod Records