On this episode of the Midnight Ramble, host Tom Duffee speaks with Indiana 105 radio DJ (and father of local station manager Neenah Ellis) "Uncle" Len Ellis. The proud holder of CMA membership card #1, Ellis was around for the golden age of country music.
In the first segment, Ellis recounts his first visit to Nashville and being shown around the city by RCA's 'man,' legendary country-jazz guitarist and co-creator of the 'Nashville Sound,' Chet Atkins. Ellis tells of Atkins' commitment to music and integrity, and explains the difference between country and 'almost country.
In the second part of the interview, sandwiched between a pair of tunes by country legend Eddy Arnold, Uncle Len reminisces fondly about the performer, whom he refers to as a "gentleman's gentleman." Ellis recounts the story of Arnold's emotional acceptance of the first ever CMA entertainer of the year award. As Ellis attests, "It's not the voice, it's not the music, it's the big heart that he had" that made him so great.
The final segment of the interview finds Len and Tom discussing the late, great Lefty Frizzell, touching on Jimmie Rodgers' prolific final recording session, and closing with Lefty's hit "Always Late."