Johnny Cunningham / Vestal Goodman / Max D. Barnes / Lurene Allen
Renowned fiddler Johnny Cunningham died December 15 of a heart attack. Cunningham co-founded the Celtic folk band Silly Wizard while a teenager. After moving to America, he was involved in many projects, including the roots-rock band the Raindogs. He was 46.
Vestal Goodman, known as the Queen of Gospel Music, died December 27 at the age of 74. She was a member of the Happy Goodman Family gospel group led by her husband Harold “Happy” Goodman. The group was welcomed into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998; Goodman herself was inducted as a solo artist earlier this year.
Nashville songwriter Max D. Barnes died January 10 of complications from pneumonia. Barnes penned hits for such country stars as George Jones, Vern Goslin, Keith Whitley, Vince Gill, Conway Twitty and Randy Travis. He was 67.
Lurene Allen, one of the first businesswomen on Nashville’s Music Row, died of cancer January 9. Allen worked for Capitol Records, the Wilburn Brothers and Loretta Lynn, and wrote songs that were recorded by Lynn, Charlie Louvin, Ernest Tubb and Dottie West, among others. She was 78.