Remembering Roy

This site dedicated to the memory of a super entertainer, and a friend – the late Roy Clayborne. I worked with Roy as a piano player in the mid 1980’s – and, as I’ve often said, I’ve never had that much fun with my clothes on. I hadn’t found a lot about Roy on the web. Unfortunately, he passed in 1996 – at the age of 50 – and the world has changed a lot since then. The internet was in it’s infancy – but if the web had really been around to conquer, in 1996, Roy probably would have had a fun, crazy web site. Well ‘ol buddy, it ain’t much – but you’ve got a web site, now.

Whether you worked with Roy, or just enjoyed his shows, this site is here as a little tribute to a guy who – for too short a time – made a lot of people’s lives more enjoyable. This is really a tribute to someone who I just really, really liked – as an entertainer, a co-worker/boss, and a buddy. I haven’t forgotten Roy Clayborne – and if you’d ever met him or seen one of his shows you’d certainly rememember him, as well.

Former band members lost in 2016

In 2016 two of the folks who worked with Roy, when I worked with Roy, passed away. I was shocked and saddened by these untimely deaths.

Renee Cothern

When I worked with Roy, his right-hand “woman”, onstage, was a terrific singer by the name of Renee Cothern. Renae had a deep, alto, bluesy voice reminiscent – to me – of Wynonna Judd. She was a good friend, to myself and my wife (well, my ex-wife, now). Her daughter posted the following on a GoFundMe page which was set up to help with final expenses: “On Thursday, January 28th, 2016, my mother, Renee Cothern May passed away suddenly from a pulmonary embolism.”

The following is from her obituary – rest in peace, Renee:
“Tina Renee Cothern May, 54, passed away Jan. 28, 2016 at Kings Daughters Medical Center.
She was born on September 11, 1961 to Welton Dewitt and Millie Mearl Cothern.
Preceding her in death was her nephew, Aaron Sanford.
She is survived by one daughter, Natalie Mishoe and husband Lance; her parents,
brother, Devon Cothern; sisters, Melinda Russell and Millie Windgate;
she is also survived by 3 grandchildren, Kourtland, Kloie, Dalton.
Renee was a member of Clear Branch Baptist Church.
She was a Gospel song writer and Vocalist of the Year.
She was a composer of country and gospel music and recording artist, also a talented landscape artist with Acrylics.”

Vance Davenport

When I worked with Roy, for a fairly brief time, we had the pleasure of working with an absolutely spectacular fiddle player – who was only 17-years-old at the time! His name was Vance Davenport. Years later, when I was in Nashville I tried to look up Vance – I heard he was living in the area. Siting at a bar, I asked a couple of musicians if they had ever heard of Vance Davenport. They looked at each other, then, looked at me. One of them said, “Heard of him? He’s one of the three best fiddle players on the planet….”. Vance was the most amazing musician I ever worked with, in my career. He was an absolute savant – an unbelievably gifted player. He played the fiddle, but his intonation and technique were on a par with a world-class concert violinist. And Vance was one of the most down-to-earth, kind, giving players I ever knew. I heard that he had a bout of cancer about 10 years ago, at a very young age – jsut saw a page on the web that folks were having a benefit for him in Vegas. It was a shocker, because Vance was a very straight kid – as far as I know, never smoked, drank, partied – a very family oriented guy. I thought he had beaten the beast. We eventually hooked up on Facebook and talked about old times. He didn’t mention any health problems (about two years ago). But, searching for him this fall I found that he had passed away. It hit me like a tone of bricks. I’ve got a few funny “Vance stories” I may share, one day. Rest in peace, Vance – you were much more than a great musician – you were a wonderful human being. From his obituary:

“Fairview, TN

Vance Patrick Davenport- Age 46, July 14, 2016.

Preceded in death by his mother, Kathy Davenport.

He is survived by his wife of 17 years, Amanda Davenport; sons, Austin Patrick Davenport and Rylan Paul Parker Davenport; father, Bob Davenport; brother, J.R. Davenport and wife, Dawn; sister, Christa Wilson and husband, Steven; mother-in-law, Sandra Jaro; father-in-law, Eddie Jaro; brother-in-laws, Bryan Jaro and John Jaro and wife, Kandie.

Visitation will be 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, 2016 at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home. A Celebration of Life Service will follow at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Interment will be at Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens. A reception will take place at the Pavilion immediately following the services on Saturday.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Vance Davenport Memorial Fund at Bank of America to benefit local Fairview School Art Programs.”

Vance Patrick Davenport

Born in San Antonio, Texas on August 5, 1969

Departed on July 14, 2016 and resided in Fairview, Tennessee

Click on the links above for maps and directions. View current weather.

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    “Cowboys for Cancer” Benefit Concert Raises More Than $7,000

    June 29, 2009 by

    “Cowboys for Cancer” Benefit Raises over $7000
    “Cowboys for Cancer,” held on Sunday, June 28 at Club Madrid inside Sunset Station Hotel & Casino, was a success, raising more than $7,000 in donations. The benefit concert was held in an effort to raise funds for cancer survivors and bring awareness to rehabilitation and wellness programs, with the event’s proceeds benefiting Vance Davenport and The Caring Place.

    Vance Davenport, a former Las Vegas resident, recently survived an arduous battle with Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). Davenport performed in and later became Musical Director of the Aladdin’s “Country Tonight” show before he moved to Nashville, performing and touring with such artists as Mark Chesnutt, Sara Evans, George Jones, Lone Star, Toby Keith, Ricochet and Trent Willmon. Vance’s brother, Las Vegas resident JR Davenport, singer and lead guitarist of WolfCreek, created the benefit not only to honor and assist his brother, but also to support those surviving and living with this debilitating disease.

    “I can’t thank everyone enough for their overwhelming support and tireless efforts in making our event such a tremendous success, from Station Casino’s generous donation of Club Madrid, to the local businesses who donated raffle items, to the media who helped us spread the word,” said event coordinator JR Davenport. “I feel so blessed to have been able to make a difference, not only in my brother’s remission, but in so many others’ lives affected by this disease in our community. We definitely plan to do it all again next year.”

    Lending their time and talent in support of “Cowboys for Cancer” were: Scotty Alexander, The Randy Anderson Band, Desert Outlaws, John Encinio, Lefty Lucy Band, comedienne Pam Matteson, Tony Marques, Mark O’ Toole, Third Town and WolfCreek. Matteson and O’Toole, both cancer survivors, inspired and moved the audience when sharing their personal experiences of struggle and survival. The event also featured a silent auction with autographed guitars and fiddles from such country superstars as Clint Black, Larry Gatlin, Alison Krauss, Tracy Lawrence and Loretta Lynn, among others.

    “We’re delighted to be a part of this event. We applaud JR for all that he did, and these kind of events represent the best of the Las Vegas community,” said Connie Bernstein, Chair, The Caring Place, Chair. “The Caring Place will make good use out of the proceeds we are given and continue to provide free services to those touched by cancer.”

    The highlight of the evening was when Austin Davenport, Vance’s 7-year-old son, joined his father and WolfCreek on stage to perform his rendition of Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” to a standing ovation.

    © 2009, All rights reserved.

Your help

If you’ve got any good Roy stories, pictures, audio, video, etc. please contact me. Also, feel free to just comment on any post….. I’m in the process of actually trying to make this darned thing complete – but I’m old, and, slow….!

Sandy Middleton (Sexton) posted the following (in part) a day or so ago… She summed up how I felt about Roy:

“Don’t really know why all of a sudden he came to mind. I agree, he was born to be a star. He was almost like Elvis, not another like him, never will be, in class all of their own.”

I agree, Sandy. Thanks for visiting.

Guy Merritt

Site Update

I stuck this site on the web one day simply because I thought Roy Clayborne was a great entertainer and a great guy. I really didn’t know if anyone would find the thing, contact me, etc. Actually, quite a few people visit and I’ve recieved a lot of emails. Embarrassingly, I had not devoted a great deal of time to this site and I am trying to make it a bit better, at the moment. I had really just thrown the original site together, in a hurry – and, wow…my intentions were good but it looked pretty awful! Anyway, at the moment this site is kind of in a state of disarray. but, bear with me – it will be better when I’m done with this “makeover”. And, heck, at least it looks a bit more presentable. All things in time, as they say…..

A couple of years ago I’d done a search for Roy on the web and didn’t find very much. I did find an interview with one of Roy’s one former sideman who spoke of Roy’s show in pretty derisive terms (everybody’s a critic, right?). I was a bit irritated by what I’d found and felt as thought it didn’t do justice to an exceptional entertainer. Since I’m always puttering with the web I thought, “Hell, I’m gonna slap a little tribute site together…”. I certainly didn’t do it to make money, and, I really didn’t know if anyone would ever actually see the darned thing. To my pleasant surprise, numerous old band mates and friends have shot me emails and thanked me for the site. They’ve shared funny stories, via email, and just shared various recollections of days gone by. I even had a nice chat with Roy’s son, Taylor, via telephone. I don’t have a lot of spare time – nor spare energy – but the site which I’d originally assembled was pretty abysmal and I’d never gotten around to adding any interesting “stuff” – nor making it look very good.

Spruced up, and, a bit more interactive

Anyway, I resolved to find some spare time and give the thing a new look. More importantly, I wanted to make it interactive so that folks could share a story, have a chat, etc. Instead of simply coding a web site I’ve used WordPress so that folks can make a comment, share a story – whatever.

How can you contribute?.

You can do any of the following:

  • Since I’ve moved the site over to WordPress you can comment on any of the posts, or, pages by simply using the comments section beneath the articles.
  • If you’ve got a fun “Roy story”, a suggestion, a question – whatever – you can, also, use the contact form to send it to me via email. By the way: I get lot of emails from people with whom I worked that have to do with Roy, in a general sense, but which are really just personal messages. Emails that I recieve via the contact form are confidential and are not published, here. Unless you say, “Hey, here’s a great story – put this on the web” it’s just between you and I.
  • WANTED: Pics and Videos – if you’ve got some cool pics, or videos, of Roy Clayborne please contact me via the contact page. I will provded you with a password protected upload page whereby you can just browse you computer, and, upload the material.