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SAMMY SADLER Speaks Freely About 'Murder On Music Row' on 'The Dallas Morning News'

Press ReleasesSAMMY SADLER Speaks Freely About 'Murder On Music Row' on 'The Dallas Morning News'

Sammy Sadler speaks freely and calmly to Mario Tarradell of the Dallas Morning News today about the incident, which is known around the world as the "Murder on Music Row." Excerpts of the story are below and available here.

"I don't want people to look at me as just a country music singer, because I'm a survivor, too," says Mr. Sadler while sitting backstage at Johnnie High's Country Music Revue. "By the grace of God I'm still here. God left me here for a reason, and he saved me, and I feel like it's to sing and entertain people. We're not going to go away. We're back. We're trying to get our music to the people. I love singing. I love entertaining people. If my music and what I've lived through can help somebody else, that's what I hope that it does."

"Even though we finally got closure," he says, "I mean, I just look at my arm and it brings me back to that night immediately. It never goes away. It's always there."

Sammy Sadler [www.sammysadler.com] was 22, Nashville-based, married and had just signed a recording contract with independent imprint Evergreen Records. He had a handful of singles that charted and was working on his debut album. But he had a spat with his wife on March 9, 1989, and wanted out of the house. So he called up his friend Kevin Hughes, chart director for music-industry magazine Cashbox, who usually worked late on Thursday nights. Mr. Sadler drove to the Cashbox offices and met Mr. Hughes. They went to grab dinner and then to the Evergreen Records building on the famed Music Row.

"We heard something rattle the door," he says. "We walked out on the front porch, and we didn't see anything ... I walked around Kevin's car and opened the door, sat down and started reaching for the door and I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye. When I turned around and looked up, the guy was standing right there between me and the door with his arms out, and I looked and the guy had a gun."

Mr. Sadler was shot above his right elbow. The bullet ricocheted up his arm and lodged in his chest, in the muscle of his shoulder. It's still there almost 20 years later.

The killer went after Mr. Hughes, who ran. He caught up with him and shot him three times, twice in the head. Mr. Hughes died quickly.

The case was cold until 2002 when new evidence pointed to an elaborate, illegal music-promotion scheme that Mr. Hughes wouldn't participate in. It seemed he couldn't be paid to move songs up the charts.

Mr. Sadler, meanwhile, struggled to regain footing. He was the guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. He toured for years after recovering from the shooting, which remained unsolved for more than a decade. When the strain affected him most, he worked with his father in a drywall construction business they still co-own.

Now single, he has no children and lives with his parents on a 58-acre farm in Bonham. He also self-financed Heart Shaped Like Texas, which was released last month on his own S Records.

Heart Shaped Like Texas, a warm, honest collection of country songs, is only his second full-length album since that fateful night in March of 1989. It's the follow-up to 2004's Hard on a Heart, Mr. Sadler's debut CD.

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