BILL BLOG Monday April 13, 2015 And here comes more rain...good thing I bought stock in umbrellas this year. BRAGGING As a songwriter...you just love when anyone loves something you created from nothing. My friend Lisa Shaffer and I sat around her kitchen table on two different mornings trying to write a song about how we grew up. She in Kentucky...me in Missouri...and both of us saw plenty of barns, and front porches, rocking chairs and fields of corn. I'm pretty proud of the song that Darin and Brooke Aldridge recorded...and it's turned out to be one that they play almost every time they are in concert somewhere...and we've had lots of nice feedback. They have a new CD out called "Snapshots" and I have a gospel song on there that Lisa and I wrote with our friend Gerald Smith titled "He's A Coming". This weekend I read a review about their new CD which was great...and here's that REVIEW if your curious. As nice as the review was...it wasn't what this writer wrote about the NEW album...it was what he said about a song off one of their older albums...guess which one? Uh-huh. "Corn". Here's what he said: "I believe "Corn" is one of the most charming and meaningful songs of the past five years". Wow. I guess that's why I write songs. And someone understanding that this seemingly simple tune has layers of deeper meaning feels rewarding. Thanks to Lisa for capturing this view off a rural front porch with me. THE WEBSITE I have a little lull in my performance schedule right now...but that will change big time later this year when I go on the busiest run of dates I've ever had in my life. To find out where I'm gong to be playing...just go to billwhytecomedy.com I also took some of the quiet time this weekend to work on my site just a little. If you go there and click on the "About" icon...you'll see the bio...but scroll down to see the list of songs I've written that have been recorded by somebody. I added a bunch of "links" to those titles which will let you click on to see a video of that song being played...or it will direct you to a link of the album the song is on that you can purchase if you like. AND SPEAKING OF CONCERT DATES.... I'm quietly toying with the idea of doing a few house concerts. Just me...the guitar...small PA system where I go into your home and we have a concert for you and your friends. It's a musical party...they're fun...simple to do. If that is something that might interest you...send me an e-mail at email@example.com...and I'll reply with details on how you can book a date. You're the first to hear this...so this will be a quiet litmus test to see if there's enough interest to put together a little run of these. TODAY I've got a long laundry list of "to-do" stuff before my writing appointment with young Nora Collins who's in town for a couple of days from Milwaukee. She must have been all of five or six years old when I worked radio in the Beer and Brats capitol of the world...so I'm guessing it's her parents who really listened. No matter...she's talented for sure...and I see her moving here someday to chase her dream too. Happy to write songs with her. Have a great Monday! .
BILL BLOG Friday April 10, 2015 Thunder-boomers woke me up last night. The good news is the storm is going to push out into a great looking weekend here in Nashville. Bring it on. YESTERDAY Lets' see...no appointment yesterday...so the highlights included turning the AC on for the first time this year. No window box fans. Remember those bad boys? Great on a cool summer evening...but it just blew the hot air around during the daytime. AC may be the greatest invention of all time. TAX April 15 fast approaching. My assignment out of New York yesterday was to write them a tax song yesterday so I turned the George Strait thing "they call him the Fireman"...into..."they call him the Tax Man". Yep...a tough job...but I'm the guy for it for sure. It's weird...I write hundreds of these little funny parody songs through the years that are digitally shipped out to subscribing country radio stations...but never hear them on the air anywhere. I can only hope their audiences are laughing. DEFLATING THE EGO This will keep your ego in check. You make your food order at the counter and you think the waitress says, "what ya want sweetie" when she actually said, "ya want sweet tea"? THINGS YOU OVER-HEAR At my Mickey D's...the roundtable of old men today spouting out philosophy...politics...lawn growing tips and this gem I overheard..."I went to the nicest funeral I've ever gone too." Never thought about funerals being nice to tell ya the truth...but I guess that's true. I know when my Dad passed it was "nice" to see family and loved ones...and friends...and those who loved my Dad. Just never thought about a "nice" funeral before. Not sure mine will be "nice" or not...because I am planning on having a cover charge at the door. BYOB. BUMPER STICKERS I don't think I've ever put a bumper sticker on any of my cars. Not my thing. But some folks put so many on you can't tell what they're driving. Yesterday my wife and I pull up behind a guy in a small pickup truck. On the right side of his back bumper is a sticker that reads "Earl"over a five string banjo...as in Earl Scruggs. On the left side of his bumper is a sticker that reads, "If you don't Hank Williams you can kiss my ass". Okay then...a crossover music lover obviously. Question: How do you know when someone is carrying a gun in their vehicle? If they have those two bumper stickers on their truck...odds are... RADIO-RECORDS-SONGWRITING There's a big push on Capitol Hill now to get radio to pay the artists they play on air. It's coming up for a vote soon. Radio does not pay the artist as of now. Radio has already made a few deals with record labels hoping to cut their costs if this law is passed...and they are fighting against it with everything they have. They feel like they are giving free promotion to the artist they're playing and that's enough. I know too much...about both sides of the line here. I'm a songwriter...and I'm a long time radio guy. Songwriter buddies ask me about radio all the time and how it works or doesn't work. In all honesty...I get both sides a little bit. But the simple side of me says it's hard to ignore that if you make money by selling commercials because your listeners are tuned in to hear those songs (written by someone) or artists...who are singing those songs...they should be compensated. How and...how much? That's way beyond me. But...I think they should interview me on this topic because I could debate me. And neither of the two me's would come up with a good answer. THIS WEEKEND Hopefully a little baseball as the Vandy National Champs are in town with beautiful weather...my Reds who swept the Pirates! are on the tube...as is the Masters' this weekend. Have a great weekend!
BILL BLOG Thursday April 9, 2015 First blog of the year in my shorts. There's your visual for this morning. 80 degree weather all of a sudden with heavy storms predicted tonight with damaging winds. As long as I don't see a witch flying by on a bicycle...I don't care. YESTERDAY Another one of those magical days of songwriting. This time with Linda Davis and Zach Runquist. Zach had told me a few weeks ago that he thought he had a great duet idea that he wanted to write with me and Linda...and I was all for it. Unfortunately...I had to cancel that date so I thought I'd lost my opportunity on that song. So...when we sat down yesterday at Linda's...(munching on mini-weenies in mini buns) I asked how the duet song had gone and Zach told me it was not finished and that I'd be welcome to jump in on finishing it if I wanted. SO...that's what we did. So glad too...because I absolutely love the song. Zach and Linda sang the work tape together and it's just wonderful to listen to. Good good day. We finished up...and Zach was off to play for his boss Lee Ann Womack last night at the sold out City Winery in Nashville. Play the song for her Zach! SIR DUKE Stevie Wonder was in town...for a concert. He played 4 hours! All reports say it was awesome. Steven Tyler joined him for a number. He called his daughter on the big screen. It was her birthday. The Bridgestone Arena crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to her. Still sings great. Good to know. 7-10 SPLIT I just saw a picture in our paper of the Vanderbilt bowling team. Yes...you can scholarship in bowling! I should have spent more time in my youth holding my hand over a cooler and working on my 7-10 split. Out west...kids can scholarship in rodeo too. Cool. You can always tell those kids at graduation...they're the ones limping when they walk across stage to get their diplomas. TODAY Catch up stuff...my Reds are on TV at noon. I found out the Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has his bats made from trees in his own backyard! How cool is that? My backyard had a willow tree. I'm not sure how sturdy of a bat that would have made. Have a great Thursday!
BILL BLOG Wednesday April 8, 2015 81 degree high today. And the leaves are starting to fill out the trees outside my blogging window partially obstructing my little view of Old Hickory Lake. I keep telling my neighbors across the road who are right on the lake to get their chain saw out...to no avail. Sigh. YESTERDAY I had the day off for writing...and my daughter was home...so we caught the movie "Furious 7". To say it's an "action" movie would be a gross understatement. Good grief. 7 of these movies...all of them making big time money. It's just fun action. The writing and acting? Will never win an Oscar...but that's what these movies are about. If you have a couple of hours to kill...and just want some mindless fun to watch...this is your movie. JT I don't buy a lot of music anymore. Very picky. But...I will buy the new James Taylor album scheduled to be out June 16. He doesn't make a lot of albums...but the ones he does make are always great. I saw him in concert one time in Indianapolis...just terrific. And he sang the old George Jones song (that he recorded on a double "live" album) "She Thinks I Still Care" and just slayed it. BYE BYE Don McClean's classic "American Pie" song is beloved by most. Certainly it's an iconic song for my generation. Free love...tie dyed clothes...Woodstock...weed...Vietnam protests...Kennedy all part of that era. The manuscript for that song sold for $1.2 million bucks at auction yesterday. I saw Don sing it "live" once. Another great memory. I was doing two weeks worth of shows many years ago with my friend Karen Wheeler at the Michigan State Fair which was in Detroit. A local ventriloquist opened the show for us. He had a crow that talked. I know....but he actually was very good...and fun. He would finish...I would sing for 15 minutes or so with a band I had hired from southern Missouri for this gig. Then Karen would come out...our star...and close the show with Muleskinner Blues. Karen can do that whistle thing...big time...and the mule thing...and do a train whistle better than a train. Great entertainer. And a great friend to this day. So...we're doing a couple of shows a day at one of the smaller stages at the Fair...and we always finished early enough to sneak over to the big outdoor theater where the bigger stars played every evening. We saw Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee one night who Karen knew. In fact...we spent time with them on their tour bus before their show sharing a Lone Star Beer with them. The beer sponsored their tour...so the bench seat pulled up and revealed a long cooler filled with ice...and beer. Now...told you ALL of that to get to the Don McClean thing. Don also played that fair one night. Karen and I went over and stood in the back and heard him and the crowd...and us...sing "bye bye American Pie". It was truly goose bumpy...and a moment I won't forget. So it's no surprise to me that the manuscript of those lyrics sold for that much money. I think I'll find a Chevy and drive it to the levee later today in honor of that. TODAY Off to write with my friend Linda Davis...and we'll team up with a new friend Zach Runquist who I've been writing with some lately. Turns our that Zach has been out on the road as a musician playing for Linda more than once. Should be fun. And while I'm doing that...my daughter will be getting on a plane to return to Miami for her job. I feel lucky as a Dad that she still comes home a bunch. Safe flight kid. And you guys have a great Wednesday too.
BILL BLOG Tuesday April 7, 2015 April Showers...and how. Wonder why a soap company doesn't take advantage and pass out free bars of soap this month? YESTERDAY Hooked up with my buddies Paul Bogart and Zach Runquist. We finished a song...and started another...so a good days worth of rhymes and melodies at Sony. Paul hits the road today with his band...Zach started a little concert run at the City Winery here in town last night with is boss...Lee Ann Womack. I know...tough duty huh? Always a pleasure to hang with those two talented guys. LOCKED IN I got home in plenty of time to watch the Opening Day game for my Reds in Cincinnati as they beat the Pirates in the opener at Great American Ballpark. I've been to a bunch of opening days...a lot of them in Cincinnati...a few in Milwaukee. Always always a fun event. And for a baseball nut like me...it's just great to be able to open a newspaper this morning and check out the box scores from last night...and to hit MLB.COM and watch some of the Major League highlights. I'm already looking for holes in my calendars to check off a couple more baseball parks on my bucket list. 9 to go and then I've seen them all...not accounting for the new one they're building in Atlanta right now. The 9? Both the parks in New York...although I did see old Yankee stadium. That leaves: Detroit, Minnesota, Houston, Tampa, San Diego, the new Frisco park (seen Candlestick) and Seattle. Clicking them off one by one. 80 CANDLES Hard to believe Bobby Bare is 80 today. Detroit City (written by Mel Tillis) was one of the early songs I learned to sing as a kid. Bobby was part of the early "Outlaw" gang of writers/singers who wanted to do things his own way in Nashville...and pretty much did. Still is. Happy Birthday Mr. Bare. DO YOU BELIEVE NOW? A hiker goes missing in the Smokies. They comb the mountains like crazy trying to find a guy. One of the rescue guys hears somebody praying to be rescued. Behind a bush...he finds the man they're looking for who was sending up the prayers that were answered. There's a song in there somewhere isn't there? SORRY TO READ THIS James Best...the actor who played Rosco P. Coltrane...the funny sheriff on the Dukes of Hazard has passed away at 88. Boss Hogg's right hand man. RIP. I think he was my favorite on the show of "Good Ole Boys". TODAY Pitching some songs today...writing a parody song for New York...and then I've got the day open to spend with my daughter who has to leave for Miami tomorrow. Rain all day...might me a good movie day for the family. Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Monday April 6, 2015 Hope you had a great Easter. I may not eat ham for another year. THE WEEKEND Well...first...we found out Kentucky was not un-beatable and that Wisconsin is as good as advertised. Wow...great game to watch. First you thought Kentucky would win...then Wisconsin...then Kentucky again...but Wisconsin would not go away. And they won't go away easily tonight against Duke in the championship game either. Congrats to all my cheese head friends up north who are going Bucky Badger crazy right now...and good luck against Duke. Ashley Judd may be in mourning for a year. EASTER Yesterday my family...wife...daughter...boyfriend...all went over for a song pull at a friends house...Ginny Foley. 25 or 30 folks...big spread of food and dessert...just what I need. But...what a great circle of music. Old songs...gospel songs...covers...originals...you name it. A lot of folks who at one time were part of the regular entertainment at Opryland Theme park...back in the day before a mall stood there sat in the circle and sang. My daughter Heather brought her ukelele and sang a couple of original songs which "wowed" the room. It's the first time her Dad has heard her sing in a long while too...so that was as good an Easter treat as I could get. I could drop the names of folks who were there...but instead I'll just point out one for you to check out for now. This family...who calls themselves "Williamson Branch". From their very youngest...born entertainers...all of them. The 16 year old who plays fiddle will be a force...and I can see them playing at Dollywood or places like that for tourists. So entertaining...and just a grounded family. Thanks once again to Ginny Foley for opening her doors...and for her passion for songwriters and musicians and singers. Fun Easter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY To Merle Haggard...78 today. Wow. One of the first guys I listened to as a kid...learning his songs. NEW DATE IN NASHVILLE I've just put up a new date on my performance calendar at billwhytecomedy.com. "Hits and Grins"...with Steve Dean, Victoria Venier and myself have a date at the Listening Room in Nashville June 4 at 8:30 pm. Great room...and yep..they serve food too. So make plans to come see us if you're in Nashville. TODAY Off to Music Row to finish a song with Paul Bogart and Zach Runquist...and then my Reds play their Opening Day game in Cincinnati against the Pirates at 3 pm. I won't be answering my phone after 3. This is the one day I miss living in Cincinnati. Opening Day is like no other. A holiday. A huge parade that I've been in many times through the years. And while I was on the radio there for all those years...today's broadcast was all about the Reds and opening day. The guest list included a baseball player or two like Tom Browning who dropped by one year and told me the baseball from his PERFECT game he pitched one night was gone...because his boys took it off his mantel and played ball with it....knocking it into the woods on his property that they have yet to find. I've sat in the stands there on the Ohio River in sunny days...and cold days for the first pitch of the first game of the season. Nothing like it. Play ball..and go Reds! SO... Baseball at 3 pm today...NCAA basketball championship right after that. I'm blessed to be at a point in my life where I can put everything on hold and do nothing but soak stuff like this in if I want to. Go Reds...go Wisconsin. Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Friday April 3, 2015 Little ominous weather hanging over Old Hickory, Lake this morning. The Easter Bunny may want to buy a tote...just in case. I just looked up and saw a big red fox running across the lawn. And then a neighbors dog fly after it. I'm going to need to charge admission around here. YESTERDAY I was on Music Row yesterday with a young talented friend I had not seen in awhile...Daisy Mallory to write a song. Daisy has been busy taking some online college courses...which is smart. Everyone in the music biz should have some kind of back up plan to support their dreams. Daisy is one of those young folks who highly grounded...great parents and impossible not to like from the moment you meet her. And is her Dad is like a champion fisherman...so I treat Daisy exceptionally nice so that her Dad Bob will invite me out in his bass boat every now and then. As soon as I learn to bait my own hook...I'm liable to get more invites. Great day catching up with my friend. MISSOURI I saw where my home state of Missouri had a 4.0 earthquake down in the boot heel part of the state yesterday. I don't want that. Think I'll stay in Tennessee where the only thing that shakes is the hips of the country stars. Speaking of Tennessee...I had a friend post her Facebook yesterday that she was glad to be back in Nashville after a road trip...where they serve biscuits and gravy and the waitresses call you "honey". Sounds like a state slogan to me...or at the very least...I made a note to include it in a tune somewhere down the Rocky Top road. GROUNDHOG That Bill Murray movie? Gonna be a Broadway musical in 2017. Wonder if they'll keep singing the same song over and over and over again? ANOTHER MOVIE "Danny Collins" is getting ready to hit theaters. Al Pacino playing a singer/songwriter with writers block who hasn't had a hit in years. I'm having trouble imagining Pacino...even as a character...being a singer. Of course...he's well versed in what do to with piano wire. GREAT EVENT I saw the Celebrity of Hope Softball Game will celebrate it's 25th year at CMA Fest this year. Great cause...they raise a lot of needed money. Bunch of country music starts play softball against each other and the fans get close. I've had the pleasure of playing in that game a couple of times. Pitched to Nolan Ryan one year who was part of the game. Wow. There's a memory. Still surprised he never called me to pitch for his Texas Rangers. Glad to see this tradition carrying on. EASTER WEEKEND Then Sunday we're spending part of our Easter at song pull with some friends. Ham and songwriters...kinda go together. TODAY Little Doctor appointment...nothing serious. But...I did read where our state is trying legalize medical marijuana now. So...I'm wondering if the hospitals will be saving money on anesthesia by buying bongs for the surgical room? I'll be looking to see if the hospital scrubs are tie dyed next time I'm in surgery. Have a great weekend...and a blessed Easter.
BILL BLOG Thursday April 2, 2015 Escaped April Fool's Day...although...I make a fool of myself almost every day... YESTERDAY One of my co-writers slated for yesterday had to cancel because of vocal problems...so...I wound up with the day free which was great...as our daughter had a flight cancelled for her American Airlines job and decided to come home. So...Dad got to spend a little time with his girls which is always great. THE IRISH Last night my wife and I went to a local Irish Pub we like with new friends my wife has made to see my buddy Colm Kirwan and his trio perform. Dave and Donna Paslay are the proud parents of Eric Paslay who's tearing up the country charts these days. My first time meeting them...and they're just great grounded folks...proud of their son...as they should be. Eric just wrote with Steven Tyler this week. Steven of all things is working on a COUNTRY album and showed up at the Opry this Tuesday night and sang. Donna and Dave were there to root on their son...so they got to meet him too and said great things about him. Turns out their son lives just a few doors up from us. Life is odd at how it puts folks together sometime. DUDE LOOKS LIKE A COUNTRY LADY Steven Tyler doing a country album? My joke on Facebook yesterday was that I can't wait to hear his first country single "Follow Your Aero-Smith Wherever It Points". I actually took part of my day yesterday and wrote that as a parody song for my folks in New York...so my guess is that there are a couple of country radio stations playing that this morning. Another piece of quality work from yours truly. MR. WILLIAMS Back to my Irish pal. Colm came over to the US several years ago now to chase his country music dream. His Dad is a big star back in Ireland...a great entertainer in the "old school" sense...and that's a compliment. Think like Wayne Newton sorta kinda. Colm is a songwriter...very hip for the market today and is making his way. One great thing that happened to him early was that Don Williams...the great country artist discovered him while Colm was playing in Ireland...and for the past two years or so Colm has been opening all the Don Williams shows. And...he's touring for at least another year which give Colm a little job security. Needed in this biz. Colm shared something with me I did not know about Don. His wife is suffering from Alzheimer's...and is in assisted care these days. Don rarely leaves his bus...being on stage...on the bus...on the road I'm sure is comforting to him. Remind me some time to tell you how much I truly hate that disease. So a good night...good Irish food...and great company. TODAY Looking forward to seeing and writing with my young red-headed friend Daisy Mallory this morning. Been way too long. Daisy comes from a great set of parents...is always smiling...and has a ton of talent. And a BIG ole heart which I love. I've got a lot of songs in my catalog that I've written with her...some she's recorded. She's the kind of young person that makes you feel better after just being around her...and that's about as good a trait as any person can have. Looking forward to the day. Have a great Thursday!
BILL BLOG April 1, 2015 April Fool's day...keeping a grain of salt handy. YESTERDAY I was poolside writing a new song with my "Hits and Grins" trio of Steve Dean and Victoria Venier. We were at Victoria's place out in the country. They have a few acres...horses...and a pool with a view of all of the above. So the umbrella went up over a table and that became our office for a few hours. I know...tough tough life huh? Pretty sure Victoria was glad I did not bring the Speedo and do a cannonball off her diving board..but you'd have to ask her to make sure. Mid 70's again today...I may have to blow up my own pool out back to replicate yesterday. My daughter will be in later this morning...maybe I can get her to blow it up or me. GAS On the way to Victoria's yesterday...riding with Steve...we noticed the Wal Mart gas sign near her place. $2.01 per gallon! We pulled over...filled up. Heck..I filled up my back pack with a gallon. I can't get over how I wrote a line in a song with Brent Burns that says, "whatever happened to two dollar gas"?....never dreaming we'd see that price or LOWER ever again. Happy to be wrong. HAPPY HAPPY To Hillary Scott today with Lady Antebellum. 29. Been a pleasure to be part of the family and watch her grow up into an amazing successful and grounded individual...and Mama! Proof that you can have it all and still be normal. TODAY Wound up with a cancellation this morning so my day freed up. Too nice to stay indoors...so I'm thinking a walk might be in order before we join some friends for dinner this evening at a local Irish Pub that features a friend of mine...Colm Kirwan and his trio. Corned Beef...no Hummus kind of night coming up. Have a great April Fool's day.
BILL BLOG Tuesday March 31, 2015 Adios March...hello April. Nice to see March leaving with a 77 degree day! YESTERDAY All day on Music Row writing in one of those houses on an alley on 17th Avenue. Jerry Salley and I are on a fun idea for a song...so we banged on that all day at his publisher's company....and there's still work to be done. Jerry's had well over 400 of his songs recorded by artists over the years...a lot of them in the bluegrass world where he really shines. Jerry's a great singer himself with several CD's out so it's always fun to write with the former Ohio native. The two of us got some good news yesterday when we spotted this column in the online publication called "Saving Country Music". They gave a GREAT review on the new album by our Australian cowboy friend Roo Arcus. You can check that out HERE. Our song..."If That's What Love Was" is mentioned kindly in the column and we're hoping that it's true...that this particular song may be a single for Roo down under before it's all over. ERNEST TUBB You have to know your country music history to know about Ernest Tubb and the Midnight Jamboree. That radio show is the second longest running radio show in America....but it's stopping...because it's broke. The show has always aired after the Grand Ole Opry. When I was a kid...I'd listen to 650AM WSM...and more times than not...Marty Robbins would be closing the Opry and they would hit a switch and go "live" to downtown Nashville where Ernest would hold court with the Texas Troubadours and special guests at his record shop on Broadway I can't even imagine the number of country singers and wannabe's who've been on that show. Many years ago...the show moved out to the the Ernest Tubb Record Shop located off Music Valley Drive...near the Opry. The owner has tried to make his money with people coming in for the show...and then buying records. The problem is...people don't buy many records or CD's anymore...and the owner has had to carry all the debt himself. A grassroots effort is being made to save it through an organization selling memberships. Glenn Douglas Tubb...Ernest's nephew who wrote big songs like "Skip A Rope" for Henson Cargill and "Two Story House" for George and Tammy is spearheading the movement. RETIRED I felt very blessed when Ray Stevens recorded a song that my pal Brent Burns and I wrote called "Retired.". I put it on my "Leave Em' Laughing" CD...and I perform that song almost every time I'm on stage. Brent actually did a duet of the song with Ray on his "I've Got A Beach In My Backyard" cd...and also on his "Baby Boomers" project. And then Ray cut it again on his solo project "One For The Road". I did all of that to shamelessly plug the song and give you a chance to buy it....AND...to mention that more Americans are now retiring in places you would not have thought of. Colorado and Virginia are both starting to get more retirees. The number one and two states are still Florida and Arizona...but some want the scenery of Colorado...and some want to be in the east I suppose. Still no big rush to buy a house at a Del Webb resort in upper North Dakota. TODAY "Hits and Grins" Tuesday...the trio gets together to work on whatever needs working on. FYI...we have a run in California...and later in Wyoming-Washington State at the end of the year and we are looking for work through dates. So if you know of anyone or any venue...any house concert folks near Oxnard and Bakersfield...or anyone in Wyoming...Idaho...Oregon or Washington state....holler! Have a great Tuesday!