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!
BILL BLOG Monday March 30, 2015 Start of a new week...and March is almost gone. If life is a car...Jeff Gordon is driving...cause it goes fast. I'm trying to remind myself to look up now and then and take a look at Old Hickory Lake across the road from us...and to also check out our Bradford Pear trees which are in bloom right now and gorgeous. They don't grow pears...so don't ask me how the tree got it's name. My wife has asked me to "grow a pair" every now and then...but I don't think she's talking trees. FUNNY TUNES I did spend part of last Friday writing a parody song for my folks in New York. Willie Nelson will be selling his own brand of marijuana...legally. Had to happen. The song? "On The Dope Again". Not as clever as this song about Willie...but it worked. TIN PAN The Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival wrapped up Saturday night here in Nashville. Thanks to NSAI for putting another great one together and allowing me to sit in and play original songs with my friends Linda Davis, Lang Scott and our special guest Kenny Beard this past Tuesday night. What fun. On Friday night...my friend Steve Dean from my "Hits and Grins" trio played the festival in an all Arkansas writers round. Wood Newton is from Arkansas...and he sent me a note afterwards saying that a funny song we co-wrote brought the house down and that I should be singing this song too. Duly noted. This is not the entire song...but cameras were rolling one night at the infamous Bluebird Cafe when Wood was there singing our tune "If You're Not Careful My Wife's Gonna Leave You." It's not the entire song...but enough for you to get a laugh this Monday morning. ANOTHER DATE ON THE CALENDAR I did confirm over the weekend that I will be joining a friend...Jason Adams...who hosts an internet radio show. I'll be on his show playing and telling stories on May 5 at 7 pm with a "live" audience at the Last Chance Saloon in Manchester, TN. Pull up wfmcjams.com that night to listen in if you'd like. TODAY I'm off to Music Row which is being threatened by development these days. High rises...apartments...etc...because land value has shot through the roof. I'll be writing at one of those small houses on Music Row that's been converted into a publishing company...the kind that preservationists are fighting to protect. It's an on-going interesting battle for sure...but round one went to preservationists who have so far managed to save the old RCA building which houses Studio A where tons and tons of hits were recorded. I'll be down the street in a publishing house with my friend Jerry Salley this morning as we're going to tear into an idea I told him about during our recent Gatlinburg trip. It's usually a good thing when two writers are excited about one idea. Should be fun rhyming today. Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Friday March 27, 2014 And the weekend do be here. YESTERDAY I was on air for WSM as a last second fill in from 10-3. You never know what you'll walk into when you walk into those historic studios inside the Opryland Hotel. My friend Bill Cody and his partner Charlie Mattos do the morning show there...and they had noted Texas artist Robert Earl Keen in studio with a full band playing songs off "live" off a new bluegrass CD Robert Earl has recorded. I walked into a hootenanny. Last and only other time I had met Robert Earl was at Billy Dean's 40th birthday party a few years ago at Billy's rustic house off Center Hill Lake on Tennessee evening when rain moved in and lighting painted a picture outside the massive windows of the place...while inside guests were treated to Billy, and Richard Leigh and Robert Earl Keen singing...along with others. Robert Earl has one of my all time favorite funny Christmas songs..."Merry Christmas From The Family" ...while Richard wrote "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" for Crystal Gayle...and this wonderful gem...with a great back story on how it was written. So..it was a great way to start a Thursday morning in Music City for sure. TIP UP Yep...I did watch some of the Sweet 16 last night. The games pretty much went as expected...and Kentucky put up a huge statement last night crushing West Virginia after some of the experts thought Bob Huggins and West Virginia might make it interesting with their suffocating defense...me included. Wrong! One of the West Virginia players put his brains out to lunch by saying to the press...something to the effect that Kentucky's run was over and their first loss was on the way. Why players do that...fire up the opposition...is beyond me. Somewhere in West Virginia...they are passing the salt shaker so that kid can better digest the words he's eating now. SPRING DELAYED Well...best laid plans. I was going to have the lawn cut for the first time...then the temps decided to drop down to 33 last night...and 29 tonight! No grass should be mowed when it's cold. And in Tennessee...I think the law is you are required to mow your lawns without a shirt on...and it's just tooo chilly for any of that to be going on right now. Patience. A LITTLE LATE My daughter flies...so yes...every single time there's a plane incident..it resonates. In the wake of the latest disaster foreign airlines look to adopting the US rule which is that two crew members must be in the cockpit at all times. Yes...it can be an airline attendant like my daughter. I'm guessing even the US Airlines will now review their own rules to make sure there's not an even better plan to prevent a tragedy like the one that's just happened. Don't waste a lot of your time trying to figure out why someone is capable of doing what that guy did. You won't come up with one. THANKS To all who sent Happy Birthday wishes yesterday. Me and Kenny Chesney are another year older...pretty sure Kenny is still younger. I got cake and ice cream with my wife and daughter...pretty good celebration in my book. Short blog this morning...I have an early morning thing to get to...so more on Monday. Have a great weekend!
BILL BLOG Wednesday March 25, 2015 Pretty sure the shorts are coming off the top shelf today. Warning...pale leg alert. YESTERDAY Started with a get together early in the afternoon with my "Hits and Grins" trio of Steve Dean and Victoria Venier. Most of the time yesterday was spent on looking at the schedule late this year that will take us to California, Wyoming, Washington State, New Mexico, North Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia and other places I'm forgetting. We have some open dates that we'll be trying to fill for tie in dates...especially out west. So...if you know of anyone wanting to book a trio late this year in California...Washington...Wyoming...Oregon or Idaho...holler! Three or four of those "Hits and Grins" dates will also include us doing workshops with students...so yep...we can do that too. AND THEN... I got home...switched hats and put on my "Evening In The Round" baseball cap for my Tin Pan South Show at Douglas Corner with Linda Davis, Lang Scott and our guest...hit songwriter Kenny Beard. Kenny has had a ton of success as a number one hit writer...producer...singer...you name it..and yet remains a humble man in his bib overalls. He does not do a lot of shows anymore...so we were tickled that he would join our set...which was such FUN last night. And of course...Kenny brought down the house with "Where The Stars and Stripes And The Eagle Flies" that he co-wrote for Aaron Tippin. Kenny went to the Air Force Academy...much like my brother Gary and sister in law Kay's son Chris did at one time. Kenny was the lead singer in the Air Force Band which was also cool. He was singing country songs with them...while serving our country. Interesting man. These days Kenny is producing Trace Adkins and a couple of young groups who are terrific. And I'm not sure what was more fun...having Kenny in the round with us...or sharing stories with him at the Waffle House after the show was over. I'm yawning now...but short sleep was worth it for those stories about the music business and his interesting life. We'll do this again I'm sure. AND THANKS TO Some of my friends who caught the show. Paul Bogart and Zach Runquist both came...Zach having some time off the road right now with Lee Ann Womack...Paul back out west on the road this weekend. And Becky Blackaby...my friend...and new mom from Missouri snuck in too. We get together to write in a few hours. Always great to have friends out front. HIGHLIGHT Outside of Kenny raising the roof with is patriotic song last night...Linda started singing her Grammy hit "Does He Love You" that she recorded with Reba when we found a woman singing behind Kenny who was BELTING out Reba's part. Linda reads a crowd with the best of them...and pretty soon...a "live" microphone went out to her...and the two of them went Linda-Reba on the thing and it was awesome! This is why I love doing these kinds of shows...ya never know what will happen...as we have no official set list ever...and often times...we walk away with lasting memories. Fun. CANDLES While we were playing at Douglas Corner last night...just a few miles away...downtown at the Ryman Auditorium...the Grand Ole Opry celebrated it's 90th birthday. Amazing. It's a shame that Little Jimmy Dickens missed that one. His pal Brad Paisley was there though...and mentioned Jimmy which was cool. 90 years! Here's to another 90. TODAY I think our lawn will have to be mowed today...or asphalted. I'm pricing both right now. While that's going on...I'll be on Music Row writing with my friend I mentioned earlier in from the Show Me State. Have a great Hump Day!
BILL BLOG Tuesday March 24, 2015 Mid 70's in Tennessee today. I'd take my shirt off an go outside...but there's still no big demand for that. YESTERDAY I was on Music Row for a late writing appointment with Paul Bogart and Zach Runquist. Zach has a little time off right now from the road and his great gig with Lee Ann Womack...same for my cowboy friend Paul who hits the road with his band this weekend. Good guys...and we got a start on a cool song. Zach also does leather works...AMAZING leather work...guitar straps...belts..you name it. He recently customized a guitar strap for Miranda Lambert that she loves. He was telling me when he works out in his leather shop that WSM is always on his radio...and that he was working and listening to me when I was on air last week. His passion for the radio station was evident. I get it. That's the station I listened to long distance in Missouri as a kid. Coming out of night clubs...I hit the button for 650 AM WSM...home of the Grand Ole Opry. I listened to Ralph Emery many many nights driving home from a gig. Or heard Marty Robbins make the Opry run late because he would sing so long closing out the Opry. And I listened many nights to the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree that took place at that time at the small record shop down on lower Broadway. And now I work at that radio station with all that history...weird. It was a reminder to me how much people LOVE that radio station...and how so many folks place value on the radio guys there. When you do something long enough...anything...you kind of don't think what you do is not a big deal. And you get pretty good at what you do too if you do something long enough. If you don't...you probably chose the wrong profession. So it was a reminder to me to cherish even more the hours I get to spend on air at WSM. It's just odd seeing big stars and writers and noted others talk passionately about something you do...while I'm envious of what they do. TONIGHT The cool thing for me is that both Paul and his wife...and Zach are planning on being in the audience tonight for my Tin Pan South show tonight at Douglas Corner at 9 pm. The Songwriting Festival kicks off officially for the entire week...thrilled to be a part of it. Linda Davis, Lang Scott and Kenny Beard will be on stage tonight...and I get to join them. If you want to get in...I highly suggest you line up at the door EARLY to have any shot at getting individual tickets. The passes are long sold out...and that's the only way to get in. Pretty sure we'll need a shoehorn to squeeze folks in tonight as Linda RARELY plays in town. For those who don't know Kenny Beard...the guy has had SEVEN number one songs in his lifetime. And he once said he has been, "Beaten upon the head by grace, and what a beautiful headache that is." Love that. Gonna be fun tonight. SPEAKING OF LINDA My road schedule continues to grow into an enormous beast. Here's my Calendar that you can peek at. I just added dates officially in Lubbock and Midland, Texas on a long tour with Lang and Linda in July. Yea...Texas in July! I'm hoping Texas has legalized air conditioning. There's also a date in Janesville, Wisconsin confirmed for May of 2016 for our "Evening In The Round" trio too. Good grief. Gonna need a big suitcase. TODAY It's "Hits and Grins" Tuesday...so I'll get together with Steve Dean and Victoria Venier to work on whatever needs working on today for the trio. Then tonight at 9 pm...I hope to see some of you at Douglas Corner for my Tin Pan South show. Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Monday March 23, 2015 Back home from Gatlinburg. THE WEEKEND I spent a great weekend in the Smoky Mountains writing songs with a group of 9 or ten writers in one room...not once...but twice. I was paired up with Jerry Salley this weekend...who's had maybe 400 songs of his recorded through the years. (Yes...I officially despise him) The Smoky Mt. Songwriters Festival folks put this weekend together...in particular...my friend Cyndy Montgomery Reeves. Cyndy invited me as the first official invite for writers to play their festival...so I always consider that an honor. So...Jerry and myself were in a room Friday night writing a song with those folks I mentioned...while my other good friends Wil Nance and Steve Dean were upstairs in a room at the Gatlinburg Inn where the song "Rocky Top" was written. We flipped rooms on Saturday morning. So in all...four songs were written in two days with folks who love the art of songwriting and wanted to learn more about it. The group had to choose between writing a song about Gatlinburg...or moonshine. We chose moonshine...and it was on. The first night's song turned into a wonderful love song about moon shine (from above) as opposed to moonshine you drink. The Saturday morning song we wrote in the "Rocky Top" room was born out of a great idea that came from one of the camp writers...Nita Graves... that I won't give away...but this one is about the moonshine they sell on the streets of Gatlinburg legally these day. Turned out awesome! Thank you group...and Nita. GREAT FOLKS I made some great new friends. Some of those folks drove from North Carolina and hundreds of miles to be in one of our writing groups. There were folks who have big jobs and do this part time because they love. Retired folks....one gentleman was a speech writer for Senator Howard Baker for crying out loud. And then there were the free spirits...folks who try to write a lot...and do a little gigs and move around the country playing their tunes. THE SHOW Saturday night...Wil, Steve, Jerry and myself...played a musical round at a place called "Three Jimmy's" in Gatlinburg. Great place...and three generations of "Jimmy's" own and run the place...we met all three which was also cool. During our musical set...we played a lot of our songs...BUT...we also played the new songs we had written with the classes...and most of them were out front in the audience. I can't tell you what a cool moment that was...and what it must have meant to some of them. The four songs were ALL great. And I would not be the least bit surprised if one or more of the songs found a home somewhere...they are that good. So...combine all of that with some great food...and the mountain scenery we were in...and you can see what a fun weekend I had. My thanks to all the writers and Cyndy for allowing me to be a part of it. Don't forget...the Smoky Mt. Songwriters Festival will be in August...makes some vacation plans and join us. All in the info is at smswf.com TODAY I've got a "Spring" parody song on my table to write for my folks in New York. Yep...it's officially here...and our lawn is yelling "mow me!"...so I have to take care of that. This afternoon I'm back on Music Row writing a new tune with my friend Paul Bogart and Zach Runquist who is out on the road playing for Lee Ann Womack. (Zach is playing the fiddle in the above video) Glad he has some time to write with me and Paul today. Full day...full heart...hope your day is that good too. Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Friday March 20, 2015 Another bag in the hall...another road trip. Leaving later this morning for the Smokies. YESTERDAY Another day of writing on Music Row. This time around I got together with Paul Bogart and Steve Dean at Sony. I'm always amazed how differently songs are hatched. Sometimes a writer lays down a cool music groove...sometimes it comes out of conversation...other times a writer will have a really great title. Yesterday as the three of us pondered...Paul brought up a song title he says he hit us with before and we passed on. This time we wrote it...and I'm glad we did. Turned out great. AND THEN... I picked up my credentials for the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival that starts Tuesday night here in Nashville. It's a who's who of songwriters playing in several venues in the city. I have the pleasure of playing the first night at Douglas Corner with my friends Linda Davis, Lang Scott and Kenny Beard. Here's one SONG Kenny wrote. Our show is 9 pm...come on...but come early to get a ticket to get in. More info at tinpansouth.com AND THEN... I filled in one more time for Mike Terry at 650 AM WSM radio...right in the lobby of the monstrous Opryland Hotel. Lot of tourists pressing their noses...and other parts of their anatomy up against the studio window. I hope the cleaning staff doesn't run out of Windex. Always fun to be on air for the home of the Grand Ole Opry. Sooo....full day...but a good one for sure. WATER WATER I'M hearing that our company...Gaylord...may be building a big water park...partly indoors...partly outdoors for guests only. Wave pool...little surfing area...slides etc. The park will be connected to the hotel...which is close to the Opry. Be nice if they build one of those lazy rivers where guests can lean back in a tire tube and float from the hotel and through the Opry House while the Opry was going on. Change things up a bit...c'mon! YODEL FOR ME Happy Birthday to Ranger Doug who turns 69 today...he with the Riders In The Sky...and The Time Jumpers Band who play every Monday night in Nashville. I love cowboy music...and I love to Ranger Doug sing. The used to come to Cincinnati when I was there (Riders In The Sky) and record a radio show at one of our historic theaters downtown. It was old school. "Live" audience..special guest stars...and an old cowboy script complete with an old sound effect guy that you could watch when he turned two half coconut shells into horse hoof sounds. Magic stuff. Doug and Woody Paul and Too Slim were kind enough to allow me to walk out on stage in Milwaukee one time to sing "Cool Water" with them. What a thrill. Now...if I could just get Doug to teach me to yodel! Happy birthday Doug. TODAY Off to Gatlinburg in a few minutes. It's going to be fun writing with some talented writers over there. We are doing this at the old historic Gatlinburg Inn...right in the middle of town. In one of the room...Felice and Boudeleaux Bryant wrote "Rocky Top". You can peek in the room that's been preserved and looks the same as it did the day the husband and wife tame penned that classic song. Here's hoping they rub off on the writers this weekend. This entire weekend was put together by the folks who run the Smoky Mt. Songwriters Festival held every August in Gatlinburg. They've only been doing the festival 4 years or so...and already it's become one of my favorites. Check your August Calendar...think about spending a couple of days in the Smokies and hear some great songwriters...try the moonshine that's legally sold...hit a fudge shop...hike the beautiful trails in the park. August...plan ahead. Gotta run...have a great weekend!