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Bill Whyte / Blog

The Gulf and A Good Fork

BILL BLOG Wednesday December 3, 2014 The third of December already. And no...I have not bought one thing for Christmas. I'm thinking dollar coupons from the Dollar General Store for everyone. I'm just waiting for their half off sale before buying them. YESTERDAY ON THE GULF It's the first week of the last month of the year...December...but the weather is like early summer. Temps in the 70's all week...not a cloud in the sky. My wife and I did a lot of nothin' yesterday...and did it well. We keep trying to catch a great picture of the Blue Angel jets that keep flying by our condo but they look like little black dots on the cell phone camera. Take my word...it's a spectacular free show every day from some of the finest pilots practicing their craft and maneuvers. Other than that...I had to do a little running and faced a terrible decision when I saw a Five Guys and a Whattaburger side by side in the same parking lot. I love both. Five Guys won out yesterday. THAT was my big decision for the day. Went back to the condo...sat out on the balcony all day...and finished the biography on Clint Eastwood which was entertaining and informing. I learned a lot about how he made his movies for sure. The last movie covered was "Bridges Of Madison County" that he starred in and directed with Meryl Streep as his co-star. Since then he's had several more movies that I've loved including "Monte Carlo" and "Million Dollar Baby." And I just read this morning that his latest movie he directed "Sniper" won a "Best Director" for him at a big film awards event. They'll need to write another book to cover all he's done for sure. I learned the critics hated his movies early in his career and were horrible towards him. It took years before some of them woke up to see how good he really was. Life works that way sometimes. You have to ignore your critics and believe in your talent. A life lesson. Then it was something cold in my right hand watching the big orange ball dip into the blue water to end another spectacular day here in Gulf Shores. Grateful for sure. NOT BUYING The huge chest full of silverware I saw in the paper today as a possible gift idea. I' pretty sure I've never bought silverware. Guy thing. I've never looked at a piece of flatware and thought...what a lovely piece of work. Will the weenie stick on the end of the fork? That's all I need to know. I've also figured out that I've always been happy whether I was using a plastic fork or some fancy utensil. Same way with living. Just as happy living in a trailer as I've been in a nicer home. The difference of course is...I don't want to go back to mobile home living. The point being...if you don't have a lifetime Starbucks card...or a fancy car or fancy home...or have acquired a lot...you don't even think about it. And a lot of times...your just as happy as the folks who live on the hill. Funny how that goes. You only get unhappy if you have to go backwards...at least for some. Here's to happiness for all of you...and a fork with a weenie on it. TODAY Nothing. Thanks for asking. Starting a new book...and looking for Blue Angels. That's pretty much my day. Have a great Wednesday.

Back To Normal I Hope

BILL BLOG Tuesday December 2, 2014 And the blog is back....nice to see you again. BETTER DAYS AHEAD It's been quite the month to say the least. I apologize for no blog for the past several days. A combination being sick and and my Father's death and subsequent funeral back in Missouri put life on serious hold for awhile. Today I am back in beautiful Gulf Shores where the temps are in the 70's and the ocean is blue and healing. And the good news is the weather will be like this every day for the rest of the week before we return home to Nashville on Sunday...and for that I am truly grateful. I will not get into a lot about my Father here except to say I was moved by how strong a family I have of siblings and extended family who showed their love for my Dad over the past several weeks. If there's a positive for such a thing...it's the fact that I did get to see my two brothers and two sisters who are scattered across this country come together and pull together during a tough time. And then there were friends and extended family...some who went out of their way to pay their respects to my Dad. Know how much our family appreciates you. My Dad...Don...was 84 at his passing. I was glad my daughter Heather was able to sing "The Old Rugged Cross" at his funeral...one of his favorite hymns. I was glad that I had enough strength to share a few memories "out loud" about my Father and share that with those who gathered. My brothers and sisters all have unique skill sets. We are united by blood...but have different strengths for sure. We used all of those I think over the past several weeks. And I am thankful to call Gary, Gene, Vickie and Rita my brothers and sisters for sure. I could brag about them all day and the job each of them did. I would also like to thank "The Raymers" and their wonderful family who showed in strength...and took my wife and myself in this past weekend. And a thank you to my friend Lang Scott who playing in my "Evening In The Round" music trio who got in in his truck in Nashville and drove up for the service. His wife Linda Davis...and our trio partner was on the road with Kenny Rogers or she would have been there too. We call that "above and beyond"....and my family appreciated the gesture and love for sure. I would mention other names...but I don't want to leave someone out. To each of you who have reached out and showed us your love...we appreciate you more than you know. And I certainly appreciate and love my wife Kathy who has been a rock this month considering everything that's been tossed our way. Life moves on...and my Dad's passing is a loud reminder that time doesn't last for any of us...and to make the most of each day given. RIP Dad. THIS WEEK Feet up...sun...and I will do a little songwriting with my friend Brent Burns down here. We're slotting a session with Roger Sovine. Roger pretty much used to run BMI in Nashville at one time...retired here with his wife Shirley several years ago. His father Red Sovine many of you will remember from his truck driving hits like "Phantom 309" and "Giddyup Go". Outside of that...just the wife and me re-charging on the beautiful Gulf Coast before getting back home and back to the real world. Where's my flip flops? Have a great Tuesday!

Hot Air Ballons and A Beach Weekend

BILL BLOG Friday November 21, 2014 Friday on the beach in Gulf Shores with the temps jumping to almost 70 today before heavy rain moves in over the rest of the weekend. Calling for high winds...and high surf which should be interesting to watch from our condo windows. Might be time for me to wax up a surfboard. Right. YESTERDAY Postcard perfect...Chamber of Commerce type stuff down here. I had to do a little parody song writing yesterday for New York which presented a challenge. They wanted a parody song about the American Music Awards (AMA) show that airs this Sunday night...something radio shows could use Monday morning AFTER the fact. There's a challenge for ya. I have no idea who's going to win...what's going to happen...and the challenge is to write something that can be used. I got a little help from my guy in NYC who suggested that there would be a lot of girls shaking their booty during the show...J-Lo...Iggy...Niki....Meghan Trainor (All Bout That Bass) and more. So...that's the direction the song went...using the Luke Bryan hit "Shake It For Me". This morning I heard the finished product. Funny. Mission accomplished. It is fascinating how the whole thing works. I'm assigned a topic to write a song about...or suggest one myself...then I have to find a suitable song to parody. I submit the lyrics with the song idea to New York...they ship it back to a studio in Nashville where they call in singers and musicians to record the song...and the next day it's in digital boxes at radio stations all over the country to be used if the morning hosts want to. I've turned into the Cledus T. Judd and Weird Al of country radio shows. SPEAKING OF CLEDUS Cool thing popped up yesterday on Cledus' Facebook page when he shared that Luke Bryan shared on HIS Facebook page how funny he thought the song "Luke Bryan" was that I co-wrote with Cledus, his producer Chris Clark and Colt Ford. The song is a parody of "Blurred Lines"...and it's getting a lot of play. Hooray! I heard through friends that my radio station WSM even played in on the Bill Cody show yesterday morning...so thank you to Bill. THE REST OF YESTERDAY? I spent most of it on our balcony overlooking the Gulf watching the Blue Angels fly by over and over and over. Free air shows every day...and I'm not complaining. And the day ended with my wife Kathy and myself having dinner with Brent and Pam Burns, my friends Dodge and Dean Raymer and their friends who just got in from Oklahoma...Greg and Susie Snider. Greg is a champion Bar B Que guy...brisket being his specialty. And he's got the ribbons and awards from all over the country to prove it. (so I'm expecting some before they leave!) Last night we gathered for wine and steak dinner...and I was reminded once more how lucky I am to get to spend this kind of quality time with great folks in a great location. I keep hearing a song in my head that Brent Burns and I wrote...that he recorded...titled "The Less I Do...The More I Like It." I'm kind of living the song right now. LATER TODAY Brent and I will be back at the songwriting table. Brent normally records an album in Nashville once per year...but he's skipping a year this go round as he and his wife are taking a little more personal time...and seeing the world some. Don't blame him. But...it's time to work on something new...so hopefully we'll find something fun to write about today. I've been blessed to have 35 or so songs with Brent on his albums through the years. THE WEEKEND Off to write a song or two today...maybe catch the new "Hunger Games" movie which is getting outstanding reviews...settle in for some College Football tomorrow and watch the waves hit the shore with that 100 year old lady...maybe. Have a great weekend!

Chasing Blue Angels On The Beach

BILL BLOG Thursday November 20, 2014 65 degrees and sun today on the Gulf Coast. I'll say it one more time for those who may have missed this up in Buffalo. 65 AND SUNNY ON THE GULF COAST!!!! YESTERDAY A very lazy day here on the Gulf Coast. The Blue Angels though were flying by our condo all day long. Amazing. Two...three...four....seven at one point working on their routines. Quite the free show from our balcony. Trying to catch a great picture of them is our challenge. By the time you hear the noise...get your cell phone camera on and try to locate them...they've whisked by you. We'll try and get lucky today. I did a little writing...Thanksgiving parody song stuff for my comedy folks in New York per their request yesterday...but mostly it was sitting out on the balcony and reading more of the Clint Eastwood bio I'm working on. I'm already looking to buy a poncho, a cigar and a hat to assume the "Fistful of Dollars" look. Thrown in a Happy Hour visit with my friend Brent Burns (he does this EVERY evening)...along with a couple of his friends at sundown time...and you've got the perfet ending for a perfect day on the coast. Nope...not taking one of these for granted these days. I'm remembering to soak it up...and count my blessing for sure as I re-charge for what will be a busy busy schedule when I get back to Nashville in a couple of weeks. SPEAKING OF SCHEDULE I made a change on the "Hits and Grins" calendar yesterday. For those of you who want to come out and hear the group in Nashville in December...we will be playing the Puckett's downtown location on December 19 instead of the "Listening Room" as previously announced. We are working on re-scheduling a date for the "Listening Room" and I'll let you know when that is soon. Puckett's has great food...the show is at 9 pm that night...so do make sure you make a reservation as it gets busy. See you there I hope. GARTH Garth Brooks is back...sort of. His new album has sold 130,000 it's opening week...short of 300,000 or more that they had hoped for. Not easy coming back...but he's adapting by getting himself on the social network...Facebook...Twitter etc. Here's the really cool thing. Garth is doing all his own posting and replying himself. Unlike a lot of superstars...he's not paying someone else to do it. He may never be as big as the Garth he once was...but he's still impossible to ignore. With all that said...Taylor Swift's album is number one 3 weeks in a row now. That move to pop from country killed her didn't it? TODAY Back to my book. I'm at the point where Clint Eastwood signs on to play "Dirty Harry." That will surely "make my day." Have a great Thursday.

Lazy Gulf Days and Studio Work In Twang Town

BILL BLOG Wednesday November 19, 2014 Sun is up...going to be a gorgeous day here in Gulf Shores. I'm surprised all of Buffalo has not moved here already. COLDER WEATHER The Artic freeze came all the way south...but it's warming up. And yesterday...with the sun out...it was comfortable sitting out on our balcony 12 floors up that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. It was a dolphin/Blue Angels kind of day...as both passed by multiple times while I sat out reading a couple of chapters of the Clint Eastwood bio I picked up a the local library. Up North? Ummm....not a great day for laying out anywhere. More of a "snow-angel" day I'm guessing...and ALREADY...city officials in various northern locations are crying about a salt shortage...and winter is just getting started. Sigh. I pulled over once in snow storm outside Atlanta and on the counter of the quick shop store was a child's plastic bucket and mini-shovel with a handwritten sign that read, "Georgia Snow Removal Unit." They don't handle snow so well in the south...and fortunately don't have to worry about it as much. Without rubbing it in completely...I'll say it's more fun to read about snow while sitting on the beach than it is to be living in it. So...my wife and I are planning on soaking up every sunny day we can while we're down here before returning to reality. AND...the only salt I'm seeing here is on the rim of a margarita glass. YESTERDAY Besides Dolphins and Blue Angels...I hit a local Happy Hour with my buddy Brent Burns down here. It's religion with him...so I was happy to worship with him and keep him company. We've got a writing session planned Friday...so there goes the musical neighborhood. After that...back to the condo...got on the elevator and went to the top floor where our great friends and extended family Dodge and Dean Raymer are staying for round of 3-13. That's a card game...and once again...Dodge pretty much stole all my nickels. Some things never change. There was a bucket of margaritas involved...I'm blaming that bucket for my loss. Perfect way to end a Tuesday on the beach. IN STUDIO Yesterday my cell phone rang...my wife Kathy picks it up and brings it to me...I look at the screen and see my "Hits and Grins" partner Victoria Venier in a Nashville studio as she's producing two new songs Steve Dean, Victoria and I wrote. In the vocal booth...she showed me my friend Paul Bogart singing one of our songs...and it sounded great. All on Facetime...on my cell phone! Technology is truly amazing. I can't wait to hear the finished product after it's all mixed down. My thanks to Victoria and Steve for carrying on musically without me. Here's hoping these two songs will find a happy home someday. THE CALENDAR A reminder to check my calendar at billwhytecomedy.com to find out where I'm playing. Yesterday I spent some time tweaking it...and adding more dates. There are a couple of dates coming up in Nashville...one in December at the Country Music Hall of Fame...and there's a road run coming with "Evening In The Round" with Linda Davis and Lang Scott that includes Hot Springs, Arkansas, McKinney, Texas...and a new date back at Liberty Hall in Tyler, Texas...a theater we played at a couple of years ago. We're looking to see some returning faces to that show for sure. It's shaping up to be a busy 2015...and I have no problem with that. LAZY WED ON TAP I don't plan on working today down here on the Gulf. Absolutely zero planned for Hump Day...and I'm hoping that stupid camel doesn't come by annoying me with "do ya know what day it is."??? Have a great Wednesday.

Getting Quiet On The Coast

BILL BLOG Tuesday November 18, 2014 Well...it's in the low 30's this morning...but the sun is sparkling on the Gulf Coast waters outside the condo this morning...and I do not need to fire up a snow blower. All is well. AND...we get a warming trend starting tomorrow that lifts us to 70 with sun by Friday. No brag...just fact. COLD Of course the country is in a deep freeze right now. The older I get...the less tolerance I have for cold weather. I remember growing up with my siblings in a little farm house that was heated with wood...every single stove...wood burning...including the kitchen stove. That meant traipses into the woods with my Dad behind a chainsaw...and me or one of my brothers holding on for dear life on the other end of a cross cut long bladed saw. I pretty much sucked at manual labor. Indoor plumbing and thermostats were two key improvements in my over all life that I'm thankful for. Stay warm. QUIET TIME With the songwriters festival being done...it's gotten quiet here in Gulf Shores and will be that way for the rest of the stay for my wife Kathy and myself. We're not complaining. It's our chance to re-charge every year before we pour ourselves back into busy schedules in Nashville when we get home. So...we're taking advantage of it to say the least. Yesterday we caught the movie "Interstellar" that I had been wanting to see. I'm a Matthew McConaughey fan....not so much on Anne Hathaway...and had zero idea that Matt Damon had a role in this movie. Weird. The movie itself? Just okay for me. Complicated. The visuals though...as you would suspect were off the hook good. A thinking person's movie...and I found myself asking my very smart wife..."what are they talking about"...more than once. The dialogue was also hard to pick up in places. That's just one person's opinion...some will absolutely love this movie I'm sure. STUDIO TIME I am missing being in studio today in Nashville with my "Hits and Grins" partners Victoria Venier and Steve Dean as they record two songs the three of us have written together. After months of rehearsing...and getting the group tight again after the departure of our friend Lisa Shaffer...we can finally turn our attention to writing together some. So today...they'll record those two songs and I'll wait for them to send me the finished project. My cowboy buddy Paul Bogart is going to sing on the "guy" song we wrote. FYI...when I say "cowboy" about Paul...I mean cowboy with a capital "C". When I called him about singing this song...he was on top of his horse in Oklahoma...and right after that he won a new belt buckle...the size of an F-150 hubcap after winning a team roping championship. Congrats to the cowboy. And...Victoria will handle the vocals on a song the three of us wrote while traveling to Little Rock for a gig...stuck in I-40 traffic near Memphis. The song is called "In Memphis". Hate that I'm missing all the studio fun today...but will be thinking of them as I look out over the ocean and eagerly await my copy of the finished songs. TORNADO I know I've gotten relaxed down here after I hear this morning that there were tornado watches out all up and down the panhandle yesterday...and I had no clue. Reminder to turn on the Weather Channel every now and then I guess. Since my friend down here Brent Burns and I wrote the song "Jim Cantore"...you'd think the bald headed baseball cap wearing predictor of gloom would knock on my door and tell me there's a storm...but no. TODAY Nothing...zero...nada...zilch on my schedule. Sun is up...I've got a Clint Eastwood bio I'm working on. I'll be getting comfortable with "Dirty Harry" if you need me. Have a great Tuesday.

New Video...and New Shows

BILL BLOG Monday November 17, 2014 It's a Winnie the Pooh blustery kinda day here on the Gulf Coast. Low 60's to start the morning...low 20's by tomorrow morning. Yikes. Beats the snow, sleet and ice some of you are already experiencing. THE WEEKEND All has gotten quiet here at our beach condo in Gulf Shores as two thirds of our "Hits and Grins" trio left for home in Nashville yesterday. So...it's me and the wife right now as well as our great friends Dodge and Dean Raymer a few floors above us. Life is not so bad. The Frank Brown Songwriters Festival is over...guitars were packed...and we'll all look forward to next year. Our "Hits and Grins" trio finished up with a great gig in Pensacola Saturday night at Blues Angel Music...which is a HUGE music store that houses a talking parrot...a wandering cat...and a stage that's framed with Beatles memorabilia. The owner is a retired fighter pilot...AND musician...who also loves the Fab 4...almost as our own Steve Dean does. So...they had lots to talk about. In fact...Jim...the owner plays in a Beatles cover band...and we hear that he's a great guitar player to boot. So when we played a song that Steve and I wrote titled, "Blame It On The Beatles"...I think we bonded with Jim and his lovely wife Nan forever. It was weird though hearing the parrot sing along with our songs! One other cool feature of the store...and I posted this picture on my Facebook page...they somehow turned drum kits in aquariums. Pretty cool to see fish swimming in drums. I have a feeling our trio will be coming back to Blues Angel Music someday. FYI My thanks to Lori Crace and Linda Ponder and all the volunteers at the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival for their tireless work. I had six gigs this time...and with zero problems...and had a wonderful time largely because of their hard work to put this thing together. CHECK OUT THE VIDEO These are my friends Chad Oliver and Ian Cameron doing our song "The One That Got Away" at a radio station in Whistler BC where they live and play with their band "Ruckus Deluxe". The song is out on their brand new album. Very very fun guys! Thanks for the cut. You can find the video with a search on You Tube. MORE GIGS I just added fourteen brand new gigs for "Hits and Grins" on my calendar at billwhytecomedy.com that you can check out. These dates start late 2015 and run into early 2016 with stops in California, Washington, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Arizona, New Mexico and other places. I'm also getting ready to add some new dates for "Evening In The Round" with Linda Davis and Lang Scott that will include Orlando, Florida and Tyler, Texas as well as other places. Check that calendar if you want to know where I'm playing. "On the road again...." TODAY Soaking up the Gulf with the wife. Reading a bio on Clint Eastwood...eating some seafood. You know...tough stuff. Have a great Monday

Rubber Chicken On The Beach

BILL BLOG Friday November 14, 2014 Sun is dancing on the water this morning on the Gulf of Mexico outside our condo window. But...it's like 35 degrees! Think I just saw a dolphin swim by in a parka. My wife Kathy is on the road right now to join our "Hits and Grins" trio here for the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival...and our extended stay here on the beach...can't wait for her to get here. She told me it was 25 degrees in Nashville. Lot of cold hillbillies in Twang Town right now. Better put a blanket on the banjos boys and girls. YESTERDAY Our trio was constantly running out to our 12th floor balcony to try and grab pictures of the Blue Angel jets that did fly by's...maybe 12 or thirteen times. An amazing site every time they come by in formation practicing their maneuvers. On the way to lunch...we went over Perdido Pass and saw a HUGE school of dolphins doing their thing. Then last night...our gig was at Gilbey's...which is a GREAT seafood and steak place in Orange Beach...and we had a full house that was very enthusiastic. Thank you guys for coming out! Vickie Hudson has become a fan of mine through the years...and she was there on the front row with her husband. She surprised me with a matchbox-coffin with a rubber chicken in it...that has everything to do with my "Leave Em' Laughin'"song that's the title track on one of my comedy song albums...that I often close the show with...getting the audience to sing along. The tune talks about one old fisherman who preached "leave em laughin' when it's time to go." It obviously resonated with Vickie...thus the very very cool gift. It will go in a visible place at my house when I get home. That gesture reminded me why I write songs. You never know who...when...or what will move folks. But it was validation that the song spoke to someone as I had hoped it might when I wrote the tune a few years ago. Thanks for making my night Vickie! AND THEN... The night was not over. As Victoria went out with her brother and his son last night... Steve Dean from our trio and his wife Lori and myself drove out to the home of John and Sharon Kendall...friends for several years...for Sharon's amazing key lime pie...AND...key lime cheese cake cupcakes! Lord...low fat I'm sure. Delish! Perfect nightcap for another day here on the Gulf. Thank you John and Sharon for being such great friends...and for the pie! NEW SHOW We did find out that a 4th show has been added for our trio down here. Saturday night we will travel over to Pensacola for a 7:15 show at Blue Angel Music. We hope to see some our Pensacola friends there Saturday night. TODAY We've got a free day to soak up the scenery here before a very late night gig at 11 pm tonight at the Sports Bar in Perdido tonight for the songwriters festival. One more gig tomorrow night in Pensacola before the trio leaves for home...except for my wife and myself...as we stay a couple weeks longer here. I did get a note yesterday to hold some dates for Spring of 2016 for a songwriters festival in beautiful Monterey, California! Tough job huh? Hope you have a great weekend!

Playing On The Coast

BILL BLOG Thursday November 13, 2014 Greetings from Gulf Shores...where's it cold too. Upper 40's maybe today...down near freezing tonight. I've got leggings and a fur lined speedo on today for the beach. YESTERDAY The other two members of 'Hits and Grins" arrived here at the condo...Steve Dean and Victoria Venier...along with Steve's wife Lori who's in heaven just looking at the beach outside our windows. My wife Kathy will finally get in tomorrow after attending a funeral in Raleigh with my daughter...and I can't wait for her to get here. I know the beach is going to be soothing for her too. The trio no more than dropped their bags in their rooms here...and we were off to one of the Shrimp Basket locations...fried shrimp...in a basket. You know...healthy food. Getting carbed up for the show. THE GIG Our show last night was at the Flora-Bama....great crowd...and the trio was "on" as they say...and we had such a great show...and time...that ended with a standing ovation. Pretty electric atmosphere last night at one of THE great roadhouses in America. Mick Jagger signed the bathroom wall there once upon awhile ago....Jimmy Buffet has hung of course...Kenny Chesney just played to thousands on the sand outside the old venue. Always a treat to be in their Main Listening Room where so many songwriters have played through the years. HO HO HO So this morning...I'm up for my routine. Coffee at McDonald's and the local paper. On the drive...I noticed the workers were stringing up Christmas lights!. Somewhere a turkey is screaming..."what about me?" I'm a Christmas guy though...so bring it on. Heck...maybe we'll watch the Griswolds tonight and try to help Clark solve his light problem. SPEAKING OF WHICH The Opryland Hotel which houses our WSM studio where I work some...is getting ready to throw the switch that will light up 2 MILLION Christmas lights this year! (Speaking of Clark Griswold!) If you've not come to see the hotel during the holidays...I highly recommend it. Gorgeous...just walking around. And why they have don't dress Little Jimmy Dickens up as an elf ever year is beyond me. TODAY Looking out the condo windows this morning and watching a pair of Blue Angels fly by over and over. Free show! Tonight...we play at Gilbey's at 7:30 pm Have a great Thursday!

Frank Brown Songwriters Shows Continue

BILL BLOG Wednesday November 12, 2012 Little cloudy this morning here on the Gulf Coast...but still beautiful. Temps are gonna drop starting tomorrow. 66 for a high today...so I'll soak that up...then dig the long sleeves out of the suitcase as the high Friday will be 53 with the low getting down to 29. I'm betting I'll see a Dolphin in leg warmers swim by. YESTERDAY First...I hope if you're a Veteran...someone walked up to you and said "thank you for your service." It can't be said enough. I had a fairly lazy day on the coast...running some with my friend Brent Burns down here...catching lunch at the Flora-Bama with some of the other songwriters gathered here for the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival. Last night my gig was at Tin Top out in Bon Secour...an out of the way place worth the drive for the food. Great food! I want to thank the management for taking such great care of me last night...wonderful folks. At 8 pm I sat on a stool next to my friend Bobby Tomberlin...one of my favorite writers...and just great all around guy to sing our songs. Bobby is from Luverne, Alabama...and I had a chance to tell his parents what a great job they did raising their boy...who's done pretty darned well for himself. They attended...and I know Bobby was tickled to have them in the audience. At one point...Bobby danged near brought the house down with a song we wrote with Linda Davis titled "Looking For Audrey" which is about the ghost of Hank Williams showing up at a bar night after night looking for his ex-wife Audrey. So great to hear Bobby sing that song. He told me he sang it recently at the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery...how special was that? Bobby grew up in small market radio as I did...loves the Grand Ole Opry (has a song about that)...and the tradition of our genre. So we told stories about artists we've hung with through the years. I made Bobby talk about his friendship with Little Jimmy Dickens, Bill Anderson, Porter Waggoner to name a few. I talked about Keith Urban...putting his arm around me on the Ryman stage telling me he thought my Mom was there that night...as he had heard it was her dream for her son to sing on the stage of the Opry sometime. That's as close as I've ever gotten...emceeing a show on that hallowed stage standing on that historical circle of wood where the WSM microphone sits. Bobby understands all off this. We ride the same country train. So it just made for a great evening of music and stories last night...and reminded me again how truly lucky I am to do what I do. SPOTIFY That's the streaming service that both Taylor Swift and now Jason Aldean pulled their music from saying they're not paying enough. God Bless Taylor for putting this in the spotlight. Today...the CEO of Spotify is saying they pay LOTS for the music and are helping us. He goes on to say that Taylor would have seen 6 million bucks or so this year for all the streams of her music that Spotify people were listening to on their service. Sounds huge right? Not to her. Here's the truth about those streaming services like Spotify...and how worthless our music has become. They pay roughly...$0.0006 cents per stream. Do the math. I've seen songwriter statements showing songs played...maybe 100,000 times...and the total on the check might be Four Dollars or so. There's got to be a better way...and the fight is going on right now. Taylor just stepped to the front to lead the charge and draw awareness. Good for her. TODAY Prepping for the arrival of my "Hits and Grins" partners Victoria Venier and Steve Dean...and Steve's wife Lori. They should arrive around 5 pm or so and then we will get ready for our gig at the Flora-Bama at 10:30 tonight for the Festival. They will stay through Saturday night as we have three shows slotted for this run. If you're here...come see us! Have a great Wednesday!