BILL BLOG Friday December 23, 2016 Christmas weekend! Do you know where your ho ho ho's are? YESTERDAY My calendar for the most part has cleared for the holidays with a couple of exceptions. Road trip today for a show in Huntsville...and on air next Wednesday morning for WSM from 5:30 AM to 10 AM. With the off time yesterday...I got the LAST of my Christmas shopping done. All I have to do is find the roll of duct tape for my excellent gift wrapping that I do every year and I'm good to go. It was SO nice out yesterday that I headed for a State Park that has a great walking path around Percy Priest Lake. Through the wood until you hit a gorgeous walk over bridge that's the half way point. After the Christmas feast that's coming Sunday...I'm going to need to walk this path a dozen times at least so that the bathroom scale doesn't insult me. 70 degrees in Nashville this Christmas! Instead of hot chocolate...we're leaving Santa some cold sweet tea. CHRISTMAS Vince Gill and Amy Grant sold out 9 Christmas shows at the Ryman Auditorium this year. Next year they plan on doing 10 shows. Best venue ever to hear live music...in the old Mother Church that still houses the Grand Ole Opry in the winter months. Worth a trip...and the price of a ticket to see any show at the Ryman. Next year...Little Big Town will do six shows in a row at the Ryman which is a great idea. They do this in Vegas...Brooks and Dunn & Reba are in residence there still...so it makes perfect sense for the Ryman I think. UGLY SWEATER Those have become a "thing" at Christmas. And manufacturers can hardly keep up with demand. A two person ugly sweater is a hot seller this year. Two heads poking out of one ugly sweater. Happy Holidays! Speaking of which. I saw a survey of Country Music Radio Program Directors and Consultants asking them what their favorite NEW Christmas songs and CD's were this year. Consistently in the top 3....Brett Eldredge....Kacey Musgraves and Garth Brooks. Specifically...many mentioned the "Ugly Christmas Sweater Song" from Garth that I played and heard for the first time when I was on air at WSM this past Monday. I can see and hear why it's popular. Fun. But...it did not make me want to go out and buy or wear a danged ugly sweater. You go on without me. TODAY I hit the road to Huntsville, Alabama in a few hours with "Hits & Grins" for the Jim Parker Songwriter Show there at the gorgeous VBC theater. It's dinner and a show and all three of us are looking forward to the 7 pm performance with our friend Jim...who will most surely sing his hit "Chicken Truck" that John Anderson and Big and Rich both recorded...just to name two. We'll play...and come straight back...so we should each hit or front doors early Christmas Eve morning. To all my friends, and family scattered across the country..."Merry Christmas" to each of you. Just because I don't see you often enough doesn't mean that I don't think about you and love you and your families. I'm blessed this year. My wife Kathy is preparing a great meal that will sit on a dining room table with a view of Old Hickory Lake. And for the first time...our future son in law will be with us and my daughter Heather. The Army gave him some time off too. Count your blessings. And don't wear an ugly Christmas sweater. Merry Christmas!!!
BILL BLOG Thursday December 22, 2016 And now just 3 days til Christmas! YESTERDAY My songwriting appointment was with Gerald Smith and Caroline Gallagher...the first time I've written with the two of them together. I've written multiple songs with Gerald and Caroline. Gerald recently recorded a fun CD titled "Out Standing In My Field" where he included a funny song we wrote together "To The Grave." And Caroline who's from North Carolina is working on her first album and has already recorded 5 or six tunes we've co-written. So...I thought she and Gerald would hit it off and they did...and we walked away with a "grassy" kind of tune inspired from an idea that Gerald brought to the table yesterday. Just another fun creative day on Music Row...and I was surely happy to be a part of that. CONGRATS To my friends the Scott Family who looked great on "The Today Show" this week. Jenna Bush from the show came to Nashville and recorded the family...and some of what you saw was around Linda Davis' piano at her house where I've been blessed to sit before and write songs. They of course were promoting their new project "Love Remains" up for the Grammy this year and talked about the inspiration behind the project...Lang Scott's Dad...and Hillary and Rylee Jean Scott's grandfather. T...you'll see a picture of him sitting on the beach. I knew him a bit which of course helped in writing our song on this project "Safe Haven" which is about him and his influence. Watching the family...one is struck by the fact that it's nice to know folks like these who are so dog-gone nice and talented and so well grounded. Fingers crossed for the Grammy! FUNNY STORY Lang told me a funny story about taping that show. Jenna Bush...the host...at one point asked Rylee Jean...the 16 year old...if there was any music her parents were not fond of. She replied that her Dad (Lang) didn't like Adele! They cut it from the show which my friend Lang was grateful for. Rylee Jean is a complete hoot. OLD HICKORY LAKE I can see that lake outside my window...and have made a note that I may need to buy another fishing rod and reel. Yesterday a young man caught a 94 pound catfish out of that lake. His girlfriend fell out of the boat...and his buddy who was with him? His first time fishing ever! It took them 40 minutes to land the beast. Wow. They weighed him...and then released him. So...maybe I can lay into him one day.
TODAY The last of my Christmas shopping...thank goodness. And tomorrow...off to Huntsville, Alabama for a Christmas songwriter show with "Hits & Grins". More on that tomorrow.
Have a great Thursday!
BILL BLOG Tuesday December 20, 2016 Five days til Christmas and my Sears Christmas catalog has yet to arrive! WSM Yesterday I was on air with Little Jimmy Dickens...at least his wax figure. You can see a picture on my Facebook Page if you look. Pretty amazing. He will be one of 50 wax figures at a new Madame Tussaud's attraction at Opry Mills starting in the Spring of 2017. Tourists stopped in the hallways and took souvenir pictures while we were on the air. Country stars Gene Watson and Rudy Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers called me on air to talk about "The Tater". It would have been his birthday. Over 50 music wax figures will be in this attraction...including Minnie Pearl who they rolled through our Christmas Parade the other day. Her likeness is incredible too. Another new must place see for your trip to Music City. Next time I'm scheduled to be back on WSM is Friday night January 13. SHORT Short blog today....because the longer one I had written crashed and disappeared on me a few seconds ago (I gotta it the save button sooner!)...and I'm out of time. So...larger blog tomorrow. Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Monday December 19, 2016 Brrr....thats all...brrrr. The good new is we are back in the 50's in a couple of days. THE WEEKEND Mine actually started with a songwriting session with Tim Stafford on Friday...our first time writing together. Tim is rightfully excited because the stellar bluegrass band he's a part of (guitar player-vocalist) is going to LA in a couple of months to see if they win a Grammy for best bluegrass group. I'd be excited too. This is their third nomination...no yet winning...so my fingers are crossed for him for sure. Our writing session felt like two old friends getting together...even though it was our first time. And we wrote a very cool song in a short amount of time...as I had been listening to Guy Clark on the drive over to his hotel got inspired and then got something in my head...and sang the chorus idea into my phone. He loved it...and it was on like Donkey Kong and now we have something to take in studio...demo...and then hopefully it will find a musical home. Time well spent and I know we'll be writing more in the future. Tim has written a book...taught History...and played with Alison Krauss as part of her band. And that's just a few of his accomplishments. For me...just another day of realizing how lucky I am that I get to do what I do these days. LAST NIGHT My wife and I went to a house Christmas party at that our friend Ginny Foley throws. She loves songwriters....and last night there was food and songs as the group sat in a circle and sang. Jim Parker sang his John Anderson hit "Chicken Truck" which has also been recorded by Aaron Tippin and a new artist also just recorded it. (I'm playing at Jim's songwriter show in Huntsville this Friday evening) And fellow Missourian Jimmy Payne sang his smash that he wrote with Jim Glaser "Woman Woman" for Gary Puckett and the Union Gap...along with a lot of other folks who recorded it. My great friend Karen Wheeler and her brother Danny Wheeler were there. Their Dad was Onie Wheeler who played harp for Roy Acuff and was an artist himself and a great writer. The two of them did one of their Dad's great gospel song that Flatt & Scruggs were noted for "Go Home". And the Williamson Branch Family was just off the hook great. Mom, Dad, and three young girls who can all sing and play. Their family harmony and talent is really something...and it's not wonder that they stay so busy performing. Just fun musical evening at Christmas time...and my thanks to Ginny and her husband for having us last night. BUSY My calendar stays updated at billwhytecomedy.com. I've just added two more dates for my Hits & Grins trio at two different Puckett Grocery locations...one in January and another in February. And two more dates for me being on WSM radio...the first one being today from 10-3. If you want to find out where I might be...that's the place to go. CRITICAL REVIEW This weekend the music critics in our paper the Tennessean listed their favorite albums of the year. "Love Remains" by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family that I'm a part of was listed not once...but twice. Amazing. It is surely fun and humbling to be a part of this ride with such a great family. Congrats to all.
TODAY I'm on WSM from 10-3 with a wax look alike of the late Jimmy Dickens in studio with me. He will be placed in the new Madame Tussaud wax museum along with a lot of other wax figures of music stars at Opry Mills this coming April. I'll take a picture today and post on my Facebook. They actually wheeled it out this past weekend onto the Opry stage next to one of his biggest fans Brad Paisley...as Brad sang one of his favorite Little Jimmy Dickens tunes. So...me and Jimmy hanging today inside the Opryland Hotel where tourists will most surely press up to the studio window and take pictures of the wax "Tater". Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Friday December 16, 2016
Here comes the weekend. After really cold temps yesterday...below freezing...we're going up into the low 50's today and almost 70 tomorrow. Don't ask me. YESTERDAY I had no big appointments...so I got to the Y...but on the way home my road was blocked from both ends...four hours. Police cars everywhere. It forced me to park my car on the back of our lot off of another road than the one we live in...and find a path through the trees and overgrowth to get to the house before we could retrieve the car hours later. My daughter discovered the problem on the internet. It wasn't a car wreck per se...but a runaway 16 year old pregnant girl ran from police...and then when they caught her she slapped the cop and I guess all heck ensued. Pregnant at 16...running from police. Sound like the title of a sad country song.
WHO'S Other than that...pretty calm day. Watched the "Grinch"...not the Jim Carey one...but the classic animated 30 minute version. Love that. I got to interview Thurl Ravencroft one year on the radio. Thurl is the guy with the big voice that sings, "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch"...and was also the voice of Tony The Tiger for Kellogg's saying, "It's greeeeeat!" Nice man. And he actually sang the Grinch song with new words I wrote and sent him about our morning show in Cincinnati that he nailed and our producer put over the original music bed. It truly rocked...and I played it every Christmas season. That's one of the things I do miss about having a full time morning radio show...is being able to have a platform to play those kinds of things for an audience. GREAT ADMISSION Tony Bennett who is 90...still singing says, "It's too late to retire." He do have a point. For all I know...there may be a law that says if you don't retire by 70...you're never allowed to retire. I'll let ya know.
TODAY Writing with Tim Stafford for the first time..he with the Grammy nominated bluegrass group "Blue Highway"
Sunday a Christmas songwriter pull party...always fun.
Monday...on air at WSM from 10-3. Tune in if you can.
Have a great weekend!
BILL BLOG Thursday December 15 Ten days to Christmas. Wow. Plenty of cold this morning to welcome the Christmas season. 25 here for a high today...BUT...51 tomorrow. Yo Yo temperatures right now. YESTERDAY Always a good day when I get to write with Jenny Tolman and or her producer Dave Brainard. Dave was headed out the door to the studio as I was walking into their condo to write with just Jenny yesterday. Dave is producing maybe 4 stellar acts right now...Jenny being one...and those projects will see the light of day sometime next year. Can't wait to hear some of that...especially Jenny's project. Yesterday Jenny had let her mind go writing in a creative way before I got there and had a loose idea about getting even with the devil. No song title...just an idea. So...we went down that road writing and writing....until just like a puzzle it started coming together and we finished the session with a new and different kind of song for her. It is true...probably 95% of all the songs I've written will never be heard except by those I've written them with. That's just part of the deal. But it's truly the process that I enjoy...just like yesterday's process of just trying to figure out how to make something out of small idea Jenny had in her head. We'll see if what happens down the road with this one. RADIO I'll be putting my radio hat back on for the first time in awhile as I'll be on air for 650AM-WSM this coming Monday from 10 am to 3 pm filling in for Mike Terry. Listen on your computer if you'd like at wsmonline.com The Opryland Hotel which houses the radio station has like a billion Christmas lights strung right now...so it will be fun just getting to the studio and seeing those. SPEAKING OF CHRISTMAS Did you know that the Charlie Brown Christmas special almost never made it on TV. When they turned the iconic Charles Schultz "Peanuts" comic strip into the film...Schultz thought they might have ruined a good thing. CBS hated the jazz music and the big words the kids use in this classic. It got turned in at the last minute...and CBS had no time to pull it...so it ran. And it still runs...and runs...and runs. Can't imagine that little film not having that wonderful soundtrack from Vince Guaraldi. Or...the little Bible speech in the stage spotlight from Linus...which was also controversial at the time of production. One of the all time faves. And think how many folks put up a little scrawny Charlie Brown Christmas tree this year! RUN FOR THE BORDER RINGS Apparently you can get rings with your tacos now at Taco Bell. Some kind of little ring....bent in wire. I think one actually reads, "taco" and the second one says "bell". Uh huh. Check it out HERE if you'd like. Finally...the perfect gift for my wife! If I wrapped this and put it under the tree for her...I would need to make a run for the border the second it was open. I can't wait for the Burger King ear ring set to be announced.
TODAY Off day of songwriting....which will give me time to get by Taco Bell and buy those set of snappy rings!
Have a great Thursday!
BILL BLOG Wednesday December 14, 2016 Gray and dreary skies clinging to Old Hickory Lake outside my window this morning. Geez. My wife Kathy is trying to kick the last of a cold. I read about Dill Pickle Soup this morning. That oughta cure her. Yuk. YESTERDAY I had a great time hanging out and writing with my "Hits & Grins" trio that includes Steve Dean and Victoria Venier. It had been a little stretch since we last saw each other down in Gulf Shores for the songwriter festival there. Yesterday...for the first time...we wrote with a 4th person in our mix...Becky Blackaby from Paris, Missouri. Becky is a young Mom...and has that music bug deep in her...God Bless her...so she makes regular 7 hour trips to Music City to feed the music in her soul. We wrote about that thought yesterday and hope we nailed something she'll really love to sing. Time will tell. Either way...always nice to spend a few hours creating with nice folks. The next show for "Hits and Grins" will be December 23 in Huntsville, Alabama for the Jim Parker Songwriter Series held at the beautiful VBC theater. It's dinner and a show. The seats go up from the stage...and this is truly a wonderful concert experience for all who come. I think this is my 4th time maybe doing this show and I always look forward to it. Yes...will add some Christmas original songs for this one. All the details are at the link when you open it. DOLLY I did watch some of Dolly's Telethon last night. They raised a ton of money for the fire victims in Gatlinburg...and a who's who of talented folks performed because...well...Dolly asked. Man what a treasure she is. Kenny Rogers who is not in great shape these days...came up...sat on a stool...as he does full time these days on stage...but did stand when they sang "Islands In The Stream." Really bad back for "The Gambler" but he got through it. In an article this morning he admitted his pain...and says at his age there are no "good feeling" days. Hate hearing that. And of course my friend Linda Davis knows about this as she's opening all of his shows on his farewell tour around the world right now. My wife and I are hoping to see him one last time before he goes to the house full time. Congrats to Dolly and all the stars and volunteers last night making that effort a huge success. SAD Sad to hear the news on Alan Thicke...one of the good guys by all account. Dead at 69...way way too young. And just another reminder of how fleeting life is. If you live long enough...you have stories seemingly that link to everything. Here's my round about Alan Thicke six degrees of separation story. Cledus T. Judd recorded a parody song I helped him and his producer and Colt Ford write titled "LUKE BRYAN". They released it digitally as a single the morning after Luke won "Entertainer Of The Year" at the CMA Awards. I had no idea he had recorded the song until I got a text from him about it that last night. In fact...I'd forgotten all about it after contributing to his idea months and months before. The parody was of Alan Thicke's son's hit (Robin Thicke) "Blurred Lines." If you've not seen the video...click on that link and enjoy. Pretty funny. RIP Mr. Thicke.
TODAY Off to write with young talented Jenny Tolman who's working on her first album. Here's hoping the rhyming Gods are with us this morning.
Have a great Wednesday!