BILL BLOG Friday July 22, 2016 Heat index at 110 this morning in Nashville. Every banjo, guitar and mandolin...already sweating. I have one more morning here on WSM this morning. Been a fun week on air working with Charlie Mattos and filling in for my friend and Hall of Famer Bill Cody. Yesterday Sam Bush was incredible in studio...and today we welcome the musical trio Mama Dear at 9:15 AM. And before that Ayla Brown who sang the National Anthem at the Republican National Convention will join us on the phone to talk about that experience. So...tune in if you can this morning at wsmonline.com. TONIGHT I'm off to see the Earls of Leicester at the Country Music Hall of Fame...a great tribute band that plays the classic bluegrass sounds of Flatt & Scruggs. Should be fun. A normal blog will return this Monday morning. Have a great weekend!
BILL BLOG Thursday July 21, 2016 Hotter than you know what...but I'm up early before the heat index has set in totally...inside the AC at WSM Radio ready to go again this morning as I fill in for Bill Cody. Yesterday Shawn Camp and Jerry Douglas (world's greatest dobro player) were in studio with me and Charlie Mattos and just rocked the house...if bluegrass can rock...as they promoted their new CD "Rattle and Roar." They are two members of the Grammy winning group the "Earls Of Leicester" who pay tribute to the music of Flatt and Scruggs. Pretty incredible stuff. I'm going to sneak in and see their show at the CMA Theater at our Hall of Fame on Friday night. THIS MORNING The Honeycutters will drop by at 8:30...and then the world's greatest mandolin player Sam Bush will be in to talk about his new CD around 9:15 AM so tune in at wsmonline.com and don't miss that. IN STUDIO After I left the radio station yesterday I went to a studio that Martina McBride and her husband own....Blackbird Studios....and I laid down some bass vocal parts for a really cool gospel tune I helped write with the artist Jacky Dustin and my friend and ex-Little Texas member Brady Seals. This is such a fun song called "The Devil Don't Honk His Horn" that will go on Jacky's new CD out later this year. Can't tell you how much fun we had singing these parts....and how much fun this little song is! Congrats to Jacky on her new project which should make some noise for her. LAST NIGHT And to finish up the day? I was reminded why I love Music City. My wife and I got to hear Hillary Scott and her family premiere their new album "Love Remains." I had no idea it was going to be a "Live" performance...but it was...and it was awesome. Imagine how wonderful it was to hear them sing a song that I helped write...AND Ricky Skaggs (who produced the album) joined them and played mandolin on the song I wrote with Hillary, Jimmy Fortune and Sydni Perry called "Safe Haven". Before they started singing our song Hillary spoke eloquently about how we just nailed the essence of her Grandfather in our tune "Safe Haven." The album was inspired when they lost him to cancer....so I was very honored and moved last night to say the least. The crowd was full of musicians, and artist, and record label folks and others who love this family and Hillary and the music they make...me included. Some kind of day yesterday for sure...and I'll have more on this when I have time...after my little morning run wraps up here at WSM on Friday morning. Have a great Thursday!
BILL BLOG Wednesday July 20, 2016 Well...little short blogs the rest of the week. I'm sitting behind the WSM microphone right now a little before 5 AM. Show time is 5:30 this morning. The Earls of Leicester...two of them...Shawn Camp and Jerry Douglas will be on the show at 9 am this morning. They are an all star group of musicians and singers who pay tribute to Flatt and Scruggs. So good...so tune in at online worldwide at wsmonline.com. After the show I go into studio to sing some bass background vocals for my friend Jacky Dustin who is recording a funky gospel tune that she, myself and Brady Seals wrote together one day. So Brady and I will lend our vocals to this cool song. And then this evening I'll be at Universal Records with my wife for a listening party for the new Hillary Scott and Scott Family album being released in a week or so. All the songwriters who contributed, record folks, the family and a few more VIP's will get an early listening with the family which should be very special. Full day. Have a great Wednesday!
BILL BLOG Tuesday July 19, 2016 Had a little fog outside my window this morning that's now lifting. Sun is starting to pop out and we're going to heat up quicker that a pan of Jiffy Pop on a wood burning stove. YESTERDAY My wife and I made a spur of the moment run to Chattanooga to see a friend who was unexpectedly hospitalized. The good news is they are going to be fine but they still have one more day apparently before they release them. Certainly all of our good thoughts are there right now. While in Chattanooga...we sorta kind of saw a baseball park...another one. Chattanooga Lookouts. I thought they were affiliated with my Cincinnati Reds but had forgotten that the Reds moved their AA affiliate to that beautiful new ball park I saw recently on the ocean in Pensacola. There was zero shade...and the temps felt like 100...so...we got something to eat...snapped some pictures...and then came home without seeing a bat hit a ball. That's okay...it's all about ballparks to me anyway especially if it's not a team I root for. But...it was cool seeing where the Lookouts play ball. For the record? They are a minor league team for the Minnesota Twins. Oh...we found a very cool little coffee shop our daughter suggested. Heather has spent some time in that city and knows it well...and it was a great suggestion. Chattanooga looks to be a beautiful city with the river running through it, museums and history...and a heck of an Aquarium from what I hear. We'll go back someday I'm sure and tour. Heck...might go crazy and see Rock City! WORK The one piece of real work I did yesterday was writing a parody song for New York on the Republican Convention which started last night in Cleveland. Donald-Hillary...conventions....I'd like to thank them for the non ending source of comedic material. Makes my job pretty easy. I can only imagine the field day Saturday Night Live and every late night talk show is going to have with this. MY JOB I'm starting to realize the one contribution (hopefully) that I'm able to make is lightening a load of serious with laughter. That was part of my goal with my friend in the hospital. Making them laugh...taking their mind off the serious. I feel pretty blessed to be able to do that. With all the constant bad news we are given every day in the media...wow. So...if I can lighten some one's day by making them smile or laugh...I feel pretty good about that. Lots of other friends and family members of mine have some unreal skill sets that I just don't and will never possess. Wish I had a LOT of those things in my repertoire but don't...and never will. I guess we're all given something that makes us unique as human beings. Don't waste whatever your skill set is. RINGER I just read where the number one lawn game is horseshoes...still. I played a lot of that growing up. Horseshoe pits were part of both sides of my family. On the Whyte side of my family...my Dad's side...my Grandfather's place had a horseshoe pit that sat in front of the gravel road that kicked up dust on their farmhouse when cars went by and honked while we were pitching. Fond memories. And on my Mom's side...the Dunbar side...at one time...her Dad and Mom rented a house that had an INDOOR horseshoe pitching barn. I thought that was way too cool for the room! I somehow doubt that today's kids with their heads up their apps chasing Pokemon around outdoors will have the kind of memories I have. I'm grateful that the clang of horseshoes and conversation is embedded in the back of my mind forever. TODAY Well...this was to be a studio day for "Hits & Grins" but that's been cancelled...so I can do some catch up stuff...and get braced for a very busy rest of the week that starts dark and early tomorrow morning when I'm on air at 5:30 AM for WSM.
Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Monday July 18, 2016 I've got a hot cup of coffee...a great sunny view this morning outside my window overlooking Old Hickory Lake and out the back window...two bucks with huge racks are nestled down in the backyard. We've watched them grow up. Between the deer and squirrels and turkey and rabbits and other assorted birds and creatures...it sometimes feels like our house was set down in a zoo. THE WEEKEND I had a very uneventful weekend...and because of some scheduling conflicts the first part of my week is easy too before it gets super busy mid-week. No complaints. I will be on WSM this week Wednesday through Friday from 5:30 AM to 10 AM working with Charlie Mattos while Bill Cody takes some time off. Wednesday morning the Earls of Leicester will be "live" in studio to promote a new album. Those guys feature Jerry Douglas (world's greatest dobro player) and Shawn Camp to name two...so that will be awesome. Then on Thursday morning Sam Bush (worlds greatest mando player) will be in studio with his group the Honeycutters to promote their new project. Amazing amazing bands....and they'll be in around 9 AM those morning to play "live". Listen in worldwide at wsmonline.com MEANWHILE Country star Trace Adkins had a relapse this weekend...drunk at a concert...and he gave his fee to St. Jude...the charity he was working for. Alcohol is a mean addictive mistress to some. Love Trace..have ever since I heard his baritone voice on his first release "There's A Girl In Texas" that I played many times on air when I was at WMIL in Milwaukee. Good guy. I hope he can kick that habit with help. CONDOLENCES Bonnie Brown passed away this weekend...cancer. A lot of you might not know that name right off your heads...but you'll certainly remember her sweet harmony voice signing all those RCA hits with her brother Jim Ed and sister Maxine...especially on this SONG that she found while overseas one trip. RIP. Again...that's the great thing about making music. You're not forgotten. All we have to do is pull up the music...and Bonnie is remembered again as well as her brother Jim Ed who went before her. SPEAKING OF MUSIC ICONS Kris Kristofferson just released a new album today...a "live" recording of some of his biggest hits. He's 80. Love that.
TODAY A little walk...and maybe I'll check out that "Who Ya Gonna Call" thing.
Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Friday July 15, 2016 And we made it to another weekend! YESTERDAY The middle part of my Thursday had me playing some of my songs for a publisher/friend off Music Row. Although I've written with some of her writers in the past...it was the first time we really had a chance to sit and talk and get to know each other. Robyn Taylor Drake has been in the business for a long time...wrote songs herself...and then has been more on the business side of things...publishing...song plugging...teaching and getting to know everyone up and down Music Row through the years. So it was fun to sit at her kitchen table over coffee and talk...and then have her listen to a bunch of my songs....which I'm happy to report she liked a lot. I'm sure we'll be working together more in the future. HOME VALUE Robyn's office-home that she has with her husband is just off Music Row in one of those restored houses...dark wood...beautiful comfortable place. I'm betting she read the article that I did this morning talking about a piece of property on the Row increasing 127% in value! Property do be hot down here. There's so much history all crammed into 4 or 5 streets here...threatened by folks that want to tear it down and build condos. Thank goodness some preservation folks...and the city have recognized the value of preserving Music Row...allowing those of us who love it...to still have it around for awhile. ON THE PHONE Yesterday afternoon I was engaged in a couple of great phone calls. One for a wonderful old radio friend John Malone who just accepted a job where he will oversee 5 radio stations in Tuscaloosa, Alabama owned by iHeart (Clear Channel). I had the pleasure of working with John for awhile when I did the morning radio show for WSM-FM back in the day...while John was over on the WSM-AM side of things. He left...I left...I came back and now work on the AM side...while John had a long run in Huntsville...now off to Tuscaloosa. One of the really good guys...so I'm happy for him. He was calling to talk about building a songwriters show or series of show that the city and the radio station would get behind. Count me in. I'm hoping I'll be able to announce a show there in the near future and help him build that idea in Tuscaloosa and maybe other locations. We'll see. Either way...it was really fun catching up with him again. ALMA MATER And then I had a wonderful conversation with the Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations at my old alma mater the University of Central Missouri. Mules! They are inviting me to be part of an elite group that would help re- shape the digital media department there and help increase the amount of students that hit the finish line in college...and talk with them but the real world outside of college. Certainly I'm more than a little flattered to be asked. So...I'm mulling that around for a couple of days. It requires enough hours and a three year or so commitment on my part that it might not be possible right now...but it's worth thinking about. And at the very least...it would be fun to go on campus even once just to talk to the kids who are walking through the same on campus buildings that I did...and especially talk to those thinking about careers in radio-tv-print-digital. We'll see. I'm just hoping they don't check my grade point average and rescind the offer. Again...just pretty darned humbled to be considered. LOVE REMAINS Check out this LINK where you can pre-order special copies of the "Love Remains" CD from Hillary Scott and The Scott Family out officially at the end of this month. 13 songs on the project...including the one I'm on "Safe Haven." If nothing else you can check out the song list and album cover. Excited...and so happy for my friends here.
TODAY Nothing big on my calendar. So...I'll tie up some loose ends...get a walk in...maybe see Ghostbusters before the weekend is up and gear up for a busy week ahead.
Have a great weekend!
BILL BLOG Thursday July 14, 2016 Up and ready for another full day...after a very busy and fun one yesterday. DOUBLE HEADER I had two writing sessions yesterday...and I don't do a lot of that anymore. Initially...trying to build a catalog of songs I did a lot of what we call 10 and 2's...meaning you co-write with someone or someone's at 10 AM...and then you go write with someone else at 2 pm. But now that my catalog has swollen to maybe 6 or 700 songs...I try not to do more than one a day unless it's something too good to pass up. Yesterday was one of those days when I had a last second opportunity to write with this years "Voice" runner up winner on Blake Shelton's team. Her name is Emily Ann Roberts...17...a lot of you saw her. I need to thank my great friend Courtney who now works at Starstruck on Music Row (Reba's place) but also home to Blake. She set me and my friend Brandon James up to write with her...and another thanks to Brandon for suggesting me as the third person for this co-write. She was charming...and really fun to be around...and her Dad who brought her was real deal nice. For now...they drive over from Knoxville allowing Emily to learn to write with Nashville songwriters. We hit it off...lots of laughter...and I'm really excited about the song that turned out. I had to leave early...but Brandon and Emily went up and played it for our friend Courtney who apparently loved it so much that they then walked in and played if for the head guy at Starstruck...who must have also loved it because later that afternoon Brandon and Emily went into a vocal studio and recorded it. Can't wait to hear. There is certainly a very bright future for this one...and I hope we have a lot more co-writes in the future. Time very well spent. Girl can really really sing. THEN... I literally flew down the street...on Music Row for a 1 pm co-write with my Wyoming friend Manon Ward who's excited about her family moving here. She's got company! Garth Brooks guitar player Johnny Garcia is producing Manon...and we gave him something new to listen to yesterday. I've said it before...and it's true...there are a LOT of talented young folks in this crazy town. I'm happy hanging and working creatively with a lot of them. FUNNY SONG Before I left my front door behind me yesterday...I had to turn in a funny song for my New York folks. The topic they needed to be covered? Driver less cars...and the news that the Google and Tesla's are having a lot of wrecks. So this week musically I've covered "Ghostbusters," "Self Driving Wrecking Cars," and "Pokemon Go." See how much stupid fun rolls my way?
HERE WE GO Yesterday a transgender woman was busted for snapping photos of a woman in her stall-bathroom and Target. Bound to happen. For me? Good news! It might get a few more plays for my song "WWJP...Where Would Jesus Pee." Yes...I'm once again shamelessly taking advantage of the weird news...of which there is no shortage of. TODAY I'm off to play a few songs for a publisher this morning...then I have a little flurry of business calls on my agenda. All good stuff though. One call w
BILL BLOG Wednesday July 13, 2016 Middle of July already. YESTERDAY Well...we are getting pretty close on having our second "Hits & Grins" CD done. The plan is to now have CD's in our hands and online by mid-August. Yesterday Steve Dean, Victoria Venier and myself gathered at Steve's home studio and mixed 6 of the ten songs that will be on this new project...which we are still looking to name. It's sounding great! There's a wonderful faith based song on this one titled "Flying On The Wings Of Faith" that Steve sings...Victoria's "In Memphis" song that we wrote during a road trip to Little Rock once while looking out the window at Memphis in a traffic standstill is on this...and that little song has been a crowd favorite since we started singing it....and my funny topical song "Get Over Your Selfie" is also on this CD. Art work, graphics, pressing coming up...and I'll let you know when it's available soon...and how to get a copy if you'd like. Really excited to be rolling out some new music with the trio. GOOD MUSIC NEWS I found out yesterday there will be an official listening party for the Hillary Scott and Scott Family project that I have a song on coming up in a little over a week. Yes...you're danged right I'm going. I'm trying to figure out whether to wear a tux or camo. When I posed this question to Lang Scott...head of the family...he suggested camo-tux. I like it. The first single "Thy Will" has well over 2.5 million hits and views of the powerful video that the world knows now deal with a miscarriage Hillary suffered through...endured...and got stronger through her faith. My song on this project is titled "Safe Haven" that I wrote with Hillary, Jimmy Fortune and Sydni Perry. So excited that on July 29 folks will be able to buy the album...and hear all of great songs...including my little tune. Really an honor to be on something this amazing with folks I love so much. Look for the family on Good Morning America August 2nd...promoting the album. PARODIES I had to write a parody song for my New York folks yesterday on the Pokemon Go topic. Before that...it was a tune to promote the new female Ghostbusters movie out this weekend. This continues to be an odd partial way to make a living...and I smile all the time while doing it. I never know what topic they are going to send me...but I'm getting better at guessing. I know for certain...I'm nowhere near done writing Trump-Clinton parody songs. CONGRATS I want to say congrats to two radio icons that I've been blessed to know through the years. Kidd Kraddick and Bob Kingsley have both been selected to be inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame. So deserving. I went to Dallas many years for a morning radio seminar conducted by Kidd. I learned a ton...he was always a step ahead. He introduced me to the internet...told us to buy Microsoft back in the day...and opened our eyes to the importance of being a "content provider" and not just a DJ. Write content...own it...you always have something more to sell than just yourself. That stuck with me. He passed away suddenly a few years ago...way too young. Really nice to see the Hall select him. And Bob Kingsley is still doing his count down show from his gorgeous studios out in Weatherford, Texas...north of Dallas. I think I did the show for him four times in my career...and I think I did that more than any other radio person in the country...so that too is an honor for sure. A gracious...talented man...and everyone loves him. Congrats to both Kidd and Bob.
TODAY A double header of writing that starts this morning with my Canadian friend Brandon James and Voice Contestant Emily Ann Roberts who finished high up this year on the TV show. Then this afternoon I rhyme with my Wyoming pal Manon Ward.
If I didn't know better I'd swear I live in Music City or something.
Have a great Wednesday.
BILL BLOG Tuesday July 12, 2016 Ready to attack Tuesday with a hard rain falling AGAIN outside my window. Man we've had some rain. YESTERDAY Very fully music day that started in a house recording studio...old school ranch style in a neighborhood. Faded pictures of Garth and Alabama and countless others still hung in the old studio...folks who have recorded there in the past. That's where I met up with my friend Zach Runquist who plays a ton of instruments...very talented. While we were there he got a text from his friends in a girl trio called Post Monroe who were excited because they got word they were going to play the Grand Ole Opry. Which means of course Zach will get to play on that historical stage again too. Kind of a cool way to start our writing session. Zach and I hammered on a song for a couple of hours before we were joined by Andrea Thomas who's a great singer-artist herself...and was most recently out on tour singing background vocals for Carrie Underwood. She wasn't into the little Bonnie Raitt idea we had started...it happens...so we put that on the shelf and attacked a little idea she had sung into her phone...a verse and a chorus. And it was great. One of the things you learn writing songs is...if you're writing with an artist like she is...you are much better serve to down a music road that THEY love as opposed to being anchored to your own idea. Glad we did. And next week we will get together a second time to try and finish what we started yesterday. Always glad to work with new talented folks like her. MEETING Then it was off for a 4 pm Starbucks meeting with a friend from Cincinnati...Fred Anderson who has been a long time publicist for years and years. He knows a lot of the same folks I do from the Cincy days and we had fun remembering some of that...but more importantly...I got to know a young artist from Virginia he's working with...Kaitlyn Baker who I liked a lot. Country. In her talking voice and vocal voice. I liked her very quickly...and long story short...somewhere in the near future when she makes a trip back up here we'll write together. She's the first person for sure that I've ever met who's from POUND Viriginia. Maybe we'll write about "Pound." TODAY Back in studio today for "Hits and Grins" as we start listening to what we've recorded. The mixing starts...then some art work and graphics...and we'll have our second CD out soon. I'll let ya know when. FYI...our schedule was announced for the Smoky Mt. Songwriters Festival coming up August 24-27. Steve Dean and I will be participating in a songwriters workshop at the beginning of this festival in Gatlinburg...and then our trio will play two shows. Friday August 26 at the Park Vista Lobby. Then Saturday night August 27 we will be on the Sound Biscuit Stage in front of the historic Gatlinburg Inn streetside for an 8 pm show. This is a very fun festival...so if you'd like a little getaway in the mountains filled with moonshine and music...this would be your cup of tea. Here's their WEBSITE for all the info. Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Monday July 11, 2016 Nope...did not win the $540 million dollar mega lottery over the weekend...so might as well blog. THE WEEKEND Very quiet around the Whyte House over the weekend. We dealt with some big storms...cleaned brush off the back lot two different times...and then we had our power go out Saturday night at 9 pm and it did not go back on until about 10 AM the next morning. Summer time in Nashville folks. WAITING FOR THE CALL I did catch a baseball game on a perfect Sunday...yesterday. It was interesting because the gentleman behind me struck up a conversation. He had flown in from Vegas to watch his son who is currently a middle reliever for our Nashville Sounds. I enjoyed that...finding out his boy is 25...been in the minors for 5 years and is hoping like all those minor league kids to get THAT big call one day and get to play in the Big Show. Minor league ball players make very little money. High risk-high reward kind of thing. But...you gotta take your shot when you're young. I'll be rooting for his kid now for sure. Our new minor league park is really nice...and now they've added a 9 hole putt putt golf course down the right field line to go with the cornhole games, and ping pong and soft chairs for those who buy a ticket and never watch a minute of the game. I can't wait for the "Whack A Mole" games and roller coasters to be added. Geez. I'm old school. If it was up to me...no one could leave the park if they didn't know who was leading or who had won the game before they exited. There would be a lot of folks sleeping inside the park if that were a rule for sure.
THINGS I'VE NEVER HEARD BEFORE At my Starbucks...one female barista to another, "I needed more Preparation H this morning." That made me quietly spit up a little bit of my Grande Pike. She was talking about using it on her face. Clears up wrinkles. Although...you don't see that tube in the Max Factor section of your favorite store.
TODAY Off to write with multi talented instrumentalist-songwriter Zach Runquist and his young artist Andrea Thomas for the first time. Should be fun.
FYI...prayers going up to country artist Craig Morgan as news is breaking that his son drowned. Can't imagine. Craig was one of the first people of note in this town to write with me...feeling for his loss this morning.
Have a great Monday.