BILL BLOG Tuesday September 13, 2016 Sore this morning. YESTERDAY My only work assignment yesterday was to write a parody song about the Hillary Clinton mysterious illness...so I turned "Pontoon" by Little Big Town into "Trump Flu" for my folks in New York. They were happy...so all was good. And then my day opened up. So...the Colorado scenery (which I had just left) was still with me. So...I got charged up...put on my hiking boots...bought a little small back pack at a sporting good store...loaded it up with bottled water and a couple of snacks and decided to tackle and 8 mile path I discovered a few weeks ago after walking an adjacent 1 mile pack. Uh...lot of difference between 1 mile...and 8 miles. Lots. A whole lot. This was not a loop trail...it was 4 miles over and 4 miles back. By the time I covered half of it...I was questioning my sanity. Boots off...great view of Percy Priest Lake which I had to myself...and then managed to limp the 4 miles back. I was pretty glad to see my car by the time I finally got back to the start of the trail. 8 miles took about 4 hours of walking. The next trail will most surely be shorter. But...it was great exercise...a beautiful Tennessee day...and some great scenery along the trail that was partly covered by leaves that have already given up for the year and dropped. And the lake views were awesome. WSM Charlie Mattos who's on the morning show with Bill Cody at WSM Radio was kind enough to text me that they were getting ready to air an interview with Hillary Scott & The Scott Family yesterday morning that they had taped earlier. I hit the WSM app on my cell phone quickly enough to hear them play the song I helped write for their album "Safe Haven" and then hear the family talk about the song. Rylee Jean...youngest in the family proclaimed on air it was her favorite song on the "Love Remains" album. I KNEW I loved that girl! Thanks to Bill & Charlie for playing it...and to the family for recording it. FYI...the album is doing great...the single "Thy Will" is tearing it up...as it's number one on THREE different charts right now...and it's been #1 for 13 straight weeks on the Christian Digital Charts. Amazing. Could not be happier for that family. STARS It's been a fact since stars became stars...that some demand a lot on tour. No green M&M's...we've all heard about. How bout this rider demand though from Kanye West. He demands a barber chair and Slushy Machine backstage at all his concerts. For real. Me? When I'm out playing...I just need a comfortable stool and a CLEAN room that's not scary to sleep in. In fact...my rider demands 3 stool samples. Though you should know.
TODAY It's "Hits & Grins" Tuesday as our trio will get together together...and hopefully after a little business meeting we'll have time to write. Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Monday September 12, 2016 Good to be gone...good to be back home...always. COLORADO Man...what a beautiful state. My wife, daughter and myself just had the best time that wrapped up with us roaming around Rocky Mt. National Park on Friday before we caught our standby flights home to Nashville EARLY Saturday morning. Entering the park Saturday morning the Ranger at the gate told us that the Elk were up and moving. Were they ever. We saw several including one majestic creature that walked out onto the road strolling past our rental Jeep up close. There's a great picture of it on my Facebook page. Apparently...she...and the rest of the herd have seen a lot of tourists. Pretty sure one of the older one's ask my daughter snapping shots, "Uh...you're gonna photo-shop that right?"
That National Park idea was a good one. I'm reminded of that every single time I'm in one. Coming out of the park that day we were all starved...went by a place in Estes Park called "Smokin' Dave's"....my daughter googled it up and found out it had a 4 star rating...so we turned around went back and walked into a very cool local place. And the Bar B Que was off the hook great...big portions. If you're near...take my word....go. Apparently there are 3 of these scattered in Colorado. Then it was up Saturday...flying home. Great time of the year to fly standby...we had no problems getting three empty seats on our four connections to and from Music City. Getting to spend time with our daughter like that is precious time these days. And because she's a flight attendant we learn a lot of about aircraft and flying and what goes with that. I see us doing more of this in the future. YESTERDAY A full Sunday on 9/11. My wife and I saw "Sully" with Tom Hanks. The guy is just good in pretty much any movie he tackles...and this is no exception. Go. There's a lot of good things about the movie...but I think what stuck with me the most is how "training" just kicks in when a crisis happens. Pilot and crew...firefighters...police...ferry boat operators...first responders. And certainly it was more than interesting to us...having a daughter who flies...watch how the flight attendants responded in that situation. Lots of emotion watching that. LAST GAME Then last night our Minor League ball team the Sounds had an "all or nothing" game...Conference Final...game 5...winner take all. It was a GREAT ball game that lasted forever last night with several lead changes and LOTS of pitching changes. We lost...10-9. Season over. Now I have to wait til next year. My wife loves Fall. Me too. But...I'm a summer guy as I know Fall triggers that white stuff and cold. And...they play no baseball in winter. So if you need me over the next several months...you'll find me in a baseball withdrawal facility. Yea I know...the NFL kicked off...so has college football. And I will watch lots of that. But for me...it's always the Boys of Summer...Louisville Sluggers...hot dog and a beer...and a timeless game where so far....all the players line up and put their hands over their hearts and stand when the Anthem is played. AHEAD Some writing this week...and I'm starting to gear up for two shows with "Hits & Grins" at the "Fall Into Paris" street festival in Paris, Missouri a week from this Saturday. We have two shows...one at 10 AM! The second one right around 1 pm on the streets of Paris. Looking forward to that. The weather here today is gorgeous...cooled off...and I'm hoping to get a little hike in and soak that up. Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Friday September 9, 2016 Looking for some Deep Heat this morning in Colorado. YESTERDAY Our daughter found a place in Colorado she really wanted to go see...experience. It's called "Hanging Lake" located near Glen....on the west side of Colorado. (The video linked here is great) We are basing our trip in Aurora...a suburb of Denver. But...we knew the drive over I-70 West was going to be beautiful so we got up fairly early and off we went on a 3 hour scenic drive. We decided to go past Vail and Breckenridge...and stop there on the way back. So...all the way over to a one mile trail that would take us to a lake-waterfall known as "Hanging Lake." Beautiful place...nice asphalt walking trail takes us alongside a Colorado River...with a train running alongside to the real TRAIL head. It's one mile...sounds do-able...but nobody mentioned it was rated DIFFICULT and went a mile UP. Over rocks and pee gravels and old tree limbs and dirt. The last push they had installed hand rails so you could CRAWL up to the top. After a lot of heavy breathing...muscle straining and sanity checking we did get to the top with a beautiful lake and pool. You can see a picture on my Facebook page if you'd like. Now...I like hiking. I've hiked a few fairly challenging trails in Arizona...4 miles down and up a section of the Grand Canyon once. But this was really something. And the trip back DOWN put more strain on the knees and back than the trip did going up for me. Except for my wife who hopped back down the trail like an energizer bunny after complaining mightily going up. Weird. Down is much harder for me. But...we did make it...quite a family accomplishment and we all high fived each other for cresting the summit and to still be alive for me to blog you this tail this morning. Are we glad we did it? You bet. Would we go again? Uh...maybe if they install a gigantic escalator. 70 WEST So...tired...hungry...we pour back into our rental Jeep and start making our way back to Denver. We pull over in beautiful Vail where my wife and I have vacationed once to show our daughter the Swiss Village where baseball caps are priced at $40. A lot o well heeled folks live here. We grabbed a couple of photos and then headed for Breckenridge that my wife wanted to see. And that's where we accidentally found something we were not looking for...Frisco, Colorado. All three of us fell in love with the little Main Street and it's shops with a lake out in front of it that was gorgeous. Sailboats were doing their thing on the clear blue lake water. We slowly cruised through it...and then went up into Breckenridge....drove through it and then decided we like Frisco better and back traced for dinner at a place that sold pasta and pizza...our choice for carbs after the morning we'd had. Perfect. The Denver Bronco game was on...first NFL game of the year...being played in Denver...so there was a lot of cheering going on...and not for us. A very full day in Colorado with my family for sure. Folks are in shape here. They bike, walk, ski and take advantage of the mountains, scenery and great weather. We got another reminder of how incredibly beautiful this state is. TODAY Our plan is to head to Rocky Mountain National Park. I've been before with m wife...breathtaking scenery...and we're hoping to see a little wildlife too. It will be our daughters first time seeing it so that will be fun. We'll get back to our room plenty early because we will have a brutal wake up call in the morning to catch a 6:50 AM flight back to Nashville through Charlotte. But...it's been worth those early flights for the memories we've captured together as a family which we rarely get to do these days. THE WEEKEND The movie Sully is out this weekend with Tom Hanks. A must see it looks like. Heather flies for American Airlines...so you can imagine her interest in seeing this movie. The NFL kicks off for real...and of course we'll all r
BILL BLOG Thursday September 8, 2016 Good morning for beautiful Colorado. YESTERDAY Quite the adventure. Apparently it's a good time of year to take advantage of flying "standby." It's a privilege offered to parents who either work for the airlines or has a kid who works for the airlines as we do. Alarm jarred us at about 3:15 AM....for our 6 pm flight. Yikes. Our status is actually upgraded some when we fly with Heather as opposed to standby for ourselves. So we got on easily....and then again at our connection in Dallas. Arriving on time in Denver...we were here local time at 10 am or so and had the day before us...that we took full advantage of. We did learn to never book a car on the spot instead of in advance as they tried to jack our rate up after seeing an online price that was different. Ya gotta love salesmen. Of course one of the things you worry about when you travel on "standby" is making your connection so you have to be sure you can get a cancellation if you need to. Booking online...a lot of those folks won't do that...so it's a dance you do. In the end...we took a Jeep...appropriate for a mountain trip huh? Arrived at our hotel and they were great and let us check in early. Dropped our bags...and went for lunch to fuel it up...and we were off to the mountains. MT. EVANS We've all been to Colorado...all three of us love it. Yes...one could live here easily. My daughter did a Google search and found the highest paved road in American...Mt. Evans was just a 45 minute drive away. I had never heard of this...don't know how. About 45 minutes west of Aurora where we are staying...we took the exit and started climbing through the pines that turned into a Mars looking rock planet at the top....or at least as far as they would let us go. They shut down the top 3 miles or so after Labor Day...so we followed a caravan of BMW German riding motorcycle folks up to Lake Summit which was incredible looking Clear Mt. Lakes...and you could see forever. Little nippy at this altitude...and it took a bit to shake off the effects of the altitude too. But some kind of scenery. I found myself shaking my head again at the the thought that just a few hours earlier we were in Nashville....and now a few hours later...same day...we were on top of the world. Photos taken...back to our hotel....dropped my girls and then guess what Dad did? BASEBALL Uh...huh. I GPS'd myself into downtown Denver to watch the Rockies play the Giants at Coors Field. I'd been there once before...but the park looked great last night and it was a perfect T-shirt and shorts evening. I'm looking at the Rocky Mountains looming over the center-field wall...and drinking a Coors at Coors Stadium. The kind of things that make you smile. I did have one small problem. I paid no attention really to where I parked...way off from the stadium. I just took the first place I could find...and then paid a kid to pedal me near the ticket office on one of those passenger thing bikes. I got to talking to a young couple who were riding with me...big Giant fans. Big baseball fans. I forgot to write down where we came from. So when I came out of the stadium...I'm lost...walking where I THINK I need to go past all the downtown folks you normally see in the shadows...keeping my head down trying not to panic. I finally realize I'm lost...have no idea. So...I have to call my kid and wife to retrace the GPS route I took (as I left my cell phone at home!!!!!)....they did...and then I recognized the exit street I had taken once they quoted me the street name. I'd gone the exact wrong way. So...I had quite the adventure last night in downtown Denver. Since marijuana is legal here...my little family took great pleasure in sending me a text as I made my way back to our hotel wondering if I were "high". Funny...those two...really funny. A great first day on our short run here in Colorado. More mountains today. Have a great Thursday!
BILL BLOG Wednesday September 7, 2016 Up at the crack of dawn...suitcases lined up in a row for loading and boarding on a plane in a few minutes. Our little family is headed for the airport and our target is Denver this afternoon. We are taking advantage of a little three day opening all three of us have on our calendars and we are flying standby to Dallas then with any luck....Denver. A little hiking, biking, sight seeing in the mountains We must have looked at 50 options and decided Denver is close enough for a short trip to make it worth going for. So wish us luck...hopefully they will have 3 open seats all the way through...and then again all the way back on Saturday. So...this will probably be an adventurous day as we have our fingers crossed. We have no real plans for when we get there....rental car...and then we're making up although we are thinking Vail and putting bikes on a gondola and then cruising down the mountain of Vail which runs into that little Swiss looking town. Oh...and I did notice the Rockie's are playing the Giants tonight in Denver. I could see a healthy hot dog and beer dinner. We will see. So...short blog....and I'll have little travel blog here tomorrow for ya and let ya know how our day at the airports went. Have a great Wednesday!
BILL BLOG Tuesday September 6, 2016 Back to work...the holiday is over! On the radio today...more on that at the end of this blog. YESTERDAY I had a songwriting appointment yesterday with Becky Blackaby...and at the last second we added her producer Will Denton and turned out a little beach song for my Missouri buddy. I don't think Becky has a beach song in her catalog...so we cured that yesterday. I write a fair amount of those kind of songs...a lot of them with my Trop Rock pal Brent Burns down in Gulf Shores...so I'm never opposed to writing a song that's just fun and makes ya think about dipping your toes in the sand and water. I have two beach trips on the horizon. A songwriters festival "Blast On The Bay" coming up in October...and then all of November my wife and I hang on the beach in Gulf Shores while I also play the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival down there the middle two weeks of that month. This year will be no different...and those beach dates are creeping up on us. Check out the links provided for more info on those...and think about joining us on the sand this year. LAST NIGHT My wife and I made a little trip around the corner for dinner with our friends Lang Scott & Linda Davis and a circle of folks we know and love. Lang did a six hour smoke job on some dry rub ribs that I'm pretty sure I overdosed on. Blessed to have a great circle of folks like the one gathered around last night. Linda of course is still out on a long Kenny Rogers farewell tour that lasts most if not all of next year too. We're looking for a location to go see and the show. Here's the tour schedule for that show as of right now in case you want to go too. SPEAKING OF TRAVELING Our little family of 3 is getting ready for a spur of the moment adventure starting tomorrow morning. We are going to try and fly stand by and get to Colorado for a little three day run using the perk of my daughter's American Airlines job that allows parents to fly free...IF there are seats open...and there's never a guarantee. So...we're packing a light bag apiece...and ready to play airplane and airport roulette tomorrow. I'll let you know where we do wind up! We've hardly taken advantage of this perk...but with this being the off season now for flying...we're hoping we'll be in luck. We'll see.
KEEPING IT REAL Carrie Underwood says she does her own hair and makeup on tour. Most big stars have a team of "keep me beautiful" folks that make sure they look like a superstar every time the appear anywhere. Carrie says doing it herself keeps her grounded. For the record...I do my own make up too. TODAY Off to the Opryland Hotel which houses our WSM Radio studios. I'm on air today from 10-3...middle of your day filling in for Mike Terry. Listen worldwide as always at wsmonline.com And then it's home to pack a small bag for tomorrow adventure with the family which I'm looking forward too. Look for a small blog from the Nashville Airport early tomorrow morning. Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Monday September 5, 2016
Happy Labor Day to all...enjoy the extra day off.
THE WEEKEND I've been enjoying the long weekend myself. My wife and I caught a great independent movie over the weekend about a comedy improv group called "Don't Think Twice" that we enjoyed a lot. We have a great independent art-movie house in Nashville called the Belcourt Cinema that allows us to see movies that are not household names..and we enjoy that from time to time. Big thumbs up from me on this one. However...it won't be everyone's cup of of tea so do your own homework. Here's the TRAILER to help you decide if it's something for you or not.
WALKS I've gotten where I enjoy walking more and more these days...and certainly get why my great friend Roger Naylor out in Arizona has become an expert hiker....going up and down canyons and across the great Arizona landscape at the tune of 1,000 miles per year. I'm this close to getting a small back pack...cook hiking hat and a walking stick.
I went to a state park a few miles away that I knew about this weekend and hit a 1 hour walking path that weaved it's way around a portion of Percy Priest Lake. Quiet. Deer grazing...and they didn't move...and a gorgeous long wooden bridge stretched across the lake that marked the 3/4 mark. I'm a helpless day dreamer...but that allows my mind to wander and often times think of new creative ideas...songs...etc that I can speak into my phone for future reference when it comes time to write. I see more walks...not less in the future.
WSM I will be on air tomorrow (Tuesday) from 10-3 on WSM Radio filling in for my buddy Mike Terry. As always...you can listen on your smart devices from anywhere at wsmonline.com
TODAY I'm writing this Labor Day with my Missouri friend Becky Blackaby who's in town. Always fun to write and catch up with her career.
Have a great Labor Day!
Friday September 2, 2016
Labor Day weekend...bring it on. High temp today is just 81! Where have ya been?
YESTERDAY It's been too long since I got into a writing room with my friend Brady Seals...but we cured that yesterday and it was like old times. Some folks you have great writing chemistry with...Brady is one of those from me. We share a Cincinnati connection. Brady's from there...so is my wife...I spent a lot of years there on the radio.
At one point...I was doing a DJ thing at a nightclub where they held a once a week talent show. Brady (under-aged at the time) came in and competed. Played his piano...sang. Undeniable talent. It wasn't all that many years later he became a member of Little Texas and helped write and sing on some of their biggest hits including "My Love."
He comes from good blood as they say. Uncle is Troy Seals...a Hall of Fame songwriter and artist himself. He's related to the late Dan Seals and and Jim Seals of the duo "Seals And Croft."
After Little Texas....Brady had five solo artist record deals and was part of the group "Hot Apple Pie." We renewed our friendship here in Nashville...me begging him to write with him...and him thinking (by his own admission) "Umm....Bill's a radio guy and he's claiming to be a songwriter. Right. " I get that. We get branded as to who we are and it's hard for other's to imagine you doing something else.
The good news is I wore him down...and he finally consented. The very FIRST time we wrote I brought a great song title. "Been There, Drunk That." The song fell out quickly...and it was Brady's last single on the charts...as of now. And we've not stopped writing since. It's always fun...always...and way more times than not...we turn out a song we like. Yesterday was no exception as we sat and wrote and laughed in his office at his vintage guitar shop he owns in Franklin, TN and wrote a title I had stowed away. Brady put a great guitar groove on it...and we were off and running again.
Some really good news is that Brady is working on a new project...and I'm likely to have at least one song on that when it's completed. I'll let you know when that happens. A great Thursday in Music City with a great and talented friend for sure. Blessed.
SAD NEWS I get home about 4:30 pm or so and the sad news...not unexpected but still sad...popped up that my friend and co-write...funny lady Kacey Jones had lost her battle with cancer. She'd been in a hospice just a few days.
Kacey recorded "Kenny Rogers Face" that I wrote with my friend Brent Burns. Kacey and I sat down one day and re-wrote it for her...and she then put that on what is now her last album titled "Donald Trump's Hair." We laughed like school kids that day at her place re-writing it.
The thought of her makes me smile this morning. She was SMART funny...not corny. Intelligent stupid humor if you will. And she could flat out sing too. Her Mickey Newberry tribute Album proves that if you listen.
Kacey, Brent Burns and myself once did an "all comedy round"...Kacey's idea....at the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival in Gulf Shores. We played at Lulu's. Folks never stopped laughing...and she stole the show...as always. What a great memory I have of that.
I hate cancer. I hate losing my friend. And those that ever heard or saw her...feel the loss of her spirit and talent today.
LABOR DAY A long holiday weekend. Put your feet up...I'm going to.