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Bill Whyte / Blog

Writing and Valentine Approaches

BILL BLOG Thursday February 11, 2016 Valentine Day approaching...and once again I have no clue what to give her. I was thinking how cool it might be to bend a big Slim Jim into the shape of a heart. Someone may need to talk me out of this. YESTERDAY I spent some time with Paul Bogart finishing a cool song we had started a few months back. And I caught up on baby Paul....as he and his wife are just a couple of months away from having a little buckaroo. Paul and I wrote a song that a girl from Texas wants to record and it was written as a cow-BOY song. Zach Runquist...our other co-writer and producer on this project alerted us to the fact that we needed to pull up the lyric sheet and tweak a few lines to make it work for a cowGIRL. So we did...she loved it...so we're looking forward to hearing her recording of it when it's done. Paul and his band are playing in town this weekend...and since I'm off...I'm hoping to slip into Puckett's in Franklin, TN this Saturday night and enjoy their music. Here's a TASTE. SNOW It snowed again last night...and no-one to my knowledge was calling for the danged stuff. I had planned on going to the Belmont basketball game last night with my daughter Heather...had just gotten ready when my wife Kathy hollered..."it's snowing"! And it was. Enough so we decided not to try the roads in my no wheel drive vehicle. Sigh. This morning I got out of our little back road....driving VERY slow and cautiously and gunning it at just the right times to get up our hills. I believe that idiot light on my dash was the one calling me an "idiot" for testing the road. I've gotta check the manual on that. THE DAUGHTER Heather is here a few days before returning to Miami for her American Airlines duty...and she's spending them in studio singing and writing for movie projects with some talented friends. As her Dad...I'm always proud to hear and see what she's creating. Yesterday she shared two new songs with Mom and me that are just great. One with piano that her co-writer plays...the second one featuring her ukelele that Heather plays. I'm excited to see where some of her songs will land for sure. YOU KNOW YOU'RE WORTH A LOTTA MONEY WHEN... They give you 10 MILLION up front to write your life story. That's what they gave the "Boss" Bruce Springsteen for his. Gonna make a great movie someday.

TODAY Off to write with North Carolina native Caroline Gallagher who loves "roots" music and bluegrass like I do. So...we'll be thinking "high lonesome" at the writing table on Music Row later this morning.

Have a great Thursday!

Radio and New York Folks

BILL BLOG Wednesday February 10, 2016 Cold...really cold. How many days til opening day for baseball? YESTERDAY I had a busy Tuesday that got busier unexpectedly at the end of the day. It started early with a couple of assignments coming in from my comedy folks in New York. A parody song about the upcoming Grammy Awards this weekend...and another on cheap gas. For the record...it's $1.45 per gallon or less already in Nashville...and they are now predicting that in the midwest...we'll actually see gas prices go BELOW a dollar a gallon! Which means I'll be able to drive our Prius around the world on one tank of gas. Unreal. I digress. WSM RADIO I finish up that writing and other business stuff on the phone and head off to work at WSM in the Opryland Hotel yesterday from 3-7 pm. Again...always a pleasure...and I think it was the first time in a long while that I did not have to call anyone and ask how to get into computer systems and why something doesn't work. I work part time...and go long stretches before they call me in. We live in a world where computers demand passwords...and if you haven't logged on in awhile...they want new passwords! And...I tend to forget old one's that they still want. Progress yesterday in that department...and I KNOW that my PD and assistant Program Director must have been stunned that their phone did not ring. COUNTRY RADIO SEMINAR Late into my WSM shift...I get a text from a person I work with at United Stations in New York...my comedy syndicate. She and several associates are in town for the country radio seminar and they wander if I can meet them for drinks? I've written for these great folks maybe 25 years or so now...and have met Margaret Verghese...my point person once...many years ago in Atlanta. And the guy who brainstorms comedy song ideas with me...and assigns me work...I have yet to meet. These relationships have developed over the years mostly by e-mail conversations and occasional phone calls. Weird...I know. So...when my air shift ends at 7 pm last night...I'm off to the new Omni Hotel downtown to meet them when I get a call and they've decided to go for dinner on lower Broadway. So..valet park and then walk 4 blocks in the FREEZING weather to meet Margaret and her associates...many of them knew of my work for United Stations... so that was cool. Great dinner and drinks and conversation...and I look forward to doing even more work for them...especially after some of the conversation at the dinner table last night. Really nice to see some of those folks I work with face to face. Just a typical Music City Day. CRS Deep voice radio folks were roaming all over the Omni Hotel. They get wined and dined and treated to great music from superstars. Steven Tyler has been all over the place as he's done a country CD...and my United Stations folks were blown up about a free concert full of folks like Keith Urban and Vince Gill and Chris Stapleton that took place at the Ryman Auditorium. As I was bundled up and freezing and walking by the incredible Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum downtown...I was struck by how cool this city is. And it was a reminder that I probably need to get downtown a bit more and soak it up. My friends could not believe how great the food is in Nashville. It is. And young chefs have moved in by the droves here with the boom going on. We're a lot more than biscuits and gravy these days folks. But...given a choice between biscuits and gravy and some small green looking weird thing a high price chef decorates on a china plate...guess which one I go for? Uh huh.

TODAY Off to write with my friend Paul Bogart...and then later tonight my daughter Heather and myself are going to catch a Belmont basketball game...rooting or her alma mater. Go Bruins!

Have a great Wednesday!

WSM TODAY IN THE SNOW

BILL BLOG Tuesday February 9, 2015 Well hello snow...again...you dirty little four letter word! So...I saw the forecast last night knowing I have to make a trip over to the Opryland Hotel today to be on air for 650 AM WSM from 3-7 pm filling in for my buddy Mike Terry. And I'm thinking NO WAY am I going to get there...knowing that the road we live on is hilly and curvy and completely impassable if there's ANY snow at all on it. That's mostly because I have a vehicle equipped with NO WHEEL drive. So I wake up this morning and peer outside to see our half acre downhill driveway looks clear? And the road too? Wow. Business as usual. Out to Starbucks I went with no problems. So...listen in later today from anywhere at wsmonline.com. I'll be there. YESTERDAY Yesterday was a day that brought a couple of nice musical surprises. It started with a writing appointment with Jacky Dustin and her faithful dog Leroy...who often stands on Jacky's paddleboard. He's lookout while she's paddling on whatever waterway she's on...and she's been on several...including a beautiful lake in Peru last year with her husband Tim. Let me tell on my Chicago born co-writer a bit here. We sat down at her kitchen table with Leroy at my feet when she asked if I wanted anything? When I said coffee...it hung her up. I love creative people. Talented...but some of the mundane things we all take for granted escape a lot of us left brained folks...including making java for some. I made the coffee....she was relieved. If there's ONE thing I CAN do in the kitchen...it's make a pot of coffee. I call it survival. ONE SURPRISE So...we sat down and finished a very fun song together and then Jacky played me a rough recording she was working on of a song that I wrote with her and my extremely talented friend Brady Seals co-wrote. It's kind of flavored black-gospel rock...I think that's an accurate definition of this song that I've always loved. We probably wrote it over two years ago. Anyway...Jacky had snuck into a studio and laid down just a rough track and it totally blew me away. Now...Jacky has this great grit-soul Bonnie Raitt quality to her voice and I knew she would slay this song if she ever got to it. I'm extremely happy she has done so. And...she'll be adding three black female singers to this that will really make it rock. Songs are funny beasts. You write them...sometimes they lay around for years...and then one day someone finds them...falls in love with them...and records them. Or someone you write with doesn't forget the song and does something with them at a later day. Little musical surprises that all writers live for. Thank you Jacky for cutting the tune. I have no idea what will become of it in the end...but it's going to be fun watching the song take life for sure.

SECOND MUSIC SURPRISE I check my phone and there's a text from writer/producer...soon to be LAWYER Shay Watson who tells me a young artist he's been working with is at the Country Radio Seminar is singing to the radio crowd promoting a new song that Shay and I wrote. And...she actually recorded two of our songs. Her name is Lauren Lizabeth...and if you go to her website you can find and listen. The first one is the single "To Be Young" and the second is "Bang The Drum". Little "pop" groove to them...but very fun and commercial. So...thanks to Shay and Laura this morning....and Laura...good luck with your career young lady.

TODAY Off to the radio station. See you on the radio!

Superbowl 50 Thoughts

BILL BLOG Monday February 8, 2016 Start of a new week...here we go. THE WEEKEND Nice enough weather here in Nashville to go for a walk or two....outdoors. Love that. February and I'm walking around a pond with geese and ducks in a t-shirt trying to dodge goose-poop that the scattered on my walking path. I gave them a dirty look...they didn't seem to care. I spent some time doing mandatory "catch up" work after being out on the road for a week...but cleared all of that in time to sit on the couch and watch the Superbowl. PEYTON Yep...it went my way. Hopefully Peyton will hang up the cleats and ride off into the sunset like John Elway did with the Broncos. The defense gave him a 2nd Superbowl ring...and it's hard to root against a guy like that. Meanwhile...Cam Newton...young and disappointed....needs to watch some film of Peyton and how he handles losing with the press after the game. FYI...Peyton was not paid for plugging Budweiser beer...that he mentioned at least twice on camera after the game. I guess he just likes Budweiser. Speaking of which...Bud did not have a great Super Bowl commercial this year. I thought the Amy Schumer-Seth Rogan crass commercial left much to be desired...and missed seeing them feature their signature Clydesdales. But...maybe that's just me BEST COMMERCIAL? USA says the best rated one was with Kevin Hart and the Hyundai that allowed him to track his daughter's date. That was followed by the Weiner Dogs running to the Heinz ketchup bottles and then the Dorito ultrasound baby delivery. My personal favorite was the Audi Commercial with the late David Bowie's soundtrack used for background..."Starman". Pretty cool...and moving. BEYONCE Meanwhile Beyonce stirred controversy with her tribute to Black Panthers....and not Carolina Panthers. We got plenty of booty shaking...and Bruno Mars was a great addition. And as a friend of mine tweeted, "who are those white guys with Bruno and Beyonce?" LADY GAGA? I'm not as blown up over it as most folks seem to be...but good. (Whitney stills rules in the anthem department) I missed her wearing something stupid...like that meat dress. But good. My favorite part of the performance though was the Blue Angels fly over at the end of the song. Awesome. That's a sight I never tire of seeing when I'm in Gulf Shores overlooking the Gulf and they fly by along the sand and water. And speaking of that.... GULF SHORES CONCERT The Mullet Wrapper down in Gulf Shores printed a nice article about my next show with pal Brent Burns on February 18 at the Glen Lakes Country Club. We did this a year ago...and it was so much fun that we are going for it again. Here's the ARTICLE. Make your reservations if you're down there for our 5 pm show. There will be as much laughter as their is music...I can promise you that. My wife and I are looking forward to spending a few more days at one of our favorite places...and this time we'll get to spend it with some family as my brother Gary and his wife Kay are snowbirding down there for three months in a condo. We'll crash with them...and hopefully our younger brother Gene and and wife Karen will also be joining us for a few days. My brother Gene has lived in our hometown of Montgomery City, Missouri his entire life...and I'm not sure if he's even seen the ocean. An avid hunter...I'm hoping he doesn't confuse our balcony that's high up as a deer stand. We'll see. TODAY I'm off to sit around a writing table with my Chicago buddy Jacky Dustin to finish up a song we started several weeks ago. Her big ole friendly dog Leroy will help us as always. We'll probably have to make him a co-writer on this. Have a great Monday!

Leaving Arizona

BILL BLOG Friday February 5, 2016 The sun has not yet hit the gigantic cactus out here in Phoenix...but bags are by the door...ready to return to Nashville. YESTERDAY A great final day on our "Hits and Grins" west tour in the beautiful mountain town of Payson. And we crammed a bunch in that last day. At 9 am we went to KMOZ Radio to be interviewed. They gave us an hour of "Live" air time at that station which is really cool...and the interview must have helped as we had a huge crowd on our final night in Arizona. Thanks to Clint Nickels for the interview and long time radio veteran and now radio station owner Mike Farrell and staff for opening the doors. Small market radio...just the way I started in Missouri. I thought to myself..."I could work here". The mountains are out the back door! Finished up...and then at 1 pm we went to Payson High School and played for 45 minutes for the middle school kids and teachers...must have been 300 of them applauding and clapping and asking questions. Great experience. At 3 pm my great friend Roger Naylor and his wife Michele pulled up after driving in from Cottonwood...and hour and a half away. Love those guys. Roger is the writer I talked about yesterday and pro hiker...and I owe a lot of my interest in comedy writing to him after working together in Cincinnati and peering over his shoulder watching him spill funny words on a yellow legal pad...in pencil. I'm so glad they came to the show and Roger has become such a popular writer out here that he now has to turn down work! Meanwhile the hats and cards and paintings that come from Michele's home studio are sold in a gallery up in Jerome, AZ. How cool! THE SHOW Packed...enthusiastic....and a hometown friend Cyndee Han and her brother Dan came to the show. The live in Phoenix...but she grew up in my hometown of Montgomery City, Missouri! And...she brought a great picture of my late father she had taken of him when she visited him in the nursing home where he lived before passing. To say I was touched would be an understatement. So glad they came too. More on this part of the trip in Monday's blog as my ride is ready to go to the Phoenix airport. My thanks to all the folks and organizers who treated us so kindly out here...and to all of you who came to the shows. Its God's country out here. Home I go to my two girls...and a Superbowl on Sunday! Go Peyton. Have a great Friday!

Payson, Arizona

BILL BLOG Thursday February 4, 2016 Waking up in the wild west this morning...Payson, Arizona. YESTERDAY I'm going to start describing my life as one of packing suitcases and guitars...as that seems to be all I've been doing lately. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Yesterday along with my fellow "Hits and Grin" members Steve Dean, and Victoria Venier...I got a reminder of how much I love Arizona. Every time I've been here I think quietly to myself..."man...I could live here". The sun was on us from the moment we left Silver Springs, New Mexico and stayed with us for our entire 5 hour trip into Payson, Arizona...home of Zane Grey and other cowboys. A four hour trip turned into probably six hours because we kept stopping to take pictures of the mountains, and the cactus and Apache Lake and Tonto Forest. Incredible scenery really. JUNKIN' Steve Dean in our group collects stuff. So when we moseyed through the small town of Duncan, Arizona and saw an old time "junk" store...we pulled over and rambled through old guns and guitars, and miniature horse collectibles, radios...old games...you name it. Dust lingered all over the antiques...and the couple who owned the place were colorful...had been there forever. And who could blame them. Step out back and the mountains take your breath away...shining between the old wood benches and rusted iron. TONTO We hit Tonto National Forest and the cactus started popping up like rows of corn do in my home state of Missouri. Big ones, little ones, aguave...where they turn something prickly into something that makes one woozy....tequila! In the distance we could see snow on the higher peaks as our road curved and wound it's way through this national treasure. Again we stopped and took copious amounts of pictures on our cell phones. (Had we bought that old polaorid at that junk store...we would have been pulling pictures out of the side of our camera!) INTO PAYSON We finally roll into the town of Payson, Arizona around 4:30 pm. Time to throw the bags and guitars into another hotel room and wait for our concert hosts to pick us up for dinner. Tom and Nancy have been living here since early 2000 after living all over the country with their jobs that allowed them to see the world. They chose Payson as a place they wanted to stay...and they sit on the board that helps put together the music series that we are about to play tonight. We followed them and Tom (who will take care of production for our show) down the road to a little adobe Italian restaurant. I know...we're out in the wild west and we eat Italian instead of beef or bar b que. What were we thinking? Turns out the food was as incredible as our new company we were hanging with. Stories of visits to Rome and Italy broke out as they have traveled the world...and our own Victoria had recently spent two weeks there with her husband Matt. So we got a little history over fettucine and oven baked pizza.

TODAY A radio interview for the group...we teach a class...and then a concert at 7 pm at the Payson High School Theater.

Have a great Thursday!

New Mexico Has A Big Mountain!

BILL BLOG Wednesday February 3, 2016 Good morning from beautiful Silver City, New Mexico where Cochise and Butch Cassidy and Jesse James used to run. We had a phenomenal show last night at the University of Western New Mexico...but getting there was a real adventure. THE RIDE OVER THE MOUNTAIN So...we had a couple of off days in Albuquerque...enjoyed Sandia Peak and the mountains...and all three of us in our "Hits and Grins" trio enjoyed "The History of The Eagles" that Victoria transferred in a high tech chrome way from her iPad...onto the big screen in the house we were renting that overlooked Albuquerque. FYI. If you liked the Eagles...watch this documentary. Incredible. So...done with that we depart Albuquerque in our rental car at 4 AM mountain time yesterday. Silver City...our destination was about 4 hours away by GPS estimates. WRONG. When you plug in an address on GPS...it gives you the SHORTEST route for the most part...not the SAFEST. Two and a half hours into our drive we think we'll be early for the school outreach program we were scheduled to teach in Silver City yesterday morning before our show at the University last night. WRONG again. We stopped for gas in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (love that city name) and then someone might as well have told us we were headed for Jeopardy. I switched with Victoria to drive in the rest of the way. And here's where the fun starts. We come off the interstate...two lane...everything is fine. We are seeing mountains ahead...big mountains...with snow on them. At this point we're thinking...no problem...all wheel drive...we were sure roads would be clear. And that's when we entered Gila National Forest and the pass that goes OVER the mountain...not around. We should have suspected something when we stopped seeing cars. At 5,000 or so feet...snow is on the road...and we're going up...and up into more and more and more snow. Big time snow by 7,000 feet. We're all on the edge of our seats wandering if we would EVER crest this thing. At that 7,000 foot mark... a pickup truck stopped in front of us to chain up to make it up the next steep grade. Good Lord. Finally...he's off...we watch....he makes it. Because we were sitting still...tires spun. Now...at this point...we'd been driving that mountain for 45 minutes or so at about 15-30 mph...hair pin turns...snow...ice. One track in the snow. We saw ONE truck coming at us from the other way the ENTIRE time we're trying to get through Gila. At the worst point...while we are spinning tires...I look at my cell and realize NONE of us have service. Send the dogs is what I'm thinking now. I back up...and try again...slowly we gain momentum....and UP the grade and over we go all the while realizing (as Steve Dean pointed out later) there were no guard rails. Perfect. I cant' begin to explain what a tense, and BEAUTIFUL ride it was over this mountain. For the record...we're talking 10,00o feet. It must have taken over and hour and a half to get down the other side and into Silver Springs which also had snow. Last night at our show...we told folks we had come over the pass and there was a LOUD gasp of amazement from them. Of course..the locals know not to go over...and according to some...the road should have been closed with someone telling us not to go up the mountain. Little late now. Despite how tense all three of us felt...it will be a great memory that we will share and laugh about for years and years. You can check my Facebook Page to see some of the pictures during our drive if you'd like.

Today we drive to Payson, Arizona for our last show on our Western swing.

Have a great Wednesday.

The West Tour So Far

BILL BLOG Monday February 1, 2016 I'm sitting at a kitchen table in a rented home in Albuquerque this morning listening to th wind whistling outside at 5 am New Mexico time. Out the back window the lights of the city against the mountain range are twinkling. WEST TRIP It's been quite a few days with my "Hits and Grins" trio as we ramble through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before we get home sometime Friday. I'll try to give you some of the highlights here that start with Borger, Texas. LONE STAR We had an EARLY flight out of Nashville to Dallas then Amarillo and then by rental car to our Friday night destination of Borger, Texas. It was evident we were in Texas for sure when we kept seeing tumbleweeds bounce across the north Texas highways. Cattle, horses, windmills, lots of those gigantic white wind farms with propellers spinning dotting the blue Texas skies. We played at the High School Auditorium that night...as part of the concert series for the city. Borger is only about 12-14,000 folks...built on Phillips Petroleum Oil back in the day. A lot of those folks showed up on a Friday night and enjoyed our show. We enjoyed hanging with them even more. Just great down to earth folks. A couple I met in Ruidoso, New Mexico a year ago with Linda Davis and Lang Scott and our "Evening In The Round" show...lived 30 miles away and they came and brought a friend with them. Really nice to see them up front and getting to spend some more time with them. They took me to one of those Chuckwagon Shows out in Ruidoso. You know the ones. You line up with a tin plate and the cowboys slap a hot potato, beans, chicken, biscuit....and then later those same cowboys get up on stage and sing "Happy Trails" and "Ghost Riders" ....etc. So again I'm reminded how cool it is that music draws people together all over the country. Thank you Dwight and Annette Chase for coming! SATURDAY We took our time getting up and getting out after being up for about 20 hours straight on Friday. It took us a little over six hours to drive here to Albuquerque where we have a rented house the three of us are sharing. The next door neighbors suggested a local Mexican restaurant that was REALLY good...and the salsa was REALLY hot. Saturday night sleep...and yesterday Sunday was lazy for the two boys...but Victoria decided to fly down Sandia Peak on skis all day. So...I drove her up the mountain...dropped her and Steve and I picked her up later on Sunday. It was truly deja vu all over again for me pulling up to the Sandia Peak ski lodge...and here's why. More years ago than I can remember...I had taken my band to Alubuquerque to play the Caravan East Club for two weeks. So...I learned to ski where I dropped Victoria off. And as we pulled up to the lodge I was awash with memories. I recognized the picket fence and I fell over and through...the black diamond trail that I stupidly tried to go down ONCE. Once only...tumbling like the Texas tumbleweeds all the way down. The chair lifts...the country feel to the lodge...everything. I would have LOVED to strap on skis with her...but my knees these days bark at me and I'm thinking knees and ski don't go together if the knees aren't rock solid. So...Victoria had it to herself and had an absolute blast. SANDIA PEAK TRAM The tram that I rode all those years ago to get to the top of the mountain was closed because of high winds. Same today I hear so I won't get to revisit that gentle scenic ride. I'm not into that much swaying on a cable line...so that was disappointing. But today I think we'll have time to visit "Old Town"...the historical section of Albuquerque that I also remember from that trip over 20 years ago.

So... a day off today...then off and running down the road to Silver City, NM early.

No blog tomorrow...look for one Wednesday.

Phones and Road Trips

BILL BLOG Thursday January 28, 2016 Going through cell phone hell this morning. I've come to realize I'm too stupid for technology and would like to have my phone with a cord and typewriter back. YESTERDAY I had a great writing appointment with one of my favorite young artists in town...Jenny Tolman. We were scheduled to write with her producer Dave Brainard but Dave was in a court room all morning for that CASE I've written about before where he and a companion were beat up on the streets of Nashville...jaw broken. Dave did walk in before Jenny and I finished yesterday...and I'm happy to report his jaw is much better...some dental work still ahead...but all in all...on the road to full recovery. The case continues...and I'm hoping they throw the book at the couple that assaulted Dave and his friend. We'll see. Jenny brought a GREAT idea to the writing table and we attacked that. We still have a little work to do on it...so we'll finish and sharpen it up next time I see her and Dave. The two of them are stacking up songs for Jenny and getting ready to record her first album and pitch to the labels. I love her chances. And I love the songs we've written towards that project. Artists tend to record WAY more songs than what they need for the albums. It's an interesting dynamic of the business. You find out that someone has recorded your song....and then find out they've recorded way more than they need and you wait to see if your song...or songs wind up on the album after the finals cuts are made. So...you tend not to celebrate until you see the song physically on the album credits. In this case...I know we've written some really good songs...and will write more...so I'm excited about where this will go. We'll see. Fun day with some of my favorite folks. AND THEN THE PHONE THING So...I've been delaying updating my phone for a long time. I've held onto my Apple 4 for a long while...and yesterday went up to the 6S. We got to Target. I have a gift card...and they have a $200 give back for buying. All good. Then comes the set up and transfer from one phone to another. I liked our young clerk....polite...in the know....but it took a long time with a bad wireless connection in store. When we were finally done she assured me we're good to go...everything is transferred. Now...my wife Kathy had told me going in to make SURE all my stuff transferred so I have no good excuses for being so stupid. The transfer of everything...that didn't quite happen. The clerk showed me my photos were transferred...and that the rest of my apps I saw missing would download on their own once I got into a better Wifi location. Uh...no. No e-mails...no texts...no music...no calendar entries...nada...zilch...sigh. So today I'll get to go back with both phones and my computer hoping everything can be synced back up and be ready for my long western tour with "Hits and Grins" that starts very early tomorrow morning. I'm always grateful every time I buy something and it works the second I leave the store. Just wish that was the norm.

TODAY Packing for a western tour with my "Hits and Grins" trio that starts tomorrow night in Borger, Texas. Long day tomorrow with a very early flight out of Nashville...so there may be no blog here tomorrow morning.

So have a great Thursday...and weekend!

The Tour and a Loss

BILL BLOG Wednesday January 27, 2016 Hump Day...and over it we go. YESTERDAY Tuesday is our get together with our "Hits and Grins" trio Steve Dean, Victoria Venier and myself. We finished up a song together that's going to be fun to do "live" in our concert set someday...and got up to speed on our tour out west starting Friday. Victoria put our itinerary together so we're good to go. Borger, Texas Friday night. Silver City, New Mexico February 2 where we will roll in early and teach a music/songwriting class at one of the local schools before our concert that night. And then we wrap up with a February 4 show in Payson, Arizona where we will arrive early for a radio interview. In between we'll hang out in Albuquerque where I have not been since I played there with a band many years ago. So it will be a chance to revisit "Old Town" where I bought some turquoise jewelry when I was there...and we'll take the tram up to Sandia Peak where Steve and I will sit in a lodge with libations while we watch Victoria go tumbling down a ski hill. And she thinks she's going to be the one having all the fun. Uh huh. Looking forward to the trip which starts with a very early flight out of Nashville...to Dallas...then another flight to Amarillo...rent a car...drive into Borger. Full days ahead...all good.

SAD I received news that a gentleman who opened up his great facility in Tyler Texas to the Wounded Warriors passed away His name is Pierre De Wet. I played at his winery/event center along with my friend Jenny Tolman this past year which was such an honor. The man came to America from South Africa with nothing...bought a plot of land in East Texas and turned it into a hugely successful winery/event center and recording studio that I toured....where Randy Travis recorded some of his music. Amazing facility. Pierre opened his place to the Wounded Warriors....music...dinner...drinks...gambling games...and Jenny and me played music for them. He LOVED America. And just meeting him one time...you loved the guy. I'm so sorry to hear this news. He's going to be missed by many.

AND THEN THERE'S THIS HEADLINE OF THE DAY "How I lost nearly 100 pounds by eating pizza every day". I'll be reading that article later today for sure. I'm betting he's eating a slice WHILE he's on the treadmill. We'll see. TODAY Off to write with Jenny Tolman and Dave Brainard. Dave is a great writer/player/producer...Grammy nominated...and he is working on a project for Jenny which is going to be really great. Right now it's all about getting her a stack of great songs. I'm hoping we write one of those today. To get prepared and fueled up...I'll be smoking a cigarette and eating pizza before I get there. Okay...maybe not. Have a great Wednesday!