BILL BLOG January 6, 2017 Little snow falling out my window and it's starting to cover our little mountain road here in Tennessee. A dusting here in the south means tragedy of course for anyone out driving. We don't do snow well. Meanwhile in Milwaukee where I used to live...12 inches of snow? No problem. Schools stay open...plows plow early...ice early. Here? Uh...not so much. 21 degrees right now with a whopping high of 28. In fact...I'm pretty sure if you pull up ice scraper on the internet...and you live in the south...you get a picture of your credit card. My brother Gary and his wife Kay are looking at the ocean down in Gulf Shores right now laughing. The good news is? It will be up near 60 by Tuesday. YESTERDAY I had a great writing appointment with my friend Jerry Salley at his publishing company and we finished up an idea we had started a few months ago. Jerry is a great writer with hundreds and hundreds of his songs recorded through the years....a ton of them in the bluegrass and gospel world. Jerry is also a great singer and entertainer in his own right and is working on a new album right now. I'm happy to report that he likes our song so much that there's a chance it could be the title track to the album which would be cool...and an honor at the same time. Just a truly great day of rhyming and catching up yesterday. I'll keep you posted on this song. LAST NIGHT Our "Hits & Grins" trio had a great show again at the Listening Room here in Nashville. Considering the weather report that was out (school closings) we had a GREAT crowd last night. The Listening Room is downtown...and attracts a lot of tourists. In fact...I'd say a normal crowd is 80% folks from out of state. Australia, California, Indiana, Wisconsin and other states were represented and the folks were very kind to our trio. And...after thinking the girl in our group...Victoria Venier was not going to be with us because of a delayed flight trying to get home from an anniversary trip to Barbados with her husband Matt...she made it after all so we were in full strength and three part harmony last nigh. Thanks to all of you who came out...and for your very kind words and applause. It's the reason all three of us love what we do. NEW DATE It does look like "Hits & Grins will have a Sunday date in Missouri in March...my home state. Firming that up later today...and will have more on this first of the week here on the blog. Always good to go home. And...with any luck will be able to add another date or two to this trip. We'll see.
THE WEEKEND AHEAD Little NFL Playoff football...and maybe my wife and I will take in the new movie "Hidden Figures" which looks great...based on a true story...and is getting great reviews from the critics.
May not leave the house though as snow is piled up on our little treacherous mountain road. Where did I put my credit card ice scraper?
Have a great weekend.
BILL BLOG Thursday January 5, 2016 Maybe a dusting of snow later today...which might make my drive to a writing appointment and a show later this evening SO much fun. Right now the Rocky Top state can't make up it's mind if it's winter or spring. Whomever is in charge of that...think Spring! YESTERDAY I got to catch up and write with talented Ayla Brown yesterday. East coast girl. Former basketball player for Boston College and she was wearing an Eagles shirt. I asked her if she was rooting for Philadelphia which of course made her give me a hard look. Funny though. At one point in Ayla's life she was THE National Anthem singer for the Philadelphia 76'ers. She sang the anthem for EVERY home game for the basketball team for a couple of years in a row...and the organization wanted her so much they gave her a condo in Philly to make that happen. The girl has sung the anthem at the Orange Bowl, the Republican National Anthem...a ton of prestigious events. Yep...she can sing big time...former American Idol Top 10 finisher and she's been all over the globe doing that... a lot of it for our troops. Yesterday...we wrote something a bit more organic and rootsy than normal for her that had a lot to do with Sweet Tea and the state of Tennessee that we both live in...and love. Always a pleasure to write with really nice talented folks like Ayla. COMEDY WRITING And the comedy song writing I was assigned yesterday was all about the Golden Globes coming up this weekend. The parody song dealt with the actresses on the red carpet walk with the low cut dresses and push ups that accentuate their golden globes. Hey...somebody gotta do it.
TODAY Writing with Jerry Salley this morning for his upcoming new CD. And then tonight me and Steve Dean will entertain the tourists at the Listening Room here in Nashville See you there!
BILL BLOG Wednesday January 4, 2017 Reality weather check this morning....in the 30's for today's high. YESTERDAY I spent part of my day writing with Caroline Gallagher who's busy this time of year. Not only is she working on her first CD ever...but...she recently got her accounting diploma from Belmont...was hired by a firm and it's tax season. I may not see her for awhile now. We did write another song to put in her little stack for consideration for when she heads back to the studio in April. So a good day at the office on Music Row. "YOU'RE TERMINATED" My wife and I watched the first episode of "Celebrity Apprentice" last night with "Ahnold" as the new boss. I thought he was great...and fun. And who knows...maybe if he stays with the show 4 years...he could be our next President. I also saw my VCR has 17 "Three Stooges" episodes taped that I'm going through one one by one. Black and white....stuff I loved growing up as a kid. Curly was featured last night...and I found myself laughing out loud at him in one old scene. While I was watching Moe, Larry and Curly....some of the country was lasered in on O'Reilly or Kelly. Guess who had more fun?
SURVEY SAYS 63% of us would rather have a promotion than a raise as opposed to getting a raise with no promotion. A promotion without a raise really means "here's some extra work for you with no additional money"...doesn't it? I think I've been there a time or two. MORE TECHNOLOGY I read an article this morning where a guru says that nothing we put or send on our computers is ever lost anymore. Somebody has it stored somewhere. Yikes. In fact he suggests one never leave an "out of office" not on their e-mail. Smart crooks...hack...see it...know you're probably gone. Good time for burglary. I'm going out and buying a typewriter with white out later today. WILLIE'S GIFT Willie Nelson got a Christmas gift from ole Snoop Dog. A Christmas sweater that says, "Smoke Weed". The sweater my wife got me was sort of along that line. Mine reads, "Pull Weeds".
TODAY I'm off to write with Ayla Brown. Ayla's been overseas entertaining the troops and all over the country so it will be fun writing with her again and catching up on her travels. And I'm gearing up for a show tomorrow night here in town with "Hits & Grins" at the Listening Room at 6 pm. If you're in town...come join us! Have a great Wednesday!
BILL BLOG Tuesday January 3, 2017 Still getting used to writing 2017 down. YESTERDAY Soaking rain was the weather order of yesterday. More of it this morning outside my blogging window. Could be worse. 5 deaths in the south from tornadoes and high wind...some if it my vacation spot down in Gulf Shores-Orange Beach. Some big Palm Trees went crashing to the ground...and my brother Gary and his wife Kay who just arrived for their snowbird months had to hunker down in their condo. Could have been worse...and I'm glad that most everyone seems to be okay. Although...I just looked out our back window and we have a huge tree that got toppled last night. Sigh. And I don't have a chainsaw. And down at the Flora-Bama Lounge in Perdido...200 Polar Bears...some in Speedos...some dressed like Elvis..some dressed like Santa... waded into the water. Temps were mid 60's or 70's...so I'm not sure Polar Bear is accurate for a warm water wade in for the New Year. Jump in a lake in Minot, North Dakota. THOSE are Polar Bears!
THE THINGS YOU HEAR At my Starbucks stop this morning I heard one of the female baristas say, "A skunk followed me to my car this morning." Well good morning. OLD SCHOOL STUFF Shania is working and has been working on her first new album in over a decade! Don't count her out...even after a long layoff. Look what Garth's doing. She's sold over 75 million albums for crying out loud. I'm hoping her first single will be..."Man, I Feel Like An Older Woman". VINYL Man. I wish I'd never given away my good turntable years and years ago. Vinyl records outsold digital downloads last year. A 25 year high for wax and needles. Kids are discovering how cool vinyl records are....and how much better music sounds that way. Good. I've almost gotten rid of my albums a few times. Think I'll hang on to them awhile longer now. OLD BANJOS Interesting story about a guy here in Nashville who custom makes banjos. He's creating the kind that sound like the old classic Gibson's that folks like Earl Scruggs played...at least as close as he can. His name is Steve Huber...and yes...they are called Huber banjos. He must be getting close to that old sound....20's....30's banjos because celebrity musicians are buying them at the tune of $150,000 apiece! One of the old original Gibson's...if you can find one? $350,000. Wow. Think I'll stick to kazoo.
TODAY Songwriting with roots-bluegrass artist Caroline Gallagher. Here's hoping the first co-write in 2017 is a good one!
Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Monday January 2, 2016 The first blog of the brand New Year. Odd day with all of the normal January 1 college bowl games and the Rose Bowl Parade being on the tube today instead yesterday. The NFL TV schedule I'm sure dictated that move. Fine with me...something to look forward to today. TIME OFF We're in that gray area...lot of holiday stuff...folks with time off...what business is open? Which is closed? For me...my world pretty much shut down business wise and will kick back up tomorrow. FIREWORKS UNWANTED Once again we spent a quiet New Year's Eve...except for some folks living near us who confused the 4th of July with New Years Eve and set off yard rockets and firecrackers at midnight waking me up. I'm betting one of those folks has a truck they need a ladder for to climb up into the cab. Thanks so much for that! We did celebrate my daughter Heather's birthday New Years Eve. She made her own cake. And guess who gets to eat it? It's like it's my birthday instead. Heather is now teaching some cake decorating classes again...so she has mad skill in that department...and won't let me bake the cake. Good decision on her part. I hope you took time to count your blessings in the old year...and girded yourself for 2017. Bring it on. MARIAH CAREY She reminded me not to ever lip sync a song. Disaster at Times Square. Awful. Word is coming out now that her monitors were awful...and she felt like Dick Clark Productions sabotaged her performance on person. That part would be the "diva" coming out me thinks. The truth is...if you have bad sound...and especially bad monitors....it's really hard to know where the notes are...and it does divert your attention on stage because you're so bothered by it. You truly have to go somewhere else in your mind...and remind yourself...most of your audience will never understand that. They are just there to enjoy the show and...they bought a ticket with their hard earned money. And when it sucks...they don't blame lights or sounds or tech folks...the performer gets blamed. I say a silent "thank you" every time I'm on a stage where the sound is first rate and the folks out front running the control board are top notch. It makes a HUGE difference in the performance. If Mariah's problem really was sound...and I hope it was...I think the only thing that maybe she could have done to save herself some of the backlash and jokes she's getting would be to say on stage humbly...."gosh folks...I am so sorry...but I can't hear myself and I apologize so much for what's going on." And then make a silent vow to never lip sync again. CONGRATS To Dailey and Vincent...the terrific bluegrass duo. Marty Stuart surprised them this weekend and asked if they would like to become the next members of the Grand Ole Opry? Uh...they said yes. Love their music...and they're a ton of fun just to be around. I had them in our WSM studios not too long ago...and laughed my butts off with them. Congrats guys! WEEK AHEAD Gearing up for the return of normal. Tomorrow I'm writing with a young talented lady from North Carolina on her first roots-bluegrass album that I'll have a song or two on for sure. I have an appointment Wednesday with Ayla Brown and former American Idol high finisher who sings so great. And then Thursday I'm back in a writing room with my friend Jerry Salley who's writing towards his next album....and we have an idea...at least title that could be the title for the whole project if we can just nail this tune. May the rhyming Gods be with us. And...Thursday night I have a 6 pm show at the Listening Room here in Nashville with "Hits & Grins". Today...even though it's going to be 65....gonna stay in front of the TV for the parade and College Bowl games. In case you need to reach me...you know where I am! Have a great Monday!
BILL BLOG Friday December 30, 2016 New Year's Eve...Eve. YESTERDAY I'm in a lull right now...some time off...free days. I used part of my Thursday to write a funny parody song for my syndication company in NYC about sticking to the resolutions folks make...which doesn't really happen much. So I used a lot of creative liberty for that one and had fun doing so. I ran my daughter to the airport for her American Airlines job. She flies to Miami...and waits to be assigned. Yesterday she had no assignment....so....I picked her back up at the airport late yesterday afternoon. Yep...kind of an odd job that way for sure. But...now we'll have her here for her BIRTHDAY tomorrow on New Years Eve. She's my great reason and excuse now for never going out and blowing noisemakers on that holiday...which I don't miss one iota. After years and years of playing in a band on New Year's Eve....I think I've seen it all and I'm good staying at home on the couch and being in bed well before the clock hits midnight. I need a t-shirt that reads, "wake me when it's over." 2016 I read one article this morning...one of many of those "year in review" things and they did not have a lot of good to say about the old year. Lots of celebrity deaths...several right at the end of the year...and...disasters...and an extremely odd and often nasty election run. I didn't particularly feel that way. I always feel there's good and bad in every year and try to concentrate on the blessings and good things that have happened. We all get dealt bad hands from time to time. It's how folks handle those things that makes the difference I think on how they view the "life glass"...half full or half empty. Either way...here's to more good than bad things happening to you and me in 2017. Maybe this sums it up best. A Bill Vaughan (who I don't know) once wrote, "an optimist stays up til midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves." WEATHER 43 here for a high today. But back up to 67 on Monday in the New Year. And...somewhere folks are getting ready to put on their Speedos and swimsuits to do that Polar Bear thing where you wade into often freezing waters on the New Year. Why? How it got started? Don't think I wanna know. If I ever do participate...pretty sure I'll wade into the waters off of Miami Beach. Nobody...and I mean nobody....needs to see a man in Speedo with pasty skin and goosebumps on the first dang day of the year. And if you do...please pay someone $100 and go lay on their couch for an hour. RED SOLO The guy who invented those red solo cups that Toby Keith forever immortalized in SONG....died at the age of 84. Many will drink from his invention New Year's Eve. Wonder what they'll put his ashes in?
THE WEEKEND Our daughter's birthday...and the really good college bowl games start. I'll be on the couch for the Music City Bowl this afternoon....Tennessee vs Nebraska and tonight a dandy Orange Bowl with Michigan vs Florida State. And then the big boys play tomorrow....Ala-unbeaten-Bama-Washington and Ohio State-Clemson. Me? After being in Ohio for lots of years..."Go Buckeyes." Have a great New Years weekend...and wake me when it's over.
BILL BLOG Thursday December 29, 2016 Back to normal this morning. YESTERDAY I did not have time to blog because I was on air at WSM yesterday morning sharing the studio with an old on air friend Frank Seres who I had worked with at WSM-FM years ago...so we certainly had fun blasting a show over 50,000 watts and being heard all over the globe at wsmonline.com. Frank... like me... only does this part time these days. His full time job is working at the 911 call center. I'm sure he could write a VERY interesting book about some of those calls. Always fun to go into that radio station and spend some time. The next time I'm scheduled to be on is Friday night January 13 filling in for Eddie Stubbs. DANCING IN THE STREETS My little family took in the movie Lala Land on Thursday. If you like musicals...you'll probably like this. Ryan Gosseling and Emma Stone are great on screen and there's a nice story wrapped around the singing and dancing about two young dreamers trying to make it in difficult business. One is a jazz musician...the other an aspiring actress. Some real truth written in the script duly noted by anyone trying to do the same as these two dreamers. And I did see some music folks in the theater we were at...so it hits a note that way for sure.
DEBBIE I did a break on air yesterday talking about the passing of Carrie Fisher having no idea of course that if I were on air today...we'd be talking about the passing of her mother Debbie Reynolds. Proof again that people die of broken hearts. The one good thing about a person's passing...especially those who had careers like hers...we'll get to see clips and remembrances of that reminding us of what a gifted performer she was. This SCENE from "Singing In The Rain" with her is one of my faves. RIP. THAT TIME OF YEAR The news is filled with old news. Highlights of 2016 as we get ready to hit taxes and 2017. Lots of folks have extended vacations...and many will be up partying late to welcome in a New Year somewhere. This week has been a very sl
BILL BLOG Wednesday December 28, 2016 No real blog this morning as I'm sitting in the WSM radio studios right now inside the Opryland Hotel which is still packed with Christmas and New Years Eve tourists...as well as Nebraska and Tennessee football fans getting ready for the Music City Bowl this season. Both teams are staying here...so some really big men are walking by our studio windows all the time. Full blog tomorrow....tune in and listen to me if you can this morning worldwide at wsmonline.com Have a great Wednesday!
BILL BLOG Tuesday December 27, 2016 And we still have Christmas leftovers. Good grief. Staying away from the bathroom scales at all costs. YESTERDAY My calendar is pretty darned empty all week. The only major commitment is to being on WSM early tomorrow morning from 5:30 AM to 10 AM and some comedy parody song writing for my folks in New York. We're trying to catch a couple of movies as my wife and I both exchanged movie gift cards at Christmas. My daughter Heather and her fiance' Casey treated the two of us to "Rogue One" yesterday...the new Star Wars film. Great fun if you're a Star Wars fan at all and it looks like a lot of folks still are as they turned huge numbers for this movie over the past two weekends. I do enjoy seeing how they've been able to use some familiar characters in this latest installment and there are a couple of flat out funny lines delivered in this one too. Won't spoil it for you...but go for sure if you like Star Wars. DECK THE JAWS Day after Christmas and there were the typical fights at the malls for after Christmas bargains. Physical fights at a couple of them. Hence the new Christmas classic, "Deck The Jaws". NICER And here's the "nice" story to help off-set that "naughty" story above. Say what you want about Taylor Swift...but the girl does a lot of cool nice things for others with her time and money. A classic after Christmas. Her oldest "swifty"...that's the moniker name for her legions of fans...mostly young girls...turns out to be a 96 year old vet who served in World War II who lives in the boot heel of my home state of Missouri. Taylor shows up to surprise him at his house! Hangs for pictures...sings...really just too cool. There's some great pictures and video that capture a bit of it HERE. Way to go Taylor. ENGAGED It was engagement time over the holidays for a couple of country girls. Kelsea Ballerini and Kacey Musgraves both got engaged to their boyfriends. Something in the air in Nashville I suppose. Blake and Gwen? Still pretty quiet on that front. MAKE DOUGH WHILE YOU TRAVEL Download the FOAP app. What do it do? It allows you to submit vacation photos to publications. If they like your picture...you get $5 or so. If you submit a picture for a "specific" kind of theme they're looking for and they like that one? $100. I'm sure that picture you have of yourself picking Mickey's nose at Disney World is worth a five dollar bill. TODAY Warm weather again. I see a walk trying to get rid of a few turkey pounds today...and maybe using our movie gift again. Then early call to bed this evening as the alarm will sound at 4 AM Wednesday for my shift on 650 AM WSM. Remember you can listen in if you'd like at wsmonline.com See you on the radio Have a great Tuesday!
BILL BLOG Tuesday December 27, 2016 And we still have Christmas leftovers. Good grief. Staying away from the bathroom scales at all costs. YESTERDAY My calendar is pretty darned empty all week. The only major commitment is to being on WSM early tomorrow morning from 5:30 AM to 10 AM and some comedy parody song writing for my folks in New York. We're trying to catch a couple of movies as my wife and I both exchanged movie gift cards at Christmas. My daughter Heather and her fiance' Casey treated the two of us to "Rogue One" yesterday...the new Star Wars film. Great fun if you're a Star Wars fan at all and it looks like a lot of folks still are as they turned huge numbers for this movie over the past two weekends. I do enjoy seeing how they've been able to use some familiar characters in this latest installment and there are a couple of flat out funny lines delivered in this one too. Won't spoil it for you...but go for sure if you like Star Wars. DECK THE JAWS Day after Christmas and there were the typical fights at the malls for after Christmas bargains. Physical fights at a couple of them. Hence the new Christmas classic, "Deck The
BILL BLOG Monday December 26, 2016 "Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the Whyte House, there's a ton of leftovers, guess I'll pack on a few more pounds". CHRISTMAS Gosh...I hope you and yours had a great and wonderful Christmas. I know we did. My wife fixed a Who type feast yesterday that we shared with our daughter Heather and her fiance' Casey...and we invited some friends over who weren't having a big Christmas in their house particularly. Our young friend Heather Riley came over that I write with some. Her job prevented her from making the trip to Florida to be with her adopted family and we did not want her being alone for the holiday. It was great having her as well as John and Paula Jo Taylor and their daughter Amanda who's my daughter's best friend. Paula Jo and Amanda play music together on Lower Broadway a lot...Mama-Daughter. The family has had a tough year....Paula Jo fighting cancer and doing extremely well I'm happy to report. Cledus T. Judd has recorded four of my songs through the years...and Paula Jo has also had some luck with Cledus. But my favorite funny song she's written is one she wrote with our mutual pal and co-writer Gerald Smith..."You Play Like Chet." So...we had a great Christmas with them...dinner...and we sat around the dining room table and played games...old fashioned style and just had a great Ho Ho Ho of a time. THE WEATHER? We broke an old all time high temp record in Nashville on Christmas Day. 76 degrees! The record has stood since 1889....that's how balmy it was. Weird hearing Santa's flip flops up on the roof for sure. NOSTALGIA We head a little "family" throwback thanks to my wife too who went to great trouble to run down my sister Rita up in Minnesota asking her to share how my Mom made mac and cheese for us five kids. Seems as if it was always on our table as we grew up. So we had that old recipe on our Christmas dinner table. Actually...I can remember her making it with just milk. And baking it sometimes. Hard to mess up mac and cheese folks. It was great knowing that my Mom had a little presence at our table yesterday for sure. HUNTSVILLE CONCERT I do want to say thank you to Jim Parker for having our "Hits & Grins" trio play his songwriter series at the beautiful VBC theater in Huntsville this past Friday night. It's a first rate dinner experience before the show...and then four songwriters sharing their tunes with the audience in a theater setting. Magical. This is the 4th time I've been blessed to do this show...and certainly it was awesome doing this with my "Hits & Grins" friends Victoria Venier and Steve Dean. Victoria's Mom and Dad came all the way from Dixon, Illinois along with Victoria's husband just to see the show...so that was special too. Just an incredible evening of music...and making new friends and fans. They do this show once a month...and if you're ever close...this is one to take in. Thank you Mr Parker for having us! PLOWING AHEAD A slow week with the holiday of course. I have one obligation...being on air for WSM this Wednesday morning from 5:30 AM to 10 AM filling in for Bill Cody and Charlie Mattos the regular hosts who are taking the day off. I get to work on air with an old friend Frank Seres who worked with me at WSM-FM several years ago...so I'm looking forward to that. And now all the Year In Review stuff is coming out...and...some of us are already breaking New Years resolutions...aren't we? Man a year goes by in a hurry. TODAY My daughter is taking me and her Mom out to see the new Star Wars movie "Rogue One". May the post Christmas force be with us! Oh...and if you're hungry...come on over. We have a TON of leftovers. Have a great Monday!