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A New Year...Hank Williams...A Sea Shanty

Jan 1 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Friday morning…hello you brand new spanking year. Even though I don’t stay up until midnight I was awake because we had big booming fireworks going off all around us to celebrate the New Years. Folks love to blow things up in Tennessee. And in this case? I don’t mind them blowing up 2020.


And the first day of the New Year?  It will 70 and sunny here today. Gotta love winter in the south.



Nothing…a whole lotta nothin’. It was cool, it rained and drizzled all day and I had thought our daughter was coming down last night to celebrate her birthday but it turns out because of the move to Alabama they have tomorrow…that they’re coming down today. So, we’ll have a belated birthday to kick off the New Year this evening. I did get a nice present in the mail, a box full of the new Jeannie Kendall CD that I have four songs. She was kind enough to mail those so I could give each co-writer on those songs a personal copy. Very nice. Thank you Jeannie!


JANUARY 1, 2021

First day of the year. Historically speaking, die hard country music fans remember that it was New Year’s Day 1953 when Hank Williams died. He was only 29 years old and many think he may still be the greatest songwriter of all time.


“Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart”


“Hear that lonesome whipporwill, he sounds too blue to fly”


“I saw the light I saw the light, no more darkness no more night”


When I learned to play three chords one of the first songs I learned to play and sing was “Your Cheatin’ Heart”. He was in pain and took pills and drank too much. It claimed his life at the age of 29. Today in Montgomery, Alabama many still stop and visit his museum and his gravesite. 20,000 mourners were at Hank’s funeral.


My friend Bobby Tomberlin, Linda Davis and I wrote a song called “Looking for Audrey” which is about Hank showing up at a bar every night as a ghost looking for his ex-wife "Audrey".  Bobby is a HUGE Hank fan…knows a lot of the family. And he loves this song we wrote. So much so that Bobby recorded it with Linda singing the background vocals, and an old friend of mine up in Northern Kentucky…Bobby Mackey just recorded the song too. Thank you to both Bobby’s.


But Bobby Tomberlin loves the song so much that he called me one day because he was driving by Hank’s resting place, rolled down the window and played our song. Kind of spooky.


So here’s to ole Hank today…and all the great music he left behind for us to still enjoy today.



Hard to find good news…I know. I keep waiting for the day when we get to wake up and read that cases and the trend is going downwards instead of constantly upwards. There are over 20 million cases now in the US and the number will jump again after this long holiday period we’re just coming out of.


Fauci is now saying we won’t see “normal” until Fall of this year…maybe.


And Florida is officially the 3rd state to have a reported case of the new strain that’s starting to spread.  And meanwhile, only 25% of the vaccine that’s been distributed has been administered. It makes the DMV experience seem rapid.



Folks who had massive property damage are waiting to hear if the bombing was an act of terrorism or not. Most are rooting it was not terrorism as insurance may not cover losses if they do so. I know if it falls under an “Act of God” that they don’t pay but I don’t think terrorism could ever be listed under an “act of god”. We’ll see what happens.



Even a pandemic could not slow down shopping over Christmas. It was a record pace of buying…up 5.8% with digital type sales making up about 70% of that. With not much to do and time on our quarantine hands, despite high unemployment, more folks are going to their computers than ever and waiting for the Amazon Prime boxes to show up. Pretty sure some folks could move an entire house using Amazon Prime boxes by now.



One of the Carnival Cruise lines is getting ready to book nude cruises…if they get to cruise again. Pull up the anchor and drop your clothes. With that, this would be a great place for me to remind anyone signing up for the Brent Burns cruise that leaves July 4 from Germany with me and “Sunny” Jim White onboard to play music that you WILL need to wear your clothes. Please. And I’m sure you’ll be grateful that we’ll be wearing ours too. Thank you.


If Brent and I ever play on a nude cruise though we will most surely be playing this song…a lot.



The world-famous Flora-Bama Bar that straddles the Bama-Florida line will indeed hold its annual Polar Bear dip today. The ocean is wide enough that folks can social distance before they jump in the cold water to celebrate the New Year starting. Some will dress like sharks, cows, Elvis, Fred Flintstone, Vikings and some men who should not, will jump in wearing bright green thongs. It ain’t easy being green folks. Though I do have some seemingly normal friends who do that year after year?  I don’t see many being tempted. Y’all go on without me now.



Something that just kinda makes ya feel good. A folk group got 500 people to sing an old sea shanty “Leave Her Johnny” on a Zoom platform. It’s just fun and a reminder of how amazing technology is.  I didn’t know the song but found myself singing along. Maybe you will too.



Dolly Parton seems to be everywhere these days. Check out this new collaboration with Barry Gibbs of the “Bee Gees” and Dolly singing the Bee Gee’s classic “Words”. This will be on a new CD Barry is working on right now.


One of the very first albums I ever bought with my own money was the first Bee Gee’s record. There was a little store in Elsberry, Missouri where I went to High School that sold albums. I had barely heard of the group but was curious. And now I still LOVE their sound…and especially some of their early stuff like “New York Mining Disaster 1941”. Some things just stick with you.



A Mom admitted that her 3 -year-old child calls Flonase “Mommy’s special nose medicine”. The Mom says her neighbors think she does cocaine.



“Man Digs Secret Underground Tunnel to Lover’s House, Gets Caught by Her Husband”.  Wonder if the husband set one of those mole traps?



Birthday time with the daughter and we’ll wish her and her husband the best as they make their move to “Roll Tide” country tomorrow and our son in law starts his journey to earn his wings for the Army. Proud of him and all the folks that serve and have served for sure.


And hopefully I’ll be able to see some of the big Bowl Games today.


Have a great weekend!



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