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Jeannie & Jenny...Snowboat...Hotel California

Feb 23 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Tuesday morning and all the snow is gone. Pretty sure that’s the last of that as the temperature will be over 60 with sun the next couple of days.



I had a terrific day in the studio yesterday watching to my friend Jenny Tolman sing vocals with long time Grand Ole Opry star Jeannie Seely on a song Jenny and I wrote with her fiancé’ Dave Brainard who sat and worked his magic behind the control board pulling some magic together. Jeannie Seeley is now 81 years young. Sharp, funny, and she’s seen and done it all in her long long musical career that’s still going on.  Jenny and Dave got this song to Jeannie’s ears and she loved it enough to say “yes” to being a part of it. It’s kind of a modern-day throwback vibe to this song. Think Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee etc. back in the day with a bit a new spin. Jeannie just killed her part and was so much fun to be around in studio. She was close to my second Mom Dean Raymer (who passed recently) and her husband Dodge so we had a connection. Plus she writes some with my friend Bobby Tomberlin who happened to call while we were in studio so that was a fun moment when I answered Jeannie’s phone.


I also found out that Jeannie’s piano player is Tim Atwood. Tim recorded a version of a song I wrote with Brent Burns called “Retired” that Ray Stevens also recorded. She could not believe I was a writer on that song and told me that when they do shows Tim almost always sings it. The song just makes people laugh…especially retired folks. Here's Tim's version of our song.


I stayed in studio long enough to listen to a violin player play about 16 different string parts so the song will sound there’s an orchestra string section playing along. It’s really going to be something to be proud of and I can’t wait to see what kind of noise my friend Jenny Tolman can make with this song featuring Jeannie Seeley. A magical day in studio for sure.



As I’m blogging this morning, I’m watching water drop off the roof from the snow that’s mostly melted by now. Looks like where we live it totaled about 4 inches or so at its deepest. That got me to thinking about the changes we’ve lived through with technology. I can remember at my first small market radio job in Bowling Green, Missouri how we’d go outside if it had rained to check the rain gauge that was in a little wooden structure the station manager and owner Paul Salois had built. If we had snow fall there was a yardstick to measure the amount. There was no internet to check each morning for weather information like that.  News was not instant. We had to wait until it showed up on an associated press machine that you would check every now and then and pick up the big pile of paper that had fallen to the floor from the machine. School closings were called into the radio station. And yes, you dropped a needle on vinyl to play music. And now I can open a couple of apps on my cell phone and get all the info a person needs and more in a heartbeat. I do love modern technology for the most part. But I’m also glad I got to live in that other era when things were more “hands on” and simpler.



Sometimes we take technological advancements in stride without being amazed. We’re just used to amazing breakthroughs. But watching the Rover land on Mars made me pause and think about that amazing accomplishment. How in the world do we do things like that? I was in college watching a black and white TV with several other college buddies when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon and thought, “man…we’ll never top that”.  Looks routine now.



When snow piles up and people just HAVE to get out but can’t because they don’t have 4 wheel drive they can get creative. Who knew an airboat could be an option? Check out this guy in Louisiana powering down a street in his. And he ain’t looking for alligators in no swamp.  My guess is he’s on a grocery store run.



How about this study that suggests that those who wear glasses may be up to 5 times less likely to catch the virus. They don’t rub their eyes as much as those who don’t wear glasses.


Dr. Fauci admitted yesterday that the US has done worse than almost every country on the planet dealing with Covid-19. Hard to argue that with a half million lives lost and counting.


Home Depot sales jumped a whopping 25% last quarter. Folks are staying home and working on their homes.


And here’s a clear sign that more folks are willing to travel now. The TSA is looking to hire 6,000 agents this summer.



Not all criminals are mastermind geniuses. Just ask a cop. They’ve heard every excuse in the book as to why someone commits a crime. Like the guy they pulled over going 103 mph who told the cop that he was dyslexic. “I didn’t know”. Creative…but still stupid.



The Eagles hit “Hotel California” is one of my all-time favorites. When asked what’s the best concert I’ve ever seen?  I always say the “Eagles”. I saw their “Hell Freezes Over Tour” in Milwaukee and was just blown away. And hearing “Hotel California” blasting from the speakers in that arena was more than just a little memorable.


This morning I read a couple of interesting facts about that song that I didn’t know. First, the original name for the song was “Mexican Reggae”. Second, Don Felder…the guitar player and co-writer with Don Henley and the late Glenn Frey NEVER thought the song would be a hit. And for good reason. It’s six minutes long with a one-minute intro before Don Henley sings the first line, “On a dark desert highway”.  Radio caters to songs about 3 minutes for the most part and they don’t play instrumentals. Don Felder was wrong. And the back-and -forth twin guitar solos at the end of the song between Don Felder and Joe Walsh is considered to be in the top 10 on most lists for best guitar solo.


And certainly the “Hell Freezes Over” documentary is amazing to watch too. Raw for sure and you get all the truth about the group out in the open…good and bad. But the music alone and how they were created makes this a “must watch” if your and Eagles fan like me.  



“Arizona Man Takes Himself Hostage Trying to Avoid Going to Work”. There’s a guy who seriously needs to get himself on LinkedIn.



I had a couple of songwriting cancellations this week. Today and tomorrow have opened up on my calendar. With the temperatures warm enough to get outdoors I’m going to take advantage of that and soak up a little sun hiking down a trail and spending a little time catching up on the catching up stuff.


Have a great Tuesday!











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