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Navy Veteran Drew's Song...Rodeo Names...Idol

Feb 24 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

And just like that another weekend bites the dust.



Man, just another moving, inspiring weekend.  That’s what I experienced in Little Rock this weekend writing another veterans personal story into a song.


Friday night was spent with all the writers, vets, and volunteers and staff from both the VA hospital in Little Rock as well as those folks who work tirelessly for “Freedom Sings U.S.A.  On this trip the songwriters were Don Goodman who wrote “Ole Red” for Blake Shelton, my buddy Steve Dean who penned “Watching You” for Rodney Atkins and two young writers Hunter Girl and Jake Durkin.  The organization is smartly starting to add some young songwriters that will be paired with vets from the current war on terrorism…Iraq-Afghanistan.  We played a mini-concert Friday night at the Douglas MacArthur Museum of Military History and that alone is a treat…to get to see those artifacts and memorabilia. 


Then Saturday we moved to the VA Hospital where songwriters were paired with their veterans. Mine was a former Navy man Drew Guy who walked into my room with the help of a cane…which was a big deal.  That’s because Drew was on board a Destroyer in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Iraq climbing to fix a radar dome arms full of heavy equipment when a rogue wave jolted the ship and threw Drew down a couple of flights of stairs breaking three vertebrae…ending his six year Navy career.  They told him he probably would not walk again.  After a year and half he walked out of his wheelchair…and he walked in my room and shook my hand Saturday.  That alone was inspiring.   Drew has four generations who served in all the branches.  His Grandfather flew a fighter plane and got shot down in World War II.  His Dad whipped two red belts in Japan…got so good at it he taught it for the Navy in Alaska before he died.  So Drew was destined to join the service right out of High School.  We titled his song “Family of Red White & Blue”.  And Saturday night I performed it in front of him and room full of our veterans, families, patriots and Freedom Sings folks…writers and staff meHe applauded.  That’s all that matters to me...that HE loves the song.


I’m so blessed to be able to give back a little this way, especially since I was one of the lucky ones and somehow did not have to go to Viet Nam.  Thank you Drew for opening up and sharing your story.  It was my pleasure.  And these days?  Drew went on to college after the Navy and got a double degree in Mass Media and Creative Writing  He’s producing films and writing scripts these days so he’s in my creative world now.  And I’m betting the military paid him more money!  What a pleasure.



I’ll return again to Little Rock for another retreat in August and in July the songwriters fly to Montrose, Colorado to write songs with veterans in the mountains.  One of the new things this wonderful organization is getting read to do is write songs with the children of Veterans.  Can you imagine the stories some of them have to tell that will be written into songs?  Can’t wait.



I did lock in another beach-funny show with my beach-funny friend Brent Burns in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  This duo show will be Thursday night at the Sunset Cork Room in Gulf Shores starting at 6 pm.  All the info is on my calendar here on my website with the phone number to call for advance tickets.  And judging how these shows have sold out in the past I would highly suggest you hold your place.  The Sunset Cork Room is small, intimate and a great LISTENING room with a superb menu.  So, come early, order food and let me and Brent entertain you and make you laugh once again.  I’m looking forward to that.



After getting home around noon time yesterday I did the catch up work at my desk that’s always required after a road trip but turned the TV on and saw the Boys of Summer were playing baseball!  Spring Training has begun.  I am always ready for that so having that on the TV made me feel warmer and the work went faster.  And a week from tomorrow I’m going to soak up some Arizona sun for three or four days and do nothing but watch baseball in the Cactus League and root on my Reds team in Goodyear, Arizona.  The suns out, the ballparks are small and intimate and one can see several parks over a three-day stay so what’s not to like about that?


If you ever go…see the Talking Stick Ballpark, which is, where both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies (I think) hold their Spring Training Games.  Beautiful ballpark and over the centerfield wall they have a row of cactus!



It was just revealed that major league pitcher Madison Bumgarner has a side hobby the team did not know about.  Rodeo team roping.  And he changed his name to Mason Saunders to keep it hidden.  That’s cool.  But gosh, if you’re going to rodeo and go to all the trouble to change your names wouldn’t you choose more of a rodeo type name?  If I were still doing morning radio that would be my phone topic today.  “If you were a rodeo rider…what would your rodeo name be”?


I think I’d choose “Saddle Sore Bill”.



My wife has had a nasty cold for a few days so she bundled up on the couch with me to watch American Idol last night. We are looking for our young talented friend Lauren Mascitti whom we’ve yet to see.  We did see the tease at the end of last nights show so we know it will be next week when we get to see her blind audition with her talented fiance’ and hit write Shawn Camp who’ll play guitar for her and support Lauren.  Keep your eyes open for this girl y’all.  Yes…I’m prejudiced because she recorded a song I helped her and my friend Wil Nance write that’s out on her new album but more so because she’s just so darned talented while being so down to earth and nice.  Hard not to root for young folks like her. 



That came from Lionel Ritchie was talking to a blues singer who was passed through to Hollywood that just had great grit and real “been there” soul in his voice.  Lionel pointed out that the great B.B King once said, “it’s hard to sing the blues if you’re riding in a limousine”.  Yep.



Yes…you should pair your favorite Girl Scout cookie with the right kind of wine.  That’s what one writer points out in this ARTICLE.  Thin Mint fan?  You need to uncork a Malbec.  Right. I think I’ll keep pairing my Caramel deLites with milk…dunked.



Polar Bears are big folks.  On average a Polar Bear will tip the scale at 1,200 pounds.  BIG.  And at 1,200 pounds?  You can’t outrun one!  They’re fast. I can only hope if I ever decide visiting frozen tundra with continents of ice and encounter one…it will be one of the cuddly one’s we see in the Coke commercials.



With a metal spoon.  Apparently if you lose your can opener you can use a metal spoon to open your can of chili.  You Tube is a great thing.  Watch THIS.



I go to a few Belmont Basketball games here in Nashville each year.  Just one this past year because my schedule has been so crazy.  But I have seen them do the old putting game out on the court.  You putt from one end of the court to the other…and if you hit the target a student gets free tuition for a semester.  I’ve seen a kid make a half court shot “live” once to do just that…that was more exciting than the game as the place erupted.  But I’ve never seen the golf ball thing work for anyone until now.


How bout this 84 year old woman rolling it in to win a Nissan Car at halftime for the Alabama-Ole Miss game?!  Awesome.  Nothing to it folks. 



On this rainy Monday in Nashville I’m off to write with Sydni Perry who has lots of off the road time right now as her boss Carrie Underwood is not touring.  So instead of her singing background vocals for huge arenas of folks…I get to hear her sing whatever we come up with today.  And that makes for a pretty good start to the week.


Have a great Monday yourself. 





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