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Gatlinburg Bound...A Trop Rock Interview...Singing Umpire

Aug 17 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Little road trip to Gatlinburg this morning and it looks like the windshield wipers will be on.



I spent some time on Music Row being the interviewee instead of the interviewer.  For the record…I’m always more comfortable being the one asking the questions.


Eric J. Babin is retired Navy and he and his wife sold their home…bought an RV and they travel all across the country from on Trop Rock event to another.  That’s because they own the RADIOTROPROCK Internet station that plays nothing but beach music.  Eric is taking some radio classes as I gather it…and need to interview a radio guy as part of his work.  That’s where I came in.


So we gathered at ASCAP on the Row and Eric came with his wife and with noted Trop Rock artist Donny Brewer and his wife who also travel full time in a motor home and... they all love the lifestyle.  Eric takes his Internet radio station with him wherever he goes and broadcasts at all these Parrot Head Club gatherings…of which there are many and other Trop Rock type events.


It was a pleasure getting to know all of them better and exploring their world.  Donny is popular enough that he hosts a caravan every year where Parrot Head fans follow his Winnebago from California all the way to Key West for the Trop Rock Awards held in November.  And they stop in several cities for concerts that he puts together using different songwriters and beach performers.



Before we finished they told me they were making one Caravan stop this year down in Gulf Shores and invited me to take Donny’s place one night.  So…I’ll be playing at the Glen Lakes Golf Club where the Parrot Heads will gather for golf and a show that night at a venue I’ve played a few times with my Trop Rock friend Brent Burns.  How bout that?


So Wednesday October 24 I’ll play alongside Brent Burns and another Trop Rocker that I’ll meet for the first time that night…Eric Stone and it will be broadcast on Eric’s internet radio station.  Complete details are coming soon on my calendar on my website.


More and more singers and songwriters are seeing the growth of this beach “genre” if you will and joining in traveling and playing to beach music fans everywhere.  I’m tickled to dip my toes in that water a little too.



The Queen is dead.  Man what a voice.  One of my favorite movie scenes ever is the one you have surely seen posted now with the news that Aretha Franklin passed.  And that’s the show-stopping scene in the “Blues Brothers Movie”.  Love it every time I see it.


And Dan Akroyd…the harmonica playing Blues Brother said one of the more memorable things about Aretha yesterday on his social network.  “Angel Choirs show prepare for increased rehearsals and discipline”


Iconic music artists pass away…all of them.  But their music lives forever.



I never understand the how and why of people that find you on the world wide social networks and then follow you.  This morning on my Instagram Page I saw that I’m being followed by Vietnamtour.  What the hey?  Have I been targeted because they think I want to come over and ride down the Ho Chi Minh Trail?  Dunno.  Weird.



I keep seeing an article with the headline, “Is Your Backpack Bulletproof”?  For the record…I don’t wanna go nowhere ever where I need to wear Kevlar or have my backpack bullet proofed.  I know some of this stems from school shootings in the past…which is too sad to think about.


Joe West has umpired more baseball games than all other umpires now but one.  Quite a lot of baseball games.


I got to know Joe a bit in Cincinnati when I was doing radio and he’d come to town to ump a Reds game.  He’s a big country music lover…and in fact recorded a country album titled “Blue Umpire”.  Here’s an EXAMPLE.  A younger Joe West.


Joe came and did my morning radio show once and we talked baseball and I played one of his songs on air.  At the time I had a band working at a night club and Joe would come out…get up and sing.  And he was noted for setting up 4 chairs on a dance floor and then running the bases sliding home…calling himself safe.  Funny.


So a couple of days ago he’s in Minneapolis having dinner at a noted steakhouse and the steakhouse honored Joe by bringing him a menu…in braille!  Love that.



So…several years ago a pastor got bitten by a poisonous snake in a church service and died.  Taking up the snakes…a brilliant idea.  Now…his son…a pastor just got bit.  Doing the same thing.  He’s going to make it.  Geez.  And folks wonder where I got the idea for my song “Religion Scares The Hell Out Of Me”?



I have a song on the same album that has “Religion” on it that’s title “If I Had Boobs”.  I bring that up…or those up…because a woman has business going where women send them pictures of those and she turns them into personal pots or coffee cups…with their boobs right there. Gosh…FINALLY…I’ve got the perfect gift idea for my wife this Christmas.  She’ll love that!



And…the latest hair trend for celebrities?  Watermelon hair.  As in coloring.  A watermelon hair color.  No…they don’t leave the rind in the newly colored hair.  But…if a woman told me she had watermelon hair…it would be hard for me not to thump it.



Off to Gatlinburg for the Smoky Mt. Songwriters Festival in a few minutes.  My buddy Steve Dean from my “Hits & Grins” trio will ride over with me as will songwriter Wil Nance who we are picking up.


Our trio has a 9 pm show tonight…I judge a song contest Saturday at noon…and play one more time with songwriter Randy Brooks Saturday night before returning home Sunday.  This is always a great event in a beautiful place.  On the way.


Have a great weekend!



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