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Steep Canyon Grass...50 Year Anniversary....Show Tonight!

Sep 4 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Friday morning, the weekend is here, and Labor Day is upon us. And of all things I actually have a “live” show later tonight.



My writing appointment was with my buddy Josh Shilling from Mountain Heart and we took an idea I had yesterday and ran with it.  One of the great things about writing with Josh is I get to learn a lot about today’s bluegrass bands, and the old one’s too. Yesterday Josh told me an interesting story about how comedian-actor-banjo player Steve Martin changed the lives of the Steep Canyon Rangers band when he joined them to play a bunch of shows. The band was running very much under the radar at the time but that all changed from the great exposure they got playing music with Steve. And now on their own they can command a lot more money than they had probably dreamed of.  One of those great unexpected things that can happen sometimes and change a life or lives.  So, I got some more great stories and a new song with Josh on Thursday.  Good day.



To my brother Gary and his wife Kay who are celebrating 50 years of marriage today. Some kind of accomplishments considering how the two of them married young and probably had the odds stacked against them. But my brother joined the Air Force, got his degree and retired as a Captain.  He and Kay were stationed around the world.  Coming out of the military my brother had a couple of big jobs before fully retiring.  The two have traveled a lot…seem some incredible places together. They raised a son who has his own inspirational story to tell after recovering from a life-threatening injury in a bike race.  A story for another time.  Two together…50 years…solid as a rock.  For a short while when he was young my brother played bass in my band.  He and Kay were destined to do other things.  And because they did, they’ve built a wonderful life together and are fully enjoying the fruits of their work and hanging together through the good and the bad that all long-term couples experience.  I simply could not be prouder of these two.  Happy Happy Happy 50th Anniversary you two.



You know Covid is a bad thing when Batman catches it.  Robert Pattinson who will play the caped crusader in the next movie?  He’s got it.  So does Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” and his family.  Gosh. All Batman had to do was leave his dang mask on…but no!


Of course, there was a spread of the virus after the bikers went home from the Sturgis motorcycle rally. Infections popped up in several states, and one death has been attributed to it. South Dakota also chose not to cancel their state fair so there will be more cases coming for sure.  I will say, it’s really really hard to eat a corn dog while wearing a mask.


And a new survey says two thirds of us won’t take the vaccine right away when it does become available. Some are going to wait and let others get the shot and see how that goes…I’m guessing.  And the question looming is, how much will the virus explode after the Labor Day weekend in front of us with folks gathering?




So last night I’m scanning through channels and there’s nothing to watch.  Even my Reds aren’t on TV.  I landed on the movie Erin Brokovich and re-watched it with Julia Roberts and Albert Finney in the lead roles. I had forgotten how good this movie is…based on a true story. But I did not know unit stumbling upon it this morning that the real Erin Brokovich had a cameo role in the movie.  She plays a waitress taking an order from Julia Roberts…playing her in the movie.  Look for yourself and see.  Pretty cool.



We lost Tom Seaver…the Hall of Fame pitcher for the Mets to lewy body dementia.  Robin Williams had that…so did my Father.  It’s not a good thing.  The current roster of the Mets did a very cool thing to honor him during their game last night. Tom Seaver’s pitching mechanics put his right knee on the dirt of the pitching mound a lot. So, his right knee always had a dirt stain on it.  The young Mets all dropped their knees into dirt to imitate that look last night in a game they won…appropriately. 


Seaver left the Mets for a while and played for my Cincinnati Reds where he pitched his only no hitter before returning to the Mets to finish his career.  The best catcher ever to play the game Johnny Bench said that Seaver never let him forget that Bench was not behind the plate the night he pitched that no hitter.  Seaver would always tease Bench and say, “what have you ever done for me”?  Johnny Bench was in tears when he got the news of his friend passing saying, “He was an exceptional human being”.  RIP Mr. Seaver…thanks for all the great baseball memories.



This one from a husband who tweeted, “When my wife asks me to do that one thing in the bedroom she really likes, she’s talking about vacuuming”.



Apparently, Willie Nelson has smoked weed with a lot of folks…and there are lots of stories. Apparently at one time Willie Nelson was invited to the White House I’m guessing to play for then President Jimmy Carter. Somehow, someway Willie wound up on the roof top of the White House with the President’s son and the two of them lit one up.  Only Willie.


The House is actually getting ready to take a vote on making marijuana legal for the first time. Pretty sure I know which way Willie would vote.


Those stories always remind me of Toby Keith sharing his weed story on a bus with Willie by converting that experience into the song with his writing buddy Scotty Emerick, “I’ll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Again”. 



Hair Salon Had To Remove Ad for “Happy” Hair Stylist Because It’s Discriminatory To Unhappy People”. (A sign of the times)


Break out the grills, the Kentucky Derby will run again.  The Run for the Roses is tomorrow with no crowd in the stands. You’ll have to wear your big hats and drink your mint juleps on your couch in front of the TV tomorrow.


If you’re traveling, they’re saying gas prices are the lowest since 2004 for a Labor Day weekend.



My Labor Day weekend starts tonight as I’m playing a solo show at Grinder House Coffee Shop in Crossville, Tennessee from 6-8 pm.  So, I’ll be spending some time today trying to see if I can remember enough words of my own songs to fill the time I’ll have on stage this evening.  Looking forward to doing something I used to take for granted…but don’t anymore.


Have a great Labor Day weekend!




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