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A Memorial Kind of Weekend...Great Music News...Mexico Anyone?

Oct 5 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Back to blogging this Monday morning.



I posted no blog the past several days as I was in Missouri with my wife Kathy and daughter Heather to deliver a eulogy for one of the best people I’ve ever known and had in my life…Dean Raymer. In the obituary they listed me as son and my wife and daughter as family. I’m not her son by blood…they adopted me and my family. So, you can imagine how I felt when I read that in her obituary.  


Dean booked my band and countless other bands and entertainers through the years should have asked for a cover charge for her celebration of life. She had a full house full of those who loved her. Had we not been living in Covid times, I can’t imagine how many might have showed up.  I won’t dwell here on the day or the following day when we laid this beautiful soul to rest in a gorgeous place near where she grew up in southern Missouri…a three-hour drive from where the funeral service was the day before. I’ll just say I think she would have enjoyed what folks said and sang. And I know in my heart that I made her laugh from a higher place. My love goes to her husband Dodge of 68 amazing years as “One” …her two daughters Stacey and Marsha and her extended family of grandkids, great grandkids and SO many friends that she touched in a positive way.  It was an honor to be there. 


As I said at her beautiful graveside service, if we all had the integrity and goodness and helping others that Dean had this would surely be a big beautiful world.  I miss her already.



On the way home to Nashville Friday afternoon my little family stopped at a place called Lambert’s. You should go if you ever get near one of their two locations. One is in Gulf Shores, the original is in Sikeston, Missouri and we saw the sign. Lambert’s is home cooking.  And they throw hot rolls at you.  True.  And the free sides of fried okra, fried taters, black-eyed peas etc. just keep coming.  But we didn’t stop there just for food...though we were really hungry.  We stopped to honor my friend Dean Raymer who taught my daughter how to gamble a little on one of those quarter machines where you try to drop quarters onto a tray hoping the tray will then shove more quarters at you than you invested. A niece of theirs at the graveside service mentioned how Dean had taught them too.  So, we stopped, dropped some quarters, and sent a picture of my daughter playing that game one more time to honor her Grandma Dean to Dean’s daughters Stacey and Marsha. And yea, I got hysterical replies back. 



And then Saturday I was asked to sing at another celebration of life for Marty Foley, the longtime husband of my friend Ginny Foley.  Ginny constantly has a “who’s who’” come over to her house to sing with Marty always sitting quietly in his chair listening.  At Marty’s celebration of life there must have been 30 singers-entertainers (at least) get up and sing in Marty and Ginny’s backyard. I went with my friend Linda Davis and we too sang. The requested from me to sing “Safe Haven” the song I helped write about Linda’s husband Lang’s late father that they included on their Grammy winning album “Love Remains” that they recorded with their two daughters Hillary Scott and Rylee Jean.  Again, it was an honor to do that for Ginny…and for Marty. I’d bet Marty had a comfy chair in heaven looking down and quietly listening once again.



The family gave me an article to read about Dean Raymer that was written many years ago about her career. The FIRST line in the article read something like this: “In 1950 something Dean Raymer saw the opening act for Onie Wheeler sing “Hound dog”.  That of course was Elvis. AND he was the OPENING act for Onie Wheeler who went on to play harmonica for Roy Acuff for many years and wrote and recorded hits of his own.


Here’s the goosebump moment. Saturday as I looked out at the crowd in the backyard gathered to honor Marty Foley there was Karen Wheeler (who I worked with way back) and her brother Danny…the son and daughter of the headliner Dean saw that day…Onie Wheeler. I think they got goosebumps when I shared that story too.



I was sorry to hear that Cardinal great Bob Gibson passed away at 84. He was my all-time favorite pitcher. Impossible to hit at times and still hold the record for lowest ERA by a major league pitcher ever. A World Series champion and he was dominant in those games. He threw hard…and he’d throw inside and knock ya down if you crowded the plate. And he away a heck of a hitter too. I saw him play a lot of games in old Busch Stadium.  And more than once the Cardinals would call him off the bench to pinch it. 


One funny Bob Gibson story that I love.  Tim McCarver was his trusted catcher for years and years with the Cards.  Toward the end of his career Tim gets traded to the Phillies. The first time the Phillies play the Cardinals and McCarver steps into the box to face his old friend Bob Gibson as an opponent?  Gibson knocked him down.


Okay, sorry…one more. The LAST batter Bob Gibson pitched to before he retired hit a grand slam homer off of him. At an old timer’s game years later, that guy stepped into the batter’s box and Gibson hit him.


RIP Bob and thanks for the great memories.



It was kind of a sad few days BUT…I did get home to receive some musical good news.


First, my friend Jenny Tolman released this new single “If I Could Invent A T-Shirt” that I wrote with her and her boyfriend producer Dave Brainard a couple of years ago.  With what’s going on in the news they were smart enough to realize how timely and fun this song would be.  And American Songwriter Magazine realized that too and said some really nice things about our song.  Read the ARTICLE here.  And, watch this very fun lyric video of the tune too.  Congrats Jenny…and thanks for letting me be part of this fun ride.


Then Scott Southworth who sings hard core traditional country music sent me this article where they point out that the song I wrote with Scott “Less To Break” that’s on his new album “These Old Bones” was the clear favorite song of theirs.  Very cool.


Former American Idol star Lauren Mascitti also sent me a note letting me know her album “Love Remains” is up for Grammy consideration for “Best Country Album” and “Best Album” of the Year and that’ cool because I helped write this song “Never Been In Love Like This” with her and Wil Nance.  How bout that?  Congrats Lauren!


And finally, Brooke Aldridge of the duo Darin & Brooke Aldridge that I’ve blogged about many times just won the Female Vocalist of the Year Award for the FOURTH straight year in a row from the International Bluegrass Music Association at their awards show that took place virtually this year.  Amazing.  And I’m blessed that they have recorded several of my songs through the years.  Here’s one example of Brooke’s amazing singing. Congratulations Brooke AND Darin.



Bad enough that Covid is sweeping through the White House but now DC is warning folks that they are finding more murder hornets in the nation’s capital. They’ve actually found some nests.  Could Washington get any weirder?


Amazon now admits they have had 20,000 Covid cases involving their work force.


And the latest stats now show us that only three states in the country are reporting a decline in Covid cases.  



The Grand Ole Opry has now been doing its musical thing for 95 years in a row. The longest continuous running radio show in America just keeps going and going. And this past weekend there was a Covid small audience allowed into the Opry House to see and hear the show.  Progress.



In Lakeland Florida officials are trying to sell some swans.  They have too many.  80 or so.  So, they are going to sell 10 or 15. If you buy one know that it costs about $10,000 a year to feed and care for a dang swan.  Don’t know if Amazon Prime will deliver one to your door or not.



Dolly Parton is considering doing the Playboy cover again. The last and only time she dressed in the bunny suit and was on the cover was way back in 1978.  Dolly is 74 now.  This would be for the 75th Anniversary of Playboy so she just might.


I did read that Dolly admits to getting up at 3 AM every morning and confesses that she gets more done between 3 AM and 7 AM than any other hours of the day. Boy do I get that.



All eyes are on 2021 for those who play “live” music. Some, not all of my 2020 dates that were cancelled because of the pandemic have been pushed into next year, and some are still waiting to do so.


One NEW date that may be added would be a Mexico trip at a resort with my friend Brent Burns and another very funny Trop Rock artist Matt Hoggatt.  Stay tuned. 



“Woman Who Killed Boyfriend, Then Married Her Dad Is Sentenced To Prison”.  Hard to write a joke here folks when the headline seems like such a joke. But it’s a true story.



I’m writing today with two of my faves Jimmy Fortune and Sydni Perry.  Sydni is going to have a first baby in a few short months now so I’m sure there will be some baby talk before we get down to rhyming this morning.


It hit me that the words “Potus” and “Covid” sort of rhyme…but I doubt we’ll write that.  For the good of the country.


Have a great Monday!







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