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Songwriter Guests...Mexico Beach...The Weekend

Oct 12 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

And here comes a Fall weekend.



I spent one last afternoon on air at WSM radio filling in for regular host Devon O’Day and the three hours between 3-6 pm were jam packed with guests that included my friend Jenny Tolman and Dave Brainard who came in to promote a show they had last night here in town that I attended. Jenny is about to roll out her official video on this SONG that she sang “live” in studio and I’ll post that once they do.  I’ve written a lot of songs with these two that I’m proud of so I am openly rooting for Jenny’s success.


Hit songwriter Billy Montana followed them.  Billy is playing a great songwriters event this weekend with two other mega-hit writers in this town with a symphony for two nights in a row!  How cool is that?  Billy wrote “More Than A Memory” for Garth, “Bring On The Rain” for Jo Dee Messina, and “Suds In The Bucket” for Sara Evans just to name a few. 


When you have musical guests like that the show flies by in a hurry.  My thanks to producer Lexi Carter for making my job so easy these past three days on air for WSM.  Always a pleasure to be there.



Thumbs up to a lot of folks who helped get the Music Modernization Act passed officially.  The pictures of the President with Kid Rock, John Rich, Craig Morgan and others in the White House who have fought for a fair system of paying songwriters in the new digital-streaming area is a big step forward for compensating those who rhyme and play.  It was rewarding to see a lot of hard work finally pay off where it counts.  Countless internet radio stations we listen to pay no license for the songs they play.  It’s just free music with no compensation to the creators.  This new law will help change at least some of that.



Gosh…the Christmas lights are on already inside the Opryland Hotel.  Good grief.  Forget Halloween and Thanksgiving.  I gotta start working on my letter to the fat guy in the red suit today I guess.



And now we can really see the devastation of hurricane Michael.  Mexico Beach, Florida that I’ve been too many times is just gone it looks like.  Panama City, Port St. Joe…are all in for a lot of rebuilding and recovery.  I’ve mentioned “Blast On The Bay” down in Port St. Joe that I was set to play at again starting next Thursday here before.  That is surely gone…and the songwriters who were set to play have already started a chain e-mail that will lead to a musical benefit here in town to at least provide a few dollars for that area for folks who are going to need a lot of help. 


I have friends down there who took me up in their little private plane a few years ago.  The plane is parked at their house and we rolled across a grass runway lifted off and flew over beautiful Mexico Beach-Port St. Joe.  I’m pretty sure it would be heartbreaking to fly over it today. 



Oktoberfests are popping up everywhere right now.  With a high of just 63 in Music City today it’s perfect timing for people to put on lederhosen and stick their thumbs under their armpits to do the chicken dance.  And there’s your visual for today.



Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton’s first Porsche he bought is going up for auction in Chicago.  A 79 Turbo sure to fetch a pretty penny.  Walter raced cars as a hobby and I’ve got a great memory of that.


When I was in Milwaukee on the radio they sent me up north to cover a road course race in beautiful Elkhart that Walter was racing in.  I found his trailer that was roped off of course with my tape recorder and microphone hoping to somehow interview “Sweetness”.  I waited in very HOT weather that day and was wearing a radio station T-Shirt and running shorts.  Finally Walter came out and I asked politely if he’d give me a few words.  He looked at me not smiling and said, “maybe in a few minutes” and disappeared into his camper.  I figured that was that but stood patiently.


Several minutes later he came out and walked right up to me again with zero smile inferring “let’s get this over with”.  I can imagine how many interviews the superstar had to endure during is illustrious NFL career.  I stick my microphone over and ask my first question to a very serious looking Walter Payton when he reaches over the rail and de-pants me!  And then he laughed like a school kid!  I found out later he’s a quiet prankster and pulled that trick often.  We had a GREAT interview after that…and I’m honored to say that I’m in an elite pack of folks who were de-panted by such a nice superstar.



In Jackson Hole Wyoming you can go out and train with a sniper.  They will teach you how to hit a target that’s a mile away.  Wow.  I’m not a gun guy...but THAT sounds like fun.  File that one under a cool Christmas gift idea. 


It’s funny how life turns.  I grew up hunting with my brothers.  About the time I started strumming a Sears Silvertone guitar my interest in hunting went by the wayside.  But I have great memories of my family doing just that.  Visions of my late Father and us out in a cornfield with bird dog trying to scare up a covey of quail.  There’s a romance to some of that for sure.


At that time we never hunted just to kill something.  It was always food on the table for a family of seven back in Missouri. 


The great songwriter Guy Clark jokes about a landlord he once had in California who he was always really nice to because the landlord was the kind of guy who came home from work and went out to his garage and made his own bullets.  That made me laugh when I heard it on one his great “live” recordings but it also flashed a memory of my Dad reloading his shotgun shells back in the day.


Year fly by, loved ones leave us, but memories remain.



Well…I have nothing big on my calendar now for the next few days…right through the weekends.  The great Fall movies are out.  “Star Is Born” and the movie on Neil Armstrong “First Man” is out today that I really want to see.  So…maybe a movie is in order.


The baseball playoffs are on and I’m rooting for the Brewers…the last team I have a connection with that’s left standing after working six years in Milwaukee and seeing plenty of Brew Crew games at old County Stadium back then with Bob Uecker doing the play by play as he still is today.


So…feet up…lazy…and maybe that combo will help me and my wife kick this lingering cold we’ve been carrying around for too long.


Have a great weekend!

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