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Festival Show Dates...McBroken...Charlie Pride's Award

Oct 23 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

The weekend is here and it’s almost like summer has showed up again here in the south after nearly breaking a record high yesterday.



I hooked up to write an idea that came out of my wife’s lovely mouth one day that sounded poetic several months ago that appealed to Tim Stafford. Tim is such a gifted guitar player who’s played on a ton of sessions, produced sessions, is a member of the acclaimed bluegrass group Blue Highway and is a heck of a songwriter to boot with numerous cuts by bluegrass artists for songs he’s written. This song turned into an acoustic gospel song that has a gorgeous melody under the lyrics that Tim had started by the time he popped up on my computer screen yesterday.  When I write with folks like Tim, I have to woodshed to learn how to play my own songs. I’ll be doing that for this one for sure.


Tim lives in Knoxville area and told me he and his wife bought a beautiful scenic lot with a view of nothing but mountains that they plan to build on. He told me they’d have to wait because real estate is so hot now that the cost of building goods has also jumped so high that it makes more sense to wait until the prices and demand go down.  That’s the second co-writer who has told me that as Irene Kelley also bought a mountain lot in Gatlinburg and is having the same issues.  I told both of them that’s never an issue if you just drop a singlewide on a lot and put a tractor tire filled with sand for the kids out the front door.



Looking at my calendar I see that I should have been in Livingston Texas last night and in Topeka Kansas tonight on tour with “Hits & Grins”. Those are just two of about 23 dates that got pulled because of Covid-19. It’s been hard seeing ever one of those dates and cities disappear although there is some hope that some of the dates will reschedule next year. We’ll see. But there was some good “gig” news that came in…and that’s right below.



The Frank Brown Songwriters Festival in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach is now out.  Our “Hits & Grins” trio with Steve Dean, Victoria Venier and myself will play three times this for the Covid shortened festival this year, and I’ll play one other show with my long-time friend Brent Burns.


You can check the link above to see everyone’s schedule but here’s mine.


Thursday November 12 at 5:45 pm with Brent Burns at Woodside Restaurant at Gulf State Park.


Thursday November 12 at 7:45 pm with “Hits & Grins” at Coastal Arts Center.


Friday November 13 with “Hits & Grins” at 7 pm at Sunset Cork Room.


Saturday November 14 with “Hits & Grins” at the Florabama Main Room.


Looking forward to being on the beach and being part of this great festival another year.



For the first time in 159 years or so Macy’s will have no Santa Clause in their store at Christmas.  He will still be on the sleigh for the Thanksgiving Day Parade but that too will be a different Covid “Ho Ho Ho” experience as the parade will be a TV only event…with no crowds allowed to gather in NYC. They may have to reshoot Miracle on 34th Street.


Despite the virus over 6500 new restaurants opened in the month of September. Because that seems a bit remarkable to me, I Googled “How many restaurants have closed”?  The answer?  In the six months of pandemic we’ve been in over 100,000 restaurants have closed their doors. So the 6000 doesn’t seem remarkable anymore.


Most experts agree that the longer the pandemic lasts the more likely we’ll see a recession. Meanwhile luxury homes are selling like crazy, and the stock market is going up again.  Proof again that I know NOTHING about this kind of stuff.


In Pensacola their Interstate Fair is going full tilt boogie…and it’s packed. Temperature checks at the gate but folks are hitting the Midway in numbers despite the virus. Remember to lower you mask before biting into your fried Churro folks.



If you’ve ever gone to McDonald’s wanting an ice cream cone and had them tell their ice cream maker is not working? You’re not the only one. It happens so much that a software engineer has launched a website that will let you know which McDonald’s actually has a machine working, while also letting you know the locations where they’re not working. He calls it “McBroken”.  You’d think the execs at the Golden Arches would be having a big McMeeting about this to try and fix their machines. But perhaps McNot. 



A two headed snake. Yep…rare but some folks in West Palm, Florida walked upon a two headed racer that got their attention. In fact, I’d bet they call them ‘racers’ to describe your hearts reaction if you walked up on one.  Nothing like a dang snake that can bite you while you’re coming AND going.



That man will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award this year at the CMA Awards show. Pretty sure Charlie is overqualified to receive one considering the doors he helped open and the amount of great hits he’s recorded through the years.  I had the pleasure of interviewing him on the air a couple of years ago on WSM Radio. He still owns part of the Texas Rangers baseball team, so we did have a little baseball talk on a country radio station. When he found out I had been in Milwaukee a few years he threw a question at me that I know he thought would completely stumped me.  Charlie had taken batting practice once at old County Stadium in Milwaukee (and yes, I got to see several games there before they tore it down) and he struck out against the pitcher the Braves put on the mound. Charlie asked, “Guess who that pitcher was”?  I answered, “Warren Spahn”?  And his eyes lit up.  He said on the air, “hey…you do know your baseball”.  A little dumb luck…a lot of paying attention to baseball. Congrats on this deserving award Mr. Pride. 



They actually make scented candles for men. Hmm.  I don’t see me burning a scented candle but if I had to choose a scent?  Wonder if they make a candle that smells like a charcoal tailgate party scent? 



I’m finishing up a gospel-bluegrass song this morning with Rick Lang and Jerry Salley. Rick brought this great title to our attention that we started several weeks ago and will finish today.


Then it’s the weekend…World Series, Football and rehearsing. Our “Hits & Grins” trio is rehearsing Christmas songs this Sunday night for a video-taping we’re doing this coming Tuesday for the agency that books our trio “Live Arts & Attractions”.  Each of us will sing a Christmas song on tape that will go out to buyers and clients of the agency to wish them a Merry Christmas and thank them for their past business as well as what’s to come after it’s safe to start playing venues again. My Christmas song of choice is “I’m Not Drinking Alone…The Dog’s Home”.  True.


Have a great weekend!









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