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Christmas Rehearsal...Arlo...Jerry Jeff

Oct 26 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Last week of October boys and girls…Monday morning all over again. And…it’s Halloween week! Record cold has hit ole Minnesota again and down in the Caribbean yet another tropical storm Zeta has formed and will probably turn into a hurricane by tomorrow and looks to be headed once again to the Gulf Coast where I’m supposed to be playing music at the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival in a couple of weeks. Geez. The festival has been shortened because of Covid…then the area got hit with hurricane Sally and survived. Will it survive what’s coming now?  Fingers crossed.  



Mine started Friday with a writing session that hooked me up online with Jerry Salley and Rick Lang. Rick had given us this great song title to write that we started several weeks ago and came back to on Friday to finish up. And indeed we did get the song finished and it should be something that some artist in the bluegrass field likes…I would think.


Rick Lang is working on ‘Gonna Sing Gonna Shout II’ to follow up the original concept album that garnered a couple of Grammy nominations. That album is full of gospel songs featuring different artists like this song with Marty Raybon of Shenandoah. Jerry Salley is the head of Billy Blue Records who put out that album that Jerry produced, and it got Jerry and Rick and the President of label group a trip to Hollywood to the Grammy Awards. Though the album did not win, how many people get to go the Grammy Awards with a nomination or two?!



Yesterday afternoon I got together with Steve Dean and Victoria Venier…my musical partners in “Hits & Grins” and we practiced 3 Christmas songs as we are recording a Christmas video for our booking agency “Live Arts & Attractions” that they plan on sending to their clients. As you can imagine, there’s not been much booking during the pandemic, so this is a nice way to say “hang in there” to those that book “live” music and Merry Christmas and a MUCH happier New Year.



Victoria and her husband Matt Davenport run a huge production company…Davenport Productions. They produce shows for cruise ships, theme parks and our booking agency is also a part of that operation. So you can imagine what a hit their business is taking right now with NO bookings of any kind. So, they got creative. This is pretty cool. Take a look at their VIRTUAL SANTA opportunity that will allow kids from anywhere to have a virtual chat with ole Santa…safely. You do have to set an appointment and they are booking up slots quickly. Click on the Facebook link and scroll down to the second posting and watch the video…might be something for your kid or grandkids to take advantage of.



Did you know that you can buy KFC sells chicken scented fire logs? Yep…you can build a finger lickin’ fire with one for sure.  How many do ya want?



Our Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum here has lost 35 million dollars since the pandemic started in March. To try and raise some money virtually they will offer up a You Tube show starting October 28 that one can watch for free. And you’ll get to see folks like Tim McGraw play his hero Keith Whitley’s guitar.  And blues artist ‘Keb Mo’ strum the guitar the “Singing Brakeman” Jimmy Rodgers used to play. Or watch Miranda Lambert get emotional holding the guitar of one of her heroes and a songwriting legend we lost recently John Prine. The show is called “Big Night at The Museum”. Cool idea. Watch the trailer...it will give you a good hint of what we'll get to see.



It’s gotten to the point now that some are referring to this as the 2nd Quarantine as cases continue to climb at record levels. A 2nd wave of pandemic grocery store shopping is also getting ready to happen according to some with the second wave of Covid now on us setting record number of cases every single day. Leave some Charmin for other folks.


To really put it in perspective the US is now reporting a new virus case every 1.3 seconds.  And for the first time the White House Chief of Staff says, “we’re not going to control the pandemic”. No kidding.


Hawaii tried to re-open…just happened and they’ve had a huge surge on the islands and officials are crediting their spike to SMALL family gatherings. Geez. Going to be a lot of empty holiday dinner tables this year.


Delta Airlines have now added 460 folks to their “no fly” list. All refused to wear masks while onboard.


Our Tennessee Titans were just fined $350,000 by the NFL for Covid-19 violations that shut down their stadium and practice facilities and even forced a game cancellation. I wish it had been yesterday’s game that got moved or cancelled as we lost a heartbreaker to the Steelers.



Zoom Happy Hour. That’s where friends get on Zoom and have a drink or two together…on the computer. The thing I don’t like about it is that it means I have to pay my own tab now all of the time!  If Zoom Happy Hour continues after the pandemic is over there’s going to be a lot of bartenders looking for jobs.



I think this is the only way anyone wins the lotto. They’re lucky. Proof comes with the guy in Detroit who ACCIDENTALLY bough 2 tickets instead of one with the numbers he saved in his lotto app. He won 2 million dollars…one million by accident. And it was a “no fault” accident so there will be no claim against him.



First, Arlo Guthrie after having two recent heart surgeries has announced his retirement from performing at the age of 73. The son of course of Woody Guthrie and will forever be remembered for the rambling song and movie “Alice’s Restaurant”.  I was in college when that movie and song rolled out and remember seeing the movie on campus and laughing my butt off at that song with the rest of my young peers back then. “You can get anything you want…at Alice’s Restaurant…ceptin’ Alice”.  Happy retirement Arlo.


Interestingly Arnold Schwarzenegger is recovering from a 3rd heart surgery and says he feels fantastic and won’t be retiring. Remember when open heart surgery used to be so scary? 



One of my favorite songs of all time is Don McLean’sVincent” loosely based on Vincent Van Gogh the artist.  “Starry starry night”.  Bart Herbison is the director of NSAI (The Nashville Songwriters Association) and he does a weekly story behind the song segment. And this week Don Vincent gives us the back story of writing that classic song.


I saw Don sing that song one night in concert in Detroit at the State Fair.  I was working a small stage at the same Fair with my friend Karen Wheeler and after our show one evening we walked over to catch Don’s show at the big outdoor amphitheater and got to hear him sing “Vincent” AND “American Pie”. Magical. 



And we lost Jerry Jeff Walker this weekend. Gosh. I used to sing “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers” nightly with my band as well as “Desperados Waiting On A Train”. And is there any musical soul that doesn’t love “Mr. Bojangles” that Jerry Jeff wrote? I loved “Bojangles” so much I put it on the only vinyl album I ever recorded. I heard “Bojangles” come on the radio sung by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and went right out and bought the 45-rpm record and learned it that night. And then Sammy Davis Jr. made it a regular song in his shows complete with the dance steps that became its own thing. Thanks for the great songs Jerry Jeff.



In Kyle Texas they were all set to change the name of Rebel Drive…for the reasons you can imagine. Someone came up with “Fajita” drive to honor the Mexican heritage I suppose. That got quite the kickback from the locals so for now…still Rebel Drive.  And that’s really interesting to me because near me we have Rebel Road along with Confederate Way. I don’t think folks here are going to go for Chalupa Road or Taco Way either.



The hottest new word for 2020 according to whomever?  It’s the Danish word “Samfundssind”.  It means, community spirit or social mindedness.  I would have thought “Covid” might have been the hottest word but no. I just wouldn’t want to bet any money that I’d hear any of my friends say ‘Samfundssind”.  I’m also guessing that some folks might say "bless you” if they hear “Samfundssind”. 



I love this. 102-year-old World War II veteran First Lt. Vivian C. “Millie” Bailey celebrated her birthday by going skydiving. A skydiving company in Baltimore helped make this happen for her. She described it as, “a real thrill”.  Awesome.  Thank you for your service and for reminding us to LIVE no matter our age.



I’m writing online with Rob Bellamy out in Boston this morning. Somehow during a time when a lot of singers and entertainers are struggling to make ends meet, Rob and his girlfriend Ayla Brown are playing a lot of gigs out east after returning there for a radio job for Ayla. And both have been busy as Rob just released a new CD this week that includes a song we wrote together "100 Proof". Thanks for the cut Rob!


Have a great Monday!






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