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Back Home...Great Writers Festival...Two New Recordings

Nov 16 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Monday morning back home in Nashville.



What a great little run to Gulf Shores for this year’s Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival with my “Hits & Grins” buddies Steve Dean and Victoria Venier. Thank you to all the staff, volunteer, venue and sponsors for your hard work to help make this happen in this year of 2020 and all that goes with it. It was our first time to play together since this pandemic broke out in March so to so say we were anxious?  That would be more than accurate.


Our Friday night show at the Sunset Cork Room, one of our favorites little venues with great food was terrific and we saw a lot of friend the trio has made through the years of playing this Festival. We didn’t hug anyone, but surely hope to next year. My voice, that had completely left me on our Thursday night show came back enough for me to get through our set by lowering some keys and choosing songs already lower. And I felt it get a little stronger actually as the night went along. I was grateful for that.  The line of the night went to the Sunset Cork Room owner Nina who introduced our group.  She asked to use my “personal” mic that I had brought because of Covid and not wanting to sing on someone else’s microphone.  Nina speaking through the mask she left on told the crowd, “I just don’t want my shit on Bill’s microphone”.  I’m still laughing as no one expected that from her. FYI…big laughs usually come from a line you don’t expect from a person because of their normal demeanor. Thank you Nina! 


A couple of years ago we played her room during the Festival and a long table of folks in the back just would NOT stop yakking…during the show.  I saw Nina go the table once, twice and then the third time they left.  Nina kicked them out for talking and lost quite a bit of money from their meals and drinks.  We’ve been huge fans of hers ever since. 



Saturday morning our “Hits & Grins” trio hooked up for a radio podcast called “Crooked River” after the host caught our show Friday night at the Cork Room. He did a great job digging into all three of us as writers and performers and we appreciate Taz for doing that. It’s as pretty long interview but if you have any interest in listening to some of the history of our trio and some of the songs we’ve written just click on the link and listen away.



We did our last show at the world famous Florabama in the Main Listening Room and had packed crowd who really got into the show. Again, this is such a great venue and has been forever for any songwriter lucky enough to play there. It’s a true listening room which just enhances the experience for everyone. 



After we wrapped at the Florabama we stopped for dinner at a Shrimp Basket. My brother Gary put me onto the whitefish they serve there and all three of us ordered that Gulf Coast treat.  Obviously, their shrimp is their calling card but don’t miss asking for the whitefish if you go. Order a side of beans and rice with some andouille sausage mixed in….and you’ll be looking for my phone number to try and thank me.


When we stepped out…all of us satisfied and full and dang fireworks show went up that lasted a long while. We finally found out that a little chain of restaurants with music called Tacky Jacks were celebrating a 40th anniversary and threw up the colorful bang bangs. And we thought it was for us!  What a great way to tie a ribbon on such a great three days of music and fun on the Gulf Coast. We can’t wait to come back next year, and our fondest hope is that nobody will need to wear a mask.


I had a nice little package on my desk when I got home from my friend Gerald Smith (also known as the “Georgia Quacker” from his Hee Haw days) who just released a new bluegrass CD with two songs we wrote together. “He’s A Coming” …a song that’s been recorded a couple or three times by other artists including Darin & Brooke Aldridge that the two of us wrote with Lisa Shaffer, and a second song titled “Prayer Conditioned”.  Thank you for recording the songs Gerald. The album title is “Where There’s A Will”. That’s a funny song he wrote with my friend Thom Shepard. “Where There’s A Will…. There’s A Relative”.



Did you know we have lots and lots and lots with more coming of “Jumping Snake Worms”?  Yea, me neither.  Also called “Alabama jumpers” they come in 3 species, exist in 39 states already and the population is growing. The buck like a rodeo bull when threatened…and jump…and the eat like a cow.  And they are somehow threatening the environment according the NY Post article I read. Eyes open.  Pretty sure I don’t want no snake jumping on me.



I should have been returning home to Nashville from the state of Washington as we had two shows and a class we were going to teach. But Covid cancelled that for our “Hits & Grins” trio…which is why we were on the beach in Gulf Shores instead this past weekend. So something good came of it.


Some of those “experts” are now predicting that we won’t see any kind of real normal until Fall of next year.  Hard to argue against that at the moment.


On the good news side of this…another vaccine maker Moderna is saying they have one now that’s 95% effective in preventing Covid-19.



A 6-wheeled 1,300 horsepower pickup truck…and the truck is bullet proof.  Cost?  Only $700,000. And they've already had 18 orders! I’ve been on the naughty list too many years to have any hope of seeing a red bow on the hood of that bad boy sitting in my driveway Christmas morning.



A 68-year old man who owns some of those miniature figures you see every year in the “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” classic on TV just put two of those clay action movement figures up for sale.  Rudolph, and the Santa Clause.  They fetched $368,000 at auction. I’d say he’s going to have a very Merry Christmas as he watches that special on his couch this year.



Get this.  A bodybuilder just broke a record for pushing a car for a mile at the fastest time ever. Yes…they keep track of that. The car weighed 4,784 pounds and this behemoth of a man clocked in at 13 minutes and 26 seconds. And all I can think of is that if he had just checked his gas tank…he wouldn’t of had to push it for a mile.



“Montana Man Drives Into Grocery Store, Runs Nude Through Retirement Home, Gets Arrested”.  Ya think?



Back to writing songs today.  This morning I’ll see Gary Cavanaugh and young Meagan Allen on my computer screen.


Have a great Monday!

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