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Trop Rock Heaven...New Book...Great Music Documentary

Dec 30 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

And now it’s New Year’s Eve…Eve.



I hooked up online yesterday with my great friend Brent Burns down in Gulf Shores, Alabama to write a new song. We’re piling them up for his next album. Brent has already recorded six songs for the project. That happened several months ago but because of Covid and the “no rush to do it” because of Covid there’s not been a good time for him to come back up here and finish up the album. That will happen when it feels safe again to do so. In the interim we’ve written a few new tunes and Brent is going to have more than enough to finish it up whenever he wants.


Yesterday’s idea was his as he wanted to pay tribute to the folks in the Trop Rock genre. Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Bob Marley that you know, but also names on a more local level that are loved in that genre. Sunny Jim White (who will sail the Danube River with me and Brent come July 4 if Covid permits) Donny Brewer, Matt Hoggatt and other names you may not personally know…but all talented.


The idea was to rewrite an old Tex Ritter song that some of you may remember where Tex dreamed one night that he went to “Hillbilly Heaven”.  In Brent’s version he goes to Trop Rock Heaven and sees some singers who are already there and also gets a glimpse at who might be in Trop Rock Heaven eventually. We had so much fun writing it…and I think the Parrot Head fans who sit out in front of all those Trop Rock singers will love the song.  This will be on the next album for sure.



That’s the name of the book my friend Brady Seals wrote that came in the mail yesterday. Brady joined the “Little Texas Band” when he was very young and he talks about that, his days with the group “Hot Apple Pie” and the trials, temptations and more that go with that kind of lifestyle. And…he was very kind to mention me in the book as well in a segment that talks about the two us writing the song “Been There, Drunk That” that turned out to be his last single on the charts. He combines each chapter with a biblical thought or two which is kind of a unique writing approach but it works for his book as Brady is very faith based in his approach to life. Thanks for including me Brady


It’s actually the second book I’ve been mentioned in this year as another longtime friend of mine, Arizona writer Roger Naylor sent me a book earlier this year “Crazy for The Heat”. When I opened the book on the first page there was a note that read, “To Bill Whyte and Mike Farrow. Longtime friends and funny guys”. Roger is truly a great author and a former stand-up comedian. So for him to call ME a funny guy in his book was really quite the honor.


So when I look back on this forgetful year of 2020, I can say that it was not all bad as I wound up in not one but two books. How do these things happen?



I’m on the couch watching TV when I get a text Rob Bellamy a co-writer out in Massachusetts who asked if I had seen the documentary on the great songwriter Dean Dillon titled "Tennessee Whiskey"?  No, I had not but have been waiting for it to show up somewhere so that I could watch it. Turns out it was on Amazon Prime and I didn’t know it. So I pulled that up and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like anything about country music and songwriters, you’ll probably love this too.  Dean Dillon has written SO many hits…many of them for George Strait including “The Chair” and “Unwound”. Worthwhile viewing for sure.



I also got a call last night from my buddy Jerry Salley who’s the head guy at Billy Blue Records after I texted him that I was blown away by a video I had just watched on the bluegrass group Appalachian Road on their current single “Wish The Wars Were All Over”. That group is on Billy Blue, and Billy Blue is the publishing company I write songs for. Really a step above what I see for most bluegrass videos.  Jerry called not only to talk about that video but he also told me that our friend Kristy Cox who recorded a song the three of us wrote “Finger Pickin’ Good” had been requested to shoot a video of that song that includes world renown guitar player Tommy Emmanuel. So I’ll get to sneak my head into a studio this Sunday morning to watch some of that go down. That song is nominated for a Golden Guitar Award in Australia this year with the show happening in January of 2021. The awards show, which is Australia’s version of the CMA Award Show here in the states will be a virtual awards show like so many others during Covid. So what they film this Sunday will be part of that show. And yea, our fingers are crossed hoping we might get lucky and win one of those Golden Guitar trophies for this very fun song I’m proud to be a part of.



The new variant on the virus that started in Britain is now officially here. Colorado confirmed the first case. One more thing to spread across the country.


Some reports now claim that Wuhan (where the virus started in China) has 10 times as many Corona cases over what they’ve admitted to.  We can’t go back an undo. One can only hope the world learns to better prepare for the future for other pandemics that could happen.


The rollout of the vaccine has been really really slow. At this pace some say it could take YEARS to get enough folks vaccinated to make a difference. I’d put Amazon Prime in charge of that. Most of us could then get one by the next day.



Reba McEntire got divorced in 2020…has a new guy in her life now. All of her shows were cancelled like most every other singer and music folks. She described 2020 in a very Reba way by saying, “This has been a booger-bear of a year”. Okay then. Is there a booger-bear hunting season anywhere?



Word is that the girlfriend of the bomber here in Nashville warned police that Anthony Warner was making explosive stuff back in 2019. The short of it is the FBI went to the house, he wasn’t home and they spotted nothing suspicious. The RV was behind a fence. That went unsearched at the time. I’m sure there will be more coming on that story.



I’m sure I’m not the only one who wondered what Petula Clark thought about this nut-ball playing her iconic song “Downtown” over the speakers over and over before the RV blew up.  Now, I thought Petula Clark was surely no longer with us and we’d never know what she would have thought. Wrong. Petula Clark is 88 years old and issued a statement yesterday, “I wish I could wrap my arms around Nashville”.



Those King Hawaiian rolls that I love? Turns out they’re not really made in Hawaii.  They are being made in California. The word Hilo (as in Hawaii) is on the package. There’s a lawsuit over that from the guy who owns that branding. I have a feeling they will settle out of court and that this guy will get a lot of extra bread in his bank account.



Two swans are flying. One hits and electrical wire and drops onto a train track in England. The other swan lays on the track with her and it stops 23 trains in their tracks. Firefighters come to the scene some 50 minutes later to lift both swans off the rails.  True love exists…even in the animal kingdom.



Mel Gibson was asked in a Fox interview last night about politics. His reply was right up there with Dolly Parton’s reply of “I’m an entertainer”. Mel said, “Who the hell cares what I think? I’m not an expert. What am I qualified to talk about”?


In 2016 the TV show “Extra” asked Gibson what he thought about the race between Trump and Hillary Clinton.  His reply then was, “How’s it going to play out? One of them is going to win”.


Smart man. 



Dunkin Donuts has a new coffee with 20% more caffeine in it. I love Dunkin coffee. So I figure if I have one cup of that new java and a couple of their glazed donuts I’ll be jacked up for the rest of the day on a caffeine-sugar high. My hands will be shaking when I try to strum my guitar but that’s just something I’ll have to work around.



Of all things cassette sales more than doubled in 2020. I still have a few. If you’re interested in buying them just let me know. I wouldn’t sell any of the vinyl records I have but cassettes? 



No real “gotta do” today. But the temperature will go as high as 63 today so I’ll be hitting a walking trail somewhere. Tomorrow the high is only 46, but then on Friday?  70 degrees!  Now that’s what I call winter.


Have a great Wednesday!

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