Feb. 7, 2017

Hi Folks:

I’m sorry our newsletter is a bit late this month, but as most of you know I just got back from the 20th Anniversary Country’s Family Reunion cruise. I’m still trying to get my land-legs back, my suitcase unpacked, and my brain back in gear. A week in the Caribbean sun in the middle of winter will do strange things to a guy!

We had a remarkable time…definitely one of the nicest cruises I’ve ever been on. We had a great group of entertainers, musicians, singers, and fans. I was amazed at the number of fans who had cruised with us before and who signed up to cruise with us again next year. These cruises are really named correctly. They feel like an honest-to-goodness “family reunion!”

If you’re interested in going with us next year you can check out the details at www.cfrcruise.com or by calling 800-820-5405. Our 2018 dates will be the same as this year, but for the first time we’ll be sailing out of Galveston, Texas, which should make it more convenient for our friends and fans in the middle of the country.

While we were away, we learned that our concert date in Modesto, California, has been moved from February 17th to October 1st of this year. This will give our agency more time to schedule other west coast dates to go along with it. I hope this won’t inconvenience those of you who had planned to come and, hopefully, will give us a better opportunity to visit other venues out west where we don’t get to perform nearly often enough.

The new song Brad Paisley and I wrote together will be coming out before our March newsletter, and I hope you’ll be watching and listening out for it. It’s called “Dying To See Her Again,” and it’s a story that plays out all too often in our lives it seems. One partner in a long-term relationship passes away and the other virtually grieves themselves to death as well. It’s a sad song, as you might expect, but one filled with hope and love. Brad and I are both proud of it, and we hope you will like it too. Brad’s album will be called “Love And War” and released on March 3rd.

Thank you for your continuing support of my book, “An Unprecedented Life In Country Music,” and the accompanying audio book as well. Peter Cooper tells me that ours was the #1 best selling book at the University of Georgia Press for 2016 which is exciting news. Thanks so much to each of you who purchased a copy. And they are still available!

Let me brag on my family just a little: My grandson, Blake’s, middle school basketball team won the Tennessee state championship, and it’s going to take a long time to wipe the grin off of his face. They ended up with a 26-1 record for the season, and their only loss came in their opening game in overtime. Blake wasn’t on the varsity team at the start of the season, but he impressed the coaches with his hard work and determination and eventually earned a spot on the roster.

Blake’s dad, Jamey, left Monday to begin his training as a pilot for Delta Air Lines. He will be flying the MD88 planes and will be based exactly where he wanted to be based, in Atlanta. His training is expected to last approximately three months, after which he will truly be living his dream.

Hope to visit with lots of you in Shelby, N.C. and Weirsdale, Florida, this coming weekend and on the Grand Ole Opry February 10th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 25th and 28th. Thanks for everything, and we’ll see you right back here again next month.