In our business, when an artist has to go onstage immediately after another performer who has left the crowd on their feet shouting and applauding, he will often smile and refer to that first performer as “a tough act to follow.”
Using that analogy here at the beginning of 2012, I am convinced that 2011 will be, for me, a very “tough act to follow.”
Think about it. In the Spring of last year, my son and his wife travelled to China and brought home an adopted daughter, giving me my eighth grandchild. On the very day they met her in the orphanage, I was being inducted into the prestigious Music City Walk Of Fame thousands of miles away in Nashville.
In the Summer, I got to celebrate my 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. And in the Fall, the music, pictures, and stories from the first ten years of my recording career were released worldwide in an incredible box set by Bear Family Records.
And those were only the highlights of an unbelievable year. Smaller triumphs and successes seemed to come on an almost daily basis.
How can those things possibly be duplicated or exceeded this year? The answer is that they can’t.
But that doesn’t mean I’ll be folding the tent and resting on my laurels, memorable as they may be. No, I’m going to roll up my sleeves and try to create some new memories that I can look back on with equal pride at the beginning of 2013.
I’ll start with the release of my new recording, “Gone Away,” hopefully sometime in the next few weeks. We have a few i’s to dot and a few t’s to cross before we can actually take it to market, but the process has begun. I’ll be doing some personal appearances overseas in England and Ireland for the first time in many years come February. I’ll be criss-crossing the U.S. and Canada with three different types of road shows throughout the year – our regular “Night With A Legend” shows, as host of the Country’s Family Reunion Road Show, and with our new acoustical concert that was so well received when it debuted a few months ago. I plan to record some new music, appear frequently on both radio and television, and pull off a surprise or two along the way, just to keep things interesting.
I am so blessed that I’ve gotten to spend so many years making a living doing something I love so much. I could retire, but I don’t want to.
I am having entirely too much fun.
Happy New Year!