I tried to come up with a good April Fool’s joke to start off this month’s newsletter, but I couldn’t think of a thing. So none of what you are about to read is made up…it’s all true. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Thanks for joining us.
And thanks to all who checked in following our severe Music City weather last week just to make sure my family and I were all right. The bottom floor of my office was flooded, but other than that we’re all fine. Lots of damage in our town, though. Between tornadoes, bombings, and floods, it seems that for the past year Nashville has been in the cross-hairs of bad luck. Hopefully, things will change soon.
I told you in our last newsletter that I had a big announcement that I couldn’t make until March 24th, and many of you wrote in trying to guess what it might be. Nobody guessed correctly.
By now, though, many of you have heard that my song and Connie Smith’s 1964 recording of “Once A Day” has been selected by the Library of Congress in Washington for induction into the National Recording Registry as an “audio treasure worthy of preservation as part of America’s creative legacy.” The Library wanted to make the announcement themselves on March 24th, and I was sworn to secrecy until that time.
This is an incredible honor for a little three-chord country song that I wrote in the front seat of my car at a four-way stop in the Nashville suburbs almost 60-years ago. And it came from the very first recording session Connie Smith ever had on her way to a Hall of Fame career. And now to think that it will be resting alongside compositions from George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, and others. It was the only country song selected for 2020, and I am highly honored and thrilled.
As you know, I still love writing songs even after all these years, and I still get excited when one of my compositions gets recorded. The reigning Bluegrass Entertainer of the Year, Joe Mullins, has just recorded a new song with his Radio Ramblers that Jerry Salley and I co-wrote called, “Go Spread The Gospel,” and it will be in Joe’s new gospel album coming in early May. For some reason, I’ve never written very many religious songs although I have recorded bunches of them. But I really like this one, and I hope you will enjoy its up-tempo feel and up-beat message. Joe and the guys did a great job on it.
In other news, I want to thank those of you who joined us for our first Facebook Live Chat back on March 20th. We had over 3,000 messages from people all around the world, so many, in fact, that they overloaded my computer and shut us down for awhile. We had to regroup at my webmaster, Stephanie Orr-Buttrey’s, house where we stayed on for almost an hour. I really enjoyed it, and can’t believe how many of you have asked us to do it again. So…to prove that we really do listen when you speak, we will be chatting with you again on Saturday April 24th at 2 p.m. Nashville (Central) time. Spread the word and let’s beat our terrific March turnout. I might just bring my guitar along this time…so there’s no telling what we’ll end up doing!
Several of you have written lately wanting to know if we are planning anything special for our fans and fan club members in connection with my 60th Anniversary at the Grand Ole Opry coming up July 17th. Yes, we are working closely with the Opry management, but due to the pandemic and all the restrictions, everyone is having to move slowly. Nobody knows today just what the situation will be in July, but we are working on group seating and a meet ‘n greet after the show. Stay tuned, and when we know more I’ll let you know.
I was almost through writing this letter when I got an invitation from the folks at the Mike Huckabee Show to come be their guest announcer the weekend of April 10th. I’ll be substituting for Keith Bilbrey, and it should be fun. With all the great announcing voices in Nashville, I’m not sure exactly why they reached out to me, but I’m glad they did. You can catch the show on TBN Saturday night April 10th and again Sunday night April 11th. Check for local times in your area.
Folks have also been asking me if I went to Spring Training with the Braves down in Florida this year, which is my usual springtime ritual, but no, I didn’t get to go this time. I’m getting my baseball fix, though, by watching some college and high school games in and around Nashville. Our local Vanderbilt team is the defending College World Series Champion from 2019, and they are fun to watch. The regular major league season opens today. Shouldn’t it be declared a national holiday??
The latest from my grandson, Gabe, is that he has finished his series of radiation treatments and he now has a little over six weeks to rest up before his bone marrow transplant in May. Thanks one more time for all your prayers, your wearing the Team Gabe t-shirts, and all the positive vibes you continue to send our way. My family and I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.
Enjoy the April showers (as long as they come in moderation)…hope they bring lots of pretty May flowers…and we’ll see you back here again next month. I wish for each of you a Happy and Blessed Easter, and I thank you for everything.