1) How come the music business won’t sign singing talent that is over 50-years old to a record deal? Why are they so prejudiced?
The record companies aren’t prejudiced, but when they invest money and sign an artist to a contract they have to look at the long haul. They have a much better chance of recouping their investment with someone who might have a 25 or 30-year career ahead of them as opposed to someone who might only be around for five or ten. Therefore, their eyes are set on the younger performers.
2) I am combining two questions here because they sort of relate to each other: Which of the songs you have written has been recorded the most times by other artists? Have very many other artists recorded your song, “Still?”
“Tips Of My Fingers” has probably been recorded the most times by the most artists worldwide. Country artists, pop artists, instrumentalists, and artists who don’t speak or sing in English have all taken swings at it. I have even heard a reggae version. “Still” has been recorded quite a few times, too, but I think the recitation has scared off several artists who might have otherwise sung it. I wrote a version that can be sung all the way through without the talking part, and that has helped. One of my most treasured records is by the great Bing Crosby who did it that way.
3) You have a soft, comforting voice. Have you ever gotten mad and said some things you wish you hadn’t said? I’ve never seen you mad at anybody, but what about record producers? I hear they sometimes get on an artist’s nerves.
I’ve never gotten mad at a record producer because I’ve had some of the kindest and most talented producers in the world working with me, including the legendary Owen Bradley. How could anyone have ever gotten angry with him? At the same time, I’m not perfect. I am only human, and I’ve been known to raise my voice on occasion and talk above a whisper. I’m not proud of it, but we’ve all said and done things we wish we could take back. I defer to the old saying: “To err is human…to forgive divine.”
QUICKIES: Does your son sing? I’ve heard some songs by Merle Haggard’s sons and they sound good. No, my son doesn’t sing. The only time he’s behind a microphone is when he tells his passengers on Delta Air Lines to fasten their seat belts and to enjoy their flight. Have you ever had the opportunity to perform with Hank Williams Jr.? Yes, I performed with him several times in his younger days, but we haven’t worked together in quite a few years. He’s an amazing talent. Is there any chance Jan Howard will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame? There’s always a chance. Needless to say, I’d like to see it happen. Do you know how Johnny Lee is doing after his surgeries? I spoke with him the other day and he sounded like the same ol’ Johnny. I think he’s doing all right. I certainly hope so. On the Grand Ole Opry in 2018 you surprised the audience by singing with the group Exile. Is it possible you might have another big surprise up your sleeve for Opry audiences? You never know! Stay tuned.
Thanks for your questions. Keep ’em coming to me at email@example.com or at P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. See you back here next month.