1) I have been a fan of yours for many years, and I know you have an Opry ring. I have always been curious to see what it looks like up close. Is there any way you could show a picture of it?
When the Grand Ole Opry celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1975, they had a custom ring designed for all the male members of the cast and a special 50th Anniversary bracelet designed for the ladies. Our initials were engraved inside and on the back, and we were told that the molds were destroyed shortly after they were manufactured. That was to insure that these items could never be duplicated. I don’t have a lot of material things that are very important to me, but I treasure my Opry ring. We’ve printed a picture of it in the photo section of the newsletter.
2) What is a normal day like in your life? When does it start and end? And do you always sit around with pen and paper in hand?
Back before COVID-19 and the quarantine came along, I used to joke and tell people there was no such thing as a “normal day” in my life. One day I’d be co-writing a song with a friend, the next day I might be in the recording studio or doing a television or radio show, and the next I’d be packing a suitcase for a road trip. Recently, for me and for most of you, things have been quite different and much more routine. These days I usually get up around seven or eight o’clock, have my coffee and my quiet time, check my e-mail and my messages, and take care of as many of my business and household chores as I can before noon. I don’t walk around with a pen and paper in hand, but I do keep a guitar handy, and I often write in the early afternoon and evening. I get on my treadmill and exercise before dinner, watch a ball game or a movie or read for awhile, and try to turn my light off between ten and eleven. Exciting stuff, huh? I miss the crazy, unpredictable days I used to have, and hope we can get back to them again soon.
3) When the backup players…like Jimmy Capps…play on a record do they just get a one-time fee or do they get another percent if it becomes a hit?
That’s a great question, and the answer today is different from the one I might have given just a few years ago. In the early days, musicians only got paid union scale for recording sessions, and they did not participate in the success of the recordings they played on. That changed back in the early 2000’s. According to Dave Pomeroy, head of the Nashville Association of Musicians, 5% of the monies earned by a digital recording today goes into an Intellectual Royalty Fund to be divided among the back-up musicians and background singers who performed on that particular recording. In 2019, a total of 62-million dollars was distributed among these musicians and singers, not exactly an insignificant amount, and well deserved.
Quickies: 1) I am wondering if you get residuals for your appearances on the older game shows like Match Game, Password Plus, etc. Yes, but it’s not very much. I think my last check was for $19.00. 2) On the original recording of “World Of Make Believe” who is the male background singer? It sounds just like Freddie Hart. I don’t recall, but it was not Freddie. 3) What was the song you used to sing at your shows where you told the fans to put their arms around the person next to them? That was my country-disco song, “I Can’t Wait Any Longer.” We used to have a lot of fun with that one.
Thanks for all your questions, and don’t stop sending them in. Our address is email@example.com or P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. Stay curious…and we’ll see you back here next time.