Thanksgiving Day may be behind us now, but my thankfulness continues for all of you who lifted me up in your thoughts and prayers during my Thanksgiving week surgery. There were many of you, and your prayers were certainly heard and answered. I got to come home the following day, and my recovery is right on course. I’ll have to be taking things easy from now through the end of the year, but I could use a little downtime anyhow. Thank you again for being the best group of fans and friends anybody could ever have. I hope your Thanksgiving was as special as mine.
Our new record, “The Country I Grew Up With,” featuring Bobby Bare, Jimmy Fortune, Vince Gill and Willie Nelson, came out just before my hospitalization, and the reaction has been incredible. Thanks to all of you who have reached out to tell me how much you like it. If you haven’t listened to it yet and shared it with your friends, I encourage you to do so. People are telling me that the message of the song really hits home. That’s awfully nice to know. There aren’t any “hard copies” available, but you can download it from wherever you stream your music.
Because music released around the holidays sometimes tends to get lost in the craziness of the season, our record company and our team have decided to hold up the release of the lyric video until after the first of next year. Sometime in early January we will have a mini re-release of the record along with the video. We want our music to stay fresh on your mind and not risk your tossing it out with your used Christmas wrapping paper and ribbons!
Lots of you reached out to tell me you saw me and Sara Evans present the Song Of The Year Award on the CMA Awards telecast last month, and I’m glad to know so many of you were tuned in. That’s always a fun experience. For the second year in a row, I took my granddaughter, Hallie, 15, to all the festivities with me and tried to watch through her eyes as she rubbed elbows and took pictures with her favorite stars. She loves this crazy thing called the music business almost as much as I do, and hopes to be a part of it someday. If she follows through on her dream, all I can say is, “Look out, Nashville!!”
If you’ve been connected with our fan club since back in the early days, you will be saddened to learn, as I was, that we lost one of our most devoted members of all time this past month. Barb Gamble, who was our Pennsylvania fan club representative for more years than I can count, passed away in mid-November. We always had more members in Pennsylvania than any other state during the time Barb served us, and she will truly be missed. My deepest condolences and sympathies to her husband, Leroy, and the entire family. And my unending appreciation for all Barb meant to my career and to me personally throughout the years.
My Christmas plans will be a bit subdued this year due to my ongoing recovery, and I will be forced to miss a lot of the things I always look forward to at this time of year. I will especially miss singing my Christmas songs onstage at the Opry (“Ho Ho Ho – We was Po’ Po’ Po’!”) and sharing the spirit of the season with my friends and fellow performers. Guess I’ll just relax and look forward to next year.
Meantime, though, I wish for each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’ll get to spend the holidays with my family and close friends, and I hope the same for you. It’s still, “the most wonderful time of the year,” so ENJOY!
And I’ll see you back here in 2024.