A friend of mine who sits in front of his computer all day working in a high pressure job paid me a great compliment the other day. He phoned and said, “I put on your instrumental record while I’m working, and my blood pressure goes down 20-points!”
I laughed but he was serious. “Honestly,” he said, “that’s the most relaxing music I’ve ever heard. I play it over and over again.” In the background I could hear the guitars from “A Lot Of Things Different” coming from his speakers.
When we recorded those instrumentals for our “Hits Re-Imagined” album, we definitely weren’t thinking of providing blood pressure medicine for our fans, but if that’s one of the side benefits then I’m pleased. And let’s face it, we all need whatever it takes these days to help us stay relaxed. Music has always been known to have soothing and healing qualities.
I hope you are staying calm, cool, and collected as the pandemic stretches on. There are a few things stirring the waters around Whisperville, including The Grand Ole Opry’s opening up to “very limited audiences” beginning October 3rd. We’re talking maybe 500 fans in a building that seats 4,400, but I take that as being at least a start toward a return to normalcy. We’ll be celebrating the Opry’s 95th Anniversary this month (although the show actually began in November), and if all goes as planned, I’ll be back on the Opry stage October 17th. Then on Wednesday night Oct. 28th, Jeannie Seely and I will join Mark Wills for a live Facebook visit called “Opry Icons,” where we’ll be sharing Opry stories and memories for as long as they’ll keep the cameras rolling. It should be fun.
Back before the pandemic hit earlier this year, the band and I had gone into the studio and recorded the song we had been opening our road shows with called, “It’s A Good Day To Have A Good Day.” The plan was to use this as the opening track on a new album project that was in the works. The studios shut down shortly thereafter, though, and so far “Good Day” is the only song we have recorded.
The song has such an upbeat, positive message that we’ve decided to go ahead and release it for streaming and downloads during this crazy time. There is a lyric video version in the works as well as some video footage taken the day we recorded the song back in February. I’ll have more information about the release dates shortly, but we’re excited to have some new music in the works. I think we’re also going to be offering some related merchandise items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, etc. with “It’s A Good Day To Have A Good Day” printed on them. It’s easy to be anxious and depressed these days with all that’s going on…maybe our song and its message can help cast an uplifting and encouraging light on things.
Other projects in the works include a possible duet recording with Leona Williams and my joining a group of other country artists for an audiobook recording of the New Testament. I’ll keep you posted.
On the personal side, I told you last month about my granddaughter, Rae, and her fiance, Zach, being burned out of their apartment home in Chicago and losing everything. Well, the fire and their resulting homelessness have turned positive in that Rae and Zach have decided to relocate to Nashville! Zach had a great job offer, and I think Rae was ready to see some familiar faces again, so they are back in town. And our family couldn’t be happier.
If you’ve been a WhisperFan for any length of time you know that this is my favorite time of year, and even in all the craziness that is 2020, I still have beautiful fall weather, the baseball playoffs, and the football season to be excited about. I hope you’re hanging onto the positive things in your world as well, and believing that better times are up around the corner. Stay well…stay safe…and stay in touch. I’ve especially enjoyed hearing from so many of you during this time.
Thanks a BILLion….see you back here again next month.
1) I enjoy watching old episodes of “Family Feud” when Richard Dawson was the host. I notice he always mentions you whenever he has a family from Nashville. I’m wondering if you stayed in touch with him after “Family Feud” ended and before Mr. Dawson died?
Richard and I became good friends during his days on Family Feud and my days as co-host of The Better Sex at ABC-TV. We recorded our shows in the same studio, shared similar dressing rooms and even some staff members. We also worked together on Match Game at CBS, and he had me as his guest when he hosted The Tonight Show at NBC. We couldn’t have been more opposite…his being from England and me from Tennessee…but somehow we managed to find common ground. He loved the Tennessee country hams I sent him at Christmas. It was very kind of him to mention me to his contestants from Nashville. I treasure the memory of our friendship, and am so glad I got to know him as I did.
2) When you are on a game show do you ask them or do they ask you to be a contestant? By the way, you did very well.
Thank you. Those were some great days. My manager opened all the doors to the game show world for me back in the seventies, and I imagine he had to do some pleading to get me on the shows to begin with. As time went by, though, the shows began reaching out to him and asking for my availabilities. I always considered it an honor to be asked because back in those days there weren’t many country artists doing those kinds of shows, and I enjoyed them.
3) I was wondering if your display will still be at the Country Music Hall of Fame this year?
No, not in 2020. The Hall just reopened in September following a six-month COVID-related shutdown, and for now they will continue with the exhibits that were open prior to their having to close. The last word I heard from them was that my exhibit would open in November, 2021, and run until early 2023. Those kinds of things are always subject to change, though, so stay tuned.
Quickies: When someone writes a song how would they go about getting an artist to record it? What keeps the song from getting stolen? As always, I suggest you direct your songwriting-related questions to the folks at the Nashville Songwriters Association, International. Their address is www.nashvillesongwriters.com. They are in a much better position to help you than I am. Since your album “Ladies Choice” is not available on CD, have you ever thought of maybe doing a love songs cover album? No, but the record I was working on when the quarantine hit was going to be an album of mostly love songs. They were new songs, though, and not covers. I hope to be able to continue with it sometime soon. Are you going to sing at Rae & Zach’s wedding or just be a doting PawPaw? Have they set a wedding date? I don’t sing at weddings or funerals. I’ll just be a proud PawPaw. No, they have not set a date as yet. Are you planning on doing any shows in Ontario, Canada, next year? Like everybody else right now my plans for next year are up in the air. I’ve always enjoyed my trips to Ontario, but right now I simply do not know. Again, stay tuned.
Thanks for all your questions, but don’t stop now. Send yours to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to my attention at P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. I’ll see you back here again next month.
My granddaughter, Hallie (12), is a cheerleader for her middle school team, and I had the chance to go see her perform recently. Big brother, Blake, who is the starting center on the high school basketball team, was there as well along with little sister, Sophie. It was a fun outing, made even better by our team winning the game. The middle picture here shows me relaxing onstage prior to a concert somewhere last year. Looking at it makes me long for the day when we can all get back to performing again. The bottom picture was taken a couple of years ago when Mac Davis and I were part of a CMA Songwriter Showcase at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Mac was one of my favorite people to be around…I got to induct him into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame back in the 80’s. He was so creative and so witty…and I was saddened by the news of his passing. He and I were always going to write a hit song together, but we never got around to it. Rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed.
I have always prided myself on being…or at least trying to be…a glass-half-full kind of guy.