“I was honored to be asked to take part in the fund-raising tribute last month for my longtime friends Emmy Joe and Keith Bilbrey following the devastating fire that recently destroyed their home. I had a chance to visit with them prior to the show along with my friend, Sharyl Melvin.The Bilbreys plan to rebuild, and I hope our efforts on their behalf will make things a little bit easier. In the second picture, my buddy Dallas Wayne, the afternoon host on Sirius/XM’s Willie’s Roadhouse, drove down from his new home in Bristol to help me celebrate my 60th Anniversary at the Opry. Anytime Dallas is in the house the room lights up and the laughter abounds. I sure appreciated him and his wife, Jo, taking the time to come join with us. It was back to work on Monday, though, as Bobby Bare came to the recording studio to put his unmistakable voice on a song for my upcoming album. Our dear friend and soon-to-be newest Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member, Buddy Cannon, came by as well. We couldn’t resist posing for a picture together.”
My longtime guitar player and band leader, Les Singer, and his wife, Lizzie, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on July 15th, and the next day hosted a get together of family and friends in their new hometown of Franklin, Kentucky. We ate some good food and laughed at a lot of old road stories. Next to me in the picture, left to right, are Lizzie, Les, and our former steel guitar player, Mike Johnson. Football season is almost upon us, and my alma mater, the University of Georgia Bulldogs are the defending national champions. Jeannie Seely gave me this picture of Uga, the Georgia mascot, and I’m encouraging him to lead the ‘Dawgs to another championship season. I hope he was listening! The bottom picture was taken the day we filmed our video for “Someday It’ll All Make Sense.” L. to R.: Danny Nozell, Dolly’s manager; Dolly; me; Trey Fanjoy, who produced and directed the video; and my manager, Lee Willard. What a special day it was!
In our first picture this month, Dallas Wayne, from Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius/XM, and I are arm-wrestling over whether he’s going to play MY new record next on his show or play HIS new record. Since I co-wrote and performed on both recordings, I can’t lose either way, and we both needed the exercise. The match ended in a draw. In the middle picture, Jeannie Seely and I are in Minnie Pearl’s former dressing room inside the Opry House telling Minnie stories for an upcoming TV documentary on Minnie’s life and career. You can tell from the smiles on our faces that one of us had just remembered a Minnie funny and was sharing it. The special will air on PBS, I’m told, sometime next year. The third picture is our oldest fan club member, Bertha Thomas from North Carolina, who was celebrating birthday number 105 on the day this picture was taken. She attended her first concert of any kind when she was 99, and it was a show of mine. She and I have been special buddies ever since. Belated Happy Birthday, Bertha, and keep smiling. Smiles look beautiful on you!
The video for my and Dolly Parton’s duet of “Someday It’ll All Make Sense” centers around the two of us driving an old vintage car from a place of darkness into a place of light…just as the lyric of the song portrays. We used a 1936 Aero 30 convertible, made in Czechoslovakia I’m told, and loaned to us by the same folks who own the automobile museum where Jamey Johnson and I filmed our “21” video a few years ago, the Lane Auto Museum. There are worse things in this world than being cramped inside a small car with Dolly!! It’s a serious song, of course, but as you can tell, we had a few laughs along the way. In the bottom photo, you get the backstage view of my being introduced onstage at the Grand Ole Opry. There’s no thrill in show business quite like the thrill of heading for that special Opry circle. And even as many times as I’ve done it, it never gets old.