I don’t know if March came in like a lion or a lamb in your corner of the world, but I hope you are safe and well wherever you are. It’s good to be visiting with you again through the pages of our fan club newsletter. Thanks for staying connected.
I went out and got my second COVID vaccination shot early last month then spent a week…as many of you did…trapped inside my house thanks to the ice and snow that paralyzed much of the south and southwest. My power stayed on, my water continued to run, and I was very fortunate, especially compared to some of my friends out in Texas. I sure hope those of you down there are doing better. The good news is that Spring is just around the corner!
Lots of you have been asking when the band and I plan to go back on tour, and I’ve made a decision in that regard: The earliest I might be back on the road will be 2022. I have asked my agent to clear my slate for this year for a couple of reasons. First, of course, is COVID-19. I’m not sure that any of the venues where we were scheduled to perform will even be able to have crowds this year anyhow, and even if they are, I don’t think I would want fans and friends of mine to take any risks by coming to our shows. New variants of the virus are popping up all over the place, and it’s evidently not out of steam just yet.
Second, is the situation involving my grandson, Gabe. He began his radiation treatments in early February, and from now until at least the end of July, things are going to be anything but normal in my family. I simply cannot picture myself riding on a tour bus hundreds of miles from home while my grandson is in the hospital receiving a bone marrow transplant, my granddaughter is in there, too, as his donor, and my family is needing me to help out with the million and one other things that will have to be taken care of at the time. It’s just not something I can do, and I appreciate very much your understanding. I’ll miss you guys for sure, but right now my family has to come first.
Hopefully, I can do a few things music-wise without having to leave town. When the Opry opens back up to the point where my band can go and perform with me, I plan to return there. And, of course, I’ll be celebrating my 60th Opry Anniversary July 17th. I’ve agreed to record an episode of Larry’s Country Diner this summer, and they can’t crank up the recording studios soon enough to suit me. I’ve got lots of new music I want to put down. Plus, I’ll be opening up my closets and my scrapbooks and my guitar cases when the Hall of Fame comes to collect memorabilia for my exhibit scheduled to open in November. So, I might not be travelling, but I’ll be busy.
Starting on Saturday March 20th, which just happens to be the first day of Spring, I am going to begin a series of live Facebook chats with you and fans like you all around the world. I want to do one of these every month while I’m not on tour just so we can stay in touch. We’ll have more information headed your way shortly, but meantime mark March 20th at 2 p.m. Nashville (Central) as the time for our first get together and plan to join us if you can. We’ll visit and talk about all kinds of things.
Thankfully, a few things are happening on the songwriting front as we wait for life to return to normal. Ray Stevens has just released a new album on Curb Records called, “Great Country Ballads,” and he has included an amazing version of “City Lights.” That song has been recorded dozens of times over the years, but nobody has ever done it quite like Ray. I hope you’ll check out his recording on whatever platform you get your music.
As you’ll see in our photo section, I got together with two of my favorite people last week, Bobby Tomberlin and Lance Miller, for my first live co-writing session in exactly a year. We had a great time laughing and catching up, although with the masks I told them I couldn’t see a word they were saying! The best part, though, is that we ended the day with a pretty darned good new song.
I have another piece of songwriting-related news I’m anxious to share with you, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy until March 24th. We’ll have a special announcement then, so be on the lookout for it.
I’ve got to change the subject and play proud PawPaw here for a minute and tell you that my grandson, Blake, was named to the All-District high school basketball team as voted on by the coaches, and with a season record of 21-5 his team qualified for the State Tournament. They traveled to Knoxville for the opening round, but unfortunately lost their first game in overtime. Nonetheless, it was a great season, and I’m awfully proud of Blake and his friends for all they accomplished.
Gabe is into his fourth week of radiation treatments now in preparation for his bone marrow transplant in May. Thanks to all of you who ordered the Team Gabe shirts in support of his journey and for all the prayers that you’ve been sending up on his behalf. They are appreciated more than you know.
Have a great month of March, and thanks for your continuing support of me and my families….the biological one and the musical one. Stay in touch, and I’ll try my best to do the same.
And remember…every day is a good day to have a good day.