1) In 1988 you made an appearance on Nashville Now and you were singing a great song, but you lost your voice mid-song and had to stop singing. Do you remember that, and do you know the name of the song? I checked all of my albums and never found it. Great song whatever it was!
Yes, I remember that incident, although I’ve spent the past 30-years trying to forget it! The song was called, “When You Leave That Way (You Can Never Go Back”), which I recorded in an album called “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow.” The song was later a big hit for the group, Confederate Railroad. (Actually, I need to credit my longtime guitar player, Les Singer, with remembering this. I recalled the event, but had forgotten what song we were playing. Fortunately, he hadn’t.)
2) What was the background for writing, “Saginaw, Michigan?” Was there a specific reason that Saginaw was the city chosen over another city for the title?
Don Wayne and I are listed as co-writers on that song, but the original idea was Don’s. I asked him once why he chose Saginaw, and he said he just liked the sound of the name. I seem to recall his saying that he got a map and was just looking for a the name of a town that seemed to fit. I had another connection myself, because during World War II my family shared a duplex apartment with a soldier and his wife from Saginaw. He was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Jackson, S.C., near Columbia where we lived.
3) Why is the Grand Ole Opry birthday celebrated in October when the first broadcast was in November, 1925?
Great question, and I hope I’ve got my facts straight. The early Opry Birthday Celebrations, as I recall, were held in the late fifties, and were connected to the old Country Music Disc Jockey Convention. And they WERE in late November. Someone decided the Nashville weather in late November was too cold, however, and, if I recall correctly, both events were moved to earlier in the month. When the DJ Convention morphed into the CMA Awards in the late sixties, for some reason (probably television) that event was scheduled in October. Later, the President declared October “Country Music Month,” and the Birthday Celebration and other related events moved there too in order to keep things cohesive. Now the CMA’s have been moved back to mid-November. Will the birthday celebration move back someday as well? Your guess is as good as mine.
4) I recently found on one of my CD’s a song recorded by you and Dolly Parton called, “My Perfect Reason.” It is so beautiful I put it on “repeat” for miles driving to
Colorado. Have you or are you planning to do more recording with Dolly?
I wish. I was honored that Dolly agreed to sing on this particular song with me, but it was actually not the first time we had sung together. When Dolly first moved to Nashville, long before her own career took off, she sang on other people’s demo sessions to help support herself. One of those songs was one I wrote called, “If It’s All The Same To You,” which Jan Howard and I later recorded. The original demo with me and Dolly was lost for years, but shortly before my box set was released a few years ago, a copy surfaced and Bear Family Records included it in the set. I’d love to record with her again, and who knows? I’ve learned to never say never. Are you listening, Dolly??
Thanks, as always, for your questions. Keep ’em coming to me at P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076, or online at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see you back here with more next month. Stay curious.