July was quite the month here in Whisperville, and there’s lots more fun-in-the-sun coming up here in August. Let me bring you up-to-speed on a few things:
First, thank you so much for all the congratulatory messages, e-mails, texts, etc., that you sent me on my 58th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member last month. It’s hard to believe I’ve been part of that very special family for that long, but I guess the calendar doesn’t lie. Needless to say, it’s been quite a ride!
And thanks, too, for your similar reaction to my being given the Flamekeeper Award from the Georgia Music Foundation. What a special night that was at the Ryman, and the Award itself is stunningly beautiful. There’s a picture later in our photo section. I’m told the event raised over $50,000 for the GMF and its related charities in my home state. Thanks to the Peach Pickers and everyone involved.
August is already off to an incredible start with the song Jamey Johnson, Vickie McGehee, and I wrote, “The Guitar Song,” being nominated for Song Of The Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Plus the bluegrass recording by Joe Mullins and Del McCourey is up for Collaborative Recording Of The Year as well. Joe had the vision of putting a bluegrass spin on the song that Jamey and I originally recorded several years ago, and it was a stroke of genius on his part. We’ll know the winners on Sept. 26th when the annual IBMA Awards will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I also learned this past week that another song written by Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson, and myself called “South Alabama Christmas,” will be included in the Oak Ridge Boys upcoming Christmas album due October 25th. I still get such a kick out of having something I helped to create being performed by the great artists of our era, and the Oaks are certainly that. William Lee Golden is from South Alabama, so I can’t wait to hear his interpretation of our song.
I’ve been writing and co-writing quite a few new songs this summer, so hopefully, we’ll have some more new music on the market before too long. Our second box set is still being planned, but there’s nothing new to report just yet. Those things require a lot of i’s to be dotted and lots of t’s to be crossed before they can hit the market.
Even though it’s still a little over a month away, all of us in Music City are anxiously awaiting the Ken Burns documentary on country music which begins its 16-hour run on PBS September 15th. From what I’ve seen and heard, this has all the earmarks of being the best series ever produced on country music. I’ve been told that I’m featured in several of the segments talking about all kinds of various topics. I hope you’ll check out the schedule and mark your calendars to watch every night it’s on. I’ll definitely be glued to my TV. It’s must-watch television for every country fan.
By the time many of you are reading this I’ll be headed south to stick my toes in the surf and sand of “some beach somewhere” for a few days. When I return, we’ll be heading out for concerts in Tightwad, Missouri (Aug. 18th), Emmetsburg, Iowa (Aug. 23rd), and Sandstone, Minnesota (Aug. 24th and 25th). Our August Opry dates are Aug. 2nd, 13th, 16th, 27th, and 30th. I hope we’ll see lots of you along the way.
Enjoy this month as many of you will be switching to your end-of-summer modes and into your back-to-school routines. Best of everything to each of you, and thanks one more time for continuing to support me and my music. You are THE best!
We’ll see you back here in September.