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2 Bluegrass Tunes...Rocky Mountain High...Dad's


Friday June 17, 2022


Friday morning. Bring on the weekend and the heat.



I wrote not one but 2 new bluegrass tunes with Troy Engle yesterday. Troy was at his home in Pennsylvania, I was here in Music City. I mentioned yesterday that Troy and I have yet to meet and write in person, but we’ve written several songs now together online. And yesterday Troy had a verse and a chorus start on an idea, and so did I go we had a two for one bluegrass special yesterday.


Every time you write with someone you learn more about them. That’s been the case with Troy who plays every instrument you can name seemingly, and he sings and writes great too. He was here in Nashville a lot of years before moving back to his home state in PA. And I knew he had worked with and played with Tom T. Hall and knew him and Miss Dixie well. He wrote about that relationship a bit in this song he released. And I knew he was in the Patty Loveless Band for a while too.


I did not know that he worked in the Eric Church band after Eric’s first album came out, and he also worked a lot with Michael Martin Murphy. And that led to this great story that I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing with you.


He was playing with Michael at the wedding of Laura Bush on a massive ranch out west in Wyoming I think he said. Yes, THAT Bush family and they were all there. But before the wedding Troy was playing fiddle with the guitar player in the group as wedding guests were arriving. At one point Tory was playing the beautiful melody of Ashokan Farewell that is the central music piece the incredible Ken Burns documentary The Civil War. A haunting, beautiful song. As he’s playing it, Ken Burns walks in!  What are the odds?  Troy said he smiled at him and flashed him the “thumbs up” sign. Just another reason I love the music business. The stories are almost as good or better than the music made.



John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” is now 50 years old. The Governor in Colorado is naming a Rocky Mountain trail after him and the song, and a record label here in town will re-release the album on blue vinyl. John wrote the tribute song to the state he loved when he was camping in the Rocky Mountain during the Perseid Shower.


Who doesn’t love that song? I remember playing it on an 8 Track Tape inside a Winnebago motor home while me and my band were driving through Colorado in route to a two-week gig in Pocatello, Idaho when I was young. And yes, we were all singing along. Hard to imagine it’s 50 years old.



Dr. Fauci told a Senate panel yesterday that he thinks this about the virus. That it “very very likely” had its genesis in an animal species. And then stated that the disease “almost certainly” spread to humans in the Wuhan region of China.


Fauci also said that there’s “not enough data to show recommended boosters for 5-year-olds work.”


Thailand is the latest country to let go of its restrictions for entering the country. And no more mask mandates either. I think only the Lone Ranger and Zorro are left wearing those.



Like maps. Remember unfolding a danged map?  Yesterday one of the bluegrass songs I wrote with Troy Engle was a song about traveling and we debated whether to use the word “map”. We chose to go with it, but it did occur to me that it’s been a very long time since I looked at a map while traveling. It’s all about Siri telling me where to turn on my iPhone. And I admit, I don’t miss maps as opposed to GPS. I took a western trip on a motorcycle when I was young and every so many miles I’d have to pull over and lay out a map on the gas tank to try to figure out where I was going.


My friend Brent Burns and I captured some of that “things that have been here, things that have gone, some things we don’t miss, since they said so-long” in this song, “Whatever Happened To Kenny Rogers Face.


If we re-wrote the song today, we’d include the word “map” for sure.



Revlon just filed for bankruptcy protection. File this firmly under things you just can’t “makeup”.



One of the cool things about our airport in Nashville is that visitors arriving, or even better, those waiting on their flights can kill some time hearing “live” music. There are multiple stages with entertainers playing. I’ve played on one of those stages and it was kind of cool. There’s a Tootsie’s Bar mimicking the iconic tourist trap on Lower Broadway that you can visit. And soon Blake Shelton’s bar “Ole Red” will also have a place inside BNA. And you just know that sooner or later if Blake is strolling through the airport that he’ll walk in and get up on his own stage.



Paul McCartney is now 80. And is still at the top of his game. Sir Paul once said, “I never try to make a serious social comment”. I can respect the heck out of that kind of thinking. Play your music Paul.



A sign that you’ve gained too much weight?  That would be when you sit on your phone and Siri suggests several gyms.



Universal Studios in Orlando is promoting their VIP Tour Experience. Costs $189 to do that. You get a guided tour, and you walk right on every ride…no waiting. If you’ve got the money, it might be something to consider, especially if you hate waiting in lines. I got to experience that years ago when I was doing my radio show in Cincinnati “live” inside Universal Studios. They have or did have a radio studio inside the park. I looked at tourists as they first arrived in the morning for 3 or 4 days. After the show one day they put me and my radio partner on that VIP Tour. I had no idea at the time it existed, or that your guide would lead you through a separate entrance that put you in the front of the lines. No waiting. And we learned a lot of interesting facts about the park as we toured from our informative guide.



Maybe you’ll want to save that $189 and put it toward a French Fry Electric Guitar that luthier Artmayer just built. Uh huh. Somebody may have had too much time on their hands.



For the second month in a row now housing starts and dropped supporting the theory that the “boom” is over for real estate. We’ll see. A person might be able to afford lumber before too long.



That would be this weekend of course. Willie Nelson and his son Micah just released this new single “Die When I’m High (Halfway to Heaven” which is a cool Father’s Day gift.


Good ole Dad’s. They dish out great advice. And sometimes their kids actually listen. I like this advice a Dad gave his son. “It’s okay to make mistakes. That’s why they have erasers on pencils.”


I can’t even imagine how much advice my Dad must have given me that I’ve forgotten or chose to ignore. I remember he started a life insurance policy for me once and told me to put in every month and never touch it. Of course, the first time I needed money I cashed it in. No telling what it would be worth today.


I can remember him telling me that as long as I was under his roof, I could not grow facial hair or have a motorcycle. The minute I left home and went to college I grew a mustache, and the minute I could afford a motorcycle I bought one.


But I didn’t ignore everything. And the things I learned that stuck were things he didn’t say out loud. No matter what I wanted to do, my Dad never shot down those plans. When I snuck off to learn to play guitar without telling him, there was concern as he and my Mother worried (especially Mom) that I wind up playing in bars. It did initially. But my Dad became the band manager and drove us mile and miles on his dime to those gigs.


When I wanted to go to college, and they could not afford to send me…they found a way through a government low interest loan that a Senator helped set up after my Dad reached out to him.


And when I drove off on my own to apply for a radio job with no experience?  My Dad didn’t think that was the least bit crazy.


It was as much about what he did not say as much as it was what he did say.


I hope all of you have a great Father’s Day weekend.










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