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Gatlinburg Writers Weekend...Weird Jobs...Tailgating


Monday August 22, 2022 


Monday morning and I’m back home in Nashville. And 87 degree high on tap today.



It was all about the Gatlinburg Songwriters Festival this past weekend. This is the 2nd year now for this festival that my friend Victoria Venier, who is one-third member of our “Hits & Grins” trio is President of.  She and the board have done quite the job of getting this festival up and running and everyone who participated, or came, can tell you how great it was this year. And I know it’s just going to get even better with each new August that rolls around when the festival is held in the Smokies.



Friday, I wrote a song with Brady Seals and two participants who signed up to do so, and opportunity the festival gives to amateur-novice writers. Pretty cool experience for those who want to learn more about the craft. The one lady brought an interesting idea that the four of us wrote that turned out very cool. 




Then early Friday evening I played a songwriter round with Victoria Venier and Dana Hunt Black at the beautiful Park Vista Hotel which is up on the mountain and has beautiful views outside the massive windows. Dana has had several George Strait hits in her career including “Check Yes or No” and a big Gary Allan hit as well. Dana lost her hit writer husband Charlie Black last year and she has not played out a lot since. So Victoria and I felt great having her alongside us playing her great songs again. She was terrific. 



Then the minute that was done, Victoria, Steve Dean and I went and did our show at the new Listening Room in Pigeon Forge and did our “Hits & Grins” thing. We had a blast. Terrific new listening venue, and we had a good crowd who were really into the show, and of course that made it even more fun for the three of us. Thanks to all for coming. 




I only had one event at the festival and that was writing with Brady Seals again and a room full of folks who signed up. A young female participant Addie Levy brought a great title that lent itself to a bluegrass song and a very young man, a musical young genius named Wyatt Ellis was also in the room with his mandolin and just tore the song up. Check out his talent right here. The song was so fun to write and is certainly at the top of the list any song I’ve written in a group situation like that.


Then Saturday night I went with Brady to his songwriter round and watched and listened to him do his thing alongside Carl Jackson and Thomm Jutz I talked about Carl a few blogs ago and his long career with Glen Campbell. Thomas, I met for the first time after hearing so much about him and he was terrific too. I found out he’s one of the instructors at Belmont in their songwriting department. Yes, you can now get a degree in songwriting. Truly a great songwriter round.


And then it was I-40 West back home to Nashville on Sunday morning to reset for Little Rock this Thursday and Friday with Freedom Sings USA where once again I’ll have a chance to sit with a veteran and write his personal story into a song. 




I got word that a co-writer-artist friend of mine is down with COVID…for the FIFTH time! Good grief.


A London research team found that people who develop the COVID symptoms, that the majority are not infectious before the symptoms, but two-thirds of cases are still infectious five days after symptoms begin.


Some doctors are reporting that the new BA5 variant can reinfect you every month. You can recover, and quickly catch it again. Geez.



This is sort of funny and cool all at the same time. Lays, those tater chip folks, just put out a limited-edition miniature washingmachine just for oily fingertips. Eat your oily chips, stick your finger in the machine, all clean and good to go for more chips. Eat, rinse, repeat. 




The housing market recorded its sharpest decline in sales in almost two decades. A LOT of houses on the market, but they’re not selling as quickly. Despite that, 40% of homes that do sell are still commanding full price offers.


I had a friend tell me he bought 5 acres that had a single wide trailer on it. He’s not ready to build yet, so decided to rent the trailer out. He’s getting $1,500 per month to rent it!  Think I’ll buy 10 acres and put a fleet of single-wides out there.



There are some out there. Here’s a few. You can make a living being a waterslide tester, a nail polish namer, a professional sleeper, (yes, you can sleep on the job) and you can even get paid to be a professional mourner. No degree needed.



This one was posted at a Zoo. It reads…ZOO RULES…” Those Who Throw Objects At The Crocodiles/Snakes Will Be Asked To Retrieve Them”.



In Edinburgh, Scotland they just held something called “Fringe Festival.” One of the highlights of the festival is the “one-liner” joke competition.


Here’s a couple of my favorites from this year’s event.


“I spent the whole morning building a time machine, so that’s four hours of my life I’m definitely getting back”.


And this one. “Did you know, if you get pregnant in the Amazon, it’s next day delivery”?



Football fans who love to tailgate on the parking lot are going to find it more expensive to do so this year. Consumer prices jumped 8.5% alone in July, meaning weenies, and burgers are going to cost more. And getting to the game, with the price of gas, also much more expensive. I don’t see it stopping football fans though. I’ve never tailgated myself, but I’ve been around it a lot. When I lived in Wisconsin it was like religion. Pull into the lot near the baseball stadium, roll your windows down and you could smell the burning charcoal and the beer-soaked brats. Even more so at Lambeau Field in Green Bay where folks pitch a tent and tailgate when it’s 20 BELOW! 




“Man Implants His Tesla Car Key In His Hand So He Never Loses It”. Wow. I think I’ll implant my reading glasses and remote control.



Back to the songwriting table where I’ll join a great Christian songwriter Nathan Woodard this morning to see what we can come up with.


Have a great Monday!








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