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A Veteran's Retreat...A Tornado Evening..."Back Home" Video


Monday April 17, 2023


Monday morning back in town and re-setting for another road trip later this week.  66 for a high with sun in Nashville today and the entire week looks to be sunny and warm. Beats the heck out the snowstorm they’re getting in the upper mid-west. Middle of April and SNOW. Nope…don’t want none of that.



I was in Shiloh/O’Fallon Illinois just 20 miles or so from the Arch that frames St. Louis with Freedom Sings USA to write songs with veterans. The city had found out about the organization and wanted us to come to Shiloh to write with some of their veterans. 


And Friday evening as we drove to our little gather venue at Klucker’s Hall you could not help but notice that the city had decorated their Main Street with American flags to welcome us. At the Hall they served up a delicious dinner, and then the Mayor got up and welcomed us officially. How cool.



Out front my friend and co-writer Wood Newton fell in love with the statues of little kids playing baseball. He’s a terrible umpire!


 After dinner, myself, Steve Dean, Wil Nance & Wood Newton did a little songwriters round for the group that had gathered Friday evening to welcome us so they got a little taste of what we do a lot in Music City…a songwriters round. Very fun.




Saturday I sat down with Air Man Ben Wocken who served in Afghanistan for the Air Force. I quickly found out we had some things in common. He loves beach music, he was stationed at Scott Air Force Base where my country band from Missouri played at their NCO club many times, and for a while he was on air for the Armed Forces Radio Network, and I of course was a long-time radio guy. AND he played a little guitar, AND he had written out a lot of his experience into a poem that was so good that all I had to do was get it into great song form, wrap an appropriate melody around it, and make sure it rhymed in the right places. His song “The Sand of Afghanistan” turned out so great and got a wonderful reception Saturday night when I sang it with Scott sitting right in front me. Every writer had GREAT veterans to write with and it’s just a goose-bump thing every time when we sing those songs in concerts to honor those men and women who served.


 And it was great seeing my extended family from Missouri, Dodge Raymer, Stacey Raymer Schimpf and her husband Dave make the trip over to see the concert.


We did get a little too much excitement Saturday night when city sirens went off during our show as well as every cell phone with a tornado warning. It cut our concert a little short and our Freedom Sings USA group was ushered into a city shelter for a couple of hours until we were finally out of harm’s way. Even that did not dampen the great weekend we experienced in Shiloh, and the good news is the city wants us to come back again next year. Can’t wait!





Yep, glad to go on the road still, but always good to get “Back Home” which happens to be the name of the news single from my friend Troy Engle that’s out and doing well. I was glad to see the online magazine “Bluegrass Today” give this song such a great write up, and if you click on to read the article you can watch the video of the song that Troy recorded inside a barn up in Pennsylvania where he’s from. 




Thursday morning I have a flight at the crack of dark with my “Hits & Grins” buddies Steve Dean & Victoria Venier. We play a show in Morgan City, Louisiana this Thursday night, and then a Saturday show in Pampa, Texas on Saturday night. That’s going to be a crazy little four day run before we get home.


Also on the calendar just ahead.


A benefit for my friend and co-writer Gerald Smith Sunday night at the Commodore Grille in Nashville. I play at 6 pm with my friend and former American Idol star Janelle Arthur.


May 4 I’m in Culpepper, VA with “Hits & Grins”

May 6 in West Point, VA with “Hits & Grins”


Thursday May 11 a show in Bucyrus, Ohio with Linda Davis & Lang Scott…our “Evening in the Round” show.


Monday May 15 in Canton, Illinois with “Hits & Grins”.



Researchers have been sampling bear and deer in order to try and see how COVID spreads.


In the UK there’s a new treatment for prostate cancer that’s showing promising results…one that could be a game changer. They’re using electrical currents to get to hard-to-reach tumors in a painless procedure that takes an hour or less. Some doctors there think it could be a cure for prostate cancer.


A new study is suggesting that 1 of every six of us are fighting a hidden illness.



In LA a business owner is complaining that the NUDE homeless camp near him is hurting his business. Folks don’t want to hide their eyes and walk into the store. Sort of gives a new meaning to the phrase “Naked and Afraid” for sure. I was in LA recently, and outside my hotel window was a homeless camp. It never dawned on me that I could open my curtains and see a naked person to wish me a big ole LA “good morning”.



That company established way back in 1946 may be going out of business according to their CEO. Is nothing sacred!?  How can we do without bowls you can burp? Or Tupperware parties?  What in the world will people put their beets and carrots in that’s as cool as Tupperware?  Hang onto your old Tupperware. Some are speculating their value will go up if the company puts a lid on their business.



How about the young lady in Seattle who bought an urn for just under 4 bucks at a Goodwill store, got home and then discovered someone’s ashes were inside?  Yikes. After some research they think it’s the ashes of a pet, not a human. But still…it makes you wonder what in the heck the former owner of Fluffy or Fee Fee was thinking when they made their drop off at Goodwill.



Tax day is tomorrow. To offset the sting of that, Krispy Kreme is offering up a dozen donuts and you only have to pay the sales tax to get that doze. Sweet deal…literally!




A 26-year-old guy in Australia just did 3,206 pushups to establish a new Guinness World Record. I’m tired just thinking about it. I’m not sure I could do 10 if I had to right now. I’d be the guy drinking a pint of Guinness watching this dude break the Guinness record. I’d be happy to toast him after his feat.



A whole bunch of years ago I took a solo bike trip out west. From the Ozarks of Missouri all the way out to Vegas and back. When I hit Colorado I asked for a recommendation for a good restaurant. I was sent to a Mexican place called Casa Bonita where it looked like you entered a cave and then it looked like you might be in Acapulco. Unreal place. AND…they had cliff divers jumping into a pool below while you dined on your tamales. 



It closed a few years ago but the guys who created the outrageous cartoon TV show “SouthPark” bought it and they will re-open the place. It’s in Lakewood, Colorado and re-opens this May. Worth going to if you’re anywhere close.  




A man inserted and ‘ad’ in the classifieds. “Wife wanted”. Next day he received over a hundred letters. They all said the same thing. “You can have mine”.



Nothing big today as I’m leaving some open time to re-set for that trip to Louisiana and Texas later this week.


Have a great Monday!




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