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Freedom Sings USA...Germany..."Yo Mama"


Monday February 20, 2023


Monday morning…back home in Nashville. 64 for a high today in Nashville…and up to 81 on Thursday!


Meanwhile, Minneapolis could get 12 inches of snow this week. Uh…I’ll take Nashville.



That’s today…so don’t forget to buy your mattress before it’s too late.



Friday and Saturday I was in Benton, Arkansas for our Freedom Sings USA songwriters retreat. I made the trip over from Nashville with Bobby Tomberlin who has written songs like “One More Day” for Diamond Rio. Bobby is also deep into the history of country music, started as a kid on a small radio station in Lower Alabama and has now been a songwriter-singer for a lot of years. So we have a lot in common. And the 5-hour drive went very quickly as we talked about the Opry, and country music artists, the state of the industry and writing songs. I always learn something new in those conversations, and maybe Bobby does as well.




Bobby, Steve Dean, Wood Newton, Don Goodman (all great songwriters) met at the big Methodist Church in Benton where we met our veterans, and then gave a little mini concert. Don Goodman treated the audience to his smash hit for Blake Shelton "Ole Red". 


Steve Dean got up and sang his big hit for Rodney Atkins “Watching You” but also performed
"We Shot The Pictures" that he wrote with a Viet Nam war photographer from Arkansas that’s just so good. This VIDEO shows the pictures that veteran took.



Bobby Tomberlin of course sang his smash “One More Day”.


And Wood Newton, an Arkansas native slayed the room with “Private Malone”. Such a well written song. 



I did a couple of songs as well including “Retired” that Ray Stevens recorded that I wrote with Brent Burns. Just a pleasure to hear my buddies sing those great hits.



Then Saturday morning all of us went off into private rooms to write with our assigned veterans. Mine was a gentleman named Gary Partlow who served 22 years. Part of his time was spent on board the USS Constitution that was in the Tonka Gulf in the Vietnam War and got fired on a few times. Heart in your throat kind of stuff. After 22 years he worked for the FBI for 10 years. He also plays a little guitar, so he actually sat next to me on stage when we performed his song “Dying For A Living” Saturday night.



 Just a very nice man who was kind enough to share his story with me and allow me to turn that into a song. I feel so honored every time I get to sit with a veteran like Gary and hear their personal story.


It was truly a fun inspiring weekend hanging with these talented folks and a bunch of our veterans. 




It looks like there will be 2 trip in the month of June to write with veterans. One trip will be back to Montrose, Colorado for the 3rd time. At this one former American Idol star Hunter Girl will be joining us with a full band for a concert after the songwriters perform the songs they write with veterans. Hunter Girl has been a big part of our Freedom Sings USA group since the beginning, then became a star off of American Idol. So it’s going to be very cool for all involved to have her with us in this capacity.



And then it looks like the group will got to Memphis, also in June, to write with veterans there for first time.



On the drive to Arkansas Bobby Tomberlin let out a gasp when he found out Kellie Pickler’s husband Kyle Jacobs had died. Bobby has written with him a lot and they both write for Curb Music in Nashville. He had just been with him a few days before. Turns out our worst fears were confirmed when they announced he committed suicide at the age of 49. I myself had never written with Kyle, but a LOT of my friends have. Kyle had his songs recorded by Garth, Tim McGraw, and countless others. It’s always hard to understand these kinds of things.

And it’s not wise to even speculate so I won’t. I just know the news saddened a lot of my friends who did know him, so that saddens me. RIP.



Now that my daughter Heather and her husband Casey are settling into their new home on an Army base in Germany, I get the greatest Facetime calls. Thank God for technology that allows us to connect with others this way. Saturday morning for instance she and her husband were checking out a new town and shared a bit of their tour with me. My wife and I can’t wait to make the trip over there to check out their new surroundings. Here’s an example of what we get to see through the lens of my daughters cameras.




Another sign we’re moving on for the most part from the pandemic. Amazon is now requiring all employees to be working again in the building at least 3 days a week.


The bird flu that’s been spreading around over the past two years that caused a jump in prices for things like eggs, chicken and turkey has reportedly cost the US government $661 million dollars.


They are about to roll out a pill that’s designed to help stop binge drinking. For those that can’t stop themselves.



Yep, if you’re going to get some ink, please please do a spell check. You can’t backspace and delete a bad tattoo y’all.




How about this duet with Dolly Parton and the late Olivia Newton John. This was Olivia’s last recording before she passed. Her and Dollysinging Dolly’s classic “Jolene”.


I had posted on Facebook how the great John Travolta Super Bowl commercial made me feel sad about Olivia. That’s because in this commercial they’re singing “Tell Me More” that was in Grease starring John and Olivia. The two were great friends forever off camera too. And I love this VIDEO where in concert Olivia made John get up on stage and sing “You’re The One That I Want” that set the crowd went crazy over.



Over the past two years over 500,000 Californians have left the state. Expensive to live there with high crime rates, traffic and a list of things that bother some enough to leave. New Yorkers are fleeing to Florida. Where are the Californian’s going? Texas seems to be the place most of them are landing. It is kind of interesting that both California and New York are liberal states and Texas and Florida…not so much.



There are a lot of funny “Yo Mama” jokes. Here’s one that makes me laugh and scratch my head at the same time. “Yo Mama is so stupid that she sold her car for gas money”.


Years ago I sat at a kitchen table with a great poet Billy Henderson who had an idea about writing a song that was a spinoff of those kind of jokes. So he, myself and the late A.J. Masters wrote “Yo Mama’s So Country” that I put on my “Leave Em Laughing” comedy song album. Check out our “Yo Mama”song.


I’ll be online writing with my friend out in Maryland Rick Lang today. Rick is working on a couple of new albums. A gospel-grass project as well as a Christmas project. These two albums will be full of songs Rick wrote with other folks. Each song will be sung by some folks you’ll know. And I’m happy to know that some of the things we wrote are going to be included on both. Can’t wait to share more on that when I can.


Have a great Monday!







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