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McAllen Texas...Boca Grande...Grammys


Monday February 6, 2023


Monday morning, safe and sound after a heck of a road trip. So hectic I had no time to blog this past Thursday or Friday so back at it today.



This past Thursday morning I jumped on a Southwest bird with Victoria Venier & Steve Dean, my “Hits & Grins” trio. We flew from Nashville to Houston, then Houston to Harlingen, Texas (yep...palm trees)  where we grabbed a rental car and drove another 45 minutes south to McAllen, Texas near the Mexico border, near South Padre Island. 



Our show took place at the McAllen Performing Arts Center which is one of the most beautiful theaters I’ve ever had the privilege of performing in. And they had a BIG crowd! There are a lot of retirees in McAllen combined with folks who come south to get out of the winter weather, although it was unseasonably cold that night. In Gulf Shores, Alabama where I go a lot they call those folks Snowbirds. I found out as I referred to what I thought were snowbirds out in the crowd, that in Texas they call them Winter Texans…not snowbirds.  The things you learn when you travel.



My sister from another Mother Marsha Raymer Oakley and her husband Jack are Winter Texans, have been for years, so it was great getting to see them at the show as well. 



My thanks to the wonderful staff there who took such great care of us. Gosh what a beautiful theater. And thanks to the folks who helped to fill up that big theater!




At 4:45 the next morning I was at the McAllen Airport and caught an American flight to Dallas on to Tampa where my friends Linda Davis and Lang Scott picked me up. We were on a tight deadline but we made it on time for two SOLD OUT “Evening in the Round” shows on the Florida island that is Boca Grande. They had a lot of hurricane damage there that was evident from so many huge trees we saw that were uprooted and laying over. But they’re recovering and back in business.



Our two show were at a great community center there that held 150 folks or so, who did a BYOB thing. It was a very intimate setting, our favorite kind, and it did feel like we were sitting in their living room. And folks were just so kind and SO into the show and the music. Since we were on the water, I did the Jim Cantore song, and I thought the roof was going to blow off the place. Linda had two great folks get up and try to sing her smash it with Reba “Does He Love You” that was really fun, and Lang just tore them up with his version of “Misty” (that always tears them up) that he just performed FOR Ray Stevens at Ray’s recent 85th birthday party.



I had some great friends show up. Don and Madeline Williams were there with Bill and Raynelle Woods. Both couples went to Italy and then on a Rhine River Cruise with me and my friend Brent Burns. And they brought guests. Good to see them!  Don and Madeline are from Texas but have been in Florida for months as Don is a point person for FEMA helping to clean up the hurricane mess there. 



We were on such a tight schedule that we did not know the little hotel they put us up in was on the water until we woke up the next morning. That made us want to stay longer!  So all three of us are hoping to make another trip back so that we can hang on this beautiful island a little longer.



Our thanks to the staff there for making us feel so welcome!




On our way North to Nashville Saturday morning, I called my longtime friend as I knew he too was in Florida playing shows. Turns out he was coming south while we were going north and we were close to each other. So we found an exit, pulled over and had lunch together. Brent thinks that’s my grandfather in the picture here…wrong.  That was a fun extra bonus to this crazy trip I just got off of.



After lunch we went our separate ways, and we drove until we got north of Atlanta where we bedded down in Acworth, Georgia for the night, found a great Italian Restaurant and sat down together to celebrate the fun trip we were on. And then we rolled back into Nashville around noon yesterday. I got home with a full bag of wonderful memories to hang onto for a long time.



Well, the Del McCoury album I have a song on did not win the Grammy last night for “Best Bluegrass Album”. It went to a young talented Molly Tuttle for her album “Crooked Tree”. Myself and my co-writer Josh Shilling pretty much knew that was going to happen as Molly has had a huge year…and it’s a great album for sure.  But Josh and I were VERY honored to be on Del’s album that was in the running this year with our song “Once Again” that Josh played piano on. Congrats to Molly. 



I did not watch a lot of the Grammy’s last night. But I did see Chris Stapleton with Stevie Wonder rocking out a Mo-Town number that was awesome. I did Willie Nelson win the Grammy for “Best Country Album” at the age of 90! And that’s cool. And I did see Shania Twain in this Holstein get up which was…well…it was…




A major new study out shows that masks do not stop the spread of COVID. 12 scientists and 72 independent studies said the same thing.


Here’s a new phrase. “Pandemic Paranoia”. That phrase is used to describe employers who are slow or won’t fire employees (even when some should be fired) because they know how hard it’s been to even FIND employees during the pandemic.


A doctor says we should tilt our heads forward when we are about to try and swallow a BIG pill. It helps prevent choking because it allows the capsules to move to the back of your throat. Who knew?  When I take that gigantic Vitamin C horse pill today, I’ll try it.



The question this morning is, what will we look to for humor this week since they “popped” the balloon?



Music City is about to do away with downtown parking meters. No more begging strangers for quarters to feed a meter. It will all be done with scanning a QR code from now on. Kids are going to be spending a lot of time explaining to Grandma what a QR code is. Oh, and if you come to Nashville and do have to park downtown?  Get a line of credit before you come.



Over 100 million of us will watch the Eagles-Chiefs big game on Sunday. Sometimes the commercials are the best part of the event, especially if it’s a lopsided game. A ton of money is spent on those commercials every year. This one for Michelob Ultra alone will make me want to stay and watch those.



Here are my next few shows on the calendar. Complete info on these and other shows are here on my website.


February 17 & 18 I’ll be in Benton, Arkansas for Freedom Sings USA to write with veterans.


March 10 & 11 at Dollywood for the 50th Anniversary celebration of Dolly’s hit “I Will Always Love You” with Steve Dean & Victoria Venier.


March 18 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with Steve Dean.


April 1 in Stephens City, Virginia with Linda Davis, and Lang Scott.



I’m writing online with Darin and Brooke Aldridge who were just nominated for best “Gospel” act by one of the industry’s leading publications. Congrats to my friends. The husband-and-wife team are most noted for being a hugely successful bluegrass act and Grand Ole Opry stars, but on every album they include at least one gospel song. They’ve recorded a couple that I helped write including “My Prayer” that the three of us wrote together. They just came off a Grand Ole Opry Cruise, so it’s going to be fun comparing trips.



Have a great Monday!






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