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Blue Collar Gospel...Toby...Italy


Tuesday February 6, 2024


Tuesday arises y’all. Sunny and 59 here today. We’re having a great run of weather right now. I pulled out of my garage last night and stopped to get a picture of Old Hickory Lake which is across our road just as the sun was starting to set. Sometimes I have to remind myself to stop and soak in the scenery around me.



I wrote with my bluegrass friend Rick Lang once again who was home in Maryland on his computer. Rick had sent me a start on a gospel kind of song and we finished that up and put it in the stack of co-writes we have that keep growing. We talked some about the great listening party at Billy Blue Records a couple of weeks ago celebrating his songs on the soon to be released album “Blue Collar Gospel” that I have two songs on with Rick including the title track featuring Jerry Salley & The Oak Ridge Boys. Rick shared with me that the first single off this album should launch in early March. Can’t wait to be able to share our two songs on this wonderful project. 




I was so sad to read the news this morning that Toby Keith lost his battle with stomach cancer at the young age of 62. He fought such a quiet and brave fight.



 Me and I think most of his fans worried but hoped for the best. His moving and stunning “live” performance of “Don’t Let The Old Man In” at the Peoples Choice Awards Country Awards last year on NBC while looking frail and worn out from his battle is especially moving now. It was extremely moving when he did it…but even more so now.


One of the nice things about working in radio as I did for a long time is that you get to meet and interview most of the stars. I interviewed Toby multiple times through the years, but my favorite experience with him was when I got to sit on his tour bus with him and just sit and talk and laugh. That happened because his longtime manager TK Kimbrell asked if I’d like to do that. Ya think?


I remember talking about his infamous “bus” songs. Funny songs…inappropriate songs sometimes like “Wacky Tobaccy"and he told me about some other funny song ideas he had that had me laughing out loud. 



He’s a guy that most definitely did things his way. He bought his own album away from the record company at the time giving him ownership…and that move helped him become a superstar. And he always wore his patriotism on his sleeve which I also admire.


A sad day for country music fans.



And on the news of Toby’s passing from stomach cancer comes news that Prince Charles has cancer.


A surgeon claims there is no part of moldy bread that’s good for you. Throw it away. Some cut out the mold thinking the rest of the slice is safe to eat. Nope…not so much.


A noted trainers says we need 150 minutes a week of cardio to have any chance of losing weight. And…you have to be mindful of your diet as well.





The longtime travel journalist you see on PBS claims that of all the countries he’s been too (pretty much all of them) would be Italy. He said he loves the open air plazas and piazzas that are everywhere.


After touring Italy once I can understand how he feels. From seeing the Coliseum in Rome lit up at night right before a 5 course Italian meal…



To the incredible architecture in Venice…



To the open air plazas in Florence….



To the leaning Tower of Pisa…



To the hill towns, and the wineries.


And the unexpected beauty of the American Military cemetery that's so well maintained by the Italians.


And I even found my family name on the wall listing all the lost soldiers from World War II.

Yep...Italy is hard to beat.





51% of all millennials don’t carry a real wallet. Everything is digital on their phones. Credit cards, ID, tickets to concerts. Digital wallets only. They think it’s an old persons thing.


And when I think about it, I RARELY pay in cash anymore. I’ll download baseball game tickets into my digital wallet, but I’m not there yet as far as feeling safe to put my license and credit card there.


Maybe someday I’ll feel safe enough to go that way and take the chain off my wallet. Maybe.



A guy tweeted this out. “If my wife doesn’t want to hold my stuff, then why the big purse”?  Uh…ladies?  Good question.


 I tease my wife all the time about how stuffed her purse is. And then I’ll be riding with her somewhere and ask, “you don’t by chance have…whatever” and she’ll reach in and pull it out and then look at me look for an apology. I swear if I ask for a lawnmower she would pull it out of her danged purse.



The CEO says McDonalds is going to concentrate on affordability after watching sales dip when they increased prices. The $18 Big Mac caused a bit of an uproar. Affordability at Mickey D’s would be good. A McNugget shouldn’t cost a McMillion.



Someone (not me) asked, “If money is the root of all evil then why do churches ask for it”?



I’m off to write with hit writer Brian White today who’s written a literal string of hits including the smash “Watching You” that he wrote with my friend Steve Dean for Rodney Atkins. And Brian is a big Cincinnati Reds fan as am I so we get to talk baseball and write a song all in the same day. Can’t complain about that.



Have a great Tuesday!