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The Show In Georgia...Cancellations and Non Cancellations...Studio Today

Aug 3 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

First Monday in August. We’ve got a hurricane to the East, wildfires in the West and Washington State just trapped its first murder hornet.  See?  Things ARE looking up.



Our “Evening in the Round” trio of Linda Davis, Lang Scott and myself shoot off the dust and played our first “live” show of the year in the town of Toccoa, GA.  A lot of firsts here.  It was our first show since the pandemic began, it was the Ritz Theatre’s first show, and to a person in the crowd?  Their first chance to see “live” music too.  They were only allowed to sell 150 tickets and they did that and folks were well scattered and many in the audience did wear their masks.  But we had such a great time and it was just so good to play music again for folks that really were more than ready to hear music again. 


Earlier Friday afternoon we went over to a little military museum in the town.  In World War II Camp Toccoa existed…an airborne division.  Most of the men trained there jumped into Normandy out of an airplane. Shortly after that the Fort closed down. We went there to talk to a small enthusiastic group about the music business and songwriting and answer any questions they might have.  That too was great fun and we met some nice folks.  And I got a little history lesson about Camp Toccoa.


There certainly were major differences in the show.  Besides folks being scattered and distanced in the auditorium they were asked to only go to the bathroom one at a time. The orchestra pit directly below the stage served as the concession stand so that folks didn’t bunch up together in the lobby where that would normally be.  And we sold no CD’s or merchandise because that would cause folks to get pretty close together. Normally after a show we go out front and shake hands and hug folks but of course that didn’t happen.  So that was an odd way for us to end a show…to just stand on stage and wave them goodbye. But everyone understood and the crowd was so gracious and kind.  So, thank you to Tami Mayhugh and all the organizers for allowing us to come back for a second year in a row and to be your first “live” entertainment of the year.



One thing that caught our attention was finding out that our sound guy Chris repairs respirators for a living.  And he shared with us that right now they can’t get parts to fix them. Short supply. 



The good news was that I DID get to play a “live” show in 2020.  The bad news is, while I was preparing for our show in Toccoa I got a text from my friend Billy Yates letting me know that they had cancelled the entire season for Billy’s Songwriters Series in Branson.  I was scheduled to help kick off the season next month with my friend Gerald Smith at the Shepard of the Hills Theater.  But that’s gone too.  Branson relies on tourists and busloads of tourists coming in for two three or four days.  All the bus bookings are gone.  Nobody wants to ride on a bus with other folks and it trickles down to folks like Billy and his shows.  We all hate it.  But, I’m sure it’s the right call.  Is 2020 over yet?



I did get one good piece of “show” news.  Our September 29 show in Big Canoe, Georgia will happen for sure with our “Evening In The Round” trio. We play in this beautiful private community that has golf courses and lakes and more.  The show will be outdoors and the folks in charge are having pod circles or squares draw on the massive lawn we play in front of so that social distancing will be a piece of cake. Everyone will be assigned a dedicated spot to take their chairs or blankets to sit in or on during our show a safe distance from the stage. We played in Big Canoe several years ago and it was really a terrific place to play so we are glad to know we will indeed be playing there again at the end of September.  For more details go to my calendar online.



Yesterday Dodge & Dean Raymer back in Missouri who have been a huge part of my life forever celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.  And they love each other as much today as when they first met as kids.  68 years!  Incredible.  And I’m extremely blessed to be a small part of their family.  Quite the accomplishment.  Happy Anniversary you two.



A friend tipped me off to a two-part documentary on the life of Frank Sinatra that’s currently running on Netflix. What a life that crooner lived. One of the guys I regret that I never got to see “live”.  If you’re into documentaries like I am…chances are you’ll love this.  I learned a lot about him that I did not know. Truly one of the great voices of all time. 



One of the first ships to cruise again during the virus has an outbreak on board. The entire ship has been placed in isolation. It had sailed out of Norway.  It’s going to be hard to get a lot of folks jump on any cruise ship for a while I would think.


My friend Brent Burns had a bunch of folks signed up to cruise around Greece and other places this year. That’s been cancelled.  However, our cruise down the Danube River next July 4 is still on and we have a lot of folks signed up to go with me, Brent Burns and another great Trop Rock artist Sunny Jim.  Details are HERE if you’re interested in going with us.  And of course, we’re all hoping the world looks much safer by then.


I was in Georgia this weekend when we read the news of SO many kids getting the virus in the YMCA Camp they had just opened up. Officials there are saying they regret the decision to open. Does make you wonder as a parent again how in the world will kids be safe in school?


On Lower Broadway in Nashville officials are really struggling trying to get tourists to put on a mask and social distance…even though Lower Broadway is one of the hot spots in the country. 


And if you think Lower Broadway is not social distancing?  Wait til the Sturgis Motorcycle rally takes place in South Dakota starting August 7.  Over 250,000 bikes will roll into town and that’s caused a controversy with some of those who live there as you can imagine…while the business owners are glad to be open and take the money that rolls in.  And that truly is the ying and the yang of what’s going on right now.  Money?  Health? Until now at least South Dakota is one of the few states without a huge outbreak.


Couple of big clothing stores have declared bankruptcy.  Men's Wearhouse being one of them. I don't think a lot of folks are working from home in a suit and tie. They may want to start selling sweatpants and comfortable clothing.



Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred for the first time suggested the short baseball season could be shut down.  Players are indeed catching the virus and the Commissioner has reached out to the players union asking them to redouble the players efforts to do the right things to remain Covid free. Three teams at the moment can’t play…Phillies, Marlins and Blue Jays because players have it.  The Marlins alone have 21 positives.  The Cardinals now have several positive cases that just showed up and they can’t play games. 



I can only hope the season will stay intact. And the reason I love the game so much is that every now and then you see a play that makes you shake your head and go, “how did he do that”. One of those plays happened Friday night when new acquired Dodger Mookie Betts made this unreal throw from the deep part of right field to third base on the FLY and nabbed the runner. 


And then Tyler Alexander a Detroit Tiger long reliever comes in against my Reds in a double-header yesterday and strikes out 9 batters in a row!  That’s one shy of Tom Seaver’s record of 10 many years ago.  Wow.  The good news is despite that my Reds still won the game.


So, yea, I’m glad baseball is back even if it’s different without the crowds.



New studies suggest that Botox treatments may help lessen depression.  So…you feel more positive and look younger all at one time. I dunno.  Hard for me to sit still when a needle is headed for my face.  Y’all go on without me.



Man, I loved actor Wilford Brimley.  Something about that guys face…and his voice that we heard on Quaker Oats commercials for years.  He was in a ton of movies and my all-time fave was his role as the baseball manager in “The Natural” starring Robert Redford. Always a comforting figure to see on the screen.  He passed away this weekend at the age of 85.



I don’t know if Wilford’s family will put up a weather-proof camera near his tombstone or not…but they exist.  For about $400 you can put up a tiny camera that will allow you to view a loved one’s gravesite anytime one wants to.  And you can record and save and moments that happen that you want. I’m not sure if you get that at Spencer’s gifts next to the lava lamps or not.



Just voted the number one TV Series in the 21st Century?  “Game of Thrones” that was on HBO with a ton of violence and sex.  I’ve never seen an episode, but I can say our family has a very cool connection with the show as our daughter Heather married her soon to be Army pilot Casey at Dunluce Castle on the Northern Ireland coast where a lot of scenes were shot for “Game Of Thrones”. 


And I will so encourage you to take a trip to that part of Ireland if you ever get over to the Emerald Isle. 



“Montana Couple Get Hitched At 91 AND Get a Prenup”.  Optimistic ain’t they?



A busy Monday on tap that starts with a songwriting session with Dave Brainard & Jenny Tolman in their big ole kitchen.  And from there I’ll head straight to a recording session where I’ll watch a singer lay down some vocals on a song that I co-wrote with Wil Nance and Brian White.  Should be fun.


Have a great Monday!




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