August 28, 2014
Hi everyone! It has been a very busy Summer for sure! Although most of it has been very mild and pleasant temperature wise… the last few days have made up for that! Whew! It’s 100 degrees in Tulsa right now as I have spent the day here today to go and pay a visit to my a long time friend Roy Clark. His wife Barbara is as warm and friendly as the man himself which goes to show that “behind every good man… is a surprised mother ‘n law”… or something like that! (You can tell I’ve been hanging out with a comedian too don’t ya know!) We talked about old times… now times and future times. Roy is looking well and no doubt you will be hearing and seeing more from this country legend. Today was a gift from the Good Lord to me for whatever reason… I don’t know… but I’ll take it!
Last weekend at the James Burton Festival I got to spend some time with Richie and Nancy Furray (Buffalo Springfield) as we shared the same room back stage. There were soooooo many fine artists but I was so thrilled to be in the same room as Richie. We prayed together for the show that God would fill the house! Our good friend and producer of the show… Charles Lynn walked in on our prayer time and joined us. It is refreshing to see gifted people giving honor back to the Lord what He’s done in their lives. From Vince Gill, Paul Franklin and Lincoln Brewster to Priscilla Presley and Paul Shaffer the line up was impressive and the audience was incredible. James and Louise Burton deserved all the honor bestowed upon them by all of their celebrity guests. I don’t think I know anyone else in this world who has more favor with people than they do. They also connect with their local community so well and are continuing to do good things for kids less fortunate by giving the gift of music and guitars!
Speaking of guitars… Oh my Lord! Last week I flew up to Minneapolis and was picked up by none other than world reknowned luthier and friend James Olson. I spent the rest of the day with James and Sue and… Yes I got a new guitar from him and yes… it is now my Number ONE! I met James Olson about 17 years ago at the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in California. I have always wanted one of his guitars. My daughter Heidi was recently at our home in TN with the grandkids and one day she asked me if I could play “ANY” guitar on earth that I wanted what would that be… I immediately said, “an Olson.” Jim is the nicest and most humble man you could ever meet. He speaks softly but his guitars speak very loud and clear! I took Heidi into my studio and showed her some of the James Taylor “One Man Band” DVD and the sound of his Olson. She understood then. I had recently joined up with my friend Phil Keaggy and checked out his Olson guitars. I also visited the home of Mark Lanier in Houston with my friend Pastor Jeff Shreve and Mark showed us his 3 Olson guitars. I was hooked! Sometimes you look back at things and you realize that it was such a point A to B to C and you just know it all had to be orchestrated outside of your thinking process and creativity. In other words… this was a God thing.
So, with my new Olson in my hands I went out onstage at the James Burton Festival and spoke of a happy time just five years ago when my brother had presented 25 guitars to the students at his elementary school where he is the music teacher and how their reaction was stifling. My mother and father and I were there. It was the last time my father ever saw and heard my brother Aubery and I play. These guitars were a gift from the James Burton Foundation. I played How Great Thou Art that day and just a few days later I played that same song at my father’s funeral at my mother and brother’s request. I played “How Great Thou Art” on my Olson guitar last Saturday night at the James Burton Festival and I could sense the love, skill, humility and creative spirit from James as the voice of my new guitar was heard for the first time. I love that the reaction also came from the prayer with a Rock Star, his wife and a producer… “for what it’s worth”… He Filled the House!
Happy rest of the Summer!
August 19, 2014
Images courtesy of Cindy Boulanger.
August 15, 2014
Doyle’s set at Guitar Town / Colorado.
July 16, 2014
July 2, 2014
June 14, 2014
Hi Everyone! If I said I had a Rock Star birthday I’d be wrong… I had a Country Star birthday playing on the Grand Ole Opry!!! Special thanks to Pete Fisher for having me back on the show and this time on my 60th Birthday.
I played Tennessee Stomp with the Opry house band on my 1958 Gretsch 6120. As I was ‘stompin’ I had to be careful as I looked down and saw that circle of the floor cut out of the old Ryman Auditorium. This is the part of the center-stage floor that everybody from Hank Williams, Minnie Pearl and George Jones to Grandpa Jones had stood and performed, and here I am stompin’ my big boots all over it. It was amazing. The crowd was fantastic and in one magic, sporadic moment they simultaneously all sang Happy Birthday to me without any encouragement from the stage. I cried like a girl. (No offense here to the ladies.)
For my second number I played the Patriotic Medley by Pete Fisher’s request as it was Memorial Day weekend. I played Jerry Reed’s 1963 Country Gentleman. I’ll always be grateful to guitar collector John Bentley for allowing me to purchase that from him. John attained it from Jerry Rowe who is Jerry Reed’s grandson and a well-known drummer in town. So, it was definitely Gretsch night.
A few days before this, Fred Gretsch had invited me to have lunch with him in Savannah, GA and asked if I’d come visit their facility there for Gretsch on my way to Florida. He and Dinah are always so warm and very gracious hosts even though they’re very busy folks. Three or four days later I was taping a video for Gretsch to commemorate the 60th year anniversary of Chet Atkins signing with the company as an endorser. This took place at historic Studio B in Nashville that Chet Atkins had built during his RCA years. Steve Wariner had actually invited me to be on the project and other guests included Jimmy Capps, Richard Smith, Pat Bergeson, Dr. John Knowles and also Duane Eddy. I had a great time in that amazing place talking about Chet Atkins and Gretsch guitars. We even got to do a little picking! I played ‘Harvey’ which is the 1965 6120 Gretsch guitar that I inherited from my old barber-guitar pickin’ buddy Harvey Simmons. It’s also the guitar that I recorded ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Up on a Housetop’ on my Christmas album last year.
To stay on the Gretsch story here… without knowing any of this my daughters got together and had my birthday cakes (2) made like a White Falcon and a Fender Deluxe amplifier. I got videos and a book with a lot of my close friends sending their happy birthday wishes and just saying nicer things than I deserved. I’m so blessed to have such a great family and so many wonderful friends! I also got to show off in front of my son-in-laws at the Grand Ole Opry which is pretty nice if you guys know what I mean! I had a blast dancing with my grandkids at our little private party for the family. What an incredible night in Nashville!
That following Sunday my son-in-law, Jake Johnson, accompanied me to play the morning services at Mount Paran Church in Atlanta with Pastor (Dr.) David Cooper, who happens to be a fine guitarist himself. I really wanted to ask Dr.David (as I call him) to play with us, and he certainly did, which to me was a great compliment as well as showing his love for music and the guitar. Some talented pastors I’ve seen in the past wouldn’t want their congregation to see them in this role. I don’t think anyone in the audience that day lost an ounce of respect for him getting up and playing Windy and Warm (Chet Atkins style of course) but rather appreciated his being forthright about his love for playing the guitar. His new CD Flying Solo is available on the Mount Paran website, and I highly recommend it to you. What’s even more amazing is afterwards he addressed several thousand people with a heartfelt message and never used any notes or a teleprompter. He really makes guitar players look good!
I will be playing at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society again this year so if you’re ‘thinking’ about going… come on! This will be a fun time to see and hear some of the finest guitar players in the world… from around the world and celebrate Chet’s 60th Anniversary with Gretsch. I’m thankful that Chet’s daughter Merle and the family teamed up with Fred Gretsch to once again allow Chet’s name to be affiliated (and I think synonymous) with this great guitar company. Chet’s years with Gretsch were to me the best he played and sounded as nothing could ever replace “That Great Gretsch Sound.” If that sounds like a commercial… you’re welcome Fred, Dinah and Chet, and you all certainly deserve it!
Blessings to you all and have a great 2014 Summer!
June 7, 2014
May 8, 2014