American country singer/songwriter, Billy Swan, is best known for his hit song “I Can Help.” Swan is also known as a former member of Kris Kristofferson’s band. In fact the hit song was written on an organ that Kris and Rita Coolidge gave Billy and Marlu Swan as a wedding gift. Billy and Marlu would maintain a happy marriage for over thirty years, until Marlu’s passing of cancer in February of 2003. It was In a room that Marlu had repurposed as a music room in the Swan’s Nashville home, that Billy sat down at the organ and the words and music began to flow.
If you’ve got a problem, don’t care what it is
If you need a hand, I can assure you this
I can help, I’ve got two strong arms, I can help
It would sure do me good to do you good
Let me help…
“I Can Help,” was written in March of 1974 and recorded around the same time at Young’un Sound studio in Murfreesboro, TN. Producer Chip Young recalled that the song’s single release by Monument in July of that year was in order to finance a much larger composition, an album to include the song. Besides Young, the rest of the record company was in agreement that the single, “Ways of A Woman inLove,” should be the first single for the album. Young knew then and was right that the hit song was, “I Can Help.” The song was an immediate success in the American country and pop charts. The song also reached #1 status in multiple countries including Canada, Norway, France, Germany, and Australia.
You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas
My favorite coffee cup reads, “You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas,” a quote by the American folk hero, politician, frontiersman, turned soldier Davy Crockett. I like to remember Davy Crockett as a larger than life hero. A man who would rush in to save the day, with little care or concern for himself.
That is what I most think the song “I Can Help” says to me. If you’ve got a problem, I am here for you, No Matter What. Like a valiant knight rushing in to save a damsel in distress, I Can Help! I would hope that I am thought of as that kind of guy to the people who cross my path.
Don’t forget me, babe, all you gotta do is call.
I have always strived to be the You know I have your back kind of person. Sometimes I do fall short in this way of thinking. Life’s experience has proven that I can do many or most anything that I put my mind to. I am a fixer and a builder. The kind of people I like to be around are the people who believe in my accomplishments and who support me and encourage me to be the best man that I can be and who truly believe that I can accomplish this or that. Even when I do not think I can do it myself. My wife has been my biggest supporter in this belief. Just yesterday when my old pickup truck died, through her encouragement I fixed it. Things like that I would have never tried to even begin to accomplish had it not been for her belief in me. I can help! And she shows me that I have more power than I ever thought I have.
A distant relative of my hero, Davy Crockett, is Texas musician, Charley Crockett. In January of this year, he recorded his version of the Billy Swan song, “I Can Help.”
The Crockett version of the song was produced by Bruce Robison at his Texas based studio, The Next Waltz.
Charley Crockett takes the same old song and has made it his own. In the Charley way, his talent and style, coupled with a country and blues voice. Charley has an ability to pour out the trials and tribulations in his own life into a song. Charley reminds me of that valiant knight or that larger than life hero Davy Crockett who killed a bear with his own hand.
There always has been a turmoil going on inside of my own mind as to who was the greatest song writer ever. Some days I am stuck on Kris Kristofferson. Sometimes, I think Townes Van Zandt might just be the best. Steve Earle is responsible for the infamous quote:
“Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.”
What if Townes hadn’t died so early? Imagine the masterpieces he would have written if he only had a little more time? Or Gram Parsons same as Townes, gone too soon.
Ray Wylie Hubbard is most likely in my top 20 and of course Willie is in there somewhere. There is Steve Earle and there was Billy Joe Shaver and Jerry Jeff. Dylan was great. I could switch genre and throw in so many more, Paul Simon, Graham Nash, McCartney, Stephen Stills, even Lennon. Oh, and don’t forget Keith Richards.
Guy Clark once sang,
“There’s no rhyme or reason
Ain’t a damn thing you can do
Some days you write the song
Some days the song writes you.”
I consider Guy Clark one of the best ever. He wrote so simple and natural. He had a knack to tell a story and to draw on one’s emotions. His song lyrics might make one laugh and cry in one single song.
Today I guess the Wolf in my brain that is winning would pick the Guy, as the greatest songwriter ever. You never know though. Because my mind is like the weather in West Texas and it will change in the blink of an eye.
I love music from all generations and genres and I have enjoyed talking about it here in Under The Sound. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I have enjoyed writing. Drop a comment and let me know!
On October 26th of 1969 Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter were married in Phoenix, Arizona. The two instantly became the Outlaw movements “It” couple. The marriage lasted until Waylon’s death February 13, 2002.
Kris Kristofferson once described their marriage,
“A beautiful love affair.”
Waylon had been married three times prior to his wedding with Jessi. Waylon’s song, “This Time” had been inspired by his string of marriage and divorce.
Jessi Colter was born, Mirriam Johnson, May 25 1943 in Phoenix. Her professional name came from a story her father once told her about an associate of Jesse James, Jesse Colter.
Prior to her marriage to Waylon she had been married to guitarist Duane Eddy.
Eddy’s records were produced by Lee Hazlewood. In the late 1950’s and early 60’s Eddy was known for his “twang.” He had sold 12 million records by 1963.
After meeting Waylon, Jessi Colter pursued her career in country music. She was one of the few female artists in the genre of “outlaw country.” She released her first LP “A Country Star is Born,” In 1970
“A Country Star is Born” was released on RCA. The album was produced by Waylon Jennings and Chet Atkins. The album was not successful in the country market and Jessi soon left RCA.
Jessi signed with Capitol Records and released “I’m Not Lisa” in January, 1975. This would become Colter’s first hit. The song charted Number one on the Billboard Country Chart and number four on the Billboard Pop Chart.
In 1976 Jessi would record again at RCA along with her husband Waylon, Willie Nelson, and Tompall Glaser, on a compilation album “Wanted! The Outlaws.” The album would be the first country music album to sell over a million copies.
In 1976 Jessi would also release two more albums at Capitol. “Jessi,” and “Diamond in the Rough.”
Shooter Jennings, the couples only child was born in 1979. Shooter has been an active musician since 1996 in the outlaw country and southern rock genre.
In 1981 Colter and her husband would release a duet album “Leather andLace.” The albums first single, “Storms Never Last” was written by Jessi Colter. The album was certified Gold in sales.
In the early 1980’s Waylon and Jessi nearly divorced due to Waylon’s substance abuse.
“Jessi went through hell,” Waylon told People Magazine.
I’d go out and sit by the pool in the dark and think about what it was going to do to me, to my people and to my family.
With the help of Johnny Cash, Waylon, who once had a 1500 dollar a day cocaine habit sobered up completely in 1984.
Stevie Nicks, who wrote the title track of the album, heard that Jessi and Waylon might divorce. She also released “Leather and Lace” as a duet with Don Henley that year. It peaked at number 6 on the pop chart.
Colter has released several more albums since 1981 but her popularity has faded. To date, she has 11 studio albums and 3 compilation albums. Her latest albums are “Out of The Ashes,” and “The Psalms.”
as an Amazon Associate I may recieve a small commission for your purchase
Growing up my family would often vacation to Ruidoso, New Mexico. We would set up our base camp in Ruidoso and each day would go In a different direction to see the sites.
My Parents recently purchased a cabin in Ruidoso and I have been blessed to begin to carry on this tradition as I have gotten older. I make the drive from my home in the West Texas flatlands to the Sierra Blanca mountains as often as I can. There is plenty of things to see and do within a 60 mile radius of this majestic mountain village.
As a child, my dad owned several Ford Broncos. When we would travel, he would remove the back seat and put down a thick foam pad in the cargo area. I had a bed, a play area and a comfortable spot to travel. These were the days before seat belts.
Often I would sit on the console in between my Mom and Dad. Mom is one of those who can instantly fall asleep once the road trip starts. So it would be my dad driving and me “navigating” from my spot on top of the console. Dad spitting sunflower seeds in a brown paper bag and I would suck all the salt off of them, and do the same. I hadn’t figured out I was actually supposed to crack the shell and eat the seed so I wasted a lot of good seed.
I remember Willie Nelson would be on the stereo. We had a new cassette tape, Willie Nelson’s GreatestHits and Some That Will Be. Later the song stuck in dads tape deck during our travels would become Highwayman. Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.
There always seemed to be a light rain as we would make this particular drive. It is such a vivid memory of mine to be seated up on that console, it would be getting dark and the window would be slightly cracked to let in a cool mountainous breeze and Willie’s voice in the speakers singing tunes like “Railroad Lady”, “Uncloudy Day”, and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”.
I often still listen to both of these albums and sing along.
My Favorite songs on The Highwayman album are “Jim, I Wore a Tie Today,” “ Committed to Parkview” and “Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos).”
I have heard several versions of Deportee, including the original Woody Guthrie version, and the Highwaymen definitely perform this song as if they own it! The harmony is perfect as well as the musical accompany.
Even today when I reach Roswell NM, heading up towards the cabin in Ruidoso, I still listen to the Red Headed Stranger. It is sort of a tradition. This particular trip, I didn’t even select Willie on my playlist, and Pinkie reminded me.
“Shouldn’t It be time for Willie?”
(Pinkie) Jennifer Watson ( My UnNi)
I have told her this story every time since we have started coming up here together.
Today, Pinkie and I drove over to White Oaks, New Mexico.
White Oaks was once one of the largest cities in New Mexico. Today it is mostly a ghost town. There was a gold mine there at one time, but it was abandoned. The railroad missed the town, choosing nearby Carrizozo instead. This further caused the town’s demise.
A few of the original buildings and homes are still standing. There is a museum in the old School House circa 1895. A bar with the name of “No Scum Allowed Saloon” exists in a building that was once a law office.
Due to the corona virus ,the museum and the bar were both closed. But it was still a beautiful day to get out and see the scenery.
The drive over from Ruidoso took about an hour. It is only 44 miles but the trip included twisting and turning on two lane road through the mountainous passes. Many times the speed limit was only 25-30 miles an hour due to the sharp curvature of the roadway.
We left the Evergreen forests very quickly after leaving Ruidoso and drove through a scenic “High desert”, the most Colorful outcroppings of rocks, Yucca and Sage Bush. The sage was magnificent this time of year the tops were flowering into these beautiful cream colored cat tail like flowers.
We looked through an old cemetery just before reaching White Oaks. Many of the graves there were dated in the 1800’s. Some of the tombstones weren’t stones at all. They were made of wood. They had been in place for so long that the information upon them had vanished.
I saw several graves of soldiers from the American Civil War. I found one grave that was marked Spanish American War. There was also a Korean War veterans grave there.
I found it interesting, how this cemetery had spanned so many different generations of people. It gave me a clue as to the area and it’s inhabitants.
All of the graves were positioned in the usual East- West orientation except for one. It was facing North to South. I was doing some research and actually stumbled upon a YouTube video that explained this. This odd facing grave was John V. Winters. He had recorded the first gold lode claim in the White Oaks Mining District. His grave was facing his “claim”.
While in White Oaks, the Yellow signage advertising White Oaks Pottery interested us. We followed the bright Yellow signs another four miles down a caliche road which led us the Potters studio.
Most all of the foliage along this route were green cedar trees. Standing alone in the middle of all of this green was a lone cottonwood tree whose leaves had turned a brilliant shade of Yellow with the change of the seasons.
The proprietor and artisan at this studio was a very friendly and talented woman named Ivy Heymann. This Potter explained to us that she had lived and worked on the property for 45 years.
“I camped here for 3 days in a tent trying to convince the owner to let me see the property.”
She also reminded me never to give up on my dreams.
Figure out what you want to do and then put your all into it.
Ivy had put her all into building the pottery and gallery. She built it by hand using adobe. In the back of the pottery is a propane fired kiln she made with fire bricks recovered from the Ancho Electric Plant.
We purchased three unique pieces from her. Glazed Yellow of course.
White Oaks is definitely worth the visit if you ever find yourself wanting to explore New Mexico’s history and heritage. Besides being a favorite spot of Gunfighter Billy The Kid the town was an important part of taming the western frontier. And don’t forget to go visit Ivy and check out her amazing pottery.
It was a beautiful day to spend exploring and spending time with my beloved Pinkie.
Every young boy had an answer to this question, anywhere from Fireman to Superman. There was a time in my childhood that my answer was simply to be a truck driver.
I first came to the belief that truck driving was the life for me because of the musical selection that was available to me. My parents were members of some sort of music club, where they would get record albums mailed to the house and they had so many days to keep them or send them back. Looking back, I think they mostly just kept them.
The “Truck Driving Songs” fascinated me. Artists like Red Sovine, Dave Dudley, and my personal favorite C.W. McCall.
I still have the record, C.W. McCall’s Greatest Hits. My kids and UnNi make fun of me on occasion because I know every word to every song on the album. Sometimes out of nowhere I just start singing these songs that have long been stuck in my head…..
“I’s thumbing through the want ads in the ShelbyCounty Tribune when this classified advertisement caught my eye.”
Classified Advertisement/ CW McCall
“Wolf Creek Pass, way up on the Great Divide Truckin’ on down the other side”
Wolf Creek Pass/ CW McCall
My love for these songs rubbed off on my little brother. He used to play the record on occasion during his college days at Texas Tech. His frat brothers would tell him C.W.’s songs sounded like they belonged in some sort of Broadway Musical Production. In reflection I can picture this. C.W. would start out singing the story and next thing you knew the whole stage was singing and dancing through the chorus.
About musicals. How does everyone in the scene happen to know the words to the song anyway?
I recently learned, that these songs were intended to be that way. C.W. McCall is not a real person, He was an ad campaign by the Omaha advertising firm of Bozell & Jacobs. In 1972 while working for the firm, Bill Fries created television commercials for the Old Home bread brand of the Metz baking company. These ads told the story of truck driver C.W. McCall, his old dog Sloan, and the truck stop that they frequented, The Old Home Café.
While Bill provided the lyrics, Chip Davis would provide the musical content. Davis a singer, songwriter, and composer would later become famous for his musical group Mannheim Steamroller.
The songs originated from real characters and Bill Fries upbringing in western Iowa. From those commercials came the first of the C.W. McCall songs, “Old Home Fill-er Up An’ Keep On A Truckin’ Café”.
C.W. McCall’s first album Wolf Creek Pass was released by MGM Records in 1975. That year the title song about a misadventure of two truck drivers hauling chickens, charted in Billboard on both the country and pop charts.
I have been fascinated with this music my entire life. The McCall songs all tell a story. They paint such a vivid picture, that I get to know the characters and feel like I might just be there. Whether it’s sitting at the Conoco Station or camped high above in the Rocky Mountains laying on my sleeping bag and watching the Aurora Borealis, the northern lights. His songs did such a great job of advertising that they made me want to be a truck driver when I grew up.
Fries, under the C.W. McCall moniker would record the song “Convoy”. The “Rubber Duck”, the main character of this song, was the truck drivers C.B. handle.
The Duck was portrayed on the big screen by singer turned actor Kris Kristofferson in the 1978 film “Convoy”. This movie directed by Sam Peckinpah also starred Ali Macgraw, Ernest Borgnine, Bert Young, Madge Sinclair, and Franklyn Ajaye.
Convoy was filmed when the CB radio/ trucking craze was at its peak in the United States, it was followed by similar films like White Line Fever and Smokey and the Bandit.
I must have watched the movie Convoy 9000 times growing up and I still listen to the song often. As a kid we would go to video rental stores and I would always pick this one.
I did become a truck driver, if only for a short time in my life. I will never forget the thrill of my own Wolf Creek Pass, while hauling sand for a block company out of Strawn, Texas. I would barrel an old Mack truck down “Ranger Hill” on Interstate 20. It would get pretty hairy at times when I would reach the bottom and have to shut er down just in time to make a quick exit onto Highway 16.
Truck driving music is still one of my favorite genres.
I’m thankful I never bashed into the side of a feed store in downtown Pagosa Springs.
On March fourth of this year, I married my soul mate in Lincoln County, New Mexico. We like to say we got married March forth as it was on that day that we marched forth to new beginnings. Prior to this journey, which was approximately a 4 hour car ride from our home, I created a playlist. On my Itunes account it lives. The playlist simply called “Wedding”. This playlist consists of 15 songs and lasts 55 minutes.
Every time that I get to hear one of these songs it reminds me of her, my best friend, the love of my life, my UnNi.
#1- Blessings by Florida Georgia Line.
“ First time I met you, knew I never could forget you, girl you always saw the blue skies past the rain clouds in my eyes.“
The very first line in the song says so much. We first met at a conference I attended for Alcoholics Anonymous in the Spring of 2010. I had spent some time away as a ward of the State of Texas and had only been out of a halfway house for a month.
I was learning to live sober. UnNi was going to school to become a substance abuse counselor. She worked in a treatment center. She was so beautiful. I had feelings for her from the very first time I saw her.
#2- Millionaire by Chris Stapleton.
“They say love is more precious thangold Can’t be bought and it can’t be sold.”
I used to think that I was measured by the possessions that I had. Money and Power were status symbols that I thought would either make or break me. UnNi showed me that love was the “ultimate gift”. I know that she loves me and I love her. I would lay down my life for her. I will do anything in my power to give her everything I have. She also showed me how to reconnect with my Higher Power, my faith and find the never ending love of the Holy Spirit and of Jesus Christ the Son of Man.
#3- Prayed For You by Matt Stell. UnNi and I first saw this guy at a concert we attended with our friends Matthew and Sondra. Matt Stell was the opening act for Clay Walker. This song really touched me and UnNi too.
“Cause every single day, before Iknew your name I couldn’t seeyour face, but I prayedfor you.”
These lyrics really touched me deep down. I had been in other relationships. I had been married before. I thought I had been in love once or twice, but I had never considered praying for what God wanted for me.
Up to this point I had lived most all of my life on impulse. It was a roller coaster of highs and lows, only considering what was good for me and what made me happy for the moment.
I had met UnNi years before we ever dated. We hung out some and talked. I considered her a good friend. She had been there for me through some rough patches in my life. She had seen me go through some things as I had also seen her life change in many ways.
I was going through a pretty rough patch. I was ending another relationship, had lost control of my children and was only seconds away from throwing in the towel on my sobriety. When one day I sat down to truly seek God for some sort of direction.
It was conference time again and I knew that every time I would make the trek to Ft Davis I would see her face. I hoped this time it would be the same. So I messaged her on Facebook and she said she would go. We made plans to hang out.
We reconnected our friendship and soon began to date. I know God put her in my life. I know she was my answered prayer. I am forever grateful that UnNi is in my life. I still can’t believe that she’s my wife!
#4- Your Smile Takes MyBreath Away– by Ryan Kirkland. Just before we planned to marry, My second cousin Ryan Kirkland recorded his first song. The song is available on Itunes and Amazon.
“You can bringme to myknees, with just one wink, your smile takes my breath away.”
I feel that way every time I look at my UnNi. She takes my breath away every single day. I feel like the luckiest guy on earth just being able to wear her wedding band on my finger.
I heard from an old timer in AA just the other day, that he would never leave his “Honey Bunny”. Not only had he made a commitment to her that day in that church, He had a made a commitment to God.
I shall never forget that commitment I made that day in early March of 2020. The start of a new beginning and the start of a long and happy life with the person who God intended for me.
#5 Stealing Electricity by Tom Russell. This is the strangest love song you ever heard. UnNi thinks my music is strange.
This song starts out with a guy who dies while trying to steal electricity and how the voltage running through him made his heart go “d-da”.
“Hey baby, ain’t that just likeyou and me? Loveis like stealing electricity, Two hearts goD-da, d-da, d-da, da.”
Our hearts beat to the same music. We made our commitment. We became one. The bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:12 A cord of threestrands isnot easily broken.
The three strands represent UnNi and I. Our hearts only beat because God, The Third Strand gives us the “electricity”. He is our power and our light. He holds us together.
#6 Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison.
“Slipping and sliding All along the waterfall with you My brown-eyed girl.”
My wife has these big brown eyes. I could look into them all day long. It’s in those big round eyes that I can see her thoughts. They sparkle when she’s happy. They fade when she’s angry. They are wet when she’s sad.
I hope I make her brown eyes sparkle more often than not. I love my brown eyed girl. She makes my heart smile. We have a lot of laughs together and we enjoy many of the same things. She is my rock. My brown eyed girl.
#7 In Spite of Ourselves by John Prine. UnNi and I both enjoy singing karaoke. One year for Christmas, we bought each other a karaoke machine. Valentines Day of 2017 we recorded ourselves singing this song, in the style of John Prine and Iris Dement. It will forever be our song.
“In spite of ourselves, We’llend upsittin’ on arainbow, Against all odds,Honey, we’re the big door prize.”
John Prine / Iris Dement
I often have to remember to look beyond the end of my nose. I can be selfish and self centered. That causes a lot of trouble in my relationship. This song reminds me of the prize and to play the tape to the end. I have to pause and think before I act or react.
UnNi has done more than she knows to teach me these things about myself and to show me to treat others in the way that I want to be treated. She has taught me to stand up for what I believe in. Yet, she also shows me how to do it tactfully and respectfully. Sometimes I still fall short on this concept, but I am certainly a better man than I was and I owe that all to her.
#8 Loving Her Was Easier by Kris Kristofferson. I have always believed this was one of the prettiest songs ever written.
Last October, UnNi and I got to see Kris Kristofferson live at the Wagner Noel. This was one of those concerts I got to scratch off of my bucket list.
I can’t pick a favorite line in this song. Every line is perfect poetry. Every line reminds me of her. She is perfect and hearing this perfect song with such a perfect partner is one of the highlights of my life.
“Talking of tomorrow and the money, love and time we had to spend.”
If I die tomorrow, this is one of those songs I would want played at my funeral. I hope UnNi knows how special she made each day of my life.
#9 Just Breathe by Willie and Lukas Nelson.
“Did I say that I needyou? Did I say that Iwant you? Ohif Ididn’tI’m a fool yousee, no one knows this more than me.”
Willie Nelson/ Lukas Nelson
This is a song that relaxes me even on the worst of days. UnNi and I have tried to sing it a few times. We can’t seem to hit those high notes. We discovered this song together. It means so much to us both.
We both have our own struggles and issues and we are both seeking solution rather than creating more drama and chaos. When we are together we are much stronger than when we are apart. When we remember to just breathe and not let the things we do not have control of overwhelm us, our life is better.
UnNi makes me a better man.
I hope that I bring that breath of fresh air into her life as well.
#10 Love Abides by Tom Russell and Iris Dement.
“Hey look how far we’ve come, do we knowwho weare?Stranded on a mountain top trying to catch a falling star.”
This is another song we do together in karaoke. This is another song that reminds me that we are stronger together. It reminds me of the perfect love that we have for each other. Remembering where I came from and the direction that I want my life to go.
UnNi is a planner.
I am a dreamer.
Most of the time when I have a dream, she plans on how to make that dream become a reality.
Like for example, this blog.
I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. She set forth a plan to make this dream become a reality. She set up this website and teaches me as she learns how to operate it.
Now, You as our reader, gets to experience this side of our life.
I hope you enjoy what you are reading, as much as we enjoy writing to you.
#11 Love me Anyway and #12 True Love both by Pink. These songs are pretty brutal but it’s an honest description of how our life can be.
“Even if I see your scars Even if Ibreak your heartIf we’re a million milesapart Do you thinkyou’d walk away?”
“Sometimes I hate every single stupid wordyou saySometimes I wanna slapyou in your whole face.”
We have had some big fights. Have gone through some pretty big stuff over the years. I choose to stay. She chooses to let me.
We get closer every day. We are learning to communicate and to express our feelings.
In my mind there is absolutely nothing that could keep me away from her. I feel feelings that I have never felt when I upset her. I can see my part today, and admit when I am wrong. She can do that too.
I have never had a love like this.
Once again as an old timer in AA often tells me, “ 9 out of 10 times she’s Honey Bunny, 1 out of 10 times she’s Huffy Bunny and when she is Huffy Bunny, there’s only one person in that situation that can shut the hell up, and that person is me.”
Learning our strengths and weaknesses and learning to put our differences aside has made a huge impact on my relationship.
Pause when agitated.
Sometimes one of us just has to walk away.
I am grateful that we can work through the rough times. We agree that divorce isn’t the option today.
When we are good, we are great.
That is the way it is most days.
#13 Gringo Honeymoon by Robert Earl Keen. Last Christmas mom gave us concert tickets to see Robert Earl Keen.
I personally have seen him play live more times than any other artist. This show was different. Besides being in the front row, I was there with UnNi, My Wife.
“We were so close I could see his tongue moving while he sang.”
That’s what she likes to say when I brag about how great the seats were.
She had never heard of REK until she met me. I have showed her a world of music that she still thinks is strange, but I think that it is growing on her.
The day that we walked out of that courthouse in Carrizozo I was the happiest I had ever been. We found a Museum where we stopped to take some pictures. I have a picture of her in her wedding dress, next to a big cactus. She was the sexiest woman I had ever seen. She still is today.
“ We were standin’ ona mountaintop Wherethe cactus flowersgrow, I waswishin’ that the world would stop.When you said we’d better go.”
Robert Earl Keen
Did I mention she was a planner?
#14 Leather and Lace Don by Stevie Nicks and DonHenley. For a guy who never liked female artists, after meeting UnNi I found a whole bunch I really love.
This song was one I fell in love with around the same time I really started falling for UnNi.
Her brother J and sister in law Heather do a great cover of this song with their band Cowboy Drive. Their video features shots from Ft Davis, one of our favorite places to be. The place we first met, the conference I will never forget.
UnNi likes a section of the mountainous terrain where the natural out cropping of rocks took shapes of almost human form. She calls these “the ancestors.”
I hope and pray that the ancestors will always protect her and guide our lives through happiness and harmony.
“I search for somethingI can’t see.”
The other night we were sitting in our hot tub. It was windy out and UnNi told me “I like the wind. It reminds me of God. Even though I can’t see Him, I Know He is there”
#15 What a difference you’ve made in my Life by Ronnie Milsap.
“What a difference you’ve made inmylife.”
UnNi, there’s nothing else I need to say about this song. It is pretty self Explanatory.
Austin City Limits is the longest running music series in television history. ACL features artists from every musical genre in a live concert setting. The first episode was aired on PBS on January 3rd 1976.
The show helped define Austin, Texas as the “Live Music Capital of the World”
John Prine made eight appearances on the show during his career span of over forty years. His ACL debut was during Season 3 in 1978. John’s final ACL performance was during Season 44 in 2018.
During the Season 44 episode, John played a setlist of his career spanning songs. The episode also included a guest appearance from long time Prine disciple Tyler Childers.
ACL executive producer, Terry Lickona, stated “John Prine was so integral to the essence of Austin City Limits, and few artists graced the ACL stage over the years and decades more than he did.”
John wrote country-folk songs with an unpretentious, aw- heck demeanor
John would sing magical lyrics like – “That’s the way that the goes round. You’re up one day and the next your down. It’s half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown. That’s the way that the world goes round.”
In 1998 Prine had surgery to remove squamous cell cancer from his neck. In 2013 he had part of his lung removed as treatment to lung cancer. The operations altered his vocals and gave him a gravelly voice but six months later he was touring again.
“that’s the way that the world goes round”
During his career, Prine received six awards from the Americana Music Honors Awards: The Lifetime Acheivement Award for songwriting(2003) Artist of the Year(2005,2017,2018), Song of the year for “Summers End”(2019) and Album of the Year for “Tree of Forgiveness”(2019).
In 2019 Prine was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2005 John Prine became the first songwriter to read and perform at the Library of Congress.
Prine’s lyrics are simple yet phenomenal. He goes places other song writers only dare to go, and he goes there with his own style.
John felt that his success was created only out of dumb luck. Luck like that day Kris Kristofferson walked into an empty club in Chicago and heard him play.
I think his success was out of his wide imagination and the ability to paint a picture through his song. The Prine song “Lake Marie” is a perfect example of this ability.
John Prine passed away last April due to complications from the corona virus. He leaves a void in the music industry that no one else can fill.
One of John’s final recordings was a song called “When I get to Heaven”. I am most certain that he lives there now.
“When I get to heaven, I’m gonna shake Gods hand
Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand
Then I’m gonna get a guitar and start a rock-n-roll band
Check into a swell hotel, ain’t the afterlife grand”
John Prine, you certainly had a grand career. Thanks for the music and the memories.