Well Howdy everyone,
Happy Fall, Y’all.
This summer has just buzzed right by and so much has happened. WHEW! We started off in June with playing the Graves Mountain Festival in Syria, Virginia. Got to visit with festival promoter and dear friend, Mark Newton. What a great time that was and nearby Culpeper is such a gorgeous town. Justyna and I were able to catch a visit with my aunt in Manassas, Va. and Sister Lisbeth Cruze who are Benedictine nuns. Aunt ZuZu, as we call her has been a sister for 75 years. We love her so much and are so proud of her servant’s heart and spiritual leadership.
Next day we meandered over to Urbana, Va. To play the “Arts in the Middle “ Festival. Met so many warm hearted folks there and such a beautiful landscape.
Then we headed back to Nashville to prepare a new single for Radio, “4 th Of July in My Hometown” (Irene Kelley/Justyna Kelley/Steve Cropper). It was really great to
have my friend, Trisha Yearwood put a beautiful harmony part on the song. That made it extra special.
Bluegrass Radio was really supportive and the song debuted at #2 on the Bluegrass Today singles chart. We snuck a Station Inn show in there too.
Some other cool things that happened in June, my daughters Justyna, Sara Jean and I played 2 nights in Pigeon Forge, TN at the Listening Room.
Back to Guitar town and got invited by my old friends Bill Cody and Charlie Matos to be on WSM-AM and Circle
TV broadcast with “Coffee, Cody and Country”. Bill picked the single, “Lonely” as his “pick of the week”
and if it weren’t for an observant fan of mine, I might not have known. I wrote Bill to thank him that’s when he and Charlie extended the invite.
The last week of June back in Nashville Justyna and I attended a show at the Analog at the Hutton to see the Kruger Brothers. I am a HUGE fan of their music.
This was the first time for me to see Jens after almost 40 years and to meet Ewe and Joel for the first time. Jens, Ewe, Joel and Jody will be featured on a song on my upcoming record.
Not to be missing out on anything, I contracted COVID in July. Thankfully my symptoms were mild and I was back to work very quickly. Just the week prior, I was in the studio recording a new Christmas album featuring the Kelley family, Irene, Justyna and Sara Jean. Our dear friend and executive producer of the Christmas
Album, Terry Eagan came to Nashville to be with us for the tracking session.
Session leader and piano player extraordinaire, Will Barrow played brilliant piano parts and kept the band on track with arrangements and scheduling. This is going to be a really special project for me and one that we can
bring out every year. More to come on that.
More working on the album and co-writer, Ronnie Bowman and his talented wife, Garnet Imes Bowman came by RCA studio to sing harmony on the new record. Justyna Kelley is co-producing and her partner, Eddie Gore has also been irreplaceable with his help and recording skills as well .
August offered a super fun Round at the Bluebird Café with Pat Alger, Louise Mosrie and Phil Eberhart. All 3 great songwriters. Steve chandler and I started working on the mix of the remaining seven songs for the upcoming record.
One of my favorite events in my favorite town of Gatlinburg, Tn was 3rd week of August. “The Gatlinburg Songwriters Festival”. I had a fun round at Ole Smoky Moonshine-Legend’s of Bluegrass Show w/ Thomm Jutz. Tim Stafford was not able to perform as he had come down with COVID the week before so Thomm and I played duo. It was really great to get to play some of the songs Thomm and I
had written a few years back. I played another Round with Dana Hunt Black who has so many hits and too many to mention really. Was and honor to meet her and play a round.
Got in a great hike with Justyna and Eddie Gore who were mentoring songwriters and artists at the festival.
Then I was back in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia playing “Oak Grove Music Festival” with Malia Furtado. Great seeing my old label mate, Steve Forbert also on the bill.
End of August, I popped into the Station Inn to see my friend Valerie Smith and hear her set. Val played a song of mine that Claire Lynch and I wrote called, “Enter in”. This was on Valerie’s last record and she did a beautiful job on the recording and the performance. Love her!
Somewhere in the middle of August, Steve Chandler, Justyna and I worked on the seven remaining songs for the upcoming record.
September has been mostly getting the artwork and mixes ready for the record and of course songwriting in between everything. I am happy to announce the new record official release date is: January 20. 2023. Titled, “Snow White Memories”. Lots of surprise guest and special elements to this record. Can’t wait for you all to hear it.
Stay tuned for more updates and as always, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your support.