Daily Archives: April 13, 2019

Less Than Two Weeks!


Two weeks from tonight we’ll probably be sleeping off our jet lag in Budapest, Hungry.

After leaving on IAH about 3:55 pm Friday afternoon, and a 9 hour and 45 minute flight to Frankfurt, Germany, a 3 hour and 30 minute layover, and then another 1 hour 30 minute flight, we’ll get into Budapest about 1:45 Saturday afternoon.

The next day, Sunday, is free, and then we board the Skirnir, our Viking River Cruise Ship, on Monday, the 29th. And it’s coming faster and faster.

Last night was our first visit to the recently-reconstituted Alvin Opry. We haven’t been since the original one closed in 2014, so it was good to be back. And really nice to see a lot of old friends.

And with performers like Arnold Carpenter,

Alvin Opry Arnold Carpenter

Country Jim Sloan,

Alvin Opry Country Jim Sloan

and Texas Express band members like Tommy Reed,

Alvin Opry Tommy Reed

and Bobby Whitton

Alvin Opry Bobby Whitton

you had a Who’s Who of country star’s band members. Names like Jack Greene, Jeannie Seely, Little Jimmy Dickens, Tammy Wynette, Dottie West, Mel Tillis, Reba McEntire.and many others,

And long-time friend’s, Miranda Diede

Alvin Opry Miranda Diede 2

and Shalane Colston,

Alvin Opry Shalane 2

were both in great voice, so it made for a great evening.

I also really enjoyed getting a chance after the show to talk with Bobby Whitton about his Steinberger Headless guitar.

Steinberger Headless 1

I had seen pictures of them, but this was my first time to see one up close, and Mr.Whitton was kind enough to spend a few minutes pointing out the special features.

Steinberger Headless 2

Note there is no headstock on these, rather the tuning adjustments are on the tailpiece, and allow for much finer tuning.

Steinberger Headless 3

The other advantage to the Steinberger design is the fact that the entire guitar is made from a graphite/carbon fiber composite, so it’s not affected by temperature/humidty changes like a conventional instrument and stays in tune better.

He had this one custom made for him when he was playing with Mel Tillis for about 10 years in Branson.

In talking with him for a while, it turns out that we had something in common. ‘Back in the day’, as he put it, we both played Gretsch Country Gentleman guitars, known as the Chet Adkins model.

Gretsch Country Gentleman

While I was in Nashville going to college in the mid 60’s, I played in a couple of bands, and was lucky enough to get Chet (he said I could call him ‘Chet’ since I owned one of his guitars. LOL) to autograph mine when he was playing at a small club down on Nashville’s Music Row.

Though I played the Country Gentleman a lot to start with, I later mostly played my friend’s Gretsch White Falcon after he decided he’d rather play bass.

Gretsch White Falcon

I just liked the feel of the Falcon better. It had nothing to do with the fact that it attracted girls like crazy. Nothing at all.

I also occasionally played keyboard, when we could borrow one, since the band didn’t have one of our own.

And I guess you could say that our one claim to fame was that my main band won a college Battle of the Band contest and got to open for the Mamas & Papas when they performed at Vanderbilt.

But I don’t think anyone was really listening to us, since the Mamas & Papas, and most of the audience were stoned. And we were just trying not to inhale too deeply so we could remember what we were supposed to play.

Ahh! The Good Old Days.

As the saying goes, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” And believe me, it was touch and go there a number of times.

Thought for the Day: 

“Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.” – Tolstoy  (Anna Karenina)