I just found an old newspaper article I wrote
back when I was a cub reporter.
It’s about The Walt Disney World groundbreaking,
The truth can be funny.
* * *
It was a Rolaids morning.
At 8:37 AM I remembered why I stopped getting up early,
when stomachs growl,
and the breath of man strikes fear into the hearts of moose.
The Parkwood Plaza Cinema was packed with press people,
snapping pictures and interviewing the crap out of each other.
At the Disney Groundbreaking Press Conference
I thought there would be mice and ducks,
but not an animal spoke, and not a magic wand waved.
The affair proceeded with the hilarity of a colonoscopy in the rain.
One by one, executives confessed to excitement,
undetectable to the human eye.
The audience reacted with a burst of apathy.
There were speeches
about hydro-pneumatic modular electromagnetic prefabrication,
followed, two or three days later, by a spirited race to the rest rooms.
I think Scrooge McDuck is running the company.
We stood in awe of cardboard models
hovered over by cardboard dignitaries,
while cameramen kneeled and stretched in their native dance.
News people rattled off reporter lingo into phones,
scooping each other.
I was amazed to see many of them typing.
I do all my writing with a brown crayon.
Buses carried us to a two-hour presentation of mud,
where holes were being dug on Disney swampland.
Balloons represented future hotels
which were the project’s main theme.
Then back to the buses for another ride.
I awoke with a start when the bus door opened,
thinking we had reached Cincinnati,
only to find us at a Ramada Inn.
I checked my watch.
It had rusted to a stop.
A nice lunch of Chicken Formica awaited us poolside.
There was no shade,
so we ate, glowered, and watched each other burn,
to the music of a sweating Latin band.
I was in such pitiful shape
that when I got home my dog tried to bite me.
The family asked me how it went.
“Disney magic was all around”, I said.
“The entire day was one of beauty and song.”
Kassi Ashton is dishing out some serious sass in her new song “Violins.” Dedicated to several unfaithful exes, the Missouri native isn’t about to listen to their sob stories and take them back.
“We (myself, Natalie Hemby, Luke Dick) were sitting in Luke’s studio one morning. We got on the subject of my ex’s and how all of them had been unfaithful to me,” Kassi shared of the inspiration behind the song. “We were discussing the steps of getting over it and how they usually all come running back, whining, begging for a second chance. That’s when I rolled my eyes, raised two fingers to my ear and mimicked what my dad used to call ‘the world’s smallest violin’ to accompany their take-me-back tears.”
She continued, “I started joking, saying that for most, I didn’t even care to serenade their second chance efforts. I didn’t have time for that because I have better shit to do. It was Natalie’s idea to call it ‘Violins’ and Luke brought the funk. I just had to bring the attitude and experience.”
In the tune, Ashton shows off her don’t care attitude with lyrics like “I can’t hear the violins you’re playin’, there’s no symphony inside my head. I’ve got my own marching band, guess I lost my give a damn.”
The song is the latest from the edgy singer/songwriter. She’s previously released the ode to her hometown “California, Missouri” and the ear-catching song “Taxidermy.” Listen to “Violins” below.
At long last, Shania Twain’s acting debut, Trading Paint, will be released. After more than a year of anticipation, the film will make its debut on February 22. Starring both Twain and John Travolta, the movie tells the story of a racing veteran and his son, a fellow driver, overcoming both personal and professional conflicts and coming out stronger on the other side.
Filmed in Alabama in 2017, the movie allowed Twain to stretch outside of her comfort zone with the help of Travolta’s acting advice.
“I enjoyed it and I enjoyed getting to know John. He’s a very sweet person. I’ve known him for several years now just on short little chats, but now [working on] this movie, we got to know each other a little bit better. I’m just lucky to have this film experience because he’s been very nurturing. He coached me through it,” she told Sounds Like Nashville previously.
She continued, “I learned so much. It’s a whole new chapter of my life I wasn’t expecting because it was really last minute. I wasn’t expecting it at all, so I love the spontaneity of it. That’s why I dove into it because I didn’t have too much time to think about it.” As the movie gears up for its February release, filmmakers released the highly-anticipated trailer showcasing the character’s high stakes and massive tension. Check it out below!
Somehow we had missed the turnoff to the southern Ohio town.
We went back to where the highway ought to be and found a narrow old road,
with grass growing up through the cracks in the pavement.
Could this be the main road to town that I remembered from my childhood?
The sign said it was.
The small city, after slumbering quietly for generations,
had become a boomtown with the coming of a large chemical company.
For a while the population grew with the influx of labor.
The little corner taverns
where old cronies had once exchanged worldly wisdom
became juke joints as the town opened up.
Housing became scarce, money became plentiful,
and the townsfolk began a new habit…
locking their doors.
The picturesque, American town of stories
was the only memory I had to go by.
I was surprised at the desolate weeded over road
that had once been a main artery.
We turned off the superhighway
and followed the rustic lane toward the town,
trying to spot familiar landmarks.
There were new shabby buildings,
some vacant and boarded up.
There were new gas stations,
looking aged and toothless with their pumps gone.
I thought I recognized an old building… a certain curve in the road…
but the clutter made it impossible to get my bearings.
Drifting into town,
I was relieved to see the railroad station
and its surrounding park untouched by time.
I had often told Misty about the good times at Aunt Bess’ house,
where I had spent a lot of my childhood.
Now I was about to show her the actual place where it all happened,
but at first I couldn’t find it.
It used to be right there on the corner of Fourth and Maple.
Now there was just a rundown Frankenstein house hiding in the weeds.
We parked while I stared at it for a long time.
I had somehow forgotten…
They’re all gone.
The whole smiling, partying family had died off one by one since I’d been gone.
I knew it, I’m sure, but I’d blocked it out.
The small grocery store across the street
had a new name but looked the same.
I went in and asked,
but they didn’t remember who had lived in that corner house.
They didn’t recognize my desperately mentioned names,
and they were busy.
we learned that the chemical plant had laid off thousands of workers,
and the government had built a superhighway that bypassed the town,
so it went quietly back to sleep, somewhat the worse for wear.
We searched the town all day,
and it was sunset before we found anyone we knew.
They were all together, as always.
The squeak of the rusty wrought iron gate pierced the evening stillness,
as we entered the old cemetery,
and began brushing away weeds and dust,
to peer at names on tombstones…
names that clicked on familiar faces in my mind.
We drove out of town and didn’t talk for a while.
Nobody said goodbye.
If this was a ghost town these new people didn’t know it.
We were the ghosts.
Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan…
© Jack Blanchard,© 2007, 2012, 2019
Appearance and live music performances by John Schneider and Tom Wopat also known as Bo & Luke Duke
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – MuscleKingz will transform the Kern County Raceway on Saturday, April 13 into a car show & concert venue fit for a great experience for car enthusiasts and music fans alike featuring classic and modern American muscle cars, custom trucks, hot rods, rat rods and more. The MuscleKingz Car Show & Concert series are a modern twist to the classic culture of a traditional car show with the addition of great live music. Previous shows have been headlined by Dan+Shay, Rodney Atkins, .38 Special, Night Ranger, and more! To register your vehicle and learn more visit www.musclekingz.com.
The MuscleKingz Car Show & Concert will be hosted by Brad Deberti, who was born and raised in Bakersfield, and co hosted by his father Doug Deberti who together entertain fans on their Discovery Channel TV show ‘Twin Turbos’. They build outrageous state-of-the-art cars and trucks and each have won multipleSEMA Best of Show Awards. Brad is currently NASCAR’s State Rookie of the Year. “I have been working with MuscleKingz for the past few years and I am excited to bring a gnarly car and truck show to my hometown of Bakersfield! And Bo and Luke Duke are coming!,” exclaims Brad Deberti.
“We are bringing Hazzard County to Kern County! In addition to an amazing show of cars and trucks from Bakersfield, the Valley and beyond both John Schneiderand Tom Wopat will each take the stage to perform their music at the Muscle Kingz Car Show & Concert,” said John Oakes – Freeze Management CEO, MuscleKingz co-founder and co-producer.
The Bakersfield event will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Dukes of Hazzardfeaturing Hazzard County’s famous ‘cousins’ – John Schneider (Bo Duke) and Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) – as well as one of the legendary 1969 Dodge Chargers – “General Lee” – owned by Chrome Cars and used in the original filming of the Dukes of Hazzard TV series.
John Schneider has celebrated several hits at country radio including “Country Girls” and “Love, You Ain’t Seen the Last of Me,” and in 2018 he released a new song each week throughout year with his ambitious 52-song project, The Odyssey. John Schneider and his band will be performing on stage for the crowd in attendance at the MuscleKingz Car Show & Concert.
Separately, Tom Wopat will be performing songs from his catalog of music and anticipated new album entitled WOPAT.
John Schneider, Tom Wopat, Christian Davis are the first wave of artist announcements for the concert. Headliners and more to round out the lineup of live music will be announced soon.
“I love to play music. Tom Loves to play music and we both love cars, so it’s a great combination I’m excited about,” said Schneider. “I haven’t played anywhere in [that area] in probably 25 or 30 years, so I’m very excited. The last time I played at the Crystal Palace with Buck Owens 25 or 30 years ago. So I’m looking forward to it.”
“We saw an opportunity with the 40th anniversary to put it together musically, with some car shows,” said Wopat. “It’s been done before on a limited basis, but this is the first time that it’s going to be done with this much breadth. We’ve got three booked so far – all in California, but [we’ll] have at least 10 booked here shortly, so it’s going to be all across the country! There’ll be a car show during the day and then in the evening there’ll be a music show – with special guests. I’ll do a set with the band and then John will do his set afterwards.”
To register your car or truck, get your tickets and all information about the Muscle Kingz Car Show & Concert at the Kern County Raceway on Saturday, April 13, visitwww.musclekingz.com.
WHO: John Schneider, Tom Wopat, Doug & Brad Deberti, and special guests to be announced!
WHAT: The day combines hundreds of custom high performance classic & modern American Muscle cars, lifted and lowered trucks with a concert featuring premier artists. This is a family friendly car and music festival with games and activities throughout the day.
WHEN: Saturday, April 13, 2019, Event Times: 12 pm – 10 pm
WHERE: Kern County Raceway 13500 Raceway Blvd Interstate 5 and Enos Lane, Bakersfield, CA 93311
TICKETS: Early Bird General Admission Car Show & Concert tickets starting at $20 +fees, Early Bird Car Registration starting at $45 +fees, with Premium and VIP options available. FREE for children 5 and under, discounted tickets for 6-12 with paid adult admission. To purchase tickets, visit musclekingz.com or call 888-512-7469.
MuscleKingz is a brand and social media powerhouse featuring both modern and classic American muscle cars with over 1.6 million followers on Facebook, 450k+ on Instagram and thousands of attendees at each car show and concert series. Partnering with the automotive industry’s most respected brands, MuscleKingz produces the Car Show and Concert Series with a modern twist to a classic culture.www.MuscleKingz.com
About Doug and Brad Deberti:
For father-son duo Doug and Brad DeBerti, custom car building isn’t just a hobby, it’s their life. From creating a truck modeled after a fighter jet to developing the first ever drift racing truck, the DeBerti’s have been building one-of-a-kind cars and trucks for more than two decades, winning over twenty awards, and turning the family business into a household name. Watch them on Discovery Channel’s TV show TWIN TURBOS creating outrageous, state-of-the-art builds – pushing the boundaries being featured SEMA, the largest car event in the world! See them host the MuscleKingz Car Show & Concert on April 13 at the Kern County Raceway. Brad will be exhibiting and showcasing his favorite builds for all to see and enjoy the true craftsmanship and fabrication they took to create! For more information, visitdeberti.com.
About John Schneider:
John Schneider’s extensive acting career includes the iconic roles of “Bo Duke” on The Dukes of Hazzard, “Jonathan Kent” on Smallville, and currently stars as “Jim Cryer” on the hit series, Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots – the #1 primetime series on cable on Tuesday nights. In addition, he is a celebrated country music artist with 10 albums to his credits and 4 #1 singles on the Billboard Country chart. He recently launched an ambitious 52-song project, The Odyssey, releasing a song a week throughout 2018, as well as three additional albums, Ruffled Skirts, Greatest Hits…Still! and Merry Christmas Baby, totaling 72 songs for the year. John co-founded the Children’s Miracle Network – a non-profit organization that raises funds for children’s hospitals, medical research, and community awareness of children’s health issues. Founded in 1983, they have raised more than $4.7 billion dollars which is distributed directly to a network of 170 hospitals. For more information, visit JohnSchneiderStudios.com.
About Tom Wopat:
Tom Wopat has a diverse program of material as a performer who may be best known for his starring role in the ’80s hit television series The Dukes of Hazzard. Tom is a Two-Time Tony Award Nominee, his extensive career from his television work in the ‘70s and ‘80s to high visibility Broadway roles in 1999’s Annie Get Your Gun and 2008’s Catered Affair (he received Tony Award nominations for both), as well as Chicago, Forty-Second St., Sondheim on Sondheim and more. Tom is an acclaimed recording artist, with a warm, engaging baritone voice. And the more one listens, the better it gets — from the way he finds the heart of a song’s story to his lyrical phrasing and his gently swinging, jazz-infused rhythms. For more information, visit tomwopat.com.
About John Oakes:
John Oakes is an entertainment entrepreneur, executive, and marketer based in Southern California. Oakes founded his music, entertainment, event, and marketing consulting company, Freeze Management, in 2002, while managing rock band Story of the Year. He specializes in producing music festivals, concerts, car shows, motorcycle shows and events, and developing marketing programs benefiting live events, brands, artists, partners, and fans. Oakes has spent 20 years as an entrepreneur in the music industry, representing a diverse group of musicians selling millions of records and tickets worldwide. Oakes, with his company Freeze Management, has also developed effective strategies and implemented successful marketing programs for an assorted group of well-known companies, including Rockstar Energy Drink, Ram Trucks, AT&T Wireless, Samsung Mobile, Ford, Jagermeister, Lucas Oil, Coors Light, Harley-Davidson and many more.
– 2911 Media USA
Morgan Evans was already a star in his native Australia when he crossed two oceans to bring his talents to America. He begins a new life chapter by taking his life experience and turning it into 11 personal songs on his new album, Things That We Drink To.
There’s a youthful, vibrant spirit that runs throughout album in a way that feels celebratory. You feel this on the opening track “American,” a song that turns his coast-to-coast exploration of the place he calls his new home into lyrics, from the red sunset in California to the streets of New Orleans, all expressed over a sunny pop-country melody. This same energy is present on “We Dream” where Evans calls on a chorus of singers to help him share the message that no matter what corner of the world you live in, we all use our dreams to break out of the constrictions placed upon us. “When we look at the world and we don’t like what we see, we close our eyes and we dream,” he chants.
On the title track, “Things That We Drink To,” Evans digs deeper, co-penning a reflective track that was inspired in part by the sudden death of his friend and manager Rob Potts, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2017. Evans uses the song as a way to raise a tall glass to his friend, the memories he’s looking back on and all the life he’s lived in between, offering enough conviction to drive home the emotion. Another pristine track comes in the form of “Dance With Me,” which features gentle background vocals from his wife, Kelsea Ballerini and feels like the most personal moment on the album. Evans doesn’t add any flash to the sweet song, letting the honesty in their voices tell the story. “Feel my heart beat through your body to your feet, if you dance with me, hold me in the dark now until both your eyes can see,” they sing beautifully in harmony.
He rounds out the album with the equally romantic “I Do” and career-establishing hit single, “Kiss Somebody.”
Though Evans constructs Things That We Drink To with common topics frequently used in country songs, he does a sound job of taking these notions and making them feel like his own. From the earnest title track to the thoughtfulness of “Dance With Me,” Evans uses the project as a way to show his growing fanbase what he’s capable of achieving – and they’re bound to want to continue growing alongside him.
Facebook has been very busy with the story surrounding one of South Africa’s best singers, Steve Ashley over the past few months. One day it’s all about Ebeth Loots who has a story to tell in her own words. Then it’s Steve Ashley telling his side of the story, and then it’s the turn of Steve Norman. Then finally there are the fans of Ashley, Loots and Norman who defend their hero. Now it seems there are Beatles involved, what next?
Everyone seems to be the victim, and everyone has their own explanation as to what was said and what was not said. How will the public be able to ascertain who is right and who is wrong, will we ever. It seems that we have to take our favorite and back our favorite and hope that we chose the right and honorable victim. Surly they cannot all three be right for at least one of the three must be wrong?
In the end Steve Ashley would have been history by now if it was not for the fact that he does possess an exceptional voice and stage personality. I could perhaps even say he is up there with the world’s best entertainers. Sadly performing and living in South Africa he will find it almost impossible for a local music company to invest the money in him that International companies would for their artists in the same calibre.
This saga may not damage Steve Ashley’s music career in any way but it could in fact, just make him more popular, as he is being exposed to more and more people through the ongoing Facebook comments, thanks to Ebeth Loots, Steve Norman and his legion of fans. If anyone can shed some light on this to bring it an end, as our market in South Africa is so small compared to the International one, please comment below as we just don’t have room for these kind of “Dog Fights” for lack of a better word.
Here is a question to all our readers, and I know y’all just don’t have the time to comment because y’all are just so very busy, but what if this is all just a huge publicity campaign?
A long time ago
we were on our way to do a national television show
from the PBS main studio in Pittsburgh,
and then to a Nashville recording session.
Tennessee Birdwalk had become a surprise hit.
Sometimes life can be good.
The porter showed us to our compartment and stowed our luggage.
Orlando was sliding away past our windows,
so we settled down, propped our feet on our suitcases,
and waited for snow.
An official voice over the PA system:
“You’re invited to the dining car for the hospitality hour”,
Free coffee and orange juice”.
Misty said, “Let’s live a little”,
and we staggered forward with the sway of the train.
Passing through the club car, the train rounded a curve,
and Misty sat on an elderly man’s lap.
His wife said, “Well, I never” and glared out the window at nothing.
She failed to see the humor in it.
The best part of the dining car
is watching the scenery fly by in sunset colors.
Telephone poles tick away the time,
and up ahead the train whistle adds to the adventure.
At every road and city street, cars are lined up
waiting for us to pass by.
Make way for the train, the biggest thing that moves on land!
We stayed awake most of that night
wiping our breath steam from the train window,
and watching the sparkling towns and moonlit woodlands
fall away behind us.
Washington DC was having a brisk morning
as we left our luxury train
and boarded a coach bound for Pittsburgh,
which wove slowly through the gray land Appalachia.
There were untidy traces of leftover winter,
dingy crusts of snow and slush.
Smoky air had left its film on town and country alike,
dulling the colors.
Trees, houses, factories, cars, dogs, cats, grass, and people
all blend to a drab tannish gray.
Men in work clothes stand in the cold rain
waiting for the train to take them home after another hard day.
A pregnant woman
struggles to get a baby carriage over the curbside slush pile
without dropping her bag of groceries.
Clothes are functional.
No time for style.
A gang of workmen lined up in the aisle waiting to get off,
whisper and snicker at our haircut and clothes.
We must seem outlandish to them.
Misty and I smile at each other, taking no offense.
The train stops and they file off,
lunch boxes under their arms,
heads bowed against the gray rain,
each seeking out the dreary street that leads home.
The train was owned by The Baltimore and Ohio/Chesapeake
and Ohio Railroad,
and the train staff was proud of it:
R.G. Whitling, Conductor; L. Boone, Flagman,
and E.A. Popp, Baggageman.
Their hospitality brought color back to this leg of the journey.
Nature soon followed suit, producing a beautiful rocky river
that wandered for miles through scenic hill country.
Journeys can remain
after destinations fade from memory.
Opryland USA sat in a curve of the Cumberland River now home to a giant mall. It had roller coasters, Southern-themed restaurants and live country music revues. Memories of rides like the Screamin’ Delta Demon are still traded like gold among longtime Nashvillians — as are the rumors of why it all went away.
That was what some listeners asked about in Curious Nashville: Why did Opryland close? The answer is as murky as the waters of the Grizzly River Rampage.
The first thing people assume about the closing of Opryland is that the park was losing money. Recent visitors to Opry Mills Mall buy into that theory: One said he had heard it was “underperforming,” while another visitor assumed it lacked the amount of business to keep it “viable.”
But while attendance had been down slightly in the years leading up to the closing, the man who ran the business for most of its history says money was not the problem.
“Opryland was successful. And it was successful when they shut it down. We weren’t losing money,” said former Gaylord CEO Bud Wendell.
Wendell stepped away from his post early in 1997, and months later, new leadership decided the park should be scrapped in favor of a new fad: shoppertainment.
Here’s comedian Kathy Griffin in a TV ad from 2000 pitching the concept:
Wendell is not shy about his opinion of that decision.
“Dumbest thing I’ve ever seen,” Wendell states. “And the people that were responsible for it, I would think today would look back on it and say, yeah, it was a dumb, dumb decision. But they felt they could get a greater return on that piece of acreage out there if it were a mall as opposed to a theme park — America’s only musical theme park.”
The people responsible for turning Opryland into Opry Mills Mall included the man who filled Wendell’s shoes for a few years, Terry E London. In addition to the mall, London had another vision for Gaylord — corner the market for Christian music online.
The entertainment world was in the middle of an internet land grab and after selling the park, London had Gaylord buy up Christian music dot-coms. But the internet bubble burst and London was pushed out as Gaylord’s fortunes plummeted far below where it had been when the theme park was still open.
At the time of the park’s closing, London told local media that Opryland would not be able to keep up with high tech investments by other parks but its closest competitor, Dollywood has survived. A recent study by the Pigeon Forge-based entertainment complex shows it has an annual economic impact estimated at more than $1.5 billion.
Beyond the monetary benefits to Nashville’s tourism industry that Opryland might have had were it still operating, Wendell says the city really misses another important aspect that came along with the park.
“We hired about 4,000 young people — you may have been one of them — every year. We trained them. We watched carefully over ’em. We had activities for ’em. They had their own ball teams. We had dances.
“And that disappeared just like that. Jobs. For 4,000 youngsters. Nobody ever thought about that. Nobody I guess still ever thinks about it.”
Wendell says at least once a year he’ll hear rumors about some group or other who say they want to build a new park. But nothing has come of it.
At least, not yet.
By Jason Moon Wilkins for Curious Nashville
Dierks Bentley is a marking genius putting out hilarious parody videos to spoof his upcoming headlining tours
Dierks Bentley is nothing short of a marketing genius when it comes to gearing up for a new headlining tour. For his past several headlining tours, the Arizona native has put out hilarious spoof videos to showcase what fans can expect from him and his openers.
On Thursday morning, Jan. 10, Bentley took to the ice for a parody of his 2019 tour, calling it the Burning Man Tour (On Ice). Bentley took to a skating rink, showing off his best figure skating moves. Openers Jon Pardi and Tenille Townes joined the “Burning Man” singer in a clip that promised a tour of magic and majesty.
But this wasn’t the first time Bentley has had his tourmates put their best comedic foot forward. Last year, the singer enlisted Brothers Osborne and LANCO for a trippy man of the woods style clip, where the spent a hazy few days out in the wilderness with a shaman in honor of their Mountain High Tour.
But his first spoof video came in 2015 when Bentley invited Kip Moore, Canaan Smithand Maddie & Tae out on the road. The singer is known for partaking in polar plunges, often bathing in ice baths while out on tour. But this time, he had his tourmates take the jump with him…right off the side of the boat into icy cold water. The prospect of jumping into an ice bath had Moore reconsidering his spot on the Sounds of Summer Tour altogether.
Check out Bentley’s past tour promos above and don’t miss out on his 2019 Burning Man Tour this winter!