This weekend was full of lessons for me. I was honored to be the Parade Grand Marshal of the 62nd Annual Vinton Dogwood Festival in my hometown of Vinton, Virginia. In addition to riding on a float in the front of  the parade, I also got to perform with my former band mates (and fellow North Carolina Music Hall of Fame Members), the Band of Oz.  I even saw my first manager, Bruce Dowdy and my musical mentor, Tommy Thompson and lots of friends and family including my mother who actually lives ninety miles away in Staunton, Virginia.


A week prior, I called my dear friend, Nita Echols.  I explained that my schedule was not going to allow me to make the round trip to Staunton to bring my mother to the event.  She offered to ask around and see if she could find someone.  Shortly afterward, she called and said she and a friend would go and get my mother so she could attend the festival.

If I had not made the call, my mother may not have been able to attend.


Performing with a band used to be second nature for me. It was what I did then, but not so much anymore. So a few days in advance, I got out the set list, listened to the songs, wrote out lyrics and started the process of re-learning the songs. In fact, on the day of the show, I walked out in the backyard with earbuds, singing the songs at the top of my lungs.  (I’m sure the neighbors are now convinced I am crazy!) The members of the band prepared, too and we got together before the show and rehearsed  a few times just to be sure.

Because we took the time to be prepared the show came off really well and the audience enjoyed it.


Although this weekend was incredibly great for me, it really wasn’t about me at all.  The truth is, it was more about the way the people in my hometown, my friends and family, and my former band mates are all connected through our shared experiences and joy.  They love and respect me (as I do them) and I need to be sure to never, ever forget that.


Simple. If you are an artist or songwriter with the dream and desire to move your career forward:

Make the call.  Call me and let’s make a plan for you.

Be prepared. Do your homework and know who you are and where you want to go. #TakeTheTwenty will help.

Be humble. No artist or songwriter ever did it all by himself. Everyone needs the support of others.  Maybe I can be that support for you.

But, then again, you’ll never know if you don’t follow Lesson Number One.