Saturday, December 1, 2012

57 Years Ago Today, Rosa Parks Said No

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to obey a bus driver's order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled.

Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.   Listen to her words:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Country Legends LIVE

If you missed our show at the Carson Center Friday night, you missed a real treat. Country Legends Live featured tribute artists to the greats of country music: Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams S and Johnny Cash.

One of my favorites, Mandy Barnett, performed the music of Patsy Cline.  Barnett was the last singer with whom legendary producer Owen Bradley worked.  When you hear her classic and powerful voice, you know why.

An ADDED treat for me and pickers in the audience, she brought along Andy Reiss from the Time Jumpers as her band leader. One of, if not the top session picker in Nashville!  My goodness, what a treat!

Michael Twitty did a great job playing his dad's songs and as an added reat, brought out Emily Portman as Loretta Lynn to sing a couple of duets!

David Church did a great Hank Williams!

And Shawn Barker closed it out as the man in black, Johnny Cash!   Great performer and cool cat, too!

Great show by all!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Help Make Out Our Setlist Friday Night!

We're doing something fun for BBQ on the River! We'll play Friday night at 5:30 on the main stage.  We want YOU to help make out our set list for our show!  Of course, I haven't used a set list for a show in about 15 years, but I will this time, depending on what you want to hear! 

Just let us know on our facebook page for 61 South or my facebook page or tweet us at @Lew_Jetton or @61_South !  We'll tally up the votes and write down the set list, then play it back Friday Night frmo the main stage at the BBQ on the River!  While you're there be sure to enjoy the BBQ! The sale of the BBQ benefits local charities, and have a cold one in the Beer Garden, directly across from the stage! It benefits the Paducah Symphony! In fact, you can "adopt a keg" for the Paducah Symphony and help them, while getting cool beer glasses and beer tickets! It's all good fun, for VERY good causes!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New FREE MP3 Download-61 South Live

Here's another free download of an MP3 of a live performance.  Raw and uncut. One of our favorites, "Homegrown Tomato" recorded live at the Barbeque on the River in Paducah, Kentucky in 2008.

Click Here to download, and enjoy!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Free Download-Lew Jetton & 61 South-LIVE-19 Years Old

I'm happy to start posting, from time to time, some free downloads of some of our live recordings over the years!  Some are originals, and some are our covers of songs.  This is the old song, 19 Years Old, recorded live in 2008 at the Barbeque on the River in Paducah, Kentucky.  Enjoy!

To download the FREE MP3, CLICK HERE!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

With Apologies to Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck Of The Eggner's Ferry Bridge"

Greg Dunker & Dr Jeff at NewsTalk 94.3FM came up with this hilarious spoof of "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald"  Or should we call it the "Rhyme of the Delta Mariner"? Check it out!

Friday, January 27, 2012

As the Giants And Patriots Prepare to Square Off in the Super Bowl....

Here's  a repost of one of my favorite blogs, from Martin Luther King Day, 2008:

My career has certainly taken some twisty turns. I've gone from working most holidays, including 20 of the last 25 Christmases, to getting OFF on holidays, including today's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I didn't know what to do with the time off, but did take a little time to reflect on Dr. King and his "dream."
I remember the 60s and 70s well. I remember the turmoil our country was undergoing. I remember how Dr. King's influence possibly prevented untold violence, yet also still started the movement and change of attitudes and laws.

Three things happened to me today to bring it home. I was headed to town to run some errands when I heard a remarkable story by former Southern California Basketball Coach George Raveling, one of my most admired coaches. I was listening to my MP3's shuffling during my daily bike ride, and up came Champion Jack Dupree's Freedom. Finally, I cheered as the New York Giants made the Super Bowl because my friend, Jerry Reese, the Giants General Manager had attained the highest level of his profession.

I always admired Coach Raveling because he really did teach his players as much about life as he did about basketball. When I used to work with Tennessee-Martin Basketball coach Cal Luther, I remember George Raveling agreeing to a "home and home" with the Skyhawks. That was VERY rare for a small school like UT-Martin, but Raveling thought it would be educational for the UTM kids to come to Los Angeles, and likewise for HIS players/kids to visit the rural South. He was right. The UTM players got to experience LA on their visit, and the USC players, including Harold Minor, who was a highly touted college player at the time, came to West Tennessee and learned a little about life between the coasts. What I didn't know until today, was that Raveling has the original draft of King's "I Have A Dream" speech. I heard Raveling interviewed on ESPN radio. Raveling was there and volunteered as a security guard. It's a facinating story! One of the most interesting things which came out of his story was the revelation that the "I Have A Dream" concept was ad-libbed. The great Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson was behind them on the podium and started yelling, "Tell em about your dream, Martin," and THAT'S how the concept came about. Later, Raveling says Martin met with President Kennedy and he kept saying how much he admired that "I Have A Dream" speech and the press seized upon that as the title of the speech.

Champion Jack Dupree has long been one of my favorites. His "Freedom" is one of my favorite songs. It talks about Martin Luther King, Jr and how he led the way for racial freedom and equality. He sings about how children learn to play the black and white keys on the piano to make "harmony." It's truly inspirational.

I've known Jerry Reese for years. I first met him when he was an assistant coach at UT Martin in the 80s. I was always struck by how dedicated, organized and hard working he was. Later, when I met my future wife, Bridget, I found she was a classmate of his at Lake County High School in Tiptonville, Tennessee. Like me, she thought the world of Jerry. As a quarterback, Jerry led Lake County to a state championship. All the kids in school loved him. To be around him, you couldn't help it. They voted him Mr. Lake County High School! Briggy told me how at that point, a teacher (& in this case I use that term loosely) called some of the kids in and warned them that "they better think about what they were doing" by voting Jerry Mr. LCHS. The kids wound up upset that a teacher would even raise that issue. Well, they DID think about what they were doing and that's why they thought there was no better candidate for Mr. Lake County High School than Jerry. As the clock wound down in Sunday's NFC Championship game, and the Giants punched their ticket to the Super Bowl, I thought to myself, " Yep..he's proven himself as Mr. LCHS again!" Jerry wasn't the 1st African-American GM in the NFL, and he'd be the first to say it shouldn't be an issue in his case. As usual, of course, he's right, and that's the greatest tribute to Dr. King's legacy. Because of Dr. King, it's not that big of a big deal. Dr. King's work opened the door for Coach Raveling, Jack Dupree, Jerry Reese and millions of others. We haven't achieved the totality of "The Dream" yet, but we're on the way.

Gosh, I hope the Giants beat the Patriots.....

(Of course the Giants DID beat the Patriots to win the Super Bowl.  We sent an email to Jerry and he promptly replied "WE DID IT."  He's the best. Go Giants this time around again! There are just a few people I hold in the highest regard possible.  Jerry Reese is one of them.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Be Memorable!

Be Memorable!
What To Look For In A Great Communicator, Part 6

“Personality is the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights and the orchestra pit into that big black space where the audience is.”  Mae West

These days there are so many choices for viewers or listeners.  You need to be memorable.  You need to stand apart from the crowd of robotic, bland anchors and reporters.  After all, for the most part, you’re all doing a lot of the same stories and using the same technology.  Of course you need strive to be the better writer and storyteller, but just as important is being a great personality which makes you memorable and endearing to the viewers and listeners, and leave a lasting impression with them.  A bad personality or lack of one can obviously have the opposite effect.

About a year after I’d stepped away from local television news, a recently hired reporter approached me at a restaurant and told me, “I wish I’d had the chance to work with you!  Every time I’m out in public, I get asked about you more than anyone else at the station.”  It was a great compliment, but it also reinforces the lasting impression you can have on the public by cultivating the kind of personality which gives viewers and listeners the feeling that you’re someone they trust, someone they’d like as a friend and someone who entertains them.  For those with a great personality, it simply means letting your real personality shine through.

Weather is a great way to showcase one’s personality.  Over the course of a year, there are going to be several severe weather situations, but the vast majority of the time, there isn’t.  That’s when you can use your personality to give viewers a reason to watch. That’s especially true these days with so many choices in getting the forecast, from The Weather Channel, to the internet and smart phones.  Your personality is your personal brand.  Make it a good one! 

“Cute is when your personality shines through your looks. Like, when you see someone's personality in the way they walk and you just feel like hugging them every time you see them.”  Natalie Portman

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Be A "People Person"

Be a “People Person.” 
What To Look For In A Great Communicator, Part 5

“The way you see people is the way you treat them.´ Zig Ziglar

If you don’t genuinely like people, you’ll have a hard time in this business.  It really helps to be extroverted.  Over the years, I’ve worked with a few anchors and reporters who actually hated meeting viewers who recognized them.  Some of them even went so far as to “disguise” themselves when going out in public, as if they were movie stars. That's silly.  Others were simply rude to viewers who approached them.  This creates a nightmare of “word of mouth” advertising for yourself and your business.  These days, it’s even more dangerous as offended viewers can “broadcast” their feelings to hundreds or thousands on social media. For many of the viewers, they feel like they know you and what kind of person you are.  Meeting you is a big deal to them.  It might be the only impression they ever get of you.  Make it a positive one!  The viewers are your customers.  Leaving them with a positive experience creates loyal customers, who will in turn, give you GREAT “word of mouth” advertising.  I always approach each meeting with a viewer, listener or client as if they’re wearing a shirt which says “Treat me like I am important!”  It’s the same philosophy Mary Kay Ash instilled in her employees.  It’s simply because they ARE important!   And who knows, you might learn something yourself, or make a new friend!

"We build too many walls and not enough bridges."  Isaac Newton

Monday, January 16, 2012

Be Calm During the Storm.

Be calm during the storm.  
What To Look For in a Great Communicator, part 4 

“A man has no more character than he can command in a time of crisis.”  Ralph W. Sockman

One of the best compliments I ever received from a veteran news anchor during a severe weather situation was, “The crazier it got, I noticed the calmer you became.”  In live broadcasting, there will always be fluid situations where there is no script and things are changing by the second.  During these times, it’s easy for the mind to race and therefore not be able to process and access changing conditions on the fly, and then communicate them effectively.  During these times, I consciously tried to slow down my thought process and effectively triage the bits of information coming in. The same holds true during a PR or any other business crisis.   By remaining calm, it helps one more effectively disseminate the information and also reassures the audience during a crisis.  The audience, the public and the client needs to know your organization is in control, and calmly assessing the situation, and acting upon in their best interests.
“Crises refine life. In them you discover what you are.”
Allan K. Chalmers 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Deal With Deadlines

 What To Look For In A Great Communicator, Part 3

Deal with Deadlines!
“I am one of those people who thrive on deadlines, nothing brings on inspiration more readily than desperation.”  Harry Shearer

In any business there are deadlines.  In the media, there are several, every day.  How you handle them has a lot to do with whether a broadcast or project is a success, or a train wreck.  Of course, the biggest enemy of meeting deadlines is simple procrastination.  Take care of tasks as soon as possible and you’ll have less to worry about as deadlines near.  As deadlines near, instead of worrying about everything you have to do, prioritize your tasks and concentrate on ONE at a time.  As you complete the individual tasks, you’ll one by one, finish the larger project on time.  In the end, if you’re prepared, don’t procrastinate, break your tasks down into steps and you STILL don’t make your deadline, don’t worry about it.  You did all you can do.  Move on to the next deadline, which in the media, is not far away!

“Without deadlines and restrictions I just tend to become preoccupied with other things.”
Val Kilmer

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Have a Love For Writing

What to look for in a Great Communicator, part 2

Have A Love For Writing
“The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can't help it.”
Leo Rosten

I’ve never tired of writing and disseminating information.  The best communicators also share this quality. I spend a good portion of my day writing, whether it’s news stories, business proposals, on my blog, facebook or twitter.  In social media, I usually write more informational pieces than simply “what I’m doing.”  Part of the reason for that is my personal life is rather mudane!  The main reason is I like writing things of value to the readers/viewers, whether it's the latest news, weather forecasts or other useful or interesting information. While many might know me mostly as a meteorologist, I spent many years as both a meteorologist AND a news anchor/reporter and won awards in Tennessee and Kentucky for reporting and news writing.    The ability to write well transfers to the ability to speak effectively in delivering stories on-air, and the ability to write well is practiced often…every day!  You not only have to have the ability, though.  You must also love it!

“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”   Catherine Drinker Bowen

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Be A Lifelong Student

What to look for in a Great Communicator, Part1

Be a lifelong student.  

"Every mind was made for growth, for knowledge, and its nature is sinned against when it is doomed to ignorance."   William Ellery Channing

Have a thirst for knowledge.  Have a love for reading.   During my career, I’ve worked in all aspects of broadcast news: as a news anchor, reporter, meteorologist, producer, camera person and news director.  All along the way, I’ve always been interested and eager to learn new things, whether it be the history of a certain place or person, how or why something happens or better techniques for forecasting.  An inquisitive mind makes one a better journalist, scientist, businessman and so much more.  I’ll never tire of learning and the best communicators share that trait.  The best journalists, meteorologists, business people I learned from, also were always fascinated by learning.

“We have an opportunity for everyone in the world to have access to all the world's information. This has never before been possible. Why is ubiquitous information so profound? It's a tremendous equalizer. Information is power.”    Eric Schmidt

What To Look For In A Great Communicator

I’ve been blessed throughout my long career in communications to learn from some of the best.  What works & what doesn’t.  What’s a good idea & what’s a bad idea.  I’ve learned how to handle different types of personalities in the newsroom, reporting in the field, in business & in the public. 

On the flip side, after several years in the business, I was able to pass on some of what I learned to young reporters, anchors, etc.  This helped them develop their skills faster if they took the advice to heart, since they could avoid some of the mistakes I made early on in my career.  It makes me so proud to see them move up in the business!  I still hear from many of them to this day. It only makes sense that a lot of these traits also transfer over to business or whatever field someone chooses to enter.  Over the next little while, I’ll post some of what I recognized to be the best traits found in the best!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The End of Time in 2012

I'm really looking forward to 2012, even though The Mayan calendar says this year will be the "end of time." Maybe you even saw the movie "2012" based on the Mayan prediction?  The poles reverse, massive earthquakes and natural disasters, and then all humans unlucky enough to NOT be on the latest Ark, die.

I'm not so sure.   First of all, the ones who made the prediction didn't even survive long enough to explain it or back it up.  Maybe they were too preoccupied with human sacrifices to plan for the future?  At any rate, I always start every day with the same assumption:  I'm either going to work & have a great day, or going to meet Jesus.  Either way, it's a wonderful day!

Secondly, if you go by ancient writings, even the good book says no one shall know the day or time.  That's been the problem with those who have purported to know the exact day of the end of time, or the day of Jesus' return.  If you report it, it simply CAN'T come true!  This has been going on since the New Madrid Quakes of the early 1800's.

Here's what NASA's top scientists say:

"Remember the Y2K scare? It came and went without much of a whimper because of adequate planning and analysis of the situation. Impressive movie special effects aside, Dec. 21, 2012, won't be the end of the world as we know. It will, however, be another winter solstice.

Much like Y2K, 2012 has been analyzed and the science of the end of the Earth thoroughly studied. Contrary to some of the common beliefs out there, the science behind the end of the world quickly unravels when pinned down to the 2012 timeline."

NASA also has a great website with a FAQ about 2012.  Check it out! 

My suggestion is to bide the time until the end of time by loving one another & helping one another, whether the world ends tomorrow, or in another million years.

God Bless

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goals For The New Year

 My sincerest wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you and yours!

As we ring in 2012, we say goodbye to 2011, a year which wasn't the best.  A terrible economy hurt so many families, including mine, so we gratefully turn the page with optimism 2012 brings an upswing.  Maybe I'll have extra helpings of black eyed peas, cabbage and ham this New Year's Day.

It's also time to set goals for the coming year.  There are the standards: lose weight, work out more, among others.  Mine are to continue striving to be a better person, a more understanding person & a giving person. 

Music wise, I plan to cut back.  While working at the Telethon of Stars this past November, I was chatting with a friend of mine who is a professional musician.  He was shocked to find I played more shows than HIM over the last 2 years.  That's in addition to holding a demanding full-time job at which I work 50-60 hours per week.  Maybe that's why, during the past 2 years, I've been fatigued from July until my annual "break" from playing, during the holidays.  In 2012, I plan to cut the number of shows in half in order to spend more quality time with my family.

In my professional life, my goal is to continue to improve, learn and help as many people as I can.  In that sense, I don't worry as much about specific numbers, as much as I just strive to do as much as I can to be a positive influence in encouraging others.

Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.  ~Mother Teresa