Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blues Festivus

Even though it's Christmas time, believe it or not, we're working on Blues Festivals. The Blues Festivals this coming Spring, Summer and yes, even next Fall are looking at lineups and going through piles of CD's.

Some of those CD's are mine! We're working hard to set the lineup of festivals at which we'll appear in 2010. So far, we're set to appear at several, including the prestigious Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the Sparta Blues Festival in Sparta, Illinois, the Shrimp Festival in Golconda, Illinois and more, but we're trying for several others.

If you'd like us to appear at a festival near you, let us know and let the local organizers know too. We don't get the chance to play too many out of town festivals, but we do like to play a few each year at which we've never appeared, just to experience a different festival in a different place. It's always a chance to meet new friends and see places we've never been while doing what we love.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Best Friend I Never Met

My wife, Bridget used to ask me, "Who's this guy who keeps sending you jokes on the email?" "Oh that's my buddy, Dennis from Memphis," I'd answer. We never met in person, but we emailed back and forth for more than 10 years. I guess that's the way things are done in these digital days in which we live. That's good and bad. Bad in the fact we never met. Good in the fact we never would have, if not for e-mail and message boards. Everytime I made it to one of the blues festivals nearby, Dennis had a conflict, and everytime he made it somewhere I might have gone, I had a schedule conflict, so we never got to shake hands and meet in person.

The other day, I sent Dennis an email, and received a response he had passed away suddenly of a heart attack. Needless to say, I was shocked, just like so many other blues music enthusiasts in the Mid South. There was a nice article in the Commercial Appeal.

For so many years, we emailed back and forth about his beloved Memphis Tigers and of course, the Blues. He was always trying to book me to play in Memphis, but I always had scheduling conflicts with clubs closer to home, which paid better than those on Beale Street, and other festivals. Of course, now, I wish I had taken him up on his offer, at least once. Nevermind the money. I wish I had done it for a friendship.

Maybe one day, we'll meet in the great Blues hereafter. In the meantime, I'll remember our friendship and will try not to put off any more opportunities to spend time with my friends. Friends and family are truly the most important things on this earth.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Feel like Jammin'

We've been blessed to jam with so many friends over the years, but I was thinking the other day, who would I love to have jam with us. Several came to mind, but many of whom you might not have heard. I guess I should, first of all, point out the etiquette of jamming. The unwritten rule is that a picker/singer should NEVER invite themselves. One should only do it if the band invites them. We have so many folks who invited themselves to jam with us. A few promised that they were "great" singers or players, and of course were either lying or thought they were so much greater than they were. Sooooooo....rule of thumb....if I don't know you or have heard you.....don't's in bad taste anyway. Here's a few who have an open invitation:

I thought of Paul Size of The Red Devils. Now the Red Devils flamed out a long time ago, but in their time, they were awesome. Size was "The Kid." The Red Devils go back to LA in the time of one of my favorite bands from that era, The Blasters. In fact, I think the drummer used to be in the Blasters.

There's always a place on our bandstand for Lou Ann Barton, and/or the great Derek O'Brien. I actually met O'Brien once and he was awesome. He told me, "any friend of Snooky's (Pryor) is a friend of mine!"

I've been blessed to play Eddie Pennington's festival in Princeton and have known him for years. He's such a dear person, but dang it, I've never hauled him up onstage with us, even though Alonzo, his son (another extremely talented picker) has jammed with us. Eddie's is at least 200% more talented than I'll ever be and such a dear soul. Several years ago, at the Chicago Blues festival, at Andy's Jazz Club, Dave Spector's drummer came up to me and started talking and when he found out I was from Western KY, the first thing he asked me was, "Do you know Eddie Pennington?" Whenever someone asks me, "Who's the beat guitar player in Western Kentucky, I don't hesitate...Eddie."

Also, Eddie's buddy, whom I've never had the pleasure to meet: Tommy Emmanuel.

I think jammin' with Nick Curran would be a hoot!

Gosh, I'd love to jam with Hubert Sumlin. I met him once and he's such a nice person, along with being a legendary player!

I can't leave out my fellow Gibson Countian, Scotty Moore. One of my biggest thrills was when he signed my guitar!

There are so many more. I love jamming and I love spontaneity. To me, that's what music is all about.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Protection Can Hurt Sometimes

We just had a gig cancel. Now I've had gigs cancel before for various reasons: sickness, groom backed out of wedding, plumbing problems at club, etc, but this one was a first. The person who hired us called me and told me was so sorry, but he had to cancel us because he was being threatened by the Performance Rights Organizations, including BMI, ASCAP & SESAC. They were demanding thousands of dollars for the rights to have music from their artists played at his venue. This is not something new which is happening, but it's the first time it's happened to me.

In these tough economic times, the performance rights organizations are more vigorously protecting their artists by trying to "go after" the places where music is played, be it by live band, DJ or even radio. I can understand that. On the other hand, they're choking off the chances that starving or lesser known artists have to play music, hone their craft and make a little pocket change.

I have to think this aggressive campaign is aimed more at getting additional revenue for Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks & The Rolling Stones (not to mention BMI, ASCAP & SESAC) than it is for Lew Jetton. Ironically, I'm SIGNED TO BMI, and they've helped me in the past, but by the same token, I have a house payment coming up, and I could have used that money. I know they're "protecting" me, but it hurts the pocketbook.

Monday, July 20, 2009

1 Wedding, & a Funeral, and a little Blues

I haven't been able to blog as much lately. It's my busy time of the year. Lot's of gigs and busy with my "day job" too. This time of year, I'm trying to make hay while the sun shines, so I'm usually working both jobs as hard as I can. Sometimes playing on Fridays and/or Saturdays. Sometimes working all day and then playing that night. It's tiring sometimes, but I love it.

I'm at the point of my life where I start going to more funerals than weddings. It's tough to say goodbye and realize that my time is getting nearer, but that's the reality. That's life. It's beautiful, but it's also fleeting. It makes me want to tell my wife, even more, how much I love her. It makes me want to tell my family, even more, how much I love them. Also, for some reason, it makes me want to create (music) more and more. I'm going to try to do just that. I know that eventually, my voice will be silenced.

I've been to several funerals/visitations this year to say goodbye, and to one wedding. This past weekend, my beautiful niece Jodi's wedding was really nice. I know it was tough in a way, because she lost her dad a few weeks ago. Her dad, Johnny, was a high school friend of mine, who was married to my sister for several years. He was only a couple of years older than me and growing up, I always thought Johnny was the coolest. He definately marched to his own beat. At the reception, Jodi asked my father to "step in" for her late dad for the father-daughter dance. I thought this was so perfect, as we almost lost my dad a few months ago. He fought and fought and rebounded, much to the astonishment of doctors who didn't know him as well as we did. For a long time, I've thought my dad was the coolest too. This just proved it one more time.

Weddings and funerals are symbolically, beginnings and endings, but in many ways, they are both times to celebrate life, and love. In between, we need to celebrate and appreciate life and love, too.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Playin & Workin

Played the Spring Into Summer Festival in Oak Grove, KY (near Fort Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne!) Had great time. Beautiful amphitheater! Later, did an interview on WKDZ.

Afterward, ran into my old HS buddy, Ken Nance, a retired Screaming Eagle himself! We shared some BBQ and some memories! Great day!

(Photos courtesy WKDZ, Rachel Vickrey)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

Rain played a big factor in the Lowertown Art and Music Festival as hard rains on Sunday really hurt attendance. In fact, we, along with several other bands were told we didn't have to play if we chose. Some bands packed it in and left town. Not me. I played on! I had driven up from Fulton and to be honest, wouldn't have felt right cashing the check if I had not held up my end of the contract. Also, we had two small groups who had driven up from Tennessee to Paducah, just to hear us play, so I didn't want to let them down.

Right before our set, I had a conversation with Nathan Blake Lynn, a very talented songwriter/singer who plays solo, and with the popular band "Bawn in the Mash." They had already taken down the stage on which he was to perform, so he asked if he could do a few tunes while we set up. I thought it was a great idea, plus I wanted to hear him play some of his songs, so it worked out great.

It's always tough with the weather this time of year. Kinda weird in that the culprit this time is a pesky low pressure center to our west which has been moving at a snail's pace and keeping us in relatively the same pattern for several days. Hopefully, it'll be out of the way by Friday, when we play at the Viceroy Amphitheater in Oak Grove, Kentucky for the Spring into Summer Festival.

Found out today, I'll be back at the Lion's Club Telethon of Stars in November. My 20th year there. Where does the time go!?! It's a super good time and a super cause. One of the beneficiaries of the Telethon is Easter Seals Western Kentucky, which we at PATS work with. They're fantastic folks and perform a fantastic service and I couldn't be happier than to play my heart out to help them.

Nice article on the 20th anniversary of Hot August Blues!

I keep getting hit up with the question of when I'm going to put out another CD. The answer is, as soon as I can. I just about have enough material to do it, however, the economy is pretty tight right if I have to tell you that! I'm planning and hoping though. I still have some stories to tell.

I wish "Current" would ask me what's on MY Ipod! It might be surprising!

God Bless you all!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

When I Need To Recharge, I Head To The Delta

I'm from West Tennessee. I remember the cotton fields from my childhood. When I need rejuvenation, that's where I go back to.

I seek out Junior:

I seek out R.L.:

I seek out Paul "Wine" Jones:

I seek out Big Jack Johnson:

And of course, my mentor in the blues, the late, great Snooky Pryor. God Bless you Snooky, I miss you so much.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Looking for My Fav Girl Rockers

There are some who think being a rocker is a guy thing. I'm not one of them...I have plenty of favorite girl rockers and bluzers!

I saw Lisa Loeb several years ago, and I think she's a great songwriter.

I really like Sarah McLachlan, even though she's Canadian!

Speaking of Canadians, I guess my favorite is Joni Mitchell. Here's a great clip of her with Pat Metheny and the late Jaco Pastorius. I've never seen her live, but would love to.

One of my favorites over the years is Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. "Brass in Pocket" is my favorite Pretenders song.

Another of my favorites is Bonnie Raitt. Her concert is one of the best I've ever seen. When I saw her sing this song, you could have heard a pin drop in the place. She's also one of my favorite slide players.

One of my favorite Blues Gals is Candye Kane. I had the fortune to meet her several years sharing a bill with Marcia Ball and Kim Wilson. She's great, and this is a great clip with Steve Wilcox on guitar and the great Sue Palmer on the piano.

I also like Susan Tedeschi and would enjoy seeing her live sometime.

And there are many, many more where these gals came from.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tis The Season

It's almost Festival Season and even with the economy in such bad shape, I'm excited. I know many of the festivals are working on limited budgets this year, but perhaps they'll give everyone a chance to get away for an inexpensive day trip, listen to some great music and forget about the economy for a few hours. It's the same for me. I get to reconnect with old friends, both onstage and off, and listen to some artists who I've never heard and always wanted to hear live!

I'll begin at Alto Vineyards, Saturday May 9th at their Spring Wine Festival. I always love playing at Alto Vineyards, even though it's a long gig (5 hours). Someone once asked me if I could play a certain song there and I responded, "I sure can! In fact, at 5 hours, I'll play everything I know, and several songs I don't know!"

Sunday May 24th, I'll play the Lowertown Arts Festival in Paducah. It's a really unique festival, with all kinds of music. Saturday's lineup is great too with avant garde bluegrass outfit Bawn in the Mash and an artist I've really wanted to see perform, Amy LaVere, from Memphis. She's a very unique talent who has an unforgettable voice and plays upright bass. I'm so thrilled they booked her for the Lowertown Arts Festival, so I'm planning on coming up Saturday to see her set before we play on Sunday.

Friday, May 29th, we'll play in Oak Grove, Kentucky at the Spring Into Summer Festival. It's scheduled at their new amphitheater, and has a lot to do for the whole family. We've never played at the Oak Grove/Ft. Campbell area and look forward to it!

Friday, June 26th, we'll be in East Prairie, Missouri for the Mainstreet Festival, which is held in conjunction with the "Tour de Corn." Oddly enough, my brother, an avid cyclist, has ridden in the Tour de Corn several times and may again this year. I might ride in it this year too, as I love riding, but I don't go very fast! I'm hoping that East Prairie's native son and my buddy, Reid Howell can make it!

Thursday night, August 27th, I'll be back at the Hot August Blues Festival. It's the 20th Anniversary and they've got a good lineup! I'll be especially interested in hearing, for the second time, Eddie Turner, who I heard at the Chicago Blues Festival a few years back, and Lil Dave Thompson. I've seen Reba Russell several times over the years, and she always smokes em. I even remember her from Reba and the Portables in the 80's Memphis music scene! Turner goes way back. In fact, he even took Tommy Bolin's place in the legendary band Zephyr "back in the day."

In September, we'll be at the Cache River Basin Winery for a wine festival, and then September 19th, we'll open for Ronnie McDowell at the Old King Coal Festival in West Frankfort, Illinois. That will be a hoot!

Saturday, September 26th will be a real hoot! BBQ on the River and we'll share a bill with one of the hottest and longest running Blues bands around, The Beat Daddy's. It'll be great to see my buddy Larry and watch them play again. This is gonna be fun! Then it'll be time to take a break, watch some football and eat some wings! It'll be a fun ride!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Still Watch American Idol

I still watch American Idol, although I'm terribly busy, what with the quilt show week coming up and all. Here are my favorites and handicap thoughts following "Movie Night":

I love Lil Rounds voice, but she does need to do a better job of making songs "her own." She really needs Melinda Doolittle's "song advisors." She has so much promise, but sadly has gotten worse as the show has gone on. If ever someone needs to get her groove on, it's Lil Rounds, because she has the chops.

Danny is a great singer with a great back story. I'd like to see him do well! I think he has a great voice and does great interpretations! He didn't do great tonight, but everyone stunk it up tonight. He was lukewarm in a sea of ice water.

Adam is very dramatic, flamboyant, creative and yes, very gay. Could he be the first flamboyantly gay winner? It will depend on the teenage girls. Will they buy in? Can they "cross over" enough to "the other side?" Cher thinks so! "Ground control to Major Tom?" I'm not so sure, even with his "raging" reviews from the judges.

Matt, the Justin Timberlake clone of the competition is not bad, but is he carving out his own niche? He wants so bad to be a rocker, but his stripes, which he cannot change, are so 'N Sync.

I like Allison, but hate teenagers who have already made more money than I will in my lifetime. Is that so wrong? What a dilemma!

Chris is not bad! I hope he doesn't get voted off. Anoop is terrible. Please, "no mas!" He needs to go.

I must say, "Movie Night" was a tremendous disappointment. I mean, TWO Bryan Adams songs? Even Bridget said, "This makes me want to listen to Metallica." I'll never forget my interview with Peter Fonda, one of the favorites I ever did, when he said how honored he was when he saw where Quentin Tarantino said "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" was his all time favorite movie. How sad Quentin must be, that his night, "Movie Night" was such a dud. Even "Vote For The Worst" seems torn. It is a much more clear cut case that David Alan Grier should not have been voted off "Dancing with the Stars" in favor of cocaine aficionado albeit Hall of Famer, Lawrence Taylor. If there was a way, they ALL should be voted off tonight. I'm still waiting for "Blues Night," "Rockabilly Night," "Jazz Night" or even "Sinatra Night."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Black Panthers!

I have never seen, in person, a tornado, a UFO (well maybe once, but from a distance), Bigfoot or a Black Panther (except for Bobby Seale on TV years ago). That's why it depresses me that members of my own family have seen the elusive black panthers in West Tennessee on more than one occasion. I just might have to make it a mission, because I KNOW they're there!

So far, the only black cat I see regularly is Buckwheat, my pet cat, but even with that one, there are days which go by without sighting the elusive cat, and it's IN MY HOUSE. Buckwheat's a strange cat, but certainly not large or legendary.

Although the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says there's no such thing, others in West Tennessee keep track of the sightings. They're black cats, but much larger than house cats. They're reported to be larger than a mid size dog. There are a few photos of them, but not many. TWRA says they are cryptid.

I don't think so, and I have 2 witnesses in my own family. My brother, an avid bike rider, spotted one in a ditch beside the road one evening, and my little sister spotted one on at least one occasion in a field behind our parents house, near Trenton, TN. I tend to believe my sister on these things since she's a PhD in Zoology. Both said it was no housecat. They're not willing to say it was a puma or mountain lion, or jaguar or leopard, but it was MUCH bigger than a house cat. They said it was slightly larger than a mid-sized dog.

I told both of them to do something I always do: have a camera. I always have a digital camera or a cellphone with camera at all times, just in case I see that darn cat.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Divorce is so sad, even if it's right.

Let's pause to reminisce on the divorce of Billy Gillespie and the University of Kentucky. One of my favorite columnists, Pat Forde had a great comparison of Kentucky's fast courtship and marriage to Gillespie to a Las Vegas wedding.....which rarely is lasting. Gillespie wasn't a good fit coach-wise and social-wise with the Kentucky fans. It was doomed from the start. I can't believe Gillespie had never signed his contract, which cost him millions when it came to "buy-out" time.

Now, for who's the replacement. Oodles of names have surfaced:

Billy Donovan: He says he's definitely not going to UK, but Nick Saban said he was definitely not going to Alabama. He was the one Kentucky really wanted prior to hiring Gillespie. Slight resemblance to Eddie Munster, but is a proven winner.

John Calipari: He's got the perfect gig in Memphis, but would he be lured to be so close to his buddy, Pitino and leave Beale Street?

Bruce Pearl: Forget it. Good coach, but too Orange.

Mike Anderson: Forget it. Good coach, but too close to Nolan Richardson, and Kentucky fans don't forget.

Jamie Dixon: Interesting. Good coach, too.

Mark Few: Got it made in the Pacific Northwest,therefore tough to lure.

John Pelphrey: LOVED in Kentucky, but only won 2 games in the SEC last year. Strong resemblance to Ichabod Crane, but has shown potential.

Sean Miller: Interesting, but not quite big time enough.

Jay Wright: Interesting, but also not big time enough, yet.

Rick Pitino: Forget it. Been there. Done That.

Travis Ford: He's the one if Donovan turns it down. Kentucky boy, Kentucky connections, AAU connections, understands what is expected in Kentucky besides winning the National Championship every year and everywhere he's been, he improved. Young, but driven. He made me a believer, from Eastern Kentucky to U Mass to Oklahoma State. I think he'll be the one at the end of the day.

Personally, I think UK already had someone in mind and had at least "feelers" out to gauge their interest weeks ago, just in case the Wildcats didn't make the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Not being mentioned among the elite programs in the nation is unacceptable to the Big Blue Nation.

That's the same reason Pat Summitt got her team off the bus and put them though a grueling practice hours after losing in the Women's NCAA Tournament. She won't stand for losing. On second thought....maybe Kentucky should think about hiring her! On third thought, maybe that's not such a good idea. She'd be too tough on the boys.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One Liners on a Wednesday

Lunch at Broussard's today in Cape Girardeau and it was awesome and I'd love to play there someday.

I think Dickie Nutt will do a great job at SEMO and it's great to have a Nutt back in the area.

I still watch American Idol and I hope Lil Rounds wins.

I think Billy Gillespie is realizing he's not at Texas A&M anymore because at A&M his success was measured on how many games he won while at Kentucky it's measured on how few you lose.

I think the Memphis-Missouri sweet sixteen game is gonna be fun to watch.

I think Jay Cutler's 2 greatest weapons are his arm, which works for him and his brain, which works against him.

I think Kentucky's raising it's tax on cigarettes is sadly, another tax on the poor.

I think Layne Kiffin needs to win big early at Tennessee to back up his mouth.

I think Union's winning the NAIA Nat'l Women's championship is great, although I miss coaches Dr. David Blackstock and Lisa Caudill-Hutchens.

I'm amazed at my dad and his recovery and can't wait to go crappie fishing with him.

I'm saddened PATS didn't get the AQS Show and pray everything goes smoothly.

I love Elixir strings although I wish they didn't cost so much.

I wish Paul Reed Smith would endorese me cause I'd love to proudly play one of their guitars.

I still love it when people e-mail me for my forecast and take on upcoming weather events.

I gotta work out more and more and more and I guess that's getting older.

My brain is creating so much energy, it's killing my hair folicles and that's tragic, especially when it's cold.

I'm glad the Titans didn't try to get Terrell Owens, but I wouldn't mind Tory Holt.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back to the Bars Again

Playing in bars is often entertaining for us pickers. Playing in bars is sometimes irritating for us pickers. Playing in bars is ALWAYS hard work for us pickers (equipment is HEAVY and for some terrible reason...the heavier it is...the better it sounds). Playing in bars makes us "tight" as a band. Every time we think we've "seen it all" playing in a bar, something happens we've never seen before.

I don't "hang out" in bars very often, unless I'm playing myself or seeing someone else I like play. Sometimes bars are entertaining for us, though. Like the time I saw the condom machine in the bathroom with the homemade note, "Save $400 a month, Pay the 75 cents!" I guess I'm attracted to playing in bars for several reasons: I can stretch out a little more and play a few songs that I would never play at a festival. I can interact with the audience a little more. I have the time to play a wide range of things. We NEVER work off a "set list" as it kills spontaneity.

When you see us play in a bar, we play our stuff, but we also play things you want! It may be "Mustang Sally" but it might also be Led Zeppelin or Johnny Cash....done our way, of course. We always come back to the blues, but we might swerve a little. If you come to see us at a bar and you request my got it. If you request others.....if we know it, we'll play it. If we don't know it....we might try to play it anyway. Sometimes, it's magical. Sometimes it's a train wreck. That's the fun of it all. At a festival, it's the blues, and mostly our originals. Folks who come to see us at festivals usually come to hear us specifically, so we try to please. They came to hear the blues, nothing but the blues and lot's of times, songs of ours they heard on XM Radio. At're usually talking about a 5 hour job. They get it ALL!

What are the most requested songs/covers in bars? (for us)
Brown Eyed Girl
Mustang Sally
Play That Funky Music
Old Time Rock n Roll
Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Home Chicago
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Jimi Hendrix

What are the weirdest requests we gotten?
"Incense and Peppermints"
"Walk Like an Egyptian"
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
Psychedelic Furs
*we didn't even try any of these

You won't see me drink much in a bar. Like I told Glenn at Fat Moe's once, "I'm not here to get drunk or get women. I'm here to do a show for you and them, and get paid. I'm here to do a job. A FUN job.....but a job, and I DO have fun." I love playing in bars. Now excuse me.....I need to learn "Funky Cold Medina" and "Baby Got Back."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ides of March Madness

I'm not a big fan of winter, but one of the highlights for me is the NCAA Tournament! I always look forward to it. Although I don't pay all that much attention to the regular season, I love the tournament. I fill out my bracket and try to watch every game. I love pulling for my favorite teams and the underdogs! Bridget gets in on the fun too. If not for Mario Chalmers, she would have won her bracket last year!

I'm sad UT Martin didn't make it into the tournament. It would have been great letting the entire nation see just what a talent Lester Hudson is.

I'm keeping an eye on Memphis, Bridget's alma mater. Although many pooh-pooh their record because they play in the weak Conference USA, I keep seeing their opponents held to 30 and 40 points, and defense wins championships. We'll also be pulling for Bridget's other alma mater, Syracuse! My alma mater, Middle Tennessee didn't make it again this year. My "internet" alma mater, Mississippi State, might have a shot to get in. We'll see.

Louisville plays great defense too, and look to be peaking. North Carolina has great talent and if they can focus, they'll be hard to beat. I think U Conn would have a better showing if one of their best players hadn't gotten injured. Of course, I'll also be pulling for Tennessee. I'd like to see them have a nice run, although I think they had a much better shot last year.

It really does seem to be wide open this year for many teams. We'll just have to see how the basketball bounces.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Back To The Bars

Friday night the band played at Willy Jak's in Metropolis. We had a great time! Bridget and I used to go to the place a lot when I lived in Paducah because the atmosphere was nice and laid back and the food was great, especially the delicious jumbo shrimp and half pound hamburgers that were fantastic! It's still great! A good time was had by all.

Musically, more and more bands, which have thrived on the festival and casino circuits for the past decade or more, are headed back to the bars. It's the economy. I was talking to a friend of mine recently who's played and toured full time all his life and he was lamenting how his band had such a hard time last year. The worst ever. It doesn't look like it'll get better any time soon. Festivals are cutting back. Casino's are cutting back too. Gamblers don't have as much money to lose as they did a year or two ago! Many bars are still doing good though. Maybe more people are saving money by dropping $5 for some good live entertainment locally, than spending ten times that or more to hear bigger name entertainers. You best believe, many of those bigger name entertainers are feeling the slowdown too.

I've noticed in Paducah, more and more of the bands playing in the local clubs are from Nashville, TN. That's how bad the musical economy is now in the Music City. My buddy was telling me about the scores of Nashville cats (guitarists, bassists, etc) who used to tour with mid to upper-level country artist are now calling him, begging for gigs. Those with the big dreams are still coming to Nashville from around the country to be discovered, but to make enough money to cover a few meals, they're easing out of town by one to two hundred miles.

Most of them are really good, while others are not so good. I hope it doesn't get to the point that they're taking away gigs from our local bands, many of whom are also very good, very talented, very unique and very dedicated to our local clubs and audience.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pardon Us, For Crying "Wolf"

It might be frustrating for many of us meteorologist, but a new study finds more people are taking severe weather warnings less seriously.

Part of this, I think, lies in perception and part of it in how it's communicated. When we forecast the possibility of severe weather, we're, in essence, telling people that indeed it's a possibility, not a certainty. We should convey the seriousness according to our confidence. While advances in technology have made us more accurate, it's still difficult to make precise predictions on the micro-scale. There are just too many variables than cannot be precisely measured from afar. That's why I used to joke that sometimes, I'm more of a "weather-handicapper" than a weather forecaster at times. Many viewers, on the other hand, demand perfection at all times, in all communities. That's tough to do, even though studies have shown our accuracy in forecasting continues to get better. Try this, so see who has the more accurate forecast in your area!

On the other hand, there is intense demand for viewers among broadcast outlets. This can be accomplished in several ways.

1. Establish a reputation for accuracy and integrity over a number of years and explain the forecast in a way the average viewer can understand. Simply tell viewers the truth.

2. Create a sense of urgency or danger, so viewers, fearful for their lives, will tune in.

3. Hype, over and over, the times you were right and leave out the times you were wrong.

It's a fine line to toe! I've heard from viewers who told me they avoid TV meteorologists who constantly predict "worst case scenarios" and avoid stations who over-hype severe weather, but let's face it, if it didn't work, they wouldn't do it!

I always presented the weather with a simple credo: Work hard at the nuts and bolts forecasting, tell the truth, be honest and own up to a blown forecast, although TELL them WHY I was wrong.........on those rare occasions :o).

And on days when there is NO severe weather in the forecast? Make an accurate forecast and make 'em smile. Life's tough enough!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bob is home!

Bob is home now. He came home last week. He was a little feeble at first, but is growing stronger everyday. He's supposed to get physical therapy, but he doesn't need it that much. Nothing can keep him down! He's already discarded his walker and is walking and talking up a storm. Today, he walked almost a half mile. He's determined to get back to his old self physically and he will. In fact, he'll be better. Mentally, he only remembers the last few days in the hospital, after a 6 week stay, most of it in the recovery room, surgery and ICU. He asked me to fill in the gaps and tell him what he missed. I told him, "not much, just the Super Bowl (which he doesn't care that much for) and the Ice Storm. Outside of that, he's back to the same ole Bob: not wanting anyone to make a fuss over him and rearing to get back to fishing at Reelfoot Lake. I heard the crappie they were catching were huge. He can't wait to reel in a few himself. It's good to have him back!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Was Supposed To Go

I was supposed to go to Nashville today to sit with dad, Bob, at the hospital, but my little sister, Dr. Amy Jetton, decided to sit with him another night. He's making some progress and we hope to have him home within 2 weeks. After so many weeks in ICU though, it's tough to get reoriented to night and day, sleep and awake, while trying to recover from the complications of his heart surgery a month and a half ago. He is making progress though and looking and sounding better every day. We pray it continues. I did get him walking with a walker Thursday and he got a much appreciated shower and shave. I think the biggest boost for him was yesterday, when my mom took one of his beloved "puppy-dogs" to visit. Funny how our animals can help us so much, without doing anything except loving us.

I was supposed to go the UT Martin game Saturday night and watch them clinch their first ever OVC regular season championship. It was a great moment for the Skyhawks! However, heavy snow throughout the area last night nixed those plans. Hopefully, I can go to their first round tournament game Tuesday night. At least, I'm supposed to go.

We wound up with between 4 an 5 inches at my house. I used to hate snow, but now MUCH prefer it to freezing rain and ice storms! It was actually very pretty and while road conditions on Saturday night were terrible, it quickly melted Sunday and was no problem.

I was supposed to go through Trimble, TN the other week on the way to Dyersburg, but I'm glad I didn't go. Turns out there was a killer-turkey on the loose! He might have heard about how much I love cooking turkeys on my smoker. In that case, I would have been a goner.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Get Busy Spring and Summer

Looks like I'll be getting busy this spring and summer with my blues band, 61 South. Here's what we have so far, and looks like we'll be adding more, including possible shows in Memphis, Tennessee in addition to additional shows in Illinois and Kentucky. Whew!

Mar 13 2009 8:00P
Willy Jack’s Metropolis, Illinois

Mar 17 2009 8:00P
Fat Moe’s Paducah, Kentucky

Mar 20 2009 8:00P
Nick’s Murray, Kentucky

Mar 22 2009 2:00P
Kenny Rogers Telethon Sikeston, Missouri

Apr 10 2009 8:00P
Bucket’s Paducah, Kentucky

Apr 24 2009 8:00P
Willy Jack’s Metropolis, Illinois

May 29 2009 3:00P
Spring Into Summer Festival Oak Grove, Kentucky

Jun 19 2009 9:00P
Fat Moe’s Paducah, Kentucky

Aug 21 2009 9:00P
Fat Moe’s Paducah, Kentucky

Aug 27 2009 7:30P
Hot August Blues Festival Aurora, Kentucky

Sep 18 2009 7:00P
Old King Coal Festival West Frankfort, Illinois

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Git Down The Git Fiddle!

I have so many guitarists who I look up to for inspiration and hold in awe. Some of them are in Blues, and some aren't. I''ve blogged before about my Blues favorites, so let me tell you about some others.....many of whom I'm sure you've never heard of.

My friend from Down Under, Henry Prokop, turned me onto Tommy Emmanuel, who now calls Nashville, TN home. Figures. In a town with awesome guitar players, he still stands head and shoulders above the crowd. I HAVE to get to a TommyFest, first chance I get.

Whenever someone asks me who's the best guitar player in Western Kentucky, I don't hesitate. It's my friend Eddie Pennington. I'll never forget when I was at the Chicago Blues Festival one year and one of the pickers with Dave Spector and Dave Freund's band, upon hearing I was from Kentucky, asked me if I knew Eddie! YES, I DO. I'm proud to call him a friend. As luck would have it, here he is with Tommy Emmanuel. The greatest guitar players in the world know who Eddie is. It's with such pride that I can always answer, "Eddie? Oh yeah, he's my buddy!" He's so great, yet so humble. If you ever met Eddie on the street, you'd never know this former small town coroner is one of the world's most renown guitarist. I do. He always holds me spellbound with his playing. As awesome as his playing is, he's even a better person. One of the highlights of my playing career, is being asked to play at the Eddie Pennington Folk Festival.

When I watched the Grammies, I liked Carrie Underwood, but I LOVED her guitar player. I immediately shouted to Bridget, "That's Orianthi!!" She plays Paul Reed Smith guitars, which are great guitars. The only thing lacking in PRS guitars is a Lew Jetton endorsement....(hint, hint)

I've always loved Carlos Santana. The time I saw him play live still ranks as one of my favorite concerts ever.

I've always loved the late Django Reinhart. Look closely. Yep, he doesn't have all his fingers. He can still do more than I can ever dream of. His story is remarkable. His playing is even more so.

There are so many more who I look up to. These are but a few.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hot August, here we come!

Here's the compete lineup for the festival this year! We're really excited to be playing again this year and they have a strong bill, including one of my favorites, Eddie Turner!

2009 Hot August Blues Festival Schedule

Thursday, August 27th, 2009
Thursday gates open at 4:00pm
6:00pm - 7:00pm Hollerhead
7:30pm - 8:30pm Lew Jetton & 61 South
9:00pm - 10:00pm Diddley Squat
10:30pm - 11:45pm Randy McAllister

Friday, August 28th, 2009
Friday gates open at 4:00pm

6:00pm - 7:00pm Justin Hatcher
7:30pm - 8:45pm Eddie Turner
9:15pm - 10:30pm Kilborn Alley Blues Band
11:00pm - 12:15am Bluesberry Jam Band

Saturday, August 29th, 2009
Saturday gates open at 12:00pm

2:00pm - 3:15pm Street Corner Blues
3:45pm - 5:00pm Dynagroove All-Stars
5:30pm - 6:30pm Leonard Small Situation


7:00pm-8:15pm Reba Russell Band
8:45pm - 10:00pm Flashback Blues Band
10:30pm - 11:45pm Lil Dave Thompson

Monday, February 16, 2009

Odds and Ends on a Monday Evening

As my lovely wife watches one of her favorite shows, "24," I have a few random thoughts. Especially since Liam Neeson killed more people in "Taken," which we watched Sunday, than Jack Bauer does in 3 episodes of "24." "Taken" really is a good movie! By the way, if you're a fan of "24" you should play the "24" drinking game. Much like "Hi Bob," from the Bob Newhart Show, except while watching "24," you drink every time you hear a character yell "NOW!!!"

I spoke with a friend of mine today who's involved with the Kentucky Emergency Management Agency and he gave me some interesting insights into the recent ice storm in Western Kentucky, which we're STILL trying to recover from. He said, because of the damage to the trees in forests and thickets, we should expect a much higher number of forest fires and brush fires over the next 2 to 3 years. He also gave me some additional insight into the involvement of TEMA (Tennessee Emergency Management Agency) in this Kentucky disaster. Thanks goodness for TEMA's presence in Fulton County, without which, there would have been much more misery and quite possibly some deaths. He said that wasn't the only TEMA unit to move into Kentucky to help. He said TEMA was much more prepared for a disaster than Kentucky as they've been preparing for years for "the big one:" the expected earthquake sometime on the New Madrid Fault. If or when that happens, they anticipate a disaster of untold proportions, during which the entire city of Memphis (more than 1 million people) will have to be evacuated. Consequently, they take part in every drill they can and help in other disasters in neighboring states as a continual "dress rehearsal."

I heard an interview with one of my favorite columnists the other day, Bob Ryan of The Boston Globe, on the future of newspapers. He says it's more or less over. The number of readers will continue to dwindle as they shift to the internet for news. While newspapers try to transition to the 'net, they find it very tough because two of their main advertising sources, real estate and auto dealers have their own internet presence, which is more powerful than advertising on a newspaper website. I'm not so sure I'm that pessimistic, however I do believe newspapers will have to undergo a metamorphosis to remain profitable. The days of words printed on paper are not long for this world.

TV, in my opinion, will remain profitable, although the profitability will continue dwindling for most because of the fragmentation. There's even speculation that network affiliations will be coming to an end in the near future. When I started, networks PAID local stations to carry their programming. A few years ago, that arrangement ended. Now the talk is that local network affiliations may be seeing their last days. I've always thought the future for local TV is just that: local. None of the satellite or cable channels can provide the news and shows of interests for specific localized areas. Local TV stations can carve their niche in the programming kaleidoscope here at home. It won't be long though, until TV and the way we watch it, changes dramatically.

I've blogged before about why you see so many "list" stories in magazines. We had the 100 Greatest Albums of All Time in Rolling Stone, 25 Signs Your Boyfriend Is Cheating in Cosmo, 50 Greatest Golf Tips in Golf Magazine, and on and on. Now, Time Magazine has the "list" of the 25 People To Blame For The Economic Crisis. They name Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, etc, etc, but they failed to mention the greatest cause: greed. While Rush Limbaugh continually espouses that "Greed is good!," it IS one of the Seven Deadly Sins in Christian teachings, and there's a good reason for it. Many of those named in Time's list were certainly guilty of this Deadly Sin, and now we're ALL paying for it, literally.

I love Facebook. It's a great way to keep in touch with friends and reconnect with those from long ago. That's why I was dismayed to see they've changed their "terms of agreement" for the worse. Much worse. I yanked my videos off there immediately. I'll still use Facebook, but I'll be more careful what I post.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Long Night, Long Day, Long Day

Friday night I played my first gig since November. It was a last minute deal, as a band had canceled at 45-Down-Under in Paducah and we stepped in as a last minute replacement. We needed to shake some rust off and play, plus I'm way behind on booking this year as I've been preoccupied with work, the ice storm and my father's difficult recovery. I was rusty for sure, but should round back into shape prior to the Lourdes Foundation Mardi Gras in Metropolis, IL February 24th. By the way, people have asked me over the years, "Why don't you quit your "day job" and play music full time?" Well, here's part of the answer!

After the long night, I got up and drove to Nashville to see Dad. He slept the entire time, but it was good to see him resting and he seemed more comfortable than I've seen ever since his ordeal began. That was good to see! He's making some progress, but its terribly slow. I just hope the progress continues. I hope he can soon began speaking and regain some strength. He's going to get some additional evaluation this week and then we should have a clear of picture of where we go from here.

After a short night of little rest, it was "up and at-em" to finish clearing the hundreds of limbs around my house (this picture does it no justice). My father-in-law came and brought two other guys and the four of us managed to finish the job by early afternoon, although it may be a while before we get to the limbs still stuck in the tops of trees, and even longer before my back quits hurting!

As a belated Valentine to my lovely wife, we did something we haven't done in ages: we went to a movie. We went to see "Taken." It was pretty good: lot's of action, not a whole lot of cussin', and lot's of killin' bad guys. We usually like to see comedies, but the only one playing nearby was "Paul Blart:Mall Cop.

A long night and 2 long days. Now it's back to work!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Prayers for Those Still Without Power

We still have a third of our county out of power following the ice storm 2 weeks ago and possible severe storms in the form of a squall line are set to move through in the morning. That won't help. Winds sustained at 25-35 mph and gust more than 50 mph are forecast.

Someone said Jim Cantore is back in town, but I suspect it's to tape "updates" or even a segment of "Storm Stories" for the Weather Channel since they don't have too many shows on ice storms and this one has been one of the worst our country has ever seen.

Lot's of rain is forecast too and the saturated ground could combine with the wind to bring more trees down in addition to the "hangers," limbs which are broken, but hanging by a thread up in the trees. I think they can cause more power problems, but I don't think they can top the damage already done since many of the limbs which brought down power lines are already on the ground. I still have a good day and a half of chain saw work left in my yard.

We'll keep our fingers crossed. I read an interesting blog about Kentucky's ice storm, and why it's not a big concern for much of the media. Of course, ice storms are not as "sexy" news wise as hurricanes, but as at least one Southern Mississippi utility worker observed, the damage to the power grid here is WORSE than Katrina. Pictures do nothing to convey the enormity of the damage in Western Kentucky. Some of my neighbors are still looking at weeks, or up to a month before power is restored. Some of these are elderly and infirmed and need power to survive. Dozens have already died.

Also, please keep my father, Bob, in your prayers. He's making slow progress. He's off the ventilator now, but his breathing is still assisted by a special oxygen mask. He still hasn't spoken, but seems to be trying to at times. He's still very weak and his improvement is painfully slow. Although he can't speak, we can see the fear and the anger in his eyes. It's just going to be long road for him. His situation has really made my troubles with the ice storm seem like a trivial, minor inconvenience.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Still In Our Prayers

Went to Nashville this weekend to see my dad, Bob, as he struggles to recover from complications from heart surgery 3 weeks ago. He's hanging in there, but it's tough. He's still on a ventilator and he struggles to talk. He can't. It's painful for me to watch, but even more so for him. He can squeeze my hand and nod yes or no, which is encouraging. He was always so much stronger and tougher than me. I hope and pray he can muster it up one more time to get through this. I pledged to myself, no matter what, to spend more time with him. Prayers appreciated.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 11: For the Love and Appreciation of Benjamin Franklin

Our first day with electricity in a week and a half. Time to clean up all the mess from the past 11 days: gasoline cans, generator oil spots, unvaccumed floors, dishwasher full of dirty dishes, etc. It felt good. No more getting up in the middle of the night and at dawn's first light to refuel, check the oil and pull the cord. I celebrated by briefly turning on every light in the house and flushing the commode over and over again.

One thing I don't want to do, is forget the thousands in our region still without power, and I hope the media doesn't either. There's always a tendency to quickly move on to the next "big story," and forget sometimes, that you still have one ongoing. Some outlets are already doing that. I think in this case though, there are still enough media members themselves without power, that they'll keep the story on the front burner a little longer. I hope so.

Many outlets are doing generator safety stories now, which is a good thing. The bad thing is they should have done those a week or so ago, before several people in our area died. Bridget and I used a small generator to help get through this. We kept our's on the edge of the garage, with the exhaust outside to avoid carbon monoxide buildup. We also learned several other survival techniques for days on end without electricity.

1. Have a generator. Even a small one can make a big difference. We powered small heaters, our fridge and freezer, and at night, our TV and computer. The small bit of entertainment from the TV and computer helped provide a momentary diversion from the fact we could sit on our couch and see our breath in the cold. We have DirecTV which never went out, even with some ice on the dish. We had a few cans of de-icer in case it did, but it worked the whole time. Many lost their cable TV to ice on the lines and won't have it back for weeks.

2. Use candles, but carefully. We found the big glass candles, with the single wicks provided the most heat among different types of candles. They also provided some light. Nighttime is the worst time without power.

3. Don't pile up quilts at bedtime. Use cold weather sleeping bags. We found them to be MUCH warmer than piling quilts on each other. They're made for winter camping and they do a great job. Once we got into the sleeping bags at night, we were relatively comfortable.....until we had to get up to refuel the generator or go to the bathroom.

4. If you can only shower every 3rd day or so, put talcum powder in your hair. It absorbs the grease, and makes you look less like a person who hasn't had a shower in 3 days!

5. Use those nice smelling "body sprays" like Axe. I learned about this from a friend who was telling me what his little boys did to avoid taking showers. He said, after a day or two of them smelling like Axe, he rounded them up and MADE them take a shower, even though they smelled great!

6. You CAN bath daily by rubbing Germ-X all over yourself. Bridget discovered this one. I warned her that she probably shouldn't light a cigarette for a period of time after one of these "baths."

7. Use buckets to capture runoff/melt from your storm gutters. They can help get water for your pets, or to flush the commode.

8. Keep calling the power company! Be nice, but remind them that your area still doesn't have power. Sometimes they might have your neighborhood listed as fully energized, when some pockets are not. They're working as hard and as frantically as they can to get your power back, but they need to know exactly who has power and who doesn't and were the trouble spots are.

9. Be patient. Keep telling yourself you're one day closer to getting the power back. Remind yourself that at least next month's utility bill will be smaller!

10. Prepare as much as you can before the power goes out. Have flashlights, batteries and candles ready. If you have a well, fill your bathtub and everything else you can: pitchers, pots, other containers. We even filled our crockpot with drinking water prior to losing power. It was a big help.

*If you can go somewhere for a few days, GO. If you can't, take time every other day or so to drive to someplace where there is power to warm up and get a hot meal!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 10

After a brutally cold night, temperatures warmed to the low 40s with good weather. I finally saw a crew working not far from my home today and they fixed a downed line which I THINK is the one which supplies my electricity. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we have our power back soon. West Kentucky Star reported our supplier, Hickman Fulton RECC got a few more customers back on line today.

Hickman Fulton RECC had about 1,000 customers energized Thursday afternoon and estimate 2,800 still in the dark.

I'm still one of those in the dark, but praying we get on line soon. Bridget and I drove to Dyersburg, Tennessee today as Bridget had a medical appointment, and while we were there, got a shower and did some laundry at a friend's house.

Last night was the worst, with an overnight low of 12 degrees at my house. With candles lit, we stayed in our alpine sleeping bags. As long as we were in the sleeping bags we were OK. When this is over, I'll write a blog about the things we leanred about how to get by with no electricity.

UPDATE!!! We just got power!!!! at 6:31 PM CST. We know it may come and go for a while, so we'll be cautiously optimistic.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 9

Very conflicting information today. Earlier today I got my hopes up when I read a report that Hickman-Fulton RECC had 2,900 on line and only 1,000 without power. I thought this sounded too good to be true and it was. The report had the numbers reversed. Arrrgh! Here's the latest I could find from WestKentuckyStar:

Hickman Fulton RECC has restored power to 75 customers Wednesday. About 2,825 are still without power. They have 240 line workers working with more on the way. They are stationed in each county and will start working at the substations and moving out from there.

We drove around and saw a few pockets with power and while that's frustrating, you can see progress being made and that's encouraging. Meanwhile, we're facing another night with lows in the teens, and no power. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9

We're turning the corner toward day number 9 without power in rural Fulton County. The next two nights will have lows from the teens down to single digits. I'm not looking forward to it.

We did read today from one source that our electric company, Hickman-Fulton RECC has several hundred customers back on line, which is encouraging, although the vast majority of us still do not. We still get conflicting reports. One TV station had stories in its newscast that 2/3rds of us here were still out of power, and then later in the newscast reported 2/3rds of us DID have power. Actually, it's more like 3/4ers of us do not. We're not complaining. We know the crews are doing their best, and are so thankful for the many crews which came in from out of town and out of state. I stopped on the street today and applauded a crew which came up from Tupelo, Mississippi to help us in Western Kentucky. I've also seen crews from Alabama, Tennessee and other states. God bless them. The National Guard has done a great job too. They came by to check on us today, along with the other residents in the county. God bless them.

Here is the account from, which has been giving the most detailed updates on the power situation:

Debbie Weatherford with Hickman-Fulton RECC says all substations are energized. They have approximately 900 back on with about 2,900 still in the dark. They have 235 additional lineman in from different states. They are trying to repair the three-phase circuits. Weatherford says it may take 2 weeks to a month before power is restored.

(Hint....I'm one of the 2,900)

On the radio, we've heard very good reports from WCMT (1410 AM) in Martin, TN, although the reports have become less frequent as the event has gone on.

One of the linemen from Southern Mississippi said the damage to the power grid here is greater than that in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I believe him. I've never seen or experienced anything like it and pray I never do again. Gov. Beshear says its the greatest natural disaster in the history of Kentucky. I believe him too.

The linemen aren't the only out of state angels. TEMA, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency set a command center in Hickman, KY, the Fulton County seat and has been fantastic in the relief effort. Rather ironic that Fulton County's biggest help in this disaster would come from Tennessee, instead of it's home state but, after all, Tennessee (my native state) IS the Volunteer State. I also think Kentucky is stretched thin and overwhelmed by the scope of the disaster, and let's face it, Fulton County is a small, overwhelmingly poor county. Fulton County Judge Executive David Gallagher has done a fantastic job in fighting for us and doing everything he can to bring attention to the situation in the county, which is perhaps the hardest hit of all the Western Kentucky counties.

Let's keep praying. That we can make it through the cold stretch OK. That we can continue hanging in there. That the over/under on getting the power fully restored is closer to 2 weeks, than a month!!! Looking on the bright side, next month my electric bill should be much smaller!!!

God Bless.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Heading into Day 8

It's been hard to get any information about our electric situation in Fulton County, but I did find this today, courtesy of West Kentucky Star.

"Hickman-Fulton County RECC has all its substations energized. They are checking all the Phase 3 main lines today. They have 500 customers with power, another 3,875 without power. They're hoping to get 300 more on line today. They also have 225 out-of-state workers in town to help. A shelter has been set up at Fulton County High School where they are serving 3 hot meals a day."

This is good news. Maybe they can soon began working their way out from the substations and getting more of us turned back on.

Day 7

A full week without power now and counting, although I did see an NES crew working west of Fulton yesterday. Still might be weeks from getting our power back on. Be sure to unplug all appliances before power comes back on. A friend of mine lost his refrigerator when the power came back on and the surge blew it up. The same holds true for computers, TV's, etc.

Good weather yesterday for crews to work and hopefully for the next few too, although it's supposed to get colder this week.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Winter Storm Information

The hundreds of thousands of us without power in the wake of the ice storm in Western Kentucky have one thing in common as we head into Day 6 of no electricity: We crave information on how the repair effort is going and where we can find food, warmth and shelter.

In Fulton County, we've gotten good information from WCMT (1410 AM) in Martin as they've had frequent reports from Fulton County DES. Other outlets which are posting information as it comes in are:

West Kentucky Star

Has expanded it's coverage county by county with the latest information they have. According to WPSD, 95% of the city of Fulton has power now, but still completely out in the county and it could take 1 to 3 weeks for it to be restored. There is a feeding station set up at Fulton County High School, and warming shelters set up at Cayce Baptist Church, West Hickman Baptist Church, 2nd Baptist Church, Union City, TN, First Baptist Church in Fulton and South Fulton Baptist Church in South Fulton, TN. The Hickman Police and Cayce Baptist Church are providing bottled water. Check the above website for information from other counties.

Cover It Live from KFVS 12
"Cover It Live" does a great job at continuously giving out the latest information and allowing viewers to interact with the newsroom and other viewers in affected areas. KFVS's deals mostly with SE MIssouri. Hopefully, some of the Western Kentucky media can install it on their sites as it really does a great job.

Cover It Live from the Louisville Courier Journal
Posting live continuously with updates, more so from Central and Northern KY but some information about Western Kentucky too. It utilizes Twitter, which is great for these kinds of things.

I'll be posting information as much as I can with limited service here, and on my facebook and twitter sites.

Now I'll go start chopping wood!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter Storm 2009 Update

Well, I think this one beat the "Worst Ice Storm In A Decade" forecast. At least for me. We're on day 4 with no power, and guess what? "American Idol" loses something when viewed on a 5 inch black and white portable TV in a living room where it's 40 degrees! They say my power could be out for weeks. I guess it could be worse though.

During the storm, it was hard to rest though the night as we heard that constant sound, "crack, crack, CRASH!" Tree limbs fell all around us and we prayed they would miss the house. Thank goodness they did, at least so far. It's a mess though. It will take a long time to clean up and get back to normal, but there are many things to be thankful for.

Thanks to the neighbor who used his backhoe to clear the road of enough trees and debris so we could get to town before the county road crews, who were swamped, could get to it. Thanks to those who volunteered to bring food, extra heaters and help in general to those without. Thanks to those who are continually checking on the elderly.

Thanks to those utility crews who have come in from out of town to help restore our power. They say, in some areas of Western Kentucky, the power could be out for up to 30 days. It's hard to describe the devastation, and even the pictures don't reveal the enormity of it all.

Thanks to my father-in-law, who lent me his chainsaw. I'll be putting it to a lot of use over the coming days. I've been doing meteorology for more than 25 years, and I've never experienced anything like it. For much fo the 1st 4 days there was no electricity, no phone service and no cellphone service in my county and much of Far Western Kentucky.

Thanks to WCMT in Martin, TN and their crew for broadcasting the most recent news about the storm aftermath and keeping us up to date. They been the best source for those of us in Fulton County. WPSD has also done a good job, especially Meteorologist John Champion, who did a great job with the forecast and warning people about the coming storm on Monday morning. Bridget brought up a good point as she wondered if they have battery powered TVs that receive the new digital format. The analog signal is due to end soon, and these little TV's are a lifesaver. I know our's has been.

Looking at this thing before it hit, I knew it could be bad, but many times, the storms don't pan out as bad as the computer models predict. This one did....and more! We want to get warm. We need food. We need a bath. I REALLY need a bath!!! All we can do now is hunker down, find someplace warm, and wish Godspeed to the utility crews who have rushed in to clean up this mess, and boy do they have a mess to clean up.