I’m home and rested…finally! It took a while! That was the most jam-packed three days I have spent in some time! There were old friends to catch up with, new friends to make and lots of music and poetry to soak up! One of the first familiar faces was Graham Lees, the DJ from Yorkshire in England! It’s always a thrill to see Graham. The first new face was Kristyn Harris. I have been playing her CD on my show for a while and we have communicated via email but never face to face. What an amazing young lady! She’s sweet, friendly, energized, cute and oh-so-talented!!! It was a pleasure to get to meet her. I’m looking forward to following her career!
This year I attended more showcases on the main stage. Belinda Gail was amazing! I know she’s been doing this for a while and has a reputation as a wonderful singer…but she held that audience in the palm of her hand. Her songs and presentation were heartfelt. She had other wonderful entertainers on with her…beautiful Mary Kaye and her great voice. Mary Kaye and Belinda are so good together. Diane Tribitt recited her poem, “Live Backwards.” Diane is a real deal poet. She writes about her life experiences as a rancher…and just continues to get better. The whole package was so good! Belinda’s final song, “Shenendoah”…accapella…brought the entire audience to their feet. No dry eyes leaving that performance (among the girls anyway). It was a highlight.
The “Call of the West” performance was pretty incredible… as it always is. Jeanne Cahill and Jerome Campbell are such talented musicians! I could listen to Jeanne sing forever. What a voice she has! Lynn Anderson did a wonderful job…she is always great to listen to! Jon Messenger was at the top of his game! He sounded so good! I’ve never heard him sound better! What a treat! Thank you Jon, for writing “The Old Pelloncillos.” I love that song! Of course that’s one of many beautiful songs you have written!
And…about the time I think I know a lot of entertainers…I meet someone who has been around for a long time that I didn’t know. I met Peggy Malone! First, heard her jamming on Friday evening in the lobby. I just heard a couple of songs so decided to attend a showcase and find out what she is really all about. I did that. Oh my gosh…how in the world did God fit that wonderful voice and all the energy into one body??? It was such a pleasure to visit with her too. What a wonderful lady! Thank you Peggy Malone for being my new friend! I look forward to the CDs.
Another new friend is Nancy Ruybal! I heard her 3 or 4 times over the weekend and really enjoyed her songs. Nancy has a wonderful voice! And she writes beautiful stuff! After the Awards ceremony Nancy, Diane Tribitt and I ran away to a room and devoured a pizza. We had all be on the run all day and hadn’t eaten much. It sure tasted good. The conversation, though, was an education to me. Having two talented writers discussing…how writers make things work…was fascinating. I was smart enough to just keep my mouth shut and listen. What a treat!
During the weekend it was such a pleasure to visit with Cimarron Sue and Nevada Slim, Rick Steinke and Linda Hausler “Open Range,” meet KT Potts, meet GT Hurley, meet Alan Chapman. Good to see Jim Jones, Fred Hargrove, Judy Coder, Carolyn and Dave Martin, Rick Huff, Linda Lee Green, Marsha Short, Steve and Terri Taylor, Barbara Nelson, Marvin O’Dell, James Michael…I should never have started this. I’ll never remember. What I’m trying to say is…it was great seeing you!!!
Congratulations to all the winners! Especially Juni Fisher! What a night for you, Juni! Original song, Outstanding Female and Entertainer of the Year! What a haul! Good for you! Congratulations R. W. Hampton for being inducted into the Hall Of Fame! What a champion we have for Western Music! And he’s taking it all over the world. Europe loves R. W. Hampton! And who wouldn’t! All you have to do is listen to him! And besides that, he’s just a really nice guy!
All the awards were so well deserved! I have posted them earlier so I won’t do it again but please know that you have my sincere “Congratulations!” The one I am going to mention is Outstanding Book, “Colorado Moon”…when is the next one coming out, Jim??? I’m ready to read it! LOL!
The only disappointment all weekend (except not getting to meet J Parson and Brenda Libby), was the lack of jam sessions. They were there and I enjoyed several of them. But when I first started attending the WMA event in 2007, there were jam sessions in every nook and corner. And everybody was jamming til 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. This year, I understand, there were private jam sessions. What a loss for those like me who are not musicians or singers and just want to listen and have new music for radio shows maybe… It was at the jam sessions that I felt like I got to know the musicians better. You were more up close and personal. I’ll never forgot the first jam session that Carolyn Martin joined. It was in the lobby…it was Carolyn’s first WMA event, I think. There were many people there who did not know her. She started singing and you could have heard a pin drop. You could then hear whispers…who is that?…what a voice! Now EVERYONE knows Carolyn Martin! Why isn’t that good for the entertainers as well as the listeners? Just sayin’…
I had a great time! Thank you! See you there next year!