I've had the chance to know and love some really extraordinary people in my life. Can't mention everyone I know or everyone I love. But I can tell you this, I owe a hell of a lot of the good fortune in my life to these people: Keith Gattis, Austin Hanks, Wyatt Earp (yes, that's his name), Jonathan Watkins, Miranda and a few others that don't like reading their own names. Luckily, Southern people are humble and whatever and I only owe those guys money, love, a few drinks, and a ride to the airport every so often.
Back in 2002 me, Gattis, Hanks, Waylon Payne, Mike Stinson, Bryson Jones and our kind of matron of the country arts, Shilah Morrow kind of brought country music back to Hollywood. Like the first time since Dwight Yoakam blew up the town opening for punk acts back in the early 80's. We threw these huge country shows with bunches of special guests and local heros. Our celebrity friends promoted the shows and everybody came from the bikers to the movie stars to old two-steppers and their old wives. It was kind of like that Toby Keith song --- without Toby Keith. People came from miles around to watch and listen. Dwight showed up. Lucinda showed up. It was pretty awesome and I'll never forget getting to know them.
From that came some great records you should really get if you can. Gattis' Big City Blues. Waylon Payne's The Drifter, Hanks' Salt Of The Earth
We were all just coming together. Things were just starting to happen for each of us in very different ways. I can't very well describe how cool it felt just to get together and drink up at Margo's house in Laurel Canyon. There was this feeling in everyone that we were the next generation of whatever. We had each other's backs. We busted each other's asses. Still do.
Anyway, I'm just really proud to have been a part of that whole deal.