MUSICAL TALENT ESCAPED me.

All of my attempts to learn to play an instrument have gone awry, and I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I like to soak up the talents of people who can.

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Fred Fatfellow was not fat.

He was a skinny kid.

For it was fact with a name like that,

run was what he did.

He ducked into the music hall,

and the bullies didn’t know.

All that they could do was call,

for the bullies were all slow.

Fred Fatfellow heard and sat,

toward string music he soon turned.

Said, “I can make a sound like that,

While thoughts in his head burned.

They’d called him a scaredy cat,

because he’d turned and run.

Fred Fatfellow wasn’t that.

He was up with the sun.

He thought of revenge, it’s true,

as he walked back to the hall.

He didn’t know just what he’d do,

but he knew he’d show them all.

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It takes a lot of talent to weave a world in a book, to craft a bunch of characters and intertwine individuals into one story.

It takes a different talent to compress a whole story into the boundaries of a song.

The result is a story song, and to me a good story song puts the songwriter’s talent on display in a unique way.

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If you want to talk about how kindness is an afterthought in the world today, you’ll just have to find someone else who will listen.

I don’t dispute there’s a lot less kindness than there once was, and I know the world could use a lot more, but there’s still some here.

I know. I’ve been given the gift of two random acts of kindness in the last two months.

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A Randy Travis interview came on the radio while I drove home from work the other day.

It was recorded before his 2013 stroke, which almost cost him his life and has made communication more difficult than it once was for the singer of more than a dozen No. 1 songs.

This is less about Travis, though, than it is about the questions which creeped into my mind when I thought about how quickly things changed for him.

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Daddy and I were on the road to somewhere the other day.

We were listening to an oldies station when I made a remark about how, on the whole, today’s music doesn’t hold a candle to the songs on the radio when Daddy was younger.

I believe a day spent listening to Delilah on a recent trip to the beach led to his defense of modern music.

“It ain’t all bad,” Daddy said. “Every song wasn’t good back then, either. You’re just listening to the All Stars.”

I didn’t think about the exchange again until yesterday, and the thought had nothing to do with music. (more…)

My phone was going crazy, and it wouldn’t stop. The screen showed a flash flood alert, but I dismissed it and glanced up at a small sliver of road through a rain-soaked windshield.

I was on my way to Georgiana, on a trip to see the museum inside Hank Williams’ boyhood home. (more…)