Christmas News from the Big Front Porch

Hello, friends and neighbors:)

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve had a chance to sit on the Big Front Porch and write you all a note, so it’s time I sat down now to send you Christmas greetings with perhaps a recap of the past year…seems like it’s just flown by, doesn’t it? The mistress of the web for the Big Front Porch has prepared some Christmas (and other) CD specials on the website, so I hope you’ll visit the ‘store’ page of the website and take advantage of the sweet deals she put together for you. Remember that Christmas doesn’t begin until December 25, and then you’ve got 12 DAYS to continue shopping (and probably finding some great bargains and avoiding the craziness from folks that feel they have to get it all done BEFORE December 25)…take it easy, y’all:) XmasCover

I wish for you all an Advent season filled with peace…I love Advent…the waiting and hoping anew for a miracle, for some hope, for some joy…here on the Big Front Porch, the streets are quiet in the cold evening, the moon is almost full, and there is anticipation in the air…come, Lord Jesus…

Life on the Big Front Porch has been filled with music and schoolwork, changes and new adventures, and here of late, some pretty big challenges….

Early in the year, our student all-star band at the DMI at Delta State (where I spend most of time when I’m not on the Porch), travelled to Los Angeles at the invitation of the state tourism department to perform at Mississippi Night! during GRAMMY week. What a thrill for those young people…this was the first time on a plane for one of them! I truly enjoy watching the world expand for them through these kinds of opportunities. Being from a small town myself, I distinctly remember the thrill I felt the first time I played the Grand Ole Opry with the wonderful Connie Smith. As those big red velvet curtains were slowly raised, I had to pinch myself to see if the whole thing was real or a dream…ok, I digress…

Ready for the 'O Tux Society

Ready for the ‘O Tux Society

In March, I marched once again with the O’ Tux Society for Mal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade in Jackson, MS. It’s quite fun, and the whole things benefits the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital there. I was please to speak at the Music of the South Conference at Ole Miss and perform for the Link Centre’s Songwriter Series in Tupelo, MS.

The end of the spring semester brought the graduation of our first music industry studies degree student with only a slight pause before summer set in with DMI camps and projects. I had the great privilege to perform again with Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor at the beautiful home of John Muldaur in Michigan. The dinner/concert is held on the banks of the Grand River and is a benefit for Faith Hospice, and as you all may know, I try NEVER to miss a chance to play with Buddy and Jeff.

Late summer brought a fabulous production project to the Big Front Porch…singer/songwriter Pamela Jackson and my old pal, Davis Raines, brought a collection of songs to the DMI studios for a recording in August, and man, what a record it is turning out to be! For those of you who enjoy great lyrics, beautiful melodies, and heartfelt stories, you’re going to want to get this CD when it becomes available. Pamela, like Davis, is a child of our sister state, Alabama, and that streak of Southerness runs easily through her creative work. Stay tuned…

Fall semester got underway and flew by until two weeks ago when an aging air handler pipe on the roof of our building broke and the DMI offices and classrooms were totally flooded! Thank goodness, the studios were not damaged and it was the end of the semester, but what a way to wrap up the final two weeks! Whew…no need to drag on about that…suffice it to say that there were many blessings in the midst of the flood, and for that, I am grateful. Even in the midst of all that,  DMI presented the third “Mississippi Delta Holiday” show at the BPAC, and I managed a quick trip to Nashville to perform with Buddy Greene and Ashley Cleveland for the 24th Annual Evening in December event benefitting Daystar Counseling Ministries. And this Wednesday, I’ll perform a concert of Christmas music at my home church, St. Luke’s UMC, with my friend Joni Bishop. That should just about set me up for the Christmas spirit…make some of Papa Dear’s family egg nog recipe, enjoy some oyster dressing (maybe in New Orleans), and have a pajama party with my Ya-Yas…life is GOOD.St-Luke's-2013-1

Be blessed, y’all…my new year’s resolution (and I really don’t make many) is to be in better touch with you all in 2014. I’ve starting working on some new songs for a new project, and I’ll keep you posted. As always, if you’re tired of being on the Big Front Porch, I’ll take no offense if you choose to unsubscribe, but don’t stay gone too long! You might miss a good story…