How You Can Finally Make a Real Difference In Your Life

During Sunday School Mr. Jones had Monopoly on his mind.

Every Sunday after church and a good meal, the family would gather around the table for their weekly round of the famous board game.

He absolutely loved this American pastime and knew much trivia about the game. It first originated in 1933 and is now played in 47 different languages in 114 countries.

Jones even counted the amount of money in a Monopoly game to realize it is $20,580. He also knew the longest recorded game. It lasted 70 straight days.

During World War II, escape maps, compasses, and files were inserted into Monopoly game boards smuggled into POW camps inside Germany. Real money for escapees was slipped into the packs of Monopoly money.

He must have had the game and other things on his mind when one morning Mr. Jones stood up and said “I’d like us to pray for some smiling faces in this church.” Then, in typical fashion, he added, “I think more people would want to go to heaven, if they weren’t afraid it’d be like church when they go there!”

“Church shouldn’t be fake.” he suggested. “It’s not about entertainment, comfort, or fads. Church should be a place to bring your joys and your sorrows and connect with others who want to find God and be loved. Fog machines, exotic coffee, and specialty groups will never meet those needs the way the core truths will. Let’s focus on what will not change: God, His Word, and our need to love each other.”

“I grew up in a church, back in the sixties, and we only sang hymns,” Jones continued. “Then came the contemporary praise movement in the seventies and I thought, wow this might be better than the old hymns. And we all know the rest of the story. It seems my nine-year-old granddaughter will never know the great hymns like I do. And to be honest, that makes me sad.”

“Contemporary music can mean a stronger focus on individual performance rather than group worship as a whole,” he suggested. “New music should not be forgotten as it is necessary to express current burdens of the culture in song, but we should be congregation-ready and free of commercial trappings.”

“I just want to quit worrying and pay attention to the sermon,” he continued. “There is no get out of jail free card. Do not pass Go and do not collect $200.”

“What was all of that about?” his family asked, after the services. He gathered his thoughts and explained when they arrived home.

Life, according to Mr. Jones

Life is like a game of Monopoly. You may own hotels on Boardwalk or you may be renting on Baltic Avenue, but in the end, it all goes back into the box. The next generation will be getting out all of your stuff and playing with it or fighting over it.

The Small Stuff

The small stuff is what makes up the larger picture of our lives. Many people are like you. But their perspective is distorted. They ignore ‘small stuff’ claiming to have an eye on the bigger picture, never understanding that the bigger picture is composed of nothing more than—are you ready?—‘small stuff.’

Have you ever been bitten by an elephant?  How about a mosquito? It’s the small stuff that’ll get you!

You Choose

At this very moment, you possess the power of perspective. You can choose to see your life becoming whatever you wish. If you choose, you can move the mountains in your life’s path with the eventual help of those who will come to love you and learn to respect you for what you are becoming.

Happiness and Charisma

You must become a person that others want to be around! This is far and away the greatest success secret in existence. This is the person who gets the chance. The second chance and the benefit of the doubt. You should ask yourself this question every day: What is it about me that other people would change if they could?

What is it about the way I dress that other people would change if they could?

What is it about the way I act that other people would change if they could?

What is it about the way I talk that other people would change if they could?

You WILL Make a Difference

One day, you will look back on your ‘worst time’ in your life as a fortuitous event. Even your worst times have value and can become, in retrospect, your best times. You will make a difference. Now, what kind of difference? That’s up to you.

Just keep smiling and roll the dice. When you get a chance, sing a good ‘ol gospel hymn now and then.

In God We Trust

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

Texas Drug Store Cowboys Celebrating 50 Years as Dancehall & Venue Legends

50th Anniversary will be on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 at John T. Floores Country Store & Dance Hall in Helotes, Texas. 3-7 p.m.

Admired by fiercely loyal fans, The Drugstore Cowboys have brought their electric energy to venues throughout the US and Europe.

The south side of San Antonio, in the neighborhoods surrounding McCollum and Harlandale high schools, are the childhood homes of many notable people in Country, Funk, Soul and Tejano Music.

Legendary Country Music DJ Hall of Famer and everybody’s “Cousin” Jerry King went to Harlandale in the 1960s. I can remember when King, along with other DJs and musicians, played with the likes of Willie Nelson and George Jones at a charity basketball matchup at the McCollum gym in the late 1960s.

During the 1972-73 school year Nashville recording artist Johnny Bush played on stage at the McCollum Auditorium. Country.

Down on Harding Blvd., a talented local newspaper country music and entertainment writer, John Goodspeed, served as an early inspiration for me.

The late Emilio Navaira, from the McCollum Class of 1980, was a Mexican-American musician who performed country and Tejano music nationally. His classmate from the year ahead of him, Yolanda Saldívar, is the convicted murderer of Latin music superstar Selena, and is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison.

Especially in the late 70s and early 80s many of us would go watch Horizon perform. Southsiders Charlie, John, and Geoff Boggess joined classmate Freddy Carrillo and others (T-Bo Gonzalez, Bill Dudley, Larry Scott and Sahara Greer come to mind) and actually opened for the Commodores. The story goes they were offered to go on the road with Cool and the Gang but turned them down.

Through the years, southsider singers and musicians continued to play venues and dances as far away as Europe, on television and especially throughout the Lone Star State.

Some of the more enduring included Rex Allen McNeil, Walter “Tooter” Ripps, Ray Morris, Randy Potts, Lonnie Castleman, John Marsh, Leonard Wong, and the rockers, The Toman Brothers, Randy and Russell—and who could forget R

1972

In the fall of 1972, 17-year-old McCollum senior Dub Robinson had organized a country trio and began playing around a little bit. He went to go see Willie Nelson at the John T. Floore Country Store northwest of San Antonio in the foothills of the Hill Country town of Helotes.

Johnny Bush, Paul English, Willie Nelson

Nelson was to perform as a trio with drummer Paul English and Bee Spears on bass. The steel player didn’t show.

“I watched Willie play that gut string guitar and it didn’t lose anything,” Robinson remembers. Since age 12, Robinson had played professionally across South Texas, but on this night he was particularly inspired.

He called his drummer, Robert “Cotton” Payne, and his bassist, Tommy McKay the next day and proclaimed that if they could be a hundredth as good as Nelson was, they might have a chance.

They knew their taste in music was a blend of country, rock, and blues. McKay suggested the perfect name for their new band. It described the kind of “cowboy” who didn’t want to get his boots dirty.

I’ve followed Dub and other fellow McCollum Cowboys classmates over the years. He continues to be a favorite.

At a ten year class reunion in 1983 at the downtown El Tropicano Hotel Ballroom, Dub and his band honored his classmates as we danced in memories of “old times.” I was particularly honored. I knew the band was good, but when I was called over during a break, he asked me what Elvis song I was going to sing later that evening.

I suggested “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hearbreak Hotel,” and “Hound Dog.”

He grinned, and with guitar in hand, said, “Okay. Let me hear you sing them.”

1983 McCollum 10 Yr Reunion. Dub (guitar) was the ultra-professional. What an honor for me.

I only had to belt out a sentence or a few words of each. He immediately knew what key and chords to play.

Later, when some of our classmates were literally pulling my pants off while singing, I looked back at Dub. He was grinning big time. He and his band never missed a lick. I tried my best not to also. It remains a fun and wonderful memory in my heart.

In 2011, while interviewing George Strait and Ray Benson at a fundraiser for wounded veterans at Tapatio Springs outside of Boerne, Texas, Strait said something that reminded me of Dub.

“When everyone thinks of Asleep at the Wheel, they think of Ray.”

That’s exactly how I feel about the Drug Store Cowboys. When I think of them, I think of Dub Robinson.

The Drugstore Cowboys with Gary Stewart: Dub Robinson (left), Stewart, Randy Toman and Robert "Cotton" Payne.
Dub Robinson on the left.

Dub just announced the band will be celebrating their 50th anniversary with a new CD. What are his thoughts?

In his own creative words, the songwriter, musician and singer posted:

Originally, McKay lasted about a year and a half and Randy Toman, (who now performs with his brother Russell), became the bassist for 13 years.

They became the touring band for country stars Gary Stewart and Stoney Edwards. The Drugstore Cowboys also backed Johnny Rodriguez, Freddy Fender, Johnny Bush and Gene Watson.

Other artists they shared the stage with or even backed up include Nelson, Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis, Frenchy Burke, Greg Allman, David Allen Cole, Charlie Daniels, the Mavericks, Jerry Jeff Walker, and even Asleep At The Wheel.

“They joined Stewart, who was known for such hits as “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles),” when his backing band could not make a gig at the old Kicker’s Palace,” Goodspeed once reported. “The owner told Stewart they knew all his songs and he gave them a try. Stewart hired them and they toured coast to coast. Robinson quit after four years.”

“I didn’t want to be somebody’s backup band the rest of my life,” he said. “I’m a songwriter first and wanted to do my own thing.”

In 50 years, at least that many musicians have played in The Drugstore Cowboys.

Some of the members went on to play for the Bellamy Brothers, Janie Fricke, Bill Anderson, and Judas Priest.

“I believe it’s all about the song. It’s a lot of work running a band, but I do it just to play my music the way I want to hear it,” Dub said.

In God We Trust

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Where Did ‘He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother’ Come From?

During World War II (1945), a Japanese boy stood in front of a funeral pyre and waited his turn to cremate his little dead brother.

The person who took the photograph said, in an interview, that the boy was biting his lips so hard to keep from crying that blood was dripping from the corner of his mouth.

It was then that the guard asked him for the body and said, “Give me the load you are carrying on your back.” And the boy answered:

“He ain’t heavy, he is my brother”. He handed over the body, turned around, and left…

In Japan, even today, this image is used as a symbol of strength.

In college during the mid 1970s, I had the opportunity to meet and interview some music entertainers of the times. As the Fine Arts Editor for the Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) University Star, it helped me go backstage for artists like Freddy Mercury and Queen, Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Alvin Lee with Ten Years After, and more.

One of my classmates was a young fellow who would sit out in the hall before a business class trying to catch up because he had been out singing late into the night before. You may have heard of him–George Strait.

A special moment was meeting Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina backstage before their San Antonio Municipal Auditorium (now the expanded Tobin Center) concert. I secured autographs, asked a few questions and was allowed to watch their sound check.

From the side of the stage they sat on stools, side-by-side, singing to an empty auditorium that would soon be filled to the brim.

The song was “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” I had heard the recordings by The Hollies and Neil Diamond, but this one time “personal” performance remains in my heart and memories to this day.

It was written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell. They only met three times to collaborate before Russell died of lymphoma.

A guy name Reginald played piano on The Hollies’ version which was released in 1970. It was a worldwide hit. You likely know the piano player by another name–Elton John.

The title actually didn’t come from the Japanese picture shown above. It came from the motto for Boys Town, a community formed in 1917 by a Catholic priest named Father Edward Flanagan.

Located in Omaha, Nebraska, it was a place where troubled or homeless boys could come for help. In 1941, Father Flanagan was looking at a magazine called The Messenger when he came across a drawing of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, with the caption, “He ain’t heavy Mr., he’s my brother.”

Today, there is a statue with that phrase that serves as the symbol for Boys Town.

In 1938, actor Spencer Tracey portrayed Father Flanagan in the movie Boys Town, which also starred Mickey Rooney. In 1941, they made a sequel called Men Of Boys Town, where they used the phrase “He ain’t heavy, Father, he’s my brother” for the first time in a movie.

In God We Trust

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My First Big Interview Was With Elvis Presley

In the early spring of 1976, my Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State) journalism professor Jeff Henderson, asked his class on the second floor of Old Main to write down the names of two people we would like to interview if we could. 

When he called on me to reveal my answers, embarrassingly, I said “Elvis Presley and Clint Eastwood.”

Spontaneously, my classmates laughed. Their answers were reasonable…and safe: the police chief, fire marshal, county commissioner, etc. But Jeff held his hand up and looked me seriously straight in the eyes and asked, “Why don’t you?”

WHY DON’T YOU?

“Look, Jack. You just came back from winning Investigative Reporter of the Year Award out of every university in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Association,” he smirked, then grinned. “So, my question to you is—why don’t you?”

I thought of scores of reasons why I couldn’t. Jeff’s question would have profound impact the rest of my life. So, why don’t I? Within eight months, I interviewed both Presley and Eastwood.

I traveled to Memphis during Spring Break with one mission in mind: To do the impossible by interviewing Elvis.

Just a few days after my arrival, staying at a nearby (from Graceland) Howard Johnson’s, I was called in by a local radio station to be interviewed myself because there was much buzz (was that even a word, other than the sound a bee makes, in ’76?) about Elvis.

It was recently announced he’d be performing in his hometown later that summer. Months away and thousands of fans had been camped out for two days in line to buy tickets.

The day before, I drove by the Mid-South Colosseum and was astonished. People were in tents, sleeping bags, lawn chairs and on blankets waiting. Although it was hot and humid, they were happy.

Through the years I’ve found dedicated Elvis fans to be among the happiest people on the planet. Their camaraderie expands beyond man-made limiting boundaries such as race, politics, religion and sex. Generally, they’re united.

Two nights before, I gained quick notoriety among Memphis fans for gaining the “impossible dream.” I scored an interview with Elvis Presley!

As a young journalism student from then Southwest Texas State, I did my homework. The stars were aligned:

🔹Local fans were not swarming around Graceland,

🔹It was a time sandwiched between Elvis’ mother Gladys’ birthday week (reasoned he may leave to visit her gravesite) and Mother’s Day. Yes, it was a long shot, but I was giving it all I could.

🔹With donuts, coffee and burgers from the Hickory Log cafe, I befriended Elvis’ cousin Harold Loyd and other Graceland gate security guards at night…and Uncle Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge and others during the day in between naps (Elvis was a night owl, so I had to be).

Harold Loyd

.

🔹The big card up my sleeve was the ace in the hole: I was President of the Texas Chapter of the official Elvis Presley Graceland Fan Club.

Invited to the radio station because of the spike in interest of the upcoming concerts and me landing the interview, the DJ began asking questions in rapid fire.

I answered them as fast as he spit them out, but when he paused for a commercial break, I defaulted to my normal mode of operation–to engage in conversation rather than his Q&A approach.

Elvis’ Bicentennial Harley.

.

He started taking live listener calls. It was compelling enough that he kept me on air for over an hour.

I was psyched, of course, but somehow all this excitement calmed my youthful ego. I was very thankful for meeting Elvis, but especially grateful for his kindness. When you hear or read how nice he was to fans, believe me, it was very genuine kindness.

Shaking the hand of the man my parents, my sister Bobbi and I would see on the giant screens of the Trail or Mission Drive-In theaters, watch on TV, or read about in magazines and newspapers, was a surreal and humbling experience.

Meeting Elvis taught me much, including the value of doing homework, being prepared, investigation and a more engaging approach to interviewing.

Most of all, it taught me to never let self-imposed obstacles get in the way of my dreams.

Photos of Dodie and me taken at Graceland, SUN Studio, on June 24, 25 2020.

The following August, I was able to meet Elvis briefly backstage at Hemisfair Arena in San Antonio to present him some official honorary documents from the City, Bexar County and a Texas-shaped award from fans across the state.

Two of my favorite journalism classmates under Jeff Henderson, Janis Johnson and Vicky Highsaw, joined me on the front row center section for the Elvis concert.

Photos taken from front row, center at Elvis Presley’s August 18, 1976 concert.

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

What Happened to Elvis Presley’s Wedding Ring?

Elvis Presley unveiled his wedding band ring at The Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas on Monday, May 1, 1967, the day he wed Priscilla in a ceremony that celebrated one of the most famous marriages of the 20th century.

The band is decorated with eight baguette-cut diamonds within a border of sixteen fill-cut diamonds. It sold at an auction for $90,000 in 2006.

Note: At the same auction by Profiles in History, the original Cowardly Lion costume worn by actor Bert Lahr fetched $700,000. Presley’s band had an expected sale price of $100,000 – $150,000.

Here is some information about the wedding band from 2006:

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Star Spangled Banner

Most Americans are unaware that our National Anthem has four verses.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

America, The Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.

America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

🔹”America the Beautiful” started out as a poem from the pen of Katharine Lee Bates. 🔹She wrote it in 1895, intending to make it a part of a special Fourth of July church sermon.

🔹After church organist Samuel A. Ward set the poem to a melody in 1910, “America the Beautiful” became one of the most popular of the many U.S. patriotic songs in the 20th century, arguably nearly as famous as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

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Happy 82 Birthday Sir Tom Jones, From My Mom in Heaven

Knowing I’m an advid autograph collector, my mother, Geraldine Dennis was always on the lookout and obtained several signatures for me.

In April 1969, she took me to a Tom Jones concert with my cousins Carolyn Sanders Gerland and James Johnson at the Hemisfair Arena in San Antonio, Texas. Gladys Knight and the Pips and comedian Norm Crosby also appeared.

They performed on a stage, in the center of the arena, with an amazing orchestra on one side. I was only 13 and the entire show was incredible. Tom Jones sang such hits as “It’s Not Unusual,” “Delilah,” and “Help Yourself.”

I was mesmerized by the strength in his voice and boldness of his showmanship. (It would be three years later, in April 1972, when I would see Elvis Presley for the first time at that same arena…and up until that concert, never did I believe Tom Jones could be beat. LOL.)

Elvis & Tom, 1969

For years Mom would laugh and say, “When I die I want to come back reincarnated as a gospel backup singer so I can stand behind Tom Jones and watch him work on stage.”

She meant it.

On her 50th birthday we took her to the Magic Time Machine restaurant. It first opened in 1973, the year I graduated from high school, and continues to be a fun favorite in San Antonio.

 The Time Machine is like no other restaurant I’ve ever seen, with no two seating areas alike. In San Antonio, you can sit at the Sweethearts Table, in The Attic, a Thatched Hut or even an old Refrigerator. Mom loved the salad bar, a shiny red 1952 MG-TD Roadster modified to serve as a soup and salad vegetables.

“The thing that sets The Magic Time Machine apart is our zany cast of characters who transport our guests into another point in time,” their website bills themselves. “Our servers dress in costumes representing popular pop culture icons from the past, present, and future. The entertainment comes from the humorous interaction with your server in a family friendly environment. Pirate or Princess? Hero or Villain? We have characters for every occasion and group. At The Magic Time Machine, ‘Laughing Aloud is Allowed’!”

It was a fun night that January 17, 1988. Elvis was in the house and Mom told her friends Wayne and Betty Lewis, “I wished Tom Jones would make an appearance too” and explained her reincarnation wish.

We had great laughs but it was especially joyful to see her open my present to her—an 8×10″ glossy personally autographed picture of Tom Jones. The smile and happy tears on her face endure in my thoughts even today.

I took mom to see Tom Jones two more times (she had even seen him in Las Vegas) both in San Antonio’s Majestic Theater and the Laurie Auditorium. Each time she repeated her reincarnation wish–“gospel singer behind Tom Jones.”

When Mom died in September 2006, the funeral at First Baptist Church in Boerne, Texas was full. My sister Bobbi Shipman and I both addressed our dear family and friends, some we hadn’t seen in decades. Of course, there was great emotion and sadness.

To end it all, a gospel group from a Black San Antonio church led by Janet Givens (she has sang to royalty and backed up Michael Bolton) practically blew the stained glass windows out of the church with their songs. They concluded with “Oh Happy Day!”

Mom’s funeral was appropriately uplifting…just like her.

Happy Birthday Sir Tom Jones

I imagine that as Sir Tom Jones celebrates his 82nd birthday here on Earth June 7th, Mom will be wishing him good will and happiness from Heaven–and looking at his behind.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

God Bless America

While the storm clouds gather
Far across the sea
Let us swear allegiance
To a land that’s free
Let us all be grateful
For a land so fair
Let us raise our voices
In a solemn prayer

God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her,
Through the night with the light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.
God bless America,
My home sweet home.

From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam,
God bless America,
My home sweet home.

God bless America,
My home sweet home.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Dress Code to Enter Johnny Cash’s Bar & BBQ

John and June Carter Cash

Now this is a place for good ol’ red blooded Americans and patriotic country music lovers from around the world to enjoy.

The Johnny Cash Bar and BBQ is located at 121 Third Avenue South, right next door to the Johnny Cash Museum in Nasville, Tennessee.

The food, drink and decor is impressive. We especially like posted dress code and house rules.

DRESS CODE & HOUSE RULES

  • No extra long t-shirts or hoodies that hang below pockets.
  • No excessively low or baggy pants/shorts such that a person’s undergarments or buttocks are exposed. 
  • No athletic style pants/shorts (sweats, nylons, joggers, etc.)
  • No sleeveless shirts to be worn by men after 8PM.
  • No large chains. 
  • No clothing that management considers vulgar, offensive or otherwise likely to cause a disturbance.
  • No motorcycle club or gang affiliation displays of any kind. 
  • Sandals and flip flops are permitted, but not recommended.
  • Footwear must be worn at all times. 
  • No outside food or beverages. 
  • No large bags, backpacks, suitcases or gym bags after 6PM. 

*Management reserves the right to deny admission to anyone suspected to be intoxicated or deemed likely to cause a disturbance or for any other reason at its sole discretion. 

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.
Click For Johnny Cash

You May Be Cool, But You’ll Never Be Johnny Cash Cool

The Wit, Wisdom and Mistakes of the Legendary American Performer

In 1964, when his recording of “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” (about the tragic end suffered by a Native American hero of World War II) received an initially lukewarm reception at radio, Cash took out a full-page ad in Billboard demanding of programmers, “Where are your guts?”

San Antonio, TX

On January 13, 1968, Cash recorded his masterly live album At Folsom Prison, from which came a new #1 hit version of “Folsom Prison Blues.” This album and the follow-up 1969 live recording At San Quentin pushed his career to new heights. Taken from the San Quentin album, “A Boy Named Sue” (#1 country, #2 pop) became his biggest-selling single and the Country Music Association Single of the Year (1969). Cash was also voted the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year for 1969.

From 1969 through 1971, Cash hosted a prime time network television variety show that showcased his status as a national icon while featuring an eclectic mix of guest performers. A live cut from this show, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (written by Kris Kristofferson), was a #1 country hit. Increasingly, Cash recorded and featured on his television show the work of new songwriters drawn to country from folk and rock music backgrounds.

Cash died in 2003. Two years later his life became the subject of a biographical film, Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. Phoenix and Witherspoon both won Academy Awards for their performances. American V: A Hundred Highways (2006) and American VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010), further strengthened Cash’s reputation as a cultural hero.

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JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

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Lisa Marie Presley Tells Thoughts on Elvis Biopic Movie

“Channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully”

The day before the May 15 release of Lisa Marie Presley’s album,  Storm & Grace, the daughter of the most famous entertainer in history sent a social media message to the world regarding the upcoming Elvis movie.

This release, her first album in seven years, is also her Universal Republic/XIX Recordings debut. Presley is managed by Simon Fuller, CEO and Founder of XIX Entertainment. The album was produced by 12-time GRAMMY® winner T Bone Burnett and recorded at The Village in Los Angeles.

“When Lisa Marie’s songs arrived, I was curious,” Burnett said. “I wondered what the daughter of an American revolutionary music artist had to say. What I heard was honest, raw, unaffected, and soulful. I thought her father would be proud of her.”

“The more I listened to the songs, the deeper an artist I found her to be,” he continued. “Listening beyond the media static, Lisa Marie Presley is a Southern American folk music artist of great value.”

Since 2019, Lisa Marie has met several times with director Baz Luhrmann about the Elvis movie. She told Us Weekly, “I have been involved with Baz. He has come to my home and he has been emailing me… In fact, we’re going to be having another lunch at my home. He’s keeping me on top of everything. It’s been wonderful. He is a genius. I’m not getting involved with any kind of telling him what to do or how to do it or suggestions. No, no. I think this will be very stylized, very different.”

The movie follows a young Elvis, played by Austin Butler, as well as his dealings with his wife, Priscilla (played by Olivia DeJonge) and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks.)

When prompted about what she thought of the Colonel Parker role, Lisa Marie said, “Tom Hanks can pretty much capture anybody as far as his acting ability and how professional he is and how deep and deeply involved he gets with the character…I’m extremely pleased. I think that it’ll be very good.”

During filming, Tom spoke about a conversation he had with Priscilla, who revealed she had great affection for Colonel Tom, which is a different perception to that which many have.

He told late night host Stephen Colbert: “I was expecting to hear stories about the distrust she had for Colonel Tom Parker over these many years.”

On her post, Lisa Marie revealed she has seen Luhrman’s movie twice. Her thoughts?

“It is nothing short of spectacular,” she said. “Absolutely exquisite.”

“Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully.”

“In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully.”

“You can feel and witness Baz’s pure love, care and respect for my father throughout this beautiful film, and it is finally something that myself and my children and their children can be proud of forever.

“Elvis” will be released in theaters June 24, 2022.

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