New Horizons...2017

 

 

I'm up early this morning with a lot on my mind as I begin to pack for the country music cruise with Vince Gill, The Oak Ridge Boys, Charley Pride, Brenda Lee and so many other great artists.  It is a double blessing to know that when you entertain, you'll be entertaining for and with so many of your friends.  I'm excited about the week (and year) ahead!
 

2016 was a whirlwind year for me.  It's amazing how fast it went.  I'm thankful I have a wife who takes pictures because I can look back at those photos and think “I really did that....That really happened.”

AWA (Academy of Western Artists)  Instrumentalist of The Year

AWA (Academy of Western Artists)  Instrumentalist of The Year

As of this writing, I am The AWA (Academy of Western Artists)  Instrumentalist of The Year.  What an honor!  It was so much fun to make the trip to Ft Worth to accept that award, and while I was there, to play with some of the best musicians in the world.  A Texas picker is a country shuffle's best friend.

2016 was filled with opportunities that I could have only imagined a few years back...television interviews, radio interviews, hosting The Midnight Jamboree to a full house on WSM Radio, having my albums in The Ernest Tubb Record Shop, being a part of The Daily & Vincent Show, performing on Larry's Country Diner, and serving as Music Director for The Inspirational Country Music Awards for the 12th year in a row.  Wow!  Just WOW!

 

I signed with i2i Records last year and recorded my first gospel album That Old Time Religion nominated this year for Country Album of the Year.  This project was a heart project of mine.  Some of my earliest years behind a piano were spent playing gospel music with a group called The Harris Family out of Peoria, Illinois...back when my young heart came to know and love Jesus and Jerry Lee—in that order.

 

"Let's All Go Down To The River" duet with Mandy Barnett

"Let's All Go Down To The River" duet with Mandy Barnett

My first single Let's All Go Down To The River –a duet with Mandy Barnett--is currently #15 in Cash Box Magazine.  I have a top twenty hit on The Christian Covenant Chart, and my album will be featured in next month's issue of Power Source Magazine.   I've also begun to play my gospel music in churches across the country.  Every time I play for a congregation, I pray that those in attendance will receive a blessing from my music, but every time I play, I drive away believing it was I who received the greatest blessing from the congregation.

Whew!  I made so many new friends this past year performing our country show on the road and here in Nashville.  Thank you all for coming out and seeing us.  You'll never know how much your support means to us.  It keeps us going!   


I've especially enjoyed playing those intimate evening shows with Jeannie Seely...just Jeannie, me and a piano.  We've had more fun performing together than should be allowed.  Of course you could have fun watching paint dry with Jeannie. 

Tim Atwood & Jeannie Seely

Tim Atwood & Jeannie Seely

I'm looking forward to performing more shows with Seely in 2017. It's an incredible feeling to know you're sharing a stage with one of your best friends. (It doesn't hurt that your friend is a Grammy Award winner and a soon-to-be 50 year veteran of The Grand Ole Opry.)


Bookings are still coming in for 2017.  I'm honored to be a featured entertainer at The ROPE luncheon this year for Fan Fest. And I'm already looking forward to October when I return to Lake of The Ozarks and perform with the Genuine Country Music Association. 

Tim Atwood/Jeannie Seely

I've also been invited back to play Two Rivers Campground on Sunday nights starting in May.  I love playing Two Rivers when I'm in town.  We have a blast and meet so many wonderful people from all over the world over the course of a season...many of those people have become good friends.

If all goes as planned, I hope to have a pretty cool announcement to make soon about a series of events I'll be playing in 2017 that has the potential to change lives.  All I can say for now is it's in God's hands....but then again, it's ALL in His hands.

Again, my heart is filled with gratitude for your support, friendship and love.  God bless you all...and I hope to see you all down the road soon.  Here's to a bright and beautiful 2017 performing great country music, singing songs of praise, laughing out loud and enjoying life!

 

--Tim

In The Studio ... Making Music With My Friends

I am an entertainer, but first and foremost, I am a musician.  Nothing makes me happier than to spend time in the studio being a part of the process that creates the music, and these past few months I've been a very happy man, because the music I've created has been my own. 

 

I have a new album soon to be released titled That Old Time Religion.

 There's a lot of pressure knowing the world is about to judge my work, and truthfully it's a little scary knowing I bared my soul in the arrangements of the songs I sang, but I created the music the way I FELT the music.
 

For years I had a great stage job that required me to play “in the box”...meaning, I had to play every song exactly like it was recorded.  There was no freedom for interpretation.  When I started to play “outside the box,” a funny thing happened:  I rediscovered the joy in my music.  It is that JOY that I hope you hear and feel.

Adding to the joy of the music itself, is the joy of making that music with some of the best studio musicians and artists in the world.  Bobby Bare is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  TG Sheppard has twenty-one #1 records.  Jeannie Seely is a Grammy Award winner.  Jan Howard is a Grand Ole Opry legend.  Mandy Barnett has one of the best set of pipes I've ever heard.  Kelly Lang, The Tennessee River Boys and Alicia Lange are gifted singers and songwriters...and they all joined me on this project.  ME!

Yes...I am a very happy man...and details about That Old Time Religion and how to order a copy are coming soon...but right now, I just want to take a minute, exhale, and reflect back on this creative process.  Making an album is a journey, my friends...and I'm enjoying the trip!

You Can't Make Old Friends

Recently I played piano for Jeannie Seely and performed as her guest for The ROPE Awards.  Do you know how absolutely cool it is to play, for and with, a 48 year veteran of The Grand Ole Opry who happens to be a Grammy Award winner?  Well, let me tell you right now: it is the coolest!

Jeannie was already a member of the Opry when I started to play piano with the Grand Ole Opry staff band.  Not too long after I settled into that position, Jeannie walked over to me in the middle of a song and decided to “mess” with the new kid.  I was in my twenties at the time, and Jeannie leaned down as I was playing an intricate solo and whispered in my ear, “Atwood, if you make love, as good as you play piano, you must be wonderful!” 

WOW!  For the next ten seconds, I hit every wrong key you could hit on that piano.  I looked up at Jeannie and she was grinning down at me... that mischievous smile with one eyebrow raised, a look I have come to know so well over the past three decades.  Jeannie had no intent of“sexual misconduct”.  Her intent was to rattle my cage—and she succeeded!  That made her very happy.  From that moment on, we were friends.

 Playing for The ROPE Awards, even with Jeannie by my side, was a little intimidating for me.  ROPE stands for Reunion of Professional Entertainers, and basically we were performing a show for our industry peers....just Jeannie, me, and the piano.  My wife calls it “playing naked.”  The only thing you have to cover you up out there is your talent.

During the show Jeannie shared back stories about some of the songs she has written, she performed those songs, and she entertained her butt off.

Then as only Jeannie would do, she shared some of the spotlight with me, and asked me to sing a few songs from my new CD.  I felt the audience “with me” the entire time.  It was such a thrill.

We concluded the evening with a duet originally recorded by Kenny and Dolly called You Can't Make Old Friends...a fitting song to perform with my dear friend of almost forty years, and for all of those old friends in the audience.

We must have done something right, because we ended the evening to a standing ovation!

But perhaps the icing on the cake for me was when Charlie McCoy, a member of both The Musicians' and Country Music Hall of Fames, waited for me after the show just to shake my hand and say some very kind words to me that I will never forget.  Charlie has always been one of my heroes, and MY hero waited for ME to tell me I did a great job as both a musician and as an entertainer.  I don't share this with you in an egotistical way whatsoever, because this country boy from Peoria, Illinois was humbled beyond belief. 

It's true what they say:  You can't make old friends...but I'd like to add, once you've made them, you cherish them. 

What A Wonderful World

Throughout my career I've heard so may people say, “Oh, you play music?  You must stay up all night, and sleep all day.  What a life!” 

Truth is; I'm a morning person.  I always have been.  No matter what time I go to bed at night—even in the wee hours of the morning--I'm up with the sun.  I guess maybe it's because I feel like life is short.  I don't want to miss a thing while I'm here on this planet. 

On a recent trip to The Gulf coast with my family, I got up every morning to see the sun rise.  The condo was so quiet.  I'd slip out to the balcony and I'd watch the blackness transition into soft hues of purples while the rest of the world slept.  The only sound I heard was the rhythmic pulse of the waves lapping onto the deserted shore. 

I sat there with a cup of coffee in hand, and I watched the sun emerge from the sea. I could almost see the water dripping off of the firey, golden ball as it rose higher into the sky. I saw the light spread across the horizon like a smile on a child's face on Christmas morning.  Pinks turned to oranges...then pale yellows to blues....and in this quiet, peaceful time, as an audience of one watching God's light show, I began to think.

I thought about my own life, and the parallels between a world of darkness succumbing to a world of light.  There was a time in the not too distant past when I thought I would never see the sun again, but was I wrong.  Today my world is full of light, light that was there all along—only now I can see it clearly...and feel its warmth.

Like I do every morning at the beach, I rinsed out my coffee mug, and headed down to the shore to walk the surf's edge. 

 

 

 

 

The only other living creature sharing the sand with me that morning was a spindly crane, and as I walked the beach alone, I began to thank God for my many blessings.  I thanked Him for my family.  I thanked Him for our supportive friends.  I thanked Him for my health.  I thanked Him for bringing joy back to my music....and I thanked Him for allowing me, after all these years,  to continue to earn a living doing what I love to do with the people I love to do it with.

I am a very blessed man...and I know it.  As I continued to walk the beach that morning, my wife's favorite song by Louie Armstrong popped into my head, and I hummed it all the way back to the condo—especially the last lines...and I think to myself, what a wonderful world! 

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