Give up?  Well, you'll probably never guess, so let me tell you. (This is my own analysis, by the way, but stick with me) 

Cole, John, Phil and THE GAMBLER himself.  Hmmmm.  Now Cole and John are relatively new Country artists. Phil is very established. Kenny is one of the oldest and most established .  So what's in common?

Well, this is pretty personal, but all of them stick in my head, and for much the same reason.

Kenny Rogers sat in with us one morning years ago and was just FANTASTIC.  Open, personal,very friendly, and not "full of himself". He knew your name as soon as you came into the room.  He did his homework beforehand.

photo by Richie Phillips

     Phil Vassar?  "Ditto"!  Super friendly. At one of our concerts he asked ALL of us to come on stage.  He let ME accompany HIM!!!! My hands were shaking!

me phil vassar on stage
photo by Richie Phillips


Now onto the"newcomers".  John King? .  He came back for our golf tournament and was also great at recalling everyone's name.  I'm sure he had visited many radio stations in between visits, but you'd never know it.

He also invited me to play keyboards with him during his performance for God sakes!   He didn't have to do that, but it shows his character.

john king
photo by Richie Phillips

Now I only had about 10 seconds to speak with Cole Swindell "in the wings" before his performance at SPAC, once again,  I got the same feeling.  He gave me the impression that he'd rather talk to us and be a little bit late going out onto the stage.

I can only hope that more new artists will take a hint from these newbies and legends and remember where they came from and that it all starts with PEOPLE.  I don't know who coined the expression but it's always stuck in my mind

"Be nice to the people you meet on the way up because they could be the same ones you meet on the way down!".

Good luck to all of these talented artists.  It was a privilege shaking hands with ya!






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