What is your favorite song among all the songs on, “All Grassed Up,” and what’s the story behind it?
Probably my favorite is “All Grassed Up.” A lot of them came out really good, but that’s probably my favorite.
What song would you say best sums you up?
There’s a song that I usually sing that’s not on this album. It’s called “Thinking It Over,” which kind of explains me for that period of time when it came out.
How was it recording with Carolina Road? Did you approach them to be the backing band on the project?
I just agreed to do it with Lorraine’s band. I’d heard many of her players before and knew that they were really good.
If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
I don’t think the songwriters and artists get paid properly for so many of the organizations that use our music. I think that needs to be corrected, which they’re working on. I was involved in the copyright laws when they changed in the 70s and spent a lot of time back-and-forth into Washington speaking for the writers as a member of the Songwriters Association and on the board for a couple different organizations.
What does it take to be a music icon like yourself?
You’ve got to be lucky and the stars really have to align. You have to have dedication and really love the music and be in it for all the right reasons. If you don’t love the music, you can’t fool the public.
What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?
The first No. 1 record, “I Got Mexico,” was a highlight because we had a real struggle fighting the other great songs that were out there. Also when the Oak Ridge Boys cut my song, “Thank God for Kids,” and it did so well in the first 4-5 weeks, going Gold and Platinum. I’m the oldest of 10 kids, and my Mother loved that song. That song really justified a lot of my other songs and gave me a lot of credibility for a lot of other songs to come.
You have toured all over! Is there any place you haven’t played that you would like to?
I haven’t worked in Germany. The fans overseas are so into the music. When I’ve toured in other areas, they knew that my Dad was a truck driver, they knew some of my brothers and sisters names, and were just so into the music.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
I’ve had rattlesnake, which wasn’t bad, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering it again.
What’s your favorite family recipe?
My Grandmother’s family were the Landry’s and they started Don’s Seafood and Landry Restaurants, which are all over the country now. I like a good Louisiana Seafood Gumbo with shrimp, oyster, and crab meat in it.
How do you typically celebrate the Easter holidays?
We’re Catholic and we’ll usually go to church and eat ham or turkey. We don’t do a whole lot. We don’t do Easter egg hunts anymore since our boy’s are passed that age.
What kitchen appliance do you use every day?
The Keurig coffee maker. That’s probably my number one.
What’s your favorite fast food chain?
Chick-Fil-A is probably my number one favorite. They’re always busy and the folks are always so cordial and nice there.
You have seen Nashville change so much over the years, any favorite places to eat that are now gone? Any new favorite restaurants?
I like Chuy’s a lot. We went to Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse downtown recently which was really good. Charlie Monk and I go to the Pie Wagon a lot. I met Dave Cobb the other day and we ate there with Charlie. I really like the meat-and-three restaurants in town a lot.
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why?
It would probably be a salmon or fish company because I eat a lot of seafood. Maybe even Community Coffee which I drink a lot of, probably more than I do anything else.