Well, I’m sitting here in my “music room” with a cup of coffee gazing out at the sun glinting off of the fog over the lake through the cypress trees and Spanish moss and thinking about another year, another decade really, that has come and gone. Benjamin Franklin said “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” With that in mind I look back at 2010. January 1, 2010 was the official release date for “Welcome Home,” which I say with some pride is my best CD to date. It rose to the top of the Folk Radio Charts worldwide and it appears it will end the year in the top 50 albums of 2010 in that genre based on international radio play. It received critical acclaim as an album and certain songs (“Yellow Butter Moon”, “A Mother’s Tears”, etc.) got particular attention. However, I was particularly pleased that every single track on the album got repeated radio play somewhere in the world. Most times it seems a few songs are the standouts and some never see the light of day. It’s especially gratifying that all of these songs caught someone’s attention on some level. During the course of the year I played 96 shows and that counts festival appearances as only one show even though I may have played multiple days for multiple sets. Those performances took place in 11 different states (FL, AR, GA, SC, NC, WV, VA, AL, TN, MS and TX). Looking ahead, 2011 will include shows in all of those states again, plus appearances already booked in 9 others (KY, CO, NE, WI, IL, IN, OH, MI and LA). And, who knows what else might find its way onto the calendar! Some of those shows were particularly special, like the show in April opening for The Claire Lynch Band and being invited back on stage during the show to perform “This Old House” with Claire and “the boys.” I returned to Suwannee Springfest after too many years away. At Will McLean I was joined for separate sets by the Gatorbone Band (in the form of Lis and Lon Williamson and Tim Higgins) and The Roadside Revue. In a Nashville house concert I was joined by 3Penny Acre and David Glasser for a lightning version of “Yellow Butter Moon.” I was backed by Brian Kalinec in my set at HP Hops House in Houston. I returned to Kerrville, the songwriter’s Mecca. All in all the road was good to me this year. I certainly met a lot of wonderful people and was treated to kind hospitality wherever I went. I “blew a flat in Baton Rouge and had to change the tire, in the parking lot of a Big Lots discount store” (sorry Kris, couldn’t resist). Also, as I was coming over the mountains from Va. into Tn. and on to NC I realized I had steel belts protruding through the inside of a front tire – not good when you’re towing a 6,500 pound trailer behind you on winding mountain roads. But, without mishap I got it replaced with a “used” tire in brand new condition for, get this, $18 in Burnsville, NC. Gas prices weren’t great, but they were lower than they are going into 2011. I wrote a lot new tunes in 2010, a few of which have made it onto my regular set lists – “When the Hummingbirds Return,” “I Wish,” “These Rocks” to name a couple. In 2011 Judy and I will celebrate 27 years of wedded bliss (ok, ok, it wasn’t all bliss, particularly not for her!). We’ve lost people we love, but we’ve also gained some along the way – certainly our grandkids, Chase, Hunter and Kendall. My daughter Jessi, son-in-law Derek and Kendall have been living with us for nearly six months now as they try to buy a house in this foreclosure / short sale market. It has been among the finest times of my life getting to watch Kendall grow day in and day out and share their lives with them. Chase and Hunter joined Judy and I for part of my SE tour this year traveling with us in the camper from Nashville to WV and into VA where I dropped them all at the airport in Richmond to fly home. They can’t wait for the next one! I’m so blessed to be surrounded by good friends and family, get to follow my heart playing my music for any who will listen and to get to share that deepest part of me with all of you. The sun has pretty much burned the fog off the lake now and the last sip of coffee in my cup is cold. Time to get to the chores of the day, watch some college bowl games on TV and prepare to start again with a fresh new chapter tomorrow – 2011. “Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” ~Hal Borland. God Bless you all and I look forward to seeing each and every one of you somewhere along the trail this year.