As I continue my stroll down memory lane, I guess it's only fair to clarify the phrase "brush with greatness." I've always used it to describe accidental encounters with famous people. But why not also include deliberate ones, as well.

I'd argue that the folks I've met through planned meetings are far more famous. So here we go with my second installment--this one featuring the Dixie Chicks, Deana Carter, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Toby Keith.


It was back in 1998 that Clay Walker, a hot artist at the time, was headlining a show at Roberts Stadium. He had two opening acts that night. To this day, I cannot remember who the second act was. But I won't forget the first one. Just before they sprang into superstardom--and five years before "the comment"--the Dixie Chicks were opening for Clay Walker.


And Kelly G. (midday personality at the time), Traci Davis--now our sales manager, and I got to meet them. They were laid back, easy-going types, but seemed a little tired. But they were very gracious. My only question is what I was doing in the photo. I guess I was rushing to get behind Martie--or is that Emily--for the shot. I was late. But I think I like it better this way.



One year earlier, Alan Jackson came to town for a concert at Roberts Stadium. I had the privilege of escorting two of our listeners backstage to meet Alan...on his bus! Very cool. And a very nice guy. I just can't find any of the pictures.


But earlier that evening, Steve Horn and I got to go back and meet Alan's opening act, Deana Carter. What a blast! She was a lot of fun and was clearly overwhelmed at the number of fans who were lined up wanting to meet her. I wasn't surprised; "Strawberry Wine" had become one of the biggest smash hits of the 90s.

When we got up to Deana, I noticed something...she was barefoot...on that cold Roberts Stadium concrete. She told me she had done her show barefoot. I guess I wasn't close enough to notice...well, not, at least, until I got backstage.


Back in 1992, several friends/co-workers of mine and I loaded up two vehicles and headed across the Bluegrass to Lexington to see Vince Gill and Mary Chapin Carpenter at Rupp Arena. We arrived a little late but still caught most of Mary Chapin's set. And it was terrific.

As you might guess from big hits like "I Feel Lucky" and "Shut Up and Kiss Me," she can bring the sense of humor. And she did just that and so much more when we all went backstage (actually, a UK locker room) and hung out with her for about a half hour. She was down to earth and funny and we all had a great time just talking.

We even posed for a picture in one of the showers, which was hilarious. I don't know who has that one. But I did find the one of her and me.

You'll notice that my hair is wringing wet. That's because, for some reason, the heat was seriously cranked in the arena that day. No one cared though as we'd all gotten a chance to spend some time with a great artist.





This last brush is one of my favorites. In 1997, Toby Keith did a show at the Executive Inn's Showroom Lounge. Earlier in the week, I called his record label to see if I could arrange an interview at the station. Well, his manager got a hold of me and said the interview was fine, but I would need to drive down to the hotel and pick him up and then bring him back. No problem!


I cannot imagine something like that happening now.

But, I guess because Toby is such a laid back individual, it was no big deal. And it wasn't. He did the interview and then we got the picture you see below in front of the van. And it was dueling mullets all over again.

On the way back, he mentioned that he'd heard that Owensboro was the Barbecue Capitol of the World. I confirmed. So he asked me to go to the nearest BBQ place so he could pick some up for his crew. We went through the Old Hickory drive-through and I've never seen so many people squeeze into a window to see if it was, in fact, Toby Keith sitting in the passenger seat of the WBKR van.





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