Tag Archives: walkin’ west to memphis

Murphy Henry

I couldn’t wait to tell you all our son Christopher’s song, “Walkin’ West to Memphis,” made the final ballot for IBMA Song of the Year! There are only five songs nominated and his is one of them. What an honor! The song was recorded by the Gibson Brothers on their album Help My Brother. [Here's the link to download Chris's version of the song from CD Baby. And here's the link to do the same from iTunes. And finally here's the iTunes link to the Gibson Brothers' version.]

Many of you know that Chris is a top-notch mandolin and guitar player. (If I do say so myself!) But he is also an extremely gifted songwriter. He and Casey recorded a number of his songs on their CD Get Along Girl, including the aforementioned “Walkin’ West to Memphis.” (Don’t you just love the word “aforementioned”?!) He also included a bunch of his songs on his own CD, Monroe Approved. One of my favorites there is “Listen to the Lonesome Train (Boxcar Door).” He recorded that with Roland White and it is, as we say in the biz, a keeper fer sure.

IBMA 2011 Nominees

The 2011 IBMA nominees. Chris is second from the left, standing next to Ronnie McCoury. Photo from the Bluegrass Blog.

Whenever an event requiring a present comes along, I can almost guarantee that I will get a CD from Chris with a new song or several new songs on it. The title of one, “Maybelle’s Been a Bad Dog” is pretty self-explanatory! He’s got a project in the can now that features a lot of newly-written old country-type songs. He plays some old-school electric guitar on these (in addition to mandolin and acoustic guitar) and does some mighty fine singing.

Last night when I was waiting (with bated breath) to hear if Chris’s song got nominated I was in the middle of lessons. Right after he texted to say his song was, indeed, a final nominee, Bob Mc, who was listening to Sirius Radio on his way home from his lesson, texted to say “congratulations.” I love texting! (And I’m SURE Bob was not texting and driving!)

Mark was also listening to the radio on his way to the lesson. Since Logan is going off to college Friday (Virginia Tech) I had arranged with Mark to turn his lesson (my last one of the night) into a jam session and had invited Logan and Bob Van to come pick. As soon as Mark walked in he said he’d heard about Chris’s song on the radio too. He had had the classic bluegrass response. He said, “I ran off the road!” That usually happens when a banjo picker hears Earl on the radio for the first time, so Chris was in pretty good company!

I was in pretty good company, too, sitting there picking with Mark, and Bob, and Logan while basking in the glow of being a proud mother. We hoisted a few Corona’s in honor of Chris (Not Logan! He has to wait till college!) and proceeded to pick till about 10:00. But the story of that jam will have to wait till another time. I was nice to be with bluegrass folks who understood what a great moment it was for Chris to have a song nominated for Song of the Year.

So, big CONGRATULATIONS to Chris, my fav-o-rite songwriter! And you can bet Red and Casey and I will be there at the Awards Show in September, hoping for Chris to win a Song of the Year trophy, but proud of him no matter what! Yeehaw!

[Editor's Note: You can see the full list of nominees over at the Bluegrass Blog.]