You got to know when to hold them. And you best know when to fold them also.
I immediately recognized him this morning as he walked into my coffee place. As he passed by my table I said, "You gotta know when to hold them and know when to fold them." He did a quick glance at me, "Let me get my coffee and I will be right back."
As he approached my table I then said, "You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille, with four hungry kids and a crop in the field, I've had some good times, been through some bad times, but this time your hurtin" won't heal." This was my meeting with the two time Grammy award winner, songwriter, Don Schlitz. We talked for some time and he could not have been more humble and kinder with my questioning of his song writing. In fact he took out a song he had just written a few days prior and asked me to look at the words and wanted to know what I thought. "What, me look at your writing?" "Hey anyone that can quote my lyrics can certainly look at something that hasn't been recorded."
Kenny Rogers, when he spoke at Schlitz's induction into the Song Writers Hall of Fame said, "He is brilliant, unpredictable, compassionate and wise." Schlitz told me that Rogers asks for a first look at anything he now writes.
Some years ago I had the good fortunate to meet and spend some time backstage with Rogers before one of his performances. At that time he was riding the wave of success with the classic song Schlitz had written, "The Gambler."
Rogers was equally as kind as Schlitz was on this morning. In fact, Rogers invited me to play his private golf course. Later, on one of my trips back from Augusta to New Jersey I stopped just outside of Albany, Georgia where Rogers was living at the time and along with the tournament director of the Georgia State Golf Association we played his course. Rogers personally designed every hole and it was private. Very private. We, along with Roger's dog, were the only two playing that day.
Don Schlitz often plays the songwriter's venue here on the west side of Nashville, The Bluebird. He does a nine p.m. show that he labels, "Dollar Night with Don." If you ever have the opportunity to go, I can assure you will get more than your money's worth.
Oh, by the way one of the greatest song lines ever written was penned by Schlitz and sung by Rogers. The line:
"The best you can hope for is to die in your sleep."
Pretty hard to argue with that.
January 24, 2013