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Top-Rail News Flash! * 12 April 2020 * Happy Easter!

Howdy Top-Rail Bunch!

   Happy Easter to all of you! I sincerely hope that all of you are healthy and well during this trying time. While this virus is a very serious matter there is no need for panic. Heed the advice of the medical professionals and take the necessary and recommended precautions. Sanitation, limited contact with others, and eat foods rich in proteins to keep your immune system intact. Still don't understand the rush on toilet paper???

   On a somber note, on 20 February 2020 I receive notice from my music friend Rick Franklin, that a long-time local music friend of many of us, Alan Byrd, had passed away on 18 February 2020. This information was sent by Alan's son. Alan was a very gracious musician who reached out to everyone and was never shy about sharing his stage with anyone. He was a whiz on the guitar, quick witted, and played some very unique songs. I've spent the past week rooting out some video footage of Alan and a bunch of us performing during the 1990s with the intention of sharing this wonderful talent, with whom a number of us have performed with, on my YouTube Channel in the very near future. Alan was a regular at Kenny Haddaway's Sunday Jams at the Tex-Mex Bar & Grille in Rosslyn, Virginia. Our music friend Andy Nocero, in coordination with Alan's son, is planning a musical tribute once this pandemic is over.

   I'm fine and well stocked with plenty of canned vegetables, meats, and fish. I've only had to shop twice, a little over a month apart, to restock on perishables like milk, eggs, and cheese. My VA medical appointments have been cancelled until it's safe. I'm too old to get sick, and will be turning 74 in June. So, I'm definitely doing everything possible to make it. As for being home-bound, that's not a problem. I have many projects in art, literature, music and videos to keep me busy. One of them, the James Adelsberger Country Songbook is almost ready for publication. It contains the 15 songs that are on his first and second Roughshod Records releases. He did the scores several years ago, but the project was always pushed on the backburner because we had other musical priorities pressing. The rear cover layout is done. Still have to pick one from the front cover layouts. the copyright pages are done and I'm finishing up a brief biography and picture page.

   For those of you who have inquired about why I'm still producing James' stuff. Simple. As a producer, I'm obligated to exploit all of the material in the label's catalog, to its fullest. Every good producer does that. Once something is produced, as is legally required, he will be notified and paid accordingly. We created a wealth of material during his tenure and I would be remiss in not exploiting them. Two, he left to address pressing personal and professional priorities.

   In fact, if you check my YouTube Channel, you'll see how I've exploited some of the songs on the CDs that I produced for Dale Heeren and Rocky Guttmann & Harry Pritchett, called "Mike Johnson Listen' To..." Instead of relying on me to email you on my latest posting, create a YouTube account, subscribe to my Channel, and hit the "Notification" bell and you'll get an email each time I post a new video. Oh, and you don't have to post any videos to open a YouTube account.

   Also worth mentioning is that a number of music organizations, like ASCAP, BMI, PRS for MUSIC, etc. have initiated some type of plan to help full-time musicians cope with the economic crunch the pandemic is causing. So if you're a member of them or any other substantial music group, you might want to check them out. I'm retired with a pension, so I'm okay.

   Received word from music friend Rod Brandt in Australia that he's coping with the loss of his significant other. It will take time. Hang in there Rod. Our condolences on the recent passing of John Prine and Kenny Rogers, two very wonderful musicians.

   Well, that's pretty much it for this issue. Just wanted to touch base to let you know that we are thinking about you and wishing you well during these trying times. Joe Arnold, my manager, is okay also and says "hi" and Happy Easter to all of you as well. Stay safe, stay alive! There's a lot more roads to travel!

Adios Amigos!

Mike Johnson & Joe Arnold

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