Category

Personal Growth

William Lee Golden

By Author, Music, Personal Growth No Comments

This episode is sponsored by:

Gary had the distinct honor of having William Lee Golden of the Oak Ridge Boys join him for an open conversation, and William was very frank.

In this episode:

  • What he did during the pandemic
  • Who taught him to play the guitar
  • Why he had to leave the Oakridge Boys
  • His book Behind the Beard
  • Growing up on a cotton and peanut farm
  • Why they didn’t sing any new songs during the pandemic
  • What he thinks about his kids being in the music industry
  • Which song gives him chills
  • Taking a stand and being who you are
  • The insane number of situps he still does at 83

Quotations:

“You know, we were all shut outta church. And so we’ve come together here at our old home and. Got started singing old songs.” ~William Lee Golden

“You can’t go dragging your differences around. You gotta get past all that.” ~William Lee Golden

“I’m into music more than anything.” ~William Lee Golden

“Their [his kids] mothers are the unsung heroes in their lives.” ~William Lee Golden

“I don’t wanna hate nobody. I wanna love everybody.” ~William Lee Golden

“I didn’t come to town and try to join the Oakridge Boys to try and become the star of the show.” ~William Lee Golden

“You can’t pretend to be someone you’re not your entire life.” ~William Lee Golden

“I sing from my heart.” ~William Lee Golden

“I’m who I am, and it didn’t matter.” ~William Lee Golden

Guest’s Bio:

He is one of the most recognized personalities in Country and Gospel music, having garnered the highest accolades as a member of the legendary group The Oak Ridge Boys. Now, the renowned “Mountain Man” is climbing to new heights in the world of fine art.

Doo-wop, Pop, Country

For the first time in a long time, William Lee Golden has a spring in his step. Coming out of a tumultuous period in his life, the iconic baritone vocalist has found the love of his life in his new bride, Simone. He’s also comfortable with his place in the world as part of the Oak Ridge Boys, who are celebrating their 42nd Anniversary together in 2015, while Golden’s celebrating his 50th anniversary since joining the iconic group.

A farmer’s son, Golden spent the early years of his life in rural south Alabama surrounded by music. As he grew up, he started singing at the age of seven and began performing regularly on his grandfather’s weekly radio show along with his sister, Lanette. It was there that his love of harmony came alive, and by his teenage years, Golden grew to appreciate the Country, Gospel, Doo-Wop, and Pop quartets, and sure enough, it wasn’t long before he was joining up with The Oak Ridge Boys.

Nobody back home in Brewton, Alabama, could’ve imagined back then all that Golden would accomplish with The Oak Ridge Boys since joining the band in 1965. While on a break from the quarter, Golden released several solo recordings to considerable success.

But for as much success he has had as a recording artist, Golden’s no one-dimensional act. He’s found considerable success with his paintings, and he’s finding even more success with a new visual medium, photography, where he often focuses on landscape portraits and scenes. Many of his favorite shots can be found on Golden’s official Facebook page.

Family has long held a special meaning to Golden. In addition to his newly found love with his wife, Simone, Golden has four sons in Rusty, Chris, Craig, and Solomon. Golden also has six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Along with his marriage to Simone, he also welcomes his step-daughter Megan, her husband Newton, along with the addition of another grandchild to the fold.

Lifetime Achievements

With over forty million records sold, The Oaks have had more than a dozen Number One singles and over thirty Top Ten hits. Their numerous Gold and Platinum recordings include “Thank God For Kids,” “Ozark Mountain Jubilee,” and the crowd favorite “Elvira.” The Oaks have received five Grammy Awards, one American Music Award, four Country Music Awards (CMA), four Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM), the 2008 ACM Pioneer Award, ten Dove Awards, the 2010 President’s Honor, induction into The Grand Ole Opry in 2011 as well as the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In 2015 they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The legendary group has received an abundant amount of other national and international acknowledgments.

American Vagabond

During his forties, Golden went through profound changes emotionally, spiritually, and physically. “With all the success came a very fast-paced agenda. The mountain man and Indian way of life appealed to me because they brought me back to my childhood, where the simple things in life meant the most. I wanted to stop and see myself as God made me.” William reflects. The once-trend setter let his hair and beard grow to their natural lengths.

Golden had a desire to grow musically as well. In 1985, Golden recorded his first solo album called “American Vagabond” for MCA Records. The critically acclaimed album was produced by the great Booker T. Jones and showcased Golden’s individual talent. The ultimate promoter himself, Golden hired New York Publicist Pam Lewis. Pam was known for helping launch MTV and later became known for launching superstar Garth Brooks as his co-manager. 

Notes of Interest

William Lee Golden has earned recognition for his individual achievements in both music and art. Over the years, the iconic features of the Singing Painter have been the subject of many sketches, paintings, and sculptures by other world-renowned artists. Golden has received the “Entertainer Of The Year” Award from the Cherokee Indian Association, which is comprised of 21 tribes from across America, as well as the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

Guest’s Contact Info:

https://www.williamleegolden.com/

Psychic Lawyer Mark Anthony

By Author, Faith, Personal Growth, Philosophy, Science No Comments

This episode is sponsored by:

Have you ever wondered if we’re alone in the universe? Are people really able to talk to our loved ones who have passed? This episode is simply fascinating! Psychic Lawyer Mark Anthony joined Gary Scott Thomas for this week’s episode, and Mark gave us great insight into what it’s like to be a medium. There are several very unexpected moments in this conversation!

In this episode:

  • His first time in the Andes and the strange thing the locals gave him
  • Retro rockets 
  • Meeting Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
  • MLK Jr.’s impact on Star Trek
  • Quantum Physics 
  • What led him to spontaneously quit practicing law
  • How spirits can “predict” the future
  • The different brain wave frequencies

Quotations:

“We have two seasons, spring and hell.” ~Mark Anthony

“I have found in my work as a medium that every life matters, every life counts. And there are so many days when people think nobody’s noticed me; I don’t matter. And that may be what you think, but in the bigger picture, everyone has their part to play.” ~Mark Anthony

I realized that everything that I’d been through led up to that point. That’s not some special thing unique to me. That’s unique to you, too. Everything in your life has led up to this point. That’s unique to everybody. Everything happens to us for good, for bad. What we may think is indifferent is all part of our journey. We grow in response to adversity. Something terrible happens to you like you lose a loved one; it’s your choice how you react to it. You’re welcome to start snorting all sorts of drugs, shoot up, do some heroin, start drinking… You can take that path, or you can get angry and resentful and bitter, or you can embark on a spiritual journey to become more open-minded and more compassionate.” ~Mark Anthony

“There’s a day we’re coming, and a day we’re leaving this world. And what we have a choice with is what we do with the time in between.” ~Mark Anthony

“I introduced the term the electromagnetic soul, and a number of scientists and neuroscientists have started using it. They’re referring to it as the EMS and such an honor. It’s to describe what we really are, which is a soul.” ~Mark Anthony

Guest’s Bio:

Mark Anthony, JD, Psychic Explorer (aka The Psychic Lawyer®  Psychic Attorney and Psychic Adventurer), is a world-renowned fourth-generation science-based evidential psychic medium who communicates with spirits. He is the author of the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed spiritual bestsellers The Afterlife Frequency, Evidence of Eternity, and Never Letting Go.

Mark’s credentials and experience are unparalleled in the paranormal world. He is an Oxford-educated trial attorney licensed to practice in Florida, Washington D.C., and before the United States Supreme Court. In England, he studied Mediumship at the prestigious Arthur Findlay College for the Advancement of Psychic Science.

Dr. Gary Schwartz, Professor of Psychology, Medicine, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Surgery at the University of Arizona and Director of the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health, is one of the foremost experts on the Survival of Consciousness and After Death Communication in the world. Dr. Schwartz studies psychic mediums and has ranked Mark as one of the top mediums in the United States. 

Mark is a recurring guest on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX Television, Gaia TV, and on major talk radio shows such as Coast to Coast AM, Darkness Radio, and Sirius XM as a psychic medium, paranormal and after-death communication expert, and legal analyst in high profile cases.

Mark was featured on the covers of OMTimes Magazine, and Best Holistic Life Magazine-which was the top-selling and most popular edition of Best Holistic Life to date.

He has also been featured in The Hollywood TimesThe Huffington PostThe New York PostPublisher’s WeeklyWriter’s Digest, Soeleish Magazines, Authority Magazine, Entrepreneurs Magazine, Conscious Community Magazine, Elephant Journal, LifeStyle MagazineNew Spirit Journal, Horizon’s MagazineThe InquisitrStaten Island TodaySedona Red Rock News, Elite Man MagazineNatural AwakeningsVerde Independent, Infinity Magazine (Canada)Spirituality Today (UK), Soul & Spirit (UK) and Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America.

A charismatic, intelligent, and humorous accomplished public speaker, Mark headlines at conventions, expos, and spiritual organizations such as the Edgar Cayce A.R.E., IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies), Afterlife Research Education Institute (AREI), The Theosophical Society, Spiritual Awakenings International, Helping Parents Heal, Sedona Spirit Symposium, Vail Symposium and universities including Brown, Columbia, Harvard and Yale.

Guest’s Contact Info:

Hailey Whitters

By Music, Personal Growth No Comments

In this week’s episode, Country Music artist Hailey Whitters joined Gary Scott Thomas and shared stories about songwriting sessions, Nashville, and more. You’ll be amazed at the courageous thing she did when she first arrived in Nashville! If you like getting to know more about the artists you love, give this episode a listen.

In this episode:

  • Her first impressions of Nashville
  • Who gave her her first big break
  • Writing with Lori McKenna
  • Which song of hers is her favorite
  • Being the oldest of 6 children
  • The catalyst for being able to write happy songs
  • How she felt about growing up in a small town
  • What people said about her being from Iowa

Quotations:

“It’s a good thing you have your dreams when you’re young. You’re just dumb enough to chase them.” ~Hailey Whitters

“I had no connections to the music business. I had no friends down here. I had no family down here. I would just walk up, introduce yourself and ask for a gig.” ~Hailey Whitters

“I love writing. I’ve always loved writing. If I wasn’t a singer, I’d find a way to write. I’d find a way to write a book or a poem or something like that. That’s always been my strong suit. And I just love putting words together. I think that’s why I’ve always loved country music because they’re so heavy on the lyrics.” ~Hailey Whitters

“I try and look at the positive. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows, but if I can have a few songs in my pocket that make me feel good and make me think of the good things in life, I like to have that. And I like to sing about that and remind other people that there are bad days, but there are some really good ones too.” ~Hailey Whitters

“I love a good happy cry.” ~Hailey Whitters

Guest’s Bio:

The idea of “home” courses throughout country music. But few songwriters can place you in the center of the town square, on a stool at the corner bar, or in a chair at the kitchen table quite like Hailey Whitters. 

On her 2020 breakthrough album The Dream, Hailey wrote about escaping her hometown of Shueyville, Iowa, to pursue stardom in Nashville. It was a fantasy record at first, full of far-off plans, hopes, and dreams. But it soon became Hailey’s reality — she signed a label deal with Big Loud/Songs & Daughters, went on tour with Luke Combs and Midland, and made her first of many appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. 

The Dream and its deluxe reissue Living the Dream earned her critical acclaim from media outlets as varied as The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Garden & Gun, and Stereogum, which ranked it the best country album of the year. Hailey racked up 75 million global artist streams, was named the inaugural Opry NextStage Artist of 2021, and was nominated for Breakthrough Video of the Year at the CMT Music Awards. Remarkably, she also became a Grammy-nominated songwriter for “A Beautiful Noise,” her collaboration with artists like Brandi Carlile, Alicia Keys, and Brandy Clark.

In the midst of that whirlwind, Hailey found herself reconnecting with her Midwestern roots. Shueyville was always in the back of her mind, and the memories she made there — getting her first kiss from a boy who tasted like wintergreen tobacco, racing her friends through the cornfields, eating Sunday supper with her big family — started to shape her writing. Over the past two years, she channeled those memories into her highly anticipated new album, Raised

Released via Songs & Daughters and Hailey’s own Pigasus Records, Raised is the sound of Hailey Whitters going home.

“It’s been 14 years since I’ve lived in Iowa, but more and more, I’ve been going back there mentally and being pulled to the people and the places that raised me,” she says. “With The Dream, I was starting to turn that corner back home, but this record went straight there. If The Dream were my wings, then Raised is my roots.”

For The Dream, Hailey turned to Jake Gear to produce. For Raised, she joins Gear — her creative partner and fiancé — behind the console as co-producer. Once again, Logan Matheny mixed and engineered. The result is an LP that is rich in folksy turns of phrase, sharp yet inventive in its musicianship, and teeming with unvarnished honesty. 

“If you’re listening to The Dream, I think you hear a girl hanging on. She’s had her heart broken, but she’s finding a way to persevere and to keep going,” Hailey says. “And when you listen to Raised, you hear what gave her that strength. This is the place, the people, the work ethic, the values — this is what she was raised on.”

Made up of 17 tracks, Raised is full of expertly crafted country songs — the title track, “Boys Back Home,” “Beer Tastes Better,” and “Middle of America,” featuring American Aquarium — and quirky sonic excursions. The orchestral piece “Ad Astra Per Alas Porci” (Latin for “To the stars on the wings of a pig,” Hailey’s motto) bookends the album. There’s also a gorgeous piano “Interlude” at the record’s midsection and a comedic skit titled “The Grassman” that introduces one of the album’s high points: “Our Grass Is Legal,” a salute to a straight-and-narrow family business that was accustomed to shady phone calls.

“My grandpa had a sod business named Whitters Turf Farm back in the Sixties and Seventies, and he called himself ‘The Grassman.’ Everyone would call him looking to buy pot,” Hailey laughs. “My dad and my uncles all grew up working out in the fields, raising grass with him, and he had the business motto ‘Our Grass Is Legal.’ I thought it was a perfect title for a song.”

Family is a recurring theme throughout Raised. That’s Hailey’s real-life Aunt Cindy who answers the phone in “The Grassman” skit, and it’s her parents’ Iowa cornfield that inspired the track “In a Field Somewhere.” 

“That’s my holy place,” Hailey says. “That’s where I go to quiet my head. You can see for miles, and it’s just golden and serene. Back in high school, the cornfield was where I used to go streaking with boys and a case of beer. My dad taught me how to drive in a field. And Jake proposed to me in that same cornfield behind my parents’ house.” 

In “Big Family,” she sings about volatile holidays, boisterous road trips, and “bunk beds, matchin’ sheets and sharin’ the bathroom sink.” Fleshed out by wistful fiddle and a twangy Telecaster solo, the song grows into a family chorus sing-along. 

“I come from a big Irish-Catholic family. We had more cousins than friends growing up,” Hailey says. “I remember all of us would head over to my grandpa’s after church for Sunday supper, and he’d be sitting on a stool with a shot of whiskey and a Schlitz beer, and everyone would be catching up on the weekly family gossip. That definitely shaped me.”


On the surface, she sings about drinking in “Beer Tastes Better,” co-written with Lori McKenna. But it reveals itself to be an emotional commentary about outgrowing home and trying in vain to recreate that sense of community.  

“It’s that moment of walking back into your hometown bar, and you are instantly walking back into the past and the present. It’s a bittersweet feeling to experience: It’s like everything’s changed, but nothing really has,” she says.


Along with standouts like “Ten Year Town” and “Heartland,” The Dream gave Hailey a viral hit with the character study “Janice at the Hotel Bar.” She taps into that sense of personal storytelling on Raised with “Pretty Boy,” co-written with Scooter Carusoe and Tom Douglas. While the guys in “Boys Back Home” taught Hailey how to drink, fight, kiss, and cry, the title character of “Pretty Boy” is a lesson in going against the grain. He’s not the quarterback or the good ol’ boy; just an introspective kid finding his way. 

“‘Pretty Boy’ unveils some of the darker sides and shadows of masculinity,” she says. “Where I’ve grown up, boys are supposed to be tough, aren’t supposed to cry. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that a man’s ability to show emotion, grief, and sadness is a strength. ‘Pretty Boy’ may not be written the same way as ‘Janice at the Hotel Bar,’ but it has that same rich storytelling lyricism.”

At the end of the day, Hailey remains very much that girl next door, ready to jump in the back of a pickup truck in her worn-in blue jeans and head out into the fields. “I’ve never been much of the Hollywood style,” she laughs.

Like Hailey herself, Raised is steeped in the culture of the Midwest. Musically, there are hints of early Alan Jackson, the Chicks, and the king of heartland rock, John Mellencamp. But you needn’t have spent your formative years on a farm for Raised to speak to you. 
Raised is a celebration of the Midwest, but I think it’s a common story no matter where you’re from,” Hailey says. “My experience growing up in the middle of the country is very relatable to a lot of people. We’ve all lived in a similar way — the only thing that’s different is the scenery.”

Home

Sam LaCrosse

By Author, Faith, Personal Growth, Philosophy, Politics No Comments

This episode is sponsored by:

This energizing conversation between a baby boomer and a Gen Zer who is being unapologetically himself is going to make you think, and you’ll be excited about exploring all the things that will be bouncing in your head after this conversation.

In this episode:

  • Making a book with the word “economics” in it interesting
  • What “Value Economics” actually means
  • The issue of identity
  • Why it’s insulting to think America is so bad right now
  • The death of the spirit
  • The fallout from being laid off as an air traffic controller in 1981 and how his family held it together
  • Defining our values
  • The importance of examining the difficult things
  • What shaped him
  • DC Comics
  • Why he moved to Austin, TX from Ohio
  • Why he’s not on Twitter
  • Why he dedicated his book to those who tell the truth
  • Why he’s having a hard time dating
  • How values should supersede politics

Quotations:

“We don’t really have a “fatal flaw” with our generation. And so without that, we turn the war against ourselves. And we see that we really don’t have an identity as an individual person and as a culture anymore because our previous identities were all focused on something else that was flawed but still an identity. And now we’re just in this kind of sea of nothingness.” ~Sam LaCrosse

“We have to treat people as people, and individual values are the way we should look at individual people.” ~Sam LaCrosse

“We’re so scared of taking stances, we take no stances.” ~Sam LaCrosse

“The more you value something, the more you will sacrifice to get that something, the less you value something, the less you will sacrifice to get that something.” ~Sam LaCrosse

“I have a rule that I will never punch someone in the face as hard as I will punch myself in the face.” ~Sam LaCrosse

“When you do adopt a firm set of values, you’re going to polarize people, and you’re not going to, you cannot be all things to all.” ~Sam LaCrosse

Guest’s Bio:

According to Sam, Sam LaCrosse is a nobody. He hasn’t done anything amazing. He is not extraordinary or impressive. He doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. He’s just an ordinary guy from Cleveland, Ohio, who now lives an ordinary life in Austin, Texas. But if you want to check him out, he’s the author of “Value Economics: The Study of Identity, writes blogs on dontreadthisblog.com, and hosts Don’t Listen to This Podcast. Sam is the CEO and founder of Don’t Do This, LLC, a company that makes no money. He is also a board member of Thrive Living Corporation and an ambassador for RallyCap Sports.

Guest’s Contact Info:

www.dontreadthisblog.com