ACCEPTANCE SPEECH OF BLEU EVANS AT THE 2022 “OZONE MUSIC EDUCATION FOUNDATION”
HELLO. HERE IS A NOTE ABOUT THIS SPEECH: AS USUAL, I SHED TEARS OF JOY FOR MY HONOR AND DID NOT DO A GREAT JOB OF DELIVERING MY SPEECH LIVE. THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE. I WANTED EVERYONE TO READ THE SPEECH I WROTE WITH NONE OF THE MISTAKES I MADE LIVE IN SPEAKING IT. GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND THANK YOU. I KNOW IT IS WAY TOO LONG AND I AM SORRY. IF YOU DO NOT READ IT, I WILL CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND. I THANK ANY OF YOU WHO READ THIS SO VERY MUCH.
I do not think I would have been considered for this great Honor if I was not Inducted into “The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame”. Gracious Thanks to Mike Shepherd, President and Director and Del Moon, Director and Co-Founder with Mike, of “The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame”. I Thank You Both and All the Board So Very Much.
God Please Bless, and I Thank, the late Clifton Chenier for Flying me into “The Grammy Hall of Fame” on His Wings for His Grammy Winning Album, “Bogalusa Boogie” recorded and mixed at “Studio in the Country”.
I Thank Everyone Involved in a MOST HUMBLING AND GREATLY APPRECIATIVE WAY, for Presenting me this Most Prestigious Honor. Please give me a minute. I don’t want to take valuable time from the wonderful Artists and Performances that You will be Blessed with seeing and hearing tonight but there is something I must do. Ricky Windhorst, Please come up on stage with me.
Ricky and Jan Windhorst
I have to say that If I was a Great Astronaut who went to the Moon and beyond to Mars and then returned to this Planet to an Amazing Welcome Back Event to this Earth, there are no 2 People, in the World, I would choose to welcome me back other than Ricky and Jan Windhorst. Both Jan and Ricky are Two of My Best Friends and Supporters.
Ricky Windhorst is a member of the “Louisiana Music Hall of Fame” and JUST ONE of Ricky’s major accomplishments that was responsible for His Induction is the album “JJ Muggler”. I did not record this Great Album. “JJ Mugger” was recorded by my Great Friend, A Great Engineer, and an Even Greater Man, Gene Foster, at “Studio in the Country!
I cannot thank Ricky and Jan for Your Years of Family Love and Support. Thank You Ricky and Jan. Ricky is also the World’s Greatest Showman and the hardest working Man in Music. Ricky is a Great Performer, Songwriter, Singer, and Person! Ricky Windhorst is also My Brother and Jan and Ricky’s Family are My Family.
Thank God for GENE FOSTER, DEBBIE AND PETE FARMER (GOD BLESS PETE. PETE IS IN HEAVEN NOW, WE MISS PETE TERRIBLY), BENJAMIN MUMPHREY (MY THIRD SON), AND JAY WESLEY, Director of Engineering of “Studio in the Country”. Without Their Love and Hard Work on behalf of “Studio in the Country”, The Studio could have ended up as a golf course.
An Overwhelming Thank You to the “Studio in the Country Team” of Professionals: Engineers, Producers, Technical Masterminds, Assistants, and The Entire Staff, for without whom very few successes would have ever been a reality at “Studio in the Country”. God Bless You All and I Thank You From The Bottom of My Heart!
Please, Please, Believe me, I HAVE NEVER ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING IN MY LIFE BY MYSELF!
I will state this Once Again, I HAVE NEVER, EVER, ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING IN MY LIFE BY MYSELF!
I solemnly promise the “THE OZONE MUSIC EDUCATION FOUNDATION”, including the wonderful songwriters, artists, engineers, producers and devoted students in this wide arena, and the future students with interest in vocations and industry components also needed to make the industry of entertainment successful in Louisiana.
I am speaking of the other required participants such as publishing companies, management companies, entertainment attorneys (maybe some? My attempt at stand-up comedy), booking agencies, promotion companies, recording companies, logistical planners and transportation companies, and the vastly important road management personnel and road crew professionals, to give all of YOU more than 120% of my hard work and any ability I may possess along with the spirit needed to accomplish the goals set forward by “THE OZONE MUSIC EDUCATION FOUNDATION”!
I will commit every talent I have gained in designing and building recording studios and use these assets in helping to build this new educational facility with my most relevant and successful acoustic designs including my respect and Love for the Foundation, and especially teaching, to promote the education to all who would have a sincere interest, love, and ambition to succeed in this magical art of recording and every part of the “ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY ON THE NORTH SHORE AND ALL PARTS OF THIS COUNTRY FROM MANDEVILLE” Whom, We As a TEAM, can EDUCATE.
THIS COMMITMENT IS FOR MY LIFETIME AND FAR BEYOND TO EXPAND AND MAINTAIN THE WONDERFUL CREATIONS OF OUR AMAZING SONGWRITERS, ARTISTS, PERFORMERS, AND INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING ALL OUR REGION’S INCREDIBLE MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT.
Although I have written many songs while playing in bands, (guitar and keyboards) I learned early in my life that I could be a much better engineer and producer than a Songwriter or Artist! I think I made a wise choice. Don’t You?
WITH GREAT HUMILITY AND HONOR, I give a Great Thank You to the Board Members and Staff of “THE OZONE MUSIC EDUCATION FOUNDATION”
Greg Barnhill, President More about Greg in a moment
Michael Blache, Vice President More about Michael in a moment
Susan Russell, Treasurer
Buzz Jackson, Secretary Sure want to meet this guy. I found out I met Buzz when he was a young man while I was on the way with Stevie Wonder to meet Quint Davis in New Orleans. Later I introduced Stevie to Ella Fitzgerald onstage at a nighttime Jazz Fest Event, and then, without warning, they began to perform together instinctively, “YOU ARE THE SUNSHINE OF MY LIFE”. The audience went Wild, and so did Quint and me.
Christine Barnhill, Director
Leonard Scott AICP, CFM, Director
John West, Director Met John tonight, my honor
Maureen O'Brien, Board Member-at-large
Randy Russell, Director My Friend and a Wonderful Supporter of the Foundation!
Ricky Windhorst, Director Member of My Family
John D. and Susan Loudermilk
I have to Thank and pay Tribute to John D. and Susan Loudermilk. This story is an education about a family, feelings, and me sharing with all of you reading this how wonderful, caring, genuine, gracious, and talented a man and his wife (True Love), placed on this earth can be. I will try to describe a friend of mine, his true love, their family and what a blessing their friendship and existence on this earth has meant to me and my family. We recorded so much together over the years. I have been blessed in life and this industry with meeting wonderful folks who became, not only my friends, But Family. Although John D. left this earth in 2016, Of all I have been blessed with becoming friends, No Two People in My Life Have Become So Far Beyond Friends and Become Such True Family Members to me. I am so very thankful to the Lord for John D. and Susan's 50 Years and continuing of My Best Friendship in My Life.
I welcome Gary and Amanda, their Children, Shane, Ryan, Ashley, Cole, and Brett. I first met, became Brothers, and recorded Gary Baker when he came to “Studio in the Country” when we first opened with a band from Houston, Texas called “Sweet Rush” and later “Island”. I think Gary was 17. Gary is now the only Member of “The Alabama Music Hall of Fame” not being a native Alabamian, though he has spent the last 43 years in Alabama. Gary is also in many more “Music Halls of Fames” in this Nation. We cut some great tracks and Gary quickly became the “Bass Player of Choice” for almost every session recorded at “Studio in the Country”. Not to forget, Gary Baker has been writing with his songwriting partner, Frank J. Myers since 1988, both having played in Marie Osmond's band. Baker and Myers' most successful song as songwriters is "I Swear", recorded by both All 4-One and John Michael Montgomery. The song sold more than 20 million units internationally and won the 1995 Grammy for "Best Country Song of the Year” and “Grammy of the Year”. Gary and Frank have written many hit songs together and other hits songs alone.
By the way, “The Backstreet Boys” Inducted Gary into “The Alabama Music Hall of Fame”. Gary produced “The Backstreet Boys” new Billboard Chart Topper “Christmas in New York”, co-written by Gary Baker and Greg Barnhill. Gary and Greg can not help writing Hit Songs! Please show me how!
We call Greg behind his back, (EG), for “Emmy Greg” for all the many awards Greg has amassed in his career and written many hits for Artists such as the Eagles, Etta James, Martina McBride, Jessica Simpson, Chicago, Tim McGraw, Lee Ann Womack, Leona Lewis, and many in between have embraced his songs. “Walkaway Joe,” recorded by Trisha Yearwood and Don Henley is another example of Greg’s Creative Genius. Greg and I met over 40 years ago. Greg cannot believe it and does not want to be reminded of our first meeting. After all, Greg just made 29.
I met Michael in a retail store a long time ago as I was going to meetings in St. Tammany. Now, it is unbelievable to imagine we saw each other 4 times at the same store and over time became great friends.
Glen and Deb Himmaugh
If You have ever heard live recordings of the Neville Brother, Meters, and any other great artist recorded live, those recordings were probably recorded by Glen Himmaugh with his Remote Recording Studio on Wheels. Glen also has 2 major Live Sound Companies supplying sound and lighting reinforcement at concerts all over the country, including tonight, at the 2022 Ozone Songwriters Festival. Deb Himmaugh, Glen’s Wife, has rescued hundreds of horses at her “Shady Key Rescue Ranch”. Deb is an Amazing and Special Person. I Share Great Love for Both Deb and Glen and Thank Them Both for Their Support over the years. They are Family as Well.
David and Karen Farrell.
I introduced Karen and David at the studio as Karen was the Manager of “Studio in the Country”. David was just arriving from Lafayette, Indiana to be an engineer at “Studio in the Country”. They fell in love at first sight, and The Great History of Their Family Began, getting married on Avenue “B’ in Bogalusa, Louisiana, with “Bleu Evans” as the official photographer for the wedding. The entire Farrell Family are My Family. David and I did many Gold and Platinum Albums together, and he has passed me considerably, as a great engineer and producer. David is, in my opinion, the best engineer in the world of recording today. Damn David, You have more Grammys than me, as well you should. Michael, David and Karen’s Son, has also followed in his Daddy’s footsteps and become a great engineer himself.
Jerry and Alice Amoroso
You will recognize Jerry as the founding member of the band “Potliquor”, its great drummer, singer, and main songwriter. Jerry, I, and “Studio in the Country Team” have recorded many great tracks. Jerry and his wife Miss Alice are here tonight and are Both, along with Their Children and Grandchildren, All Are True Beloved Members of My Family.
One of My 3 Wonderful Sisters, Jane Evans Knight and her husband, my Great Brother-in-Law, Ralph, “Spooky or Bubba”, Knight are also here. I Love You and Thank You Jane and Spooky and All My Sisters and Brother-in-Laws for Your Love and Support.
My old friend who was there with me when recording “New Orleans’ Ladies” with LeRoux a long time ago is also here tonight. Chopper is an amazing engineer and a Wonderful Friend of mine for more years than you could imagine. Chopper is running part of the engineering of this Festival these 4 days. It is Great to see You Chopper My Friend.
Kenny is the original drummer of our band “The Jades” for which we had some area success in the old days. But most of all Kenny is My Greatest Friend who, without Kenny and his wife Darlene’s Love and Support, I would not be here tonight or living at all. I love you both and thank you for everything Kenny and Darlene. Kenny, Thank You For Everything and Bringing me here tonight!
In the audience tonight is a Young Lady who runs a local business in Mandeville and then after work gives her every moment to working for the success of “The Ozone Music Education Foundation”. It was Christine who introduced the vision of the “Ozone Foundation” to me. She has worked with me to explain and plan the future of this new asset for education in recording to all who desire to make the MUSIC industry their vocation. Without Christine Barnhill and her magic inspiration, I would not be receiving all this love and support from All of You tonight. Thank You Miss Christine So Very Much! Much Love to You and Your Family.
I am Proud and Blessed to have my Daughter “Dawn Evans Keller” and My Son “Christopher S. Evans” here tonight. Thank You My Hearts for coming.
I wish a Wonderful Experience and Warm Welcome Tonight to Jim Peterik, Our Headliner, and a Great Songwriter and Artist. Thank You Jim for being here and Thank You for the many wonderful hit songs you have written and performed.
I also am looking forward to my Great Friend of decades, Tony Haselden’s performance, and all the other artists performing throughout the 4-day festival. THE SONGWRITERS and ARTIST AT “THE OZONE SONGWRITERS’ FESTIVAL” HAVE ABSOLUTELY BLOWN ME AWAY WITH THEIR CREATIVE TALENTS AND PERFORMANCES”. Thank You All So Very Much!
Matthew is a Photographer Extraordinaire who is present at almost every Musical Happening in the South is also here tonight. Matthew is my Great Friend and Supporter. Thank You Matthew!
I have a SURPRISE for “THE OZONE MUSIC EDUCATION FOUNDATION”. I plan to live 40 more years. If that is not the case, I have asked Steve Durr of STEVE DURR DESIGNS, Nashville, Tennessee (stevendurr.com), a young man who walked into the studio when “Studio in the Country” first opened and said he could help me and knew a lot but wanted to learn more about recording and acoustics.
I hired Steve at that moment to oversee the acoustics and voicing of the Studio. Today Steve is the most renowned acoustic designer in the World. Steve has agreed, with excitement, to work with me, from this moment forward, on the design of this new visionary Recording Studio Project for the “The Ozone Music Education Foundation” and complete this project himself if something should happen to me. Steve has consulted on the following projects, just to name a few.
Steve has 31 new studios under construction at this time (NOW) and has completed hundreds of studio projects all over the World. In addition, Steve has many other giant projects in his repertoire, including:
The New Austin City Limits Studio Complex, Austin TX
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City Chiefs | Kansas City, MO
Bristol Motor Speedway | Bristol, TN
Cincinnati Bengals | Paul Brown Stadium | Cincinnati, OH
Indianapolis Motor Speedway | Indianapolis, IN
Kaufman Stadium, Kansas City Royals | Kansas City, MO
MTSU Murphy Center | Murfreesboro, TN
Rosenblatt Stadium | Omaha, NE
TN Titans Coliseum, LP Field | Nashville, TN
University of Nebraska | Memorial Stadium
ASCAP | Nashville, TN
BMG | Nashville, TN
Country Music Association | Nashville, TN
Sony Music Nashville Headquarters and Studios | Nashville, TN
Thank You So Much Steve for Joining me in this Wonderful Educational Project. It is truly an Honor to design this project with YOU.
I THANK LORD GOD OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN AND HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR FOR EVERYTHING.
I THANK EVERY VETERAN OF “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” FOR PROTECTING US ALL AND SECURING ALL OF OUR FREEDOMS. GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU HEROES AND ALL OF YOUR FAMILIES. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SERVICE! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND EVERY MEMBER OF ALL OF YOUR FAMILIES AND MAY GOD PLEASE BLESS “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” AND THE NATION OF “UKRAINE” AND ITS PEOPLE, AND ALL THE “GOOD” PEOPLE ON THIS EARTH.
THANK YOU AGAIN TO ALL.