I was changing the oil in my old truck over the weekend when I couldn't find the oil filter wrench anywhere. It's kind of a necessary tool to avoid losing your religion on an easy job. A man can certainly get the job done without the wrench, but a man could also start a fire by rubbing a couple kindling sticks together until your knuckles are raw and the air is littered with more four letter words than smoke. You'll find me with a handful of matches and a bottle of lighter fluid in the other. Nevertheless, I forged searching through every tool box, chest, drawer, crevice of my truck, and every nook and cranny two and three times. Not until after I had finally scratched a few hairs off atop my head, there it was of course sitting in the last place I looked. Well, at that point it occurred to me that might be the dumbest phrase known to man: "in the last place I looked." I'll tell you this, if you're looking for a tool, keys, a wallet (anything under the sun as a matter of fact) and it's not in "the last place you look" you're not the sharpest tool in the shed. Never keep looking for anything after you find it and it will always be in the last place you look. Oh, and we just released some new hats this week. Don't look too hard for them, they'll be under the HEADWEAR tab. Have a good Monday, folks.
There are only a handful of things that I believe to be indisputable cold hard fact in this world anymore. Things like pies are always better when cooked by your grandmother, or never trust a dog with a cat, and without a doubt a cold beer tastes best on a boat in the heat of summer. None of these should be debated as they are fact. No less a fact as to say that Secretariat was the fastest horse to ever run the Kentucky Derby. (He was. Go ahead and check the record books if you must.)
But the one I find foremost today is the fact that a man cannot, no matter how hard he may try, ever have too many hats. It is impossible. I only have one head and that number will never change. Well, I suppose it could, but it may only be one or zero and in such case I would find myself amongst the worms if there were zero heads attached atop my neck.
Moreover, a man is only capable of wearing one hat at a time without the risk of looking senile, but very few men (if any) have only owned just one hat. Well, my one head could own 5,000 hats and it wouldn't be near enough. I believe a man ought to have a hat for every occasion he might possibly find himself amidst. A hat for work or play, for Monday or Saturday, for being happy or sad, and certainly one for rooting for a man's Alma Mater. Any man who plans to do anything beyond twiddling his thumbs just can't have too many hats I tell ya.
I ramble all this to have said: You are welcome for all the new hats we've released this week. You can't have too many - That's a fact!
It's funny. We tend to remember the big moments in life: Your college graduation (hopefully you weren't too hungover). Your wedding day (probably a good idea to avoid the hangover here too). The day you held your first born in your arms (the same arms you would now cut off for that little life). But it's the little moments in life that can define us.
I'll never forget the first time I saw one of our products "in the wild." You know, seeing someone you have never met in your entire life holding a piece of your hard work. I was at a music festival on the hottest night of the summer; the kind you just know in the pit of your stomach is going to be something special. Despite having zero lick of musical talent, my first love has always been music...especially live music. I can only imagine in a crowd of over 10,000 that I was in my own little world just taking in the band as the eyes of a good friend lit up like she had just seen Jesus, himself, take the stage to play a 15 minute cover of Free Bird.
Now I don't want to take away from what was really at her attention, but that would have been memorable to say the least. However, standing amongst the crowd was a guy also in his own little world taking in the band all while wearing one of our Dixie Reserve hats. At that time, we had probably only sold a few hundred hats at best in our infancy. The odds of seeing one of the few people who had actually bought one of our 90 Proof logo crested hats not just because they knew us and felt sorry for us was unlikely. But I had and it was a moment that defined us.
I will always remember that as being the night I knew this journey was going to take us on an amazing ride. All of these years later and I'm still just as excited as I was on that first hot summer night every time I see one of our products "in the wild." It's a rush and you guys are incredible. Thanks for always supporting and breathing life into our journey, Friends. Soak up the little moments.
Now, I don't go there like I used to. Not like when I was a professional college student at least. Heck, before we would even leave the house on Thursday nights to go paint the town we'd swallow down a whole fifth of that bottom shelf bluegrass brew. The kind that tasted worse than it would make you feel the next morning. All the Pedialyte in the world couldn't fight off a twelve dollar Kentucky Gentleman hangover. A man should really be awarded a medal of honor for fighting such a battle against that Bardstown, Kentucky distillery.
But there's something about the taste of that charred oak corn liquor and spices when it hits your lips. It's a time machine. It tastes like a tailgate on a late fall afternoon. There are dogs on a charcoal grill, sundresses on every girl as far as the eye can see, and if you hadn't lost your quarterback in week one due to a late hit you'd be bowl eligible by now. It tastes like sitting around in a cold garage with your buddies all night just talking about cars and dreaming about women in a way that would make Alan Jackson proud. And in the same breath it tastes like something that wouldn't make your mama proud. Hell, it tastes like something that wouldn't make me proud come to think of it. It tastes like a round of overpriced shots that you raised to a long lost buddy.
It tastes like my life. I sure love that taste.
A few years ago I got to talk about my hero, Waylon Jennings, with this guy. I had followed a guy named Chris from Kentucky for several years. From playing bars with the Jompson Brothers to writing songs in Nashville, Chris was my generation's nod to the former Waylon outlaws of country music. The system didn't matter, only the music mattered. He was already successful in his own world, but the world had yet to hear him. We took this photo at his first solo album release show. It was free and no more than a hundred people showed up to hear Chris that day. That album, Traveller, went under the radar for months...but a moment on a stage changed everything and Traveller went on to win critical acclaim including multiple Grammys. This photo will always remind me that a boy from Kentucky who holds true to his roots can make it in this world. Thanks, Chris Stapleton. You are a legend.
By the way, Chris put out a new album today: From A Room: Volume II. Go check it out and support a Kentucky boy.
I always make it a point to travel down some of my favorite backroads when I'm stopping through my hometown. That place isn't much to write home about. Just an old Kentucky coal town along the Green River. It's dried up a few times, but has always stayed the same. I couldn't wait to get out of that town as a kid, but we were able to pass the time that we had been sentenced on her waters. It made growing up somewhat bearable.
I can't recall a summer in my life when I didn't see this little building that sits just off the banks of the river where I cut my teeth. Every summer when school would let out, the river would open her welcoming arms to teach us things about life that a public education just couldn't. I once swam across her widest bend and nearly drowned just to prove I was a man, Randy Owen style. Over a lifetime of summers that river taught us a little about the fairer sex, a lot about our outlaw country heroes, and showed us that a cold beer tastes best on a hot summer day sitting in a bass boat. The river made me who I am. It's funny how the places we once ran from become the places we run to. Thanks, Green River.
I have spent the better part of today trying to wrap my mind around how we got here. I was raised in a different world than this. I grew up when the phrase "be careful" was just a polite Southernism no different than saying, "that dog won't hunt" or "bless your heart". It was just something you said when someone left the house that really didn't mean anything, but now we truly have to "be careful" in this world. I don't know how we got here, what went wrong, or where we went off course...but it is a dark place we live in when events like what happened on Sunday are a common occurrence. I don't have much of a platform and no one is knocking on my door for my thoughts, but I do believe we are better than this. Change can start with one person. Love one another, Friends, because hate has no place in this world.
I'm praying for you, Vegas and a world where "be careful" is just a polite Southernism once again.
I always watch the morning news with my coffee. I like to know what's going on in the world before I start my day. It just helps to put my small piece of the pie into perspective, but I wasn't watching that day. It was a different day. I had broken my leg in a high school soccer game just a few nights before so it was a struggle just to get out of bed that day. I could barely put my jeans on, so turning the morning news on that particular day wasn't on my mind. It was a different day, but not for the reasons I had thought.
There was a blistering noise coming from the driveway. It had been sounding for several minutes. It hadn't stopped. The sound of my buddy's car horn waiting to pick me up for class didn't help me hobble through the house on my crutches any faster, but I heard it. As I finally made it out and opened the passenger door, his ghostly face could only utter, "HAVE YOU HEARD?" It had just happened minutes before, probably while he was sitting in my parent's driveway blaring that damned horn. Until that day, I had never heard anything like this. That day was a different day.
As I heard what had happened for the first time, I also saw for the first time. I saw a divided country unite as one nation. I saw a country weep together as we watched 24 hour news coverage for days on end. No one was concerned with watching the conservative channel instead of the liberal channel, they were all the same. I saw a country pray together for their fellow countrymen, despite their religion. I saw a man risk his own life crawling through the rubble to save another man, despite who he voted for or the color of his skin. I saw a country pull itself up by its bootstraps and show the world that we were one nation.
I saw a lot of hate in the world on September 11, 2001, but I saw a whole lot more love in the world in the days, weeks, and months that followed. Sixteen years have passed. A lot has changed in the years since. That unity I felt as we wept for some 2,000+ lives lost is a distant memory to most. There is a lot of hate and division in the world and this country today, but I know that there is a lot more love and unity. I have seen it. I have heard it.
NEVER FORGET, Friends.
I am not perfect and yesterday was not my day. If something could go wrong, it seemed like it did. As she so often does, my better half, Kate, put me in my place at the height of my frustration. She simply looked at me and said, "You're not in Texas." She was right. I wasn't in Texas, but I wish I was. I have been blown away by the amazing acts of humans loving humans the past few days during times that I cannot imagine. I wish I was there running a jon boat and a trolling motor until it was too dark to see. I wish I was there selflessly helping others who truly were having the worst day of their life.
God has a way of humbling us. Today I woke up, pulled up my bootstraps, and decided to make today better. If not for me, then for someone else. Between now and Sept. 15, 100% of the net proceeds ($50) from this limited run TX STRONG flag will be donated to help the recovery efforts of the recent Hurricane Harvey. We're a small company, but we hope this can help to make someone's bad day a little brighter. We're praying for you, Texas (and surrounding areas).
By the way, the flag was Kate's idea too. Behind every decent man is definitely a great woman. Thanks, Kate!
To purchase TX STRONG Flag, CLICK HERE.
We've been busy.
My background is Architecture. The Master's Degree hanging on my wall serves as a proof and a daily reminder of everything that field has taught me - including the ability to forge through life on only coffee and two hours of sleep. Architecture, like any design field, is an art. A building often begins as a sketch in a notebook, a post it note, or even on a spare napkin. That napkin sketch, when handled with care, slowly comes to life and becomes a building. There is nothing more beautiful or gratifying than seeing a sketch of a mere idea turn into something real and tangible.
Each Collection at Dixie Reserve is no different. We start off with an idea. Some are good. Some are bad. We do what we know. We kick, we scrap, and we fight like hell for months to figure out what's going to work and how it's going to come together. I can't predict the weather. Some of my best ideas have been flops. Even the great Thomas Edison made over 1,000 unsuccessful attempts before perfecting the light bulb. I don't keep count through the process, but I would probably give Mr. Edison a run for his money.
I am proud of this Fall/Winter Collection, damn proud. Nine months ago it began as a few sketches and some fabric in a Moleskine notebook. If you've followed us since the beginning, you've seen us evolve and find ourselves. Heck, you've seen us try to take on the world with six shirts. It's funny to even think about - luckily one was a good idea and put us on the map (Thanks, DHBB).
There's a lot of kick, a lot of scrap, and a hell of a lot of fight in this collection (and some bourbon.) It's our story. It's our Dixie. It was a sketch and now it has come to life. We're damn proud.
Check out a few early release styles before the full collection comes out in late August!
Kick. Scrap. And fight like hell for that sketch.