We lost Earl Thomas Conley yesterday morning. He was 77. I was a huge fan of ETC. He had one of the most distinct and cutting voices in country music. When I was a kid, I stumbled upon the album entitled "The Heart of it All" by ETC. And I was particularly mesmerized by the song "You Must Not Be Drinking Enough", which was a strange song for someone my age back then. But that song has come to have even more poignant meaning later in life.
Well, in Dothan, Alabama around this time, I'd say 1990, my dad drove me to the radio station where our friend Charlie Gilmore did the overnight show. Charlie let me sit on his lap at the control board and play records and talk on the air with him. He asked me what song I wanted to hear and I said "You Must Not Be Drinking Enough" and I think he got a real kick out of that. I've still got the recording of him playing it for me.
I got to see ETC in concert only once, but I'm glad of that. It was at the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi. And right after the show I walked out of the concert onto the casino floor, walked up to the first $0.25 slot machine that I saw, put a $20 bill in it, and won $1,200 almost instantly. So that was a great memory as well.
Earl Thomas Conley inspired many country stars over the last 30 years, most notably, Blake Shelton, who considers ETC his all-time greatest music hero and idol.
Here's that song I was talking about. Give it a listen. It's hard country:
And I encourage you to discover more of his great music here and on our iHeartRadio app: