Tribute to a Tubb
Glenn Douglas Tubb was a preacher, a songwriter and my friend.
He wrote “Home of The Blues” for Johnny Cash and the 1969 Grammy nominated “Skip a Rope.” He even wrote with Hank Williams Sr.
When Johnny Cash passed, he had been writing a song called “My Lord is Gone.” Cash’s people asked Mr. Tubb to finish it. If that doesn’t speak for someone’s reputation, what does?
I opened for Mr. Tubb the night I met him. He got what I was doing and became one of my biggest encouragers, but no matter how much I was around him, I never stopped being in awe.
Johnny Cash. Hank Williams. Mr. Tubb had been in the same room as both of them. Unbelievable.
In spring 2012 I was almost burned out with music. I got into it with a promoter in The Shoals for cutting my time in half when people had driven from Huntsville to hear me.
That night broke the camel’s back. I told my wife I’d finish the next week but was quitting after.
Tuesday I played the late show at The Bluebird Café in Nashville with one of my best friends, Jim Parker. Ricky Ray played slide on my songs. It was magical. Still, I was quitting. I thought, “Maybe God is giving me a good run to end it on.”
I thought the same thing again the next night when I played a martini bar and got a standing ovation.
That Thursday night I was in the round at The Commodore. The Commodore is a hotel bar near Vanderbilt. It’s one of the best places to see new talent in Nashville and is usually packed. I went in with the thought that I was doing my last gig. I had told no one but my wife.
After the bittersweet round I packed up my guitar and headed out through the hotel lobby. It was usually alive with activity. That night it was eerily empty.
You know the feeling where you’re in public and suddenly alone and quiet? As if there’s been a fire drill you missed and everyone else is outside? That’s what I felt as I crossed the room – until I noticed movement to my right.
I turned, and there in the space between the automatic doors stood Glenn Douglas Tubb.
I ran over to him. “Hey, Mr. Tubb.” We met eyes. He said “Son, I’m in a hurry and have to go, but you have a God-given gift and do not need to quit.”
He took off into the darkness. I stood dumbfounded.
Then, newly encouraged, I went back inside The Commodore and booked another round.
Mr. Tubb served God until his recent passing. I’m very thankful I got the chance to tell him about that night and say thank you. I’m thankful I got to sit feet away from him as he sang. I’m thankful for him.
Here’s to you Glenn. I hope Heaven is as beautiful as you sang about it being.
Stults is a performing songwriter from Russellville.