This is the hardest soapbox I've ever written.
This morning about 4:15am I got the news that I had lost one of my oldest and dearest friends, Taz DiGregorio. He was killed in a one-car accident on I-40, East of Nashville when he was driving to catch our tour bus to go on the road.
As I write this, I am still somewhat in shock and have not fully accepted that there will be an empty spot on stage right where Taz's keyboards set for over forty years.
I honestly don't know what it's going to feel like when I walk back on stage for the first time without him, but one thing I do know, the music will go on, but it will never be quite the same.
Taz's wailing organ and rowdy piano were a mainstay in The CDB style since our very first records in the early 70's.
His tender piano intro to "Carolina I Remember You", his jazzy organ solo on "Birmingham Blues" and the signature riff he wrote for "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" were as much a part of The CDB sound as the songs themselves.
I traveled a good part of the world with Taz. We've been broke down on the roadsides of America, stranded by an air traffic controller's strike in Paris, stood together at the Berlin Wall and the 38th Parallel, walked the streets of Hong Kong, London, Amsterdam, Dublin, Juarez, Sydney, and a thousand little towns you've probably never even heard of.
We've stormed the Big Apple, the Big Easy, the Rockies, the Smokies, Clamtown, Beantown, the Midlands and the Maritimes and lit up the Daddy of 'Em All in Cheyenne Wyoming.
We've been in jail in Louisiana, rained on in Raleigh, shot at in Baghdad and left behind a trail that stretches millions of miles, thousands of shows and zillions of memories.
Taz was there through some of the toughest stretches of my life, when my dad died suddenly, through my battles with cancer and stroke and during the years it took me to pay off massive debts from a bad business arrangement.
Conversely, he shared some of the highest moments of my life, when my son was born, when we had our first gold record, when I was inducted into the Musician's Hall of Fame and when I became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
At this early stage of the game, it's hard for me to think about what the future will be like without Taz in it, but I know one thing…
There is an empty place in my life today that nobody else will ever fill.
I will miss you my friend.
Love never dies.
William Joel DiGregorio
Born January 8, 1944
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, and for our country.
God Bless America
More news, which really just repeats what Charlie said in a more clinical fashion can be found all over the web -- here's a link.
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