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Hello from Belgium:

This has been an incredible week. We started the week by
flying from England to Dusseldorf, Germany. I had been
warned by all the journalist in England and Ireland, that
the German audiences would be completely different than
what I had encountered in their countries. They said they
would be very reserved and have a difficult time understanding
English. I felt certain with my Oklahoma accent, we were
in real trouble. Monday night, the band and I were very
nervous backstage before our first show in Germany. We
talked about whether I should even try to talk, possibly
moving from song to song with no breaks for talking. Finally,
we decided to do our show the way we've been doing it each
night and see what would happen. As the intro music began
to play, I nervously walked out on stage and the place went
wild. I got to do all of my talking and they seemed to
understand every word I said. I think this was the most
appreciative audience of the whole trip, so far. This all
reminded me of when I recorded "Whoever's In New England".
It was thought that there were very few country music fans
in that part of the United States. Once "Whoever's In New
England" was recorded and we toured that part of the country,
the audiences were unbelievable and very passionate about
the music. The same seems to be true here in Europe.

The following morning we flew to Hamburg, Germany. This is
a beautiful city with fascinating architecture and a gorgeous
lake with fountains in the middle of downtown. There are
very nice shops and restaurants all around the lake. All
the cities in Germany are very clean. Hamburg is also the
home of Universal Music, for Germany. After doing interviews
in the afternoon, we had dinner with Wolf-D. Gramatke and
some of the Universal staff. Wolf-D. Gramatke is the new
CEO for Universal Europe who was formally with Polydor.
This dinner gave us a chance to talk about what all that
has happened with this tour and discuss the plans for our
return visit.

The following morning we flew to Amsterdam, Holland. As
we landed, the fog was so thick that we couldn't see the
ground until we touched down. I have never seen fog so
thick. We were playing in The Hague, which is a city that
is an hour and half drive from Amsterdam. We were very
disappointed because of the fog, we were unable to see a
lot of that part of Holland. This is where the huge
windmills are located. This is also where flowers are planted
by the acre and used for making perfume. Unfortunately, at
this time of the year, the flowers are not in the ground.
We saw pictures of what these fields look like with all the
flowers in full bloom and it is breathtaking.

We finally had the following day off in Amsterdam. I had
heard about Amsterdam all my life and was very curious to
see what it was all about. The only thing that I could
compare Amsterdam to would be the French quarters in New
Orleans. I can only imagine what this port town must have
been like when the sailors, 200 years ago, would land here
after being at sea for many months. Everything seems to
be legal in this town.

Amsterdam is a city with 119 canals running through the
town. We took a canal cruise through the city and visited
the home of Anne Frank, which is now a museum. Touring
the home of Anne Frank was a very sobering experience.
It's difficult to understand how this family could've hid
out for 3 years in the attic of this shop during the German
invasion in 1942. After being discovered and then moved to
a concentration camp, she died one month before the end of
the war. She died at the age of 12 and is still the most
read author from the Netherlands. After seeing the reality
of how they had to live it makes me appreciate even more
the freedom that we take for granted.

The following day, we departed Amsterdam in a van and drove
about 2 hours to Antwerp, Belgium. It is unbelievable to
me to be in these countries and people show up to the concert
and know my music. We have gotten to perform for some great
people and have gotten to see some incredible sights. We
will leave in the morning on a flight back to Germany where
we have a show at Frankfurt tomorrow night.

This has been a great week and we have one more week of
touring before returning to the United States. I'll let
you know what happens this week and tell you what we get
to see. I hope you have a great week.