Tuesday, May 23, 2006

'No, Tim McGraw isn't a pitcher'

Judging from the first 36 hours, Ed Tinsley’s year as chairman of the National Restaurant Association will likely feel “a little bit country,” to borrow the tag he used at the inaugural party to characterize his family and himself. The fete was more West Texas than Chicago Hilton ballroom, where waiters and a reporter who failed to read the invitation were seemingly the only ones in city duds. Most guests sported denim and cowboy garb, and loaner cowboy hats were provided on each table for yankees eager to get in touch with their inner cowpoke.

But Tinsley, a Texas expatriate who runs the franchising operations of New Mexico-based K-BOB’s Steakhouses as his day job, might need to give his fellow NRA-ers a quick orientation on country, or at least its music. Many seemed to know the party would feature performances by country-western stars, but clearly had no familiarity with the singers’ names. One said ahead of time that it was LeeAnn Rhimes who’d be taking the stage. Another said casually in preview that it would be Sheryl Crow. And plenty just shrugged and offered, “Some country singer.”

For the record: It was Crystal Gayle and Lee Greenwood.

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