Capitol Bob And His Band

Schieffer Rocks The House With His Band CBS

Sunday Morning correspondent Bill Geist recently took in an unusual honky tonk country show starring none other than Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.


It was an unlikely evening: media personalities mingling with the country music crowd, drinking Texas beer, devouring Texas barbecue and listening to Texas swing at a new Texas roadhouse in New York City

And we haven't even come to the most unlikely part yet: that would be the improbable star of the country and western band, Bob Schieffer.

Yes that Bob Schieffer — the face of Face the Nation. The same man who wrangles world and national leaders in Washington writes and warbles country songs.

His audiences can feel a bit disoriented.

"I can't believe I am shaking your hand and seeing you in such a different context," one fan told him.

"I am used to seeing you on Face the Nation," another said. "I will never look at you on the news the same way. You cover such serious material and then to see you out here in your western hat."

The truth is people are almost always surprised when they see Schieffer in his other element — even his colleagues in Washington D.C.

"I think they basically think I'm crazy is what they think," he said. "They say 'My God, what's happened to him?'"

Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw isn't quite sure what to make of it, but he says he doesn't plan to join Schieffer in the music business now that he is retired.

"I'm trying to get him out... an intervention," Brokaw said.

Schieffer doesn't get much encouragement from friends or his family.

"I said to my brother after all this came about," Schieffer said. "I said 'Who would have ever thought that I would ever turn out to be a singer?' And he said 'No one.' And he said 'There's very good reason for that.'"

His wife Pat encouraged him to write songs, but not to sing, he said. His band at least respects his writing talent.

"Well, they think I'm a good song writer," he said.

They are not quite stars yet, but Schieffer said he's working on it — even if the band might be holding him back a little bit.

But on stage, he is as happy as can be, living out his dream.

"Well I want to tell you something that I have been dying to say all my life: I'm Bob Schieffer and this is my band," he told the audience.

The band is Honky Tonk Confidential. Diana Quinn, who sings and plays guitar, works with bob in the CBS Washington bureau — where they can be seen interrupting talks about the news of the day to do a little practicing.

"Well, you know, the news is very serious, and I take the job very seriously but have tried not to take myself all that seriously. And I kind of think we all ought to let out hair down and have a little fun once in awhile," Schieffer said. "I believe it's the most fun I've ever had in my life. It is just great."

He wrote and sang four songs for the group's new CD: "Road Kill Stew and Other News." One song is about a good country and western theme – a lovers' quarrel called "Dark and Stormy Night." Another is about his 40-year marriage to Pat.

"Three weeks after we met we decided to get married and we did and we stayed married for 40 years," he said. "So I thought that was kind of a long shot."

He also wrote a song about a TV anchorman:

"'Just sit there and read the news
He became a TV anchorman.
He joined the eyewitness news team
Told me when to smile
You don't have to know all that much like names and dates and facts and such cause you've got a face that reeks sincerity."


"He loves it they eat him up," Quinn said. "They love it. He's a rock star. And it's totally different from his being a journalism star."

"People say 'Are you serious about this?'" Schieffer said. "I mean, I'm not giving up my day job, I'll tell you that. But I'm serious about it like somebody who wants to be a really good golfer is serious about it. I want to get as good as I can at it. I love writing good songs. I know I'm never gonna make it as a singer but I might make it as a song writer."

But his dream is getting closer. So close he can taste it.

"We're really excited, you know this engagement here in New York, I mean you know, you come to New York this is it," he said. "If you can make it here, I think we're one step closer to the Grand Old Opry."

It's just another case of "you can take the boy out of Texas but you can't take the Texas out of the boy."

"I guess there must be some of that in there someplace," Schieffer agreed. "All I know is I'm just having fun. You know I'm 70-years-old and so you know this time of my life. I'm sort of doing things I enjoy doing."
  • Caitlin Johnson

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter