Howard Salmon — owner-operator, musicmaker, and so much more…

| October 02, 2009

a href=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ez6JTnOl_tQ/SsYic-UZO7I/AAAAAAAAAbc/EGO7ipcYaoU/s1600-h/howardwithtruck.JPG”img style=”MARGIN: 0px 0px 10px 10px; WIDTH: 400px; FLOAT: right; HEIGHT: 268px; CURSOR: hand” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5388031885355596722″ border=”0″ alt=”” src=”http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ez6JTnOl_tQ/SsYic-UZO7I/AAAAAAAAAbc/EGO7ipcYaoU/s400/howardwithtruck.JPG” //aDid I mention emOverdrive /emTrucker of the Month for October? Howard Salmon (pictured), the part-time Hawaii resident and full-time reefer-hauling independent whose first country-music record a href=”http://channel19.blogspot.com/2009/08/trucks-made-of-gold-by-hawaiian-owner.html”I posted about/aa href=”http://channel19.blogspot.com/2009/08/trucks-made-of-gold-by-hawaiian-owner.html” here/a several weeks back, had a rough go of it in mid-September, just as we were putting to bed the October Trucker of the Month story about his successful operation. He dropped a valve in the Cat engine he’d been running without an overhaul for nearly 1.5 million miles on his way to a pickup in North Carolina, from which he’d planned to run by my homebase in Nashville to meet for a quick video shoot.br /br /Well, he made it eventually, as evidenced by the video embedded below (follow a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hKYqVemr8g”this link/a if it’s not loading), but not before near two weeks of downtime and a full in-frame on his 1999 Kenworth.br /br /Luckily, to his rescue came NightRide host Bruce Hodges, broadcasting live from WBRF 98.1 FM in Galax, Va., 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. EST Sunday through Friday, and online at a href=”http://nightrideonline.com/”nightrideonline.com/a. The show — launched in July 2002 “on the premise that radio doesn’t have to be filthy to be funny and entertaining and that music, if carefully managed, could be used to uplift and energize the nighttime audience,” as Hodges puts it — became for those two weeks an extended visit for listeners with a man Hodges calls a true “prince” among the “knights of the roadway” that are this nation’s truck drivers.br /br /When Hodges learned of Salmon’s engine failure, he and his wife drove the three hours to Raleigh, N.C., to pick him up and bring him “to our home where he stayed for the two weeks it took to overhaul his engine,” Hodges wrote me. “I put him to work, though. For the entire duration of his visit he was my cohost on the NightRide. During that time, his positive , cheery attitude despite his homesickness for his family, his concern about the high cost of the repairs and his unremitting need to be back on the road taught me a great deal about the integrity and resilience of this man. The good news for me is that, while Howard is certainly exemplary of the highest character his profession, he is representative of many out there who justify the moniker ‘knights of the roadway.’ I can’t think of a better poster child for it than Howard Salmon.”br /br /For the story about Salmon in the October edition of ema href=”http://overdrivedigital.com/”Overdrive/a/em, follow a href=”http://digitalmagazinetechnology.com/a/?KEY=overdrive-09-10october#page=37″this link/a. You can hear other samples of Salmon’s “These Trucks are Made of Gold” record or purchase the record via a href=”http://www.howardsalmonmusic.com/”howardsalmonmusic.com/a — and he plays a little of the title track in the following vid, shot just as he came off his stint on the Night Ride show. Enjoy.br /br /object width=”425″ height=”344″param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/7hKYqVemr8gamp;hl=enamp;fs=1amp;”param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”br /br /embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/7hKYqVemr8ghl=enfs=1″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″/embed/objectbr /br /divdivIn addition to its commendation of Howard Salmon, Night Ride host Bruce Hodges’ extended letter to me expressed throughout a point of view that might be uncommon coming from someone outside the trucking industry. Thought you’d enjoy reading it in its entirety: /divdiv/divbr /br /divemOur truckers are part of what makes America unique. The expanse of this great country makes it essential that there always be those who command these diesel behemoths to get vital goods to our citizens. Yet they are among the least celebrated of all. I’ve often said that trucking is one of those professions that you either love or hate. There is no in-between. I’m privileged to know and speak with hundreds of them every week, men and women. I’m often the voice in the night to them that tells them someone else is out there who cares and they often call in to cut the loneliness they feel.br /br /Consequently, we become very close. For by far the most part, these are very loving people and some of the most staunchly patriotic citizens in America. In most cases they aren’t concerned with political parties but rather America and most of them feel the two are mutually exclusive. And chances are, if there is a need on the highway the first responder won’t be law enforcement or emergency personnel, concerned though they are to respond quickly and effectively, but a trucker. The respect and love I have for these patriots is profound, and I try to communicate that every night on a 100,000-Watt signal. These folks sacrifice time with their loved ones to etch out a living for them. They meet more people, see more love and tragedy, and experience America more than any professionals I know.br /br /Among these knights of the roadway are incredible talents in all kinds of disciplines. One of their princes is Howard Salmon. Howard doesn’t just love trucking. He is desperately in love with it. He combines his knowledge of the road and his knowledge of his machine with an acute concern for the people he meets. Few walk away from Howard without the gnawing feeling that they just made first contact with a best friend. I find most truckers to be very contemplative folks. They’re thinkers. The many hours behind the wheel allow them to ponder things most of us never consider. Not surprising that some of them are excellent songwriters and singers. Howard Salmon is one of the finest balladeers I’ve ever heard, which is why he is one of the NightRide family’s featured artist members. His songs are requested and played every single night on my show, whether it’s “Who Would They Look Up To,” “Soldiers and Truckers,” “These Trucks Are Made of Gold,” or the host of other songs he’s written and performed.br /br /Three weeks ago, Howard’s truck threw a piston in Raleigh, North Carolina, three hours away from my home. My wife and I picked him up there and brought him to our home where he stayed for the two weeks it took to overhaul his engine. I put him to work though. For the entire duration of his visit he was my co-host on the NightRide. During that time, his positive, cheery attitude despite his homesickness for his family, his concern about the high cost of the repairs and his unremitting need to be back on the road taught me a great deal about the integrity and resilience of this man. The good news for me is that, while Howard is certainly exemplary of the highest character his profession, he is representative of many out there who justify the moniker “knights of the roadway.” I can’t think of a better poster child for it than Howard Salmon.br /a href=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ez6JTnOl_tQ/SsYjN9xu17I/AAAAAAAAAbk/MWii1vIUU8g/s1600-h/Hodges+Banner+With+Info.jpg”img style=”MARGIN: 0px 0px 10px 10px; WIDTH: 320px; FLOAT: right; HEIGHT: 119px; CURSOR: hand” id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5388032727023802290″ border=”0″ alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ez6JTnOl_tQ/SsYjN9xu17I/AAAAAAAAAbk/MWii1vIUU8g/s320/Hodges+Banner+With+Info.jpg” //abr /–Bruce Hodgesbr /”NightRider”br //embr /emshare:/em/divdiva onclick=”window.open(‘http://digg.com/submit?phase=2amp;url=’+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+’amp;title=’+encodeURIComponent(document.title), ‘digg’); return false;” href=”http://digg.com/submit”Digg/a/divdiva onclick=”window.open(‘http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=’+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+’amp;title=’+encodeURIComponent(document.title),’facebook’); return false;” href=”http://www.facebook.com/share.php”facebook/a/div/divdiv class=”blogger-post-footer”Channel 19 is the blog version of the column of the same name featured in Overdrive: The Voice of the American Trucker. Todd Dills (tdills@rrpub.com) is its author./div

  • Anonymous

    I have not personally met Howard, but talked to him while co-hosting the nite ride on 98.1. What a great guy! He is what a true blue American is all about, heart and soul. He#39;s a great singer, songwriter, and very involved in helping people in need. We need more people like him in this country. br / Eric Reece

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