Gray Bartlett has been slinging a guitar professionally since the 1960s and has toured and played with Tom Jones, Herman’s Hermits, and many others in addition to recording numerous instrumental albums. Over the years, he’s made regular trips to Fort Worth to play gigs and hang out in the Stockyards, his favorite part of town. Now he is passing through on his way to Nashville to introduce teen-aged protege Carson Taare to some agents and record industry folks. Carson is set to perform this week at an Academy of Country Music showcase. Gray and I do the Toast & Jam episode, and then Carson, Gray, and I record a separate video afterward. (Fort Worth Weekly will post that bonus video featuring Carson in a day or two.) Gray is a great guy full of energy, mischief, and fun well into his 70s. He shunned cigarettes and drugs and only drank in moderation during his years on the road, preferring to jog and stay fit. Can’t argue with that logic, although we ate lunch at Riscky’s BBQ after the shoot, and Gray ordered fried jalapeno poppers and a slice of key lime pie. Health food! One of his top-selling singles is a guitar version of “Freight Train” by Elizabeth Cotten, so we jam on that one. I sing the first and last verse and let Gray work his guitar magic the rest of the time. You nailed it, Gray. See you next time you’re passing through town. And, Carson, blow ’em away in Nashville. — Jeff Prince