Byron Crawford, Bard of the Backroads

11/20/2010 11:38 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Don McNay Best selling lottery and structured settlement expert

Kentucky Rain keep pouring down,
and up ahead's another town that I'll be walking through.

-Elvis Presley

On the surface, Byron Crawford's new book, Kentucky Footnotes appears to be anthology of some Crawford's most interesting columns from his 29 years as an award winning columnist for the Louisville Courier Journal.

It's more than that.

Crawford's beat for the Courier Journal was the back roads and small towns of Kentucky.

A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, Crawford has a unique eye for finding, "the story within a story" that other journalists miss.

What has made Crawford a great writer is that his understanding that every individual has a great story. Byron might have been the only journalist to ever print their names in a newspaper but he found interesting people doing interesting things.

Sometime Byron's stories sparked worldwide interest.

Byron's son Eric Crawford, who is also an award winning columnist at the Courier Journal (covering sports ), noted that one of Byron's stories about a blind trumpet player named Patrick Henry Hughes wound up with Hughes being featured on Oprah and the television show Extreme Home Makeover redoing the Hughes house.

All because Crawford saw a story that the rest of missed.

Before he became a columnist, Byron was a disc jockey at the legendary WAKY-AM radio station in Louisville. A station that influenced a young listener named John Mellencamp, along with many others.

Byron includes a great story about a couple who owns one of Elvis's cars and another about Elvis' sound man.

Far more interesting than reflections on the King himself.

Byron's writing style flows like an old friend sitting around a campfire, telling stories that you want to hear over and over. I've read his column for over half my life (and once was the subject of one of his columns) but his style leaves you hungry for more.

One of the reasons Andy Griffith had such a long run on television and in re-runs is that a big part of America is looking for the kind of balance, perspective and wisdom that comes from the Main Streets and back roads of small towns

Crawford captures that same perspective and wisdom in Kentucky Footnotes.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC of Richmond Kentucky is an award winning columnist and Huffington Post contributor. He is the founder of McNay Settlement Group, a structured settlement consulting firm and author of two books, including Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners Losers and What to Do When you Win the Lottery. McNay is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table.