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Trucker, songwriter Paul Marhoefer keeping it between the lines despite record deal

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Trucker Paul Marhoefer’s CD, “Bessemer to Birmingham,” is being marketed at truck stops. Marhoefer is still pulling reefers, saying he hopes to be trucking when he’s 80.

“I’m 56, just going down the road writing songs for 30 years,” truck driver Paul Marhoefer is fond of saying.

Known as “Long Haul Paul,” Marhoefer, now 58, is still going down the road — hauling eggs and dairy products for Moeller Trucking.

What’s different is that during the past two years he’s recorded some of those songs on an album, “Bessemer to Birmingham,” produced by Travis Wammack. A Memphis, Tennessee, music prodigy, Wammack recorded his first record at age 11 and went on to work at FAME studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, generate several Billboard hits and lead Little Richard’s band from 1984 to 1995. Wammack has also been dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine as “the fastest guitar player in the South.”

The CD was produced by Wammack for Laughing Hyena, an independent record label/brand licensing company that first produced Jeff Foxworthy of “you might be a redneck” fame. And no, Marhoefer isn’t a comedian, although he’s funny; Laughing Hyena produces music, too.

Marhoefer writes songs about the hard, gritty and sometimes sad and poignant things that happen on the road, accompanying his gravelly voice on guitar and harmonica.

One of his most poignant tunes is “Elloree,” named after the South Carolina town where trucker and father of three Jason Rivenburg was shot and killed in the cab of his truck by Willie Pelzer III for the seven dollars and change in his pocket. Pelzer was sentenced to life in prison in 2009 for the murder.

The chorus alludes to the lack of safe parking for truckers (Rivenburg had parked at a gas station off Interstate 26): “Ain’t no rest for a workin’ man. Where’s a poor boy supposed to sleep?”

Marhoefer’s been compared to Bob Dylan, and he said the “gravel” sound in his voice was caused by a truck accident in which he broke his neck. “It stressed my vocal chords and affected my voice, but I don’t recommend you rear-end a trailer to enhance your singing career.”

That Marhoefer was discovered by Wammack was a quirk of fate or the hand of God, depending upon your persuasion, and directly attributed to his daughter, Audrey.

Marhoefer had mentioned to her that he wanted to visit the Muscle Shoals area recording studios someday, and upon her graduation from the College of Charleston, Audrey bought her dad a day’s worth of recording time and said she wanted to accompany him down to Muscle Shoals as her “senior trip.”

One of the area’s studios — an old concrete block building that was previously a coffin showroom — was converted to a recording studio in 1969 when a group of musicians called the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section decided to start their own operation in competition with the FAME Studio owned by Rick Hall, spawning a fight among the competing parties, some of it physical, according to Marhoeffer.

Over the years, artists who recorded in the Muscle Shoals area have included The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Willie Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Cocker, Levon Helm, Bob Seger, and Rod Stewart, to name a few.

Marhoefer said his CD is a compilation which included tracks from the FAME studio, Milkhouse Studios in Richmond, Indiana, and Muscle Shoals Marketing.

After arriving in Muscle Shoals, Marhoefer and his daughter stopped at a local diner and were told about a jam session that welcomed one and all and was being held in a garage.

There, they met Wammack, and “he liked my music and wanted to produce it,” Marhoefer told The Trucker.

“These old-time session musicians are all retired; I wanted to see how far they could take my songs,” he said, adding that he had to promise to buy Wammack a Cadillac if any of his songs charted at No. 1. “A Cadillac is the holy grail for a Memphis musician,” he explained. He’s still not sure if Wammack was joking or not.

But, he said these seasoned musicians took his rough songs and made them sound good. Still worried about the Cadillac thing, Marhoefer said, “I’m going down the road in a Freightliner; how am I going to get the money if it goes to No. 1?”

Actually, he doesn’t think that will happen, but said he’s been told his CDs are “moving well at $7.99 each.”

He said they’re being “test-marketed in truck stops.” Which ones, he’s not exactly sure, probably because, he jokes, “they don’t want to tell me in case my buddies all want to go in there and buy them up.”

It’s hard for a trucker to be a successful musician, Marhoefer said. “I was an owner-operator for 10 years and I had no time to be creative. When I was a produce hauler I didn’t have that much space to sit there and create songs.”

Hauling reefers for Moeller Trucking seems to be more forgiving as far as his music is concerned. The folks at Moeller, he said, “are just good country people.” He’s worked there for seven years.

Marhoefer is originally from Indiana and remembers his first job was washing trucks for his dad. “He came from Germany and his family were butchers and they had a lot of trucks.” According to CD liner notes, his father was the CEO of the 12th largest meat packing company in the country. To hear Marhoefer tell it, all his family members are professional people, from lawyers to teachers to librarians to translators. “I’m like the black sheep of the family,” he said, because for some reason all he wanted to do was drive a truck. He did regional routes at first and then began OTR runs in 1987.

He started learning guitar chords at age 16 and took up the harmonica at about 18 or 19. “I don’t know that many chords; there are songwriters out there that are a whole lot better pickers than me,” he said modestly.

He calls his music, “Americana,” because it’s a fusion of various genres: blues, folk, bluegrass, country and more.

When he’s not writing songs, Marhoefer said he will continue to haul reefers: “I don’t see retiring at 70; I feel too good,” he said. “I hope I’m still trucking when I’m 80.”

To check out Marhoefer’s music go to his website at paulmarhoeffermusic.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tommytrucker

    April 18, 2018 at 10:41 am

    hey great song

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Equipment

International Trucks makes Bendix Wingman Fusion standard on on-highway tractors

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Offering Bendix Wingman Fusion is part of International Truck’s DriverFirst philosophy, a company executive said. Pictured is the International LoneStar Low Roof model. (Courtesy: NAVISTAR )

LISLE, Ill. — International Truck now offers Bendix Wingman Fusion, an integration of advanced safety technologies, as standard equipment on the entire lineup of on-highway tractors, including the International LoneStar, LT Series and RH Series trucks.

Bendix Wingman Fusion is the Bendix flagship collision mitigation technology integrating radar, camera, and the vehicle’s brake system into a driver assistance system that delivers driver alerts and interventions to help them mitigate rear-end collisions, rollovers, and a loss-of-control situations.

Wingman Fusion combines and cross-checks information from sensors that are working together — not just in parallel — along with powerful computing, to typically assesses situations faster and reacts earlier, while also helping to significantly reduce false alerts and false interventions, according to Jim Nachtman, director, heavy-duty, marketing, International Truck.

By creating a highly detailed and accurate data picture, he said, Bendix Wingman Fusion delivers enhanced rear-end collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, along with following distance alerts, stationary object alerts, lane departure warning, alerts when speeding, and braking on stationary vehicles – all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction. Event-based data – including video – can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel. Other options include blind spot detection that helps drivers address vehicles in their blind spots that may not be visible in their mirrors. The forward-facing camera of Wingman Fusion is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms.

“As part of our DriverFirst philosophy, we concentrate on consistently improving the overall driver experience, specifically safety,” Nachtman said. “Partnering with Bendix to make Fusion standard on all of International Truck’s heavy-duty vehicles makes for an important joint contribution to make North American roadways safer for everyone.”

Since the introduction of Bendix Wingman Fusion in 2015, International Truck has offered the technology as an option for all on-highway models. Bendix Wingman Fusion is also available as an option on International’s medium-duty lineup, including the International MV Series, HV Series, HX Series and CV Series trucks.

“Bendix’s ongoing partnership with Navistar is built on years of shared commitment to driver, vehicle, and highway safety,” said Scott Burkhart, Bendix vice president – sales, marketing, and business development. “International Truck’s positioning of Wingman Fusion as standard equipment on its complete line of on-highway tractors is both a point of pride for the entire Bendix team and another step forward alongside a true leader in our industry.”

According to Bendix, its safety technologies complement safe driving practices and are not intended to enable or encourage aggressive driving. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training. Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.

For more information on International Truck’s product lineup or to locate a dealer, visit internationaltrucks.com.

 

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TCA, CarriersEdge name top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For

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An overall winner in the large and small fleet categories will be named during TCA’s annual convention March 10-13 at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With a record number of nominees and finalists, the Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge have named the 2019 Best Fleets to Drive For.

“When it comes to working with drivers, our Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For are North America’s best-of-the best in the for-hire trucking segment,” said CarriersEdge Chief Executive Officer Jane Jazrawy. “This recognition program is now in its 11th year, and each year we’ve seen fleets up their game – making a positive difference in the lives of drivers with innovative programs.”

The Top 20 carriers will be divided into the 10 largest and 10 smallest and an overall winner in each group will be named during TCA’s annual convention March 10-13 at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort.

The 2019 Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For include:

American Central Transport, Kansas City, Missouri; Bennett Motor Express, McDonough, Georgia’ Bison Transport, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Boyle Transportation, Billerica, Massachusetts; Central Oregon Truck Co., Redmond, Oregon; Crete Carrier Corp., Lincoln, Nebraska; Epes Transport System, Greensboro, North Carolina; Erb Transport, New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada; FTC Transportation, Oklahoma City; Garner Trucking, Findlay, Ohio; Grand Island Express, Grand Island, Nebraska; Halvor Lines, Superior, Wisconsin; Landstar System,  Jacksonville, Florida;        Maverick Transportation, North Little Rock, Arkansas; Motor Carrier Service, Northwood, Ohio; Nussbaum Transportation Services, Hudson, Illinois; Prime Inc., Springfield, Missouri; Thomas E. Keller Trucking, Defiance, Ohio; TLD Logistics Services, Knoxville, Tennessee; and Transpro Freight Systems Limited, Milton, Ontario, Canada.

In addition to the Top 20, TCA and CarriersEdge identified five Fleets to Watch (honorable mentions):

Fortigo Freight Services, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada; Leavitt’s Freight Service, Springfield, Oregon; Liberty Linehaul, Ayr, Ontario, Canada; Roehl Transport, Marshfield, Wisconsin; and TransLand, Strafford, Missouri.

Three fleets have also achieved the milestone of five consecutive years on the list, including Boyle Transportation, Nussbaum Services and TLD Logistics.

To be considered for the Best Fleets program, companies operating 10 or more trucks had to receive a nomination from at least one of their company drivers or owner operators. The fleets were then evaluated using a scoring matrix covering a variety of categories, including total compensation, health benefits, performance management, professional development, and career path/advancement opportunities, among other criteria. Driver surveys were also conducted to collect input from drivers and independent contractors working with the fleets.

TCA President John Lyboldt said the Best Fleets program and its annual list of the Top 20 has grown to become one of the most anticipated announcements in the industry.

“The winners have set the bar high when it comes to keeping their professional truck drivers engaged while also providing a superior work environment,” he said. “This coveted contest reveals the tremendous efforts put forth by these driver-centric companies.”

“We do a very thorough analysis and take a deep dive into each fleet’s programs,” Jazrawy said. “An important component in the scoring process is analyzing driver feedback on the company and then comparing it with management’s comments. The two need to align in order for fleets to score well. This year’s Top 20 had an average driver satisfaction rate over 91 percent, and annual driver turnover under 35 percent, so what they’re doing is obviously working.”

For additional information on the Best Fleets to Drive For program, visit www.bestfleetstodrivefor.com

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Americans relocating to western, southern parts of country, United Van Lines survey shows

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ST. LOUIS — Americans are on the move, relocating to western and southern parts of the country.

The results of United Van Lines’ 42nd Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year, revealed that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state in 2018, with 66.8 percent of New Jersey moves being outbound.

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CAPTION FOR PHOTO

Courtesy: UNITED VAN LINES

This map shows inbound and outbound patterns for the United States in 2018. The dark blue indicates high inbound moving rates, the light blue medium inbound moving rates, the gray shows balanced states, the light yellow medium outbound moving rates and the dark yellow high outbound moving rates.

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The study also found that the state with the highest percentage of inbound migration was Vermont (72.6 percent), with 234 total moves. Oregon, which had 3,346 total moves, experienced the second highest percentage nationally, with 63.8 percent inbound moves.

States in the Mountain West and Pacific West regions, including Oregon, Idaho (62.4 percent), Nevada (61.8 percent), Washington (58.8 percent) and South Dakota (57 percent) continue to increase in popularity for inbound moves. In tune with this trend, Arizona (60.2 percent) joined the list of top 10 inbound states in 2018.

Several southern states also experienced high percentages of inbound migration, such as South Carolina (59.9 percent) and North Carolina (57 percent). United Van Lines determined the top reasons for moving south include job change (46.6 percent) and retirement (22.3 percent).

In the Northeast, however, an outbound moving trend continues. New Jersey (66.8 percent), Connecticut (62 percent) and New York (61.5 percent) were included among the top 10 outbound states for the fourth consecutive year. Midwestern states like Illinois (65.9 percent), Kansas (58.7 percent), Ohio (56.5 percent) and Iowa (55.5 percent) saw high outbound relocation as well.

“As the nation’s largest household goods mover, our study allows us to identify the most and least popular states for residential relocation throughout the country, year after year,” said Eily Cummings, director of corporate communications at United Van Lines. “These findings accurately reflect not only where Americans are moving to and from, but also the reasons why.”

The National Movers Study reveals the business data of inbound and outbound moves from 2018.

In addition to this study, United Van Lines also conducts a survey to find out more about the reasons behind these moves.

A leading motivation behind these migration patterns across all regions is a career change, as the survey showed approximately one out of every two people who moved in the past year moved for a new job or company transfer.

Other reasons for the high percentage of moves to the Mountain West in 2018 include retirement (28.1 percent), proximity to family (20.8 percent) and lifestyle change (19.4 percent).

Compared to all other states, Idaho saw the largest influx of new residents desiring a lifestyle change (25.95 percent), and more people flocked to New Mexico for retirement than any other state (42.74 percent).

“The data collected by United Van Lines aligns with longer-term migration patterns to southern and western states, trends driven by factors like job growth, lower costs of living, state budgetary challenges and more temperate climates,” said Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Unlike a few decades ago, retirees are leaving California, instead choosing other states in the Pacific West and Mountain West. We’re also seeing young professionals migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies, like Washington, D.C. and Seattle.”

The top inbound states of 2018 were (1) Vermont, (2) Oregon, (3) Idaho, (4) Nevada. (5) Arizona, (6) South Carolina, (7) Washington, (8) North Carolina, (9) South Dakota and (10) District of Columbia.

The top outbound states for 2018 were (1) New Jersey, (2) Illinois, (3) Connecticut, (4) New York, (5) Kansas, (6) Ohio, (7) Massachusetts, (8) Iowa, (9) Montana and (10) Michigan.

New Jersey (66.8 percent), which has ranked in the top 10 for the past 10 years, moved up one spot on the outbound list to No. 1. New additions to the 2018 top outbound list include Iowa (55.5 percent), Montana (55 percent) and Michigan (55 percent).

Balanced

In several states, the number of residents moving inbound was approximately the same as the number moving outbound. Arkansas and Mississippi are among these “balanced states.”

Since 1977, United Van Lines has annually tracked migration patterns on a state-by-state basis. The 2018 study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. and ranks states based off the inbound and outbound percentages of total moves in each state. United classifies states as “high inbound” if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into a state, “high outbound” if 55 percent or more moves were coming out of a state or “balanced” if the difference between inbound and outbound is negligible.

To view the entire 2018 study and an interactive map, click here.

 

 

 

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