Folks, it's been an interesting patch of road traveled this past month. While a good deal of it was welcome, the mileage does tend to take its toll over time, resulting in certain wear & tear to the involved apparatus; in this case my voice, which decided it was going to take a leave of absence mid-show in Bowling Green, KY a couple of weeks ago.
Truthfully, I can't say I didn't see/feel it coming. Back in May, we did a really quick 3-day run through South Carolina, night #1 of which blessed us with an inept audio "engineer" who was knocking back shots at the bar before we even got a chance to soundcheck. Suffice it to say, the situation on stage, and I'm sure pouring out into the venue as well, was a mess. We did our best to push through the muck of gnarly frequencies, random squawks, and lifeless monitors for a couple of hours, before loading out and retiring to our hotel, where I began to feel the effects of screaming over blaring nonsense for 2 hours.
In the morning, I was still feeling it, but we trudged on to our radio interview, and the next venue, where thankfully we had two aces at the board, and the previous evening's unpleasantness was all but forgotten…well, save for the burning sensation in my throat that I figured would pass with a good night's sleep and a few yodels of "Ricola" from a SC mountaintop. I was mistaken, because; as previously recounted here at the time, my voice abandoned me entirely halfway into our set, with Kenny & Patrick(and even the venue manager for one tune) forced to cover lead vocals for the remainder of our allotted time with a slew of covers.
It was a long drive back to Nashville….and an even longer week spent hoarse and pissed off at a situation that was out of my control. Still, a little rest and we were back at it, with my pipes seemingly operating at whatever passes for capacity under optimum conditions. On occasion though, I would sense a little weakness in spots that hadn't previously been an issue for me, and I noticed I'd begun coughing up the dreaded "Peter Brady frog" with unusual frequency. Whatever, I'd do a shot of Fireball, and it was off to the races like nothing was amiss.
I was wrong, of course.
My faulty assessment was shot full of holes during a show in Evansville, IN a week after the battle of Bowling Green. Chugging water, eating lozenges all night like they were Skittles, and the company of some good folks from that neck of the woods got me through the show, but just barely, and my body was letting me know in no uncertain terms that I was pushing my luck. Like any injury, the ache was starting to spread, and I was hurting everywhere…I just couldn't figure out exactly why. Thankfully, I knew enough to listen to my gut, and we canned the next gig, which I guess didn't please the venue much, understandably, based upon the snarky reply to our agent's email….maybe their booking guy should've held my hand when they were scoping, X-raying and (most painfully I think) BILLING me at the ENT two days later.
…as it turns out, over the course of the past few months, I've managed to tear a couple of nerves in my throat and neck, while singing with one ear canal so inflamed that is was essentially closed, and that inflammation spread all down the left side of my neck, jaw, and behind my eye….but wait, like a set of Ginsu Knives, it doesn't stop there, I ALSO had diminished lung capacity due to some muscle issue brought on by this infection, necessitating one of the least fun(albeit briefest) medical procedures I've ever experienced. Top this off with a week's worth of steroids and antibiotics, and a sizable invoice, and you've got a guy that really wishes he'd stuck with those piano lessons at age 9.
But enough about me, let's talk about me. I did get some work done before, during, and after this crisis. In fact, all the basic tracking for my solo record is complete. Drums, bass, and 99% of the guitars are laid down and sounding spectacular. There's still a generous amount of effort yet to be applied, particularly vocals on all 12 tracks, piano & pedal steel, and finally a little percussion & various odd instrumentation throughout. I plan to start singing this week, assuming my voice is in good enough shape to tackle the task, after shows in Madisonville, and Somerset, KY the last two nights. I haven't yet investigated it thoroughly, but the meds and procedures made those two dates a hell of a lot easier to endure than the previous week's, so even if there are still a few no-fly zones in my range that clearly need time to heal, I'm optimistic that things are actually on the mend in there.
Voice or no voice, the "Go Mute Or Go Home" tour continues with a string of August shows that looks a little something like this, with of course the possibility of some last-minute additions to the slate…
Friday, August 5th @ John Browns On The Square Marion, IL
Wednesday, August 10th @ Wicked Good Sandwiches Clarksville, TN
(Songs & Stories Music Circle-Denny Solo acoustic)
Friday, August 12th @ Friday Night Live Madisonville, KY
Saturday, August 13th @ Hightops Somerset, KY
Thursday, August 18th @ Woodbine Rocks/Twin Kegs Nashville, TN
Friday, August 26th @ O'Mainnin's Bristol, TN
Saturday, August 27th @ Diamond Pub Louisville, KY
Our booking crew is still filling in some of the blanks for September, but we WILL finally be getting back up to Chicago, and Central Illinois as well, so for those of you who have been on us to swing through the Midwest, we're trying, honest.
I think that's about it….and yes, the covers EP is still under construction. I actually did some work on tracks for that early this morning, so rest assured that it will arrive at some point in the early 21st century. We've also narrowed down the first handful of tunes for the next TGA full-length, so we're about to start putting those together and sliding them into the live set to shake out.
If you made it this far, I applaud your tenacity, and I apologize for the epic nature of this update, but as my mom's favorite, and most-trusted periodical once said, "Enquiring minds want to know.".