Well, since it recently occurred to me that I have neglected to update this page in over 2 months, I would first like to apologize for my lack of diligence, and keeping everyone on the edge of their seats instead of abreast of any and all goings-on hereabouts. I know, it's been a real nail-biter.
But enough sarcasm, let's get down to it.
We played Memphis. It pretty much sucked. We went on last, in a town none of us have played in years, and we reaped the dividends of our extended absence and time slot by playing to the bar staff, and the handful of folks that didn't clear out during or immediately after the "headliner". Sure, a few stragglers wandered in off of Beale, and we got the occasional smattering of polite applause, but I'm just gonna shoot straight and say that it was not a whole lot of fun.
Additionally, we got screwed by the venue's "validated" parking, and the BBQ we got that day was weak. Memphis, you let us down, and it's going in my report.
Next up for us was 50's Night at Twin Kegs, and we plowed through Chuck Berry's "Rock N' Roll Music" and Fats Domino's(by way of Cheap Trick) "Ain't That A Shame". I honestly love playing these things, if for no other reason then it feels like a glorified rehearsal in somebody's man cave that just happens to serve killer cheeseburgers. The folks are all down to earth, and everyone gets along, without a lot of the jockeying and pretense you generally tend to encounter when you try to load a bill with 9 acts and stay on a schedule.
Kudos to the Woodbine Rocks folks for keeping this series running.
From there it was off to Gerstle's in Louisville, where the soundman was just about the only bright spot of the night, and I was all but ready to hang up my rock n' roll shoes on the ride back to Nashville if it meant we had to keep playing gigs like this one.
…and then, we played The Crowded House in Madisonville, KY, stripped down to just our acoustic guitars, a cajon(percussion box) for Kenny, and 3 mics. It was probably the most fun I've had onstage in a long time, and damn near made me forget about the crap-fest that preceded it. I could actually hear myself sing(and think), and our load-in/load-out consisted of a single trip per band member, and took a total of about 5 minutes each way. THAT is how it should be every night. Alas, if you wanna bring the noise, this particular business model will not always suffice.
Shows at The Rutledge in Nashville, The Nick in Birmingham, AL and The Loft in Columbus, GA followed…all successful to various degrees, some less lucrative than others(I'm looking at you, Birmingham), but good times nonetheless, even if Henry's snoring in the hotel may eventually necessitate the rest of us relocating him in his sleep to another wing of the establishment.
November was a slow month for shows, having been set aside for Kenny & I to resume work on our The Die Youngs record. We managed to get into the studio long enough to lay down basic tracks for the final 6 tunes, and I made a pair of return trips to cut guitars, and drop in some programming work I'd done at home. This stuff is sounding great, and some of it is huge with production flourishes that are totally atypical to the material we've done with The Great Affairs. I also get to play a little more lead guitar on this stuff, which I think maybe I kinda miss every now and then, so that's been cool too.
In the midst of all this, tornadoes ripped through The Midwest, and only barely missed both my Mom's and my sister's places, as well as my brother's shop in Washington, IL. Not everyone was so lucky, including a bunch of friends who lost homes, cars, businesses…everything in some cases.
As soon as I wrapped up work at The Switchyard, my buddy Josh and I headed north and I did a set at Goodfellas in Pekin, IL, a town also hit by the storms, as part of a benefit pub crawl that might have been hastily organized, but was extremely successful. I got to see a mess of people I hadn't seen in quite a while and check on/bump into a few survivors in person(SLJ, WTF were you thinking, brother?!?! You don't film INSIDE the tornado?….that said, sweet eye-patch on the news.) Due to curfews, and road closures, we didn't see any of the major damage until Sunday morning, on our way out of town, and to say my mind was blown by the sights would not even begin to cover it. Unforgettable.
While I was in Illinois, I got a call about a possible song pitch needed for a network television program that I happen to be a fan of, that required a made-to-order tune with a rather specific storyline embedded in its lyric. As soon as I got home, and the night before I went back into The Switchyard to finish up the last of my parts, I put together something called "All Along" that may or may not have hit the nail on the proverbial head, but that I was kinda fond of either way, so I took a brief detour to lay it down in the midst of our session, even enlisting my trusty engineer Michael Saint-Leon to knock out a little slide guitar for me. You can hear it <HERE>. Who knows where it'll end up, or if the producers will use it, but I dig it, so whatevs, as the kids say…or do they still say that? I don't know.
As usual, I'm running long here, so let me try to wrap this up. We had to cancel our run to East TN this weekend, thanks to a lovely wave of inclement weather that included ice, sleet, and snow in our direct path. Hopefully we can make up the Knoxville and Bristol dates down the road a piece, once Mother Nature sees fit to make the Cumberland Plateau a little less treacherous.
That leaves us with just 2 more shows for 2013, the For The Philippines With Love benefit show this Thursday the 12th at 7PM, and our year-end finale at John Brown's On The Square in Marion, IL on Friday the 13th.
We intend to go out in style, take a few weeks off for the holidays, and to finish up any remaining studio work(Dave Webb is in Wednesday with us to cut his bass tracks), before we start looking at what we wanna do with 2014. Kenny and I are headed to L.A. for Winter NAMM in January, and we've got a few shows booked through April, so look for those to start popping up on the <SITE> soon enough, as we firm up the details. Other than that, it's business as usual around here..writing, recording, and being really, really good-looking.
If I don't get to say it to you in person, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.
Be well, citizens.