I started my St. Patrick’s Day festivities early, having consumed two 24 oz. Smithwick’s as the clock leaned over from last night to this morning, 11:59 to 12 double-naught while I talked 40 and age and younger women last night with a good friend over a varnished bar and the Rolling Stones. So today I slept late, because I could, and because it was probably the best option in the interest of personal safety, since they say most accidents happen at home. The latest of such being an encounter between my left eye and a dog’s paw, in which the cornea got scratched and the dog came away unscathed and oblivious. Both of us were completely sober. I played my gig that night in kind of a half-cocked wink, an ambivalent squint, and went to the clinic first thing next morning. All better now, after a week of squirting blinding antibiotic ointment into my eye. No more dog wrestling, unless safety goggles are employed.
Most of my music business comrades are prowling the streets of Austin TX this week for the annual South by Southwest conference, an ongoing experiment in the fields of human desperation, tequila consumption, and extreme plaid flannel and black t-shirt density. In years past there were times when I thought I would fall out on the sidewalk and die from sheer hipster plethora. I am not there, and feel just fine about it, though I do have family in Austin and am overdue for a visit, and for a plate of Hernandez enchiladas at Maudie’s. In honor of SXSW I think I will treat myself to that traditional St. Patrick’s day lunch of hot chicken, (Nashville’s own contribution to the soul food canon) and sit here on the front porch and feel the breeze. Which is currently filled with the sound of powertools squealing from over in my neighbor’s yard; he’s building a garage over there. Of which I am jealous, if only because every dog needs a place to go when things get too hot in the kitchen. So, to my fellow troubadours now trolling the sidewalks of South Congress, I raise a tall glass of cold water over my styrofoam box of fried brown, and wish you the best: that your showcase is well-played and well-attended, that you are ignored by the police and celebrated by those who can help you on up the trail. That you make contact with new contacts who give you hope, be it sincere or less. We all learn something, either way. I’ll join you next year, as I will have a fresh(er) record under my arm. Til then, I am savoring the little secret that is Gloryland; plotting, scheming, playing guitar for hours at a time. There is a zen to all of this, I am convinced. A zen that may not make me rich, but will keep me real: sane enough to function, crazy enough to create. Long may you wander. Wonder. Enough is all. Enough.