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June Tour Begins: Throwing the Long Ball

photo by Barry Gilbert; 6/7/19

“Throwing the long ball”: that’s how Billy Joe Shaver described it metaphorically to me once, outside FitzGerald’s in Chicago some years ago–I’d opened for him and his band, and apparently they’d driven all the way from Texas for just that one show. Since then, I’ve taken to expanding the use of the phrase to indicate any drive between shows which is rationally questionable/dubious/”heroic” . . . and so it goes:

I-64 East, East of East St. Louis, 6/7/19

Last night we had a great time playing Night 3 of Twangfest 23, at Off Broadway in St. Louis–a nice way of starting what is my June 2019 odyssey (though hopefully there will be no sirens nor shipwrecks involved). A friendly and large crowd greeted us as we kicked off the proceedings with a 42-minute (I was told) set–just long enough to get warmed up, ya know? Like getting to “2nd base” or so with your girlfriend in high school, while parked in some isolated (so you thought) location, and then a cop knocks on your steamy window . . . Rockinitis interruptus! But, (ahem), back to the music: we had a lot of fun . . . before packing ourselves back in the van and driving back to Nashville last night, getting back at about 2 a.m.

I’ve got about 3 hours left to get myself together for 15 days out on the road; I’ll be playing with Ron Eoff and Josh Hunt this evening at the Americana Day festivities over in Watertown, TN, going on at 7 p.m. Looking forward to this; thanks to my dear friend Jim Sherraden for putting my name in the hat for this festival. After an hour or so of rendering the rock n’ roll, I’ll climb in the van with my co-manager Nick, and we shall point the landsled northeast–destination: Pawling, New York. A 14-hour drive from Watertown. On Sunday, June 9, I have the pleasure of opening a sold-out show for my friend Todd Snider there, at Daryl’s House Club, going on at 7 p.m. EST. I have a hard time believing this is happening TOMORROW. But I guess I’ve got some time to get my head around the idea. Just for fun, kids, I think you can stream the show on YouTube. If and when I find those details, I’ll post them on social media. Or you know–go ahead and Google!

I don’t mind the overnight driving, when I have to do it–there is an odd, ethereal peace out there in Interstate-land–less traffic (though some of what’s out there tends to weave a little more than in the daytime), fewer humans at the truck-stop, and hopefully no large animals making a sudden move at the wrong time, towards the other side of the road and that proverbial greener grass, etc. Last night the ride home was kinda pretty–the glow of light from the occasional pocket of civilization/commerce (not necessarily interchangeable terms, of course) illuminating the swirling cloud-cover overhead, making the sky a steady-moving silver-gray ceiling. I had the Waze app guiding us along, and noticed that Cookie Monster from Sesame Street is now one of the voices you can choose, to announce your appropriate directions and warnings. Therefore, bring on the comic relief, num num num . . . .

Since my time’s limited today, I’ll keep this one short, but I’ll stay in touch along the road. Check out the tour page for info on where I’ll be and when. And please do come out if you can, and say hello, why doncha? (the distinctly Iowa voice of my dearly departed mother-in-law Pat, creeping into my head there in that last phrase) Quite a few shows with Mr. Snider, some radio station visits, and a couple of band shows to close things out, with Ron Eoff and madman drummer extraordinaire Marco Giovino–at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, then the fabulous Nelson Odeon. Then the long ride home from Cazenovia, NY, with Ron. This is gonna be fun!




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