Saturday, January 31, 2009

En Route to Tampa (Orlando style)

I passed out around 3am last night. I rolled out of my bunk somewhere around Raleigh, NC. It was a long trip down I-95 today. We watched a lot of TV.
I was in my Orlando hotel room by 8pm. Kudos to our driver, Jimmy Petty. He's been awake for 24 hours & driving for most of that.
We'll leave in the morning for Tampa - the site of Super Bowl XLIII. We'll be playing a private party for The NFL tomorrow before the game. We should be able to watch kick off on the bus on our way home.
See you tomorrow.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sayreville, NJ

Ah, Ye Olde Starland Ballroom. If I had to guess, I'd say this was my 5th or 6th time playing with Marshall Tucker here. It's a really good rock room. They fill it up pretty well too.
We played a solid set. This was my last 'normal' gig with Tucker. Sunday's gig will be an hour long, corporate type private show. I have mixed feelings about it being the last one. Doug has given me a great opportunity to be in this band. Not to say that I don't belong or couldn't hang, but I realize how lucky I am to have a relative 'in the music business.' I've learned many, many lessons about the road, playing on a big stage, & other things in this band. I would never trade any of the six years in the past nine years that I spent with Marshall Tucker - for anything. It is an experience, as a whole, that has made me, well, me.
There's no way to thank Doug & the guys enough. A part of me wishes that I could stay (for them). I know that I've made the right decision to move on. It's time.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Phoenixville, PA

Holy Crap! I wasn't fully prepared for this weather. The heaviest things that I brought were a thermal shirt & a hoodie. I'm such a dumb ass sometimes.
Last night's show was pretty par... at least sans Chris Hicks. I'm a little fuzzy over where Chris is this weekend. We've got enough bodies on stage but it's still a little weird without him. We played at a new club that's attached to Foxboro Stadium. It was a really nice room. It's what BB King's (in times square) wants to be when it grows up.
We left from the gig last night for Phoenixville, which is a 45+ minute drive to Philly.
The place we played tonight was called the Colonial Theatre. Its claim to fame was that they filmed 1959's "The Blob" here. The room would've been fantastic for an acoustic band. Not so much for a loud rock band. The room actually roared. The played was good though. I think that pace & the crowd was a great combination. I think every one had a good night. I know I did. My voice isn't all the way back but I feel great; great compared to, say, 3 days ago. Antibiotics are amazing things.
I get to sleep in a stationary bed tonight. Yay!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Foxboro, MA (sorta)

I normally update at the end of each day. I've left you hangin' for quite a while. Plus, I won't include tonight's show in the update - because it hasn't happened yet.
Michelle & I accompanied the Zac Brown Band (& others) to Miami via bus. We had a whole day of in Miami. Michelle & I visited South Beach together. That was pretty wild - even in January.
The Rock Boat was rather tame this year. We were on a bigger boat than last year. I got to jam with Blackberry Smoke, Sister Hazel, & Aslyn. They also gave me my own little impromptu show. Matt Mangano & Josh Robinson accompanied me on a few. Coy Bowles got up & played some slide on a couple. Then, we finished it off with me sittin' in again with Blackberry Smoke for a couple of tunes. We did Little Feat's "Willin'" & Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road." What great time.
The ZBB played 3 sets. The last being on the Lido Deck at 11:30pm. We ended up playing for 3+ hours. It was really windy, I was tired, I didn't hydrate enough, & I sang that high harmony for too long. That's when I started my current sinus infection.
Since then I sang two shows with Marshall Tucker & visited the doctor. I can feel it on it's way out of me. I'm pretty glad for it.
I'm slowly putting together my permanent 'Zac Brown' rig. I've decided to actually take my steel guitar situation very seriously. Only the best now.
I bought a mint condition 1968 Fender Twin Reverb from a dealer in town. It belonged to only one man who played steel guitar with it in a smoke free environment until 1994. Since then, it's been sitting in that man's extra bed room. I've got big plans for it. I'll keep up updated on the conversion.
I got on the bus yesterday for my last run with Marshall Tucker. We left Atlanta at 3pm & pulled into Foxboro, MA around 1pm today. 22 hours on a bus will get you two things: bored & well rested. I was both when we pulled up. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Brace Before the Impact

Michelle & I spent the day running errands. The evening was a vocal rehearsal at the studio. Boy, when Zac said I was going to sing the high harmony he wasn't kidding. I'm gonna need to warm up every night. It's really demanding - but fulfilling I'm sure.
Michelle & I had a late dinner at a friend's house. We're going to catch the bus north of Atlanta. It should be rather populated - more than I'm used to. 20+ I think. I'll update from Miami tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ZBB Rehearsal (day two)

I slept in like crazy. I needed it. I felt great today - after a day of 'not so great.'
We had lunch & then I spent the rest of the day rehearsing/recording with The Zac Brown Band. I feel really good about what we're doing.
Not much to report other than that. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NARAS meeting, ZBB recording

I had my monthly NARAS meeting today around noon. It was a very productive meeting. It was very well attended meeting. It was the first time (in almost two years) that I saw Brandon Bush & Ed Roland at the meeting.
After that I had a band & crew meeting for the Zac Brown Band. We discussed the upcoming two months of travel & shows. It's actually not going to be as crazy as I expected. I guess they're pulling their punches for the summer time.
I took me roughly an hour to set up for recording this afternoon. The rest of the band was set up from last night. Resulting in Plan C, we had to set up my amps in the room with me - in my control room. John Hopkins recorded from his control room across the hall.
As the day wore on I felt increasingly bad for some reason. I left the session early (for the first time in my life). I guess I'm just exhausted. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back from the Skynyrd Cruise

I left Atlanta on Tuesday night. I played with Tucker on Wednesday night in Largo, FL. It was a pretty decent show.
I met up with Michelle in Miami late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning.
We played three times on the boat. I'll admit, I kinda expected & prepared for the worst - what we got was the best. It was three great shows. If it was useless music at all - it only lasted for less than 2 minutes.
A bunch of folks jammed with us - .38 Special's Don Barnes & Bobby Capps, Francisco Vidal, Scott Little, Walter Ray, Molly Hatchet's Dave Hlubek, & a long list of others.
I got to jam with Franny & Blackberry Smoke. I really like those guys. Charlie Star of Blackberry Smoke is the real deal.
Michelle & I had a blast. It was a great trip all the way through. I can't wait for this week - even though the vibe of The Rock Boat isn't nearly as cool as the Skynyrd boat, I'm still looking forward to it.
I need rest now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Got My Hairs Cut

Michelle & I ran another gaggle of errands today. We both got haircuts. I got a lot lopped off (as you can tell). I also picked up my newly repaired Saturn. What damn fine car! She ain't pretty. She's never been pretty - but I've beat that thing & she won't die. I've had her since 1999. She's done more than her share at this point.
We had dinner & I picked up my newly adjusted MDX Missycaster. Dwight Maddox did a bang up job on this instrument. I like it so much that I'm bringing it out for the next week of Marshall Tucker dates (including The Simple Man Cruise).
I've done some pretty strategic packing for the next week. I hope I haven't forgotten anything (but I always do).
I hope that I'll find some internet access tomorrow. I know that I'll surely NOT have any on the boat. SO don't be upset when I can't update the blog until Tuesday next.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I did a lot today. I got my Saturn towed to the Decatur dealership for service. I made a ton of phone calls. I prepped my 'new' MDX tele for alterations that Dwight Maddox will make tonight. Michelle & I ran a ton of errands. We went to Atlantic Station for lunch then to see "Gran Torino" (which was awesome, by the way).
I dropped off the guitar to Dwight & made a run to Target to return something for Michelle. All in all it was a day to do. I'll take it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day Off

I don't even want to talk about it. I'm physically & mentally bushed. It was a great week. I'm proud to be a part of another musical family. Michelle's doing fine. I'm doing fine. I got off the bus at 8am this morning. Ran errands today. Need to get my Saturn towed. Battery is dead. Maybe more to say tomorrow.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Nashville, TN

I got 5 hours of sleep last night. I had to drop the boys off at the groomers on the way out of town. I met the bus in Smyrna around 9:30am. I hit the bunk & didn't wake up until half an hour outside of Nashville.
I experience what, I think, would be a typical day with the Zac Brown Band. The crew loaded in. After an hour & a half, I made my way to the stage to set up my stuff (they don't know how to set up a steel guitar yet - but they'll learn). Then, a soundcheck. Then dinner. Then hanging out - then the show.
With The Marshall Tucker Band we get hotel rooms during the day. I get real lethargic in that setting. Sure it's good for rest - but I had opportunities to rest all day in this setting. Sure you don't have ultimate privacy of a hotel room, but I never really needed that.
With Shawn Mullins, we were in an RV. No privacy at all. Not much time to rest either. But it sure was fun. This new situation is my favorite parts of the other situations - best of both worlds if you will.
The show tonight was a little looser on my part. I think I got a little too relaxed after last night's success. However, all of the musicians that I talked to didn't notice any of my mistakes. I guess it's just me being hard on myself. I expect a lot of me - all the time.
I hung out with Matt Mangano, his girl Emily, & Maureen Murphy after the show. I'm about to hit the bunk... around 2am.
Big props to our crew & Lynn Oliver (they make the show happen as much as we do).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Duluth, GA

I really wasn't sure what to expect from today. I crammed a little more this morning. I restrung my instruments. I packed the car. I tried to contain my excitement & nervousness to the best of my ability.
I showed up to Wild Bill's around 3pm. I loaded in. Played it cool. I set up. They're a bunch of good people to hang around too.
We did sound check & it was great. I feel really comfortable playing with them.
THe show tonight was CRAZY. It took them hours to load the building. The line was wrapped around the building. They were turning people away.
The show was nothing short of fantastic. I held on for dear life. The crowd was really, really into it. This band really has something going on. I can't wait for tomorrow to see if this was a fluke.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

My Dad dropped me off at John Wayne Airport this morning. It was really, really foggy this morning. To the point that they weren't allowing any planes to land. If planes don't land - there's no planes to board. Luckily it was cleared by the time our plane boarded.
The flight was pretty easy. I crammed for tomorrow's Zac Brown show. I'm pretty stoked about the brand New Year that we started today. 2009 will be great.