Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bossier City, LA

It was strange but good. We played the Saturday weigh in for the Bass Master Challenge. Here's how it went:
We play a 45 minute set to 14,000 people... then we sang the national anthem (4 part harmony, mind you)... then 51 fishermen came in & weighed their catches for the day. It was kinda surreal to see a man on a stage hold up a fish in each hand & 14,000 people erupted in cheers. All I'm saying is that I found it kinda weird.
Here's to a long overnight ride home... never done that before!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Starkville, MS

Happy Birthday Coy Bowles! Today was his 30th birthday. What an amazing, versatile musician Coy has spent his life becoming. It's truly a pleasure to be traveling & playing with Coy.
Our travels brought us to Starkville, MS today; home of Mississippi State University. There wasn't music to the actual city of Starkville. I guess most southern college towns are like this one. We played Rick's Cafe. This was a gig that they booked months before "Chicken Fried" took off on the charts. We still played it with smiles all around.
It actually was a slam up show. I'd put tonight's up against any that we've ever played. It makes me even more hopeful for the future of our gigs. Things are looking up here. & for you too, Coy Bowles. Good night 30 year old Prince. Good night.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Birmingham, AL (day two)

Today rocked! I sauntered out of my bunk into a hotel shower. I had a great lunch with our new road manager at Firehouse Subs. I highly suggest that place.
We had a 2 hour soundcheck - learning & arranging new tunes. Chris Fryar, our drummer, bought us a strawberry cake from Edgar's Bakery. It was devastating!
Our show tonight was fantastic - maybe the best one yet for me. I had a great time in Birmingham. Can't wait 'til next time!
See you in Mississippi.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Birmingham, AL

Ahh, Birmingham. For such a close city to Atlanta, I haven't spent much time here. I like it though. The downtown kinda reminds me of downtown Atlanta - just a little smaller & a little more laid back.
We had sort of a normal day today; shower, set up, sound check, dinner, & show. I'd like to welcome our new tour manager - Glenn Felton - to the team. He came out on a trail run a couple of weeks ago & hit a grand slam. Things are looking really, really good right now.
The show tonight was fun for me. Apparently, Zac had some technical issues that I wasn't aware of. It still kicked ass.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nashville, TN (day three)

We had an early bus call. Michelle dropped me off before 7:30am & made her way back home. We had a great time passing each other over the past 2 weeks.
The guys loaded in at 8am at GAC (Great American Country). We had a 10am make up call. We started taping by 11am. We played "Chicken Fried" & "Whatever It Is" for an internet exclusive. It was another acoustic version. I dug it though. It looked really good with all of the cool camera stuff they were doing.
Then we did 3 separate interviews/teasers for GAC.
After that, Zac went to CMT for a quick interview while we took the bus back to the hotel. Some of us went to frequent some of the Broadway stores this afternoon. I bought a couple of t-shirts from Gruhn's Guitars. Then we went to Nashville Cowboy in 2nd Ave. I found a really cool Scully dress shirt. It was the last one so it was on sale.
We had dinner at El Rey. Other than that, I've been chilin' on the bus. Probably be passed out soon.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nashville, TN (day two), AKA 1 Year Anniversary

We played Sirius radio this morning. It rocked. We played two songs & then did an interview. Then we rolled back to the hotel around 3pm. Zac spent the rest of the afternoon by himself recording liners for stations all across US.
I went back to our hotel & Michelle got us a couple's message in the room. It rocked. I've never had a message before. I'm ruined now. I'm going to want one every week from now on.
Anyway, we had dinner with our friend Maureen. Then, Michelle passed out & I'm struggling to go to sleep. I'm still stuffed with BBQ.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nashville, TN

I woke up in the Opryland Radisson parking lot. Jake Bartol, our monitor guy, & I made the mistake of eating Shoney's breakfast buffet.
We loaded into the ballroom at the Opryland hotel around 2pm. It was a whole bunch of 'hurry up & wait.' We got to sound check but we had to clear the stage after it. We played only 3 songs tonight. It was for the NACA national convention. NACA stands for National Association of College Activities. Basically, there was at least one student activities coordinator from every college in the US. It was a little crazy. We played our 3 songs & then signed autographs for over an hour. It was a pretty easy day.
The bus landed 5 blocks from my destination. I walked those 5 blocks, up hill, rolling my suitcase to The Hermitage to meet Michelle. She's in town to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary - tomorrow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Metarie, LA

I woke up refreshed. 9 hours of sleep will do that for ya. We are staying across the street from the gig... which is always nice. Coy & I hit up the Po Boy place again. I know it ain't good for you, but I can't get Po Boys like this anywhere else. This model was especially special: the peacemaker - half shrimp & half clam - all awesome.
Gavin DeGraw & Sara Bareilles played before us. It was kinda rainy all day. Gavin DeGraw kicked a sack full of ass; fantastic band & killer show. We played a pretty good hour+ set. The crowd was pretty into it.
All & all a good day. We got our bus back. We hit up the Whole Foods before we left tonight. The boys have been hitting it hard for the past 4 nights. Tonight seems like it's going to be rather tame during our sojourn to Nashville. These boys can play nice when they want to.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day It Off Near The Big Easy

My Dad dropped me off at the bus at 4:30am this morning. I got a wink on the way to LAX. It took us a long time to get checked in & check the bags. Then it was a ridiculously long security line. It was a full flight ofcourse. Then you have the slow flight to save gas. Kind of a crappy day of travel... or maybe I'm just spoiled.
We rolled into Metarie, LA for the evening. We all ate at Acme for po boys. Worth it!
Every one is crashing right now & plan to meet in the lobby at 10pm for Mardi Gras. I'm staying in, fo sho! Nights off on the road are few & far between.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Calabasas, CA

I stayed in a hotel with my wife last night. They dropped me off at the bus around 1pm. We made our way to the next gig. We played a AAA radio conference in Calabasas today. It was kind of a weird experience. It's not only a private gig but a gig in front of exclusively industry folk. So far with the ZBB, it's been screaming fans. Screaming country fans to boot. This is different. We were playing for a completely different radio demographic. We played absolutely nothing that would classify as country or get played on country radio.
I'm pretty sure that it worked out well for us in our 30 minute set. These things are so stuffy. I'd better get used to it. We've got at least 3 left on the books... & I'm sure more will eventually show up.
After the gig, we drove the bus to Ocean Beach which is due west of San Diego. Dad & Michelle, again, picked me up. We had sushi & are about to pass out at the hotel. I have a 5am bus call so I'd better get some sleep. Travel & Mardi Gras tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

San Diego, CA

Ah, a whale's vagina.
We started the day in Hollywood. Our bus call was 1:15pm. I spent a couple of hours walking around. We weren't too far off from the Hollywood Guitar Center. It's always fun to go there. That vintage room is insane.
Coy Bowles & I ate a In-N-Out Burger - which is always a treat for me. Double-Double Plain, Son!
Our 1:15 bus call took us to CBS studios to tape The Late, Late Show with Craig Furegson. What another crazy experience. As we were walking to the sound stage we heard The Price is Right being taped. We walked past The Bold & The beautiful & The Young & The Restless.
Tom Arnold was in our green room when we arrived.
We taped "Chicken Fried" & "Whatever It Is" for the show. "CF" will probably air on Monday the 16th or Tuesday the 17th. I'd put my money on Monday though.
After that, we hauled ass to San Diego. Michelle, my Dad, & a couple of his friends showed up shortly after our arrival. Frankie the Bull from Top Chef, season 2 cooked for us. Kid Rock was there hanging out (he & Zac are pretty close now). It was a rowdy crowd for a week night in San Diego. The show was okay. We had a ton of technical difficulties - but that considered, it was great.
Not much else to report other than that. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back on the Road... or the air... or, whatever

I left the house around 3:30pm in search of a boutique batterie: a 28L. It's a 6V battery normally used for cameras. I plan to use it in a proximity switch for my microphone. No luck.
The shuttle to the airport from Smyrna left around 5pm. We made our 7 something flight. Man, these airlines are killing me. They're flying slower to conserve fuel. 5 hours to LA?! Are you crazy?!
Anyway, it's been a really long day. I left the house 10 hours ago. We hooked up with a rental bus at the airport & parked it in the lot of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Everyone else but me & Sweets went out. I'm going down for the count.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Huntsville, AL

It was easy. I was up by 10am. We all got a good shower & lunch around noon in Huntsville. Then, the 3pm load-in was extremely easy. It was great day for conversation & hanging out. A low energy day because we're all beat. Tomorrow couldn't have come any later. Although everyone was tired the show was fantastic. I don't like tooting my own horn, but the solo I took on "who Knows" tonight was one of the best improvisations that I can remember.
This thing is working!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Biloxi, MS

I thought I would have a tough time with my new living arrangement. In Marshall Tucker I was spoiled. We got a hotel room for each band member in every city we went to. In Zac's band we all go to the gig. It's been pretty easy. Not nearly as bad as living on the RV with Shawn & Kip.
Most folks sleep into the afternoon. Those who get up, go & do their own thing. Lately my options have been to retreat to one of the vacant dressing rooms or to the empty back lounge. It's real quiet during the day. And after the show, the bus is usually quiet because everyone's out partying while I enjoy a serene bus. I like my alone time - & I'm getting it.
Our show tonight was a little funky. We opened up for Little Big Town again. However, I guess the local station didn't play "Chicken Fried" very much. The crowd wasn't really into us & didn't know many of the songs. THey were really tame for a Friday night crowd - well, we also started our set at 7pm... not enough time for a drinkin' crowd to get rowdy.
Oh well. Everyone's on the casino floor gambling so I'm, again, by myself. Love it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Knoxville, TN

It was quite a long drive last night. It was cold too. Most know that heat rises. My bunk is on the bottom. I was getting some of the 5˚ weather through the walls of the bus. I think that I was averaging somewhere about 50˚-60˚ in my bunk. Needless to say, I didn't sleep very much. I'm sure I will tonight.
We landed at the Tennessee Theatre around 11:30am. It was a very easy day. I'm starting get very used to the pace of the normal day for The Zac Brown Band.
I really feel like I'm here now. I fit well in this band. Not that I've never fit in other groups, but I feel the most comfortable in this band.
It's all coming together. I feel like I'm about to be a part of something big... not #1 single big... but long, good career big.
I can't explain what I feel. I just know.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Washington, D.C.

I woke up in DC today. I slept pretty well.
This was our first gig opening up for Little Big Town. It was day of learning the pace of things. Tomorrow will be much easier.
Our set was fun but short. It's hard to fit all of our good songs into 45 minutes. The 930 Club is kinda cool. I would like to play here again.
I spent part of the evening with Taylor & Krystal Rempe & Laura Cline. Some good friends of mine from my high school days. It was a wonderful evening of conversation.
I need more sleep now. It was a cold one here in DC tonight.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New York, NY

I was lucky enough to land the spare hotel room last night. I slept in a real bed. I know that things will be different from now on. I slept well after the insanity of losing (& subsequently finding) my phone.
Bus call was at 10am. We left Secaucus, NJ for Times Square. On the map it looks as if it would only take 10 minutes at most - but this is New York. We showed up around 11:30am. I hung out there until a car service picked us up at 2:15pm for the NBC building.
Conan was amazing. The room is much tinier than you could ever imagine. They make it seem huge with the camera positioning. We played "Chicken Fried" pretty well. Not 15 minutes after we finished we were in the van on our way to soundcheck at The Bowery Ballroom.
Our set tonight was fantastic. I hope that all of them are this good from now on. I have a feeling that they will be.
I think I'll watch Conan & hit the hay.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Will the Madness Ever Stop...

Answer: No.
After an incomplete night's sleep I was up by 10am. I had to get myself & my luggage ready for the next week of road craziness.
Michelle has come down with somewhat the same funk that I had last week. Hopefully she gets rid of it just as fast as I did.
She dropped me off at the Atlanta airport (where she picked me up less than 12 hours earlier) at 2pm.
Due to weather, our flight took off 45 minutes late. That kinda stressed my Charlotte connection - but I made it.
The pressure was messing with my ear - first time in a long time on that. I was fine once we landed.
I cabbed it from LaGuardia to Secaucus, NJ. That's where the bus is staying tonight.
Just as the cab pulled off I noticed that I'd left my phone in the cab.
Long story short: 3 hours & $200 later I got my phone back. I'm glad I had 'the night off.' I'm never gonna lose this thing again. I'm going to duct tape it to my hand.
Ready for tomorrow!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tampa, FL (finalé)

This was officially it. It was my last date with Marshall Tucker. It wasn't a bad note to go out on. We played for the NFL Touchdown Club before the Super Bowl. Doug Flutie, of hail mary fame, played with his band on drums; they opened for us.
It was a quick, hour long set. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. Done.
We we're on the road before the coin toss.
What an amazing game. It had its lulls but the ending was nothing short of spectacular. It kinda reminds me of last year's Super Bowl. But, I didn't have a dog in this year's fight.
I should be in my own bed by 2am. See you tomorrow.