Sunday, November 27, 2011

Since...


The night of the CMA's I came down with the crud. I was in my bunk before the award show was over. So I played the entire week (CMA's, Memphis, Tulsa, & Dallas) sick. & I didn't get over it until the following Tuesday. I officially took the week off though.
Chicago, Des Moines, & Minneapolis were my redemption shows. Maybe the best weekend that we've ever had performing.
We rode home on the bus from Minneapolis - 20+ hours. Needless to say, every one was a tad stir crazy. I did, however, allow me to formulate a plan for the following week. I worked 3 long days straight in the studio on my record... & all of a sudden, it's in a good place. With the Blackberry Smoke album in a good place, The Wood Brothers live album in the early stages, & a new Zac Brown Band album starting shortly - Clay's album will be pushed further back than I would like.
However, I've done what I can do. The final stage of tracking of the record requires Zac's attention. & honestly, he doesn't have it to give. That dude has SO much going on that I SHOULD be an afterthought.
I'm in good spirits & in decent health now. Ready for December. I get a huge break for the 17th-27th. Bring it on!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Whew!


Feelin' the burn. I'm freakin' tired. Since the Southern Ground Food & Music Festival I did this: 24th/Wood Brothers mix, 25-26th/Blackberry Smoke in the studio, 27th/home improvement day, 28th/Jacksonville, 29th/Biloxi, 30th/Houston, 31st/Nashville, 1st/Nashville studio for my record & CMA Nominations Dinner, 2-3rd/Nashville Blackberry Smoke studio stuff, & 4-5th errands & rehearsal in Atlanta. I'm freakin' beat. I'm currently laying in my own bed (for a change) & watching LSU at Alabama. Ready for this coming week. It's going to be epic. I'm doing my loop show in Nashville on Monday. I'm really excited about it. Then, of course, we have the CMA's on Wednesday - followed by three ZBB shows. I can do this.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Refueling Mid-Air


There are certainly people in this world who have a more demanding schedule. I just write what I know. Some people find it entertaining. I write this laying in my (rarely provided) hotel room here in Charleston. Lately, it's been an onslaught of constant work over the past month, starting with The Wood Brothers' tour & culminating (at least at this point) in the Southern Ground Food & Music Festival. Day 3 begins today. It's been stressful; but a fulfilling & good type of stress. I have a few meetings today & to play a set with ZBB. I have tomorrow off... but I'm sure that I'll find things to do (i.e., clean my house & pay bills). Tuesday & Wednesday are back in the studio with Blackberry Smoke... with, what may be, the final days of tracking for their forthcoming album. Then, it's back on the road. I may have loaded up my dance card a little too much over the past few months, but I am happy with the accomplishments. Have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No Cause for Concern

I know that it's been over a week & a half since I last blogged. The Wood Brothers tour didn't destroy me but it did order my priorities. One thing that DIDN'T make the list was blogging. It was a very stressful run. Good stress, but stressful nonetheless.
I write this while making rough mixes on my computer for The Wood Brothers to hear & decide what goes on the live album. I'm currently in the ZBB dressing room in Virginia Beach. It's been a very good run with ZBB this weekend. Every one has returned recharged. The playing has been very good.
When I got home from The Wood Brothers tour on Monday, I jumped right back in the saddle. I had rehearsal Monday night & played at Eddie's Attic on Tuesday night. It was my best attempt at a loop show to date. After that show, I plan to do it a lot in the future.
I've had a lot happen to me in the past few weeks which I don't care to share here... just a lot of stuff... I'll eventually be fine.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Madison, WI


WHat a great show day. It was beautiful in Madison. I've always liked playing here although I have only a handful of times. Mic'ing the room with audience mic's was a challenge. It was a REAL theatre, so I had to hang some mic's from the lighting rafter. A bit more dangerous than I'd like... but I lived.
The show was fantastic for a Sunday night. The crowd was great too. I would think that we got some good contenders for the live album tonight. Even during my set as well. I guess it would be silly to NOT make a live album for myself. At the end of this tour I'll have 15 well recorded sets ready for mix... maybe the best of the tour would be worthy for a solo acoustic live album. Who knows?
Looking forward to tomorrow. Six shows in a row is rough when you're doing three jobs. Ready for some laundry & some rest.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Evanston, IL


Initially, I guess we're in Chicago. We go from the dirtiest, tiniest venues to the nicest venue of the run. SPACE is an amazing secret nestled in the suburbs of Chicago. Awesome spot... awesome people... awesome time. The Woods' performance was a little clammy but I think there was some fantastic songs that will more than likely end up on the live album.
I'm not gonna lie... I can't wait for our day off in Ann Arbor. I have JUST enough underwear to get there.
This is a great tour. Very invigorating. It makes me confident in my songs, lucky to be a part of The Wood Brothers' circle of musical friends, & thankful of my normal touring life. All of those things are easy to lose sight of from time to time.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Bloomington, IN


Today was a half day for me. The Wood Brothers had two separate radio visits today that didn't involve me: one in Indianapolis & one in Bloomington. Due to the logistics of the day, we had to go guerrilla today. We left the bus in Indy & rented a van to drive to Bloomington. Because of that, I wasn't able to bring the gear to record the show. This was the easiest show day of the tour for me. All I did was right in the van to the gig & play my opening slot & sit in. Relaxing for a Friday night.
It's a shame that we didn't record it. It was a great crowd. Boo-hiss. Back to normal work tomorrow. It was kinda nice being in east coast time... even for just one day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Columbia, MO


Easily the barriest of the bars so far... but I have a feeling that I shouldn't speak so soon. The crowd was fantastic in Columbia... a little hippies than normal (but not as much as Boulder, of course).
I'm starting to forget that I do other things in music other than tour with The Wood Brothers. I will say that I'm starting to become comfortable with my own music again. I really haven't played some of these songs since CVL in January. I've made some tiny lyrical changes to some old tunes that make me proud to play them. THose songs I haven't played in YEARS. I can play a solid hour of music solo & be proud of every song. It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lawrence, KS


Lawrence has a nice downtown. Seems like a good town. Their fans were really respectful. Today's room mic set up had me getting rather creative. We did it though. Easily the best show of the tour so far. Tiny room... you could hear it in the recording. Still was a good show though. I need sleep.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Omaha, NE


I woke up at the hotel in Omaha, NE. A little chillin' there & we went to the club. This was my first day without Matt Mangano recording the show. It's all on my shoulders from here on out. My head took a bit to get in this mindset of doing that job as well on the road. Usually, it's just setting up & playing out here. However, with yesterday's day off, I was invigorated.
I finally got everything set up (a lot slower that I'd like). I'll try to get it faster tomorrow.
Though The Wood Brothers were awesome last week, I think they are finding a groove. Matt & I thought that we had everything that we needed for their live album from last week's shows. However, tonight makes me suspect that the best is yet to come.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Moneyball Monday


If you haven't seen the movie... go see it. If you absolutely LOVE baseball, you might want to also read the book. Aaron Sorkin wrote a hell of a screenplay & it was executed masterfully by everyone involved. However, the book was definitely more in-depth (like you'd imagine).
I spent the day at the movies & doing laundry. I also had to buy some software for my new computer. Apparently, the old software is not supported by the new processor. No worries. I haven't updated some of this software in YEARS. & when I say years, I mean pre-Twin Towers attack.
I also spent the evening watching the Monday Night Football in the lobby of the hotel with a handful of folks. I guess they were all on business trips. It felt like we were all refugees &, somehow, I guess we are.
Headed for Central Time tonight. Omaha, here we come.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ft. Collins, CO


Sunday shows can be weird. Especially in college towns. Ft. Collins is the home of the Colorado State Rams. Now don't get me wrong; every night can be a party night in a college town, but wouldn't you think that Friday & Saturday are easier to party on?
Well, tonight was fantastic. I light crowd in the beginning but a good crowd. I've played all sorts of songs so far on this tour: new ones, old ones, cover songs. I'm starting to really enjoy playing my own songs. I've never felt like I could stand on a stage & truly feel like I'm going to play more than 3-4 songs that people are gonna like. I feel like I've finally grouped enough tunes together to do a 45 good minutes & NOT play the same songs in three consecutive nights. It's a good feeling. For a long time, it was hard for me to play even 30 minutes without playing a few songs that some one else made famous... even if I was a part of their writing.
Well, I'm almost in the groove f this road life. It's definitely NOT as relaxing as the ZBB road life (& I don't have the opportunity to workout out here on this tour). Really looking forward to cranking that back up when I get home - full blast. Rawk!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Boulder, CO


Late, lazy morning. Love it. We left Denver around 11:30am for Boulder. College football starts early out here. My Dawgs won again. Not much competition the past couple of weeks, but I'll still take the "W's." I spent most of the non-work day watching football. Twas nice.
The work day was rather laborious though. It was a 2 block push/carry to the venue. We had stage hands but it was still lot of work. It was all totally worth it though. At 500 attendees, it was the biggest show that The Wood Brothers have played in Boulder to date (with a 5 year history of shows). A very electric crowd. I had a blast with my set but those folks were on fire for The Wood Brothers.
It was a LONG day though. We just finished loading out at 1:45am. Bunk time.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Denver, CO


I woke up energized this morning. I rolled right out of the bus & decided I wanted to explore the little neighborhood where we were parked. I visited a book store, a record shop, & just walked around. The Wood Brothers went to KBCO's Denver studio & did a live on-air performance. During that time, I took a cab to the hotel, showered, & had lunch.
I came to the bus/venue & started loading in. I increased my responsibilities as Matt will be leaving the tour on Monday. He's been multitrack recording the shows every night. That duty will fall on me next week... but he's getting the system dialed in this week.
The Woods also had a n in-store performance at the record store I visited earlier. DUring that time I had dinner at Chipotle. ON my walk back to the venue, I heard a wreck happen behind me. As I turned around I noticed that a car had hit some one on a scooter. I ran over to help & quickly moved the lady & her scooter off of the main road. While I was the first to get to her & help her, I didn't witness the wreck. Luckily there were two separate groups of people who saw the whole thing. The lady seemed fine but was still carted off to the hospital. I'm sure she'll be fine.
The show was even better than last night. I, again, joined them on stage toward the end of their set on more songs than the night before. Great night. Load out took a while though. We have A LOT of equipment due to the recording... but it's all worth it. Easy ride tomorrow... like 30 minutes or so to Boulder. Yay!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Salt Lake City, UT


Another early morning. I had to get up & shower before our 9am departure. On most dates of this tour, we'll have a shower room for every one at a hotel. Most will sleep on the bus & shower in that room. So THAT's how this is gonna go. For a 9am leave time, I got up at 7:30am to ensure that there wasn't a bunch of dudes needing to shower RIGHT before we were slated to leave.
The reason for our early leave was to pick up our front of house console, our recording rig, & a bunch of mercy boxes that were shipped out here. Needless to say that the noon load in time seemed early... but it was just enough time.
Mangano & Kenny (tour manager/front of house engineer) spent the day setting up both systems. I helped when I was needed but I didn't do much today. Checked out some close vintage clothes shops, had lunch across the street, & ran through some of my songs. It's been months since I've played some of them.
The show tonight was a FANTASTIC first show of a tour. I played about 30 minutes. I worked in a few new songs. I can't believe that it's been so long since I've played solo. I think the last time was opening for The Wood Brothers in December last year.
I also played a little lap steel with The Woods toward the end of their set. Apparently the Woods had a few bugs during their set but nothing that the audience would notice. I'm sure things will smooth out in the coming days.
Long drive tonight to Denver. That means sleepy time for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SLC Bound


I got up mighty early this morning. Early for my lifestyle as of late. My Dad stayed with me last night but left before even I rose. He had a REALLY earl flight back to his home.
I met my friend/co-worker Lynn at the ZBB warehouse to drop off my truck & get a ride to the Atlanta airport. I flew to Salt Lake City with a layover in Denver. In Salt Lake I met Matt Mangano & The Wood Brothers at the airport. We immediately took our rental van to their in store performance at The Grey Whale CD Exchange. After that we had some really great Mexican food at Red Iguana. I suggest it.
Once we arrived at our hotel, we drove right up to our bus. Our driver was fast asleep in the hotel. We spent the next couple of hours trying to make everything fit in the bus. We know that tomorrow we'll be filling the bays underneath with PA & recording equipment.
Not much to report after that. I have resigned to my bunk & plan on sleeping until our early rise tomorrow. Good night, all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back Out Again Tomorrow

We played Red Rocks. It was pretty awesome. My arm has been getting better... but I'm still not out of the woods. I've been getting things ready for the last few ZBB dates in Sep. Then I go out with The Wood Bros.
We attended the Georgia/South Carolina football contest this past Saturday. Boo! It was a nice way to spend a weekend away from the road though.
Ready for the road though. Bring it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blog Update


Lots has happened since last I blogged. We played our last two Chesney shows this weekend in Foxboro (Boston). We had an end of tour party on Friday night. I got drunk that night. On Saturday night Hop & I doused Chesney with a Gatorade cooler full of ice water during the encore (football coach style). During that maneuver, I aggravated the tendon on the outside of my left forearm. Sooooo, I am not allowed to over use it or play guitar until Sunday (if I want to play Sunday's show in Aspen).
I attended a charity show put on by Levi Lowrey on Monday night. I got drunk again. Sheesh! I need to back down a bit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The day before...


Lots of home errands today. Thanks to Molly for all of the home improvements today. I should own stock in Lowe's & Home Depot. Also, a little over a year ago, I owned exactly 0 cars. As of today, I own 3 cars. I took over my Mom's old car... my insurance agent loves me.
Anyway, I got my bag packed & I'm ready to leave for Boston early in the morn. Til then...

It Keeps You Running


Workout. Practiced a few instruments. Headed to the studio. My work was not urgent. This was good news... considering my computer finally shut down on me. I've had it as my studio computer since 2003. It's served its time well. I took to Atlanta Pro Audio. Their team is going to take the computers content (Pro Tools cards, programs, & plugins) & transfer it to a new computer. Also, my monitoring system has been a tad buggy as of late on channel 1 (of 3). The thought is, if you're gonna shut the studio down for repairs you might as well repair everything.
I also spent a lot of time 'putting out fires' on the phone. I had to charge it twice today. That's a lot for me.
I also spoke at a music industry panel on touring for NARIP this evening. It was a good time. I'm tired. I want to go to bed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tumblr Tuesdays


I woke up this morning with 30 Tumblr questions to answer before I got out of bed. It's a weird, benign stress. It loomed over me all day. I haven't felt it in a little over a month. It's still kinda fun though. A successful experiment. Thanks for the idea, Kristen.
Anyway, I got my Mom a license plate for her car today... among a handful of tiny errands around the 'ville. I set up a practice area for the couple looping audio shows that I have in the future. It's a hard thing to do... but once you get the hang of it - it's rather easy. The music is the easy part - the technical logistics are the bitch.
I had dinner tonight with a high school friend. We had Hooters... I don't suggest it. Also, he drove me down to the warehouse where I picked up my Mustang. It's been a pretty good, calm day. Ready for the rest of the week. Bring it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Here Goes Nuthin'


I spent the day running errands. The funny thing is that after tomorrow I'll have done all of the weeks errands. However, you know how it can be... something always pops up. I would literally bore you to tears if I told you what I did today. I'm coming closer to getting the house the way that I want it. The Mustang will be ready tomorrow. Stoked about that.
I have decided to try out the Tumblr questions once a week to see if that is more copacetic. So, in a few moments, I'll enable that function on ye olde Tumblr site to "Ask Me Anything." I may not start to answer until tomorrow, but I'll be open for business for 24 hours. Let's see how it goes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back with the Lecture at Hand...


Okay, okay. So I fell off of the face of the planet for a bit. Some times you just need to walk away. That being said... I've decided to enter the world of Tumblr again... in spurts. I think I'll call it 'Tumblr Tuesdays.' As you may have guessed, it will happen on Tuesdays. Looking forward to the madness.
Since I last blogged we played our 'New York' show with Chesney. We also did another Jack Daniels shoot in Atlanta. This time for a 'responsibility' campaign. Last night we played Detroit with Kenny. I'm gonna miss this tour. The final dates are this coming weekend in Boston.
I'm feeling a bit run down. I was supposed to drive to Nashville tomorrow but have opted to stay home & shore up my home & relax a bit. Otherwise, I would be heading towards burning out... & we don't want that. Do we?
She thinks MY tractor's sexy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lynchburg, TN/New York City, NY

Sorry about the lack of blog posts. It's just been really busy. We did a photo shoot at Jack Daniels on Thursday. We flew to NYC that afternoon. I was in the bunk by 9:30pm... know full well that I had to get up at 5:30am.
We got up at that nutty hour to soundcheck for the Today Show. It was a good performance this morning. We played 4 songs & Zac & Rusty did a cooking demo.
I took a 3 hour nap then woke for a shower at our "new home": Meadowlands Stadium. We left for the Yankees game at 5pm. We had great seats. I had to leave in the 5th to escort two of my wasted compatriots back to our "new home."
& now I'm back in my bunk watching 'The Great Muppet Caper.' Ready for tomorrow's madness. Good night, all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens


First of all, let me say that anything would taste good with Chick-fil-A sauce on it. I would eat a newly fallen pine cone if I had some of that sauce to dip it in. Glad I got that out.
I slept in this morning. It was well needed. I followed that with a brutal, first-day-back workout in the 90º/90% humidity that was rockin' outside. I felt like I was going to blackout a couple of times. I made it through though.
My pest guy renewed my termite bond today as well. He also will install a new door on my crawl space next week... along with some other work. I also had a slow leak in my driver, rear tire. I got that fixed this afternoon. A handful of other errands today. I also set up my backyard shed for practicing (drums, piano, & amplified guitar).
Then I made my way to The Mall of Georgia. My Mom & I went to see 'Cowboys & Aliens.' I liked it. Favreau finally made a movie without HIMSELF in it.
I spent most of the evening paying bills, filing, & such. I bought my Dad a plane ticket to Denver for our Red Rocks show. Happy Birthday, Pops.
Starting to pack for my CRAZY New York weekend. Let's do this!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Busy as a Bee


I was up early. I was at the warehouse/headquarters by 9:30am. I planned to leave by noon. One thing led to another... to another... to another - & I didn't leave until 3:30pm. I did, however, get a TON done.
I made my way to the studio & mixed a song for the label. I spent most of the rest of the day doing that. It's 9:45pm & I'm just returning home & ready for bed. I have lots of good plans for tomorrow. My past week has finally caught up with me. Ready for some real rest & a good workout tomorrow... even if it kills me. Well... maybe not if it actually kills me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day Off


Reflect & relax. I finally saw 'Bridesmaids.' Ehhh. It was okay. I was expecting a truly funny movie. Just slightly disappointing. Wiig was a bad-ass... but that's about it.
This was my first REAL day off in a while. I needed it. Everyone needs a day off every now & then.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Atlanta, GA


I will rest one day. I promise. I did, however, get to sleep in my own bed last night. It seems to center me no matter what is going on. I got up, ran some errands, & then made it out to our tour manager's house by 2:30pm. We had a surprise birthday party for Jimmy De Martini at 3:30pm there. He was genuinely surprised. I came home & cleaned. It was much needed. I haven't cleaned in weeks... granted, I've only spent a few full days at home during that time.
I left the house by 8:30pm for Atlanta. Nic Cowan had a CD release tonight at The Loft. Matt Mangano came down from Nashville for it. It was good to have most of everyone involved in Southern Ground Records under one roof. It doesn't happen often.
I also got to see Maureen Murphy for the first time in over a year. I'll NOT let that much time go without seeing her again.
Nic & his band were fantastic tonight. I worry not for their future.
I really need a good night of sleep. It will happen tonight. Good night.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Athens, GA


After a late night, I was up early this morning. Matt Mangano, Brandon Bell, & I had breakfast before they dropped me off at the Asheville airport. I had about 3 hours to kill there. So I listened to some music.
Finally landing in Atlanta by 2:30. It took forever for my bag to show up at the claim. My buddy Chris picked me up & took me south to Zac's house (where I left my car last week). I immediately loaded it up & took off - bound for home & trying NOT to hit any traffic. I was pretty lucky. It only took me an hour & a half to get home. I spent an hour chilling at home before I restrung my mandolin & tore off for Athens.
Blackberry Smoke shot a DVD tonight in the newly renovated Georgia Theatre. The theatre made news a couple years ago because it caught fire. It's an Athens landmark. They've spent a great deal of money to get it back to open. It's actually a LOT nicer than it was before the fire.
Anywho, Zac & I guests during their set. Also, Jimmy Hall (of Wet Willie fame) joined them for the evening as well. It was a great show & I was honored to be a part of it.
It's late & I want to go to bed. Good night.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blackberry Smoke - day... awww, I forgot


Surpassed our goal for recording this week. We hit up some overdubs. Very few for this record. We're leaving vocals for a later date. John Kelton has been making rough mixes for hours now. It takes a long time to rough mix 17 songs.
No matter. I'm SO happy with this record. Not much left to do. I fly home tomorrow. No sleep for the wicked.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blackberry Smoke - day four


Everyone involved must've had their spinach this morning. Six songs. We cut six fully-involved songs today. That's a VERY productive day. We did work an extra hour tonight but it was worth it. That's 17 songs in 4 days... well, technically it was 3 & a half days. We really didn't start tracking until 6pm on Sunday.
Super stoked about this album though. John Kelton & Brandon Bell are bad-ass musicians. Also, I think Matt Mangano & I work together as any two people in this world. Our communication is great & where I lack, he picks up (& vice versa).
The Hammond B3 died on us today. So we will have a rental for tomorrow... do some overdubs. A very short list. We won't have vocals... but we'll have most of EVERYTHING else.
Now off to dream land. Good night, all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blackberry Smoke - day three


I must have slept funny. I woke up with pain in my shoulders, back, & legs. A tightness. It lingered all day. Today was the most productive day so far. We did 4 songs... but a lot of cool creative stuff came out of those songs. Most of the day was a blur of working. Ben Lovett dropped by. Good to see him. Also, Debra from Fuchs came by. She brought Charlie an amp to try out. It was a Blackjack 21. We were pretty floored by it tonight. So she let us keep it for the duration of recording.
We also had a Traveling Wilburys moment today. We got Charlie & Paul from Blackberry Smoke to cut an acoustic guitar track (joined by Matt Mangano). All three playing acoustic around one mic... doubled. Sounded like an acoustic guitar army marching off to war. Dug it! Eat your heart out Jeff Lynne.
I like this studio. It's really comfortable & cool. I would hope to work here again. Need rest... need to get rid of this nagging minor nerve damage that last night's slumber had caused. I'm sure there is an underlying cause.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Blackberry Smoke - day two


I was so freakin' tired last night that I slept 10+ hours. I was late to the session (but they started late - so I guess it was okay). They had to wait for the piano tuner to tune. It was unplayable the day before. Today was a perfect example of working & breaks. We budgeted our time to get 3 songs/day. Today we rocked 4 & did some piano overdubs on the previous day's tracks. It was a very productive day.
It was made official about "Knee Deep" going #1 today. Also, it was double stamped official that 'You Get What You Give' went platinum. Rock n' roll!
Not much else to report. Just gettin' shit done.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blackberry Smoke - day one


I was up late in Kansas City last night. Then I had to rise early for my flight(s). I flew from KC to ATL. Unfortunately, I didn't stop in Atlanta. I have rarely connected in Atlanta for somewhere else. I made my way to Asheville.
Today was day one of Blackberry Smoke's new album. The first day is always the longest & least fruitful when starting a record. We only recorded 3 songs today. However, the stage is set for fierce tracking over the next few days. I am excited over what we did accomplish today. The sounds were nothing short of amazing. John Kelton & Brandon Bell are major league sluggers when it comes to recording engineering. It's just up to Mangano & I to NOT fuck it up from here in regards to direction for BBS. Kinda let them be the best THEM they can be.
Since is got only a handful of sleep last night, I am ripe for the bed. Tomorrow should start a fresh, new Clay. Bring it on!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kansas City, MO


I stayed up really late watching Louie C.K. & Sarah Silverman stand up on TV. Laughed out loud multiple times. I finally rolled out of the bunk around noon. Today was your basic Kenny Chesney show. We had an Eat & Greet in the brutal sun. At some point you have to give in to the idea that you're going to be hot & wet with sweat. It makes it a tad more pleasant to accept it rather than 'trying to keep cool & dry.'
Our set was blazing... both musically & temperature wise. When I walked off stage I looked like some one hit me with a fire hose. I can't reiterate how good the set was though. I had SO much fun. The crowd were troopers for sitting in that heat too.
I made the mistake of sitting in the Kansas City traffic after the show to go to my hotel. The rest of the band flew home after the show. I have to fly to Asheville in the morning to start the Blackberry Smoke album for Southern Ground Records. Stoked.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cheyenne, WY


I woke up bright & early at Zac's this morning. We were in the air by 10am en route to Cheyenne. We played Frontier Days tonight. Not much to report. I took a nice long nap today. Eat & Greet was a good one. The organizers of the event presented us with some pretty bad-ass belt buckles tonight.
The show was par for the past month or so. Playing, singing, tones, & such were right one the money. It was a little weird to play a smaller stage than we've been used to... but that's a silly thing to complain about. The crowd was 22,000 strong & singing most of the words for every song.
Our September Red Rocks show went on sale today & sold out in 35 minutes. I guess we'll just have to add another one. I can't get over how lucky we are. We have some amazing fans.
We're currently rollin' down I-80E headed for Kansas City. Tomorrow is a Kenny Chesney show at Arrowhead Stadium. What a fantastic week!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

TCB


Some days the world gets thrown at you. Some days the world gets thrown at you & you deal with it. Some days the world gets thrown at you & you really come through. I'd like to think that today was the latter.
After last night's King of Leon gathering, I was in the bed rather late this morning. My Mom called & woke me up. Apparently, she has had a great deal of trouble with her car & this morning she was informed that it will be expensive the remedy the current problem. So after I got up, I picked Mom up &, long story short, we got her a new car. She needed it. I just don't want her to worry about it anymore. Bad-ass warranty... should be low insurance. I feel really good about it.
After a late start, I drove down to Jonesboro to pick up one of my pedal steel guitars from repair. THen I made my way to Zac's for the night. Not much else to report other than that. It is what it is. Ready to be out on the road tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kings


Outside of my constant mentioning of my errands (which were many today), I didn't do much during the day but rest. I left the house around 5:30pm for the warehouse. I met Coy there & we went to Atlanta's own Lakewood Ampitheatre. They call it Aarons Ampitheatre but it will always be Lakewood in my mind.
I never once walked out in the crowd during the Kings of Leon show tonight. They made me feel so comfortable & welcome backstage that I stayed there & enjoy from beside the monitor console. Those guys throw down on stage. It was a great show.
The after show party was even better. I got to see some folks that I haven't seen in FOREVER. It was a really, really laid back time.
I ended up being DD for Coy. On the way to dropping him off at the warehouse, we had Waffle House. Then I trekked back to Snellville. Ready to crash & reflect on the night.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Polaris


I was awake when we pulled into Nashville at 2:30 CST. It was actually an early night compared to the previous few. I'm enjoying the late sleep, late night combination of late. I go through productive & creative spurts when I initially change my sleeping schedule. When it shifts to waking up early, it's a different trip all together. Usually more focus on health & errands during that schedule. While I still get in my my workout in during the afternoon now, it's just not the same.
When I finally rolled out of my bunk around noon, I checked out the stage. We played a private show for the Polaris dealers' convention. Since the majority of our gear is en route to Cheyenne, WY right now, we played rental gear tonight. I inspected the Fuchs guitar rig that they rented for me. It's amazing how different the settings had to be to achieve what felt normal to my ear. It still 'got there,' it just took some wacky knob turning. Tonight's rental 4x2 cabinet was REALLY bright. I had most of the high end rolled off on the EQ on the amp. I don't think that I've EVER turned the 'High' knob down THAT low.
I also needed some new parts for my pedal steel. Luckily, we were in the pedal steel guitar capital of the world. I had a runner take me to Hendersonville, TN & visited Steel Guitar Nashville. Bobbe Seymour has ALWAYS taken good care of me there. I got everything that I needed & then made my way back.
No workout today. It was replaced by the trip to Hendersonville - which was well needed. Shortly after my shower, we started vocal warmups. It was a good show. Short, but good. I am currently riding on a bus home with Hop, Jimmy, & Coy. I should be in my own bed before 6am. Charmed life, I know. Really exciting tomorrow night. Details to come.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Motion


I stayed up a lot later than I originally anticipated last night. I filled it with chores around the house: laundry, practicing, payed bills, & such. I also walked around my house with a pen & a yellow legal pad & made a "to-do" list for the house. It was amazing to see a full page of projects... I'm sure you could do that in any house that's not new.
I woken up around 11am by a guy from the HVAC company. His job is quality control & he needed to inspect the installation. I knew he was coming but I thought I'd see him a little more in the PM.
My life at home is fairly boring. I always find a handful of errands to do every day. I dropped off some old 'Clay Cook' gig posters to get framed today. Pretty stoked about that. I've certainly got a vision for the decor in my house now. It's just going to take sweat, dollars, & time to get it 'just right.' I feel like I'm over halfway there right now.
After a short nap, I packed up everything, 'turned the house off,' & made my way to the studio. I started a mix on some older tunes yesterday & continued the like today. I like the direction these tunes are taking with this 'new coat of paint' that I'm putting on them. Sometimes it takes distance & a clearer vision to make something jump out of the speakers; especially if you're as closely involved as I was in making that album. Thrilled.
I met the guys & our temporary bus at the warehouse at 11pm EST - now bound for Nashville. We're playing a corporate show for a company. Not sure if I'm able to mention the specifics here - so forgive me.
This week is looking to be a VERY good one...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Down Home


I got in the bed at 7:15am this morning. Before I passed out, I DVR'd "Sunday Morning." When I finally woke up around noon, I realized that Sunday isn't Sunday without that program. It just sets the tone for the whole day, no matter when you finally wake up.
I spent the day at the studio working on some old tunes. I'm thinking of remixing an older record & putting it & a couple others on my site for free downloads. It's going to take some idle time to really pull it off right - but I'm ambitious.
In other news, I'm going on tour with The Wood Brothers in September. The dates are posted on claycook.com. I hope to see some of you out there on the road. I will be opening the shows solo & sitting in with them throughout the night.
Flip Burger was for dinner. The new Cap'n Crunch shake is NOT on my or anyone else's diet... but I had it & it was amazing. Also, went to see the Stone Mountain Laser Show tonight. The last time I saw it was when John Mayer was my roommate in '98. I grew up mere miles away from Stone Mountain Park so I used to see that thing ALL the time as a child. It was cool & different. Some things that needed to stay the same... were the same. Kudos to the people who put that thing on.

Eau Claire, WI

Not much to report. This bad weather has been following us around this weekend. We had to cancel Eat & Greet & Southern Ground Supper Club. We were supposed to go on at 9:30. We went on at 7:15pm instead. They cancelled most of the days' acts. Lo Cash Cowboys ended up going on after us. I sit here & realize that it's about to hail soon. This should be interesting. I'm sure I'll inform you of my late night activities in tomorrow's blog. Were going to fly home tonight. I am assuming I'll get sleep around sun up. Til then...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Twin Lakes, WI


Today started with some serious doubt. I walked outside the bus this morning & noticed the ENTIRE pit section seats under water. Lucky for us they pumped it all out & it was ready for patrons when Charlie Daniels Band started at 4pm... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Jimmy, Wyatt, & I went to the Lake Geneva YMCA today & played '21' on the basketball court for over an hour. Couple that with some serious ab exercises & I was nice & worn out when we returned to the venue. Then there was CDB. Kickin' ass & takin' names like always. It was inspiring to see them play today. It was also REALLY good to see those guys again... such good dudes.
Our set was a ton of fun tonight. We kept "Can't You See" in the setlist but with no Kid Rock tonight. I had a lot of fun leading that one. Everyone was on their A game tonight.
Ready for tomorrow. Bring it on, Eau Claire!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Omaha, NE


Today started out smooth & ended up a doozy. I awoke to the sound of pitter patter rain on the roof of the bus. I walked out of the bus once it was over & it was cool & overcast. The weather progressed to hot & muggy throughout the day.
I ate breakfast & workout HEAVY today with Wyatt & Jimmy. When I started working out with these guys 2 years ago, I was unable to lift the weight or do the reps that they were doing. Today was the first day that I went pound for pound & rep for rep with them. While I can tell that I'll be über-sore in the coming days, I am excited at my obvious progress.
I was a napping bastard today (probably due to the heat & the workout). I am a HUGE proponent of naps now... especially with the workout & the hefty show that we try to pull off. The Eat & Greet was of the normal variety. Almost too hot to eat, but we all made due.
Kid Rock was hanging on Zac's bus shortly after Eat & Greet & for the whole evening. He came out & did a song toward the end of our set. We played the baseball field here in Omaha. The crowd was very energetic. We really couldn't ask for more. I brought my Gibson Firebird back out on tour. It's almost 9 month absence has been noticed not only by me but some on our crew. Glad to have it back for my "Who Knows" solo. It felt like an old pair of worn in jeans... frayed in all the right spots. I was so sweaty tonight it looked as if some one hit me with a fire hose during the set. Had a blast though.
Although I'm not looking forward to waking up tomorrow (due to the soreness), I can't wait to get back on stage again. I love playing with these guys.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bus (Cabin) Fever


When you have limited days at home & you do the kinda of things that I do, it's hard get the errands done that I need to get done. Especially when you lose one of those days to sitting around while some one did all of that A/C work under my house. Granted, I'm glad that problem is remedied. I just spent most of the morning running more errands before I made my way to the warehouse to meet the bus.
Not much to report after that. We left Atlanta around 3:30pm bound for Omaha. Just in case you're not good at geography, Omaha is NOT very close to Atlanta. We had a full on case of cabin fever a few hours before 'bed time' on the bus. It was rather entertaining playing orange bowling down the hallway. (Orange bowling: using Solo cups as pins & an orange as the bowling ball).
Anyway, "Katt Williams: The Pimp Chronicles, Part 1" makes me crack up no matter how many times that I've seen it. Just sayin.' I did a lot of laughing at many different times at many different things tonight. Starting out as a good trip.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

(Death) Rattle & (New Rig) Hum... or 'out with the cold, in with the new'


Oh, what to say... what to say. I was awoken by the heating & air guys at 8:30am. Shortly after they began their work, I hit up my work out. Lots of errands today.
One thing that struck me today was U2's "Rattle & Hum." It came on Palladia in the middle of the day. I haven't seen it in many a moon. It's not the best concert movie, but it does capture the band at their creative height. To me, U2 never got better than that period. They had future hit albums & songs, but that movie shows you EVERYTHING you need to know about the band. Truly beautiful, as pretentious as it may be at times.
I am ecstatic about my new found coolness... literally, not figuratively. Since I returned home on Sunday I noticed that my air conditioning wasn't conditioning the air. It was just blowing 'room temperature' out of the vents. So... I bit the bullet & had some one diagnose the problem. 36 hours & many American dollars later, I am finally cool in such a hot time of the year. The entire system was replaced. I guess it was about time. 12 years is a good run for one of these heating & air units... especially one that runs 9 months out of the year (heating or cooling).
No harm. Glass half full. Heading out tomorrow. Ready to rock the midwest.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Bad Case of the Mundays...


Today started out pretty great. I got up & immediately worked out. It was already hot by the time that I finished at 10pm. I worked out outside too. I really miss that. It's hot right now but it can only get better. I workout outside (unless it's raining) between September & December. Love it!
Anyway, post shower & a few phone calls later I was making my toward the Mall of Georgia. My Mom works over near there. After grabbing a few pair of new gym socks & some clearance shorts, I had lunch with her. I did a great job with eating very little today. I ate SO much bad food over the weekend that I needed to starve a little for one day. Back on my normal diet tomorrow.
Tons errands today, finally followed by a visit from the air conditioning repair man. Spent the rest of my financial reserves on a brand new AC/heating system. My current one was shot. Repairing JUST the part that broke would've been a little over half of the price of the ENTIRE system. Considering the age of the unit, it only makes sense to replace it all. They install it tomorrow morning. Outside of the cost, I am very excited to have that done.
To end my day, I went to see the new & final Harry Potter movie. LOVED IT! Great ending.
Tomorrow's schedule is going to be dominated by the installation - but maybe I need to be forced to be at home for a day. Red Box Blu-Rays? I think so.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again...


Home is where the... where I keep my shit. I can't remember the last time I strung 4 consecutive days at home. I do it to myself. I am given many opportunities a year to STAY at home for many days... but I always seem to fill that time. I've always been like this, no matter who complained. This is who I am & what I do.
No matter... this week is naturally truncated by my job. I'll leave on Wednesday afternoon. So that leaves me with a long list of 'to do's' & 'wants' but only 2 & a half days to do them in. I'd also like to work in working out & relaxing into my schedule... oh, & the new Harry Potter movie. All of this needs to happen.
Since I've reclaimed my blog, I normally recoup what had happened during the day or the time that I've been away. Alas, I am unable to talk about where I've been. Super top secret. All I can say is that I had a great time & came away with the want/need to practice. Ready to dive back into my instruments... with my "FREE TIME." Ha! Til tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Phase 90


So. Almost a month to the day since my last blog entry. I am certainly changing that. Almost immediately. I have decided to change one aspect of my social media life 90º out of phase. 180º would suggest a complete 'about face.' I am just changing the focus. I have disabled the "Ask" function on my Tumblr page. As it stands, I have a answered 18,244 questions/posts. A lot more than I suspected. A lot less than have been asked of me too... I only answered the messages that I thought would be interesting, helpful, or entertaining. I think I had a good run. It will be an unknown hiatus length. As many had pointed out, Tumblr had, albeit in a small way, taken over my life.
I plan to write this blog daily. Unfortunately, I will be away from the internet between Thursday & Sunday... I should be able to chime back in on Sunday. I welcome this change. Although this blog entry is no indicator of how I write here. It will normally be a recap of the day's events. I will be as detailed & entertaining as possible. Maybe one day I will enter back into taking questions again... just not right now.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wow!

Literally one month since my last blog entry. I officially suck at this.
Since I last wrote we finished up the California run... with shows in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, & Chula Vista. We left the next day for Mexico. We filmed most of our next video in Costa Careyes, Mexico. Since the video is STILL not out, I can't give any details. It was a fantastic vacation/video shoot. Immediately following my return to Atlanta, I drove to Nashville & cut acoustic guitars for a couple of days in my new record with Mr. Mangano. Tons of errands & such filled my following days... along with one HUGE surprise: Zac gave me a '67 Ford Mustang. I guess he felt like I would appreciate it. AND I DO! It's a pretty awesome car.
Another cache of shows followed that week. Followed by 3 solid nights in my studio playing Hammond organ & electric guitars on my record. I'm having so much fun making this thing. The only drawback is all of the time in between sessions. We finished that week with a one off show to DC... opening for Kenny Chesney at FedEx Field.
This week was 'game on'! Nashville , TN. We had the CMT Music Awards (of which we unexpectedly won an award). We also had our CMA Fest performance a LP Field. All great stuff. Then there was Peoria, IL & Green Bay, WI. We're getting pretty good at playing together. Ha!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Way Behind on Updates

Since we last spoke we've played a few shows. 2 of those were hometown shows. While technically in Alpharetta, Georgia, we were swamped with family & friends. It was good stress, but stress nevertheless. Glad to kill it for the hometown though.
Sunday not only brought Mothers' Day but the start to my new album. Drummer Mark Cobb, bassist/producer Matt Mangano, & engineer Brandon Bell hauled up in my studio with me for two days of 'basics tracking.' Although I tracked along side those guys, we only plan to 'use' the bass & drums from that session. My tracks are only meant to be a guide at this point. I'm SO excited to have started. Even though I can only work on it a few days every month due to touring, it's better than waiting to start.
We flew out to LAX on Tuesday. Wednesday night's Kimmel performance was short & sweet. We got to play outside... which was nice. Not 30 minutes after we were done, a few of us walked down Hollywood Blvd to a mexican joint to eat. Kind of a neat night.
I write this from the production office set up in the bowels of Raley Field in Sacramento. This run should be interesting.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Down Time

I could just lay around all day. I could just NOT do anything. I AM moving forward. I've been given a gift of two extra days at home & I'm using them. Derailed by my birthday 'week,' I have rediscovered my home 'gym.' I am eating right again. I am making charts for my new album.
Yes, my new album. Next Sunday we will start. At this point in our (ZBB) career we starting losing off days here & there. I originally had 3 days to record basic tracks - but that was whittled down to two because of Kimmel. No matter. I am making charts for the players so that we save time. As it stands, I have 15 songs (which I originally had 18). I'm sure the number 15 will shrink as the recording process continues. It's best to have them recorded & cut them from the track listing as opposed to needing more material. Anyway, I'm sure I'll be filling you in as the process continues.
After my birthday, there was much recuperation to be done. Some how I ended back up at the warehouse on Friday to cut a demo with Zac. It's something that he wanted to submit to a movie. Then I had dinner with some friends that night. The next day, my Dad came into town. I had dinner with him & my Mom to celebrate my Mom's birthday on Saturday. Sunday brought the Hawks/Magic game 4 at Phillips Arena... of which we won - & since then won the series.
Monday was in the studio with an artist named Emily Hearn. Pretty good stuff. I basically just played Hammond organ all day in an overdub setting. Tuesday was just getting my life ready for the road. I also bought my late guitar teacher's Ramirez classical guitar from his family. Emotional moment for me. Wednesday brought our departure & more importantly the tornados that ravaged the south. I was fortunate NOT to have any damage to me or anyone that I know.
Thursday was Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC. Coy & I judged the guitar contest there. It was really cool. Our show was good that night as well. Randy Travis played before us. What a great guy. Half of the band left after the show & the other half hung until later Friday night. I was in my own bed by 4am. Zac stayed... & is actually still there. Again, I say, that these unexpected days off are a gift right now... because I know how busy we are going to be for the rest of the year. Bring it!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wow!

We had a great weekend last weekend playing. Mississippi, Arkansas, Dallas, & the greater Austin area. The Arkansas show was CRAZY cold, windy, & rainy. Pretty rough for an outside show. Not fun, but we made the best of it. The crowd made it all worth stepping out on stage. Dallas brought the 2nd date of the Kenny Chesney stadium tour. Not much to say about that day. Nothing went wrong. The Round Rock, TX (Austin) show was SLAMMIN.' A great example of what our short term show goal is. It was great all around.
Since Austin is so far from Atlanta, we spent most of Monday on a bus. I got home by 7pm & prepared myself. I left the house around 2pm on Tuesday for the warehouse... luggage & instruments in tow. I helped some of the crew guys set aside my gear for Wednesday night. I also got comfortable in the lodging area of the warehouse. Then, around 7pm, the madness began.
I met my friend John Mayer at MF Sushi in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. Amazing 3+ hour dinner. We talked about everything. It was great. I drove my truck back to the warehouse & his car followed. We then made our way to The Cheetah gentlemen's club in Atlanta. I've been to very few strip clubs. The last one I went to was in 1999. It was certainly a fun experience - especially when you hang with a bonafide celebrity. He got me a room at his hotel & I crashed like a one winged plane. However, I got up 5 hours later because the alcohol that I drank turned to sugar & I was buzzin' like crazy.
Now it's Wednesday - GAME ON. My birthday. Historically, I've put on a music show on my birthday. I would get a bunch of friends together & we would pick an album & play it live on stage - in order. In '03 we did Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions." Then we did "Dark Side of the Moon" the next year. Then Led Zeppelin IV. Took a year off for touring then it was "The Beatles" White Album. However, for the past 3 years I've been unwilling or unable to do a show. This year, we did Tom Petty's "Wildflowers." We had a different singer for every song. John Mayer, Zac Brown Band, Andrew Combs, Y-O-U (with Peter Stroud), Levi Lowrey, Joy Scout, Blackberry Smoke, Oliver Wood, Coy Bowles, John Driskell Hopkins & Brighter Shade, Gareth Asher, Michael Tolcher, Sonia Leigh, Brian Wiltsey, & me. That was just the singers/leaders. I had a ton of musical friends play with some these artists that don't have regular bands. I will say that I truly felt loved last night. It was wonderful. About 15 minutes after that was over, John Driskell Hopkins got a gaggle of folks on stage & a 2 hour jam ensued. It only took a couple of songs for John Mayer to take over & run the jam. It was fun though. At one point, he. Matt Mangano, & I played some lo-fi masters songs. It was rather sloppy but it felt great to touch on those again.
After that, John talked me into attending another strip club: The Pink Pony. We also had about 10 folks in tow from the party. We closed that club & I went back to the warehouse & slept it off.
Not my typical week, but memorable. The best birthday party I've ever had.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mile 1

Since I last blogged I jumped back into working out & eating right. We took a trip to Vegas for the ACM Awards (one win). We got to play with James Taylor on the broadcast. That was huge for me. The next day we flew to Winston-Salem & rehearsed some new tunes & arrangements. The day after that, we played Winston-Salem.
The next day brought us Clemson. We stayed there for 4 days straight. Day one was rehearsing on the new mega-stage that we will be using in some of our shows this year. We had to get comfortable on that. We played two nights straight in Clemson. THen we had a day off (while we watched a bunch of great acts at our festival). Levi & I actually opened up Sunday's lineup. Amos Lee closed it out. He was SOOOOO good.
All in all, the past two weeks have been very good for me. It's just the beginning. Lots to do between now & when we 'come off of the road.' ... just passing mile marker 1.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Changing Lanes


Last weekend was pretty sudden, stressful, & exciting. It was good to test in the water really quick to before you swim across the channel. While the crew set sail for Winston-Salem tonight, the band has another week off - technically 10 days since the last show. I have spent my time putting the final touches on Coy's record, learning a new classical guitar piece, & taking care of my body (finally). That's really all I've got. I'm enjoying it though.
I've been working on Isaac Albinez's "Asturias (Leyenda)" for the past week. It's very demanding but rather gratifying. It's been a while since I sharpened my classical chops. Like, 12 years ago.
On a whim, I went to see the late showing of "Sucker Punch" tonight. I would assume that most folks won't enjoy this. I'm a big Zack Snyder fan though. It's not as good as "Watchmen" but it's still good. He's got a discernible style. It was confusing as shit at times... but the payoff was good for me.
Juicing, working out, eating right, & resting has been my MO. Trying to clean this house & get it ready for my absence. Ready for the fast lane next week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tumblr

Earlier this evening I was led into a line of questioning through Tumblr that rattled me. The questions were about the details of my divorce. I didn't see it coming. There are things that I haven't mentally dealt with regarding that time of my life.
"Congratulations" to whoever it was. They let me know that their goal was to ruin my night. At the rate that my brain is moving, he may have ruined my week.
I'm going to start being selective about which questions that I answer. I tried to be an open book... but I just got my spine ripped out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ramping Back Up

I have been keeping the Tumblr thing going pretty strong. I have also changed my Faceebook page into a Band page. So instead of being 'friends' with people, they 'like' me. I know that sounds funny but it makes it easier to operate over time.
I've been spending a great deal of time getting my gear ready for the year. My hope is that once I put it together right the first time that it will need very little attention throughout the year. I am incorporating a rig built by Bob Bradshaw at Custom Audio Electronics. I can only explain it by saying that it will be a 'big boy' rig. I will post pictures & explanations once it's completed. I have also been relentlessly doing errands for the past 2 weeks. Again, in hopes that once touring begins, I won't have much on my plate.
Also, Coy's album is very close to completion. We started this thing in late '09. My only excuse is our busy schedule. I have turned down many records over the past 2 years knowing that their completion would be a lot longer than I like. It's really hard to remain motivated to work unless there are deadlines & people waiting on a record. With Coy, we have been very unmotivated at times. However, we're very close. With some luck, he will have a mastered album in his hands before April.
Today I played pedal steel & electric guitar on an album for a duo named "JoyScout." One of the girls in the band is Emily Kate Boyd. She & I have been musical friends for some time now. I also produced her last album a few years ago. This album, produced by Will Robertson, is starting to sound good. I can't wait to hear it.
After that I got a hair cut. It's definitely different than what I'm accustomed to. Since my hair now parts in the middle, I have gained a forehead. Still seems slightly foreign.
I also spent some time at our warehouse to start building my guitar rig. However, on of my specs on a custom road case was not met & we'll have to get it fixed tomorrow so I can continue this weekend. Sooo, I made lemonade with my lemons & spent most of rush hour tightening up some of Coy's mixes.
I'm home now & hopefully falling asleep soon. An equally crazy day tomorrow.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wood Bros, Chesney, pre-Letterman

Since I last wrote I spent a few days out in Orange County, CA with my Dad. I also found time to be a part of the Wood Brothers video shoot up in Burbank. I can't wait to see the final cut of that.
On my last full day in California I drove down to Calabasas to meet up with the Wood Brothers again for a private radio industry function. We only played 20-30 minutes but it was a blazin' set. I am honored to be asked so much to be a part of their ventures. They are truly a great, unique band.
I came home a turned on the 'health switch.' Working out, juicing, eating right, & getting god amounts of sleep was part of the schedule while I was home. I found time to put an evening with Coy Bowles in the studio. However, this didn't last long. We left on Wednesday night for Nashville.
Thursday brought rehearsals with Kenny Chesney & his band. I will say that I had a blast over the next two days. We came up with some great stuff for the upcoming stadium shows for this year.
We came home Friday night & yesterday I put a self imposed LONG day in the studio yesterday. I did some drive maintenance & prepared Coy's album for mixing. There's still a few things left to track, but it never hurts to get a jump on the project. I have been working on this album, on & off, for well over a year. As much as I am proud of it, I will be glad to 'get it off of the books' soon.
Anyway, leaving this afternoon for Letterman. We will have the opportunity to get a good night's sleep (which has NEVER happened before TV). Should be a good trip. I will update (I hope).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Da' Grammy's Recap Style

It's been two weeks since I last blogged. I spent much of that time getting back to my old self. I juiced most days... especially on days that I was home. I visited my girlfriend, Stephanie, in Nashville for a weekend. We also came out here to southern California starting last Friday. We attended Grammy parties. We went to gift suites. It was a busy schedule of frivolity. No performance rehearsals this year. It was relatively stress free.
I finally won a Grammy. ZBB won for Best Country Collaboration for "As She's Walking Away" with Alan Jackson. I'll take it. Really happy with that.
I'm staying with my Dad this week. I have some Wood Brothers business later this week in southern California so it didn't make much sense to fly back to Atlanta & then fly back out here. More events soon & more updates to come.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Absentee Blog


Alright. I'll try to ease back in to this routine. I feel old self creeping back into my life. When you tour & travel as intensely as I did for the past 2 months, you have to let some things go: like blogging. I have cold turkey'd my way back into my workout regimen, my eating & juicing regimen, & (most importantly) my sleeping regimen. I also started practicing again. I find it impossible to practice on the road. Only after two days of actually taking care of myself I feel the results. The only negative thing I feel is stupidity for not keeping up with it over the past 2 months.
To recap since I last blogged, we hit New York & most of the east coast. Boston & New York were the best shows of the whole run. XM taped the New York show. If I find out a performance schedule I will post it somewhere. Andrew Combs won the Clay vs. Levi. Ironic, huh? Most were coming a part at the seems toward the end of the run. I was for different reasons. I lost my first dog, Charlie. He was my little buddy. I raised him since he was a little Schnauz. He passed due to complications with pancreatitis. I'm glad he didn't have to suffer long.
I had much to do since I came home on Sunday. I have done much of the list with little stress. Few things left. I am taking Levi's family out for pizza tonight (it's his birthday tomorrow). I figure he'd like that better than a new pair of socks.
I'll try to blog when I am able.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pittsburgh, PA

I know, I know. I've yet again dropped the ball on this blog. My main focus for this tour with Levi was to keep my health & spirits up. I can honestly say, even with the sub par weather, that I've done that. It seems like a down hill ride from here on out. I can say that every bit of improvement to my body that I accomplished in October has fallen by the way side at this point. I have gained 5 pounds since December 1st & feel rather lethargic. It is my intent to shift cold turkey back to the former lifestyle when I return home.
I sit here in the dressing room of the Club Cafe in Pittsburgh writing this blog before the show. This room is very familiar as I was here with the Wood Brothers a little over a month ago. Who knows the next time I'll write again. Trying not to bother myself too much on this tour with it.
This tour has been great though. Andrew Combs has been opening a few shows for us (& selling merch). That dude is GREAT. Google him.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

St. Louis, MO


Now THAT's more like it. If the rest of the tour is like today... I'll be just fine. Not much to report. I took a nap en route from Nashville to St. Louis. The venue was great. The crowd was great. The show was great. A fabulous bounce back from last night's show. I love playing with Levi & hope that this tour is not the last of its kind. On to bed, then on to Davenport, IA tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nashville, TN


Upon waking up & watching the news there wasn't much hope for travel today. The news said, & I quote, please limit your travels to emergency only. Around 10am I tried to get out of my driveway - just testing the conditions. I couldn't get out. I called around town & found out that Target was open today. Since I was running low on food & it seemed that I was going to get trapped in my own house, I walked to Target & got a bunch of non-perishable items (frozen dinners, soup, crackers). As I was walking back I had noticed a change in the condition of the ice. My best guess is that the temp was above freezing at this point. I checked with every one else & we all decided we had a very small window to drive & escape Atlanta. So we did.
It normally takes me 45 minutes to get to my studio from my house. In these conditions it took 2 hours. I got to the studio & picked up my pedal steel & then made my way, carefully, to the warehouse. We loaded the bus & left town by 3:15pm. We were lucky. They even cancelled the Hawks game in Atlanta tonight.
We made it to Nashville & played our show. Levi & I were pretty brunt from all of the stress over the past few days. But it's all out of my hands now. We have a bus with a driver, help to carry merch & gear, & a road manager. I don't have to stress about anything. It should reflect in my performance & stage demeanor. On to St. Louis.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Auburn


What a game. I'm sure most expected more points from both teams... but I enjoyed it regardless. One year ago I was with the band down in Florida. We had just finished putting together all of the songs for the new album. We spent the evening watching the game & most just hung out & relaxed. So much has happened since then. No reason to recap after my last post.
Anyway, Atlanta has been blanketed by snow, freezing rain, & a low temperature. I only mention this because I am supposed to leave tomorrow morning for the second leg of the Clay vs. Levi tour. I tried to drive today to check the road conditions. If tomorrow is anything like today, I won't be able to leave my neighborhood - forget leaving Atlanta. Truth be told, I don't have very much food left here in the house. I buy what I need &, considering I am supposed to be gone tomorrow, I'm almost out. I'm worried that we won't make our gig in Nashville tomorrow. No reason crying over milk that has yet to be poured (or spilled for that matter). I'll just have to see what tomorrow brings me. Nighty, night.