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


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


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


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


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 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.