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.