My journey in pictures

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

and in closing (shutting this blog down).

What was this blog? It was intimidating as hell at first but I just kept telling myself it was a personal journal and that and encouragement from Dennis and Vicki (sis and bro-in-law) the first week or two, then close friends Austen Adams and Leann Phelan helping hugely by saying that it was not so bad (also giving me helpful tips along the way) got the ball rolling. I'm not a writer and because of that it usually took me close to 3 hours per paragraph to do and amateur-ish as it would end up sounding it still took that long.... For example, I've re-written this dang thing at least 4 times now.
The blog and trip did a good thing for me. It taught me an old lesson that I've forgotten many times now which is that if I go the hell out there and do something JUST based on a "gut feeling" which is what it was, that it'd push me in the right direction. The quote ("learn to love music again") was kind of an excuse and something to stand on or hid behind at the time cause when it came down to it, I just needed some time to build back a little confidence in myself again. I was in a "bad spot".
 This blog and the people reading it pushed me along everyday to get up, get out, meet people and see and experience things...and I did that. I met some REALLY amazing people. People that I will never, NEVER forget and memories that I'll take to my grave with a smile. Listening to Walt Wilkins's "I Chose This Road" as my soundtrack, I met a beautiful, beautiful "Cowboy poet"/friend (Walt Perryman), Tony ~a fascinating ex-marine who bartend-ed~, a coupla really kind west Texas oil workers, an amazing hall of fame writer (Sonny Throckmorton), a great new friend in Jim Lane, a brilliant kid who writes and sings his ass off through the eyes of the disabled (Chris Hendricks), another new friend Rita Ballou (a kind, sweet person though she'd HATE me writing this sweet stuff about her), Lee a fellow "tent" camper (while in Lafayette,LA) who's goal was to "motorcycle" around the world (Godspeed if you ever read this :)), The Paulin Brothers, an amazing man and "wall builder" for the right reasons Tom Hendrix.  Hell, me and Jim Lane met a another truck "head-on" at 60MPH and I also met a SWAT team at my motel room door in Spartenburg, SC.
 I really loved every mile that I traveled. In Texas (outside of the cities) there was not one part that I did not love entirely. West Texas for some indescribable reason was my favorite looking back. The swamps of Louisiana, the flat freshly plowed fields of the Mississippi delta, the hill country of upper Alabama. Georgia, from the mountains to Thomasville to Savannah. "The Piedmont" that runs all the way from Western Alabama to Virginia. Virginia from the "Library of Congress"(close enough) all the way down to the "The Carter Fold".
 Thanks to all of the people who've kept up with me and given me their financial and emotional support. I hope some of you have found a little joy, some music, a laugh or if nothin else a "where's Waldo" moment during a break in your day. I expected to "endure" large parts of the trip but that just never happened. I never "hit the wall" thankfully. Paul Kennerley told me from the beginning that the driving would do me some good. It did. This trip also helped me get closer to my family which  I'm SO grateful for. Their e-mails and texts on the road really helped me.
Nashville became a dark cloud to me that I couldn't get out from under. Publishing and record companies and peripheral businesses (as we know it) all "going to hell in a hand basket". Finding SO much good music, good music people and music business going on "outside of the bubble" made me feel SO much better about the business and "brightened my skies".
I'll close this last blog with an e-mail from a great friend and brilliant writer. I get this e-mail one day while I was out driving between one dry, flat place and another. THESE are the things that kept me going sometimes:

....But, beyond it all I have always hoped that you find the peace, the meaning you seem to be searching for.
I hope you don’t over look the little things- because that is always what all of the big things are hiding behind.
I hope you turn a corner and get a little lost in the eyes of some poor unfortunate girl that has as little regard for hats as you do.
I hope you find that this town with all of it's frustrations and blindness is still an amazing place where dreams can come true.
I hope you remember that you are never too old to dream.
I hope you stumble across the notion that maybe it's only going to make as much sense as you care to give it.
I hope you stumble and curse and mistake and cry and do something crazy.....
I hope you accidentally mutter a prayer one night and find a great big God hiding behind a little answer.
 love you, buddy

Thank you Craig and EVERY one-a-ya' :), ~"Onward and upward"~ S

P.S. thanks also to Jennifer Carrington, Jenny Bohler, Mike Provencher, Reid Scelza for their input and help with this. I'm grateful for your help.
P.P.S.S.  Thanks again Steve and Sarah :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My "best of"...

Or Fav's...
*Songwriter Bars: Evening Mews (Charlotte, North Carolina), The Mucky Duck (Houston, TX), Casbah (Durham, NC) & Cheatham Street Warehouse (San Marcos,TX), Eddie's Attic (Atl., GA)
*Greatest drinking bars: Devil's Backbone Tavern (closest to New Braunfels, TX), Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Saloon (Bandera,TX), Under The Hill Saloon (Natchez,MS)
*Most pretentious bar (to be in the middle of nowhere): Padre's in Marfa,TX. I was nowhere NEAR cool enough and there wasn't 50 people in the whole damn town and they were all dressed up like they were on South Congress in Austin,TX or somethin. It just felt weird. Went there twice (to make sure) and then got my happy ass back to my lil' tent.
*Cheapest beer: PBR. Damn, they need to start making cars that can burn THAT shit!
*Best Margarita: Guero's (Austin,TX). You ONLY get a shot glassed sized but it's still my fav!
*Best Beer: Capital Ale House (Richmond,VA). They EVEN had a "frosted rail" to sit your glass! "Starr Hill Amber" was my favorite! Rich, malty but without the bitter after/shit-taste of PBR.
*Dance Hall: Anhalt Hall (Spring Branch,TX). No question, my favorite and seemed surreal from the time I walked in there. 2nd: Quihi Gun Club (closest to Dunlay,TX)
*Favorite "Old School" Texas Dance Hall band: Billy Mata & The Texas Tradition
*Favorite happy hour "hangs": Luckenbach, TX (Luckenbach), Napoleon House (New Orleans, LA)
*Worst bar: Potbelly's (Tallahassee, FL). I'm STILL sticky from that damn place!
*Worst restrooms: Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Saloon (it's like peeing in Satan's urinal. Really!.... O.K. I'm just guessing)
*Best bathrooms (by state): TEXAS! They consistently put "beer holders" above the urinals! I'd bet the quote of "God Bless Texas" came while a man was standing at a urinal looking for a place to sit his beer (somewhere in Texas!). Amen, brother. Come ON Amurica, catch up!!!
*Best songwriters per sq. mile: North Carolina.
*State with LEAST amount of female artists: Texas. In 9 weeks of trouncing around Texas, I don't think I saw 3. Bri Bagwell was my favorite female country artist (of my whole trip, actually).
*Best Music Scenes: 1st: Texas (original music stations, online music communities and fan interactions, 100's of original music clubs around the state, etc...). Texan's damn near demand it. In Austin on a Saturday night I heard THREE stations playing original music! Distant 2nd: Louisiana & North Carolina.
*Most disappointing music scene: my home state of Georgia. Hey, I even tried HARDER looking here than  in the other states :(
*Dancers (not as in "pole"): 1.Texas 2. Lafayette, LA.
*...As IN "pole", I'll have to guess at these #1-Atlanta,GA (it's a "gut" call) #2 guess- Greenville, Ms #3 Marfa,TX.
* Favorite bands to watch and "get all caught up in": Terry and the Bayou Bad Boys (Lafayette, LA) & Yojimbo (New Orleans, LA). Smiled the whole time watching both.
*Bravest band (by FAR): "Folk Soul Revival" playing 2 weeks after one of their lead singers had died. RIP Allun Cormier.
*Fav new songwriters (that I'd never known before): Chris Hendricks, Lizzy Ross
*"Ready for Nashville" (or not): Cody Johnson (Hunt,TX), Folk Soul Revival (Wise,VA)
*Most facial hair: #1 STILL reigning champ (until he shaves that shit) is Anders OOOOOOsborne! #2 Levi Lowrey (but he's half Quaker, so he gets a penalty from having a genetic "leg up") and a close 3rd (because of the penalty) is Ferd from the "Hackensack Boys"! Congrats fellas I'm sure your womenfolk are proud of ya!
*Best 2 hours of drinking: "Drinking 40's" on the sidewalk with the "Paulin Brothers" in New Orleans.
*Best drives: Marfa, TX to and around Fort Davis, TX. Hwy 61 ("The Blues Highway") from Vicksburg,MS to Clarkesdale, MS. Avery Island,LA (Tobasco tour ain't worth it but this drive IS!)
LEAST fav. drives: Nelson Street (Greenville, MS) & Young Street (Greenwood, MS). Both are good places (if there are) to buy drugs though.
*Best food: Opie's (Spicewood, TX), Prejeans (it's touristy but DAMN great!-Lafayette,LA) or Mulate's (Breaux Bridge,LA)

*Fav campground: Guadalupe River (don't remember the damn name but it's the locale). The one on the Mississippi "River View RV Park" in Videlia, LA was beautiful, as well. I mean it's the damn mighty Mississippi River that you're looking across!
*Worst Motel. Motel 6 ,Richmond (VA) Airport. ONLY place that I "bailed from" after 1 of 2 nights.
*Best Hotels (for price). Priceline does it every time but IGNORE their "suggested" bidding prices (cut it in half at least): Courtyard by Marriott-New Braunfels,TX  and the St. Louis Hotel in New Orleans BOTH for $45 "bids" a night (and usually you can add an extra night for the same price EVEN after staying the first night)

*Best "day spent": Festivals Acadiens (Cajun music festival) in Lafayette, LA. Indescribable atmosphere.
*Prettiest Women: Texas-good GOD, there's 25 mill to choose from, it'd better have the prettiest.
*Scariest moment: Eatin' Domino's pizza, watching "Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer" with a loaded  9MM on my T.V. tray (thanks Bart) as a SWAT team ran around outside my broken dead-bolted hotel room door (as if it really mattered at that point).
*Best last 6 months: Me :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Carter Fold and my LAST show!

Pleasant Hill band 
Great little store on the wind-y road to "The Fold"

"The Fold" filling up

John Harvey singing "Rain Please Go Away"

Better than Starbucks prices but no free wifi

Janette's Bible opened to Psalms 23
 Being the last night of what turned out to be a six month musical journey, I thought a good place to end it would be in another of music's sacred grounds or "birthplaces" seeing as I'd already been to the birthplace of jazz and the blues along my journey. The Carter Fold is the land from which in 1927, in a neighbor's borrowed car, A.P., Sara and Maybelle would make the trip from into Bristol,Tn to make the legendary 1st recordings of which some people say were the first "Modern Country Music" recordings (along with Jimmie Rodgers a few days later). This place was built and started based on a promise that Janette made to A.P. (her dad) that "she'd keep the music alive". It started in A. P.'s store next door but got too big for that really fast! Thanks to Dan Keen a few years back, we came to this special place and visited with Janette before she passed. At the time I asked her (not knowing) if she’d gone into town with the family for the recordings. From what best I can recall she said that she remembered that day clear as a bell "jumpin up and down, holdin on to that wooden gate", crying her eyes out because they wouldn't let her go into town with ‘em. I think she was only 4 years old at the time. “The Carter Fold” would also end up being the place and last concert Johnny Cash  would ever perform, 2 months before his death and not even 2 months after June had died (there's some really sad youtubes of that night: last performances). He's one of the few artists who they allowed to play electric instruments on stage.
Rita Forrester (Janette's daughter) has taken over hosting duties. (Rita clip interview) The band playing on Saturday night was the Pleasant Hill Band from Unicoi,Tennessee. They played a lot of music that the crowd could dance to like "Wildwood Flower" and "Sweet Georgia Brown". I put up JUST a little clip, cuzz you're not suppose to video there. Cloggin' clip. They all had tap's I'd guess you'd call it on their shoes that gave off a really loud "clattering" sound. Think it's called "Appalachian style clogging" or "Flat-footin'" one or the other. At the fold they play mostly "old time" country, folk and bluegrass music and MOSTLY up-tempos. It's been updated since the first time I visited. Other than the dance floor and stage staying pretty much the same, it was dirt floors with old high school bus seats of all different colors for the bleachers. Really was colorful. There's no drinking or smoking allowed and it was kinda like going to a church social. I really think that the first time I came here Janette had ONLY allowed UPtempo's but I may be wrong about that. Anyways, the crowd being mostly families went from the pretty old to the pretty young. Reminded me of the atmosphere of some of the "family" Dance Halls back in Texas like the Quihi Gun Club. The band was nothing incredible but they were solid and reminded me of a family band. Really sweet and unassuming people. Beverly playing "upright" bass would say stuff like "I want this floored filled up with every one-a-ya!" and it usually ended up being that way. There was another thing that really struck me that night, John Harvey was a innocent and sweet looking, clean cut, well dressed little 11 year boy old who played along all night and sang. Before he sang the song "Rain Please Go Away", Beverly (band leader) told the crowd that John's mother was diagnosed with cancer back in June and had since passed away just this past Christmas eve. He played right on.... and did a really great job. I guess it just hit me because I kinda traveled down a road like that of my own at 12.
I also spoke with the sweetest and really pretty lady running the merchandise stand, Flo (Nancy "Flo" Millard Wolfe). She's the oldest granddaughter of Sara and A.P.'s. She had a mischievous look when she says to me "you can remember my name by remembering F for fat, L for Lazy and O for old. She's just one of those people that that has a spark in her eyes. Here is a GREAT, GREAT clip I found online with her talking about cooking! Flo clip!
There was also a bible of Janette's laid open on a little stand to the left of the stage. The Bible was opened to Psalms 23. They say she always wanted it there. You know, there was just a LOT more there than I really have the time or ability to describe so I'll just say that it should be a pilgrimage if you love learning about the south and if you like visiting Country Music Landmarks. It's as good as they get. "Ground Zero" to some. They also have A.P.'s store and his old cabin (link) right next door and open to the public.

So there it is, I'm finished up. I'll wrap it all up this week once I can get my head around it all. Thanks again for taking the time to read my ramblings on music and other things. It was a special experience for me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Politics, Prose and "A Movable Feast"

Smithsonian in the Snow

There is a Capitol in there somewheres!


Matteo Pistono

Thanks to an INCREDIBLY kind sister and Bro-in-law I could stay here in Arlington for a coupla nights. :) 
There was an older Tibetan lady, a young Indian man, another man who'd been visiting and living in China for the last 10 years, 3 rows of China history "experts" all along with about 100 other people (and me) at Politics & Prose last night. As I've said before, I'm a geek about C-SPAN and their book channel, C-SPAN Books. They record authors at "in-stores" talking about and signing new releases. THIS has been one of my favorites and being so close I thought I'd check it out. The author was a Buddhist (Matteo Pistono) who'd written about his experiences in Tibet and of the atrocities between the monks and the Chinese Government. The book In The Shadows Of The Buddha . I felt dumber than I usually do (listening to the crowd's questions and statements) but it was pretty damn enlightening. This bookstore and "Malaprops" in Asheville are DEFINITELY my favorites! One of the very few "independents" left. It was only a 15 minute walk up from the Van Ness station. :) Carla Cohen  and Barbara Meade started this store in '84 in a building across the street.  From what I've gathered, Carla who sadly passed away in October thought up the book store idea after 3 years of unemployment (after leaving her Gov't job in the mid 80's). Her and her husband (David) mortgaged their house, borrowed money from friends and started the store. It's been recognized by "Publishers Weekly" as "Book Seller of the Year" and has gotten many, many more awards. As much as any of that (from all that I've read about it), it's been a community center for the whole neighborhood for the last 26 years. It was put up for sale back in June of last year so get by there soon before it has a chance to change. Hopefully it won't... but what don't? I'll post some pic's but pictures do NO justice to the place and it's atmosphere. Btw, I bought a Hemingway book while I was there ("A Moveable Feast"). I think it was the last book he'd work on before he died. Seemed fitting for some reason and NO better place for me to spend my money. :) Here's to hoping that they can "keep on keepin on". I've got one more night of "keeping on", myself. Happy weekend and if you're reading this and are around The Broadway Brewhouse/Mojo Grill (Nashville location on 21st ONLY) on the 1st of Feb. around 6PM I may just buy you a beer. Thanks for reading, S  

P.S. I went to see 3 different bands in Arlington last night but enjoyed this much more than that. Maybe 6 months of going out Wed-Sun. to hear music has gotten me to the point of needing a break from it.  Then again, maybe the music just wasn't that good. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

"Snow" shows but 2 nights and 678 miles to go!

Library of Congress

another of the Library of Congress

Ari Hest
Great little pub (Galaxy Hut) in Arlington during the snow storm

WELL between nursing a cold and the snow cancellations, I've not really seen much in Arlington. There was the odd open mic where only one writer showed up. The show that had 5 bands and ended up being only a couple at Jammin' Java and a couple of other things that's not worth the mention. If nothing else the snow was beautiful. Surprised that they cancel as much as they do because of snow (9 inches the day before). Thought they would be a little more use to it. Though there was one show that I caught last night, Ari Hest. NY singer/songwriter who played at the The Barns At Wolf Trap outside of Arlington in Vienna, VA. Beautiful old barn looking building (or at least the insides looked like that). Holds about 300 people and was mostly full of his fans. He's been on a 'major" before and continues to tour and release his music via many avenues (it seems). For example, he did something interesting you may have heard about a few years ago, he wrote and released (via-email) a song a week for 52 weeks and sent them to his fans for a 1 time fee. Pretty interesting and innovative. He IS a really great singer and really good songwriter. He got a a random person from the audience to do a duet with him at one point. That was a cool idea. :). Check him out. That's about it and sorry I've not found more up here but it's just bad timing (except for the "State of the Union" thing :)). Countdown. 2 nights and 678 miles left to go.
"Barns at Wolf Trap" Looked more like a barn inside.
"Jammin Java" was not on this night :( Snow shortened shows

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

At The Hawk 'n' Dove watching "The Speech"




Watchin the "Response"

Just by chance, I happen to be in DC last night during the "State of the Union" address. I'm like hell, I wanna see how people watch the damn thing up here. I can't say I watch the "State of the Union" more times than not but I am a C-SPAN addict (the "paint dryin" channel) and can usually catch the re-runs on that. Anyways, I go to this famous pub (thanks to friends input) called the "Hawk 'n' Dove". It looks older than it really is (opened in '67). Classic Irish pub on Pennsylvania Ave. . It's where Gingrich, Obama, James Carville and plenty other political typa people have been or held events over the years. I got there early enough to get a seat at the bar. This night was like being at a bar beside a big football game and everyone that was there were the people who couldn't get into "the game". Everyone save one guy that I talked with had some involvement with government. From the typical young interns on one side of me, to the military people on the other side of me to the "staffers" who couldn't get into the "speech" to a really nice guy Gary Flowers who worked for the Black Leadership Forum (actually the CEO who knew a SHIT load about Jazz!). JUST to watch people watch the speech was really something (save a couple of the typical interns who talked as much as watched). You know, I said that I went on this crazy journey to "learn to love music again" but you know what? I think I went to find people with passion (not to say they are not in Nashville anymores). I got into music SO randomly but what drew me in was the passion that people had for it (I'd never found that passion while diggin ditches). There in the Hawk 'n' Dove people had EVERY bit of passion for politics that I've had for music in my past. I just admired the hell outta that. But it wasn't like there was all of this "Jack in the box" jumping up and down and cheering and bullshit that you saw the congressmen doing during the speech. I kind of half expected a pep rally or "we got spirit, yes we do...." back and forth between the 'lefts" and "rights" in the crowd but there really wasn't any of that. They were just listening. Surprisingly (to me), the response and then the response Part II was ignored by half the crowd or I'd bet 40%. Actually, the "response to the response" was for the most part ignored altogether. I went down the road to a coupla other pubs during that part and that was the case there too. I guess the "Big Game" was over for the crowd. The channel that all the TV's were on at this bar was MSNBC. I asked the bartender about that and he said it was the manager who decided that. I would have LOVED to have watched Fox and MSNBC next to each other for some contrast but there you go. That wouldn't gonna happen. I guess I'll just go back to my boring assed C-SPAN in the future.  :) Now back to the music....
I actually saw 3 grown men peeing here at the same time (butt to butt). I was not one of them. I'da waited.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hackensaw Boys, Gid Tanner and the ending of a "temporary life"

Seeing as I can never figure out when bands are gonna start (even 6 months later) I missed the opener last night in Richmond, VA. The National itself is a BEAUTIFUL old theater. Holds about 1500 people according to their website. Can't find much history about the place online but I'm sure it's there somewhere. The Hackensaw Boys have been around for a few years and their music made me wanna go back to my hotel and learn more about the damn roots of American folk music. They really did a great job of representing a style of Americana music. Not in the generic term but real American music. Music's like reading to me, the more I listen the stupid-er I feel. One of the earliest Opry stars and Hall of Famer's, Gid Tanner, is from my hometown of Dacula, Georgia and I don't know ANYthing about him other than just general info. That's embarrassing (being in music so long) but what I've been reading up on today. I'm gonna put up a vid when my computer will allow me (upload speed at this hotel is terrible :() . The crowd really dug the show and this is their home base.

Capitol Ale House-I want one of these in Nashville!!!
I've got one week left of this "temporary life" before I head back to Nashville and get down to the details of starting a new direction. I've laid awake many a nights thinking about it all and wishing that I coulda been happy where I was at (at Universal) but I just couldn't do it and it slowly ate away at my self esteem, creativity, passion and my work ethic. 17 years was a good run that needed to end and had run it's course. I'm ready to work my ass off on a new course or build one if need be. :) Hitting the road for northern Virginia, then the "Carter Fold", THEN home.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Charlottesville, Virginia

ROCKIN chili at Bizou.

"Bizou" on Main St.
Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar

James Harris Moore

Meredith Watson

I feel a little tricked when I hear a really talented singer/songwriter and then find out that they come from a family of writers or in this case a son of one. So I'm thinking this young kid is a helluvu writer last night at this writer's night I stopped by (on my way to something else)! I finally did talk to him for a minute and found out that his father was a writer in Nashville. James Harris Moore was raised in Nashville. As much as Nashville can drive me up the damn walls at times, it can also make you a little more critical as a songwriter (or as a listener in my case). James was nothing like "country" but his dad (Hunter Moore) was a successful songwriter a few years back at Welk Music Group (bought by Universal, my ex-employer). Of all kids I've ever been around, regardless of their musical styles, they can really have a "leg up" in songwriting just being raised around it. Anyways, I'm gonna pretend that's not the case and put up a "flip cam" of the kid ("Cemetery Gates") 'cuz he's really talented and he's moved here to find his own way :). Seems to be a good fit for him and he definitely can stands on his own merits. Also, Meredith Watson played "covers" (or that's all I heard) and she was a really gifted player and singer, too. The place itself was an upstairs coffee shop or Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar as it was called. Nice little place (see pic)! This whole night I was headed toward The Southern a few blocks down "Main" to hear a little bluegrass. Btw, VERY well done main street/shopping area. "The Southern" was a beautiful little venue in the basement of one of the old buildings. Smart design in "The Southern",  in that they put the bar in another room with closed doors so it could make for a great listening room as well as a regular bar when you have a louder band. I got there late (got to talking at the "Tea Bazaar") and missed the opener. The band that I did catch ended up not being "my thing", though they played some great old bluegrass and country standards. Maybe it was bluegrass for the younger generation and I AIN'T exactly fittin into that category anymores. The other pictures you see was of my lunch 'cuz I LOVED it! The chili at Bizou was mighty hot and damn tasty! You get treated to the pictures if nothing else but if only you could eat a picture! Enjoy or ignore. Hey, the snow keeps missing us over here! :( S

P.S., Levi Lowrey's playing in EVERY damn little bar that I visit or have visited (playing the Southern this coming Saturday). I'd bet he's yet to be funny. O.K., he's kinda funny.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fightin The Good Fight @ the Ashland Coffee and Tea

Isn't this a GREAT picture of BJ & Kay?

Clockwise from the bottom left: Carter Redd, Tess Fisher, James Lester, Anna Harrington, Ross Severin. 
Sunday's through Tuesday's are usually the open mic or songwriter nights and last night I stopped by Ashland Coffee and Tea about 15 miles north of Richmond, Va.. Kay Landry (running sound) and BJ Kocen (hosting) have been running the writers night for going on their 3rd year (think they said). The place sits on railroad tracks of this beautiful little town (or seemed to be driving in) where you can watch the freight and passenger trains pass by. Not being raised around "passenger trains", I have this fantasy about riding cross-country on one, maybe one day. The coffee house itself reminded me of a bigger version of the Bluebird. Nothing fancy but a clean and middle america typa restaurant (if that makes any sense) with ceiling fans, carpeting and autographed pictures on the walls of various singer/songwriters. I saw about a half dozen writers get up on this "Songwriters Showdown" night. It's writers that sometimes have their 1st experience with performing in front of a crowd (or so it seems). There was a middle aged lawyer (dressed as such) that got up and played REALLY good guitar and sang a song about "Lines on Our Hands" and when he finishes he asks the small crowd "what do you think, is it finished yet?" somebody hollers back "Yeah, it's kinda weird, I like it!". A shy girl (Tess Fisher) get's up and sings what she called song #3. It was only her 3rd time ever performing. Most of the songs I heard were not something written with commerciality in mind, they were about their personal experiences. Regardless of what I thought or think, these people have bigger balls than I will EVER have sitting out there passing judgement with my little camera taking shitty pictures. Hell, I could never make 2 lines rhyme and even too damn lazy (and chicken shit) to try. Anyways, BJ and Kay really love what they are doing. They say it's been really hard in the current (economical) environment but they're scratching and clawing and keeping it going. I just wanted to write about it because most of the people there was supporting their friends or performing. It's a great coffee house for writers stopping through. so check it out if you need a supportive and warm place to play. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rollerpalooza 2011 at The Grey Eagle

Tommy Lilac Voltage IV &
Slim Suzy Lilac-Broken Lilacs

The band Lyric. Weird looking picture for some reason.

THESE guys were GR8 (with "Lyric")

Elkmont Place
Your 2011 Blue Ridge Roller Girls
It sounded a little off the wall and I went hoping to see the clash of "roller derby-ing" to a "battle of the bands". Nope, nada. At one point most of the "Roller Girls" (sans skates) did get up on stage but that was it. There were no fights, flips, body slams, trash talking, hair pulling or NUTHIN! This was basically your typical "battle of the bands" with the proceeds going toward the "Blue Ridge Roller Girls". The bar was nothing special. Nothing bad, nothing great. Functional. Old office building with low ceilings. I do like the fact that the bar is at the back and away from the music. My thoughts on the bands that I did see (for once something started on time and I was late). LOVED the duo Broken Lilacs but only got to hear "Slim Suzy" sing one song. She sang her ASS off but I was too busy buying beer, and working my way up through the crowd to get a flip cam of it (she then switched to drums and stayed). BUM MER! Anyways, really, really sweet guys (spoke to them a little) and they are moving to Nashville in the summer. For my Nashville buds, you OUGHTA hook up with them. He's a really talented guy and good singer as well but I kinda like her singing moreso (sorry) from what little I heard though. Anyways, it's worth your wild to see these guys if nothing else. It's not gonna be your "Corporate Country Music"(to borrow a line from Mr. Stuve). They are really big fans of old, OLD school country. Like PRE-60's typa stuff. There were various other artists and another group "Lyrics" (tough name to live up to) that I really enjoyed (Couldn't find a website, sorry but just putting in "Lyrics" Asheville don't really get you very far in a google search). I DID get a "flip cam" of them doing a great 70's cover song "Give Up The Funk" . Oh SHIT, they had a GREAT drummer and conga's player! The rest of the bands that I saw I just didn't care for. Then again, the last band Elkmont Place was a pretty talented rock band. It was young indy typa stuff that I don't exactly have much of an ear for anymore.I didn't stay for the results but they probably even won the damn thing. Goes to show ya what I know. Swear to god, I'm REALLY headed to Virginia now. Ya'll only got TWO more weeks of my shit and then I'll leave you all the hell alone (unless I'm looking for a job :)). You're gonna have to do your OWN damn blogs from here on out, S