Here we are again, out on the road. This time we are taking ourselves to Texas. We are a member short, as Pete has other obligations to fulfill, and so we ditched the trailer and added a tour dog! Abe started traveling with us last month when we did just three shows in Minneapolis, Verona, and Rockford. He did so well that we thought we would take him out again.
6th- We left out today and drove to our friend’s house in North Richland Hills, TX close to Fort Worth. Jack and Shannon are some friends we met about three years ago by accident. Tony and I had planned a trip to Fort Worth to see my uncle who was living there at the time and one day we went out and happened upon a festival. When we looked up the acts we saw these guys called Whiskey Folk Ramblers and thought they looked cool and decided to see what they were about. We instantly fell in love! When we got back, I had followed them on social media and sent them a message telling them how much we enjoyed their show and how cool it would be if we played a show together. Later down the road, we got the show together at the Magnolia Motor Lounge and we all met and hung out and they became people we followed on social media and therefore knew everything about each other’s lives. Jack and Shannon instantly clicked with us and I constantly told them how adorable their two kids were and that I was going to steal their youngest. *Rewind* Jack is the stand up bassist for Whiskey Folk Ramblers and Shannon is his wife. These guys were awesome enough to offer their house to us for a few days and so day one ended with us driving into their driveway at almost one in the morning after a huge delay in traffic from construction and a quick stop at In-N-Out Burger.
7th- When we woke up, Shannon was already gone for work, and so we wondered outside with bleary eyes and found Jack. We let Abe wonder around in their yard and talked about everything under the sun. It’s really hard to get caught up in a timely manner when you haven’t seen someone in three years. We had a lunch date at 12:30 and so we went to meet a guy that has played some shows with us in the Shoals area and was also in our performance video of Resonate. Daniel Jameison. He and his family recently moved to the same town that Jack and Shannon live in and so we met at a BBQ place called Smokeys. It was pretty legit. The buns were sourdough, the sides were at a bar area, and I have never been to a place where the service was faster. They were literally sitting my plate in front of me as soon as I said what I wanted. Daniel and his family seem to have taken to Texas really well and are having some great experiences here and we are so happy for them! After lunch, we went back to meet Jack and Shannon’s two boys: Ian and Ollie. They are both so precious and sweet! I say that, but Ian is 15 and Ollie is 7. Not sure Ian would approve of the term precious. Ian was so sweet, in fact, that he watched Abe while we went to our first show. We played at The Live Oak. Now…all of you people who think that living this life is glamourous, here you go. Literally three people who weren’t on the guest list showed up. And just fyi….we put two people on the guest list. There were three bands and our pay was based on ticket sales after the fee that the sound guy gets. It just happens that way sometimes, but this is a good time to mention supporting live music. But… I had promised myself that I was going to try to live in the moment more often and so I got up there and played like I have never played before. For those of you who have seen me….I actually moved while I played and I had a good time. Haha! After, we went out and had a drink since it was Shannon’s birthday and then we stopped at Whataburger and I got a honey butter chicken biscuit. Dear. Lord.
8th- Bless Shannon’s heart. She and Jack got up today and she cooked us a feast for breakfast on her birthday. It was nice to just be lazy for a while and talk and enjoy our friends. We had to be in Gainesville after 5, and so we eventually had to load up and say our goodbyes to everybody. We will be back, though! Tonight we are at a house on Moss Lake and we have spent our day with the Wicks just jamming to some music out on the porch watching the lake, and eating some white chicken chili that was out of this world! Abe has been so content. He has laid around all night taking naps, and I know that means that he’s a happy pooch. In tomorrow’s forcast, we have lots of water sports planned. I need a lifeproof phone case!
9th- This morning we woke up and immediately hit the water, even though it was a little chilly. Abe and I loaded into a kayak and paddled out to the middle of the lake togehter. It was a stressful, but peaceful time for me. The breeze was blowing and the scenery was beautiful, but I was freaking out that my precious baby was going to, at any minute, fall or jump out into the lake. Can my dog swim? That is debateable. We eventually returned as the wind picked up speed, causing the lake to become choppy. The rest of the afternoon was spent putting golf, reading, and hanging out. We left out for McKinney, Texas around 3:00 PM and had no trouble with the traffic, only with trying to stay awake after being fed well and being so relaxed. These guys throwing the house show are super awesome and this is our third time with them in the last three years. As usual, they put on a heck of a party and spoiled us rotten, and we even signed a guys nipple. So…
10th- LeGrange, Texas….here we come…Tonight’s venue is a place called The Bugle Boy. We ended up getting there before anyone else showed up and so I searched around the place and saw all kinds of air plants and I found just the right one that reminds me of something out of a Dr. Suess book and I put it in the car to come back home with me. We had several people come out to see us and we also had several people who watched it live via the web! That’s a cool bonus! Also, there were volunteers there that were beyond sweet to us. We ended up having a great time!
11th- Today was a day off. Although we have stayed with the Wick’s for several days at this point, let me tell you about our arrangements. They have put us in a room that adjoins one with Chris. We all share a bathroom and it is very roomy and pleasant. It also has no windows, which means every day we wake up at noon or after and think that it’s still the middle of the night and then we go back to sleep and wake up even later. It’s been nice. The only thing we did was get ready to go see our buddies The Whiskey Folk Ramblers in Denton at a place called Dan’s Silverleaf. Before we went there, we met up with our friends Emily and Josh (from the house show) and ate at LSA Burger, which was amazing! The Ramblers put on a great show and we had a great time seeing all of them again!
12th- There are a few days off in a row and so today, being another one, needed to be a productive day. We all spent a few hours going over some cover songs that had been purchased in the Pledge campaign and we plan on videoing them in the next few days when we get most of the kinks worked out. The only other thing we did was venture out about 2 miles down the road so we could have supper. We went to Dominos and Chris got a pizza and Tony and I got some chicken bites, his with buffalo sauce, and mine with the jalepeno and pineapple stuff. Then we went to Sonic and got some ice cream and a hot dog (for Abe) and saw a cute toad hanging out in the kid’s sand area. At one point we saw him chasing a cricket, and we were cheering him on, but he was too fat to keep up.
13th- Long ago, in the year 2008ish, I started playing banjo a bit, not seriously, but I still got on a forum board called banjohangout.com and met a guy named Zachary Almaguer. We wrote each other back and forth forever and became really good friends. Later on in 2009, he came all the way from Illinois and stayed a weekend with me and we literally just sat around talking about life and I watched him blow me away with his banjo skills. Everyone at work was worried that he was some weirdo that was coming to kill me, but Zalm, as I call him…and sometimes Zalmalamabingbong, was super shy and quiet and a gentleman. He didn’t even complain about sleeping in the back room with no air conditioning or the fact that the only way my bathroom door would close is if you put a really heavy candle on the floor next to the door. Anyway, Zalm moved to Texas shortly after to pursue a musical career, and we have kept in touch ever since. That being said, we drove to Austin tonight to see him and hang out. This is the 2nd time Zalm and I have seen each other and we have been friends for 7 years now. Before he got off work, we made our way to The Noble Pig and had some lunch. It’s a great BBQ place that we learned of from Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Then I took Tony and Chris to see the bats at the Ann W. Robert’s (?) Bridge downtown, but it wasn’t peak season so by the time they came out it was already dark and they just swarmed under the bridge. It was really hard to see. I’ve seen it before and it was pretty awesome. The bats came out and there were millions of them! They just kept coming out of the bridge for almost an hour and we watched them fade into the distance. It was beautiful. I thought I could share it, but, maybe another time. When Zalm got off work he took us to a honkey tonk bar called The White Horse and we sat around catching up and watching people do the Texas Two-step. It was pretty amazing. I almost wanted to get out there and try, but Zalm said one of the guys was an instructor and I didn’t want him seeing me try to dance or getting me back out there to teach me how, either. So I kept sitting and watching. We eventually left and went to Trudy’s and Chris and I had a stuffed, deep-fried avocado because Chris’ mom said they were amazing. We said our byes to Zalm at the end of the night, and prepared ourselves for a 3 hour drive home. Maybe it wont be another 7 years before I see him again. *Rewind* On our way down, we stopped at a convienence store on steroids called Buckees. Anyone who has never been to one, needs to hop on a plane now and go see one. Then you can die happy. There is a hot food bar, little knick-knack items to buy, clothes, sandwich bar, sweets bar, fudge, cinnamon rolls, beef jerky, burritos, etc., etc., etc. It’s my best friend. Please, everyone, write letters to these people and make them put one closer to me.
14th- Today I am still under the weather from my avocado, so I’m still drowsy and bleh. But… Tonight we have a show! We drove to The Woodlands, TX to play at The Big Barn of Dosey Doe. It looked like all kinds of 90’s country artists had played there before. The acoustics were awesome too. Tony said that he read that it was an old barn in Kentucy and they took it down and shipped it to The Woodlands and recontructed it. We played with The Wicks and Chatham County Line, who are out of central North Carolina. It was a good show and I feel like I should get CCL hooked up with our friends from Kentucky, The Misty Mountain String Band. We had a large gathering of people who were there for us. For example: Ali, who is a friend of a girl named Airi that we met in Florida, and who are both friends with a girl we met and stayed with in California named Destiny. Small world. Speaking of small worlds, we also met the brother (and I would say twin brother) of a man we call “a saint.” Steve Beckman. A couple also came and brought me some jam from berries that were picked fresh that day. We literally have the best fans in the world!
15th- Love and War is tonight in Plano, Texas. We have a lot of friends that live there because of meeting our house show friends, Josh and Emily. They brought a whole slew of people to our show! Thank God for loyal friend/fans! Also, this place has a killer sirloin pecan salad. I NEVER box up salads, but I did this one, and greedily ate the other half of it as soon as we got back from the gig. The sound was awesome and the sound guy was good at what he did. We also met Eric, a guy who has pledged for one of the songs that we have been working on this week. Great venue. I hope we made some new fans. This is our friend that looks just like Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
16th- Another day off and I have literally laid in bed until, like, an hour ago. It’s 6:30pm as a reference. Abe has been my buddy all day. I’ve gotten some work done too! I had a short story to write as another one of the purchases made through the Pledge campaign. I’m super excited about it! It helped that I know this couple personally and I know a bit about their love story. They are expecting some children (triplets to be exact) and I’m writing them a children’s story book with a fictional twist on their love story! I can’t say how excited I am about it! We will probably end the day with a celebration meal with the Wicks for the end of the tour kind of thing. Tomorrow is our last day and then we head home. We hear that The Rustic is a really cool venue though, so we are excited about that.
17th- The Rustic was a really cool spot…all except their “green room” which was a room that had all the workers stuff and bags of onions that blocked the doorway to the bathroom. Over all, there were hundreds of people there, and I think that we won over a few new people who were working on their bachelors in nursing. I’m working towards getting into that program myself. I’m not looking forward to it. It was nice to see all of our favorite people out and some new ones that we have been following for a long time, but just hadn’t had the chance to meet yet. Tomorrow is home times, though, and we are really excited about going back, even though it seems to be about 20 degrees cooler. Yuck.
18th- All that needs to be said today is that we are all happy to be home. See you guys again in November!