Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day 8 & 9: Where are we going and when do we get there?

Saturday, Oct. 20
11:28 a.m.

Maryland - I write you now from the shotgun seat of the van, to be posted later today hopefully. We are in the midst of the great haul, a predicted 13-hour drive from Nashville to Dewey Beach, Delaware. We've been on the road about 11 1/2 hours at this point, and we've still got another two at least, maybe more. I'm not sure what city we're in, just somewhere between Annapolis and Ocean City. Good enough? I sure hope so.

Last night was the crux of the trip. Nashville has been a top priority since this band started, as we've planned to go for over two years now. It worked out that we landed a Friday night gig and a show with our good buddy/former Boston musician/producer of our last record Jabe Beyer (whose album title is appropriately lifted for the title of this post). To get the show, I actually went over Jabe's head and hooked it up with the club, but I'm glad I did (and I'm guessing he is, too). It was awesome seeing him. He seems legitimately happy since moving south, while still holding onto that unique charm that is everything Jabe. Plus, he is still recording, now at Sony in Nashville, and also offered to record our next album, hopefully this summer. Could we do some tracks in Knoxville and some in Nashvillle? Sure, we just have to see how these offers look and the like.

Anyhow, one of the truly special things about the Nashville show, already an important date to us, was that Mike's parents drove all the way out from Dallas to be there. Mike's brother lives in nearby Murfreesboro, where we stayed the night before and much of the day of the show. The parentals graciously bought the lot of us lunch and had nothing but praise for the show. Thing was, we were having such a ball in Murfreesboro, we almost didn't get to downtown Nashville. ALMOST. The club was on 12th Ave, which runs downtown, but still a ways away. After checking in with the club around 6 p.m., we scurried downtown to soak up as much of Music Row and what not as we could before the scheduled 8 p.m. start time.

The last time I was in Nashville I was convinced I wanted to move there someday. I still do after last night, though for some reason I view it as a city I'd like to own an apartment in and visit a few times a year but not live there full-time. There's a dream for you. Anyhow, before the fun, we had some trouble. Finding parking. We finally decided to go to a paid parking lot, where we paid for two hours and receive no ticket in return. I tried again for one hour, just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Same deal. Mike went into the hotel and returned, saying that the woman at the desk was giving them attitude and refusing to believe them. I went in there and hit her with a flurry of words, so she would at least hear our point. A manager finally gave us two hour-long passes and offered us a refund. We passed on the refund and thanked them kindly. Finally, as we were waiting, I got my first offer for a boot shine, but I declined, due to time. Perhaps this was'll see why.

By the time this was all sorted out, we only had a little under an hour to peruse Broadway. We made the predictable stops at gift shops for souvenirs, and somehow I resisted. Not for long. A sign caught my eye toward the end of our walk: Buy one pair of boots, get two pairs free. Unprecedented! I've developed a minor addiction to boots, and I was prepared to spend for such a great deal. The deal went as follows: the store buys boots by the "ten thousands," according to the clerk, so customers can buy one pair of boots and get two of equal or lesser value for free. Conveniently, Matt and Ian wanted boots that were cheaper than mine, so we all just divided our boots' cost by 50 percent and I paid the full amount, with them paying me back in cash ($70 each, a real steal for boots; $140 for me, for a $280 pair of boots, not too shabby). I don't know what it is about boots. Like a good suit, they just instill confidence in a person. And, of course, they're great for dancing.

Anyhow, we made it back to the show just as Jabe was setting up and we all exchanged the howdy heys. We opened for him about 9 p.m. and put on what was undoubtedly our best playing performance in the last few gigs. We had to play a little softer than usual, but we adjusted very well, I felt. I told Mike he should make up a set list of what he knew his parents would want to hear, and he put together a really strong set beginning to end. The crowd was so-so, but filled with familiar faces. A local told Matt that normally on Friday the 12 South Taproom is jam-packed, but the normal crowd had descended upon the Ryman to see Kings of Leon last night. Thwarted! So, let's see.. that's Insane Clown Posse stealing our crowd in Norfolk and KOL stealing it in Nashville. Whatever. But that's OK, we had a great time. To top it all off, we ended up doing OK on tips and CD sales, which is always a plus. See excellent photos by Mike's father Gene here, I tried uploading myself but I can't get it right now.
SET LIST: You'll Be Crying Soon / On the Lam / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / The Nadir / Six Hours / Golden Fleece / Research Blvd / Trouble From the Start / Valley of Gold / Shotgun Wedding

The show actually got some press:
It isn’t often that 12 South Tap Room makes it into these weekend showcase posts, but this seems like a decent show. Cassavettes, not to be confused with independent filmmaker John Cassavettes, is an Americana folk rock band from Boston that regularly comes home with accolades from local awards. Their MySpace page lists influences like Wilco, Ryan Adams and Neil Young and has some pretty decent songs. Best of all, it’s a free show starting at 8PM. If you’ve got nothing else going on, this would be a good way to spend your evening.

After the set, we caught Jabe's first set (mostly new songs, and really damn good) and I grabbed what was perhaps the best Shiner of my entire life. The club had Shiner on tap and dang it was good. Just thinking about it makes me want to drive the 11 hours back to Nashville. I realize I've been writing a fair bit about Shiner with no proper explanation. Here 'tis: Shiner Bock is a Texas-brewed beer that we all love and is not available in Boston or anywhere nearby (the closest place in Pennsylvania). Thus, I must stock up when in Virginia or the south. Even then, it's not available everywhere in the south, so when available, it trumps any other drink (even though it's cheap, too, which is another big advantage). It's the only beer I would say I legitimately like. Or love. Or whatever. It's awesome.

Anyhow, we headed out from Nashville about midnight by my count, driving in shifts of twos (one person driving, another staying awake with him to keep the driver awake, the other two hopefully sleeping in the back). I caught a few Zs on the way, but nothing like Matt. That guy was knocked out. Now, Matt and I are on shift 2 duty, with him driving. Good thing he's rested.

Tonight, we're at the Dewey Beach Americana Festival in Dewey Beach, Delaware. I've wanted to play this festival since it was started last year, but this is the first time it's worked out. The pay is decent, at least better than most of these road gigs, and we'll be meeting up with Girls Guns & Glory again. Totally righteous. I'm really looking forward to it. For this crowd, in a similar vein to MPMF, I think we need to keep it rocking and play the well-rehearsed stuff. Should be good. Hopefully people are pumped -- and there's a rumor my old friend Nina will be there. That would be the tops.

More than anything, with Nashville behind us, it's hard to believe we're still on tour another week. It feels like the tour has reached its end or pinnacle, but who knows what good times lie ahead? Such is the mystery of the road. Good gracious, I love it.

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