Saturday, August 7, 2010
Knoxville, Nashville, Cinci, and beyond
So I have been gone for a week..just got back from Kentucky with my girlfriend Ginger visiting her family and her home town of Hazard Kentucky where she grew up. Lots of small little towns including Whitesburg, Jenkins, Kona, Millstone, and more. I learned a lot about the area, culture, coal towns, and it was really great. Now this is a music blog Chris start talking about music. Well we went to a bar called Summit City Lounge in Whitesburg. We heard it was the "liberal" "Hippie" bar in town so we checked it out, naturally. In fact it was pretty much the only bar in Whitesburg so it made sense to go. The first night we were there was a Tuesday and the characters were of all age and even some people from New Zealand were there. We heard there was karaoke going on so I told Ginger we have to stay and see what's going on with that. Wow, long story short these people can SING. We met a man named Fred and at one point the Karaoke machine was not working and Fred sang an acapella song probably one he learned in church and it was beautiful. He then continued to sing some country tunes in a beautiful deep voice. A slew of other people came up and sang right on key, right with the timing, and even in tune with the harmonies on the pre-recorded karaoke tracks. I thought karaoke was supposed to be drunk people that have never sung before..not the case in Whitesburg! Ok there was like one guy that was drunk and could not sing but everyone else was shockingly good. So the next night was the open mic that we had heard about previously online and then people were talking about it that Tuesday. Oh, I forgot I actually sang a Semisonic song called "Secret Smile" ..my first karaoke experience, I think I did alright! So I took my guitar into Summit City the next night and saw a ton of instruments all over, the place was more full then the night before and it was pretty full on a Tuesday. Apparently this is a hot open mic..or one of the only mics in the..I don't know tri-county area? We had metal, rap, folk, indie, jazz (flute! I might add), singer songwriters, young, old, experienced, inexperienced. From the night before we thought it would be all country little did we know the only bluegrass we heard was from a group from NEW ZEALAND!? Oh yeah and I played too, it was great I think I really won the room over I got a bunch of hugs after ward and some really nice comments about my voice so thank you all for accepting my music in a different town! Now I am not one to sterotype..I will ask Ginger if anything what to expect when going to her own home town and Ginger was shocked at the diversity and the talent. I was surprised myself that there was not more country or mountain music even in a "hippie" bar. So anyway, great times, great people and amazing scenery. I plan to go back to Summit City and play with Shaw Brothers really soon, we got several offers of people that said they'd let us stay at there house (heck, the bar itself houses musicians in the appartment above) and cook for us..woohee! I heart Kentucky.
So to go back in time Andy Shaw Band took a trip to Knoxville and played at this place called the Longbranch Saloon. Despite the bartender being ALSO the sound man we had a fun time playing. Ben Johnson filled in for Matt on bass and he did a great job. We met up with Keith Moody and his band and they also played with us. I love Keith Moody and his crew Steve and Manny they are such nice guys and very very hard workers. I learn so much every time I play with them they really are just nice guys and are willing to help us out so much. We played the next night in Nashville at The 5 Spot which is a really cool bar with awesome staff and cool lights made out of drums strewn all over the place. They have great food, a great stage, and a great sound system. The drum set they had in house was pissing me off cuz the hi hat stand and snare stand kept moving, that is my only gripe..but it was my fault for not just playing my own set since I had it in the car. The crowd was great and we just had a really fun time in Nashville hanging with Steve Wolfe meeting some of his friends partying at his house and playing with his dogs. Thanks for letting us stay Steve..reallly appreciate it! The next night we traveled to Cincinnati and played with The Ohms. We are playing The Ohmstead festival in August and thought it would be a good opportunity to promote that show and get in with their crowd a bit. They put on a hell of a show in their home town and were really nice down to earth guys. I especially loved the bass player "Psycho D"..or Donovan. He is actually a friend of Andyman Hopkins so I know he is good people. He is a bad ass bass player and knows exactly how to groove the bass reggae style, looove it. I look forward to the Ohmstead festival and the tix are only $25 for three nights!
Oh so after we had our mini (mini) tour we had some songwriters over to the Shaw house for a songwriter night. We have been doing these for maybe a year now? Every couple of months we invite as many songwriters as we can over and just share songs. We basically go one by one and then other musicians can join in while a songwriter is playing. This past Sunday was an AWESOME songwriter night where everyone ended up jamming on everyones songs. My favorite was when The Judah Method (aka Quinton) was rapping and all of us with our acoustic instruments (ok I ended up plugging in my electric guitar and doing some fun stuff on there) joined in with Andyman on the upright bass, Adam Cummins on brushes, and others on their respective acoustics some playing some beating on the side of the thing...it was a really cool experience. Zach Whitney is one of my favorite new singer songwriters. New to Columbus that is, he spent ten years I believe in Austin honing his craft. This man can work a room like no other and I can really learn a lot from him. When he plays, everyone listens. Zach knows how to project for one, he looks in the eyes of his listeners for two, and he plays guitar well, sings well, and has amazing lyrics that people can relate to. He has a song about his hometown becoming a suburb and them putting up a Target and man it just hit close to home. You hear songs about growing up in the country and the fast pace of the city but this song just hit straight to my experience. The suburbs are kind of that in between thing. When we were kids it was just a small little town (Gahanna where I grew up was a village, not yet a city) and little by little you see trees being cut down, farms being erased, fruit stands leaving, and the Target, and the mall, and the downfall (in my opinion) of what makes these little towns great. Now I love Target but I also love going and buying fruit from a farmer and looking at the beautiful field filled with deer across the road and that stuff can not be replaced, not for a looong time. So amazing songwriter night and I can't wait for the next one. That's it for now..phew long post!