November Gallery Walk

If I may be so bold as to direct your attention to the following video

And if I may be even bolder to point out what happens 9:12 into it. Yes, it’s a cover tune. Yes, it’s the first time I played it all the way through. But that’s when KT and Kim showed up and they wouldn’t let me not play the new supersecret surprise for Johanna (that’s her smiling and singing along).

So there.

Disappointed, but impressed…

Metropolis, November 14, 2011

I was challenged in October (Friday, 10/14) to write a new song by some folks who were sitting and listening to me play at Metropolis. The gist of the song is “I’m a big wuss and I’m afraid of my wife so I have to get home.” This was long after I was scheduled to have stopped playing, but there I was, still playing because people were still listening. I made their attendance at my next Metropolis show (Monday, 11/14) for the grand unveiling of the new song a condition and they agreed. So, the challenge was on.

I thought they might expect something cute and funny. I thought I would try to write some over-the-top, gut-wrenching, heart-on-my-sleeve thing, but the song decided it wanted to be a blues. So, “Fright’nin’ Blues” (or is it “Cellphone on my Trail”) was born. I promise, it’s a blues, but it’s a completely tongue-in-cheek blues. Something Restless Legs Johnson would write.

I played at Metropolis last night. Three hours in, the folks still hadn’t shown, so I played the song to start closing the night. There was a witness to the original challenge there, so he can confirm that I held up my part of the bargain. While I was playing it, there was a woman at the bar madly operating her smartphone. When I was done, she caught on to the whole challenge thing and that I had written the song. She was disappointed, because she’d been trying to find the song online and figure out whose song it was so she could download it. But then she was impressed that it was I who had written it. Huh. That doesn’t exactly happen every day.

I had also learned a cover tune for the same group of people. They had requested it and we had discussed it and how I had trouble playing it because it had too many syllables in some of the lines, so it’s tough for me to sing. I concede that people do it all the time; it’s just me. The cover tune will have to wait for my next performance.

The upshot of all this is, “I wrote a song in a month because I do what I’m told.” Also, “I can write a song in a month when challenged.” That’s kinda cool. I also wrote another song this past week because it occurred to me and I just sat down and wrote it. So, I’ve got two new tunes to road-test and get comfortable with. Sweet!


This is just a shout-out and shameless plug for a pal’s new web destination: Brattleborology.

BRATTLEBOROLOGY is here to provide a fun and comprehensive view of Brattleboro, VT. We’re here to detail the arts and culture that make this area so awesome, the outdoors that make this place so beautiful, and the people that make Brattleboro feel like home, no matter where it is you’re coming from.

With a little time and a ton of effort, this should soon become the place to go to find out what’s going on in Brattleboro and why you should be there. I’ll be posting things I know about and looking there for things I don’t know about. Y’all should, too.

Last Night’s Gallery Walk

So, I played for a couple of hours last night at In The Moment Records. Great fun! Byron and I were both feeling a little under the weather, so we shut down closer to 8:00 than 9:00. Still, great fun! I’m stunned that my “Angel From Montgomery” brought tears to the eyes of a real John Prine fan. Again. It’s indescribably wonderful to be a part of moments like that.

I did an experiment: I didn’t tape up my left hand with the Kinesio® tape I’ve been using for the past few years. It was a slightly less-than-epic fail. Lots of electrical nerve activity flying up and down the hand and forearm. The backstory for this is that I saw an orthopedist this week who confirmed that the problems with my left hand –and recently also with my right hand– are, in fact, my neck’s fault. So, I’m back to PT this month. He specifically recommended not getting a foraminotomy. Yet.

I took the advice of a massage therapist and iced my forearms when I got home from the gig and today, the morning after, my left hand is not hurting so bad. Interestingly, it’s my shoulders that are hurting this morning. I suspect poor posture –tossing all my Alexander Technique and PT advice right out the window– last night is to blame. For shame.

I also did the first which-version-of-Tornado-Weather-do-y’all-like-better lunchtime poll. Split decision. One enthusiastic vote for the upbeat version, two less strong votes for the mournful version. Clearly, we need more data points.

Tornado Weather

So, I’ve been “road-testing” the song about tornado weather for maybe almost a year. It’s done. I finally got the last verse a month or two ago.

The other night, during the big power outage, I was sitting in the dark with a couple of candles, quietly playing Tornado Weather on my Stratomocaster. I don’t know what possessed me, but I started playing it upbeat. It actually worked (thankfully, the twangy country version did not). I could hear Phil’s freight-train drums driving it along and it kinda rocked. And maybe instead of a high lonesome violin or viola, there’s a pretty Jon or Bob guitar line.

Now, to be fair, this is exactly the kind of stupid thing I’m apt to do. This song, in its slow pretty version, is the thing that got the most applause and hoots at Flood Fest. So now I start messing with it. Duh.

Anyway, at the next few shows I’ll be conducting a which-version-of-this-song-do-y’all-like-better lunchtime poll. Please, vote early and often.