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.

Smokin’ J’s Flood Fest

So, I had the pleasure of playing at another Irene-flood-related benefit show this weekend. What a treat!

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There were some terrific folks there; many of them already pals of mine. It was a treat to share a night and the stage with them. Rocky Roberts (Neil Young’s guitar tech for, like, a hundred years; on his way to London to tour with My Morning Jacket the next morning but he stayed on to do this show) and his band (all pals of mine); The Lonesome Brothers (more pals); Kim and Sharon (ditto); Clayton and Aaron (duh); Dave Wolinsky (I’ve seen him once or twice); and Chip Wilson (never even heard of him).

Let’s talk about this Chip Wilson guy. OMG! The man’s got chops. I mean real Tommy Emmanuel chops. Crazy unbelievable, can’t-even-begin-to-follow-along while staring at his left hand trying to figure out what he’s doing. With a little bit of drool probably coming out of the side of my mouth because I’m so enraptured by the music coming out of this guy and his guitar. Gotta seek out CDs and performances.

Also, he came up special from New Orleans to do this show. He’s originally from Vermont, “played his first paying gig in Manchester, VT forty years ago,” he said. Moved to New Orleans for the music. Got flooded out of New Orleans during Katrina. Moved back and was so impressed about how many New Englander musicians made the trip down to do flood-relief benefits that he had to return the favor. No money, no fame, no nuthin’. Just a good guy doing his thing to help out. How great is that?! Plus, did I mention the guy can play?

It was a treat and honor to be part of the show at Smokin’ J’s. So much fun; they raised some serious money to help the folks at Twice Blessed (who will in turn help the folks of Wilmington); there was a great turnout for a great cause. Anyway, thanks for having me and most of all, thanks for coming out and supporting the good people of Wilmington.

PS. I have very fond memories of Wilmington: it’s the home my favorite childhood ski area. Carinthia, now part of the Mt. Snow conglomerate, was a small, family-owned place with a couple of t-bars when I was a kid. With the best french fries ever. I remember the long car rides up from central Massachusetts, listening to my father sing Gilbert and Sullivan medleys and the day we showed up for opening day and my father was outraged (outraged, I tell you) that a single adult day pass had gone up to $6.00. I understand that skiing has gotten a little more expensive since then. I haven’t been keeping up so much since I ran out of ACLs when I was 18. Anyway…