film by Howie Day
Hey All - Finally made it to NYC to play the beautiful Beacon Theater for a sold-out show with Rosanne Cash. It’s been a grand and glorious couple weeks so far.
Started in at the River Rocks Festival along the waterfront in Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, TN. Took the bus to the pastoral Ohio U campus in Athens, OH for an enjoyable Mountain Stage taping with some fine musicians including Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady’s Hot Tuna.
Gary, Marc and Tim spent a day off golfing. Gary lost the most balls but somehow beat Marc and Tim.
Hopped the bus for an exhausting 12 mile jaunt to tiny Nelsonville, OH at the historic Stuart’s Opera House where we met up with Rayland Baxter, our opening act for a week or so, and his buddy Austin from Apple Valley. Rayland is the son of the great pedal steel/multi-instrumentalist Bucky Baxter and is hauling Bucky’s Fender amp around in a massive Pelican case. Rayland can play the shit out of it. And he likes his red Chuck Taylors. Great show, although we were constantly worried about a ghost haunting the dressing room.
Next we rocked the Bluebird Nightclub in Bloomington, IN. Great show, great fans. Threw a few back with some of the cats from the Chris Robinson Band after the show. We’re already road burnt. Well, not Gary, cause he’s a ROAD DAWG!! Eventually we made it across the street and fell asleep on the bus watching “Blues, Rags and Hollers”, a great doc on Koerner, Ray and Glover.
Woke up in Nashville, walked into the hotel to the sounds of loud horns and hundreds of Americana musicians and record execs roaming the lobby. In town for the Americana Music Awards held annually at the old Ryman. Amazing place, lots of exhibits of famous guitars and Nudie suits - damn, that Porter Waggoner was a big dude! Award show was fun - Lucinda Williams, Avett Brothers. and Amos Lee among the performers. Gary and Mark presented the Avett Brothers with Album of the Year. Boys read their lines to perfection! Afterward, we played a true rock show at The Cannery with the great Carrie Rodriguez. Back on the bus and… suddenly woke up in… Louisville, KY to play a show at the beautiful old but new Brown Theater. Spent a couple hours in the historic Brown Hotel around the corner. Marc found a nice YMCA a few blocks away. Karen went for some long walks. Another fantastic crowd, great sounding theater. Every show seems to sound better than one before. Wanted to hang around but the bus called. Ann Arbor beckoned.
On to another beautiful venue, the Michigan Theater on campus. Followed sound guy/tour manager Ryan to his favorite coffee shop in town. Ryan knows sound systems. Ryan knows resonator guitars. Ryan knows every great coffee shop in every town a band might play. Another fantastic crowd - we’re getting spoiled for sure. For the most part we’ve all been good about going out and hanging with the fans, who have all been a joy. Had a few drinks with The Wrenfields cats and somehow found the bus and fell asleep.
Mr. Smalls Theater is in Millvale, PA., about 10 miles north of Pittsburgh. The folks at Mr. Smalls treated us like royalty and we loved seeing a packed crowd invading this quiet town. Rayland wore his red Chucks and red hunting coat again. With his signature hat, awesome man mustache, and fast-ass fingerpicking, his 7’ 5” frame is quite an imposing stage presence.
Made it up to Wilmington, DE for another set with our long time friends at WXPN and World Cafe Live at the Queen Theater. These guys have been so important to us, when they call we come running and jumping.
Next, another hoppin’ gig at the newly renovated and improved Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA. After the show we hung with the Rounder folks - overseen by the Elliot Colbert - Chairman of the Board of Redlight Management - and Elliot’s assistant Kevin “Bulldog” Morris. These guys are too damn good to us. And they put up with way too much of our shit to be that good to us. Oh, and thanks to Chris Nese for the tasty Pumpkin Bread!!
Nice day off in Baltimore where Ryan and the magnificent guitar tech Kelly Mac could finally be rid of us and spend some time with family and friends. Harbor area in Baltimore is always a good time. The show at Rams Head Live was another true rock show. The gang at Rams Head took great care of us, despite our inability to agree on how to fold the t-shirts for the merch table. A lot of folks don’t realize how much difference it makes for a band on the road when the venue goes out of its way to make us comfortable - and we’ve been more than lucky this whole tour with great house production and backstage folks. And that’s no bull.
We’re all hanging at the Beacon chilling in one of the 43 dressing rooms and staying out of the union guys’ ways. We can hear Rosanne sound checking “7 Year Ache” and since Gary’s not here we’re guessing he’s made his way onstage with her. The rest of us are watching docs on Alice Cooper Band and Big Brother and the Holding Company or partaking in the best catering of the tour. Mark O. is especially excited to see POM on the rider for once. Looking forward to this gig, lots of friends coming and from the look of the guest list maybe even a few enemies.
We’ll get back to you soon with more reports. On a side note, Tommy Stevens - per Gary’s request - is on the road with us. We’re not thrilled about the extra weight but Tommy doesn’t really get in the way, only pops up when Gary needs him. Gary promised that Tommy at some point will write the tour diary he’s been bragging on (some of you may remember Tommy’s last tour diary). Between that and his ill-fated Golden Smog doc Gary and he hadn’t spoken for years. So we’ll wait and see on that one.
Best of love from Gary, Mark, Karen, Tim and Marc - and Ryan and Kelly. Oh, and look for Kelly’s short live clips in the near future!!