Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 02-15-16

Isn’t Olympia a beer?

Or was it, I should say…is Olympia still in production? I only ask because of Winter Storm Olympia, which we happen to be experiencing firsthand. I would much rather be experiencing the beer, but from what I remember, I don’t think it was that great. I digress…This submarine is navigating the icy roads down I-81, with our skilled drivers leading the charge to get us back to our loved ones and warm beds safely. Here’s a can of worms for you: I’m predicting that some congressman will propose ‘Global Warming Days Off’ because of huge weather swings like the one we are experiencing. Instead of correcting the problems, we’ll just add to the ridiculousness. Carry on.

Our bus has been cold pretty much since we left Nashville – which seems like a month ago. In truth it’s only been since Wednesday night, but when you don’t see much sunshine and can only get warm in the shower, it can get downright taxing. Not that we’re in a Siberian work camp or anything. If we have to be cold and traveling, I’ll take this mode any day. I hear stories of motorists being stranded for hours in their cars. I remember road trips where traffic was not cooperative, and that wasn’t even in cold weather. I will tell you this – if ever we are stuck, we’ll pile as many people as we can in here to stay warm. Of course, they may not be fit to drive once traffic gets rolling again. Scratch that idea. We’ll throw provisions from the windows. Let them eat cake.

As you know, I love to get out and I love to see the world. This trip promised almost none of that, as we heard of temps hovering around zero in every city we visited. Well, if a little cold weather stopped us, we wouldn’t have taken the battle of Midway. (joke, people). I will always sort of find a way. I guess if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be me.

Day one – Alexandria, VA, at the Birchmere Theater. The Birchmere is always a sellout show, and just about a home town show for Phil. It’s always great to see friends on our yearly sojourn to the City of Alex (NOT an official name, but it may be now), and the manager at the Birchmere makes us feel at home. Weather at showtime: cold. Sightseeing:none. This sign is indoors. 🙂


Day two – Ridgefield, CT. The Ridgefield Playhouse is a wonderful venue in a sleepy little town that oozes charm and hospitality. We get up there once a year, and it’s one of our favorite places to perform. The gym is not far offsite, so we actually were able to sweat a little in the afternoon, which helps get blood moving, and makes us feel better since we’re a bit pent up when it is so cold outside. Our opener was the talented Jessica Lynn, who had a great band with her. It’s a good day when we play with a nice bunch. I had a few friends make the trip from NY to see the show, so thanks to them for once again making the trip.

Day three – Rutland, VT. When we arrive at a city, the first place we hit is the hotel. It seems Rutland was a little more icy (and cold) than we expected, so we had to head straight downtown. I was OK with that. More food choices, and the scenery is a little better. We found a breakfast joint that had small (ONE GALLON) jugs of Vermont syrup, and a cafe owner who wanted to share his theories of the JFK assassination. He claims that JFK’s body double was killed that day, and that he saw a picture of Kennedy living in Greece at age 97. If I knew nothing of the events from that day, I would maybe, sort of, kinda…OK…not believe him. Regardless, the pancakes were great, and the downtown area was pretty.

I walked around and took in 2 art galleries that day, on of which was in the old bank building, built in 1911. (What else do you do when it’s -15 outside?) The exhibit was good – check out the one in the old bank vault. I also scoped out the few surrounding blocks from the theater, which comes in handy when looking for food. The evening’ venue was built in 1913, just on the heels of most of the beautiful downtown buildings. Rutland gives that time warp feel to things, and my old soul is just fine with that.

IMG_8343 IMG_8363 IMG_8347 IMG_8349 IMG_8350IMG_8356 IMG_8360 IMG_8359

So let’s talk cold. I know it’s all the rage these days, but this night, this frosty, wind-whipped ridiculous night, I was the coldest I’ve ever been on a bus. We were all a trying to bundle up as best we could – the bus just couldn’t get warm. With the temps this cold, it’s a little tough.


The next morning we woke up in Lexington, MA. I was being hit up all morning about the local history (it seems my reputation precedes me), and with the current temp at -10, I wasn’t going to be down with that sickness.


Or was I? As it turns out, negative temps aren’t terrible with no wind and a little sunshine. FULL DISCLOSURE – we were only about a thousand yards from Lexington Green, arguably where America was born, so it wasn’t a long haul. I convinced ‘The Jeffs’ to venture with me, and I’m glad we did. It was cold, no doubt, but to be that close and not see it – well, that would have been a crime. My Mom pointed out that I’ve probably seen more history firsthand than I learned in school. I suppose I have her to thank for that. That’s the beauty of taking the kids on outings – you never know what it will spark. So, in honor of that, behold the BEST picture ever of Lexington Green.


It was cold.


Here’s the Tavern where the Patriots got all hopped up on Mountain Dew and decided that enough was enough. Paul Revere showed up and 80 of our militia squared off against 800 of theirs. Someone fired – no on knows who – and that was the ‘Shot Heard Round the World’. Then Mel Gibson won the Revolutionary War. The End.

IMG_8366 IMG_8367 IMG_8368 IMG_8369

And I found a 3-sided clock, Shawn. They will replace it with a 4-sided for their 400th anniversary.

Now on to the sappy part. I already posted this story on social media, so bear with me. This note was delivered by Mommy to the stage. We don’t play this song live. Or ever. I think I played it a couple times in rehearsal, and maybe we fumbled through it once before at an acoustic show. Well, we jumped in the sea of uncertainty, and halfway through the show started this song. After the first chorus, the audience started cheering, and looking up in the balcony, there were Daddy and his little girl having a Valentine’s Day dance.

Being the spectacle, we’re not supposed to show emotion. We have to keep it together whilst the world crumbles around us. Well, I looked up and had to immediately put my head back down. If I watched any more, I would have started the water works. Forgive me for being human, but days away from family out here can be hard, and seeing that beautiful bond, knowing my wife and little boy shared the day together without me, well, you get it. I’m just happy to be somehow a small part of people’s ‘moments’.


So there is the week that was. We will hopefully get back to Nashville before we have to play the Opry Tuesday night. Stay warm out there, and remember to take care of the pets. And then get the shorts out for the warm weather this weekend. After the snow and cold, I’ll take 65 degrees in February. Thanks again for a fantastic run, and thanks for being so good to us, show in, and show out.

See you on the road!

3 thoughts on “Shinybass journal entry 02-15-16”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.