Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 06-06-11

Oh, the places you will go!


June.  The summer has started to peek its warm eyes around the trees and tease us with warmer days.  Anxious graduates try and plan the best way to embellish the top of their mortar boards with a tape-scribed message along the lines of ‘I’m free’ or ‘Kollege bound’.  The outdoor shows just about hit the best weather ever as the sun starts to set, and your mood can go from fearful of everything in the future to a blissful calm, just by sitting in a small town park for a few minutes, watching the world go by.  I love all times of the year, because I am a fan of seasons (sorry Wisconsin and Los Angeles), so a great part of this job is being a human weather rock for different parts of the country.

When we get a calendar from the office, I sort of look at it and say ‘Oh, OK, we’re going here, there, wherever, and if it’s a town I have already visited, I start to think of food.  I like food.  I think if we are by the sea, can we get ____, or if we are in Texas, will we get brisket, etc, but I also check for locales that have points of interest.  Like a Pittsburgh Pirates game, or a good golf course.  (and if anyone wants to play on a show day, and I can sneak in 9 to 18, let me know!)  In our sojourn this weekend in New Hampshire, I really had no idea what I would find.  I mean, we know it borders Canada, so we have to give it to them for putting up with THAT.  We know that Concord is the capital, and that it is a very tiny state wedged between two others, sort of the meat in a New England sandwich, but beyond that, what have we got?

I found over a couple days a bunch of people who love life.  They seems to embrace it – I make fun of the kayaking hippies (and I own kayaks, so it’s OK), but they are serious up there about being outside.  They ski like crazy in the winter, and bike like mad in the summer.  And they eat healthy and have clean cities.  Seems like paradise!  With granola snacks.  I will say this, though, day 2 on this trip found us at Dartmouth in the morning.  It was my first time up there, but seriously – drop the effing attitude, folks.  You are giving the rest of New Hampshire a bad name.  I guess I should remember that we are still in the Northeast where ‘ME’ is not just a state, it’s an attitude…

But on to the happy stuff.  In walking around, I found some great historic places, and really enjoyed Lebanon more than I did Manchester.  Because I don’t think I took any pictures in Manchester.  Sign #1…


The first picture is from Boston, the second from Dartmouth, the third of a church built in 1828 just off the square in Lebanon.  The day in Lebanon was perfect – we got out and played basketball for a bit, then I went for a couple of walks.  With the acoustic shows, set up and sound check are a little easier than the big production shows.  Of course, on this run, I was helping out with merch, too, so I had a little more responsibility.  All good in the ‘hood, though.

On my last walk, I grabbed Andy and we hit the square again – the day was literally picture perfect.  As we circled the square, I spied this…


An upright bass?  In the park?  With an elderly gentleman at the helm?  Umm, hell yes!  As we walked up, I told Andy to get a good look – this is going to be me.  We moseyed over and sat with Ernie a while.  Ernie Brown, for those of you scoring at home.  He has been playing for about 50 years, and he decided it was a nice day to play outside, so he brought his beat up upright to the park.  He was a character, that is for sure, and after talking with him, I am pretty sure he was there to pick up chicks.  Yea, he was 70.  He had some funny stories that were paused as women walked by so he could say hi.  It was pretty funny.


So let this be a lesson, folks.  Outside is where it’s at.  Inside is the devil.  Sure, it’s nice and cool and comfy, but it’s a deadly cocktail of laziness and lack of exploration, splashed with a blend of TV and couch-infused false happiness. It’s not real, and not what it’s all about.  Get out and explore.  There are many, many little gems out there waiting for you.  Like the bacon at Lou’s diner (, and the cool afternoon breeze of  Skyline drive.

So we are back to Nashville.  The cicadas leave, and the CMA Fest infestation begins…It’s not a bad thing, really.  I am doing a show in Printer’s Alley on Thursday night for an artist I have never met, and then have to be at the stage on the river bright and early for a 10AM set with Phil.  I am pretty excited.  I think this is my 5th year in a row at the River stage.  That’s right – I own that side of the stage…

So bring your pink cowboy hats, your fanny packs, and your homemade signs, ’cause we’re gonna have us a big ol’ time in Music City.  Seriously – if you are coming to town, remember these simple tips:  First, drink lots of water.  It’s gonna be hot.  Second, DUI cops will be out like crazy.  Walk back to your hotel or use public transportation.  And third, drink lots of water.  That’s all I got.   The only time you will see me is on stage, ‘ cause I don’t like gridlock! 🙂

See you on the road!


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