Steve Cook's soul, song, and sweat.

Shinybass journal entry 10-13-14

Oh say can you see?


Good morning!

It’s Monday (again), and currently Columbus Day. I know, I know. He was a murderer, rapist, sex trafficker, liar, etc, etc, etc. No offense to his descendants, but he was an SOB. I wouldn’t mind changing the history books to show the truth behind Columbus (and many, many other wrongs that the history books have illustrated as happening in a happier way). Did you know Columbus had a map? Oh yeah – very few sailors (if any) venture out into the COMPLETE unknown. But that’s a story for another day. For today we enjoy sales at the Mattress stores, no mail delivery, and some of us will enjoy the day off watching the ‘Stories’ as my Grandma used to call them.

I am enjoying the autumnal colorization of the foliage out of the bus window as we roll home from the Northeast. It was peak season up in NY and PA this past weekend, so it was really pretty all over the place. I am a seasonal kind of guy, so I can do cold as well as hot; snow, leaves, and pollen do not ruin my day. We had fantastic weather all weekend, and I suspect that trend is going to change by the next big run. All good – get out while you can. I do.

The shows from the past week were acoustic shows, with just Phil, Jeff, and myself onstage, with Gordon and KT keeping us sounding great and on time. It’s a quiet bus with less folks on board, and I like that. Not that I don’t love the other guys on the road, but this is our home and our only respite on the road, so quiet is good. And these shows give us a chance to see more intimate venues and some different places, most of which I had never seen,


Day one on our little trip took the bus to Baltimore (where I flew up and met the bus after a few days of family time), and we rolled north to Bethel, New York, home of the original Woodstock Festival. I played at the fiasco that was Woodstock ’99, and I think I would have liked this one a bit more. The grounds were much more serene (at least until 400,000 people arrived), and the attitude was much different. The first one came together in a random sort of way – a feat no other festival has been able to match. We walked the grounds, including the original stage location, as well as took in the museum before it opened. If you have the chance to get up there, do – it’s a great venue – the staff is amazing, and the grounds are beautiful.

Day two we ambled to Sellersville, PA for 2 acoustic shows. The venue was great, and for some reason the second show was a little more excited than the first (oh that pesky malt beverage), and the town had some beautiful old buildings. I found some old Frank Sinatra 78’s at a thrift shop, and the restaurant affiliated with the theater was top notch. And they had bread pudding. Ding ding ding!

The following day we woke up just outside of Washington DC. Jeff and I talked over our morning, and we decided to take the Metro into DC to see some sights. Backstory – about a month ago we visited Fort McHenry, where the Star Spangled Banner was composed. On this particular morning, Jeff and I went to the Museum of Natural History, and the first thing we saw was the actual flag – the Stars and Stripes. Connection #1. As we walked through the exhibit, we saw some pictures of the influence of the National Anthem. Lo and behold, there was a picture of Jimi Hendrix from Woodstock, standing where we stood 2 days earlier. I love it when a plan comes together.

The second part of the afternoon was spent at Arlington National Cemetery. It was my first visit, and I was overwhelmed. We saw the final resting place of the Kennedys, as well as the tomb of the Unknowns. I love the fact that I didn’t have the urge to pull out my phone at all. I took no pictures, and spent the time in silent reverence. We were lucky enough to see the changing of the Honor Guard. Heroes everywhere that day.

The show at the Birchmere that night was a big one, and these shows allow Phil to cut up a little more, as well as pull out songs we haven’t played in years, or sometimes ever. The theater was absolutely packed, and with so many of Phil’s friends from the surrounding areas visiting, it was almost like a homecoming. Plus his Momma was riding the bus with us, which is always fun.

The bus stopped in Newtown, NJ for the final show of the acoustic run. The theater was pretty cool, and it was only a short walk from our hotel, so I took advantage of the 72 degree day. The walks were nice, but the Steelers game was not. To make matters worse, Phil’s booking agent was on the bus, and he is a Cleveland fan. Bollocks.

Newtown is not the big hair, attitude-laiden ‘burg one would normally associate with New Jersey. It had a lot of historical buildings and homes near downtown, and they are friendly folks up there, too. The Newton Theater was pretty nice as well, and the staff did a great job in making us feel welcome.

So there’s our fancy week. The acoustic shows are great, but I love playing with a full, loud band, so I am excited about the upcoming shows. Loud.

In seeing Arlington and the Woodstock site for the first time (as well as the small towns we hit), I realized this past run that even with all of my shows and exploration, that there is so much I still haven’t seen and experienced. I want to see it all and do it all, and I greatly appreciate suggestions on places to visit when we hit your town (and don;t worry – most people like to tell me where to go…) and I take them all into great consideration.

So as I get out – you need to get out! Make the day count, folks, and enjoy this last blast of semi-warm weather!

See you on the road!

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