Shinybass journal entry 11-11-11
Good frosty morning!
It’s the 11th – Nigel’s Day for those musicians scoring at home – and it’s cold. A mere 3 days ago, I was running around the backyard with the dog, wrestling in the mounds of fallen leaves and working up a sweat as we played. And as a side note, my black lab has some ‘ups’, so I am thinking dock dog when the weather warms. If nothing else, just to say that I trained him to jump a ridiculous distance. I typed that line slowly and quietly so he wouldn’t hear. He likes to think he’s training me. But back to the cold. I did get ‘lucky’ and I cleaned my gutters yesterday when it was only 55, as opposed to 88mph DeLorean cold. One for Steve.
Cold or not, however, I love the seasons. And I truly love winter. What a great time to get things done; recharge – eat – sleep – hibernate – snowboard. I wish I were jetting off to snowboard. The truth is, I am selling my snowboard. Not that I won’t use it again, but it’s a great excuse to get a new one when I do go. So if you need one, slightly cob-webby, I got one for you. Inquire within.
When you live in a warm part of the country, you tend to get a little spoiled, I think, as our trips last week took us to Jacksonville then off to Ft. Myers, FL. Showtime in Jacksonville hit a balmy 58 degrees, and I heard the word ‘cold’ used a lot that day. Cold, shmold. Ft. Meyers found us battling the elements as well, with a 65 degree mark hit at showtime. Oh the huge manatees! Here’s a taste of the torture we endured, complete with J-Dawg the pigeon whisperer.
But let’s back up a hair. Oh, I guess I can’t do that. Let’s just back up. The Tuesday before we hit sunny F-L-A we were in Nashville, TN, playing the Grand Ol’ Opry, that hallowed institution that moves from the Bell South theater at Opryland to the Ryman auditorium every November and December. This is the toppermost of the poppermost for the Nashville experience. I haven’t been on the Opry in a few years, so the return was soaked in, and somehow a lot less stressful than my first 25 times. Really. I will say this – not having a record label breathing down your neck helps. There is a funny force at play here – the Opry is a great arena to showcase your music, but unless you are on TV, only a few thousand see you play, so it’s kind of like doing any other show. BUT – because it is the historically-significant Opry, then, it’s more important, creating a certain energy. I do cherish it, as evident by talking about it and documenting it, so there. And for that – you get a couple of shots from the stage.
Being at the Ryman is great. Being at the Ryman twice in a week is remarkable. My second Ryman night came in the form of the ‘Let Us In’ concert, to benefit the Women and Cancer Fund, and started by Sir Paul McCartney. Phil played, but the house band was used, so I was left to figure out how I could get in the show without actually playing. So, the window opened for me when Kenny Loggins needed a guitar tech. Enter Steve, who has only handed off a guitar once onstage, and very crappily, I may add. My duties for Kenny were to make sure I had the guitars in tune and that the new acoustic strings were stretched out. This meant basically ‘hang out backstage and play guitar at the Ryman’. Umm, OK. As I plucked this amazing guitar, I paused for a moment and heard another guitar one room over. It was a little better than my playing. I was hearing Laurence Juber run through some pretty ridiculous tunes. I played softer.
After hearing the likes of Steel Magnolia, Chuck Wicks, Phil, and Laurence (with Jeff Daniels as host), I was soon to be on. I had my guitars all lined up, the song order lined up, and thoughts of the last guitar exchange from shows past were suddenly in the front of my mind. I was hoping my years of reflection would come in handy so I could make this exchange with ease. I wasn’t actually thinking of much when it was my turn – just to not trip and make sure the guitar made it in the hand of my artist. Well, I am here to tell you that it was such a successful night that I was allowed to take a picture. And Laurence was pretty cool as well.
So my whirlwind week wound down with a dinner party at a dear friend’s house, and a Steelers loss to Baltimore. A great event and then a great loss. Ahh, the ying and yang of it all. I shall enjoy the trip this week – we are off to Greensburg, PA , which is right outside of Pittsburgh. I will be sporting the Black and Gold, especially the big-ass jacket. It’s gonna be cold. Dammit.
See you on the road!