Let's Catch Up

Hi -

We've got lots of things to catch up on. First was the Highroller's benefit show for Richmond Children's Hospital last weekend. It was a super fun afternoon & evening. Kelly & Dwayne Gilmore did a super job putting together several bands, providing stellar sound, and making it a great event. It was cool to see other local musicians in action.

I did a solo-acoustic set, playing "Thirteen Weeks", "These Days", "Sorry Again", "Beautiful Soul" -> "Sweet Child O' Mine" (believe it or not!), "A Perfect Afternoon", "Where Red Roses Fall", "Somewhere Down the Road", "Hollywood's Dreams", and closed with Neil Young's "Sugar Mountain". You shoulda been there!

Had a great time at the Pot Luck Audio Conference in Tucson, Arizona. Once again, Craig Schumacher did a fabulous job of putting the whole thing together. I was on the Home Recording discussion panel. At first I was a little nervous, as I was sitting up there with some pretty high-level studio pros. But they were great people who had a lot of experience, knowledge, and history, and who, these days, do a lot of work with home recordings. And they were cool and positive about the Saturday's Radio tracks I shared. Afterward, I and co-panelist Alex Maiolo were interviewed for the Audio-Issues website. I'll let you know when that interview is posted. These conferences are always great for catching up with old friends, too. It was great to see people I've known for years as well as to meet new friends and solidify acquaintances. 

A couple of days before flying out to Tucson, I trekked up to Washington DC to see one of my heroes, Paul Weller, play the legendary 9:30 Club. It was a great night. I ended up hanging out with some very cool people - we had a mutual love of 80's college rock. When Weller came out I found myself thinking, "Oh My God! That's Paul Weller up there 15 feet away from me!" (I had a great spot!) He put on a cracking show, with a good mix of new stuff (from the fantastic Sonik Kicks album), older solo material, Style Council, and choice Jam. Fantastic! I got one of Weller's guitar picks, too!

Prior to that I took a week-long road trip. It was kind of a 'fly by the seat of my pants' trip. I'd initially planned to go to Nashville and then head to Chapel Hill. On the way to Nashville my GPS died near Knoxville. I'd posted about it on Facebook, to which my grade-school peer Angi responded. She now lives in Athens, GA, one of my favorite places. Earlier in the summer I'd hoped to get down to Athens and maybe see her (we weren't super close as kids, though we did play siblings in a TV movie). I responded to her post by saying that it didn't look like I'd make down to Athens this time, but maybe in the future. "Come any time!" was her response. 

The plan was to hang out in Nashville for a couple of days, play the Bluebird Cafe's legendary Open Mic Night (I didn't - I was not prepared to wait in a line that long, which I'd posted about previously), and head to Chapel Hill. I had a good time in Nashville, stopping off at several Broadway Honky Tonks and hearing some fabulous musicians, visiting Welcome to 1979 studios, and hanging out with my way-back-when California friend Kevin McBride and his family. 

But Chapel Hill wasn't meant to be. As I was contacting folks there to see about getting together, it became apparent that everyone I was hoping to see were either really busy or weren't going to be in town. So I thought, maybe I COULD go to Athens. I messaged Angi, who once again said "Come on down!", changed my motel reservations, and set out for Athens. Once there I met up with her, seeing her for the first time in 28 years (!!!), and having a wonderful dinner and catch-up conversation. 

While in Athens I saw bands on the rooftop of the recently rebuilt Georgia Theater (including the great Barlettas!) and at the famous 40 Watt Club (where I was witness to a beautiful on-stage marriage proposal!). On Saturday morning I stopped off at Chase Park Transduction studios for coffee and conversation. That night Angi took me to see her friend Jefferson Ross play. Turns out he's a great singer-songwriter with a fantastic new CD out, Isle of Hope. His wife Tami is a filmmaker who recently worked on The Law of Lunativity. Ah, new creative friends. It's a lovely world. I'll tell you, there's an energy in Athens that's undeniable, and it's a very appealing potential home. We'll see what life brings. 

Nashville was cool too, with music conversations at every table and on every corner. One of the music stores had a wall of Rickenbackers! But I also felt like I was pegged as a tourist there, as opposed to feeling like a participant in Athens. 

As you may know, I'm a teacher in my "day job", so my summer vacation is drawing to a close. Last year, my second as a teacher, I'd promised myself to stay focused on music and Saturday's Radio, and to not let the job overwhelm me. While I did get the Roses for Sharon reissue finished, I wasn't as active as I wanted to be. Hopefully work will allow me more music time this coming school year. I'd sure like to be doing a lot more shows and releasing more music. We'll see. 

See you next time.

- Rob C.