Changin horses midstream…

Sitting in the truck in what I believe is called the Bellevue section of greater Nashville, outside of the lovely home of Laurie McClain, a wonderful songwriter and beautiful soul. She invited me over for lunch today, and we sat in her kitchen overlooking hills and blooming trees, talking about life and the road and our personal sagas. She has a little prism on a solar-powered motor in her window, so all afternoon we were surrounded by little rainbows.

We swapped songs for several hours, talked guitars…she let me play her gorgeous 1967 Martin D-12-20, the same twelve-string model used by Keith Richards on “As Tears Go By.” It’s one of the three most brilliant guitars I’ve ever played.

She lives on a hill, and sadly many of the houses just a few hundred yards down from her were affected greatly by the flood here. She was out of town, but apparently not many people knew about it while it was happening who were on higher ground, as it happened Sunday morning, when most folks go to church or sleep in. She was in NYC, and called her husband, who walked out of the door and down the block–to find a lake below, where his neighbors’ houses stood. It’s hard to tell the damage from the street as the exteriors of most houses seem ok, but you can see mudlines and waterlines if you look hard.

Last night I played the Commodore Lounge, which is one of the important songwriter nights in town. I played in the round with a gent named Darcy Slade. So with just the two of us, does that still count as a round? Is it more of a parabola? Hmmmm…either way, people seemed to dig it..the host gave me her card and invited me back!  Very exciting. Old pals Karen Rome and Dean Berner came by, which was great. Dean’s a guitarist here in Nville, with a band called Eden’s Edge. They are doing VERY well, and went off today to open for Lady Antebellum!

Afterwards, we went to Ted’s Montana Grill, a chain of steak and burgerhouses owned by Ted Turner. It was wonderful, because all of their food is fresh and sustainable, and they use cardboard straws from! Apparently Ted is not only one of the biggest landowners in the country, he raises bison, which are used at the grill..and which are delicious. I did have a bison burger. Dean had to leave right after dinner to go to a band meeting, and Karen and I went off in search of some good bluegrass.

It didn’t take long. We arrived at the Station Inn, a storied old joint in the Gulch, where we caught a fantastic band called the Steeldrivers, Original bluegrass music played by industry veterans. The singer, Gary Nichols, has an INCREDIBLE voice. He’s out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The main songwriter, Mike Henderson, plays mandolin and National steel guitar. They were a big part of the soundtrack for the new Robert Duvall/Bill Murray film, “Get Low,” and appear in the movie too. I can’t wait to see it.

Karen and I caught up on the last ten years of our lives, laughed a hell of a lot, remembered things that perhaps we wish we hadn’t, and generally had a great time. It was raining when we were done hooting it up, and I headed back to Chip’s place and atypically for me, passed right out and slept til the morning. Wow.

So changing horses midstream. Well, I’m off to Knoxville tomorrow and am changing the rental car for something easier on my fuel budget. I wish I could keep this truck but man, it’s a rough thing to load it up with all of this damn gas! So comfy to drive though…hey Chevy, wanna give me an endorsement??

Tonight I have my last show in Nashville, at Mad Donna’s songwriter showcase. I’m very excited as I have a feature by myself–I’m not playing a round tonight. Then tomorrow the BlackJesus Holy Rollin’ Road Show begins with my pal Jon Worley in Knoxville. We are gonna have a blast, playing with some serious Kentucky pickers, backing up both me and Jon. When I arrive, I go straight to the recording studio to lay down slide tracks on his new record!

And one last big annoncement: On Tuesday, September 7, I will be going to Chicago, Illinois, to play guitar with Kent Burnside at Buddy Guy’s Legends. This is an unbelievable honor and thrill for me. I can’t wait!!!

Off I go to waste more gas in this ridiculous truck. Oooh yeah.


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