Astute OBSERVATIONS

Summer vacation? Hags, you’re a grown man!

It’s true. Nonetheless, it’s been a fantastic summer thus far. The bass gods have smiled upon me in this fair season. As you know from my last missive, the month of May found me on the breezy, sunny West Coast. Allow me to synopsize for the few who may have missed said observations: great music, great beauty, and great green recreational inhalation.
      After returning from the balmy days and breezy nights of the Josh Rouse West Coast tour, I spent a few weeks at home. Nashville was HOT. And MUGGY! I stayed in and drank gallons of water, popped antihistamines, and baked sourdough bread in a cast-iron pot.
      I find the baking process relaxing and meditative — it’s a slow process that requires attention and time. It also makes the house smell great, and if I do it right and throw some love into it, I am rewarded with crusty, delicious, aromatic boules and baguettes to share with my nearest and dearest. In these ever-more-maddening times, a little self-care and nurturing, fermented goodness goes a long way. I did leave the house occasionally to commune with the deer, herons, eagles, flowers, creatures, and critters on the Shelby Bottoms Greenway for a few scenic rides to the Percy Priest Dam on my two-wheeler.
      Alas, man cannot live on bread and bicycles alone and must earn his living. I hung up my baker’s hat and cyclist’s helmet and strapped into my P bass. The charm of the Northeast beckoned in the form of an Autumn Defense tour. By late July, I was headed north with my pals, John Stirratt, Pat Sansone, and Greg (G Wiz) Wieczorek. As an aside, I must say, it’s nice to be in a band with another guy who goes by a nickname.
      Newtown, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Brownfield and Boothbay, Maine; and good-old Boston, Massachusetts. We dubbed this run “The Autumn Defense Vacation Tour.” Salty summer sea breezes and beautiful locations make for lovely music making.
      Being a seafaring yankee myself, the local fare was much to my liking. Lohbstahs, claaams, and steamahs were the highlights, and let’s not forget the chowdah! Are you not familiar with lohbstah? Allow me to use the word in a sentence, by way of clarification: Er, ah er, ah could I please have another lohbstah roll and anothah hahp lagah, for Mr. Quint?
      After the vacation tour, I made a brief stop in Nashville to check the mail, water the plants, wind the grandfather clock, and feed the sourdough starter before setting off once again. As I write this from the future, it is 8:01 p.m. on August 5, but in Tennessee, it is 1:01 p.m. You see, I am in Sant Feliu de Guíxols in Catalunya (Spain) with The Original Blues Brothers Band. We are in the middle of a two-week run.
      Tonight, we play a festival by the sea, as we did two nights ago in Italy. Tomorrow, we head to Málaga for three days on the beach, followed by Switzerland, Norway, and then back stateside. I must tell you, dear reader, that when Blue Lou Marini tells a joke at the dinner table, it brings the house down. And he’s got a million of ’em. I count myself very lucky to be playing this music with some of its original architects. It is an honor.
      Mid-August will find me back in Nashville for a brief minute. Just enough time for mail, plants, starter, and old grandad before Joe and Marc Pisapia and I head to Los Angeles, California, for a concert in celebration of Joe’s excellent new record entitled Connection.
      To top it all off, I’ll return west with Mr. Pat Sansone and Mr. Dave King of Hamilton, Ontario, known locally as the man on the skins with the band Creamer. The three of us will be playing Pat’s tunes in Wyoming and Colorado. By the time this all wraps up, it will be September. As I said before, I am a very lucky man because this is how I spent my summer vacation. I’ll see you in the fall, friends and neighbors!