I’ve driven through Stroudsburg many times but had never stopped there until yesterday. If there is such a thing as a typical Pennsylvania city, I’d say that this is one. I woke on the bus in the heart of the city (with my really nasty cold in full bloom I might add) and did my usual exploring and found the local coffee shop (a Starbux) to do my blog and pound my coffee.
After blogging and Skyping with Cheryl I went back to the Sherman Theater for sound check. It’s a very large room with theater seating, but for a room of that size it sounded great. The people working there were very nice and sound check went well. We did a jamming exercise where we’d all play but one musician would pick another to play follow the leader with. These exercises that Mike comes up with are great in that they really get everybody’s ears open. Even when it wasn’t my turn, by focusing on the two who were following each other I found myself paying more attention and my playing being more accommodating of the total sound.
After sound check I had dinner with my friends Shawn and Erin at an Irish Pub up the street. Would you trust “Chicken Curry” from an Irish Pub?? We didn’t either.
Anyway, the show was lots of fun. It was an intimate crowd and the band was in kind of a humorous frame of mind. I wouldn’t call it the tightest show of the tour, but the looseness opened some doors to places we wouldn’t normally go.
Probably the best example of it was in Morphing Again. There’s an intricate little warp in the middle of the song that’s supposed to be a call and answer between the drums and percussion while Mike, Tom and I support it, but we never really fell into it totally, and at the end of it there’s supposed to be a cue into this counting thing that takes us to the jam part. Well, we missed the counting thing pretty seriously. We did recover and get there, but by then the door was open and the jam was off the hook. We went to some unexplored places. The jam is supposed to start in 4/4 and work it’s way back to 3/4 and at the same time start in D and work it’s way back to G. This rendition was going every which way. We’d head to 3/4 and then back to 4/4 and we’d insinuate G but never quite get there. It was all very playful and teasing.
We also broke out Hap Nappy, a Mike tune we’ve been rehearsing for a while but haven’t played yet. That’s a fun one that I think will develop into something big over time.
Danny Barnes played a couple again with us, after having Mike sit in for the last couple in his set again. He’s such a nice guy and such a character. He did a couple during our first set but for me the highlight was the encore, another break out, Country Boy. It’s a lightning fast bluegrass tune with a lot of chord changes and it kind of features the guitar a lot and Danny came out and killed it with us. I’m a huge banjo fan and a closet banjo player and it always tickles me to see a master play. Tickles is the best expression for it because it literally makes me giddy to watch someone that good play.
I also have to give props to the crew on this tour. Once again, the lights were just outstanding. I’ve been hearing great things about the sound out front and Rachel has been taking great care of us on stage. It’s such a joy to work with such a dedicated group. This is our third year together and it really is becoming family.
After the show I hung with my friends Pete and Naomi and Shawn and Erin. Shawn is a wine professional and always brings a bottle of some ridiculously delicious red and last night was no exception.
I woke up this morning to a day off in Baltimore. We checked in this morning and a few of us went walking to find breakfast. We ended up in kind of a greasy spoon joint and I supposed it could have gone one way or the other. It wasn’t the most wholesome looking place, but the food was very good and the folks were nice.
I’m looking for recommendations for restaurants or entertainment on a Monday night in Baltimore, even anybody has any suggestions.
Ok, as Chris Friday said a little while ago, “It’s nap-thirty.”