Well, last night was a very fun night. It was not without some sound issues for me but still it was a very creative night.
We had been in Baltimore all day. Mike, Tom and I met at noon to work out harmonies for the tune that Tom worked up from our first day of rehearsal, and then we had lunch in Fells Point. The weather was gorgeous and it was a very relaxing afternoon.
At sound check Mike noticed that the stage had been set up with a lot more space between us than usual. I was thinking that it would be better for me anyway because it would give me more separation between sounds on stage, but this ended up being a disadvantage for me later on.
I had dinner with Howard and Noah and then we checked out Danny Barnes’ set. I love this guy. What a great player. He’s so innovative.
When we went on I had a hard time hearing anything clearly except my guitar, but that sounded more distorted than usual. I’m fairly certain that my volume was louder than usual so I’m not sure whether I was pushing the amp harder or whether my ears were distorting but I found myself adjusting my distortion pedal all night, cutting back on the drive.
Regardless of the sound issues for me, the band sounded great. It was a playful evening, initiated by the Danny Barnes sit in. He came up for Deranged, a rare and bizarre David Bowie tune taken from a movie soundtrack. In the middle of this we inserted Walls Of Time, the bluegrass tune which seem to fit effortlessly into the middle. At this point Danny, Mike and I met in the middle of the stage and passed our instruments to the person to the left. This put Mike on banjo, Danny on guitar, and me on bass, and we played most of the tune this way. Near the end Mike and Danny swapped and Mike wailed a guitar solo. (He is one of my favorite guitarists…) Then we swapped back and finished deranged.
We broke out the new Tom tune in the first set too. Mike had been looking for a tune in the repertoire that had a repetitive vocal ending that wasn’t the chorus of the song and we found it in this tune. Very anthemic.
Second set we broke out my tune, Jones, for the first time. The groove on this was so thick and when we rehearsed it we only played one verse and chorus, and I ended up rearranging it on the spot.
We also added a guitar/keyboard solo to the verse/chorus progressions in Sugar Shack. It was cool and fun to play over the progression but I’m not sure it adds anything to the song.
All in all it was a great night. It’s hard for me to rate one night against any of the others because they’re all so different from one another, it’s hard for me to say this one is better than that one or whatever. There is stuff I love about each night, and each night it’s something different. Last night it was the playfulness of the jams and high energy of the whole night.
Creek was well represented with many fans there last night including one guy who asked me to play Gypsy Blue. Of course I had to bust his ass a little. “You could at least request one of MY songs!”
I must say that this cold is kicking my ass majorly. I went to bed early and woke at noon today in Charlottesville for our day off. I’ve been very congested in both my sinuses and my lungs and I have a sty on my eye. I know others that have had this same thing and I guess it lingers. This is my fifth day with it and I’m ready for it to be gone!
I’ve been really making an effort these past few months to keep my voice from being too raspy and it was working pretty well during my weekend in California and the first part of this tour but the cold totally defeats it. I have to push so hard just to have sound come out sometimes.
The weather’s gorgeous in Charlottsville today and there’s an outdoor mall right near our hotel and that’s where tomorrow night’s venue is.