tour diary: leg two, part two: Atlanta, NC, drive to Indy

Driving Through Bourbon County, Kentucky in the ’91 Volvo, we listened to an NPR interview with Keith Richards. It’s amazing how quick the last few days have been but we’ve gone a long ways. We seem a long way from Birmingham, but that was only a few days ago.

Atlanta and we arrive at the house where we’re playing a private party. Our gracious host Marisa had set up some Mexican beer and a few candles. It was a wonderful night with no PA and no pretensions. Singing without a mic felt great. Steve LaBate’s set was fantastic and I particularly enjoyed his second to last song, introduced as a “Catholic guilt song.” Taylor was mesmerizing. You could have heard a pin drop during “96 Crayons.” I joined him on harp for an exuberant “Damn Boy.” After the show, Marisa lit a fire pit in the backyard but running out of wood, so we broke down an old futon frame and tossed the logs in the fire.

Headed towards Asheville the next day, we were excited to get into the hills and mountains of western North Carolina. Taylor turned me on to a kooky country singer named Jerry Reed and was singing along and playing air guitar on the steering wheel (the YouTube video is below). The whole region reminded me of northern Vermont, especially the town of Marshall, NC, where we set up for another show without a PA or mics. Taylor, sound-checking, inadvertently started the show when a few guys sat down to listen and we spent the night tossing songs back and forth: some originals and some standards like “St. James Infirmary,” “High Heeled Sneakers,” and such. I tried “High On The Plains” in open G and we all played on most of each other’s songs for a small but appreciative audience. We stayed up in our host’s cabin and played music well into the night, with a pause now and again to look at the stars.

Yesterday was the longest drive. Enjoyed watching Taylor get into some Collins Kids tunes and “Beast of Burden” from the NPR interview with Keith.

Mike mentioned that he could hear some of Taylor’s slide sound in the Stones’ “You Got To Move” and I asked him if he listened to any Mississippi Fred McDowell. He says not much and that most of his slide influences are sub-conscious. Same with my harp, though his slide playing’s on a whole other level.

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