Sunday, February 28, 2010


Today was nice and relaxed. So often there is something big I would like to watch on TV, or listen to on the radio/live stream, and something always gets in the way - writing, traveling...eating, sleeping, whatever. But today, for the olympic hockey final between Canada and the US, I got to sit in a room with 3 Americans (and one Chilean) and watch it - all of it, the whole thing. Hockey is one of the only times when I actually feel Canadian anymore, where I actually look at the US as evil competitors to the throne. It's as if I never decided 17 years ago to leave Canada for a life in the USA and never return. Like I never spent thousands and thousands of dollars on lawyer and visa fees to have the honor of being able to live the life of a struggling musician here, instead of at home there. Whenever hockey's involved, I suddenly want to tearfully sing O Canada and listen to "Limelight" by Rush. I don't know why. They started chanting "U-S-A", so naturally I just started blurting out "No - CANADA!..." like Will Farrell with tourette's syndrome. James starts saying, "Yeah, when they give you guys tests for US citizenship...the final test of allegiance needs to be to sit you in front of a Canada-USA hockey game, measure your heartrate during the play-by-play, and see what happens". Bad idea! But at the end of the day, here I was in Panama City Beach, and I had my moment alone...on the let it out...

Then I remember things about why I left. Here's an example: The USA - home of Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, and Miles Davis - puts at their Super Bowl halftime shows The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Prince. Pretty awesome. What do we do at the Olympics? Nickelback and Avril Lavegne. Nickelback! That's the best you got?! Why not Leonard Cohen, or even Arcade Fire? Americans never put Creed in their Super Bowl. I suppose there's some charm to the whole thing - like Johnny bringing in cookies to school that are nasty and fall apart, but all the same it's still sweet that he made the effort - but come on. I remember the ceremony when they closed down Maple Leaf Gardens. Our big moment for the world to watch, what do we do - Ron McLean on the ice for 3 hours with a microphone bringing out Leafs most people don't remember, from teams that never won. The gravity.

This is probably pretty mean, and truthfully these things aren't what made me leave Canada. the big picture I suppose they kind of are...but like I say, it is a very endearing place.

I guess ultimately, it all comes down to the power of nostalgia. Before I could eat my own food, I wanted to be in the NHL. My dad took me out to skate when I was about 1, and I played hockey religiously for the next 18 years. I just loved it. Even now if I watch a good game, or am in an arena, it takes me back to my love of it, and I guess my first the formations of dreams. I remember Wayne Gretzky came to the Toronto Zoo once to meet fans and sign autographs, and my mom took a friend and me and we stood in line for hours, only to have it shut down right before we got to go up and meet him. My mom was outraged that these "hussie girls - those groupies!"- the first time I was ever introduced to that term, come to think of it -started out way behind us in line, and butted all the way up ahead until they got to go up and meet The Great One. She got my friend and I to write letters to the newspapers, and to Wayne Gretzky's own management people! And wouldn't I be a monkey's uncle if 3 months later, we didn't get autographed pictures of Wayne in the mail! Thanks, Wayne (even though it was just a stenciled signature)!

All in all, it was nice to have a day off to watch hockey, walk on the beach, and make curry. Even if poor Natalie did have too much lettuce in her sandwich. Tomorrow - south Florida.

Postscript 03/01/10: It turns out that Neil Young ended up performing. So, Canada, I guess you stepped up to the plate after all.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


We have a new catchphrase here in Natalie Stovall land. It kind of came out of my mouth during a Hank Williams fiddle solo, and now it's the life of the party. It's very rudimentary - you rear your head back, summon up some fire in your belly, open your eyes real wide, and just throw it out there. Whooo! Whoooooo! You can add different vowels to it too, if you like... Whoooaaaooo! It really is a great palette to launch your inner lunatic from. We can barely get through a song onstage without somebody busting into it. It may be particularly obnoxious on some of the slower ballads about misfortune or loved ones...but you can't stop rock and roll. Plus, it makes you feel like Ric Flair. Whoooo!

We had a 4 1/2 hour show last night, and the people down here in cold Panama City Beach FL were troopers for coming out. By the end of the night, you could see your breath. Of course the rest of the world has to deal with this stuff all the time...but this is Florida - people move here so that they never have to see their breath again. We had a lot of fun, and Miguel and Z.P. had new wireless units, so they could roam around with freedom onstage, into the crowd, wherever they wanted. Me, of course, I have a complete fucking rat's nest of cords around my area, with rotating guitars, shit routinely getting tangled up, stands falling, cords coming out of pedals, etc, and it gets worse as the night goes on. It would be easy, except I switch from electric to acoustic consistently throughout the set, and you actually have to stop and think each time you put one down and pick the other one up, to make sure the instrument is following its correct route to the stand. Thinking is OK sometimes, but it's not something you want to do onstage for 4 1/2 hours.

We've had tremendous fun thus far in Florida. There will be some video footage coming soon - footage from us here in the house, I mean, laughing harder than hyenas watching Chris Rock - but last night we were dealt some sobering moments after the show as they were trying to kick us out of the club. The first involved me and my sweet and lovely girlfriend, who's back at home in Nashville. I know how hard it is being away all the time, but sometimes I try to fool myself into thinking that maybe its not so hard for her being in a new city, with a new job, no real friends yet, and just beginning to drive again after a 12 year hiatus. And it is hard - really hard - and like a lot of the important realities in life, it's not something you can just sweep under the rug. She's very strong, and very warm, and I know how alone she feels back there, and she knows how much I know and how I wish I could do something. In Austin I would go on tour for weeks at a time, but she had a community of friends there, and places and things she liked. Here it's different. Everyone knows that being a musician is a full time job, and there are years and years lost to it before you can hope for some sense of stability in your life (if it every comes). It's a decision you agree to when you make the musician pact with yourself. It's like accepting you are bald, or short, or whatever. Things just come with the territory. And as life goes on, you realize your family and loved ones are also your bedrock. And man - it doesn't always match! Reconciling these two situations is not impossible, but often requires a significant amount of work. And there are times - like when people decide to uproot, make new decisions, start anew - when you really have to face it and tackle it head on. We talked and talked, and felt bad and felt better, and life goes on..

Then, as if that wasn't sobering enough, it was suddenly small potatoes to hearing Miguel say, "There was just an 8.8 earthquake in Chile, and I can't get ahold of any of my family". My god! We all stayed up as long as we could to see if he could get through, but unfortunately we'd spent the last 6 hours playing loud music and drinking, and as I tried to stay there until we knew what was happening, I just started to fall asleep in my chair. What good news it was to wake up today and have him tell us he finally heard from his father at 7:30 am, and that everyone in his family was OK. If you're followed this new blog of mine, you know that Miguel is one of the most kind and genuinely good people you can ever hope to meet. I don't know what any of us would have done if the news had gone the other way.

It's not something I can comprehend, but I know I ought to. Tragedies of this nature - ordinary random people, suddenly thrust into most extraordinary of circumstances. As citizens of the world, we are all responsible for each other to a certain degree, and must face these things. People always debate our responsibilities for action, but we owe it to people to try and put ourselves in their position, because it can happen to any of us. And as for Miguel - he's a beautiful guy, and a friend of mine. I'm glad his family is OK.

We have a TV in the house with a few channels, and so in trying to find out what was going on, we all tuned in to that farce of a news medium, CNN. In the face of a BIG story such as this, they pull out all the crucial stops - 3D diagrams, laser light shows, CGI tours of the fault lines and rock beds - it's like watching The Matrix, but with news. Wow - how impressive, CNN - You must be more important than news itself! It's one thing if you're covering the Kardashians, but you can't help but feeling bad about yourself, and generally sleazed out, watching tragedy covered this way. Still - it's all we have right now.

We have the day to rest up for tonight - another 4 1/2 hours of music and sweat. I think there's also some sort of contest involving girls competing for cash prizes and/or free weekend passes to some festival. I don't know how they're going to do it though, it's a little cold for a wet t-shirt contest. But the show must go on. Whoooaao!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Panama City Beach:

What I remember about being here as a kid on spring break - 12 years old - is airbrush shops and amusement parks. Now it's a two night stand at the club on the beach I used to gaze at longingly, but was was too young to get into. What a long, strange.....whatever.

This leg started exactly where the last one left off - with me being late and inconveniencing everyone. It started promisingly enough, with Kim passing her driver's test (congratulations, sweetie!), and us running by the bank and getting to the tour van not too late. Then came the realization that in my haste to get out of the house, I left my merch at home and needed to detour back through rush hour for it. Two hours later, we hooked up again in good spirits and headed to Florida. Fortunately, everyone in the band is much nicer and more patient than me, and they all seemed to get a kick out of my scramble and repeated apologies. I can be kind of squirly and get under peoples' skin, I'm just hoping it doesn't happen with this lot. I mean - it will - it's just a matter of whether it will be a big picture problem or if people can hopefully see that I hate it more than they do. It's a condition I've been fighting since 2nd grade. There's a kid I blame, I just can't remember his name. But I can't seem to shake this one, try as I might.

Jacksonville was fun - outdoors, sunny, big stage - then I left my jeans in the hotel room and am now trying to figure out if I can get them UPS'd to me. I don't know if my car insurance payment can wait till we get home or not, thus I don't know how much money I actually have. I had the info on my old computer....but I lost that in New Mexico. And so it goes.

But hey, some cool things have happened. Last Sunday, I went to Billy Falcon's and demoed the new song Rose and I have. And as it turned out, he was doing a live stream that day. There was a dude with the thickest New York accent I've heard in 8 years, it made me teary eyed and nostalgic. I told Billy I've missed that accent. Then Billy made us macaroni and gravy, er...spaghetti and red sauce. Simple, easy...classic. There was even italian bread for gravy sopping - all that was missing were Dean Martin pics on the walls and overcooked escarole. Mmm...escarole.

Here is the stream:

Free TV Show from Ustream

Somewhere about 20 mins in, Rose and I do our song, and I sat in with most of the tunes as well.

Billy and Rose's tunes are always great, and a particular high point for me was Peter from Norway on the piano. And what a cool guy! I had 2 friends from Norway once, they were nice. Peter said he was gullible, almost paid $4500 for a B3 organ because a particular guy had said there was unlimited work in it for him if he did. Then Billy and Rose told him not to believe anything this particular person says (all the good Nashville studios have B3's already, and no-one wants to take a B3 on the road because they're too freakin' big). They said this guy texted them once and tried to back up a previous lie by saying he was jamming with Steve Gadd at Kenny's Castaways in New York. So they called Kenny's Castaways and Kenny's didn't even know who Steve Gadd was. Oops! I said yeah...he has said things to me that seem a bit fishy...but I still like him. They said, "Oh yeah, man, definitely...he's the best!" I love all these people.

We're going to be in PCB until Monday. It's cold, but the people who frequent Spinnaker's are apparently crazy, so they'll be out no matter what. I made pasta for everyone last night. Personally, I felt it wasn't up to snuff, regarding the standards I've tried to set for myself. I was going to use kale as a green, but Publix had none, so I used broccoli rabe, which is really bitter and I love it. But I wasn't sure if everyone's an acquired taste, you sort of hate it at first. So I tried to tame it a bit, and the whole thing just ended up seeming a little overambitious to me. Sometimes the most effective way to get somewhere is a simple straight line. Simple, easy...classic. But everyone seemed to dig it, so no harm, no foul. Still, I was a little pissed.

We did a radio show today. Natalie kicked ass, sung great. We were a bit far from the mikes, and our harmonies (well mine anyway), were a bit wonky, but overall we decided we made a passing grade. We all want the best for Natalie.

Looking forward to Spinnaker!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Billy Falcon's Sowing Circle

When I first got to Nashville, I came under the pretense of having a new booking agent who had steady work lined up for me that was to start the weekend I moved here. Then it turned out he was a fraud, and I had no work, no money, and no time. In the intervening 6 months before I was finally able to leave again on tour, I did two things - wash dishes in a kitchen, and go to Billy Falcon's Sowing Circle. I stumbled upon it as a total accident, but it was a great accident. After that, Thursday nights offered the only moments of salvation I would have for quite some time.

Billy, who writes songs with Bon Jovi from time to time - and has had his songs covered by Stevie Nicks and Joe Cocker among others - has a humble Thursday night residency at the Blue Bar here in Nashville, during which he plays with a very big and very loud band, and has all sorts of guests come up on a weekly basis to sit in, perform on their own, or do whatever. He's got to like you, but if he does, it's great! He sounds big Jersey cityscape, which is where he's from. So I also know he knows the difference between real pizza and pizza here in the south. Part of the ensemble is his immensely talented daughter, Rose. So far, I've had the privilege of writing with Rose twice, and tomorrow we are actually getting together at Billy's home studio to demo one of our songs because we both like it so much. Then Billy's making us pasta! Anyway, the song's called, "Always Coming Home To You" or "Always Coming Home", or something like that.

Since I've been in town for a week, I got to go to Sowing Circle not once, but twice. They're starting a new Friday night residency at a 12 week old club called Center Stage. This place has a big stage with some ramps, and what is surely the coolest backdrop in all of Tennessee - a wide, bright orange photograph mural of west Texas oil fields! Some of you know I've driven out to west Texas a lot over the last few years of touring, and find it to be one of the most barren, unforgiving, and beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. I age every time I go out there, yet am better for it. Kind of like when you sift through trash for money. Or like Joe Ely says, "Lubbock is a romantic place...if you've just gotten out of the pen."

You can't really tell in the picture how dominating this visage is to the theatrical centerpiece of the club, but you can see Billy and the band standing around between two songs.

What I usually do at Sowing Circle is sing one or two of my songs solo, or with Kenny Wenner (the excellent saxophonist) accompanying me. Then the full band comes out - drums, bass, 2 electric guitars, sax, fiddle, percussion, and tons of people banging on pickle buckets (how rock and roll started)- and we do Bruce Springsteen's "She's The One". It is so much fun. A wise man once offered me the advice that if I ever do cover anything (which I don't that often), covering Bruce in general isn't really a smooth move for me, as I already kind of have a Bruce bone in my identity. In this situation though, I really can't help myself - I'm like a kid in a candy store - sugar, more sugar!

I wish I had footage to show you of me doing with with the SC crowd, but all I can really leave you with is......Bruce doing it in 1978! One of the most awesome live performance clips you ever will see (bootleg video quality aside, that is). Enjoy!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gretchen Wilson, The Army, Home

Good morning from Monday. I am back home in snowy Nashville, with a whole week to get some things done that need doing. Tomorrow is a big day, I will tend to two things that really need tending to - taking my lovely Kim out to find a much needed chest of drawers, and then me making curry for all comers! I will blog from time to time about my passion for food and cooking, it is the only other thing I do well. It's also one of the few things that makes me feel as peace, other than when sitting in a room by myself with a guitar, or riding the New York City subway (seriously). Maybe there's a correlation, it's something I fell into years ago when I lived in Queens and hung around a particular restaurant owned by a couple from Naples like I was their mascot. (Manducatis - 1327 Jackson Avenue, 11101 - GO!). If it weren't for the bi-polar, manic depressive, paranoid schitzophrenic nature of all restaurant owners, or the Russian labor camp-esque physical toll of running your own restaurant, it's something I may have looked further into.

Who am I kidding, though, there's really nothing else I've ever seen myself doing since I was 14 (when I made a conscious decision), or really when I was about 9 - when I found my first ever radio station - CKOC AM, Hamilton Ontario...Casey Casem countdown simulcast...Come On Eileen was the first song I ever heard. Hey, it's catchy. It was really like The Beatles on Ed Sullivan for me, the world looked one way before, and then it was never the same. Imagine how I would have felt at the time had I heard this:

Anyway, back to 2010. I'm traveling with 4 other people:

Miguel - I met Miguel last year at our friend Ben's bachelor party. I didn't really know anyone except Ben and Carl Pike, so I was just kind of standing around doing nothing. Miguel came up and started talking to me, and it was odd - he was asking all these questions, and from what I could tell had a real human sense of actually being interested in whatever I had to tell him. It was weird! People usually do this for one question, two, sometimes a forced third, but he asked me maybe 15. So I started asking him about his family, and Natalie and the band and the tour, and he was telling me all about it it, how good it had been to him, how he was raising a daughter, etc. I left thinking what an unbelieveably cool guy, what a great situation, wouldn't I love to be somehow somewhere like there at some point. This was maybe 6 months ago.

Zach - Zach is kind of the real rock star in the band. Why? Because he has the longest and wildest hair. Miguel used to have long hair, but I think he saw ZP coming and decided he'd met his match. We call him Panther...somehow I blurted it out one time, something to do with San Antonio, a girl, and the name of a band I'd shared a bill with once years ago in San Antonio. It sort of stuck. Being the newbies in the group, Zach and I occupy a lot of the same spaces (hotel rooms, middle van benches, stage left...). I met him at about 3 am at a Tony Stampley writer's night - it kept getting later and later, I was falling asleep but I waited to finally get up because I'd seen this guy play bass and had a good feeling about it. Zach ended up joining me in my band, and when I got the Natalie gig and they said they needed a bass player/vocalist on short notice, someone who lived in Nashville (long story), I said you gotta check this guy out. It's worked out better than we could have hoped. I like it too because I know when I have breaks, he has breaks, and thus he's available for my gigs. Call me selfish.

James - James is an ironman. You know how every band needs that one guy who can stay awake and drive 11 hours to a gig, after just finishing a gig and having driven 10 hours to get to that gig? That's James. James wears many hats - tour manager, van driving battery, band comedian, star's husband, badass drummer, everyone's best friend. I'm sure there are a few I'm missing but that's a start. He's very funny, great to be around, very positive. James and Natalie have been playing together for 7 or 8 years, they are pretty in tune with each other, but it never gets stale because he really is her biggest fan.

Natalie - Natalie and I have taken very different musical paths to arrive on the same stage. Anyone who's seen our two different sets can tell you that. But while we've each experienced very little of the musical cultures that the other was defined by, we are both fans of one another. I don't know any Carrie Underwood music. She knows very little Bruce Springsteen music. She grew up on "Fancy" by Reba MacIntyre (originally Bobbi Gentry):

I identified with "Street Hassle" by Lou Reed:

She is immensely positive and doesn't curse. I'm cynical as all hell and curse all the time. Yet there have been moments so far on this tour when I've been as proud as at any time in my life to be standing on stage backing her up, trying to help her get the things done that she so deserves. We both want to be as successful as we can, but I think the destinies we envision for ourselves are very different, and this actually allows me to be a fan from the sidelines even more. I sort of see myself as a journeyman artist, putting out records, touring and making fans, and riding for as long as I can until I die. Natalie was born to be a star. I couldn't be more proud of her, and harbor no sense of rivalry or anything in this situation. I like to think we maybe push each other a bit, but then again, I don't think either of us needs prodding to be our best on any given night (same for everyone in the band, really). I don't really aim to be all that commercial, I just want to find people who identify with me, help me sustain a career, and let me stay in their life as long as they'll have me. Natalie's business - the business of country pop - doesn't allow for much middle ground, you either hit big or you don't hit at all. And I want her to hit big! From what little I've been exposed to this world in my 6 months in Nashville, she has as much or more of what is needed for this than anyone else I've seen. This girl has done nothing for years except tour, build, tour, build, create demand, tour, build, be there, and be nice to everybody along the way. Not only that, the girl can sing, play fiddle, write a song, and work up a crowd like nobody's business.

So that's what my 2010's going to look like.

This past week, we played Augusta State University in Georgia, in a small outdoor amphitheater (very cool), opened for Gretchen Wilson at Country Club in suddenly snowy Augusta (footage from encore above), and played to soldiers at Ft. Benning Army base in Ft. Benning, GA. This was TONS of fun, as the rest of the show was 4 or 5 acts who were touring together like a caravan - Animate Objects, Danny B., Leigh Jones, several others. And the soldiers went crazy for Natalie.

Finally I returned home to sweet Kim and our lovely little Alaska, who looks rather curious here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Augusta and The Band

We landed last night in Augusta, Georgia, where I remember from somewhere way back in the darker recesses of my childhood as being the place where a big golf tournament happened once a year. I asked someone about it, and was told that indeed, the masters happens here annually. This prompted me to text my dad and tell him I was here, since that which is golf is lord (to him). It is very sort of regal, old-southern, this place, so it makes sense that they would host "THE MASTERS", rather than just, say, "Buster's weekend".

View from hotel deck:

We played at Augusta State University in this small ampitheater at noon, and...well, the show went pretty well for noon! We could even sing, which is unsually kind of unexpected at that hour. Usually for me then it's more like croaks and squeals. Having the rest of the day off, we decided to eat and then hit the liquor store. The rest of the band is currently outside on our regal deck enjoying whiskey and white russians. I'm being good and enjoying my libations inside here with my blog site. It won't last long, but it sure is warmer in here.

You can see all the faces, this is easily 2 rounds ago, if I had it in me to walk outside for 5 seconds, I'd get a more updates shot. But you can see Natalie has had a couple glasses of wine and getting a nice giggle buzz on, which is sweet - and kinda rare - and Panther (Zach - bass player - the one with the hair) is feeling pretty warm. James (3/4 hidden) just came through to relieve himself and offered nothing but expletives. I respect this behavior a lot. And Miguel, well he's just a pleasure, as you can see by his friendly smile.

These are fun people, none of seem to hate each other at all, which makes me happy. I've had so many jobs where the opposite is true, or where I'm the one they hate, and that's almost as bad.

Miguel's pretty happy for me because Vintage Guitar Magazine is reviewing my live CD/DVD "The Long Way Home: David Newbould And Friends - Live From Austin" in their upcoming issue, and he used to have a subscription to that mag. As soon as the review is on their site, I'll post a link. They HAVE, however, linked a song from the DVD onto their site, which is a pretty cool thing:

My Video on Vintage Guitar.Com

Scroll down to the 4th screen.

I'll get onto talking more about these nice people I'm out with in future posts. I'm still kind of new to this blog thing. I hope you all are well, wherever you are. See you soon,


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nashville and Back

I should have a lot more to say right now but I don't. I should because I came back from the first leg of the Natalie Stovall tour and had a rather exceptional time. I should be telling you about each member of the band, and why they are great, and what all their unique and quirky characteristics are - so that as they come up in my blogs throughout the next year, you can have a picture in your head. A back story, if you will. And the more I write, the more you'll know about me, and that'll shape the story more. So it'll all be a good time for everyone involved. This band - these people deserve stories written about them, at least as I see them through my eyes.

I should do all that, but it's not going to happen tonight, because all I've done in my two days back home is run errands, try to get some work done on my guitar rig, install a washer/dryer in the kitchen, clean up the flood when the drain subsequently showed itself on the car, try to sleep, buy cat food, buy furniture, hum our new melodies, fix my email list, pay bills, and now it's time to go again!

We had a great run through Texas, and we're headed to Georgia, and I'll have many more interesting things to say soon. Do stay tuned.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Matamoras Banks

The last two nights in Edinburg and Brownsville have been incredible. We've only done 7 or 8 shows, but a strange thing is happening - we're not only becoming a band, but we're developing a very well paced and cohesive show. From when I first walk onstage with my acoustic guitar to when we hit the last spasm of the Devil Went Down To Georgia encore. Last night, the whole band sat around and brainstormed ideas of how to maximize the impact of the opening set. The argument seemed to center around it being so strong as a solo slot, how can we utilize the band to somehow make it better, make the impact of the whole 90 minute night that much more. So we came up with some ideas, and started putting them to work tonight. Was nice! These guys are really talented and fun to work and hang with. And Natalie is supreme, it's a joy to finish opening and then get down to the business of boosting and supporting a set that is turning into a freight train.

After the show tonight, Zach and I got Pizza Hut. Then we got back and got a call to come help divvy up this insane care package of mexican candy given to Natalie and the band from the school (UTB - University of Texas at Brownsville). It was like Halloween when you're 8 years old. Eat, eat, eat, then pain. We were going to go the debauchery route (beer and whiskey), but then we just decided to go this way. Hey, you gotta try everything once, right?

Before the Pizza Hut, we got a ride around town in a golf cart. Zach and I were in the back, facing backwards. Have you ever driven down main street in the back of an unexposed golf cart, facing all the cars that pull up behind you? It's a little weird. But we just waved and tried to be polite. From our vantage point, it kind of looked like this:

Anyway, tomorrow we head up to Bossier City, Louisiana, then home to Nashville for a couple of days to watch the Super Bowl and, for me, to be with my loved ones, who I miss. Other than missing them - which is very real - this is going to be a fun year.

Oh, a new review came in from my live CD/DVD. Since it's a good one, you can check it out here:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gainesville and Houston

So after 2 days of staying up till 7 am with whiskey bottles at our friend Randy P's place in Dallas, we decided maybe it was a good time to get back to work and play to some college kids.

But first about Randy P: This guy has been friends with Natalie and her crew for a couple of years, and when they said we were going to go stay with him for a couple of days, I hoped he wouldn't mind our somewhat motley intrusion. Turns out he routinely encourages it. After all, you can't play foozeball, shuffleboard, and drink whiskey, absynthe, and beer without a good house band (not that we played). And his buddy Randall hooked us UP at a restaurant he ownes called Ava. And props to it, it was the best food we're gonna eat all tour, this I know. Nice folks, all of them.

At any rate, we piled out at played at NTSC (North Texas State College) in Gainesville, TX to a full auditorium of screaming college kids. And I mean screaming - even in my opening acoustic set there were some girls screaming (this never happens). I was pleased with the set, it was only my second such opening one so far, but I'm getting a better handle on the dynamics of a short opening set and how to make it impactful and count.

And as soon as we started rocking it with Natalie's band, the energy was already up to the level (which I guess is part of the point), and with Natalie at the helm we just took it higher to a new level. The girls were screaming for her even louder. By the end, everyone was on their feet and screaming, and it was a good time. Point NTSC. Here's a video link (all the cover songs aren't really cover songs. We do a 7 minute medley of about 10 to end the show):

Then after a bunch of pictures and autographs (we signed more guitars than I ever thought reasonable), we loaded up and drove straight to Houston, only to sit in a parking lot at 6 am for 2 hours and wait for our logistics to get worked out. Not that I, or anyone other than James, had any idea, as we were all asleep. Somehow I managed to fall asleep during Anchorman and wake up in Houston. James, the superhuman, just stayed up after the gig and drove all the way. He's crazy. In the best ways, of course. We played a beautiful auditorium to about 25 appreciative people, and it reinforced to me that even in some of the toughest of circumstances (11:30 am after little sleep and - gulp - no coffee), this band is already at a level that it can lift a good performance out of itself whenever it needs to. Hopefully it just keeps getting better. Again, I reccommend a 5 day retreat in the wilderness with your band before any tour.

Tonight we're in a hotel, which is exciting (the last 3 nights for me were couch, different couch, van). Tomorrow we go down to Edinburgh and Brownsville, across from Matamoros.