August 10, 2007

Almost Killed and Other Stories From the Road

Well we had a hell of a close call with a hitchhiker on the way into the Northwest. More on that later, and more on some of these great shows, but first…

Some mailboxes in New Mexico. In the background you can see an “Indian Jewelry” shop. We stopped at that same one on a previous tour.

We performed at Club Ebony in Indianola, MS for a fundraiser for the venue. The place is legendary, and it was a supreme honor to be the headliner of one of the nights. Look it up. Everyone has played there.

The folks at Club Ebony were really kind to us, and we left town feeling really good about the whole thing. I am so glad we were able to be a part of it. I wish I had a picture of Mary Shepard the owner of the club. She just wrote a book about her life running the club.

Whenever we go to Indianola we stop by the Holly Ridge Store in Holly Ridge, MS to say hey to our friends. They have pictures of us up in there from when we played the Holly Ridge Blues Festival. They even had our CD out on the counter because they had been listening to it! You can see pics from that in previous photoblogs.

My patron saint Charley Patton played at the Holly Ridge Store, and he is buried about 500 yards from the place. To the left sits the railroad tracks. The Cotton Gin is behind the camera. It is one big giant mississippi blues cliche, but of course, because Charley Patton was the first blues star. It is fitting for him. He died years before Robert Johnson ever recorded a note.

Next stop New Orleans, and wouldn’t you know it we walk up on them making a movie here – just like before in LA, CA.

We played at the world famous Maple Leaf. This is where they had the first live music show in New Orleans after Katrina. This was our first show in New Orleans since Katrina. It was beautiful playing this club. The Oak Street crew is legendary! It seemed to me that New Orleans was making a comeback. The oldest parts of the city weren’t hit that hard by the storm. There is still a long way to go though.

These pictures were captured by James a fan who drove from North Alabama with some buddies to see the show. What an honor!

More at the Maple Leaf.

We stopped by the Maison Bourbon to see Jamil Sharif play. He played Back Home Again in Indiana for us.

This is one of my favorite places in New Orleans… The Columns Hotel. We couldn’t afford to stay there, but we ate there. Maybe next time.

I snapped this picture of a weird fortune teller machine on Bourbon Street, and the building across the street reflected so much in the glass it came out clearer than the creepy skeleton.

Bourbon Street hasn’t changed since Katrina.

We drove out to the ninth ward, and we saw images like this everywhere.

The signs show the kind of businesses thriving out here.

Almost all of the buildings still have paint like this on them. I really don’t know what is going to become of the neighborhoods that were hit the hardest. People don’t really seem to be living in most of these houses.

This was taken inside St Louis Cemetery 1.

This was also taken inside St Louis Cemetery 1.

This was also taken inside St Louis Cemetery 1.

Ida, Louisiana.

Trucker Chapel at a truck stop in Beto Junction, Kansas

We played a festival in Kansas and they put us in the Wyatt Earp Inn. It was nice of them, but it was especially cool for us, because of the Otis Gibbs song about Beto Junction and the Wyatt Earp Inn. Haven’t heard the song? Well it isn’t released by Otis yet. These pics are for him!

Snake River Canyon, Twin Falls, Idaho. Can you believe it? This is Idaho. Beautiful huh!

Here we are on stage at Pickathon in Portland, OR. This festival turned out to be awesome. The lineup was outstanding.

For our late night Pickathon set in the barn I got dressed up. I decided to keep it real in my string tie. Much love to all my Kentucky Colonel brethren!

This is Breezy going to town in the barn.

The barn show was a highlight of the summer for me!

Jason Webley joined us on stage for the last half of the show, and it was really great. Here we are playing the song Mud, a song off of Big Damn Nation. We of course had to play Two Bottles of Wine! It was perfect. The record we released with Jason in May is sold out! Jason promised it would be limited edition, and I apologize if you didn’t get one. There is always ebay…

The crowd was awesome in the barn at pickathon. I mean awesome. We do our best to bring it whether there are five people or 5000, but man it is so easy with a crowd like this.

On the way out of Oregon we played in Ashland. Another fantastic crowd in Oregon. We got these great pics courtesy of Clint from the opening band Pater Familias. It was great sharing the stage with them!

That Ashland crowd makes things easy!

Jayme is rocking out in Ashland.

I think Jayme and Breezy are helping me sing the song Mud here too!

Ok… I promised you all a story about a close call with a hitchhiker, so here goes… We picked up a hitchhiker on the way to our show in Eugene, OR. Hitchhiking in Oregon is legal, so everyone does it to save gas money. We realized this guy was a psycho about 2 miles down the road – it was too late. After going around and around with the guy, he fesses up that he is an escaped con. Apparently he escaped from some kind of prison camp for drug addicts in Oregon. Later we found out that he had four pistols in his bag and a stolen cell phone. He said he robbed a bank. He called Breezy’s phone so he could get the number of the stolen phone. If you want to stop losing your stuff, do visit us.  I was driving, and he was watching me like a hawk in the rearview mirror. I had the mirror trained right on him, so the feeling was mutual I guess. Well at one point he is really shakey, and he reaches into his bag and looks at the mirror to see if I am watching. My first instinct is to go for my pocket like I am carrying a gun. He put his hands up and said, “Easy man, I am just reaching for my bible.” He pulled out some kind of book after reaching farther into the sack. I am no idiot. There was no way that was his plan, but at this point I am feeling pretty good. Now he thinks I have a gun.

Now he really changes his tune and wants to be our best friend. He was trying to lead us way out in the cascades. The closer we got to the exit the more excited he got. He kept yelling for us to turn up the music, and he was rocking back and forth. We all got the feeling he was working up the adrenaline to try another run at those pistols. Pretty sure it would have ended up bad. I told him we needed gas. He said, “You don’t need gas, don’t stop the fucking van.” I lied real quick and told him the guage was broke. We pulled into the gas station with a lot of people around and that is where we left him. A gas station in Pleasant Hill, OR. He got real pissed when I told him it was the end of the line, and he tried to push me. It had little effect on account of the fact that I am a large fella. Anyway I just reached in my pocket and told him to get lost. Bluffed him again. I need to start playing cards again. This picture was snapped by Breezy as we drove away. He is right inside the door of the gas station. I kept trying to get her to get a picture of him, but she was too scared.

I don’t have any pics of the shows in Utah, but they were fantastic as well. The crowd at Burt’s is always so kind to us.

The Big Damn Van is still runnin’, we are still runnin’, knock on wood. Canada, Washington, Indiana, you name it – we are comin’ for ya. Thanks to you all for making these shows so special. We really appreciate it when you all send in pictures from the shows. We obviously can’t take them while we play, and we love putting pics from shows into the photo blog! Click for more information wrice .

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