Friday, August 22, 2008

paisley party tour

this post is probably going to interrupt the "month in the life of a musician" series, but oh well.

last weekend justin was called to play 3 shows, friday, saturday and sunday with julianne hough. (the dancing with the star girl who went country but is now going back on dancing with the stars.) they played in st. louis, louisville and pittsburgh. since louisville (pronounced lull-vull) :) is only about 2.5 hours away, justin suggested that i come up to the show. i called some friends to come with so i won't have to drive by myself. colleen, ciara, mike and i left on saturday around 3:00. we got into louisville and found the convention center. not too hard to spot considering the lines and lines of cars trying to get in from every direction. we found the shortest line and got up to the gate. i tried to explain that justin had our tickets waiting for us at will-call. well the crazy parking-money-taker-lady wouldn't believe me. she said that they wouldn't let me in without a ticket. duh! that's why i need to go pick them up. so she called over another guy who also didn't believe me until justin called and i said, "here, this is my husband, the one in the band. why don't you talk to him." the guy asked what the nashville musician's union number was. after telling him it was 257-ha! he let us go. and we didn't even have to pay for parking. woohoo!

we finally met up with justin after about 5 people telling us we couldn't go into the arena yet-until we showed them our super special VIP passes. he took us to the catering room and we got to eat with the cool people. the show started at 8:00, so we found our seats... completely awesome by the way. julianne sang 5 songs and did really well. she has a really good voice. then chuck wicks sang 5 songs. in the middle of his set, justin came out and was able to sit with us. we stayed around for about half of jewel's set and then we went back stage to take fun pictures. ciara and mike also wanted to see julianne's bus and we all wanted to meet her. after mike was told "thank you for all you do" by some drunk old guy who thought he was chuck wicks, we got on the bus to hang out for a bit. hershey is the sponsor for the paisley party tour, so there was candy galore on the bus and everywhere else. i think all our purses were about 5 pounds heavier after we went back into the arena.

we got settled right before brad (we're tight now-first name basis) started his show. it was AWESOME! the production was amazing. he had this huge video screen that played images that went along with his songs. he is a really really good guitar player and it was so fun to watch. his band is pretty incredible too. there's this really old guy who looks like charlie daniels who can play guitar really really fast. the keyboard player also plays banjo and he's amazing on both instruments. during one part, they did an instrumental song and up on screen was a cartoon of all the band guys as superheroes. it was really funny and then at the end it said that all the animation was done by brad! not fair for someone to be that talented. we left a little early to try to beat traffic-that didn't really work, but we had a blast!

Friday, August 15, 2008

a month in the life of a musician (part 1)

so...i have decided to contribute to this blog. this month has been NUTS. lots of different stuff going on. i thought i would write about the last two weeks, and then maybe update daily for the rest of the month or just post again at the end (haven't decided yet).

the month began with a weekend out with Terri Clark. for those of you who don't know, i've been playing with her since the end of May. we've played around 30 shows since then, and i can honestly say this: no matter what state you are in, county and state fairs all look the same. the rides, booths, prizes, the people working the fair, and the patrons are all the same. it's all ferris wheels, funnel cakes, mullets, people reeking of cabbage, a petting zoo full of animals most of us eat, and a country music concert. on the 31st of July, i had the privilege of playing a gig with TC in New York, about 80 miles from NYC. having never been to the city, i was pretty excited to just be nearby. i guess i thought that every bit of land within a 100-mile radius of Manhattan would be big lights, big city. i was wrong. OHHH, so wrong. so, we pulled into the fairgrounds at 10am on our big white bus (with trailer), and they direct us to park in a nice secluded spot in the middle of a public sidewalk in the fair. we were all thinking that this must be a mistake. but, lo and behold, out the window of the bus sits a small red barn on wheels. and for some reason, there are stacks of speakers on one side of this barn, facing a field of folding chairs.

yes, it was the stage. the actual surface of the stage was comprised of a mess of loosely nailed lengths of 2x4, and the ego ramp was made of plywood. you'd have no idea that the most famous city in the world sits just over an hour away. that was an interesting show.

the following day, August 1st, we found ourselves in Urbana, OH, which is famous for being yet another place in this country that T-Mobile doesn't get any service. ugh. when your whole business revolves around your Blackberry, that just ain't cool. and, i usually talk to my wife two or three times a day when i'm on the road. by the time a runner pulled up to take the band to a local gym, i was pretty frustrated about being unable to communicate with anyone back home. instead of going to the gym, i opted to go straight to the hotel to work on some songs i needed to learn for an audition, and got taken back to the fair for dinner. up to this point, the worst catering i have EVER had was provided by the same company at two of the four country festivals TC played this summer in wisconsin: a breakfast of powdered imitation eggs, jerky-like bacon, lunchmeat trays full of cheese with rubbery corners, slimy bologna, some other unidentified meat, canned fruit (not good; trust me), crusty white bread, and pickles. the pickles were edible. at both of those gigs, several of us had elected to boycott dinner and had runners take us to some local restaurant. so, back to Urbana. i was pretty hungry by the time i reached the catering tent. i grabbed a plate and some silverware and asked the nice lady what's for dinner. she said two words that should never be placed together. the first was spam, which says is " a canned food product consisting esp. of pork formed into a solid block.." (note that it consists especially of pork--as in, there are other meats in this can!) the second word was loaf, which the same website says is a: shaped or molded mass of food, as of sugar or chopped meat, usually oblong with a rounded top. what this sweet grandmotherly lady is offering me is a steaming chunk of an oblong molded mass of especially pork from a can. needless to say, that beats old unidentifiable lunchmeat any day of the week. worst catering ever! after that gig, we drove the bus back to the hotel so everyone could shower after sweating it out under the stagelights. within ten minutes of leaving the hotel, my cell phone service kicked back in. in the time since i had lost service that morning, i received calls/texts asking for my services for four gigs. miraculously, 3 of the 4 callers hadn't found someone else yet by the time i called/emailed/texted them back at 11:30 that night. Verizon is looking really good right about now...

at 5am on Saturday, August 2nd, the tour bus pulled back into the bus lot just north of Nashville where all of the band and crew had left our cars. i loaded my gear up, drove home, and fell back asleep on an air mattress on our dining room floor (Anna's parents were in town for the weekend, and since i was gone, she slept on the couch and gave them our bed for the night.) we hung out with them for the next two days, and you can read all about it a few posts down.

on Monday the 4th, the night we had scheduled to have Anna's birthday party, i had booked a short rehearsal for the first of two label showcases for a new artist at The Rutledge. the guy who called me for the gig is someone i respect immensely and i am always happy to play when he calls. since it was a package deal--two shows and two rehearsals or nothing--i took it, even though it would mean i had to work on my wife's birthday (we are in debt-payoff mode, so i'm taking everything i can get!!) i was called to play acoustic guitar, rhythm electric, and ganjo (a six-string banjo tuned like a guitar). well, i had to borrow the ganjo from a friend. the rest of the band for these showcases are musicians i respect and kind of freak out on when i get to talk to them. they're just soooooooooo good. i love being a fly on the wall, just observing how they approach playing a song and learning parts. nerdy guitar stuff like that. i left the rehearsal early, just in time for Anna's party, which went really well. John (my father-in-law) made some amazing homemade ice cream.

Tuesday, the 5th, i spent most of the morning working on songs for an audition i had coming up ( i had spent some time over the weekend working on these songs as well, which caused me to miss out on some trips to the fabric store, the grocery store, and the dog park.) after that, i spent some time working on my ganjo playing, because the first of those two showcases was at 6pm. we had load-in at 3:30, and i had to set up a lot of gear: my electric guitar, pedalboard, and amp; my acoustic guitar and DI/preamp; and the ganjo and DI/preamp. we had to soundcheck three songs--one for each instrument i was playing--to make sure the artist could hear everything she needed. at about 5pm, i drove home really quickly to warm up some leftover grill food from Anna's party. i drove back to The Rutledge and played the showcase, which went really well. the guy on lead guitar is pretty much my favorite player ever, and i always love getting a chance to hear him play.

the next day was the day of my big audition. there is a brand new artist--doesn't even have a single out yet--who is produced by two of the biggest producers working today. well, this audition was for the producer who is based in and works out of Nashville (the other one is from LA). it was between me and two other guys, and i ended up getting the gig. i was really nervous though, because i know that the best guitar players in the world have sat in front of this guy and played for him on the biggest records to come out of this town in the last several years. apparently, i apologized for a tiny mistake here and there or made some sort of dumb comment about how i know that i could have played that one note a little better or something (put me onstage in front of 70,000 people, and i'll be fine; put me in a small room where there are about 5 people who are all intently listening to just me, and that gets to me). he told the bandleader to tell me to never apologize like that again. which makes sense; i showed up well prepared and played my best given the circumstances. i had nothing to apologize for. anyway, really excited that i landed that gig. everyone is really, really cool; the artist is really sweet and down to earth (and TALENTED); and the musicians are all great. the first date of this gig is a double session with the producer i auditioned for. the band is recording two Christmas songs for the artist later this month. i am extremely excited for this.

on the 7th, i didn't have anything musical on the calendar for the day (no gigs, rehearsals, or sessions). but, having won that audition, i had 12 more songs to learn and get ready for rehearsals with the new artist. so, i spent a lot of the day playing along to the CD--deciding which guitars to use on which songs, which overdrive pedals, what kind of delay (if any), and which amp i'll take out on the road. i'm going to use my Tele and my Les Paul and probably the Duesenberg. The amp will be my Gabriel Voxer V33.

okay, so i'm tired. i've decided to recount this month a week at a time. stay tuned for the 8th-14th...


Thursday, August 14, 2008

check it out

so for those of you who don't know, i'm a dave ramsey-ite. he advertises this thing called it's so cool. you put in your zip code and it gives you all the banks in your area with high interest rates. I think the lowest they'll find is 4.0% which is pretty dang good! We're actually getting ready to switch banks to get this great deal. Usually once you check the bank out, you'll find out that they offer these services because they're small and local and want to offer incentives for things such as banking online. There are some requirements, such as banking online, having at least one direct deposit, and using a check card for a minimum amount of purchases. we do all this anyway, so it's a great deal for us! check it out! get it... CHECK it out... CHECKING finder! haha! i'm so clever.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

i heart the olympics

i forgot how much i love the olympics. it's been so fun to watch all the athletes compete. the opening ceremonies were amazing!! holy cow drummers and box dudes. i've been trying to stay up late and watch my favorite-indoor volleyball. sometimes i make it, sometimes i don't. i have never wanted a DVR more in my life than these few days. i wish i could watch them all.

it's been so fun to watch the swimming races and see michael phelps dominate the pool. also, did anyone else see the 4x100 men's freestyle relay?! talk about close. i cannot believe we won. eat that france! as one of my friends said while watching the french at the end of the race, "get out of the pool! you're contaminating it with your failure!"

i watched my first handball game the other day. awesome! i love all the random sports, like synchronized diving! the chinese pair may as well be the same person they look so alike. exact same body, same hair cut and very similar faces.
anyway, the olympics rock.

Monday, August 11, 2008

pools and a party...

...but not a pool party

monday morning we got up early-well early for us, but not for mom and dad. i took the day off and we went hiking at fall creek falls. we had so much fun! the hike itself was cool, but not really spectacular. we decided to hike the 3/4 mile trail out to the falls and then back. we did that-the falls weren't too impressive, unfortunately. we had a bite to eat and then we headed off to go swimming! we starting point of the hike is an area called the cascades. it's a bunch of smaller falls and pools where people can swim. well the last time justin and i were there, some people told us to hike down to this other larger pool because that was the best place to swim and not many people went down there. well now i know why! it's called a "cable trail" for a reason. the trail is REALLY steep and rocky and they have strung a large suspension cable down the trail so you can hold on and not fall to your death. it was actually pretty fun to hike down, if not a little precarious trying to get riley down. she did really well for the most part. going up was easier for her than going down. she's like a little mountain goat! we got to the base of the large pool and the water was freeeeeezing! it took a while to get used to, but once we did, it felt great! we commandeered some large logs to help float us to the other side of the pool to where the water fall was. it was so cool! there was a large rock you could jump off of into really deep water. we had to do that a few times. :) great ending to a hot day.

that night we had a big cookout/bbq for my birthday. we had a lot of fun, even if it was kind of hot out on the back porch. we had hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken on the grill. oh so yummy. thanks to everyone who came to help me celebrate my quarter of a century mark!

birthday grill

my birthday was tuesday the 5th. my parents came to help me celebrate. we had so much fun! they got in on friday night, the 1st around 6. we had dinner and then went for a 3 mile walk that ended up feeling much longer than i remembered!

justin got home on saturday morning and napped while mom and dad and i went to the farmer's market. we got freshly squeezed blueberry lemonade, which is about the best thing ever! we also picked up some zucchini (chichini to dakota), squash, corn on the cob, watermelon, tomatoes, and an eggplant. it was my first try making eggplant and it was ok. none of us were very sure if we really liked it. after we got home from the farmer's market. i put my dad to work fixing little things around the house. he was trying to attach this filter to our kitchen sink faucet and didn't have the right parts. he needed to go to home depot. so he suggested we all go. i thought the boys should just go and the girls would go fabric shopping. i was vetoed. as was all go to get in the car, justin forgot his keys to my car so i asked dad if we could just take theirs. he was a little reluctant, which was weird, but we all piled in. well as soon as we got in, dad says, "this is not going to work." well, they were trying to surprise me with my new grill!! it was funny, and i was surprised, just a little sooner than they had hoped. we had our first cook out saturday night and it was yummy!