Road Blog: Saturday November 06, 2021 - Lexington, KY
November 6, 2021
We checked out of the dive motel in Knoxville and headed over to Lost And Found Records – a store that’s become a regular stop since we’ve been playing there. Had a good chat with the folks behind the counter, left `em a copy of “Candy Coated Cannonball” to sell, and I picked up the new Brandi Carlile album and a new Nancy Sinatra reissue of her great album “Boots.” From there it was straight up I-75 through the Shenandoah Appalachians, into Kentucky, and straight onto Man-O-War Boulevard and to the Liquor Barn. I went to the alcohol superstore with grandiose plans to stock up for the holidays with their great selection and better-than-Michigan prices, but left with about half of my list because things were out of stock. Still, it’s another must-stop for us and always worthwhile. I did pick up some awesome Bootlegger Beer Cheese and buffalo-style pretzel chips for munchin’ and fed on them on and off for the rest of the trip.
We checked into our dive hotel on the south side of the city and navigated our way past the sea of Kentucky and Tennessee fans in town for the big football game. Upon entering our room we were promptly greeted by the intense smell of stale cigarettes and bleach. Still, it was clean enough, a little nicer than the night before actually, and would suit our needs. Bob and I watched some reality TV about bush babies and river otters at the Columbus Zoo before getting ready and heading out. I split a few minutes early to call TrooperGirl22 and see what was going on at home, met the boys at the van, and we headed towards downtown.
We stopped at a Cuban joint called Old San Juan Cuban Cuisine where the boys got Cubanos and I got shrimp and chicken – it was super good and not too heavy. After dinner we gassed up so we’d have a full tank for the drive home today, drove past the packed football stadium where UT was playing UK, and a couple miles later arrived at the Green Lantern Bar. We parked behind NP Presley’s bus and were promptly greeted by Keith who sent me onto the bus where I was greeted with a thick wall of cigarette smoke and clawed my way to the back where Nate was holding court. We saw each other when he came up for our show in Detroit with Soul Asylum in September, but it’s always nice to get caught up. He’s a bit of a Tasmanian Devil, very intense and fast-paced, but full of love and life. After we loaded in I ran into some great friends – Chandler Nathan Davis, Angela Lee Turner , then J Tyler and Anj showed up and we had a lot of catching up to do, then D'Arcy and Jake, so we had to have a couple rounds, and it was certainly turning into a great Kentucky night.
Adam Stewart went on first and played a set of great songs set in barrooms and steeped in heartache. Really enjoyed seeing him for the first time and look forward to what he’ll do in the future. After him my pal Ben Aubrey played a great set of his stuff. I’ve known Ben for several years, having shared bills with his band Paper Bridges and playing some lap-steel on some tracks he was working on a couple years back. Great songs, great voice, great dude. I missed seeing his wonderful bride Trinity, but as they were getting ready to head out for the show one of the goats on their goat farm went into labor so she had to stay and make sure everything went smoothy. Sorry to miss ya darlin’! Hope the little dude came out alright.
We went on after Ben to a respectable and rowdy crowd. The Green Lantern Bar is a nice, small room with good sound and a low stage, making for an intimate show. We plowed through or set, ending with our ode to Lexington, “Hey Kentucky,” complete with audience-participation sing-along. It’s the only song and the only state we can pull that off.
After us, NP Presley & The CEB went on to a great crowd and played what might be the best set I’ve ever seen from Nate (and I’ve seen a bunch). It was my first time seeing them with Leah and the new lineup. Nate was clearly shot out of a cannon, growling and barking through the songs, not missing a beat, eyes rolling back in his head, and before long he took off his shirt, showing off his giant tattoo of the Judas Priest Hellion as they dedicated my favorite song “Only Time Will Tell” to me. I F’ing loved it! The new material is killer too and just wait `till you hear their new record – it truly slays. When it was over, Nate walked off the stage, out the front door, Angela trailing behind, not to be seen again. I was relieved to get a text this morning affirming that was still alive.
We sold piles of merch, had a few one-more-last-ones, and climbed into the van where I promptly sat in a puddle of spilled Two Hearted Ale. Bob got us back to the dive motel, we had a night cap and some beer cheese and buffalo chicken flavored pretzel chips, and fell asleep around 2am, actually 3am, just an hour after the country turned their clocks back an hour. It was another fantastic night in what remains The Tucos favorite city. We'll be back sooner than three years this time!
I woke up with a low-medium grade hangover, exchanged friendly hellos with a cockroach Bob introduced me to as it scurried behind the TV, took a shower, packed up, threw the guitars and luggage into the van, and followed Bob on foot up to the Starbucks at the top of the hill. We got coffees and breakfast sandwiches, met Gabriel back at the van, circled around the city, and hit I-75 north, with every intention of beating Cincinnati Bengals football traffic. Skies were blue, spirits were high, my headache gradually faded. We made it through Cincy in record time, past the BigButter Jesus, and up through Ohio. I pointed out the hawks in the trees and on the fence posts, and the circling vultures honing in on roadkills while I drove as Gabe and Bob talked obscure music gear nuances. We stopped once at a rest area around Findlay and from there I played Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind and Jim Croce to get us back to Gabe’s.
TrooperGirl22 greeted me from the back deck as I pulled in where she was grilling up some pineapple slices in preparation for her pineapple-chicken-tofu-cashew fried rice she’s been rocking lately. I unloaded my car, we got caught up for a bit, watched a little football, and had some dinner. I love being out there, but I absolutely love coming home too.
It was great to be back on the road with the boys again. The shows were awesome, the weather was perfect, the fall colors in the mountains were amazing, and we enjoyed some great food and few laughs. It also ends about 6 weeks of on-again/off-again touring for me personally, playing some 19 shows in 15 states, either solo, with The Wild Honey Collective , or with The Tucos. It’s been a fantastic fall tour, but I’m looking forward to a few weeks off before our last show of the year in Detroit in December. Thanks for reading, thanks to everyone I played with, the venues that hosted us, everyone who came out, bought merch, gave us a place to stay, etc. Things are still weird – it’s scary out there, and we’re all still feeling our way around a bit, but I’m incredibly grateful to be out doing this again and can’t wait to play a ton more road shows next year. `till then please be safe and healthy, and get those shots and boosters so we don’t lose this again. xx