Road Blog: Wednesday October 13, 2021 - Dayton, OH
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
After I posted my blog yesterday we did a little strumming on the porch of our AirBB, Tommy and I crunched some numbers around the tour, we loaded out, and headed southeast towards Ohio. Tommy and Nich were up front and Dani and I were in back. We stopped for gas and snacks in Painsville, Ohio where I quickly abandoned my two-week self-imposed abstinence from gas station stale cheese sticks wrapped in discolored cured meats and picked up a mozz-stick-wrapped-in-hard-salami. This would complete the trifecta of the series and I just felt like it was necessary.
Here’s how it shakes down in the end: The prosciutto was easily the best. The greenish tint of the meat was a little off putting, and the salt was over the top, but it had the best texture and flavor. The pepperoni was easily the nastiest. It had a dog food texture and the flavor wasn’t much better. Wrapped pieces of sliced pepperoni might have been better than the “paste” compound it seemed to be. And the hard salami was in the middle. Good texture, ok flavor. In the end, avoid all this garbage. There’s better things you can find at a gas station to eat.
We pulled into the Yellow Cab Tavern around 6pm, said hi to the manager and the sound engineer, and headed out on foot to get some food. We were right around the corner from the Oregon District, where we usually play and hang out when we’re in town. We stopped into a couple vintage shops and a record store before getting a table at Blind Bob's for dinner. Blind Bob’s is where The Tucos and The Plurals usually play – cool venue, great food. I was disappointed my pal Tyler wasn’t there, but the food was awesome and I was glad we at least got to stop in.
The Yellow Cab Tavern is a converted taxi garage with big, open garage doors and a cinder-block garage feel. Turns out we were playing outside, which gave us each a little panic attack after the PTSD around our 40d F night in Searsmont, Maine, but it was much nicer in Dayton last night, and sounded like a great idea. We said hello to opener Brother Hill, who is a passionate dude about his folk music, and I think he mentioned that he’d been to the Ukraine to spread the gospel. He played an emotional set to a receptive crowd.
We went on around 9:45 determined to make the last night of our tour a good one. The weather was beautiful, the sound was good, and we had some new faces to play to. As always, I did a few solo-acoustic songs, then the band came up and backed me up for a couple and we transitioned into their material as I switched over to lap-steel, ramping up the momentum into our last few songs. We played well, had fun, and got a good response. We stopped just after 11pm.
For about an hour we talked with our friends and some locals. My friends Gretta, Dee, and Kellen came out and I hadn’t seen them since we last got together in Kentucky to watch our common friends Vibrolas last show with their drummer Andy the Untaggable some 4ish years ago. Another surreal “has it been that long?” reminder of the things we took for granted in the before times. I also got to chat with my pal Art, who is a DJ and strong supporter of my music over at the WUDR Flyer Radio. Seed drove down from Lansing for the show, and Tommy and Nich’s friend from Dayton Jess was there as well.
The hour was getting late and we had a long drive ahead after a long day, so we said our goodbyes, loaded out and headed north towards Michigan on I-75. I drove and Nich was shotgun, DJing the stereo turning me on to some of his favorite stuff that I haven’t heard. Most of it I really loved – way more than not, though I did struggle a bit with Napalm Death. I’ve got a list of records to get. Dani requested some Alice Cooper so we played his best album (Love it to Death) and my personal favorite album (Flush the Fashion). The drive concluded with a KILLER playlist based off those records that included Sweet, Quiet Riot, Ace Frehley, Rainbow and Lita Ford. Not sure the rest of the passengers were digging it, but I was, and it kept me awake up I-275 back to Plymouth.
Spirits were high from the great run of shows, companionship, and experiences we shared. We laughed about the characters we encountered, and how each of the eight-shows-in-eight-days was completely different. We played brewpubs and dive bars, jazz clubs, a church, a converted taxi garage, old taverns, a house party, and record stores, indoors and outdoors. We ate a few pizzas, some amazing clam po’ boys, lobster rolls, gas station garbage, fried clam strips, combos, and bagels. We drank a bit of whiskey. We saw countless hawks, a bunch of deer, and dogs named Tim and Axl. We played with folk singers and duos, punk bands, rock bands, one-man-bands, and country duos and trios. Some places were very Covid-conscience with mandates, others not at all whatsoever. We visited 10 states, We stayed in people’s houses, AirBBs, and a quaint little red cottage that was barely big enough for half as many people. We learned a new song at 3am in that cottage in Maine and played it a couple times on stage.
On a personal level, I was ear-to-ear smiles on stage at every show, watching Dani and Tommy from just behind, singing their beautiful harmonies and seeing this vision of Tommy’s come to light, evolving a bit nightly. My favorite moments might have been the occasional random one-liners Nich would throw out between songs in his flat, deadpan delivery. In Portland I lost all composure, and it took me a couple songs to recover. It was great to see some friends I haven’t seen in years – Rachel, Gretta, Derek, Kellen, Dawn, and to meet some new ones that I know I’ll see again (Mark & Mitch & their wives, many characters in NJ, and Tim just to start).
One final note that even days before we left we weren’t even sure if this could happen with Covid outbreaks going on. We tried to be as safe as possible. We take NONE of that for granted, and we are so thankful that every show happened and we (so far, fingers crossed) seem to have returned home healthy. Be careful, and please get the vaccine so tours like this and live music in general can continue to return to normal.
Thanks to Tommy for having me along – I’m very grateful to be a part of it and proud of what we put together and pulled off in a few short weeks. Thanks to Nich and Dani for being awesome musicians, traveling companions, and people. Thanks to TrooperGirl22 for letting this ragtag gang of gypsies take her truck across the country and back and supporting this tour in many ways from day one. Thanks to EVERYONE who was part of this run. And thanks to YOU for reading and supporting from afar.
'Till next time. Xx