Road Blog: Thursday October 20, 2022 - Water Valley, MS
October 20, 2022
Water Valley, Mississippi
Yesterday was a rare one in that we didn’t have to pack up and travel for the next show. We drove late into Wednesday night/Thursday morning to get here in Mississippi and we’re staying in this AirBB for two nights. It’s a luxury to have that downtime, and an opportunity to relax, get caught up on some things that have been neglected, and gear up and rally for the last three shows.
The boys were late to rise and I kept busy drinking coffee, doing computer stuff, and eating some leftover goad vindaloo from Tuscaloosa. It was a beautiful day – not a cloud in the sky – but it is unseasonably cold down here, though I’m hearing reports of snowflakes around the Detroit area, and it’s not that cold… I went for a run and made friends with a horse and a butterfly, saw some weird animal bones and a used up whip-it cartridge, and followed a shallow creek around a couple of county roads.
We left the house around 3pm and headed into Oxford, the home of Ole Miss, and the nearest city. They have a book store called Square Books, which is actually 4 different stores, all about 40 years old. Faulkner was from here, as well as Barry Hannah, Larry Brown, and, for a time, both Willie Morris and John Grisham. Please note that I can tell you every guitarist that Ozzy ever played with and on which albums, but other than Faulkner I have no idea who these people are and just copy and pasted that from their website. Anyhow, the stores celebrate that rich local literary heritage (I did write that) and our Jacob was super excited to peruse the shelves. I found a couple little things myself, then grabbed Gabriel to come with me to the record store and whiskey bar while we left Jake alone in his element to take the time he needed.
The End of All Music is a really great little record store upstairs and across the city square from the bookstores. In the middle of the square is the county courthouse that the Union army burned down in 1864 and was rebuilt a couple years later. Anyhow, Gabe and I each found a thing or two and had a nice chat with Gram who was working the counter. From there we went for a walk around that square and saw a joint called Rooster's Blues House advertising “$6 top shelf whiskeys” and who’s gonna turn that down? We each had a High West Double Rye rocks and talked to the owner Scott for a minute. Turns out HeadCat was playing there, once featuring a certain Lemmy Kilminster, but then and still featuring Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats. As we left to gather up our scholarly bassist we saw Mr Phantom on the street deep in a phone conversation. We hung out for a moment to see if we might get a chance to say hi but decided it was best to not be stalkers and just headed back to the bookstore and then back to the van. We pondered the idea of coming back to see the show after ours was done.
From there we headed about 20 minutes south to Water Valley where our show was. We picked up Matt Patton from Dial Back Sound (and Dexateens/DBT), who I’ve been working a bit with on show trades and stuff, met his wonderful family, and checked out his studio nearby. It’s a great building with some awesome gear and a great vibe that we may some day come down and record at if things work out.
We pulled into Hometown Pizza Cafe and checked out the back room where the show would be. It is a long, narrow room with a table running the length of the floor and an open space with a drum riser in the back. It’s very roadhouse feeling, which is cool, and we’ve certainly played weirder “non-venues.” We got some dinner (pizzas and calzones) and my pal Will (aka The Great Dying) came in and joined us. I met Will about a year ago when I was on tour with The Wild Honey Collective and we played with him at John And Peter's in New Hope, PA. That was a fun night. Pals Alpha Rabbit were also on the bill and lots of good friends were there. We stayed in touch and through Matt I got them up to Detroit in April, so this was our third show together, though it would have been or 4th had I not come down with Covid and had to cancel the Lexington, KY show in April.
Will played a great set of mostly originals and a Deer Tick cover (one of TrooperGirl22’s fav bands and songs, so I took a video for her). It’s the first time I saw him solo without Craig on guitar – fantastic songs, great performance, great sound. We went on after to a decent showing in that room and played a pretty good set that was well received. We wrapped up around 9:15 or so, sold some merch, talked to some locals (one dude had a nephew who toured with Paul Revere and the Raiders ), packed up, loaded out, said our goodbyes, and headed back to our AirBB.
Gabe was driving and as we rounded the hilly, back-country county roads and pulled towards the driveway, what appeared to be the same doe as the night before stopped to glare at us before darting into the night. We warmed up some leftover pizza, had a quick nightcap, did some business stuff, and crashed out. It was a fun night and great hanging with Will again and seeing Matt’s studio. Everyone here has been awesome, just like Tucaloosa, Atlanta, and Chattanooga before, and everywhere really. A great night. Tomorrow we cross the Sweet Tea Line into Illinois to play John Brown's on the Square in Marion again. We had a super fun show there in May and JB was kind enough to ask us back so we’re super excited! Cincinnati on Saturday then home!
Thanks Matt, Will, Hometown Pizza, and everyone who was there tonight! Can’t wait to come back. xx