This past week was amazing. A weeklong run with Casey James Prestwood & The Burning Angels to Oklahoma and Texas was just what I needed.
Our opening night was Tues. Oct. 14th in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The ol' College Bar on Tuesday nights is always surprisingly rowdy and hoppin'. It's Ladies' Night as well, so people are out and about. Stillwater is a great college town that's almost like it's own small village. We had a blast.
Wednesday morning we were blessed with a visit to Mr. Byron Berline. The legendary fiddler/string instrumentalist was an absolute pleasure to spend time with. He showed us around his violin shop in Guthrie, shared his photos with us, and told us some great stories about the likes of Clarence White, Gram Parsons, and more. When he and Casey sat down for a jam on Still Feeling Blue, we were all left with our minds blown. An unforgettable experience.
Later that night, we played The Basement Bar in Fort Worth, Texas. Another weeknight gig that's known to be surprisingly jumpin'.
We had the honor of being joined on stage for the first set by Ronnie Miller. The great pedal steel guitarist from Charley Pride's band. The band was groovin' and listening and watching John Macy having a blast playing twin steels was pretty awesome.
Our Thursday was spent outside of San Antonio where the great Tommy Detamore welcomed us into his home and studio. We cut two new CJP originals with Tommy and Macy at the board. We cut live as a band (sans steel) and captured some super cool stuff. The experience alone was priceless. I learned a ton! Tommy is a great guy and tons of fun to work with. If you're in the San Antone area and looking to record, hit him up for sure! He even had one of Bill Kirchen's guitars there that I got to play. Super sweet!
Thursday evening we worked our way to the Gulf and Macy's home in Rockport. The views, the house, the relaxation. It was a little taste of luxury that I'm certainly not used to in my day to day life, let alone on tour.
Friday we knocked one off the bucket list when we played Ginny's Little Longhorn in Austin for the first time. An "honor" is an understatement. We followed that up by being so very fortunate to be on the guest list for the Willie Nelson show that night.
To see Willie Nelson IN Texas is like a religious experience. Sharing it with the fellas was awesome. Strutting in wearing our Manuel jackets was pretty fun too ;)
Saturday morning/afternoon was spent seeing Austin. Not all of us had spent time there before so it was nice to get to stroll around town. I've been super fortunate to have spent a lot of time there in the past, but I love it so much, it's always a treat. Among other things, meeting Al Graham was a highlight. Al is maybe the largest collector/dealer in vintage handmade cowboy boots in the country. He invited us into his home, was extremely generous with his knowledge and time, and is just an all around nice guy. It was quite the treat.
Saturday night we performed at the legendary Poodie's in Spicewood, Texas. Poodie was Willie's former stage manager and 'right hand man' and getting to play there is always worth being grateful for. Essentially our 2nd night playing Austin, (Spicewood is about 40 minutes outside of town), it was nice to see some familiar faces from our Austin debut at Ginny's. It's a commitment to make that drive out to Spicewood and the fact that some people did after discovering us the night before was great.
Sunday afternoon we had even more amazing times! We spent some quality time with Neil Flanz! Neil has played steel guitar for some LEGENDS: Ernest Tubb, Johnny Paycheck, Gram Parsons, and more. He is a very nice man who welcomed us into his home and shared some great stories. I even got to see a paycheck from Ernest Tubb himself! So awesome. We spent part of the day at Ginny's for Chicken S#$t Bingo and some Lonestar Beer. I can't believe it, but I actually won the first round!
By Sunday evening, there were quite a few familiar faces as we debuted at the Gypsy Lounge on Austin's East Side. The band played great, the crowd was super attentive, and we had tons of fun but knowing we were heading back to Denver immediately after was a bit sad. Denver is home and our loved ones are here, but after such an amazing week, it was tough to say goodbye.
We'll be back before long though! Austin in particular is one of those places that just feels "right". It's a home away from home for me and has always felt that way. I look forward to returning in early 2015 with the Rhythm Review AND The Burning Angels.
Life is beautiful and we are so fortunate. I hesitate to give names when I say "thank you" to everyone that helped make this trip happen as I'd hate to forget anyone. So I will just say THANK YOU. It was a week I'll never forget.
Wishing you well!