As a drummer I have played with and opened for plenty of “names” and met countless more assorted persons of the ‘famous’ persuasion; but Kentucky frigging rocks. If that first sentence didn’t really make sense then you will probably find the rest of this blog rather senseless; but the truth is, I don’t feel very well and I’m already late on posting this blog–so cut me a little slack on this one, deal?
On Saturday, April 7th, 2012, I played an “opry-type” show in Edmonton, Kentucky. The name of said show was Scott’s City Limits. I was approached to play the show by the fire breathing steel guitar god, Jeff Peterson–normally I eschew fire breathing anything at all costs; but hey, the dude is family so fuck it, am I right? I am. Shhhhhhh… Let the nice man finish his blog.
Any road, Jeff hit me up and told me I had an audience up there in Edmonton parts and I was all like, “Well, yeah… Of COURSE I do, pfffft… So… Um… Really?”
He was all like, “Werd.”
I nodded as I realized the wisdom in his words. He’s almost sage in his arguments, you see.
I went all Jean-Luc Picard and told him to “make it so” and shit. (Can you tell I’m sick? I’m having a hard time concentrating here… Read my other blogs if you want “concise”)
The point of the story is that there are some lovely folks up in Edmonton who knew my music and have been supporters of my music for a long time now–I’m uncertain if they’re regular readers of my blog; so I say to them now: This is just my blog schtick, I write incomprehensibly under the auspices of comedy and junk, so no worries.
Here’s where I put up a happy face to show that it’s all in good fun.
;****o() (I don’t know what that one is, I just started messing around to see what I could make)
Anyway, I’ll put my $ where my ) is
I’m on fire.
Moving right along…
I’m just going to start over because I’ve completely lost track.
I played a show in Kentucky this past Saturday. I got hit up to play the show because apparently some folks wanted to catch me live. To these people and the new people I met up there who dug what I did I can say only, Thank you and I’m glad to have met you all! It was a great time and it meant a lot that so many of you came by to buy some of my CD’s and asked me to sign them and all that. But most importantly, it was just really damn fine to get up there and see you guys were digging it. I look forward to coming back and I thank Jeff Peterson for spreading my music around up there and going out of his way to work with the owner Scott Gentry to bring me up. Very cool, guys, much love!
So anyway, I met a lot of fantastic people up there and was actually a little shocked at the amount of people who not only knew my music but have followed me for quite some time now! I’d kick off a song and there would be a few hoots and hollers from people who recognized the songs–that is pretty insanely cool if you’ve never had it happen to you, let me assure you.
I was able to play with an incredibly stellar band. I’ll take a second and let them all know what great players I think they ALL are!
Much love to the Scott’s City Limits band: Bobbie Jo Lee, Billy Neighbors, Brad Neher, Scott Thompson, Steve Wood and Jeff Peterson. I’d also like to give a little love to a real gentleman of a sound engineer and just a super nice dude: Larry Wilkerson–thanks for making sure my wedge was right on time, Brother! I only had to ask once and you handled everything perfectly–that’s rare and it’s very much appreciated, my friend.
Thanks to Scott Gentry for working with Jeff to bring me up there, it was a pleasure, dude! Though, I’ll say it now and say it loud… If you kiss me again, I’ll cut you off at the knees, brah… You’ve been warned.
Nah, I’m just kidding, mayne… But seriously, I’ll cut you into kibble and feed you to the cutting-laser-equipped catfish in my basement…
I’m just joshing ya, pally! We have fun!
But I’ll totally call in the hit squad from Jersey and ….
Okay, okay… I’ll stop.
(See, Scott pretty much busted my balls nonstop backstage so I owed him a few–but any friend of the amazing people in that band is a friend of mine and I had a helluva lot of laughs with ole Scott in between sets so I figured I’d get in a few extra licks cause it’ll probably be a few months before I get to see him again)
I’ll take another quick sec, if you’ll indulge, dear reader and give some love to a couple of very talented folks with whom I also shared the stage: Shaylin McGuire and Jordan Chapman. These two were just really great folks and I enjoyed getting to hang out with them and really enjoyed both their sets.
I had more of an opportunity to speak with Shaylin and her family, so “hello” and best of luck to them and I really appreciated getting the chance to talk a little shop with them. I’ve since had the chance to listen to Shaylin’s debut CD and I still maintain the girl has some mad pipes. Go on, girl–keep kicking ass and finding your sound. Remember what I said: If it doesn’t sound good to you, then keep working–to hell with anyone who says different. Proud to know you.
Jordan, bro–didn’t get much of a chance to talk with you; but you covered one of my favorite Tim McGraw tracks and you did it with aplomb. Well done, Sir! I’m sure we’ll run into one another sooner or later so no worries there. Keep ruling that stage, Bro–it was a pleasure!
That leaves only country-soul pimp, number 1…
Typically, in my very humble opinion, when someone writes about a show, I like to know the “unknown” details and the backstage banter. So this is where ole T gets worried that I’ll post some embarrassing shit or tell about how he ‘REALLY’ was or something akin, yes?
Dude is solid.
Not really; but shut up.
I actually met the brother a thousand years ago when I was ten or thereabouts. I don’t remember it. Neither does he. End of funny story.
See what I did there?
Seriously, though… I must’ve met this dude four or five times when I was young enough to think mastery of video games equaled accomplishment. Of course, we now know that mastery of video games only matters if you are posting achievements online and you are able to out-scream your opponent after a particularly vicious tea-bagging.
If you are able to beat that South Korean kid–but we mustn’t even dare to talk such nonsense… The Westerner that can do that is only legend.
What? You thought I couldn’t turn a blog about T. Graham Brown into a video game manifesto? What are you, new? Come on, dawg… You know how WE do.
Regardless, I’m outside of the club talking with Scott Thompson and Brad Neher and Jeff Peterson (I’m a little fuzzy on that point; but it really doesn’t matter) and I see a pretty nice ride pull up. There’s a lady in there but I don’t see anyone else. My first thought was: She’s blocking Jeff’s ride. My second thought was: heh heh… She’s blocking Jeff’s ride… Jeff gonna be pissed, yo! (yeah, my thoughts go ghetto every now and again)
Right around that time, some dude in all black comes literally swaggering up–no shit! He actually sauntered up like he was an extra on the “Shaft” set. Obviously, he’s joking–but I didn’t know it at the time. The whole day up to that point had been, “Where’s T?” ‘Is T here yet?’ ‘Who’s this ‘T’ cat I keep hearing about and why the fuck isn’t he here yet?!!!’
See, we had rehearsals before doors opened and the band and employees of the club were pretty jazzed about T being there that night. Now you’re up to speed so stop asking questions already… Sheesh.
Anyway, T-dawg rolls up and I shit you not, the dude starts spitting hilarious shit before he’s even in earshot!
I think we all started laughing despite ourselves and then up comes T just mad chill. I have to give it to the guy, he’s a damn pimp. Goldfish high-stack shoes? Nope. But you wouldn’t blink an eye, man… You really wouldn’t. Awesome.
Anyway, the dude is a totally “normal” cat but he’s got that certain ‘something’ about him that only years in front of an audience can bring. It was cool. I sound starstruck, I know… It’s not entirely accurate. It was just a normal dude who brings normality to an otherwise ab-fucking-normal line of work. I was hooked…
When I grow up, I want to be T. Graham Brown.
Explain yourself, Jas, damn you!!!
Let’s fast forward to the show.
T gets up there and completely kills it.
I work hard on my voice to ensure I can do EXACTLY what he did. I never drink 24 hours before singing, I do my vocal exercises and workouts and pride myself on the power I bring to a vocal. Brother T does the same thing–minus the exercises and workouts… I have NO FRIGGING CLUE if he does that; but I can attest that he brings power to the vocal. It was sweet as shit, dude… I ain’t never lied.
Yes, yes… I know…
It’s COUNTRY, Jas… How cool could it have been?
Put it to you this way…
I don’t really dig gospel music. In fact, a lot of it can really just… Well… It blow chunks…
I mean, sucks bad…
But when someone does it RIGHT–it can be amazing.
Incidentally, good line: Once upon a time, you turned water into wine… Could you help me turn wine back into water.
That’s pretty damn clever, man. As a songwriter, I appreciate that. I really do.
T. wrote that. But most importantly, T. SANG that and sang it well. Dude brought down the house. Was it star appeal? Sure. But it was also ability and talent.
A lot of country singers don’t necessarily have a lot of technical ability and rely instead on timbre, delivery, lyrical content and image. (pop stars are the same) But we can all agree that there are some that can just fucking sing, no? T. Graham Brown is one of those.
So when I say, “When I grow up, I want to be T. Graham Brown,” hopefully now you understand. Dude is over 30 years older than I am and he has as much power and grit as I do NOW–never mind he has as many years as I have living utilizing his ability to work a crowd, patience, technique, style and mad swagger. As a soul/rock/r&b/power vocalist, seeing a veteran work that shit was a real eye opener.
Young lion pays homage to his elder.
T, you rock, brother. Thanks for being massively cool as well as giving me the chance to spot check your style.
Which leads us to a personal cool moment or five…
I’m about to go on for my first set. I can’t find a single damn crevice or area in the joint to warm up actually singing. I’ve done my vocal warmups and exercises in the car on the way there–but stretching doesn’t give you the same feeling as shooting the ball at the basket, you dig? You’ve got to actually DO what you intend to do so I needed a place to go sing the actual songs a little bit to loosen up.
Bear in mind, I’m fucking cursed with allergies and I’m in an entirely different environmental-scape and the new pollens are having a field day–I’m pounding water, humming and keeping the chords warm; but I HAVE to sing a bit to acclimate myself to my surroundings or I’m screwed.
So I go outside.
It’s cool and wonderful outside. The sun has gone down and Jeff’s mustang is right next to the door. I have maybe 10 minutes before I go on. So I grab a stray acoustic (can’t risk humidity or difference in air pressure making my show guitar go out of tune) and I use the mustang as a bench–sorry Ford enthusiasts.
I start running through an easy tune on the vocals (“Nice To Meet Me” for those few ‘Jas Patrick’ purists out there–big wink)
I’m about halfway through the first verse and I see movement from the door to the backstage area. I keep singing cause fuck interruption–if they don’t like it, they can… Holy shit, it’s T…
Yep. T. Graham Brown has just walked in/out on me warming up my… uh… warming up my… “junk?” Yeah, it felt like that. I was vocally warming up my “junk” and T. Graham Brown came out right in the middle of mid-stroke… Fucking sigh, man… Why me?
Screw it. I keep singing.
I’m literally beet red and feeling like I’m a kiddie onstage doing my Thanksgiving play or some shit… God, I’m still cringing right now… Yeah, I was pretty embarrassed.
T. walks out of sight and I just keep going. A verse later he strolls slowly by with his head down and slightly cocked obviously listening to me. He stops.
I keep going.
Fuck me, he stopped…
He turns slowly and looks at me.
Gives me the thumbs up and says, “Sounds great, man.”
I basically exhale manic laughter and say some shit about wallstreet or needing to warm up and liking chicken mcnuggets or who the fuck knows?
He nods, gives me ANOTHER THUMBS UP and repeats, “Sounds good, man” and slowly goes inside.
Now, bear in mind…
This is AFTER the whole pimp walk up when I’m outside hanging with Jeff and the gang and Jeff proceeds to tell T. that I remind him of T. You know, big voice and all that… Crawl into a hole and die of frightened anticipation of COMPLETELY FUCKING UP IN THE SHOW…
Jeff, I love him, but damn…
I made some joke about drowning in shoes I have to fill or some shit and started to question what the fuck I was doing DARING to sing and all that…
But, you see, then it hit me… I didn’t OWE anybody anything. Jeff was showing love and I took it as respect and belief. It didn’t change the fact that the pressure was on; but fuck that. If one person believes, then YOU have to believe, am I right?
So I did my first set and as soon as I walked off stage, I damn near ran smack into T.
Sounds great, man.
Fuck me running…
THANK YOU, Bro.
Thank you, Bro.
In total, I got five thumbs up and a few various “good voice” ‘you sound great’ ‘good job’ and other assorted compliments from T. Graham Brown. Some may say it’s just a nicety. Some can kiss my ass. I’ll take it. Thank you very much.
As stated about the beginning… I’ve played drums for “names” and met plenty of ‘names’ but that night was one of the first nights I, me, my music, my voice opened for a ‘name.’ And the brother showed some love.
Was it sincere? Did he really “mean it?”
He said it five times.
I’ll take it.
Now, I had intended to quit the blog there; but it’s several days later and I realized I hadn’t explained why Kentucky is my friend. Basically, all I was going to say was that every show I have played in Kentucky has been cool–all two of them at the time where I left off.
I had another show in Kentucky since I left off–Bowling Green this time around–and even writing this blog couldn’t jinx me. Kentucky freaking shows yer ole buddy Jas a LOT of love, man. I love that damn state, I really do! It seems as though I always meet some great people who just shower me with kindness and really dig my music. It’s always really encouraging and I just want to thank everyone from the 2nd Saturdays Street Fair in Bowling Green for having me come play and being so supportive and just a great audience for whom we were proud to play!