Who knew. Ed and I are both from big cities and don’t have much experience in small towns. We’ve had two shows this month in two random places that we didn’t even know we loved! First there is Southern, IL. On Memorial Day weekend, we played on the patio bar of this quaint bed & breakfast called the Golconda Riverview Mansion, which backs up onto the Ohio river. The first night we had a small but mighty crowd complete of a few rotating hotel guests and locals. Apparently the rest of the town was at a neighbors wedding…yes, the entire town. But those that stayed to hear us were gracious listeners and soaked up our original music. We didn’t have to play Sweet Home Alabama or Brown Eyed Girl to keep their attention. Win. While packing up our PA system and the owner mentioning that it was too bad we had to leave, I responded with “Well, I guess we don’t HAVE to.” So with having made no plans the next day anyway, we decided to stay. We took a leisurely scenic* drive to Garden of the Gods, which is one of the most beautiful and oldest rock formation lookouts on earth…who knew. We ate a fresh fried catfish lunch ON a boat, wrote a song in our hotel room, and lugged our gear back down the staircase to play an encore patio performance. When we arrived, we were quite surprised to see every single seat filled by a band of bikers. One guy asked me if I’ve ever met a man with four eyes before. He literally had a pair of eyes tatooed on the back of his head. After some tasteful jokes and family friendly profanity** exchanged to warmup the crowd, we had a wonderful show! They turned out to be a group of firefighter riders called Fire & Iron and were AWESOME. They all bought CDs and we have stayed in contact with many of them. You can see a group photo on our facebook page and website. Thank you to Beth and Tony for hosting a great weekend of music! You can find a different Nashville artist playing at their venue every Saturday this summer.www.golcondamansion.com.
Next stop, Germany. Ok ok, we were actually in Georgia. But it felt as though we crawled through a wormhole and entered Europe as we drove through a town called Helen. What a BEAUTIFUL drive it was! Right through a mountain pass and our share of windy roads. We witnessed hundreds of people white water rafting, kayaking and tubing as we drove parallel to the rivers edge for many miles. Through brief rainstorms and altitude highs, we finally pulled into our gig at the Yonah tasting room. It was a little but warm and classy space with some of the best boutique wines I’ve had! I highly recommend the Genesis red blend or house Chardonnay. The bartenders were very nice and we had an eclectic audience of tourists and locals who came to sip on wine and enjoy the live music. The owners greeted us with tales of their beautiful new Octagon tasting room on site at the actual vineyard, as well as the Crush Festival, which we look forward to getting to this summer. They directed us to a thai restaurant where we could get a late meal before our drive back to Nashville. And to our pleasant surprise, they had two chairs waiting for us at their table when we got there! There couldn’t be a bigger compliment than to have a meal and bottle of wine bought for you after a long drive and hearty performance. Not to mention the surprise happy birthday cake and song performed by the thai waiters!**** It was wonderful to hear the full Yonah family and vineyard history. Thank you Bob and Jane for a beautiful evening!www.yonahmountainvineyards.com.
So as we are on the 4.5 hour drive back to Nashville***, I can reflect on what it means to be a touring artist. We get to meet amazing people and visit amazing places, that never would exist in our realm of possibilities if we didn’t have guitars and songs that we want to share with other people. And as for small town America, we thank you for letting us in. Where to next? Whitherward has a few weekend warrior jaunts set up through the summer as well as local shows. We are gearing up for our big west coast tour this August! Please regularly check in for show dates and our Stardust EP release. Small town America…who knew.
*I use the word “scenic” because we got lost. “Just keep going down that road and you can’t miss it,” says Beth. We missed it.
**Upon reflection, the jokes were probably not tasteful nor the profanity exchanged family friendly.
***Don’t worry, Ed is driving as I write this blog.
****ED! I didn’t know it was your BIRTHDAY!!!!!!***** Please check back in for when I post this performance caught on video. It’s worth it.
*****It’s not actually Ed’s birthday.