Yesterday, Tuesday, February 23rd was the release date for “Wings”. I had been anticipating this day for a long time. Started early with regular school day stuff: making breakfast and lunches, getting kids ready and out the door, running with the dog. We left the house at 8:30 and headed for WRLT studios. I was on air with Mary Brace at 9 am, talked about the new record and what’s been going on with my music, played a couple of songs. We had some breakfast after that, a little meeting, and then drove out to WSM studio in the Opryland Hotel. That went well. Did another interview and several songs. After that I went home and got my gear together: guitar, amp, small pedalboard, found some clean clothes. Kids got home from school, fixed some snacks for the 3rd grade girls who were getting ready for dance class. Negotiated parameters of after school hanging out with 9th grader. Picked up chicken wings and beer and drove over to Grimey’s Records. Played in store with Paul Griffith, Tim Marks, Lisa Oliver Gray. Lots of friends and fans showed up, including several folks from the UK and Australia. Cheers, lads. Show went well. Played a little over half of “Wings”, plus “I Don’t Like It” and “Piece of Work”. I think everybody had a good time. We took a bunch of kids for pizza after that and we fell into bed in time to see some women’s figure skating.
Playing WSM Music City Roots show tonight at the Loveless Barn in Nashville. “Wings” is out and I am happy.
Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis is a bit of a blur to me now, but I can tell you this: it may well be the most purely musical music conference that happens in the world. SXSW is awesome and huge and you can’t swing a cat without hitting a young hot buzz band or a famous act playing a packed venue. But Folk Alliance is a gathering of musicians who get together and play music about 18 hours a day for three or four days. Shows happening all day in the Memphis Marriott ballrooms, and then literally all night in every hotel room on the upper floors of the hotel. i’m not kidding. At Folk Alliance, you can’t swing a banjo without hitting someone singing and playing in a room, a hallway, the lobby, a ballroom, out on the street. It’s pretty wonderful. I started with a solo show sponsored by the Utne Reader and Thirty Tigers (thanks David Macias!). After I played, the elusive and brilliant Willis Alan Ramsey played. I watched him closely and was entertained and educated. He’s not messing around, even if it sounds like he is. I played several shows as a duo with Tommy Womack—-DADDY. I accompanied Tommy at some of his solo shows, as did he with me. I played with Phil Lee and Tom Mason. I played the “Electric Guitar Summit” with Bill Kirchen, Colin Linden, Gary Nicholson, Phil Hurley, Freebo and Frank the great Norweigan drummer. I played with Keith Sykes! I sat up way too late one night with Peter Cooper, Eric Brace, Carolyn Martin, Tom Mason, Tommy Womack and Raul Malo, whose version of “Blue Bayou” was gorgeous and unforgettable. Tommy and I felt the weight of history in the shadow of the Lorraine Motel when we stopped by WEVL to play a few songs on the air (thanks Ed and Anne!). To top it all off, I played in the round at the Center For Southern Folklore with Tommy, Phil Lee and David Olney. What a weekend. About 40 hours of singing and playing packed into three days and nights.