this particular evening, tommy geddes and i found ourselves in the familiar role of supporting our good friend craig bickhardt at sellersville, opening for beth neilsen chapman (pictured, right, with her equal number of sidemen).
for some reason, i’ve been operating a little off kilter for the past couple of days. my throat is very sore, my neck is very tender, and my whole body hurts. i haven’t slept well the past couple of nights, and congestion has arrived late to the party, too. so i can’t say i was feeling my best for the show.
but, aside from the opportunity to play with my friend, my boys charlie degenhart and his perpetual sidekick diamond dave minnich had comp tickets at the box office, and i wasn’t about to miss a chance to hang with my extended family for the night. so i threw some axes and a change of clothes in my ride and off i went.
we discussed early on that it’d be best for everyone concerned if i didn’t sing, and happily, i didn’t have to. craig also introduced a couple of new songs into the rotation – a new song, “disinformation”, and one of my favorites, “where in the world”. the former is a romp, a natural lap steel song, and the latter is a beautiful ballad that gets only minimal mandolin arpeggios in the choruses – because that’s all it needs.
i feel like it’s taking me longer than it should to fit into craigs’ songs in a way that i’m comfortable with. part of that is the newness of it all – discounting the rehearsed idlewheel gigs, we’ve only done this a handful of times. i did tell craig last night after the show that i felt like i wanted to sit down at some point and work out some actual melodic hooks for some of the songs at some point in the not too distant future, but he seems happy with what i’ve been doing – which means, of course, that the answer lies somewhere in between our points of view.
charlie and diamond dave showed up, with dave in his tom hampton T-shirt (which prompted my buddy danny faga, the technical director at the venue, to lobby me for one of his own…it’ll be in my bag next show, buddy!) danny got us a great sound check in, and the show went as well as it could’ve from inside the bubble that was my head on this particular night. but craig said – and i can’t argue with him – that the dynamic between us all gets tighter with every show. larry ahearn seconded the motion, and larry wouldn’t bullshit either of us.
after the show, we all walked down the wet sidewalks to the washington house and had dinner. it was craig, tommy and i, along with larry ahearn and his wife, and charlie and diamond dave. i’m always torn about the whole dinner thing. it usually means missing a significant part of the headliners’ show, and i usually end up regretting that on some level. but the food is great, and this night, the company was better than the food. it was great getting to listen to the interaction between charlie and craig – new nashville resident and expatriate – comparing notes about their experiences, likes and dislikes.
and of course, a few pictures from the night are in order: