with jd malone and the experts, steel city coffeehouse, phoenixville PA

so it had been, as they say, a while.


the steel city gigs have always been jd malone‘s hometown shows – and we’ve always done well there, and this show was no exception.  a great crowd with lots of friendly faces – oh, and it was carolyn’s (jd’s wife) birthday, so that didn’t hurt, either.

the opener was a young guy from north carolina named sam lewis – usually, the opener gets drowned out by conversation and laughter in the green room…only because that’s inevitable when this crew is all in the same place.  now, i’m not saying there wasn’t plenty of both, but sam was an undeniable talent, and i sure did enjoy his set.  super nice guy, as well.  he was actually touring via Amtrak – taking whatever form of transportation he could get to the gig, which had to have been an interesting twist…i can vaguely remember being young enough to have the gumption to try something like that, but it seems so very long ago now. 🙂

dylan and jayda both came to the show, as did wendy – who cut a deal with carolyn’s kids to hang out with danny so she could get a night off to come out and hang out with grownups.

now, it’s been quite some time since i’ve bothered to update my perpetual life story, here – and to say that much has happened in the time since would be an understatement akin to calling World War II a “territorial conflict”.

a lot has happened since we last spoke.  a LOT.

and, frankly, it’s only been a few weeks since i had largely resigned myself to the notion that i might not be speaking with either of my older children again for quite some time, if ever.  things had soured that much.  i’m not certain right now to what extent the ship has righted itself, but it was good to have them both there that night, to say the least.  even if all the debris from the summer hasn’t washed away yet.


the last time we played this room, i brought “the toaster” – my ’57 gibson GA-20T amplifier.  i was promptly washed out and almost inaudible for the show.  i had it turned up waaaay past its’ sweet spot, and it didn’t respond particularly well.  i was thinking about bringing my deluxe reverb this time around, but with everybody riding together, space was at a premium.  so, i figured, the princeton did so well on the denver shows with boris garcia last year, maybe it wouldn’t be completely out of line to give it a crack at this gig.  plus, with the space issue being what it was, i didn’t bring the banjo, the 12 string electric, or any of the other toys – it was lap steel, baritone guitar, and mandolin and that was it.  so you could say i was travelling uncharacteristically light for this gig, and i figured that if worse came to worse, i could use one of the backline amps from the green room…which i always seem to forget about until i go downstairs to stow my cases and see them there. 🙂

jayda hampton onstage with jd malone and the experts, november 2013

well, the princeton made its daddy proud – i had it on 5 most of the night, and it sounded amazing – especially on the lap steel.  that’s definitely its’ sweet spot for that instrument.  the band was, this time as it was last time, pretty loud for a room that size.  i don’t know how many other acts that play that room are as loud as we are/were, but we shook the rafters, for sure.

jd debuted a few new songs during the show, with my personal favorite being if you pray…but we also shook up window painted blue quite a bit, as well.  i had made up my mind that there really wasn’t going to be an arrangement of that song that both he and i were gonna be happy with, but he proved me wrong.  and of course, jayda got up with us to sing black yodel and leave us alone…i couldn’t hear her vocal at all on the latter, and for a while thought that maybe she’d been doubling my part until the bridge came around and the dynamic died down enough that i could actually hear her voice.

jayda and JD singing "black yodel"
jayda and JD singing “black yodel”

next gig i have on the books with the guys will be burlap and bean later this winter.


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