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Monday, September 18, 2006

I had the pleasure of attending the induction ceremony for The Georgia Music Hall Of Fame this past weekend at the Georgia World Congress Center. Wow - was it incredible! First, thanks to Farley for the hook-up. Honest Abe, not a big Jermaine Dupri fan, so I could have done without that part. My opinion is that they jumped the gun inducting him. I just don't see how he is inducted when R.E.M. and Gregg Allman are just now getting in. Dallas Austin - yeah, he's done a lot, but anyway...

The posthumous induction went to Felice Bryant. What an incredible career she had and she must have been an incredible woman. Among other tunes, she wrote or co-wrote "Bye Bye Love", "Wake Up Little Suzie" and "Rocky Top".

R.E.M.'s performance was nothing short of OFF THE CHAIN! Really sweet to see Bill Berry banging on the pots and pans again - and they sounded so, so sweet. I can't say I've ever heard them sound better.

Gregg Allman also sounded good, and actually played a song I've never heard called "Oncoming Traffic". I'll have to learn that one and cover it some day. The three players from R.E.M. also came out and played Midnight Rider to close the show.

I don't want 2006 to end!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006
We made some great new friends this past weekend playing a going away party for Eric and Nicole Keller - moving to San Francisco later this week. The party was awesome and Bobby G filled in very nicely for Harold. Thanks Bob - for saving our squirrely arse! One of those nights when we were one with the crowd and everything just flowed so well. Love it when that happens!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
It took me a few days to get around to posting this. I'm totally wiped out from a magical experience that was "The Day The Music Never Stopped" Festival. Not only was I part of the production team (thanks Tina and Dave), but I got to play with The Squirrelheads and The Ramblers (doing The Grateful Dead's Reckoning). Doing the Reckoning CD in its entirety has been a dream of mine for many years now. While we were doing it I was sittting there thinking "wow, I can't believe it's finally happening!" It was just unbelievable. Not sure that I've ever been a part of such positive energy in all my life. The venue was great, the property owners, staff, other artists, vendors and sponsors were awesome - and the people attending were even better. Not a bad vibe in the house. I felt really good about what my two bands laid out there - too bad it was so hot that everyone was off to the side in the shade. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that it was a truly incredible weekend for me. Another day to be thankful for! It was awesome and I can't wait 'til next year.

Monday, August 7, 2006
Last night could have been my musical pinnacle thus far. We played a benefit at Smith's Olde Bar for the 3-Day Walk benefitting Breast Cancer Research. The neat thing was I got to play with all three of the bands I'm currently involved with. Goddess Rocks opened the show and did a marvelous job. They just keep getting better and better each time I've seen them. Beautiful vocals, and superb song writing. I started my three-set marathon after that with The Ramblers doing most of the Grateful Dead's "Reckoning". I thought we did a pretty good job considering we were a guitar player short. Some minor glitches, but it was another great warm-up for the Festival next weekend. The second set was The Helpers. I've been dying to hear this band on a big stage and finally got my chance. Our originals got some good response and the guitar work was just awesome. My highlights were Gregg Allman's Queen Of Hearts and The Allman Brothers' Jessica. Gave me chills. The third set was The Squirrelheads. Another good night on the Smith's stage for the boyz from Squirrel. Uptown was it's usual debacle (thanks to me) but we got through. A testament to our "connection" I think. Eric's guitar playing was fantastic!

Then came the icing on the cake. Donna Hopkins (who I absolutely love) asked if I'd sit in on a couple with her band. It was really nice. She called me up to do a blues tune with them first and I coulda sworn she said "let's do some blues in A". Of course it was E. I figured it out quickly but I was thinking "damn I hope no one heard that." We also did Whipping Post and a raggae tune late. Thanks to Donna and her band for making the night complete for me. And thanks to Katy Hohman for putting the whole thing on. It was a great night of music!

Monday, July 31, 2006
Friday night The Ramblers played at Amici's in Madison. This was the first of two "warm-up" gigs for The Day Festival (doing the Grateful Dead's Reckoning CD in it's entirety). And it was one of those I wish I could bottle up and hold on to for a while. We weren't perfect, but it was just magical for me. The crowd response was incredible, Dave's guitar playing was incredible and I thought it was a great first effort. Thanks to Kip, Bob, Chance, Spud - and everyone at Amici's - for making this a great night!!! Looking forward to Smith's this Sunday where we'll give it another whirl.

Monday, July 24, 2006
After some vacations and business trips we finally had a chance to play again. Another two-gig weekend - both were lots of fun. Friday night was Fat Matt's Rib Shack. Good crowd, the food is incredible, saw some old, old friends and Harold's Mom stole the show once again. The whole night was a lot of fun but three things stick out - some old friends walked in just by chance and it was really neat to catch up with them. One knew my Dad really well so that's always cool to reminisce. Second was Kathy, who works there sat in on "I Shall Be Released". We really sounded good for never having even rehearsed that song. Her voice was right on. Third was Margie getting up on the piano and doing "Tennessee Waltz," a blues tune I didn't know the name of and "In The Mood." She is so cool and so dang smooth. I love it when she shows up. We also had Mack McDowell sit in on a few numbers - and Bob Glick played the bass and Crystal Springs water jug on a couple.

Saturday night was another great night at Atkins Park in Smyrna. You would never think we would go over so well there but we always get such a great reception. Just a great time had by all. Thanks Elaine and Todd for coming out - it was great to see you again and enjoyed having dinner with you!!!

Monday, June 26, 2006
We played two gigs this past weekend. The first was at the ChopHouse Grill in Madison. Always fun to play for David and all the fine folks there. It was one of those gigs where, even though we weren't very loud, I thought we sounded great. The crowd was a bit sparse at first due to the weather but came on strong as the night went on.

The second gig was a private "40th birthday" party in Atlanta. What an incredible time we had (until Mother Nature declared the outdoor festivities over with huge thunder/lightening/rain storm). One of those gigs where one song flowed into the next and we could do no wrong (at least from where I sat). All in all a wonderful weekend of music, good friends, etc. We'll take a short break for some vacations, etc. and get back at it in late July!

Sunday, June 11, 2006
Not a ton to report from this weekend. The Whole Fam Damily played in Madison and, in my opinion, we just weren't that good. Might want to rethink the approach on this one. Lots of people said we sounded good, but I didn't feel good about it.

Saturday night at Atkins Park was kinda "average" too. Still love those folks and love playing there - just an off night I guess. We'll regroup next weekend go for it again!

Monday, June 5, 2006
Greenwoodstock 2006 - what a blast! We were actually a last-minute addition due to our schedule changing and I'm glad we were added to the bill. We followed Golden, who just won Dave FM's "Searcharoo" contest and will be playing Bonnaroo in a couple of weeks. Thanks to Kip Meyer who filled in for Mike on drums and did a great job. We threw some things at him that we hadn't talked about and he jumped right in. Also had a trumpet player (Jason Young) from Golden sit in on a few tunes. Hmmm, might be time to add a trumpet player - that was really sweet. Thanks to Neil Brogan for putting on another outstanding Greenwoodstock. Too bad it only comes around once a year!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Another little "studio" thing paid some dividends today. Our good friend Josh Golden asked me to sing backup on one of his new tunes "Lie", which I did a couple of months ago. The new CD arrived in the mail today, and I couldn't be happier. First, this is an awesome effort. Golden has never sounded better - the songs are great and the production is just incredible. I'm very pleased with the backing vocals I laid down - and thanks, Josh, for the mention on the CD jacket. Really glad I was able to do this for ya.

Sunday, May 14, 2006
We played two gigs this weekend (both Saturday). The early gig was at the Wild Wing Cafe's (Marietta) Annual Crawfish Boil. This was probably the best one we've done to
date. There was a mixup on the p.a. system and Shaillie's Dad (that's Mr. Thompson to H2daP) really pulled our arse out of a sling. Each band was to bring their own p.a. - but we didn't know it. Fortunately the band before us ran long and we had time to run to his house and pick up his board and speakers. Whew - not really sure what we would have done if not for him. THANKS! In true Aussie fashion, when we asked if we could pay him something he said "buy me a beer". Ok, it woulda been better if he'd added a "mate" at the end, but no such luck. The gig was fun - little kids were dancing and I saw several old friends that I haven't seen in a while. Always good when that happens. Our debut of "Hot Tamale" was, uh, ok I guess. Might need a little more polishing.

The second gig was at Fat Matt's Rib Shack in Midtown. Not a big money gig but it carries a little prestige with it. As a band I think we'll always remember Harold's Mom, Margie, stepping up to the piano and playing several tunes with us, including "In The Mood" and "Tennessee Waltz". That was just incredible. I hope I'm still doing that when I'm her age (although she swears she's not a day over 39). For me personally I will remember it as the night I stuck the straw up my nose on stage. I hope no one saw this - but it's very funny after the fact. I was drinking iced tea through a straw and standing behind Harold's Mom who was sitting at my keyboard. I forgot about the straw and went to take a big swig of tea between songs - well the straw went right up my nose - I swear it felt like ten inches up my nose. When I lowered the glass to pull the straw out it just hung there for a second. I'll leave the rest to the imagination. We've all had our little "occurrences on stage - I just hope no one saw this one. Kinda gross I guess. Damn good thing there wasn't a video camera rolling!

All in all a great musical weekend although I'm carrying around a nasty cold and didn't really feel much like playing. Eric dedicated a few songs to the Mothers in the house due to today being Mother's Day. I was able to say a few words about my Mom too and played the song she inspired me to write - The Hands Of Jesus - for her. That was nice.

Monday, May 8, 2006
Our first roadtrip - and what a great time it was. The Squirrelheads opened for Sister Hazel at the Rosewood Crawfish Festival in Columbia, South Carolina. A little history - evidently the agent (All In Entertainment) found us on the internet and submitted our site along with quite a few other bands and we were one of the bands chosen to play! And, we got the best spot (IMO) - the band on the main stage right before Sister Hazel. Ok, so I'm not a huge Sister Hazel fan, who cares? Nice stage, big sound system, etc. The trip over was awesome (on the Funkbus of course) and the whole experience was just incredible. Thanks to Jason, Paps and Nancy for the afterparty - what a hoot! So now we're hooked - look for more "Squirrels In The Road" trips in the near future!

Monday, May 1, 2006
What an incredible weekend we had. Started off with our first road trip to Macon, GA to play at the Macon Civic Club's Ribs and Whiskey party. It was an outside event held at the Idle Hour Country Club - an awesome place. The people could not have been nicer and they seemed to really, really enjoy us. We did something we've never done before - we actually repeated songs. Hughes, our host there, wanted to hear McNutt Strut and Center Of The Universe again (just a few songs after we played them). Never had someone so caught up in our original tunes - so we did it. Then at the end of the night they were begging for another funky "Whipping Post". Being that we were in Macon how could we say no? Thanks to EVERYONE in attendance - you made us feel right at home. Hope to see you again soon!

Day 2 was the Smyrna / Atkins Park Crawfish Festival. We were to play outside following The Flying Oatsmen beginning at 6 p.m. Well, true to form, if you want to bring on bad weather just hire us to play outside. Blackberry Winter as my Dad used to call it. Right in the middle of spring it gets cold. The Oatsmen actually had the better time slot in my opinion. We didn't get rolling 'til nearly 7 p.m. and by then the crowd was beginning to thin. Funny thing was once it got dark - and later in our second set - we started cooking and a lot of the "dancin' fools" came back out. Then we were asked to move inside and play another couple of sets - which would take us far past our original booked time of 11 p.m. Of course we did it and just threw it down. We achieved "the zone" on more than one occasion. And another good time was had by all. Especially yours truly. One last note - I had lots of old High School buddies show up and it meant a lot to me to see
them at a Squirrelheads gig. Thanks!

Monday, April 17, 2006
Another installment of "The Whole Family Damily". Not every gig is memorable. Or even rememberable if that's a word. So you learn your lessons and you move on.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
This past weekend was the debut of my little side project "The Whole Fam Damily". What a hoot! This time the band consisted of Harold, Chance Royal, Spud and Ron Mastro. We just let it flow as they say - no rehearsal, no real plans - just let 'er rip. A couple of highlights (for me) were "Whippin' Post" to the tune of "Moondance", "Dixie Chicken" into "Mickey's Monkey" and back - and an impromptu version of "Play That Funky Music White Boy" into "Thank You For Lettin' Me Be Myself" - kind of appropro don't cha think? Lots of good feedback from the crowd - in fact people are still talking about it around the big city of Madison. Installment number two is the weekend at Front Page News Midtown - me, Harold, Eric and Spud. Let's see if we can recapture the magic.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006
First of all, Happy Birthday to my Dad - he would have been 76 today. So, this is kinda goofy, but I thought I'd record it anyway. Was flying in on Airtran from Dallas yesterday listening to Bluesville on XM Radio. The Airtran people nailed that decision, by the way. It was a very peaceful flight, left just as the sun peaked through into huge Texas sky. I had a productive flight too, meaning that I finished up a couple of songs I've been working
on - maybe you'll hear them soon. As we began our final approach I was looking out the window and "Georgia On My Mind" came on the radio. It just blew me away - chill bumps, the whole thing. Just looking out the window and listening I couldn't help but be thankful for all of the music in my life and another incredible day on earth.

Monday, April 3, 2006
Technically I played one and a half gigs this weekend. The Helpers were at the Bamboo Bar in Marietta Saturday night. The first set was probably the worst set of music I've been a part of in a long time. We all agreed. The third set was one of the best - so go figure. I love playing with these guys - makes me a better player I think.

The second "half" gig was a going away party for our friend Blake (best of luck to ya!). Harold, Chance Royal and I got together and played unplugged in Piedmont Park. What a treat. Beautiful day, lots of cool people around and it was just really a relaxing thing to do. Another fun-filled musical weekend. And welcome springtime!

Monday, March 27, 2006
The CD Release Party has come and gone. What a magical night it was. Thanks to all of my friends/family who showed up (or showed interest and couldn't make it). We had a great time and hopefully sounded good, too. We certainly did from where I was sitting. Thanks to Stop Drop and Roll for bringing a great crowd and for starting things off in style. Also thanks to Dave Doke and Bongo Dave Kaiser for adding such a great touch to what we're doing here. Thanks, thanks, thanks. And thank ya Lord for blessing me with a little bit of talent, a whole lot of great friends and for sticking me in the Squirrel nest. Wow.

Monday, March 20, 2006
Happy Birthday Brockett Brown and to my Brother Maurice! My first St. Patty's Day in Madison. We had a loud and dancin' buncha fools come out. A good time was had by all. Some nice compliments from one of the bar owners, which is always cool. Getting ready for our CD release party this Thursday at Smith's Olde Bar. If you're reading this in advance - bring the whole fam damily! We need a crowd mang. Really excited about the whole thing - it's a neat feeling and one I'd like to repeat soon!

Saturday, March 4, 2006
Happy Birthday Mel Brown! Well, Mardi Gras has come and gone - what a bummer. I had to let it stew a bit before I sat down to write about it. I can honestly say this is the best Mardi Gras "season" I've ever had. Tons 'o fun. From the warm up party at Atkins Park in Smyrna to Mardi Gras in Madison to our trip to Nawlins and then all those Mardi Gras gigs around the ATL - I just can't imagine having more fun (legally). Our CD came out during Mardi Gras, a great old friend from cheese country came to visit (thanks Nance!), and the Mardi Gras Jedster turned 30 (word). I feel like it's the week after Chrismas now - only there's no New Years Eve to follow it up. I'll forever remember the 150th Mardi Gras as one of my best. Jock-A-Mo-Fee-Na-Nay. The good times rolled.

Tuesday, February 20, 2006
One week 'til Phat Tuesday. It'll probably take me that long to get over my trip to Nawlins. Sweet and sour best describes the trip. My first look at the gulf coast since the hurricane - and I'm not sure I was ready for that. Very depressing/disturbing. But also uplifting because everywhere we went you could see people digging out and rebuilding. Most evident along Canal Street, where scaffolding surrounds some buildings, new trees have been planted and I saw a few smiles. Chills and tears when that first parade rolled down St. Charles Avenue and by our little perch. The Quarter, thankfully, was spared for the most part. Crowds were big and spirits were high. Met quite a few natives who are rebuilding and came to the parade to prove a point - or just catch some beads. They've been through hell AND high water, yet they refuse to give up. Lessons learned, hangovers suffered, bon temps rouler! Looking forward to upcoming gigs in Vinings, Smyrna and Fat Tuesday at Front Page News in Midtown. Haven't been there in a while.
CD is out this week! It looks and sounds awesome (to me). Can't wait to get it out there.

Sunday, February 12, 2006
Rock, rock, rock. Played three gigs with three different bands this weekend. You know the old saying "live each day like it's your last"? That seems to be a developing theme these days. The Squirrelheads played our first gig at Fat Matt's Rib Shack on Friday night. I was REALLY stressed out when I got there - and a little nervous about the gig due to FMRS being more of a blues joint. H2daP assured me we'd be fine and once we got going the stress magically disappeared (thankfully). The crowd seemed to dig us and I think we'll be asked back soon - which will be nice. Fat Matt's reminds me of a true "juke joint". Neat, and historic, little place. The staff there was awesome too.

After the gig I made a beeline over to Jake's (Roadhouse/Toadhouse/In Search of an Identityhouse) and sat in with Caustic Blues. Todd, Rob, John and Paul D are great guys and I was glad I was able to make it over for that. Made for a long night, though. Considering maybe doing a CD Release party at Jake's. Might be a good fit for us.

Saturday night was with The Helpers at the Bamboo Bar in Marietta. Undoubtedly the smallest space I've EVER played in - and we're a frickin' six-piece band! Great people, great place, great time - but man - this one was tough. Really enjoying hooking up with The Helpers again and looking forward to playing more with them. Maybe a little bigger space next time.

Ah, the annual pilgrimage to Mardi Gras coming up next weekend. 150th Mardi Gras. First Mardi Gras P.K. (post Katrina). Strap in.

Monday, February 6, 2006
Ok, if you're reading this you're probably getting tired of me saying "wow, that was an awesome gig." Well, at the risk of sounding like someone from the department of redundancy department, Mardi Gras in Madison was another one of those "off the hook" type gigs that I wish I could bottle up and sell on the corner. Wow - again. Thanks to Ron Mastro, Mason and all the others at Amici's for helping put this on. Thanks to the other SQHDS for making the long drive out to Madison (welcome to my world) and especially to all of the great folks that came out to enjoy an intensely fun evening. I don't know how it could have been any better - well, yes I do but I can't write anything like that here, now, can I? If this gets to be any more fun someone is going to have to stick me with a push- pin. Mardi Gras 2006 is officially underway!

Sunday, January 29, 2006
Two gigs this weekend. Old Vinings Inn Friday night and Atkins Park Smyrna on Saturday night. Friday night was interesting - all those mistakes we've been avoiding lately came out in full force. Not one for the ages. But Saturday night served to remind me why I love doing this so much (as if I needed reminding). First, we drew a pretty good crowd. Thanks to all of our friends who told two friends, and so on, and so on. And to those people who said they came out because they'd seen us before and heard we were playing. What a nice compliment. But two things that will stick in my mind - one is Dave Doke sat in with us on fiddle and just tore it up. What a treat - not to sound cliché but we really took it up a notch with him in the mix, and then carried that over into our next set. Awesome. The other thing is that we made two new friends who are from New Orleans, have been in Atlanta since the hurricane, and are getting ready to move back in a few weeks. They thanked us for making them feel at home and we exchanged numbers hoping to hook up for Mardi Gras. Just a real heart-felt exchange between us - it was really cool. So anyway - back to the grind - I'm just really thankful for another outrageous Squirrelhead weekend!

Monday, January 16, 2006
Opened for Blueground Undergrass at Smith's Olde Bar on Saturday night. Another gig that moves into the top slot as "the most fun gig I think I've ever played". First, the guys in BGUG were just awesome. I can't speak enough about how well they treated us - and didn't have to. The folks at Smith's were incredible as always (hey Brittany!). And the crowd was without a doubt the most giving and "up" crowd I think I've ever played for. The crest of the wave was some serious love the crowd gave Murph after an extended solo during Crossroads (which wasn't even on the list but our main man Nelson Mandola requested). This was a night I wish I could bottle up and hold on to for a while. I remember looking down at the set list about 2/3 of the way through the set and thinking "damn - this went way too fast." I thought we sounded great - I made my usual lyrical blunder - resulting in a Popeye-esque rambling during "Congo Square" and we stumbled a little during "Go Figure It Out" (a new one never played live before) - but for the most part I thought we laid it out there pretty well! I've never had more people come up to me and say "great set" or "you guys rocked", etc. - and man did that feel great. I hope we get to play with BGUG (and for that crowd) more often. We really felt right at home. Thanks to all of the Squirrel Nutz in the crowd, too. We were pleased with how many folks actually came to hear us as well.
 

Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Ahhhh, New Year's Eve at Atkin's Park in Smyrna. You know they say that what you do on New Year's Eve will determine what you do the rest of the year. Sweet! I had a blast - the return of the Funk Bus was a big hit. Saw an old friend and hung out with him and his brother after the gig (along with the band and some other cool people). Gave away tons of stuff (compliments of Samuel Adams and Budweiser), screwed up some songs (but who cares?), and just had some good, clean fun. Thanks go out to everyone at Atkins Park for making the last half of 2005 so frickin' fun! Bring on the oh six. Speaking of, our first gig of 06 is Smith's Olde Bar opening for Blueground Undergrass. A little intimidated by this one - these guys are the total real deal - but ready for the challenge. We should have at least one new song ready to go by then as well.

Monday, December 12, 2005
Back at Atkin's Park in Smyrna - and another great gig. I know things can change on a dime, but right now we are such a perfect fit for the people there. Of course you've got your usual yahoos who want to hear crap - but they are everywhere. I swear, corporate radio and MTV have done the general music public an incredible disservice by spoon-feeding them nothing but pop crap for the last 25 years. It's amazing good music has survived. Sorry to vent.

Friday, November 18, 2005
Last night may have qualified as the best gig I've ever been a part of. I'd have to search long and hard to find a better one. The Squirrelheads were asked to open for Rebirth Brass Band out of New Olreans at Smith's Olde Bar. First, what an honor - these guys are the real deal. Second - another opportunity to play Smith's Olde Bar - one of Atlanta's finest clubs. Again the staff at Smith's treated us wonderfully, and our sound check turned into a bit of an extended jam. Nice because we could take our time to make sure the sound was right - and because we could stretch out and get comfortable with the high volume and high power a venue like this offers. Not the biggest stage we've played, but also not necessarily the norm for us. Long story short: I felt like we played a great set. The crowd was into it and was very responsive to what we were doing. It just ended way too quickly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005
Another great weekend (musically) for me. We were asked a couple months ago to play a surprise birthday party for our new friend Nelson Nolan - and what a party it turned out to be. A stone cold groove my man. The most righteous. We played at the Madison Grill, which is in the Earthlink buidling in Midtown. Even had roadies! I could get used to that. The party-goers were great - it was just a blast. I think we'll even wind up playing there in the near future. Harold in the Jester hat was a sight to behold. Or was that Luthor Of The Bass People? I also sat in with Brian Lavelle on Sunday night at Jake's Toadhouse in Decatur. I enjoyed it but would rate my playing as pretty lame. Most of what we did was Lavelle original material - so I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself. Brian is a great guy and very talented musician/songwriter. If you get a chance to see him you'll know what I mean. Hopefully he and I can hook up again soon - had some great compliments from the audience.

Monday, October 24, 2005
Whew, the end of a three-day run for the Squirrels, plus a full day in Athens for the DAWGS/Razorbacks game. I'm beat! Started off at Rocky Mountain Pizza (see below) with an Old Vinings Inn sandwich and desert at Atkins Park in Smyrna. Old Vinings Inn was great because I saw some old friends I hadn't seen in a couple of years. Thanks to everyone who came out to see us there. Steve Einbender from The Helpers sat in with us on Eyes Of The World / What's Goin' On and Iko. What a great drummer and a great guy to boot. Saturday night at Atkins Park redefined "off the hook" for me. Had to fight our way in because the place was so packed and just tore the proverbial roof off the place! Come to find out the owners are three LSU grads from Louisiana and they just loved us. Threw out lots of dates in the near future - can't wait to play for those folks again. What great people and a great time! Happy birthday Lee! And thanks for the mammories! 

Friday, October 21, 2005
Our first gig at Rocky Mountain Pizza near the GA. Tech campus. Kinda neat to be playing for a true "college crowd" but also kinda strange. I ain't no spring chicken no mo. The people there seemed to really enjoy us. I tend to judge things like this based on how the staff reacts - and they couldn't have been more enthusiastic. Got tons of compliments from them. I'd play there again. It would be fun to do the UGA/Tech football weekend there. I would refrain from showing my angus!

Monday, October 17, 2005
Played two gigs on Saturday - both at Olde Towne Conyers Festival. Felt really great when I arrived - the weather was awesome and the setting was exactly what the name implied "olde towne". Just a neat little slice of Americana. Eric and I "The Hemingway Cats", played at 11:30 and I don't know that we've ever sounded better. Not sure why - but I really enjoyed our set. The crowd was typical for something like this. I don't play these things thinking there's going to be the crowd of crowds - so that didn't really bother me. The Squirrelheads set was at 4:00 and was short and sweet and relatively uneventful. We followed another Elvis impersonator - and tried to get him up to sing a tune or two with us - but Elvis was a little shy. I cracked myself up when I announced "Elvis is leaving the building" as he walked away with his family. Eric chuckled but everyone else just sat there with that blank look on their face. But I had fun.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005
Second Line Atlanta was my musical highlight of the year (thus far). What a great night - great stage / venue, great sound system, great crowd and obviously a great cause. Clay and Al from Month Of Sundays opened the show with some sweet harmonies and great original songs. Brian Lavelle followed with his unique blend of funk to swing to bluegrass. He's one of a kind. Groupie then came on the stage and - in my opinion - stole the show when they closed with "When The Levee Breaks." Our spot was next and I thought we did a very good job. Evidently so did the people at Smith's! The Newbies closed the night with some fun, rockin' stuff - and that was it. We raised right at $1000 - not quite what we'd hoped for - but still a nice chunk of change for a wonderful charity organization, The Tipitina's Foundation. We couldn't be more proud of the way the whole thing went off! Far too many people to thank here - but David Kaiser and Katy Hohman are tops on the list.

Monday, September 26, 2005
After a long, strange road trip to Starkville, Mississippi to see UGA play - dodging hurricanes, tornados, mechanical failures and the worst gasoline shortage I've seen in my driving days - the last thing I wanted to do was come home Sunday and play a gig in the middle of a hot asphalt parking lot. Surprise, surprise - the weather was awesome and we had a great time playing for the folks at Six Feet Under. Their third anniversary party / low-country boil and the crowd was really ready to have a good time. I left there (way too late for a school night) thinking I should have known I'd have a good time - 'cuz it's always 420 when The Squirrelheads are playing! Next up is the "Second Line Atlanta" benefit at Smith's Olde Bar. I truly hope this one is one of our best to date!

Monday, September 19, 2005
Our second gig at the Vinings Inn. If you haven't been there you need to check this place out. Southern snootery at it's finest downstairs and no-holds-barred fun in the "Attic Bar" upstairs. Really a cool place (upstairs). We've witnessed some strange stuff in our short lives as Squirrels, but this ranked right up there with the best. The crowd gave credence to my take that a few good yahoos in a small crowd beats a big dull crowd any day. Flashdance 2005 was a site to see. Jonesy - you rock.

Monday, September 5, 2005
Wow - hurricane Katrina and all that followed. Hard to get my arms around it. It goes without saying that New Orleans is my favorite place on earth so from a strictly selfish point of view I feel a heavy sense of loss. But I just can't imagine what the folks living the nightmare are going through. I feel so very sorry for them and pray they find the strength to persevere. On the business side we have 17 employees who lived in or around New Orleans and have lost at least 4 trucks at this point. I'm impressed by the way each of them is holding up - I guess "stoic" is the best I can come up with. And just engrossed/ inspired by their stories.  We are also participating, to a small degree, in moving relief and rebuilding supplies into the area - so as one of our guys put it, "I feel like in my own tiny little way I'm helping." I could go on and on but no one feels any differently than I do - so I'll stop preachin' to the choir here.

I've played two gigs in the last couple of days. Dave and I set up at our UGA tailgate and played for while. Ron was really cookin' on the sax and Spud was adding a great groove on the congas. Had some nice comments from the folks standing around listening. I guess that's why I still do this? Also played up at Pioneer Days in Acworth on 9/4 with Eric and David Doke. I enjoy playing there because it's so close to "home." I always run into a few folks I know from childhood. True to form again. Several of Doke's students were in attendance. Fun to watch them watch him. Don't read anything into that!

All in all a very nice weekend. Caught Eric's wife Lori's band Groupie opening for
Drivin' N Cryin' in Athens Saturday night and met some really cool friends of theirs - now friends of mine! Took a scenic walking tour of Athens - hadn't done that in a while. But my heart's definitely in New Orleans.

Saturday August 27, 2005
Another fun gig last night at Vito Goldberg's house of New York Pizza, Pasta and Pandemonium. Saw some good friends I haven't seen in a while and met some new ones to boot! For once a night Smed won't remember. He was confused. Or was that corn-fused? Saw an incredible sunset over Little Kennesaw Mountain on the way up - worth the trip in and of itself!

Friday August 26, 2005
A couple months ago I did some studio work for Connor and his band "Princess." Just got a copy in the mail last night and got a big thrill out of that. I played piano (duh) on an old Sam Cooke tune called "Bring It On Home." During the process I was able to sit in while Connor laid down some vocal tracks - man does this guy have some pipes. If you get a chance check them out at www.waitingforprincess.com. The tune I played on can be found on the "Music" tab. Thanks to those guys for the opportunity!

Monday August 22, 2005
Had a glorious weekend with some old college friends up at Lake Hartwell. It amazed me how it felt like no time had passed since we were in Athens. One of the many highlights was playing an "advanced" copy of our CD for them. Maybe it was the boat - or maybe it was the beer - but we sure sounded good on the lake. Jumped off a 25 ft. "jumping rock" and came up while "Tallboy" was playing. That was pretty cool. Lots of gigs coming up this fall. Can't wait to get back at it.

Also - 17 years ago today my Dad passed away. Have to take a minute to think about him and thank him for everything he did for me.

Friday August 12, 2005
It's amazing how a little tension can turn into a "performance enhancer". Had a great "show" at Amici's Around The Corner in Madison with Dave, Ron and the Spudman. Debuted a couple of "new" old songs and enjoyed that. We're talking about taking this group into the studio some time soon. More later on that idea. Also talked to Eric about The Squirrelheads CD progress. We'll be meeting soon to begin the mix-down process. Should be out in September.

I'm traveling home from New England today - it's been "the hurry-up-and-wait" tour. Delayed again at Dulles. I'm reading Phil Lesh's book "Searching For The Sound". If you have any interest in the Grateful Dead or the music scene from the late '60s on you definitely have to read this book. It's awesome!

Tuesday, August 9, 2005
Ten years ago today - Jerry died. What a gloomy day that was. Now two of my three favorite "entertainers" are gone. Louis Grizzard and Jerry. Larry Munson still hanging on "by the skin of a toothbrush."  Luckily I've discovered some "new talent" that's still kickin'
it. Dr. John / the Meters top that list. And thankfully Phil and Friends / Ratdog are still carrying the Dead flag!

Saturday, August 6, 2005
The Hemingway Cats played a party in Marietta for Terry Shell and Steve Carlson who both recently retired. Both were Air Traffic Controllers at Hartsfield - and both made it out with some semblance of sanity! Terry's old neighborhood hosted the party and it was a blast. A couple of minor injuries late - but that's what you get when you mix beer, tunes and scooters. Thankfully my daredevil days died when my Evel Knievel motorcycle jumping kit stripped it's gears. Ah the good old days. Played another sweet version of "Wish You Were Here" for Vinnie. That's twice now that Eric and I have played that one without a rehearsal. Maybe we should not practice more tunes.

Monday, August 1, 2005
Today would have been Jerry Garcia's 63rd birthday. Wish he was here. Dave and I played some Dead tunes and drank some Crown in celebration. Jerry would have probably died if he'd heard us butcher his tunes! We're gettin' there though. A "Reckoning A to Z" set is coming soon!

Sunday, July 31, 3005
Finished up my keyboard, vocal and accordion tracks for the CD. We're just a few more sessions from going to mixdown and mastering. This thing is really sounding sweet! Thanks again to Eric for his hard work and patience in engineering this project.

Friday, July 29, 3005
Played at Amici's in Covington with The Ramblers. Our first gig there. Nice folks. Couldn't hear shit and won't play without monitors again. Going to buy those little Roland Cube Monitors for occasions just like this! Shameless plug - I only buy my stuff at Firehouse Music in Conyers! I happen to be connected. :-)

Saturday, July 23, 3005
Eric and I (The Hemingway Cats) played a birthday party in Key Largo. Super nice folks and everyone seemed to have a great time. Probably played seven encore tunes - which is a record for me. They just wouldn't let us stop - and we didn't want to stop. The whole trip was awesome. Thanks to Eric's folks for driving our equipment down to us! That made all of the difference. Can't wait to go back.

Friday, July 15, 3005
Played the Vinings Inn - our first gig there. Three words - off the hook. The people there were awesome and our sets felt great. I told someone that our second set was like we threw out a bucket full of gasoline and set it on fire. I wish there were more of these! Hope we get to play there again soon!

Friday, July 8, 3005
Eric and I did our first gig as "The Hemingway Cats" - named after my office cat "Coral" who is, indeed, a "Hemingway Cat". For those of you who aren't up on such - she's a polydactyl - has an extra toe on each foot. Really cool. Gig was fun - some old Walton James Band fans came out - Dave and Sandy, Rick and Sue. Also got a visit from the Polks - Vince, Loren and Ryan. Loren requested "Brown Eyed Girl" and said our version was the best she's ever heard. Vince is in deep trouble in a few years! Also did a "Wish You Were Here" for him. Either he liked it or he was sitting there passing gas. Funny little grin on his face!

Saturday, July 9, 3005
Wild Wing Cafe in Marietta's anniversary party. We were set up outside on the back deck next to the tiki bar. Not a bad crowd - but then the skies absolutely opened up on us. We were in a covered area but rain was blowing in sideways and the awning was leaking on our equipment so we packed it in after one set. Met some nice folks from New Jersey and Houston. Yes, they were traveling together!

Friday, June 6, 3005
Our last "regular" gig at Front Page News Midtown. This was our first solo gig in Atlanta back three years ago (almost exactly). For three years we've played the first Friday of every month here but they've decided to go with more DJs and pop-oriented bands. Can't fault them for that - the crowd is more suited to that sort of thing. Can't say enough nice things about all of the people here - from the owners on down. This has been a great experience and we've had some extremely crazy gigs here. Funny, this last gig was a lot of fun. The crowd was into it and we sounded really good - in my humble opinion. Me and one of the chef's had our "Squirrels Gone Wild" t-shirts on. Thanks Tar-get'.