Sunday, April 15, 2018

It's April 3rd 2018. I haven't really returned to this thread of writing since I was living out in LA in '08 and these short story/vignettes just came out of me in a few weeks time, without hardly any intention. Not even sure exactly where to start here... 

I'm in East Nashville on a Monday night listening to Steely Dan "Countdown To Ecstasy" and just got back from meeting with my good friend Price and handing off to him the new 7" 45RPM vinyl with Lilly Winwood, which he shot photography and did art direction on. I've been working with Price since 2012 when I first moved to Nashville. He put my 2012 "Six Weeks In A Motel" album out on his garage-rock label Ferelette Media.

Price shot that record cover photo of me sitting at a table in Johnny's Tavern before it was torn down, and he shot the "Boots Blue Jeans" video there also. Shoot man, we did the record release at Johnny's too. That's why we had to quit playing there though, 'cause somebody got shot and it was just too dangerous of a joint. 

I've been trying to figure out album art since early 2000's when i put out a terrible looking album cover with a bad photograph of me and a pistol sticking outta the top of my pants. I got on the right path when i started to learn about photography and which photographers are good from a girlfriend.

The cover on my 1st americana album "Bad News Travels Fast" in 2010 is a Michael Traister photo shot in Asheville North Carolina when Michael had a cool studio in Chicken Alley.
Michael's shot some heavy characters including Ralph Stanley. Anyway, Price did photography/ art direction on the 2012 "Six Weeks In A Motel" album and has done art direction and shot photography for my albums since then. That back cover on 2016 "Sea Of Lights" album, of the ominous red digital american flag billboard, and the insert photo are Price Harrison photographs. The "Sea Of Lights" cover is a Geoff Moore photo. Geoff's an LA photographer buddy of mine who's rock roll as hell and broke into the mainstream with the big T-Mobile black white photo campaign. 

I'm immersed in some details here that I had no idea I'd ever contend with and I've gained some valuable knowledge about nearly every moving piece of the entertainment business in the same way; out of necessity. Some people strike gold or luck out and a record label has good A & R, a good producer, good mixer, good mastering engineer, a good art director, and a good record pressing plant, and they put out a righteous record on an artist.    

Let's set aside the entire writing/recording process for another yarn and get into the greasy guts of the business part of it; branding, marketing and promo. Like I said, I'd gotten hip about photographers from a girlfriend in LA and had a decent looking CD with a Michael Traister cover shot and simple text on my 2010 "Bad News Travels Fast" album, which I released out of a halfway-house in Athens Georgia, half a block behind New West Records. I learned a lot in LA; what a one-sheet is, what the different areas of promotion are and how they're related, and I sent out a mailing of 130 CD's to various addresses on a contact list I got from a friend in Nashville. 

An Americana DJ got a package, liked the record, started playing it on his radio show, and said "I can tell you don't have any damned money, so I'll show ya how to send out a radio mailing and promote the album to Americana Radio." "We're going to send 'em lumpy packages," he said, "so they won't sit at the bottom of a stack of mail". He told me to get something like a giant tootsie roll to put in t he package. I went to Kroger, bought 85 miniature Moon Pies, stuffed envelops with CD's, one sheets, Moon Pies and sent them to all of the AMA reporting stations. My americana radio pal said "Give 'em a couple weeks and start calling. Just ask if they got the Moon Pie, don't say a darn word about the record, and follow their call times, as best you can." Two weeks later I started making calls from the halfway-house phone. 

I got around to "Dawn Dale" at KFAN in Dallas, Hello, this is Boo Ray and I wanted to make sure you got the Moon Pie." "I sure did honey, made my day. Thank ya so much." Dawn said and hung up. The next week I called back and said "howdy Dawn it's Boo Ray calling to see if you had a chance to hear the album yet?" "Oh honey, I just got a 1-sheet and a Moon Pie." Dawn informed. I was so embarrassed and said I'd get a CD right to her. I scraped up $35 bucks to over night a CD to Dawn that day. When I called the next day I asked if she got the CD and she said "Honey I got the CD but where's my Moon Pie?!?"... I sent Dawn a box of Moon Pies, a T-Shirt, an 8x10 and a poster signed "I get a rise outta Dawn Dale on KFAN FM 'Preciate ya! Boo Ray". Dawn played the hell out of that record we stayed in her Top-40 for a year. And so it went for the 90 days I was a full-time radio promoter and "Bad News Travels Fast" reached the top 50 on the AMA Chart... 

Working that Americana radio promotion myself was real big education on the way the business works, how those people communicate with each other, how radio is related to press and how those 2 things indicate the venues and markets you should play... I don't have it figured out by any means, but I'm growing and learning from my mistakes. "Sea Of Lights" was a thousand piece radio mailing in 2016 and still plays on the radio today.

But yeah, album art... I'm into sketch artists, pen ink, graffiti artists, oil canvas painters, graphic artists and illustrators. I've always wanted to have artwork, a painting or graphic image as a record cover, but have thus far conceded to the discipline of portrait photography and simple text. 

I think my buddy James Willis has an ace up his sleeve for the upcoming "Tennessee Alabama Fireworks" album art. James has roots as a graphic illustrator, studied under Charles Schultz and has developed a character kind of based on me. We've continued the tradition of sending out Moon Pies on the 2016 "Sea Of Lights" thousand piece radio mailing. In the spring of '05 I moved lock, stock barrel out to Los Angeles on a hunch with almost no plan at all other than going to rehab and getting sober. I was strung out on liquor real bad. Lock, stock barrel actually consisted of a carry on bag, a dopp kit and my Gibson flat-top. After getting out of rehab and a few months of living in LA, I got a gig working the Magic Fashion Show in Las Vegas. At the end of a long 5 days on the floor of the show picking guitar a full 8 hours a day, I got a pretty decent pay check. I went straight to the Hard Rock Hotel Casino, got a comp card and cashed my check. After sitting at the $20 blackjack tables for about 10 hours I was up about $75 bucks and decided to hit the craps table. That night i hit that craps table for 14 thousand bucks, while unknowingly standing next to a couple of Texas/Nashville music publishers. I make a pretty good commotion when I throw dice and yell "Hot Sauuuuuuce!!!" every time I roll. My carrying on and winning gathered a pretty good crowd. In all the excitement during the course of those 3 hours at the craps table, I made fast friends with the music publishers that night and we're still friends today. 

They're the one's who started bringing me to Nashville on songwriting appointments. I was back in LA a couple of weeks later and got a call from one of the Texas guys and they sent me a plane ticket to come to Nashville on songwriting appointments. I took 'em up on it. I flew into Nashville they picked me up in a king cab dually truck and we went to their office on music row which had a couple of different rooms and a full bath with shower. We slept on couches in the office and went to songwriting appointments around the clock for three days and nights. That year they flew me to Nashville a few different times to write. I spent all my time on the row and some time on Lower Broadway. I went out to Franklin a couple of times to meet some big country singers and saw the rolling hills and pastures out there but I really didn't quite understand the scene in Nashville and how it worked, or where my kinda people were. 

I was enjoying being immersed in the craft of songwriting and working with some real high quality successful writers, but I just knew there was more to Nashville than The Row and Lower Broadway... finally, on one of my working trips I met and wrote with Steve Pasch. After we were done writing he was going to catch a live act at Exit/In and I tagged along. Late that night we wound up in East Nashville and went to 3 Crow, The 5 Spot and I realized I'd found the Nashville I was looking for. 

I continued coming to Nashville on songwriting appointments every couple of months during the couple of years I moved back to Georgia and began dating the girl who I'd write "Sra Of Lights" about. One morning she woke up and said "hey babe, I want to move to Nashville and join the roller derby team. I said cool and we did it. I hustled up a little publishing deal so I could tag along. After becoming a star skater thus wonderful girl fell-out with the team's bad leadership, broke my heart and moved back to Georgia. I wrote a good record over it, got a good publishing deal and I've been living in East Nashville for goin' on four years now. 

I'm writing, recording, touring, and releasing records with my company BRRB Music. "Sea Of Lights" is out on 12" vinyl LP, the "All Strung Out Like Christmas Lights" single

is out on 12"45-RPM Single, the new "Hard To Tell" 45 with is out Friday 13th, and I've got a brand new record in the can set to release later this year. I just cued up Dire Straits "On Every Street", which is a damned fine record. I guess that was recorded near the apex of technology of analog tape recording machines and all. Actually only 2 of my records have been digitally recorded; "Bad News Travels Fast" and "Six Weeks In A Motel". In 2010 when I released that 1st Americana record, "Americana" wasn't a stylistic choice for me at all. It was a financial, quality and logistic choice. 

AMA was the most legit area of promotion and the price was right, you know. It just so happened that the acoustic singer/songwriter nature of the album fell easily under the americana umbrella, so that's where it went. I've been studying the process of making records the whole time I've been making records. You know, figuring out how to get the best sound you can with the equipment you've got, how to make it convenient for a player to record remotely, what kind of songs record well under the pressure of limited budgets, borrowed studios and players paid in pizza
and beer and making mistakes and learning from 'em. I've known for a long time that an API console and Ampex Tape machine are meant for each other, and that it ain't about the gear, it's about the relationship the engineer has with the gear. I've known for a long time that none of it matters a damned bit if you don't have some sure enough songs though. I'd done a couple of other interesting things before the "Bad News Travels Fast" album and thankfully I knew that i had to show all the way up as a songwriter on that album. I wrote that record like it was the last thing I was ever going to do. 

A couple of songs recorded at Noah Shain's LA studio, a couple songs recorded with Zander Schloss from The Circle Jerks at a downtown LA fashion studio with a cat who was anything but an engineer, couple songs recorded in a rap studio in Atlanta, and one song recorded on a microphone when I was behind a locked door in a psych ward. The string parts of that first recording of 'Six Weeks" were played on a computer keyboard. I've written in more detail about that session in the story "Constantina" here on this blog. Anyway, by the time I got stranded in Georgia after chasing a publishing down there for 6 months and given up my place in LA, got drunk again, arrested again and then did the 10 months for running off on a warrant, I had a few of these recordings and a couple of good new songs written, including "Bad News Travels Fast" which I wrote with Colin Linden. 

Freshly sober and in a halfway house, I needed a $10 dollar CD to hustle real bad. It took me a few months to pull it all together with some help from Monica Ewing John "Q" Kegler in Atlanta but we got that record out and on the radio, and I've been rerecording songs off of that record ever since then. I'm grateful to Monica and "Q" for betting on me right then. That was a pivotal time and I'm glad I'm the guy who wrote those songs. This group of people I'm working with now is humbling if anything. Time tells it all you know. I've been in some damned terrible situations with some horrible sons-a-bitches, but in the course of my recording career there've been a few individuals who've stuck with me through it all and that's grown a little bit to a few more individuals and we're all sticking it out together, writing songs, making records, playing live show and touring. 

Stylistically as best I can figure, the type of songwriter I am, pairs me off with guitar players the way Eddie Perez and Dwight Yoakam, Jody and Payne Waylon, Mike Campbell and Tom Petty, David Lindley and Jackson Brown, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Brian Wright, Stephen Bruton and Kristofferson or Redd Volkart and Merle Haggard paired off. Look, I'm not saying I'm great like those guys but it's an approach and type of collaboration that I feel a kinship to and has been a real big influence on me and my approach. I think for me it's a phrasing and tone thing, not just hot soloists but ensemble players who're always playing the song, and going for it.

I'm real proud of the band that's come together over the past few years in Nashville. Until I met Sol Philcox, I played all the guitars on my records. I was early in the process of recording the 2012 "Six Weeks In A Motel" album, had some songs with Steve Ferrone drum tracks and was looking for a particular type of guitar player to work with on the album. I'd been about to approach Audley Freed for a few weeks and this other shite-hot guitar player buddy said "Let me introduce you to my friend Sol." Sol was a couple blocks off Woodmont in Belmont, livin' with a bombshell blonde making records in the dining room, in between the kitchen and the living room. He
opened a beer, lit a smoke and asked "Whatcha got mate?". We listened to the tracks and he said "whatcha want it to sound like?"... I thought about the drum tracks we'd just listened to and said "Like Audley Freed Mark Knopfler in a country rock band that Lowell George is writing songs for." "Boots Blue Jeans", "Like A Cigarette" and "Six Weeks In A Motel" are the sonic thumbprint of that record I think. I dig "Black Chrome" and I like the way
"Partners In Crime" with Jodi James sounds a bunch. On that duet, Sol had a kinda Mike Stern approach which I totally dig. He's incredible at interpreting my guitar parts and developing them further so that it's all built around my original guitar-parts. Sol's not even officially "in my band" but he's on all of my records since I got to Nashville and jumps up with us anytime he's around. So I have to start any dialog about Nashville pickers by mentioning him. 

Matt Workman and I have been pickin' together for a few years now; toured coasts to coast, toured the eastern seaboard, played a bunch of radio shows honky tonks, recorded a new live to tape full-length record together, recorded the Boocoo Amigos collaboration series with some other great singer songwriters and we're currently
hammer-down playing shows with the band, expanding the music, writing more twin-guitar solos, doing more of The Band/Little Feat/Eagles style everybody singin' all the time, and continuing to write and record. Matt's Sol's favorite player in town too and said "Matt never runs out of ideas." Matt's a real country picker at heart but he's from California and just has the coolest take on low-gain
"cleanish" guitar pickin'. Matt's truly a great guitar player, a daredevil picker and an exciting talent in the world of guitar right now I think. Matt's real quick to get right to the heart of the figure I'm playing and support it and build around and off of it, so it's a bunch of ensemble guitar pickin'. Everybody's always playing the song. And then he's got pretty extensive choral group singing knowledge and experience too. Matt's a reluctant band leader but he always happy to breakdown a section for any of us and put us right on the note. We've definitely built the band around strong guitar figures melodies to make the room bounce. Mike Campbell said to me one time while he was moving his hand up down to the tempo "Breakdown", "It's gotta bounce. If it doesn't bounce it's gotta go." Matt plays real cool and back a little and he's all the time catching snare shots with guitar chops and off-beat pickups between guitar riffs, always playing the bounce... And then Matt's high-gear, drive it like you stole it and drop it off in the next town, guitar hero antics and athletics are a total damed blast. He's already playin' daredevil about half the time just bringin' it, and then you find out he's got this whole other higher gear still. 

People are falling in love with the band a little bit now. We're getting carloads of people driving a few hours to see us even when we're a few hours away from Nashville. Young musicians come talk to each of us about our instruments and all. I'm proud that we're that kind of band of musical characters. That's what I want us to be. We're all there for the songs and to be in the space of that the musical narrative because it's real, good natured and empowering.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

There's Not Anything About That Girl I Don't Like

I've had some truly incredible women in my life. The story I will try to tell here involves 5 women. Each one of them had a unique and highly developed intelligence. They were all good athletes. They each had great wit and humor. Each one of these women was an exceptional communicator, with a great sounding voice, good vocabulary, and a love of slang. They all loved music. They all loved me. I was deeply in love with each one of them

It's the end of August in Georgia and late in the evening. The valves on the front cylinder of my Harley are clicking a little bit and I'm squatted down in the pavement right outside the roll up shop door adjusting the slack out of the push rods. In walk this couple, pretty well lit by the way they were carrying on. The girl was especially brash and had a cool swagger about her. I wasn't paying either one of them any attention though 'cause i was busy turning a wrench on that bike so I could get a good test ride in before dark.

The girl comes over directly and asks me "what are you doing?" Starts pointing and putting her hands in my way leaning over my shoulder all in my business, like "what's this? What's that?" This mother fucker has just come in the shop with her boyfriend and is all in my shit right off the bat. She's like "take me for a ride! c'mon take me for a ride" with out any discretion or hesitation at all. About the time I'm getting good and irritated she leans over my shoulder again, long blonde hair all in my face smelling like Chanel on nice sheets and says "Oh, hey I'm Harkey". I give in a little and stand up to get a good look at her. There she stands 5'11" hands on her hips lean and fine as hell with this irresistible menacing smile on her face. Harkey is trouble from the get go.

Of course we go for the motorcycle ride. I take us down to this long straight flat in the road by the river bottom and turn the throttle on that scoot wide ass open. The bike runs hard and right. Harkey and I ride that mother fucker like we stole it. We blaze on a few miles out of town and pull off the highway by this big farm. We're standing there next to that motorcycle on the side of the highway with this great big orange moon rising in the dark sky the smell of wet grass and Harkey drifts in the cool night air. I'm like "let's just disappear". Harkey's down and we leave out for the country with out telling anybody where or what we're doing. There's not anything about that girl I don't like.

That was it, we were together for more than 2 years from that evening on. Harkey was a whole fascinating world of joy pain laughter cunning and physical expression. She was in her last year of collage getting a degree in horticulture. I liked to watch her tend the plants around the house. She inspected cut trimmed and planted with effincey and purpose. In our bedroom Harkey had a 20gallon fish tank with a gold fish in it. The sound the filtration system made was extroidinary. To this day the sound of a fish tank turns me on.

We were wild and debaucherous together. We were devoted to each other. We had different cycles and periods of ease and of strife. Towards the end of our relationship there was a particular night that changed things. Harkey was haunted by her past like many of us are. On this night we were in bed and she began behaving in a way i'd never seen. She would initiate intimacy and then rebuke it strongly. Over and over and over. I knew her well and she was acting out some stuff. You know this kind of thing is all about trust. Anyways, i acted out this episode with her. It was intense and crazy and traumatic. We were both freaked out by it. Mostly me. This night along with other things that had caught up to us and were taking their toll on us added up to a melt down.

I decided we'd go to California. I got tickets and we left two days later. We landed in Los Angeles with no plan at all. We got a car and drove to the coast from LAX found a little hotel in Venice Beach. The small details are what I remember the most. Right when we got to the room Harkey went to draw a bath. There was no stopper for the tub so she got a glass and put it over the drain hole in the tub. Water poured out of the faucet into the glass and then boiled out into the tub. It was amazing. Another detail: i had a fresh tattoo my friend Sandra had flown down from Boston to Georgia and given me four days earlier. Harkey and I were in the parking lot of the hotel in Venice and she touched the tattoo and got some neosporine on her arm. The way she wiped it back on me was so fucking erotic and dirty. Slow and totally aware of people watching us in the parking lot.

We hung in LA for a while, saw Rev. Horton Heat at The Whiskey, some more debauchery, and then went north. Ended up in Santa Barbara for a little while. There I met Freddy Negrete for the first time. He put an incredible tattoo on my left arm. I'm still in love with that tattoo. Then we went to San Fransisco and back down to LA.

I don't remember exactly how we ended it but it was basically over when we left California. We had a great time but there was nothing left to keep us together in Georgia. I've been trying to get back to Los Angeles ever since. Always some reason or justification why it wasn't the right time kept me from it. Thankfully i ran out of excuses and did get here after all.

From Harkey I learned a slow relaxed way of sensuality. She adored me 'cause i didn't care what people thought about me. Her approval gave me the confidence to follow my path. She had great spiritual integrity and powers of obversation and humility. She was wonderful.

I battled my demons alone for a while. There was one girl though not among "the four" that I dated for a short time. I'd gone into this strip club and gotten real tight. I knew they'd throw me out if they saw how tight i was. So I found a corner and passed out under this table. Well, this dancer wakes me up and takes me home with her. I stayed with her for 6 or 9 months. She was cool. The closest thing we ever had to an argument was one day(i'll open all the kitchen cabinet doors looking for something and leave'em that way)she said "Boo can't you close the cabinet doors?" That was it, the closest thing to cross words we ever had.

So I was at the stripper's place sitting there with my jeans on and no shirt, this chic comes over (friend of a friend) and she's just this bombshell. She was wearing some kick ass platforms and she's like 5'10" barefoot and she had a bad ass attitude and a rockin' body. I was like "hey girl, i like your kicks". She thought that was funny.

A couple days go by and I see her out somewhere and we go carousing. It was a warm late summer night and the street lights looked like stars. We get to know each other a little exchanging child hood trauma stories and declerations of wierdo dorkdom. She has a great accent and sexy voice. Her Laugh is loud and hardy and makes me laugh. So we'd set out to caberet around walking from one joint to the next and kissing in the street under the lights. We were kind of pushing each other around and I pinned her against a brick wall and kissed her on the mouth and she pulled my hair. She's Polish, in vet school, georgous, just a screamin' blast to be with, and the sexiest goddamned kisser. Oh! This girl is fuckin' cool. I mean that shit out in the street, playing around and carrying on and all like that, was a complete dream.

So we make it to our next destination laughing histericly the whole way- walk inside and get a table. She sits down and I go to get drinks. I finally come back with drinks, so as I put the drinks on the table and sit down I slip and pull the whole table down launching the drinks into the air and landing on my back with the table on top of me. It takes a minute to climb from beneath the wreckedge and when I pop back up expecting to see my new platform wearing polish vixen laughing... she's gone. She actually left me there. There's not anything about that girl I don't like.

We wound up staying together for more than 2 years. I called her Juice. We had BullDogs together. It took a lot of research but I finaly found the exact blood line of American Bulldog that I was looking for. Johnson Bulldogs. I had one and my brother has one still. Juice discovered that a lot of bulldogs end up at the pound and make the best rescue dogs around. These kind of dogs are so laid back. They're great athletes too, like Boxers but not as high maintenance. Just wonderful animals. Completely sensual but self possessed and not needy. Bulldogs have this cool arrogance about them. They've actually got a sense of humor. I swear to God i'm not puttin' you on. These mother fuckers are funny. My brothers Bulldog "Judge" will get a damned rock off the bottom of a swimming pool. No shit. I don't know... it was a big part of what we did together, I loved it. She loved it. It was so cool to see her walking down the street wearing her stacks and jeans with a t-shirt and a pair of Ray-Bans, and these badass Bulldogs wearing spiked collars in tow. Dammit Man! I mean these mother fuckers were so well behaved they'd piss on command. They'd do anything we asked'em to. Juice was great with them. They fuckin' worshiped that girl.

Juice and I listened to great music together. Thinn Lizzy, Tom Waits, Chaka Kahn, The Neville Brothers, AC/DC, NWA, Tupac, Nina Simone. Not only that she was a child prodigy concert pianist. I mean she could play shit like Debussy and Tchaikovsky up to tempo. We got way into music together. I actually quit playing for a while. Juice says i still played but...
Anyways we read a ton of books together and watched movies all the time. Shit like Harry Crews, Ann Rice, Aynn Rand, Scott Fitzjerald, Faulkner. Movies like "Water for Chocolate", "Eyes Wide Shut", "Being John Malkovich","Cool Hand Luke" and "Run Lola Run".

One time Juice and I fell out with each other pretty bad. We did shit like, she'd get out of the car, you know like "fuck you i'm goddammned walkin'!" But this time was worse than the usual coffee mug flung at my head or some such gesture. This time she got quiet and cold about it. I knew it was bad. So the next day i'm a ways up north on Hwy 85 and I see this concrete statue wholesaler. You know stuff like Sambo holding a slice of watermelon, frogs as big as wash tubs, deer, of course Bulldogs(we are in Georgia), mushrooms, bird baths, and all such kind of other concrete lawn art. So i buy an entire long bed truck load of these concrete lawn statues and head for home. Juice had this nice little house with a small front lawn. I sneak up to make sure nobody's home, no one is, and i place the entire load of statues on her front lawn. I mean you could hardly walk through there it was so full of these 75lb. concrete lawn statues. Absurd? Yes. Effective? you bet your sweet ass. Juice was floored by my trashy yet substantial gesture and so moved that she took me back by the end of that day.

Juice is from New York. We'd go up to her parents place up the Hudson River Valley and visit and spend time in The City too. Seems like every time we were there Elvin Jones was playing at The Blue Note and we'd go see him. Really, like 4 different times just by chance. We always stayed at Gramercy Park Hotel. I like that place, hadn't stayed there since it's been renovated. Anyways, we had great times in New York. I love that city.

One New Years we were there... I had a broken left femur. I'd been hit by a car while riding my old '47 Knuckle Head back down south. Juice was there the night it happened. She was great. Man, that fucked me up. I mean the pain and looking down to see my leg all twisted up and going this way and that. Fuck! Juice was cooler than hell though. Just dealt with it. What're you gonna do.

I used to go watch her do large animal surgeries when she was on call. You know, her beeper would go off in the middle of the night and she'd head to the hospital. If it was a good surgery Juice called me and I went down and watched while they had a horse up on the table for a colic surgery or something.There was a great big viewing window 'cause it was a teaching hospital.

The reason I bring up New Years in NYC that year is that i had that broken leg and some how we missed our cab after a show and it was fuckin' freezing and I was in so much pain i kinda lost my shit a little. I was fuckin' pissed and i was an ass about it. Juice didn't mean to have me out in the cold in that shape. What're ya gonna do.

Yeah, that whole broken femur deal had an impact on our relationship. Juice was in a high pressure situation finishing vet school and i was pretty stressed myself and that was before the broken femur. If that hadn't of happened... who knows...

Check this out... After Juice graduated Vet school she went off to do an internship. Time and distance did their thing and sadly we lost touch. We didn't speak for years... So I'm down in Alabama doing a little time and I get this note sized card addressed to me at the correctional facility. My name and the address written in the same pen. I open the parcel and the note says "Hey Boo, heard you were back in Bama and thought I'd drop you a line while i know where you are. That girl is so fuckin' cool. We've been writing and talking ever since. Juice came out to Los Angeles last spring and it was so great to see her. I'm crazy about that girl.

After Juice left for her internship I got busy running away from myself. Hauling horses selling furniture and antique heart pine lumber. I stayed on the road a lot. It was lonley escapism. Some time went by i was doing fine and there was this girl Jael a couple of my buddies kept telling me i had to meet. Finally i'm like "ok, i gotta meet this chic." So i'm over at an oil & canvas painter/ sculpter friend of mine's place and this tall black haired girl drives up an gets out, just like "how 'bout that fellas". She's so outrageous i refuse to pay any attention to her. I can't. This mother fucker scared me. Don't get me wrong, I didn't let on like she scared me. But i was sure as hell playing close to my vest.

Of course since I was all preoccupied and distant she had to have me. This girl was like "look mother fucker i get what i want and you better goddamned like it". Hey, with a pitch like that and the body she had who was i to be objectionable. So we embark on a relationship which for me had some definate boundaries. Jael was completely fucking wild. She was a professional dressage rider. Great athlete, long and strong and lean. Her area of expertise and inteligence was kinetic and social. Jael could talk somebody into eating dirt and likeing it. She was flashy. Her physical presence was so strong.

Like i said, i kept some healthy boundaries and it was cool with me like that. For her though she didn't like the way my detachment or separation felt. Jael was patient. Her physical intelligence was incredible. Really, she's a fuckin' genius. Jael was goddamned crazy about me too. I mean this mother fucker lived and breathed me. So after 6 or 8 months of this I start to get a little soft spot in my heart for this girl. One day, and she'd been on her best behavior leading up to this day, she tells me she's unhappy. "What's wrong?" I ask. Jael says she needs a commitment out of me... "and that would make everything ok?" I ask. "Yep, that'd do it baby" and she smiles kinda psycho scary like. So we get engaged. Jael wears my Great Grand Mother's platinum ring. I actually knew my  GG Mother. Her name was Easy and she had a grandfather clock that struck 13 times. Anyways Jael's happy as a clam. I'm happy too. In hind sight though the whole thing did have a peculiar twist to it some how. Subconsciously I don't think i was waiting for the other shoe to drop... i was waiting for men in white coats to come and take one or both of us away.

Really though, Jael was extraordinary. She came from old Bayou blood and had an ancient sense of intuition. She was tortured as hell and dark but stared with determination straight into the light of the spirit. There was all kinds of wierd abstract skill she had, flash bartending, incredible club dancer, DJ, a hellacious hustler, print add and runway model, educated nutritionist... great traveler, shot pool like a mother fucker... and a full time professional dressage rider... There's not anything about that girl i don't like.

Jael and I were infamous. It was like a fuckin' movie the life we lived together. It was subtle and sophisticated, soulful and mysterious, tender and violent. It was "Snatch", "Eyes Wide Shut" and "On The Water Front". The break up was traumatic painful and tragic. Oh my god... it was so bad. It made me sick. Even before we crashed and burned I saw it coming and was helplessly compelled to live it out scene by scene. Jael had a delayed reaction and called me from the hospital three months later hooked up to an iv in the midst of a full on nervous breakdown. There was nothing i could do for her. I'd gotten healthy again and was doing allright. I wanted to reach out to her but i couldn't. I had been spending time with some one new and it would've hurt her badly if I went to Jaels aid.

It took some time for the dust to settle once Jael and I were done. For me it was survey the wreckage, walk away and fade to black. Jael tried to rock on through but it all caught up with her by the time she called me from the hospital. I wrote and recorded at least half of my last record just before, during and after our engagement and break up. Jael listened to a lot of DJ music, Chemical Bros, Crystal Method, Paul Okenfeld. We used to hang in Atlanta where she knew a lot of DJs. That's how i got started playing guitars on that stuff in Atlanta. She introduced me to DJ Chrisis who became a good friend and an important player to me. Jael turned me on to the fashion designers in Atlanta too. I started wearing some different kinds of threads. Particularly cloths made by Wayne Van Nuygen.
Anyways, I moved on and got alright.

Like i said, i'd met some one new, Petra. I might have been a little skittish and wounded but Petra was so beautiful and interesting that I was willing to take another chance. She spoke three languages, she was a great athlete, a good Catholic girl, quick witted and laughed with shameless abandon. Petra had an incredible sex appeal. I couldn't keep my hands off of her. She was 5'7" and very fit. Her legs were perfect and, well, the rest of her too. I got way into Petra. Every day she would reveal a new piece of herself to me, requiring that i acknowledge it. Being with Petra was a spiritual experience. Like Ender's Petra from Orson Scott Card's book she helped me develop my skills and battle the buggers. She had me. There's not anything about that girl i don't like.

Petra turned me onto musicals and cabaret. She always had a finger on the pulse of hot R&B and dance music too. I was crazy for this girl. I really tried to be the best person I could for her. We even started going to Mass together. It was my idea. She made me want to be better. I love the life we lived together. She looked so good in cloths and had the greatest style. Petra was outspoken and humble she was considerate and cruel. She had vision and scope. Petra lived on the edge.

It was with Petra that I finished that record. She was such a huge influence on the way i was writing and playing. All the songs got real clear, I was playing the hell out of my guitars, and these big ass drum beats emerged out of the music. I love the way it happened. I wrote "Rollin' By" for Pettra. It was so soulful and funny and sounded great. Petra is the one that introduced me to rapper Big Earl. I wrote "B Ok" for Petra too. I love all that music that came from her. "Horses & Gold" came from that time too, it was like my blues song of being with her. You know, "I'll trade you 2 good hearts for all your horses and gold". That was my desperation to be with her, to stay with her to provide what we needed to survive. That record sounds like Petra to me. And I love the way that record sounds.

Petra was unexpected like a thousand foot vertical drop. She was unpredictable like a wave in the Pacific. Petra was mysterious like the light of the sun reflecting off the moon illuminating the ink black night. She's haiku and epic. Petra is somewhere helping a child she's lost and found and wild...

I spent the next couple of years in Los Angeles where I scarcely even went on a date. We won't get in to it here and now, so as not to interrupt this story, but my time in LA needs it's own pages.

If I don't have another love in my life i lack nothing. I have loved and been loved completely. I've seen beyond the veil and heard the whisper of a woman's soul before the dawn. I can still smell her sleeping. I can feel her finger nails on my skin. I can see the light in her eyes when she is glad to see me. There's not anything about that girl I don't like.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Paulie Cut That Rug Up Dance A Jig

It was soap and cold water clean but that old 'Llac had lost it's shine a couple decades prior. I kinda like the way an old car gets a certain patina to it though. If the original paint is still intact and it's not got too much bondo in it a car looks like a painting of it's self. It'd still bark a tire though and rode nice enough. Our Lady Of Gaudalupe hung from the rear view mirror and smelled like a french whore as she twirled round in the midnight swelter. Rod and Kenny had snot coming out of their faces they were laughing so hard. I was desperately defending my self and blaming it all on my fool ass buddy Rod. Sass was tryin' to catch her breath between laughin' and cussin' us like dogs as we pulled out onto the black top and rolled down highway 190 with a rabbit moon lighting the bayou up like a dance floor at a disco.

We'd just left a card game in a little bit of a hurry 'cause my buddy Rod Winiarski had got down pretty bad and into Conrad for like 12 hundred dollars. Conrad had a house game on the east side of Slidell and some cool hustlers and characters regularly attended. Rod had got down and come almost all the way back and Conrad was right pissed about it. Conrad had Rod all but broke and then Rod got on a roll and won like 5 hands in a row and came back. It was Conrad's game and his buddies were givin' him hell about not finishing Rod off. "Uh Oh here he comes Conrad, he's comin' back", they'd say every time Rod placed a bet. "Hell he ain't goin' any wheres, Rod'll play cards all night with me after y'all pussies are long gone off to bed. Isn't that right Rod".

Conrad was a great big coonass motherfucker with a head big as a bushel of turnips. His face was getting red and he was offering Rod drinks and telling Rod how he'd better not come to his game and run off after an hour off two. Conrad was intimidating as hell. You could tell he was short fused and we'd all heard about how crazy and dangerous he was. He was really leaning into Rod. It was definitely not a gentleman's game at this point. Conrad lost another hand and threw his glass against the wall. Even his old buddies were getting nervous and tellin' him to ease up. He started cussin' Rod some too, really starting to loose his composure. To say the least he was not a good looser. Hell he wasn't even loosing, he was still up. It was getting ugly and real uncomfortable.

Rod, as soon as he got back with in a few dollars of even, left Conrad sitting there like a bulldog at the end of a chain with a torn off piece of pants leg clinched in his teeth. Sass said "Rod you and Boo are gonna get all those goddamned saddles off my porch before I leave at 7 tomorrow morning". "Now we can sit here and play cards all night long but you sons-a-bitches are movin' that tack before I leave". There wasn't any doubt in anyones mind. Not even Rod's or mine, and we'd sold all that tack the morning before. It was already gone. But Sass laid down the law and gave us the opportunity to ease out of there and that was that. I looked at Conrad and shrugged and said "hey man, I sure do appreciate you, we gotta get though". Conrad stood up and pounded both his sledge sized fists down on the table and said, "Boo Ray you take that dog ass buddy of yours and get him the fuckin' hell out of here. I don't wanna see that son-of-a-bitch ever again".
Rod and Kenny Wood the other guy who was with us walked out the front door and Sass and I followed. Rod started laughing before we even fuckin' got to the car and Sass walked up behind him and smacked him in the back of the head real hard. We all piled into the old white Eldorado and got the hell out of there.

By the time we got back to the black top and off the old dirt road Conrad lived on Sass had us in stitches and about to damned die. She was like "Conrad would've had you motherfuckers chained up sittin' out there on concrete slabs like his fuckin' coon dogs if I hadn't saved your asses". We were laughin'. Damn we were laughin' so hard I could barely drive. You know how when you scare the shit out of yourself and it's just funny as hell and all you can do is laugh. Like when you jump down off a pannel and run across a bull pin and have a close call with a 2 thousand pound monster bull. Or get a crazy coonass like Conrad worked up and mad enough to eat you.

That Cadillac floated us down the road like a crew of rouge clown pirates sailing for a black horizon at midnight. I finally catch my breath and Sass and i start figuring on what kinda trouble we'll get into next. Sass has a friend Paulie who lives in the country still in St. Tammany Parish and has a little Fais do-do on wednesday nights. We agree and head for Paulie's. The main ingredients of a Fais do-do are extra fine corn liquor and assorted other home brews, stringed instruments, a tin shack, and something to cook slow over an open fire and fuss about. And of course a big jambalaya.

It's about a 30 minute ride out to Paulie's place in Bonfouca from where we were at on the east side of Slidell. The stars were like lights at a carnival and the moon shined down like a spot light on a microphone stand with a hat on it. We had the radio on and were singing along with Toni Braxton "Just another sad love song racking my brain like crazy" windows down rolling along Bayou Liberty Rd. singin' our heads off, "and it's all because of yooouooo". There's lots of little R&B stations down through there playing cool old songs all night every night. About the time we ought to be getting pretty close, Sass has me slowed down to about 15 miles an hour looking for a mail box nailed to the side of a hickory tree where Paulie's driveway is.

We find it there on the right and dive off down in the dark tunnel of a dirt road, spanish moss dripping off trees, the dank sweet smell of bayou water wafting in the air. It's more like being inside than it is outside. There's so much texture, smell, sound, shadow and light that it feels like your inside something, a vast ancient cavern, a dream, a movie set, an amusement park ride. We drive and drive the surrounding scenery all but climbing in the car with us.

Finally a clearing appears, lights, the sound of voices and laughter and music, men standing around in overhauls, bulldogs wrestling and growling, women decked out in party cloths, and the smell of Boudin sausage cooking on a fire. We park over by an Orange Monte Carlo and step out onto the ground where this glorious Fais do-do is in full swing. Sass leads us through the crowd and spots Paulie standing over a 50 gallon drum grill with his back turned toward us and she hollers out "howdy cousin!" He straightens up and tilts an ear in quary "Who dat!" Sass lights up like a bulb and crouches down where Paulie can't see her and replys "It's me baby!" Paulie spins around looking this way and that then sees Sass and explodes "Yeah You Right!" "You get yo sef over heah and give ol' Paulie a kiss girl". They greet each other with such exuberance Paulie knocks his hat off and Sass throws her purse on the ground.

Man I'm tellin' you we were right in the middle of it. In the zone like a slide trombone. Paulie sets Sass back down on her feet looks at everybody and says "Laissez Le Bon temp rouler!" Everybody raised glasses and whooped and hollered "AAAYYYEEE"!

Sass introduced us around a little. i knew a couple of folks and was glad to see them and they me. The whole thing was exquisite. I was completely swept up. Paulie calls me over, "Hey Boure", 'mon over her a sec' I got somethin' fo' ya". I walk on over and Paulie asks me "Say now Boure', you like to carry on or what". I'm like "Sho do". He reaches in the back pocket of his overhauls and pulls out a pint bottle of shine, holds it up and puts a flash light to it. It's clear as air and has swirls of vapors whirling 'round in the middle of it, suspended like an invisible universe waiting to be discovered.

Paulie offers me the bottle, I twist the cap off, smell it and hold in the breath, look at it again and carefully put the mouth of the bottle to my lips raise the bottom up a little and let just a skosh of liquor get past my lips. Just a nip. It's clean. I lick my lips and swallow. I look at Paulie nod my head in approval and put the bottle to my lips again. This time I take a pretty good pull off of it, twist the cap back on and return the pint of shine to it's creator.

Paulie was fussin' over the Boudin and they were getting there and he had that pint of shine in his back pocket. I knew where I was gonna be for the next hour or two. When a man's grillin' he's gotta have another man to refer to when the meat needs to be tested. So I thought it best that i stick around and give Paulie a hand with the sausage and shine.

I followed his lead and reached down into a big paper sac and grabbed a hand full of Schley Pecans. We stood there crackin' pecans and talking. You take two pecans in one hand and squeeze them together breaking one against the other. Then you pick the shell and hull paper off and eat the meat of the nut. It's a very specific and singular activity. When you stand there crackin' pecans more often than not the subject matter turns serious. It takes dexterity and casual concentration to do it with proper style. You gotta be sho' 'nuff talkin' about somethin', like your life might depend on it but you don't really give too big a damn about it.

We were talking about the state of modern music and team penning. Paulie said "Yeah if it's got some church in it". He accented the comment by cracking a peacn, "Then it's likely allright". I replied "the other day i was dragging a load of cow ponies". I threw some shell on the ground in a self effacing way, "and I got a Ronnie Millsap cd at the Flying J". Paulie explaines "Man, last spring I was riding this little green colt of mine at a team penning up by Lafayette" he cracked a pecan. We went on like this for a while. The sausage was smellin' like it wanted to get et, my stomach was growling, I was hungry as hell, and Paulie was givin' me grief for wanting to eat the Boudin before it was done, "ats like bustin' a nut 'fore you get a girl 'round the ben".

All of a sudden here comes Sass with a mandolin player, two guitar players, and a guy on banjo and she's singin' "Paulie's Cookin' Boudin Gather 'Round! Paulie's Cookin' Boudin Gather 'Round!" You know the tune of course. And I'm tellin' you they were fuckin' gettin' it to boy. 'Bout the time Sass is spinnin' a third verse everybody's come on over and Paulie's doin' a little jig and got his back to the grill. Sass is singin' "Paulie cut that rug up dance a jig!" Banjo player's wearing it out, Mandolin's pickin' a fight with it, and the tall skinny guitar player's just pitchin' a goddamned fit about it. I kinda ease on over to the grill and get busy with my knife a little. They's a couple of us standing there eatin' Boudin scorching the hell out of our mouths and burning our fingers on this sausage been cookin' for more than a damned hour.

Paulie spins a full circle with his jig and catches us fuckin' with his grill. "You sons-a-bitches better get off my goddamned grill RIGHT! NOW!" Sass and her boys turn it up another notch, "Paulie Get Dat Goddamned Boudin Off A Grill! Paulie Get Dat Goddamned Boudin Off A Grill!" They playin" so hard and fast working us all into a frenzy Paulie has to give in 'Allright then c'mon -n- gitch y'all somethin' to eat". There's some more to this one. 

We end up everybody in a tin shack with a wood stove taking the shiver off the  cool black night and play music and sing all night 'till the damned sun comes up. The jambalaya gets et in the hours 'fore the dawn, my buddie Rod gets blind drunk and tries to bed down in a chicken coup and Kenny wanders off some where and we don't see him for a few of days. I take Sass to the airport and she makes her early morning flight on time. It gets even more twisted and beautiful but that'll have to do for now.  

I appreciate y'all, Boo Ray

"Boots & Blue Jeans"

Boo Ray "Boots and Blue Jeans" Official Video from Boo Ray on Vimeo.

Shoot man, it took me a year of three day visits to figure out there was more than Broadway when I first started coming to Nashville in '07. I thought that's all there was. Like a lot of things, I was wrong and just didn't know. These few years later I've moved to Nashville so my girlfriend could join the Nashville Rollergirls. She made the team and is a star skater. I hustled up a little songwriting deal so I could tag along. Man, I couldn't be happier about being in Nashville. The Roller Derby season's rockin', it's the second night of a fine blackberry winter, and I've got a new record on my hands.

Guess it'd be good to start with the "Boots & Blue Jeans" video and jump back after that... My great friend Michael out in Santa Maria, California is a Los Angeles born guitar slingin', gun totin', vegetable farming redneck of a high degree. I was searching for a sort of smokey guitar sound and Michael has this point-to- point hand-wired "Craigar" guitar amp. He sent it to me to record with, said I might ought to put some tubes in it. My friend Price was just getting on a roll in Nashville with P3 Amplifiers so I asked if he'd mind crankin' up the "Craigar" with me when it got here. We did and Price liked it and he sent me over to meet Kye, his business partner in P3. Kye put some tubes in it for me, did a little VooDoo to it and sent me on my way. I'm leaving out the actual profound impression these guys made on me in order to continue the thread here, but the amp is perfect for me.

Here's a picture with the Craigar 17 Watt head in the natural wood cabinet and Sol Philcox on P3 Amplifiers Sonic Action.

On the other side of me that night Aaron "Woody" Wood from Asheville, NC was on a P3 Amplifiers "High Guy" rig. That was a tough night. They both a couple outright badass guitar slingers. 

A couple of weeks later Price called me and said they were shooting a music video and needed a guy to play the part of the seedy manager of the singer in the video. I guess they'd gotten a kick out of me and figured it wouldn't be too bad a stretch for me. I mean, Price does have an extraordinarily great eye, maybe he's on to something here. 

So, we do the video and it's real well organized and nothing but a blast. Rayland Baxter brought that old cream puff Valiant of his over for the car scene. He was wearing pajama pants and looked like he had on his kid brothers shirt turned inside out and been walking around barefoot in a cow field. He dropped the car off and split. Stoic & funny as hell, Rayland plays & sings cool too. Poni Silver played the lead and she was cool and we had a good hang. Daniel Henry was Directing. He was a whirl wind, real deal creative mad man. And the camera man, Matt Statterfield is a hot shot too. A week or so later Price asked me to come look at the video. It was incredible. I liked it right away. First off, "Be Connected" is a killer song. Second, the location house is incredible. It's one of Price's designs and is absolutely and thoroughly top notch in every single detail.  And third, that was a real cool looking group of characters he assembled for the shoot. Rock & Rollers, Belles, Artists, Trouble Makers, Dandies, misfits a bunch of East Nashville Hipster chics, Sol Philcox and me. What a blast. If I remember right it might of taken Sol a day or so to make his way home from this shindig.

P3 Amplifiers "Be Connected" from Daniel Henry on Vimeo.

Like i said, i'll get in to this some more later, but I'm trying to get around to the "Boots & Blue Jeans" video here. I was called in to play another part in the next video they did for Palmyra Delran and it was also a  complete blast and total success. Palmyra's song went #1 on Little Steven's Juke Box.  She's great. I dig the hell out of Palmyra.

Palmyra Delran "You're My Brian Jones" from Price Harrison on Vimeo.

Can't tell this story with out talking about Olathe Boot Company. My Dad wore Olathe's, real high quality work and riding boots, the preferred boot of top cowboys, horsemen,  troubadours and prospectors since 1879. 

Olathe Boots have always been part of my life. When I was a kid and watched my Dad (pictured above) put on his Olathe Buckaroo Boots, I knew he was doing something important and that those boots were among his most prized possessions. I learned early that after many resoles, it was a bitter sweet day when a pair of Olathes was retired and replaced with a brand new pair. Only a pair of Olathe's can replace a pair of Olathes. 

As a long time Troubadour with a ranch hand history and raised by a California Cowboy, I've been in Olathe Boots since my foot was big enough to wear a 7. They didn't used to make stock kids boots like they do now. 

Being a full-time troubadour my Olathes keep me comfortable when I take the stage and make a good impression when I'm signing autographs and meeting fans. My Olathe Boots are as important to me as my old Gibson Flat Top Guitar. I sure am proud to be an official Olathe Boot Company Endorser. 

Olathe Ad in The Direct Buzz Magazine

    see the Olathe Sponsored Americana Radio Chart on page 33

Here's the pair Doom, wore in the video.  

Yeah, I'm crazy about this girl.

Dani's the smartest, orneriest, hot lightning bolt of love. She's the love of my life. "Dani Doom" is her derby name, and when she skates out on the track the fans go "!!!!!DOOOOOOOM!!!!!" in a big drop D rumble... It drives me out of my mind, i loose my composure and become a crazed Roller Derby Fan. I know right... I think it's my favorite thing in the danged world. She's so cool. When her new book breaks big and she's rollin' in dough or I get a string of big cuts once Allison Krauss & Brad Paisley get back together to record "Partners in Crime" we're gonna get out on a spread and have American Bulldogs and I'll get back to calf roping. Her novel's great, I read a little when she fell asleep the other night.  

We gave "Trappers Cabin" from The Law Band these Tall Top Black Olathe's in the Video 

 and Artist James A. Willis the Tall Top Turquoise Buckaroos as seen in the video 

Here's my Rough Side Out Jerry Reed "The Snow Man" Olathe's

These are my Harry Crews "I can show you better-n-I can tell ya" Olathe's 

And these are my bread & butter Buckaroo's. They stand me up out of a mess, hook me on to a stool or by God stomp ass when needed. I like the U Toe and the 2 1/4" S Heel- 14" deep scallop top. Bronc riders wear 'em like that to tuck they're jeans in 'em & tape off the top, and they have a spur rest.  Hands wear 'Em with chinks. Olathe Boot Company is deep cowboy culture. 
Fester Hagood's Tuesday Night Confessional at Nowhere Bar in Athens Georgia is an absolute gas. There's a group of South Georgia boys up in Athens; Ty Manning, Scotty Nicholson, Fester Hagood, Paul Lee, all great players & songwriters.                                                                     

I'm real proud to be working with Steven Kahla raising some money for The Cowboy Crisis Fund with The Working Ranch Cowboy Association and The National Cow Horse Association. We made some custom Doom Ray Leather Guitar Straps for them and will be playing some benefit shows for them this year:

This pair of Olathe's I've had since '98. Best I can figure, no less than 7 resoles on these. I still wear 'em for something important. This stuff runs deep with me and I care about it. The world will be a better place with more people wearing Olathe Boots.  

So, a couple months later I pretty much had my new record in the can. I'd gotten to be good friends with Price and we'd been talking about doing a video for one of my songs. "Boots & Blue Jeans" was the song we picked and Price and I got busy hunting a location. A couple days later he said "You gotta come see this joint."

We went down to Johnny's Tavern and I fell in love with the place soon as I walked in the door and met Lisa. It was like going home. I grew up in the exact same honky tonk except it was in Walhalla South Carolina and it was called Burrelle's Place. It's a dry county where I grew up in Western North Carolina and the closest place to party was Burrelle's. Lisa & I made fast firends and Price scheduled a day to shoot. 


I called my buddy Fester  (pictured here w/ Law Band and me & Doom) 

who wrote the song with me, asked him if he could make it up to Nashville for the shoot. He said "Hell Yeah!" and brought some characters with him, The Law Band who look real stylish in the video. Fester and I are both friends with Laney Strickland and Laney introduced us to Bobby Keel. Bobby wrote "Whisky on Ice Women on Fire" and "Little Time Off for Bad Behavior". Laney couldn't make it but said to holler at Bobby for sure. Bobby got everybody riled up at the shoot and made the scene for us. I called my coonass buddy Will Rambeaux too. Will's had cuts with Ronnie Milsap, Jo Dee Messian, Faith Hill, Blake Shelton... So we brought a few bad asses with us to the shoot at Johnny's. 

When we got there to Johnny's it was a full house and everybody'd been listening to the song and was real cranked up about it. Lisa introduced me around and everybody was cool as hell and she said Tater & Pooter were in rare form. Pooter's my friend who flaps his leather jacket like some strange phoenix rising off the bar room floor. Tater's my buddy who whirls that lass around and then presses his finger to his lips "shhh". Richard told me Pooter's certified loco, got paper work to prove it, Pooter's a licensed high steel worker.  

Without incriminating myself or anybody else all I can say is that the video is a pretty accurate portrayal of the evening, minus a few felonies here and there. We did a couple performance takes first. At the end of the second take I was having so much danged fun, I threw my hand up in the air and said "To all my friends! Drinks for everyone!" It was an involuntary reaction. I couldn't have stopped it anymore than I could have stopped a rouge monster sneeze. Man, they drank 337 dollars worth of beer in about twenty minutes. When Fester did the damned "Worm" it brought the house down. Everybody had a blast, nobody got cut or shot, another total success. That's how the "Boots & Blue Jeans Video went down.

In the world of production, It's one thing for sure; ain't any of it works very well without a top notch song. Weather it's moody or rockin' or kitschy or whatever it is your doing. A great big part of this production is the incredible guitar playing and producing of my great friend Sol Philcox. He's a blast to work with and a danged card too. Sol was out of town for the shoot but we'll get him in the next one.

 The nature of this entire thing is real collaborative. Everybody says their piece the way they want to. It's way bigger than just me. I'd sent a few guitar/vocal tracks to my great friend Stephen Ferrone, to see what he thought. He sent 'em back to me a few days later with his drum tracks recorded by mega hit producer Eric "ET" Thorngren. When we pulled the sessions up and listened to 'em, we were blown away. They were perfect. The feel and impact and the sounds are big as a trucking company, or a "Jet Plane", as Tom Petty says . "Boots and Blue Jeans", "Twang", "Six Weeks in a Motel" and "Broken Wings" which Stephen and I'd written in Los Angeles '08, were the four songs I picked as the area we were mining. Ferrone and Sol Philcox make a pair of Englishman on this Redneck Rock & Roll Record. 

Bruce Bouton on Pedal Steel is nothing short amazing and a total blast and Jimmie Lee Sloas on Bass and in business with Ferrone in that Trucking Company venture is heavier than  a tandem rig haulin' bootleg Lone Star Beer down to Alabama. 

Everybody got all the way down on this new record. Danny Silvestri, Marlon Patton, Jason Gonzalez, Chris Casselo, Paul Lee, Kenny Head, AJ Adams... Wait 'till You hear Jodi James on "Partners in Crime". If You're not crazy about Jodi then you & me, we've got a problem.

These life changing friendships, collaborators, co-writers, players and amazing characters are really what all this is about for me. My great friends are the best thing about me. Reckon I'm just lucky & fortunate these cats like to  play my songs.