We rolled into Silver Spring, MD yesterday in the mid afternoon after deciding not to swim in the milkshake muddy Chesapeake Bay. (Swim plan B was an outdoor pool at the Y, and laps till we lost count in the rain.) Dorothy’s brother Martin and his wife Taylor and dog Lemon shared their beautiful Silver Spring home with us. A special treat of the evening was a Takoma Park impromptu busking venture, where we mixed covers with Washington Social Club originals. I really enjoyed playing with Martin, it was my first time meeting him and he’s a real deal musician. And the truth is I could have stayed out all of that sweet night, but for need of sleep for the longest part of our drive today.
A great conversation with Bob Keyes of the Portland Press Herald last week turned into a story in the paper today. My huge thanks to Bob, a serious Allman Brothers fan and musician as well. Also grateful as ever to Skoots Lyndon and Richard Brent for their supportive words, and special thanks to Matchstick Communications for setting it all in motion. PPH readers please note that Flournoy Holmes should also be credited (with W. David Powell) as the other half of the Wonder Graphics team that created the original Eat a Peach album artwork.
We had a nice night with my dad in CT and now we’re on the road before sunrise, attempting to beat NYC commuter traffic. The deep and poetic Patti Smith is traveling with us – gorgeous, resonate words from Devotion, plus Gloria, Dancing Barefoot and more to keep us swaying in our seats.
As the windshield wipers flap in time, we wonder where and how we will keep our swim-every-day pact. Jersey? Maryland?
In these few days before our trip to Macon, the realization that I wouldn’t be able to play my Eat a Peach Tribute Guitar anytime I felt like it anymore started sinking in. Last minute invites went out for a farewell jam. Fred Aberle of Auburn and Tom Levesque of Freedom, two of my favorite musicmaking friends, joined me in Burnham for a living room jam session with Fred on guitar and and Tom on a dulcimer he crafted. Fred and I are wholly and completely different in style. He’s a theorist and amazing technician- fully owning the fretboard, and delivering very unique voicing through his intriguing hybrid use of guitar and synthesizer hardware. Me? I’m more of a melodic bendy note boy… but over the years we’ve always quickly found our groove together. And Tom is someone who gets the notion of song as journey. My favorite musical memory of him is when, armed with a big 12 string, he got an audience to beautifully harmonize with him on Bill Staines’ ‘River’ at the old Montville Grange during one of the coolest impromptu music gatherings I’ve ever experienced.
Through the night, we passed around instruments like drinking buddies pass around bottles. This affected the music we played tremendously. After, we had a nice talk about individual instruments, and sound settings in the case of Fred’s setup, pushing you to play in the style that they (the instruments) prefer. We are versatile players, and were in a mood to go with the flow. We traveled in a bunch of different directions from slow and spacy to ragtime honkytonk to blistering funk. We also gave a respectful nod to the Allman Brothers and came through with Midnight Rider and Sweet Melissa. Singing an ABB tune always makes me fully aware of how incredibly gifted Gregg was.
Now our thoughts turn to being organized packers for this epic road trip. What will we forget???