Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Motel Tan

             It's been a while since I wrote anything in this blog. I almost forgot I even had it out here on "internetland." So much has changed in my life since the last few post I made, but I'm pretty much the the same ol' same doing the same ol' same. Finally getting some gray in my beard. Maybe now people will take me a little more serious. Ain't that just the way it goes. By the time you get wise enough to be taken serious you're too old for the road. One of my favorite songs is "Last To Know" by Alejandro Escovedo. Mainly the line "More miles than money." That line echoes my "brand" loudly. I think I have ripped that line off so many different ways in so many of my songs. I love it so much I am beginning to think it somehow defines me. Almost as if I am aiming for it. One thing I know about the road is, it ain't going anywhere. Every time I need it, there it is. Waiting for me.
             People ask me all the time, "where you headed?" I'll tell them and they'll respond back "how far is that?" Most of the time no matter my response, whether its 155 miles or 325 miles, they always say "oh, that ain't too bad." I ALWAYS laugh inside my head at that response. I mean, 325 miles in a van by yourself is better than roofing a house in August, but it's a pretty damn hard run. I do it with ease and because I have to, but it'll wear you out. Not to mention when I arrive I am usually going right to work. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. Far from it. I just find people's "small talk" amusing sometimes. I think they're just being nice and/or positive. All the while in their head they're thinking,  "I wouldn't mind that life for a day or two but, man! I love my 401K."
            "I'm just a honky, living in a cheap motel." Another one of my favorite songs by a kick ass 3 piece band called The Ex-Husbands who are no more. Songs like that formed my state of mind when I was charting my course into the music business. One song that really took root was "Guitar Town" by Steve Earle. It makes perfect sense really. When I was a kid I wanted to be a truck driver and/or a baseball player. Driver... player... see where I'm going with this? One other thing I used to do when I was a kid was think, think, and think. I was very aware always. Now I think this traveling singer-songwriter gig was exactly where I was aiming. Even back then. Is it weird I feel at home driving or in a hotel? I don't think so. I also feel at home at home. Now, I better get to "rocking while I still can, I got a two pack habit and a motel tan."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Faith Is Strong

Being halfway educated, it's easy to start questioning your faith pretty quick. It's easy to be human and know something doesn't add up. For instance I can't see, hear, touch, feel, smell, or taste it. So it must not be. Right?
Well, what is faith really? It's a belief. Just like I believe I am gonna wake up tomorrow. I believe that I am going to write another song that makes me smile. I believe there is a God.
    I have had a few moments in my life where I feel like God has stepped in and revealed his existence. He probably knows my weird sense of humor, so a burning bush or bolt of lighting is just not gonna cut it.
When I was 16, I was driving from Center Post to Lafayette for a church volleyball game. I was driving my old 1977 Ford 150 4x4 at least 60mph down Foster Mill Drive. Closing in on a set of railroad tracks I was notorious for blowing through, because it's a small town and very few trains ever pass through anymore, I was ready to continue on with the status quo and hop right across the rarely used tracks without a blink of the eye. It is important to know I was also carrying 5-6 of my friends with me. Some up front. Some in the back. All of the sudden about 40 yds away I heard a sturdy, firm voice say "STOP." It was not a screaming voice. It was very smooth and direct in its intention. More like a command. It was not a voice I had ever heard before. I had no second thought or hesitation. I immediately slammed the brakes. Everyone in my truck had no time or chance to brace themselves. Even me. We came to a sliding stop just as a train came passing through. I didn't really tell anyone about the voice I had heard. But I really feel like I was being guided that day by something bigger than coincidence. I still remember that voice.
         Skip forward one year and in the same old truck. Riding down the bypass in Lafayette with two of my best friends Randy Nichols and Andy LeGrande. Important to know 2 things. The closest Krystal restaurant was 20 miles away in Fort Oglethorpe and I washed my truck twice a week back then. I had just cleaned up "Big Red" when we decided to cruise around and jam to some Ice Cube. Andy and Randy both had dips in their mouth and I was having fun with them by not pulling over to let them spit. I also would not let them spit out of the window. Mainly because I had just washed my truck and it was just fun to watch them suffer. Every window in the truck was open. Even the sliding back glass. Randy, with his mouth full of nasty Copenhagen spit, threw his hand up and out from his body about chin high and with all the honesty in the world mumbled "Lord! Give me a spit cup!" As Springsteen would say "In the wink of a young girl's eye", a large Krystal cup came flying in through the back glass. Flipping end over end and landed right side up in his hand like it was a "magic" trick he had set up. He was as surprised as Andy and I but immediately replied "Thank you Lord!" and spit into the cup. I had to pull my truck over and freak the hell out for a few minutes. I had just cleaned out the bed of my truck and I hadn't been to Krystal in a month. I believe that was a prayer answered in true miracle fashion. Randy passed away 4 years later. Andy and I love to bring that story up every chance we get.
        I was playing a private party up on the Tennessee River a few years back. After the show, I was on my way back to Georgia when a buddy called me and said a bunch of my friends were out on the river in a boat hanging out. It sounded like a good time to my old band mate and me so we headed for the boat dock at Chester Frost Park. When we got there we climbed over in the boat and went out about 10 ft. from the dock when people started asking where our guitars were. They wanted a after hours show. I am always up for a late night jam session so we tied back off and we walked back to my truck. I was about 20 ft. away from my truck, when I realized I didn't have my keys on me. I had locked them in the ignition. I instantly became sick at my stomach. How were we gonna get home? I thought, I am going to have to break the glass out. My old band mate offered his ring of keys as a last ditch effort to save the window of my 1991 S-10 with bullhorns on the hood. "HA! Had to brag!" He had a few old GM keys on the ring so I tried them all and nothing. Of course he had to try as well. Nothing! Embarrassed, tired, and reluctant to break the window out of my truck, I asked for the ring of keys back for one more try. He hands me the keys and I reach for the "GM" key and insert it in the key hole. At the exact time I start to turn the key, and with all the honesty in the world, I mumble "Lord, just open the door." It was like I was opening a brand new lock it was so smooth. The door unlocked and I came "unglued." It reminded me of the times before when I had felt that intervention. After getting my keys out of the ignition and locking the doors again, my band mate just had to try for himself. Nothing! Even I couldn't make the door open again. Once again I had been a part of a bonafied miracle. All of this is to set up this next story...
          August of 2012, I lost my best friend who was also my first cousin. Phillip Whiteside. I still cannot believe he is not gonna wake me up tomorrow or show up unannounced at the most inappropriate time. I miss him dearly and I will always have a broken heart because of his sudden passing. Since he's been gone from this world, I have been in and out of depression. I probably should seek some professional help, but who has time or money for that right? I have, however, recently noticed a little previously unnoticed love from beyond the grave perhaps. Phillip was one of the biggest baseball fans I had ever known. Our Paw Paw used to always watch Braves and Cubs and we always watched with him. One month after Phillip's passing my friend Homer Bailey throws a "no hitter." Understand one thing. If Phillip had been alive, he would have probably had a heart attack when Homer completed the "no hitter" he would have been so excited. He became a huge Homer Bailey fan after watching him play for the Lookouts in Chattanooga. Then after Homer and I became friends, Phillip always kept me posted about Homer's progress in the big leagues. So watching him throw a no hitter last September, 10 days after my birthday, was bitter sweet for me. This last year has been full of baseball for me. Watching my son Carter play his first season of baseball. Watching him learn the game I couldn't help but think "Phillip would be here at every game if he were alive." Then meeting and becoming friends with Jake Peavy has landed me at a numerous White Sox games. Including a trip to New York, where I performed along side Peavy at the MLB Fan Cave. The whole time I was there I was thinking "Phillip would literally shit himself if he were alive to see me play at the MLB Fan Cave." Last week I was in Chicago hanging with Jake at a game where they were hosting Cleveland. While waiting outside the clubhouse, I recognized a man walking toward me. He nodded at me as to say hello and as he passed I nodded back. I was trying to figure out who he was when Jake's cousin said that was Jason Giambi. "Wow! He plays for Cleveland" I thought. I didn't even realized he was still playing. First thing I thought was to call Phillip and tell him. Man, that is a lonely feeling I'm sure way too many people also have felt. First week of July is always a fun week for baseball because the all star break is coming up. It is also Phillip's birthday week. Last Tuesday I am getting ready to play a little songwriters show at Tin Roof in Nashville when I read a tweet that says "Homer Bailey has a no hitter thru 7 innings." I immediately find a TV with the Reds game on. My hot wings showed up in the 8th inning and I am way too superstitious to even touch them. People are looking at me like I'm weird but I don't give a shit. The universe is talking to me and by God I am listening. Homer completes the "no-no" and I tear up for a second thinking about Phillip and also I am so happy for my friend who has made baseball history. Watching baseball keeps me close to Phillip. I also really feel like it is no coincidence that I ended up on the MLB Fan Cave playing my music. Phillip always promoted my music to his baseball card collector buddies so why should he stop now.
         I believe there is more to this world than flesh and blood. There is a mystery that words and numbers cannot explain or comprehend. I believe and my faith is strong.
         Today is Phillip's birthday. So, I went to Walmart and bought some ball cards to celebrate it. PAW, if you find this how about helping our Braves get back to the WS.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Biggest Fan

Playing music for a living is a very rewarding and reckless way to spend your time. I meet a lot of really nice people and a few really good friends. Trust is something I don't give away without a fight, so understand that when you read this.
I lost my best friend back in August. Freak heart attack! Died in his sleep. Left me with hundreds of unanswered questions. My best friend was my cousin Phillip Whiteside. PAW75 on blogger.
He was 81 days older than me and we spent the better part of our lives fighting and loving. As kids we were in the same grade and played ball together. As I got older I realized there was nothing he wouldn't do for me. I recognized that in my late teens. I always looked up to him, because he was very smart and could talk to ANYBODY. I, on the other hand, was kind of a shy guy. I could fake it, but deep down I was really shy. Still am.
Turning 30, I thought was going to be rough, but he always had ways of keeping me feeling young. Bringing up old times and making me feel like a kid again. All in all I think he did that for both of us. He always reminded me of
family no matter where I was or what I was doing. He would call, and I instantly went straight back to Probasco & Steele St. 1985.
Since he passed away, I have had a new little girl. "Susanna" and my son Carter has started T-Ball. This would have been the greatest year of our life as friends and cousins; however, all I can think is how empty I am every day without him here. I think about him every day and I know without a doubt I'll never get over losing him. Life is a bitch sometimes, and losing someone you lean on defiantly leaves you unstable.  If God keeps score, Phillip was a walk-off homer. The greatest. I was so blessed to have had someone like him in my corner. Fighting for me.
He never had to tell me he was my biggest fan, because he was so far out in front there was no competition. Eat his dust y'all.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Movin' Right Along

I've always been a sucker for a cliche'. My mother used to tell me "You can do anything if you set your mind to it." I really believed that back then. Hell, I still do. I also have learn a few other tricks to get what you want in life. I think the best trick I've learned is to just be true to what you are. People always say "Be yourself", but its hard to figure out who you really are sometimes. Some people spend a lifetime looking for that answer. I think that's what keeps us going. Keeps us movin' right along.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Carter 3 years worth of hell raisin'

I'm thinking, maybe one day you'll be surfing the internet and find your daddy's blog from 10 years ago. Well if you do, know that you changed my life 3 years ago and I love you.
    When you were first born I didn't really know what to think about it all. It's a very overwhelming experience. I was scared cause you were so tiny. I believe that's when I started growing old in my mind. I thought, Damn! What am I gonna do now? Actually, I really thought Damn! What have I done up till now? I've been goofing off. I gotta make this boy some college money. Well after 3 years I ain't any closer to that. Ha! I'm working on it though. I never really felt anxiety until you came along. You're probably thinking I had it made till you, but that's not the case at all.  I waited on you for 32 years. When I was a kid, I often thought what my son would be like. I always knew I would have a son. Seeing you at your 3rd birthday party was a eye opener to me. You're turning into exactly what I've hooped for. Funny, Smart, Shy, Loving, and Stubborn..ha ha!

I never thought I could quit smoking. I loved it. One night I thought I was having a heart attack and we went to the ER and you were crying for me, but they were hooking me up to monitors so I couldn't hold you. I looked you right in the eye and told you I would never smoke another one and I haven't and never will again. No one has that kind of power over me, but you. Don't you ever abuse that power boy! Cause I will tan that Don't ever smoke. Not cause it's wrong, but because it's so damn hard to quit. Even your Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw have quit for you and your cousins. I never thought I'd see that.  Don't ever let your mama tell you that she never smoked...haha She had her moments of wildness. She's smoked since I have. She don't have that addictive personality like me though. Maybe you'll be like her. Last time, Don't smoke!! Also don't ever be ashamed to tell someone you love them. You tell 'em!
I hope this finds you well and I love you so much.
I'm tired so I'm gonna crash. Maybe I'll get you and take you to bed with me. I think I will. Love you!
Daddy 12/13/2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Last Call for Jeff

Doing what I have done for the last 10 years has led me to meet a lot of great people. Thousands of caring, compassionate, and fun loving people that have left their mark in my life. Being a "people person," I have pretty high taste in who I let into my head and heart to become someone I care about deeply. True Friends. Brothers. "Sista's".  My people.  Even within that tight circle there are a few that stand out to be something more that you ever expected. That's where Jeff Elliott comes into the picture.
    We weren't the kind of buddies that talked on the phone every day, went fishing together "even though we'd planned to," or  seen each other as much as we'd like , but we were good friends. Just busy in our own careers. Since his passing on Tuesday, it's all I've thought about. "Wish I would have called him more." "Should have stopped in and seen him last week." I think it's just normal in the grieving process, if there is anything normal about that at all.  Normal or not I really wish I would have.
      Last time I seen him was at Raw. My buddy Scott Fuller had come into town, and stopped in to see me play at Rhythm & Brews. When I got done we both wanted to run down to Raw "or what we still call Buck Wild" to see Jeff. We rolled in strong! Like we were walking onto stage or something. Soon as we walk in there's Jeff. "Oooooh Hell!" Jeff Exclaims as we throw up our "gang signs" as we walk in the front door. "It's on now!" We all exchange our hugs and "bro-kisses." For the next two hours we have some beers and shoot the breeze about what we're all up too. Four years ago it would have been a line of Jager Bombs or shots of Jack and we would have broke some glasses and a few bathroom doors. HA! Lots changed since then. However, we did have our reunion. In our bar. We acted like a bunch of old timers in a room full of young bucks. Jeff made me get up on stage and take over the open mic that was going on. He requested everything he wanted to hear and I obliged as always. We closed it down.
      That's how it was every time with Jeff. He made you feel so special. He made you a "big deal." No matter who you were. When you walked in the door at Buck Wild he was grabbing your beer at the same time he was asking "whatcha drinking?" He already knew, but that was Jeff. Unselfish. Always making you "the star." What ever tip you left him for the beer, I'll guarantee it was not worth what he gave you in confidence when you left there.
        If there is a man out there that didn't like Jeff Elliott, I have no hopes in ever crossing paths with him. I will miss him deeply. We really need more people like him and it's so sad we lost him on Tuesday. I love you brother and I'll see you when I get there.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Grandfathered In / Bye Bye Bobby

I have been a Braves fan as long as I can remember. My Paw Paw and I watched the games together from the time I was a little kid. We watched the Braves lose a whole lot of games together. I remember Bobby Cox becoming the manager and going through that 1991 season when we went from worst to first and made it to the World Series. As long as I'd been watching, the Braves had never really won like that. It was something really special. Especially since I seen how much it excited my Paw Paw to see his team doing so good. They lost that world series and the one the next year too. He passed away August of '95. Two months later our Braves won the World Series. I'm sure he was looking down smiling. He was my hero. I named my son after him. I really felt like he was with me tonight. Rooting for Bobby. It felt good.
Thanks for the good years Bobby Cox.