Tuesday, December 24, 2013

New Word: "Trailer-Park-a-Rican - How I went to Montana in response to Global Warming (the band)

So I'm back from the great northern wilderness (Montana) alive and in one bundle of pieces.  Hadn't gone on a trek that adventurous in quite some time and it did indeed feel good to count forward progress by green mile markers. I saw alot of unfamiliar sections of highway in the middle of some real wide, open spaces.

I'm still pretty punchy from a 2000 mile  ass-buster.  Still assimilating the events of the last 2 weeks.   The trip was a grand adventure on all accounts.  I've discerned that, quite often, I give myself situations and events as gifts,  to solve like puzzles.  I'm certain I would kick ass at the game of "Clue" if I liked that sort of thing:-)

I'm looking forward to going back to Montana when there is more green and less white laying around. Some folks aren't morning people; I'm not snow people.  I have solely learned to comfort myself , in regard to the abundance of unmade sno-cones lying on the ground (and my car) and everywhere hither and yon - through incessant bitching and moaning :-)

The first leg of this wondrous  journey took me to the Blacktooth Brewing Company in Sheridan, Wyoming (AWESOME COOL VENUE!!!). I met Pat and Tom Judd- the two nicest people in Wyoming,  they put me up in their home so graciously and warmly.  Thank You so much and I can't wait to see you both again :-)

My host in Bozeman was an old friend from Nashville, Dave Goodwin,  who now lives  in a gorgeous palatial mansion (complete with recording studio) outside of Bozeman.  After nearly 20 years it was good to catch up . As well as he's done I doubt if I ever catch up:-)

Next stop was a lavish resort hotel so grand and beautiful I found it hard to sleep. I believe full well that I stuck out like a cactus in a cereal bowl  It was 5-star  "uptown" all the way, and while I was so very grateful to have been provided for so lavishly. It was actually a bit disorienting.  I'm  a dyed-in-the-wool "vending machines in the breezeway by ashtrays" ,  Motel 6 sorta-rican fella. It's a hard habit to break.

I was and remain, so delightfully honored to have been  invited to be a part of 2013 Big Sky Songwriting Festival. I hope to do it again.  Everything was super-comfy indeed, and I thank you profusely Mr. Dave Goodwin for having me as a part of your most excellent songwriting shindig in the Tetons. Especially for putting me up in a manner I am definitely not accustomed too.

When I find myself on occasion, in close proximity to magnificently oppulent affluence (way rich),  It appears to be the case that the harder I  try to distinguish myself as anything other than what I am (A shameless Walmart shopper), then the more cups of coffee I spill in my crotch and the more chunks of kale end up stuck in my teeth.  It's a gift. I suffer from currency-induced delusional diahrea - being around that much "rich" stuns the shit outta me:-)

That said,  I do hope that any of the myriad social faux pas I quite possibly committed (without any cognizant awareness whatsoever) in my time away from the quiet room in the basement, can be forgiven as harmless chimpanzee antics of a delusional songwriter in training:-). 

The workshops were really wonderful.  It was so fun to work with other writers and to put myself back into that mindset for a bit. I dearly hope these folks got half as much from me as I got from them .  The whole experience energized me.

I not only got to encourage and work with our attendees, - but also to listen and learn from some of the other mentor/teachers as well. Really formidable talents. They're all way cooler and more successful than I imagine I'll ever be, but they were so incredibly gracious, and really had great stuff to say.   It really encouraged  to get off my butt and do some of the key  things that recording artists and songwriters and touring performers have to do to be successful.

The performances in Sheridan, Bozeman, Choppers at Big Sky, and Chet's at Big Sky all went extremely well.  I am truly sorry I wasn't able to accept an invitation to play Whisky Jacks as well. Next trip I hope:-)  Montana rocks.

The final evening was really incredible. A delightfully large and full room,  an engaged tourist audience, a fistful of industry professionals (including a few of my own songwriting heroes, mentors, and pals from that past life), and a whole mess of friends and families of several of our participants.

The performances by our students were superb. These folks wrote some wonderfully  heartfelt and well-crafted songs.  Felt good to listen to and so wonderful to be a part of.  I was, as a mentor, so very pleased to meet each and everyone of them. To watch and listen to them write and perform, so eloquently and so well, was humbling indeed.  Thank you one and all for helping me become a better writer. I do indeed hope that this experience has done the same for you.

I also performed that evening with Bruce Bouton and Kostas - two road-tested legendary Nashville writers/performer/ producers, and The Teka Brock Band She's very pretty amazing - very pretty and very amazing.  Great songs and great folks.  Look out for Teka Brock. Can't wait to see them in Colorado. I am so grateful and delighted to have gotten to work with all of these good people , and to have been received so warmly by our wonderful audience.

 I was more than thrilled to get some hang out time with my old pal Jack Sundrud (Poco, Great Plains). Jack was and still is, one of my greatest mentors. He's phenomenal songwriter and performer and the nicest guy in Nashville:-)
Also had the pleasure of getting to know a phenomenal songwriter/recording artist Paul Durham from the band BlackLab. He's AWESOME!!!

A week of playing and writing with these wonderfully inspiring people in the seriously beautiful Big Sky country has been invigorating.  Montana is phenomenal in it's massively robust and beautiful scenery. "Big Sky" Country is an understatement. It is breathtaking even when it's not 20 below:-)

 There is a vibrance and energy to life, at those altitudes and temperatures, that I have yet to actually comprehend. (The majestic beauty of the place,and the warmth of the folks in it, more than made up for any sort of hypothermia or shrinkage that may have occurred in my daily 10 minutes outdoors:-)

 Regarding skiing/snoboarding: No matter how many times I see folks  do that    " haul ass downhill tied to a board" deal , oft  in blinding snow and freezing temperature [freezing = being anything below 70 degrees / sub-zero = at or below 40 degrees / 30 degrees or below = Haagen Dazs], I am always amazed that, when they're done,  they can't wait to do it some more.  I've tried it.  I ran into stuff that hurt , fell down a lot, and drank too much - all at 30 degrees of incline on slippery footing, screaming at the top of my lungs, in the cold.  It reminds me too much of my last few marriages. Seems that for this" Trailer Park-a-Rican", there are some warmer avenues of entertainment to pursue.

My last glance of the alpine wonder of Big Sky was in my rearview mirror at around 6 a.m. Sunday morning.  I rolled up to the front door around 8:30 PM  with a numbly aching  posterior, a caffeine buzz that would power a submarine, and steam blowing out of the engine compartment from a blown water pump. I wasn't complaining.   I was home and I was happy and I'm even happier today. 

In the end it was so achingly delicious to pull up to the little yellow house on 6th Street. Hungry, tired, with an aching back, outta everything and late with the rent - but  home.  It feels nice to call this magical little ville of Palisade home.

I missed my dogs far more fiercely than I had imagined. As soon as I hit the door they were all over me , butts a waggin'  I swear June Carter is gone throw her spine out one of these days.  The poor thing has too much ham in her can to be slingin' it around that way. Elvis is doing so well with his vowel sounds. I'm going to warmer places starting in January and I miss them too much to be away for very long.  (we'll home-school on the road :-).  We're a team and quite often they're more entertaining than I could ever be:-)  From here on out I intend to take these with  me whenever I go out of town.

I always loved the song "Mr Bojangles - never thought for I minute I would become that guy. But here it is. The cross-eyed love child of  El Kabong and Mr.Magoo. Thank God God has a soft spot for goofballs.  It's covered me more than once.

So that's the story of how I went to Montana and survived for 10 days in the vast wilderness, with only some cheetoes and a guitar.  A genuine "Trailer Park-a-Rican" Vision quest.  I Didn't just dance with wolves - I  got drunk with bears and wrote songs with a mule :-)

( Stay tuned for the next blog when I tell you how to make Chile Con Queso on your engine block using just tin foil and cheese)

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