The gig I played last weekend with the Dixie Bee-Liners may just have spoiled me for all gigs for the rest of my life. The show was at the Suffolk (Va.) Center for the Cultural Arts, a very nice, new, beautiful venue in southeastern Virginia. I rode from Nashville with bass player Jeremy Darrow, departing on Friday in the middle of a monsoon-like rain storm. We spent the night at Brandi Hart and Buddy Woodward's house in Abingdon, Va., where they treated us to a brilliant barbecue of grilled vegis, chicken, and smoked salmon. With the campfire afterwards, the only thing missing was s'mores. (I'll see what I can do about that next time!)
Here's is Buddy, king of the grill, and some beautiful peppers.
Here's Jeremy getting our post-supper fire started.
The next day (after a night spent on a surprisingly comfortable pull-out couch) we drove the seven hours to Suffolk, loaded in, sound checked, and were treated to some of the nicest backstage rooms I've ever seen. There was a large common room, separate dressing rooms for boys and girls, comfortable couches, and plenty of room for many more people than just us six. The nice folks at the venue had provided a lovely spread of fruit, chips, salsa, pickles, and sandwich makings, and in addition to that they fed us a nice dinner at the restaurant on the bottom floor of the building. I'm not sure any of us were very hungry after the snacks, but we felt like royalty.
The show went just fine, despite a notable lack of practice time. Unbeknownst to me the band had switched to in-ear monitors, which I don't have ear-pieces for, so I was the only one on stage with a monitor speaker pointed at me. I don't think anyone noticed. I was thrilled to get to visit with my college roommate Kristin Mullen at intermission and after the show. She lives nearby and came to see us play.
After packing everything up and loading back into the van we went a couple miles down the road to the Hilton hotel. It was truly one of the nicest hotels I've ever been housed in---comfortable beds, a recycling bin in the room (!). In the morning, before we loaded up the van, I took a walk in the Cedar Hill Cemetery across the road from the hotel. I love walking in old cemeteries and this one was lovely---hilly with lots of mature shrubbery and cedar trees, as you may have guessed from the name.
We hit the road with a vengance and fourteen hours later I was back in Madison. Long day, but a satisfying end to a smooth trip.
One more picture. On our Saturday drive we stopped at the White's Truck Stop exit on I-81 (one of my favorite exits). We pulled into Fuel City to "rest" and eat and their sign made me laugh:
After having it I can't really argue with their claim. It was pretty darn good.