This is the last week in the east coast, my friends! One more week and we will officially be pointing the Mothership WEST! And buddy, I am thrilled, literally chomping at the bit to be west of the Continental Divide once again!
But before I get too ahead of myself, let me tell you about last week’s adventures. First of all, let me just say that I LOVE North Carolina. What a beautiful state! Falls Lake was so peaceful. The lake is serene and there is something inspiring about the Carolina pines. It is no wonder the Carolina pines have been weaved into many songs. I happily drove around with family to Tae Kwon Do practice admiring Carolina pines from the passenger seat of a mini van. My niece and nephew rocked Tae Kwon Do with exuberant kicking, punching and other martial art “ha-yawing”! Great job, kids! I was impressed with your Do Jo skills and I like the Henry Ford quote on the walls, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” Has my nephew figured out what this means yet? I think he can! We also made a visit to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, which was all day family fun! The museum was bigger than I had imagined and had something for everyone: a train ride, a bear, a butterfly exhibit, contraption rooms, space rooms, owls, doves, the biggest tarantula I’ve ever seen (we got to watch as the insect keeper feed the tarantula a live cockroach), weather experiment stations, and even a petting zoo where we could pet Max, a massive steer, while he munched on his hay. Rocco, the adorable alpaca, kept his distance from rambunctious kiddos. I don’t think he wanted anyone to mess up his amazing Elvis haircut! The butterfly exhibit was mesmerizing with a wide variety of butterflies and tropical singing birds. We saw these super cool “disco” walls made of silver sequence that had sound cannons so that you could launch “air-balls” at the disco wall and see the ball of air hit the sequenced sunlit wall. Visual proof that when you add music to balls of air, it truly is a powerful thing, right!?!!
After a lovely visit in North Carolina, I did my second solo RV mission to meet the Dusters on the road where we travelled to Georgia. I had two big events planned for my stay in Georgia: The Battle of the Bands at the Atlanta Georgia Dome and the final show of the Duster’s January tour with a live broadcast on Yahoo LiveNation. The Battle of the Bands was a spectacular display of southern college marching bands (watch my YouTube video below). The crowd was 60,000 strong and in between marching bands everyone in the dome was dancing to two DJs duking it out to 80’s hip hop for their chance of 3 seconds of fame on the Jumbotron. I am always impressed with marching bands. I love to watch and hear the percussion section lay down their groovy rhythms that the whole band boogie-woogies to. I love to watch the trumpet players: they are always the show-offs with their horns raised high and their cheeks and neck veins bursting! And the tuba players are running all over the field with that massive instrument wrapped around their body. All that precision, energy and coordination makes for a splendid Atlanta afternoon.
After Battle of the Bands I was completely “hemmed in”, as Jeremy would say, in the heart of Atlanta below the CNN Center. Cars were everywhere and going nowhere! Total gridlock. The car is a completely useless mode of transportation in Atlanta gridlock. Roller skates would have served me better. I’ve had enough of your concrete, Atlanta! “You can have these ol’ grey city streets.” Give me a pile of dirt and I’ll be happy! I was overjoyed to have made it to the Duster show 10 minutes before show time, just in time to relieve Katrina, the Duster Tour Manager, of Merch Patrol so that she could run pre-show errands. Do not stand in her way, people. Katrina is a force to be reckoned with and I am always happy for the opportunity to help her achieve her mission: to organize the behind-the-scenes logistics of an amazing Dusting! And let me tell you, the Dusters never disappoint. The energy from the band and the crowd for the final night of the tour was electric! The band “laid it all down”, as Andy Hall said mid-show. And I was rewarded with a very unique perspective of the show in the mobile production control trucks where they broadcast the live stream for Yahoo. For those of you who know Drew, the Duster’s sound engineer, you know that Drew puts bluegrass music on steroids pumping up the Duster-volume-knob to glorious maximum. Drew is an artist in his own right. Well, Steve, the Yahoo LiveStream Producer and Director is another type of artist that very few people get to watch in action since he is holed up in Mission Control Headquarters for the show’s entirety. Steve is intense, anticipating every move of the show, continuously calling out instructions to his camera crew to get this angle or that angle, a headshot, zoom to the hands during ripping solos, pan the crowd to capture blissful gratification, or to dissolve and blend the shots, constantly encouraging and congratulating the camera crew every step of the way for noteworthy shots, which were many. The YouTube video below of Steve in action is a must see.
Finally, we have one last stop east of the Continental Divide this week. Jeremy will be recording with friend, Ned Luberecki, the only guy to have ever filled in on banjo for a Duster show. Jeremy will also be song writing this week with Jon Weisberger and Josh Shilling. I’m eager to hear the next song from this talented writing trio! Jeremy will be performing some of the songs he has written with Jon and Josh on a Wednesday StageIt show! Tune in for 30 minutes on Wednesday to hear Jeremy’s broadcast from NashVegas! And then after that… I’ll be off to find a pile of dirt somewhere out west.
Rocco! The Adorable Alpaca! Click on the picture to see more photos
The Jackson State University Marching Band Performs at the Georgia Dome
Steve, the Producer for Yahoo LiveNation, directs his crew for the live stream of The Infamous Stringdusters performing Hitchhiker. The tapping you hear throughout is Steve drumming his fingers along with the band. He is intense!!