Saturday, March 28, 2009

Corb Lund in Nashville

One of the things I take for granted living near Nashville is the amount and diversity of live music available just about every night. I know L.A., NYC, Chicago, and a few other mega-cities can likely make that same claim. But the number of options falls off pretty quickly as the population size of a city decreases.

Corb Lund is in Nashville recording his 6th album. Since he was here anyway, he and the band put together a quickly-booked, early, free show at The Basement Wednesday night. The Basement is near my office. So it was a great way to end the work day.

The full band - Corb Lund & The Hurtin' Albertans - were there, and they played about a 50 minute set. As he put it, the show gave them a chance to get away from the studio for a bit plus try out a few of their new songs on a live audience.

The band played many of their staples: Five Dollar Bill, Hurtin' Albertan, Big Butch Bass Bull Fiddle, The Truth Comes Out, and All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards (my request). They played Student Visas and Horse Soldier Horse Soldier, the title track from their most recent CD. And as is the tradion, they wrapped up their set with Time To Switch To Whiskey (We've Been Drinking Beer All Day).

During the set, they also played three new tracks. I don't know the actual song titles, but they were so new that Corb had to sing the lyrics from a piece of paper on a bar stool. Despite a recommendation from his producer or manager (can't remember which one he said) to start moving away from regionally-themed songs (i.e. western Canada references), two of the three new songs he played were about Saskatchewan and Alberta! And he tossed in a song about his Edmonton Oilers to boot. So Canadian fans - relax.

Hurtin' Albertan


Duane Jarvis ... sad news

I was stunned last night to learn Duane Jarvis is in hospice care with terminal cancer.

“It’s been a tough fight, but Duane has faced it with tremendous grace, never losing his sense of humor or his positive outlook on life,” his brother Kevin wrote in a note sent to family members, friends and fans. “His music has kept him going, and us entertained. In the past five months alone Duane has endured two major surgeries, three rounds of chemo, numerous trips to the ER, and many weeks in the hospital.

“Unfortunately, Duane’s cancer has now reached terminal status and he will no longer be seeking curative treatment,” Kevin Jarvis wrote. “He has recently moved into an apartment near his beloved ocean in Marina Del Rey where he is under the care of loved ones and Providence TrinityCare Hospice.”

Duane is a great guitarist, lyricist, and singer. He has played with such greats as Lucinda Williams, John Prine, and Dave Alvin. He is a west coaster, but spent a while in East Nashville USA. I learned of his music only a couple of years ago via After streaming a handful of his cuts, I immediately sought out two great CDs - Far From Perfect and Certified Miracle.

God speed Duane.

Tip to: Taking It Back To The Roots


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday prediction

Pulled into parking lot at 7:12 AM today. Commute was in a pretty heavy spring rain - really the first we've had in a couple of weeks after a solid run of nice, warm days.

After trudging through the puddles and badging my way through the security carousel, I was greeted over the next 15 minutes by 3 "good mornings" and 1 "how's it going my man?". All were delivered with a smile with no reference to the gloomy weather.

That was cool.

Gonna be a good day today.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Jury Duty Pay

Recently got my compensation for serving 1 day of jury duty. WOW! Who woulda thunk one could earn such a healthy reward for civic duty? Are you kidding - at $10.50/day, sign me up for a month or more of it.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 17, 1980 - Rossington Collins Band

March 17 - St. Paddy's Day - wear green or risk getting pinched - 4 leaf clover - prodigious amounts of beer - The Blarney Stone - Rossington-Collins Band.

Wait. What?

Yes. March 17, 1980, the Rossington-Collins Band played the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. For those who didn't know or may have forgotten, RCB was fronted by Gary Rossington and Allen Collins following the plane crash that took the lives of 3 members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Rossington and Collins were joined by two other surviving members of Skynyrd, bassist Leon Wilkeson and keyboardist Billy Powell (who passed away earlier this year).

RCB toured in support of its first release, Anytime, Anywhere, Anywhere, including this show in Nashville on St. Patrick's Day 1980.

[Click here] to download a soundboard recording version of the show in MP3 format. Set list:
  1. Prime Time
  2. Opportunity
  3. Misery Loves Company
  4. One Good Man
  5. Winners and Losers
  6. Sometimes You Can Put It Out
  7. Free Bird
And to either refresh your memory or intro you to RCB, here's a rare video clip of one of their signature songs Don't Misunderstand Me.

So kick your southern rock jams on the day of Irish celebration.

Edited 2017-10-21

Monday, March 16, 2009

Nuclear Caving

Four other dads and I took 16 scouts to Oak Ridge and Sweetwater TN this past weekend. In Oak Ridge, they earned their Nuclear Science merit badge at the American Museum of Science and Energy. This is not one of those badges one can earn at summer camp or a Saturday afternoon with the scoutmaster. Most folks don't just have a Geiger counter laying around collecting dust.

Or a model of a pressurized water nuclear reactor.

Or a Van de Graaff electrostatic generator.

Saturday afternoon, we loaded them up and headed for The Lost Sea caverns in Sweetwater for an evening of caving - including sleeping overnight in the cave afterward. The rooms are jaw-dropping enormous. The crawls were fun, but they weren't as tight or challenging as Raccoon Mountain in Chattanooga. For us old guys with bad knees, I was thankful for that. I was also thankful that no one uttered "pull my finger" during the single-file crawl passages.

The one thing that was plentiful was east Tennessee red clay mud - lots of it. And much of it was ground into clothing and taken back to middle Tennessee to do battle with Kenmore washing machines and Tide.

Next stops: New Orleans, LA and Bristol "Thunder Valley" Tennessee.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Creative Uses for Duct Tape

I've tried to spend a good amount of time with my son. I really have. Cub Scouts. Boy Scouts. Pinewood Derbies. Campouts. Tough love. Tough talk. THE Talk. Teach him. Let him learn the hard way sometimes. Do it for him sometimes. Noogie him. Hug and kiss him. Dad stuff ya know.

I've especially tried to spend more time with him in recent years as he hit double digits. I figure my time is limited before I become the single stupidest, most over-bearing person he'll claim he's ever met.

But apparently a place I need to spend more QT with him is at the work bench. As I was getting pack to head to KC last week, he mentioned he needed a 2 x 4 for a school project. We found one, and I made sure he knew where the tape and hand saw were. I thought I was good to go.

When I returned from my trip, I found this on my work bench.

I asked him "why all the tape?" He said he didn't know where any screws or nails were so he just used duct tape to hold it together.

On Saturday, I helped him and his Boy Scouts patrol on a 15-mile bike ride and campout. During the route, another scout crowded him against the shoulder of the road causing him to lose control and flip his bike down a small revine. His 360 degree pirouette was the highlight of the day for the other scouts even though it cost him a couple of banged up knees and a road-rash shoulder.

We patched up his knees with an oversized Band-Aid. After he got home on Sunday and showered, he opted to replace the original patch with some gauze held in place with...yep, you got it...duct tape. He's insisted on the same treatment the last 3 days.

He's either ready to travel with Survivorman ... or he's ready for a voc ed track in high school. In either case, he's learned a vital life lesson. All you need to survive in this nutty world are 2 things: a roll of duct tape and a can of WD-40.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rudderville Ramblers in The Tennessean

Our local paper, The Tennessean, did a full photo-article page Monday on my son's middle school bluegrass band, the Rudderville Ramblers. The photographer-article writer also assembled a photo slide show backed by their rendition of Orange Blossom Special.

Click the link and press play in the lower left corner. (Sorry, link provided didn't have embedding code.)

Page Middle School's Rudderville Ramblers


Bob Walkenhorst show video and audio

Bryan, my Kansas City CD-trading bud and fellow Rainmakers fan, recorded a couple of cuts from last week's Record Bar show. He got Another Guitar and You Remind Me of Someone. AG got dancers. YRMOS did not. Band is:
  • Bob Walkenhorst on guitar/vocals
  • Jeff Porter guitar
  • Pat Tomek on the drums (also formerly of The Rainmakers)
  • Norm Dahlor on bass (from The Elders)
Nice work Bryan.

Jay runs the Record Bar board, records the weekly Bob/Jeff show, and uploads it to for us all to enjoy. Here's another cut from last week's show - a cover of Ozark Mountain Daredevil's Country Girl. I'm not exactly up-to-speed on the OMD discography, so I mistook this one for a Bob original. Nope.

[Click here] if you care to have the full show.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Rear View Mirror: Kansas City

A few thoughts from last week's trip to Kansas City, Missouri...


Nashville often gets tagged for having crazy drivers. But I've also been told most Nashvillians aren't from Nashville. So if we have bad drivers its because we inherit them from everywhere else. In Kansas City, highway driving habits are much different than here in middle Tennessee where we supposedly don't now what we're doing. In KC, folks hang out in the 'passing' lane at or just below the speed limit. If you approach someone in the left lane, they simply will not budge - no moving to the right and no acceleration to match the speed of the approaching car. Yet, if a car is in the right lane, they refuse to move to the left lane as they encounter cars entering the highway from an on-ramp. Both moves are courtesies in our neck of the woods - but neither to seem to be in effect in Mizzou.


My oh my, how nice was it in KC? In prior trips, I've often landed amongst dirty snow. And true to form, I even found a little bit of it again this trip.

But it was melting...rapidly. The temp was in the mid 60s on Wednesday and was up to the high 70s by late Thursday. What a marvelous early March.

Bob Walkenhorst and Jeff Porter

Went to Bob Walkenhorst's and Jeff Porter's standing Wednesday night gig at the Record Bar. Sat with a CD-trading friend of mine. Took him some Rush boots and got a few Rainmakers and Bob boots in return. Tossed back a few Boulevard Pale Ales. Ummm, umm.

Talked to Bob a bit after the show. New CD coming soon from him & Jeff - with hopefully a regional tour later this year. While talking, Jeff (who I'd never met face to face) came up behind me and simply said "Too much country!" Either a reasonable guess after our e-mail exchange or comparison of my in-person look to my profile pic. Or an insult that I perhaps missed altogether.


Ahhh...Arthur Bryant's. I've eaten there before. I blogged about it. I ate there again. It did not disappoint.


After [burp...geez, excuse me!]

Next stop on the 2009 travel trail...New Orleans.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring in Tennessee

I know, I know...we will likely have another frost before the end of March. And yes, it has snowed in Tennessee in March before. But can't I just enjoy it for the time that its here? Mid 70s, stiff March winds, windows open without the heat or or the air running, and flowers and trees budding everywhere. This is one of many reasons I choose to live in middle Tennessee.


A Compliment

I normally don't deal well with compliments. I don't seek them, and I'm generally not sure how to respond when given one beyond a meek "thanks". (Maybe that's all I am supposed to do. Who knows.)

But I got an unexpected one Friday night that made me feel really, really good.

I called a fellow Boy Scouts dad to let him know his son had been re-assigned to my son's patrol. In the process of discussing the how's and why's of the move, the dad said he had been discussing a troop summer trip with his son - including asking if he planned to go.

The son replied he didn't think he would go this year. When asked why, he said "Mr. Whit organized last year's trip [to St. Louis] and that was the best trip I've ever been on. He's not planning this year's trip so I don't wanna go unless he's doing it."

Now I have to admit another parent & I put a lot of work into making last year's trip fun and successful. The few compliments I got at the time were mostly from parents simply offering "hey, thanks for doing this." I can't think of any scout who said thanks unless prompted by their folks to do so. But I had a personal level of satisfaction that most of the trip went off as planned, and that outweighed any compliments that may have been delivered.

This indirect compliment almost a year later; however, really felt good. I've been on the fence so far this year in helping with the summer trip. Someone else is the lead dawg in making it happen, and I've been offering advice only from a distance. But this may re-ignite me to saddle up and work hard again for another fun trip.

Clearly the effort I put into it last year made a solid impression on one kid. And that alone is enough to smile contently and get after it again.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Earning a living vs. entitled to one

I got the following quote in my inbox late last week. What truth it speaks. Man oh man, how I wish others would embrace it so we could reverse the trend of today that seems so pervasive in our society. Hoping for a Powerball payoff, entitlements, government bailouts, crimes, vicitimology, "but what about me?", "where's mine?", etc.

"The darkest hour of a man's life is when he sits down to plan how to get money without earning it." ~ Horace Greeley


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bob Walkenhorst and The Rainmakers

From the late 80s through the mid 90s, I was a big fan of The Rainmakers, a rocking band out of Kansas City, Mizzou. Slide geetar, powerful rhythm section, insightful yet witty lyrics, and a healthy dose of 4/4 rock-and-roll time. When I heard Downstream from their debut album, I immediately bought the CD from Turtle Records. I don't remember if I heard the single on the radio or saw an MTV video, but I know I was hooked the first time I heard it.

I bought their self-titled debut and two follow-up releases, Tornado and The Good News and The Bad News, but then I lost track of them. As with so many bands, I assumed they had just fizzled out, broken up, been dropped from their label, etc. Al Gore was still fine-tuning his top-secret recipe for that internet invention thang of his back then, so I didn't have the benefit of keying their name to a search engine and looking worldwide for more info.

But man oh man, I'm glad the former VP & never-elected-President Gore brought his invention to market because twenty years later a great website was launched for music lovers and explorers everywhere - After setting up a few stations of artists I enjoyed a couple of years ago, I was pleasantly surprised when a song from The Rainmakers - Width of a Line - popped up on one of them. I had never heard this song, and it re-kindled my interest in the band. I learned two additional CDs - Skin and Flirting With The Universe - had been released internationally. I quickly sought them out on ebay and Amazon and also began to collect several bootlegs of their live shows.

Width of a Line - 1994-09-02 - Bodo, Norway

The front man for The Rainmakers was Bob Walkenhorst. Today, Bob and another singer-songwriter, Jeff Porter, play a standing gig each Wednesday evening at The Record Bar in Kansas City. About a year ago, I was fortunate enough to be in KC, attend the Wednesday show, and meet Bob. This week, I'm returning once again to KC and hope to chat a bit more with Bob and Jeff.

Here's a clip of Bob playing
Reckoning Day - another great Rainmakers song...

If you remember The Rainmakers from many moons ago or simply want to give their music (and/or Bob's) a try, you can enjoy a ton of it free at's live music archive.

Live Music Archive - Bob Walkenhorst

Live Music Archive - The Rainmakers