>Upalooza, Volume 9: Last Exit

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Greetings from Nashville!

Picture me in my self-constructed postcard, standing on Broadway: honky tonks to my left, girls in skirts to my right, Batman building behind, donning spurs that jingle jangle, Elvis statues in the foreground, Texas-style BBQ smoke in the air, and giant neon pink lettering that reads: “Nashville: Wish Your Dreams True, Dream Your Wishes Real, And Try Our New York Deli.”

I kid!  I kid because I care, and I’ll readily admit it: it feels good to be back.  Good like an old pair of  pajamas.  Good like meatloaf.  Good like a 2008 Civic.  Ahh, ze romanze!

We’ve got plenty to catch up on, so let’s get to it…

Knoxville Favorite Moment:
Getting to debut another new song, “Hey, Hollywood.”  I only try out new things when I feel really comfortable, so I have to thank everyone at Preservation Pub for being so cool.


Knoxville Least Favorite Moment: 

Unfortunately, I was only in for six or seven hours.  The good news is that’s not long enough to have a least-favorite moment.  Knoxville: you pitched a no hitter!

Knoxville Road Weirdness:
Getting requests for “Bob Dylan, right now,” and “Edie Brickell, pre-Paul Simon” in the span of ten minutes. 

More Road Weirdness:
You know when a summer shower appears, rains, and disappears so fast that the sun’s out during the whole storm?  I’ve now seen four of these on this tour.  A few pictures of sunlit raintimes, one from West Virginia, one from Knoxville:

Knoxville Starbucks Trivia:
From the chalkboard inside the Knoxville Hilton: what state has the longest coastline?  (Hint: a group of Texans insisted that the answer is Texas.)

Atlanta Favorite Moment:
Asking on Facebook where I should eat in ATL and getting directed to a rib shack the very moment I drove past said rib shack.  Serendipity!

Atlanta Least Favorite Moment:
The actual ribs.  Sorry, y’all–I wanted to like them.

Atlanta Road Weirdness:
Leaving town (at 11PM), I took the backroads and highways into Alabama.  I’m (to a fault) not easily scared, mostly because I’m clueless.  But I will say this: when you’re driving on Alabama mountain backroads in the middle of the night–and you’re listening to The National–every car that appears is either 1) a serial killer or 2) a cop or 3) a serial killer cop.  Sans-mountain-view, not a fun stretch of road.

More Road Weirdness/Funsies:
Maybe it was coincidence, maybe it wasn’t: I stopped for gas in northern Georgia and saw people wait in line at Exxon while an empty BP sat next door.

More Road Weirdness:
I’ve tried the “Pomegranate” 5 Hour Energy.  It’s good–better than “Orange”–but “Berry” remains my favorite.  What kind of berry, you ask?  Awesomeberry.  From the berrybush in a berrybushandtree orchard.  Colored “berry” color.  And used frequently in “berry” pies, shortcakes, and fruit roll-ups.  “Berry”: proving yet again that “fake and generic” trumps “real and specific” every time.

Nashville Favorite Moment:
So far, I have to say simply stepping onstage at 3rd & Lindsley and feeling at home.  One of my favorite things about touring is the daily newness: new town, new venue, new fans and friends, etc.  Every place is a little different.  But after three weeks of newness, familiarity is invaluable.  Just stepping onto a stage I’ve played before, knowing what sound I’d get, knowing how the room feels, seeing familiar faces and friends in the audience…it was a huge sigh of relief.  Thanks for making me feel at home.

Nashville Least Favorite Moment:
Driving behind this guy. 

Nashville Road Weirdness:/Funsies
Nashville’s always had good signage, especially on the church marquees:
–“Fear Not God Is With Us” (Fear, not God, is with us?)
–“Visitors Welcome, Members Expected”

But the signs these days are especially fun/confusing/weird.  To wit:
–Outside Rosepepper Cantina: “Food, Drinks, Vibe.”  I’ll have a half order of vibe, please.
–And this, at a cozy new spot in my neighborhood:

Props to the place for being an awesome watering hole, but “Pub Beer Garden”?  Words mean things, and these words mean different things.  I want to open a “Tavern Cafe” across the street.  Or maybe a “Cantina Bistro” next door. 

“Saloon Lounge.”

“Taqueria Trattoria.”

“Pizzeria Tea Room.”

Okay, I’m done now.

“Parlor Club.”

Seriously, I’m finished.  Last one:

“Fro-Yo Steakhouse.”

Just like that, I’ve got my fantasy football team name!  And you thought that was a waste of time.

More Nashville Funsies:
Here’s a little sampling from the Nashville concert.  I closed with “Melanie,” off the new album Up.  Check ‘er out!

In My Stereo:
Creedence Clearwater Revival.  Like, a lot.  Like, almost exclusively.  As in, “maybe too much.”  As in, I might get hospitalized for “Fogerty overdose.”  Which would be the most “bitchin” cause of death imaginable, other than “dropping dead while bowling to ‘Slow Ride’ and wearing a denim jacket with dragons on the back.”

Also, I’ve done more nighttime driving recently, which means the playlist has expanded.  Beck’s Sea Change might induce naps/mopey wistfulness during the day, but at midnight in Appalachia?  Perfecto.

In My Rearview:
Summer.  I just looked up and it’s nearly August.  Which means a matter of days until I’m in a random “pub beer garden” and an NFL preseason game is on TV, and I cry public tears of joy.  I really can’t believe how fast July’s gone by.

Up Ahead:
Catching up with favorite people/places in Nashville, then one of the ugliest stretches of I40 imaginable, all leading me back to Memphis for the last show of the tour.  Cannot wait.  Refuse to wait.  I’m going now!

Three days, not much longer,

CM

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>Upalooza, Volume 9: Last Exit

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