Notes from the Road - Day 2 - Saturday, July 24, 2010 Man is it hot! When I first started this annual SE tour part of the reason was to get out of Florida's heat and up into higher country. However, I'm rethinking the timing here. Not only is booking more difficult in the summer here (a lot of the established series shut down in the SE for the summer), but this year in particular the weather forecast for everywhere I'm going is hot and more hot.

I headed out of Bainbridge around noon after making some stops at the grocery store, etc., things I didn't have time for on Friday. I wound through backroads Georgia north and west towards Alabama. Watching my external temperature guage I twice noted it rise above 100 degrees. The fields, the ones that weren't being irrigated, literally shimmered in the heat of the sun. Each day some rain has been forecast, but so far I've seen neither a cloud nor a drop. Just as well, it would turn to steam immediately and make things even worse. Nevertheless, in the cool A/C in the car I enjoyed the drive west to Auburn.

I actually lived in Auburn the first couple of years of my life. My Dad went to Veterinary school here when I was a toddler. We lived in a trailer park somewhere in Auburn and I had a sturdy tri-cycle that did it's best to maim me. It broken my left ankle and nearly cut off my left pinky finger in separate incidents. This is the first time I recall coming back through here since then.

Using my trusty Navigatrix I found an inexpensive campground just a couple of miles from where I was to perform. Easy in, easy out - just like I like it. I crossed into the central time zone so I picked up an hour. I'll lose it again tomorrow heading north. I had time to relax a bit, eat an early supper and then change into clothes suitable for my evening performance.

The Gnu's Room is a nice find. I found it by snooping on Roy Schneider's calendar for places he's played out this way. A very eclectic place, The Gnu's Room is a bookstore dealing largely in used books, some collector's items, and serves a large variety of exotic coffees. Just before showtime the staff cleared the front reading area and set up chairs for the guests. Tina, my host and owner of the shop, had warned me that the crowd would be light in the summer - shows are much better attended when the college is in full session. However, we had a nice comfortable crowd at 7 pm and more trickled in as I got into my first set.

I was flattered that some had taken time to check out my websites and had specific song requests. A fellow songwriter (a Kerrville winner and touring performer who lives in Auburn) Dave Potts came out for the show - always nice to get support from others in the biz. Interestingly, a young lady in the audience (also named Tina) perked up when she learned I was from Leesburg, FL - her father was born and raised there. Such a small world. Due to the requests, my selected material varied a bit from the set lists I had prepared. However, I'm always happy to give folks what they want to hear - requests are always welcome. I continue to be pleased with the very warm reception my newer material is receiving. When the Hummingbirds Return, Cresent City Lament and I Wish were all hits with the crowd. In the small room a sound system was unnecessary, something I prefer when its possible. Every possible inch of every wall, hallway, nook and cranny of the bookstore is stuffed with racks, stacks and shelves of books, so it made the room very acoustic friendly in that there was no bounce or echo like you might get in an empty room with a hardwood floor. At the same time, that lack of natural "reverb" makes you work harder to keep the guitar perfectly in tune and carry notes longer vocally to compensate. It was a wonderful evening and a very enjoyable show. CDs have, again, made their way to new homes. I'll look forward to coming back to the Gnu's Room on future tours trough the area.

The downside of picking up an hour was that when I finished playing at 9 pm it felt like 10 pm and I was definitely getting a little droopy. Fortunately my rolling home away from home was only a couple of miles away. I stopped only to fill up the truck for tomorrow's drive and then got right back to stretch out, have a little nip o' whiskey and drift away. I'll have a couple of days off now, but tomorrow I'll roll north towards Chattanooga where I'll be "based" for the next week. Hopefully I can find someplace where the temp gets down to the low 90's!