Notes from the Road – The Gas Hog Tour 2008 – Day 17, July 26 The show last night here at the KOA in Bristol, TN (Blountsville actually) went well. This is a nice park and the folks here had put in some effort to drum up interest. While I had some of that “sit at the camper and listen safe from the CD sales and tip jar” stuff going on I still had a nice crowd under the pavilion and sold a reasonable number of CD’s – even the tip jar did well, so no complaints at all. I relaxed and had fun with the show, even throwing in “Port-O-Let” since there were no kids present at that time (if they were hanging out at the camper that’s what they get!!). Though I missed Judy already I still slept pretty well. There is a lot to be said for hauling your own bed around with you. I’ve been very comfortable on this trip and it lets me know that more of this traveling lifestyle in the years to come will suit me just fine. Today, as advertised, was cloudy with a misting, drizzling rain off and on. The good news is that it kept it cool. I sat under my awning and did computer work (even posted some pictures as you probably discovered at http://photobucket.com/DougSpears - go take a look) and worked on some songs, etc. It really was a very nice, relaxed, productive day. Around 4 I went and took a much needed shower (odiferous maximus – or was that a skunk?) then at 5 I headed out for my Johnson City show about a half hour away. Now, the old saying goes that some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you. Well after tonight’s show I’ll be bear poop in the morning. The Acoustic Coffeehouse in Johnson City is a mainstay of traveling acoustic artists coming through this area. But it can be a difficult room as it is near a college and it is a “watering hole” (specializing in microbrews). Last year, though it was a weeknight with cheap beer and a lot of traffic right in front of the “stage” (i.e., the spot on the floor in the room where you stand) I did pretty well with CD sales, etc. However, this year it was close to the gig from Hell. I got there early to reacquaint myself with the room, the sound board, etc. and have a bit to eat. I made some notes on song ideas, put together my set list and got myself mentally ready for what I hoped would be a well paying show given that I was featured on Saturday night instead of the mid week slot I’d had last year. I did not prepare myself for what was coming. The first mistake I made was not knowing that there was a major music festival event in town this weekend, Belle Cher, and those folks that would ordinarily have come out to see me were elsewhere (as more than a few pointed out by email in the last couple of days). Two - Beer – they love their beer here – so do I for that matter, but REALLY!! Most folks chose to sit outside so that the sound of a solo artist on an acoustic guitar would not impede their beer drinking. Those that stayed inside were mostly polite, but largely disinterested. It was, sum and substance, a bar gig. I don’t do bar gigs anymore for this very reason – original music won’t carry the day and folks are not there to listen at all. So, while the tip jar did reasonably well (mainly because when the line for beer backed up they were standing right in front of me and I was singing directly to them – pretty hard not to throw some of dad’s cash in the jar when the old guy with the nice guitar is staring right at you!!), CD sales were abysmal and I just wasn’t having much fun. But, you have to admit, what other job in the world is there that a bad day is defined as one where you get to drink free beer and sing songs? Nobody EVER said this was an easy road to travel and you’ve got to expect some speed bumps here and there. Chalk one up to experience and move on. So, after talking a while to the two or three folks that were actually listening and enjoying the show (and taking full advantage of my freebie privileges on the beer – if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em) I packed up and wound my way back to the KOA (topping off the gas tank since I saw a $3.81 price along the way) where I’m sitting outside, listening to the crickets and writing to my favorite folks (that’s you guys). Tomorrow I’m going to head on into Kentucky at a leisurely pace. My next show is Tuesday night in Louisville Kentucky. Sleep well my friends.