A hypnotic blend of rhythms, landscapes, tones, colors, styles and moods, with melodies leading the way to certain places that only songs without words can go.
-- Pieta Brown, 2015
It’s a wrap, put a bow on it and pass me an egg nog and the fortifier that goes with it. It’s Christmas eve afternoon as I peck out this last up-date of the year. I’m staring out our kitchen window at a perfect sunny day with clear blue skies and air temp of…72 F. ??? The weather is so screwed up, daily record breaking readings in the mid-west, south and east. Last night was a roller coaster here in the Tennessee as 60 m.p.h. winds and severe thunderstorms tore through the state producing a tornado or two. This is the kind of thing we see every spring but nearly unheard of in winter. As yet, we really haven’t had a winter and I’m still in shorts and t-shirts. I wish they’d get moving a little quicker with the environmental healing.
Having taken the whole month of November off, December has been good work-wise. I played on a great duet album by Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle. My friend and great musician Buddy Miller produced it, he and I played electric guitars, Shawn and Steve acoustics, Fred Eltringham drums and Chris Wood of the Wood Bros. played acoustic bass. We recorded 14 songs in five days, all live with vocals as well, very little over dubbing or repairing. The whole record is crackling with life and energy, Steve and Shawn sound great together and the songs are good as well. It was good making records again with my old friend Steve. He reminded me that the Guitar Town album we did is coming up to its 30th anniversary next year. That really set me back on my heels… 30 years. I don’t pay much attention to the years as they’ve gone by and it seems the last 30 have slipped by pretty quickly. Anyway, we may do a few shows together next year to commemorate the occasion. I’d like that.
On the subject of old friends, I did some recording with Rodney Crowell this month as well, a beautiful Roger Miller song called A World So Full Of Love. Another case of live recording, six musicians on the floor together in such close proximity we didn’t have to use headphones. We simply learned the song, worked up an arrangement and played it… to tape….until we got a take that everyone was happy with. Done. I go back with Rodney to the late ‘70s, playing on some of his records and doing a little touring with him back then as The Cherry Bombs. These clips have turned up on You Tube from a 1982 Austin City Limits television show we all did and I have to say we weren’t half bad:
The personnel on these are: Larrie Londin-drums, Hank DeVito-electric and steel guitar, Emory Gordy-bass, Tony Brown-piano and a 31 year old Richard Bennett playing lead electric guitar. A lot of water’s run under the bridge since we did that show and it’s still always great seeing Rodney and recording with him.
The perfect way to end my work year was with Vince Gill producing some sides for a new artist named Meghan Patrick. I’m always flattered to get a call from him to come and play on things, he’s such a great guitar player himself that he really doesn’t need anyone else, but we have a great time playing together, always loads of laughs. Vince is another old friend I go back a long time with. I played on his first solo records when he signed to RCA and prior to that we often shared the guitar duties in The Cherry Bombs together. Aside from his sizeable talents as a singer and musician, Vince Gill’s one of the nicest guys to grace this planet.
It will be a low key Christmas, we’re fairly relaxed around here these days, only got the tree up and trimmed a few days ago. Rather than the big Christmas turkey dinner, we go the non-trad route with Navajo tacos, the green chilli is simmering away already on the stove as I write this. I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful holiday and everything good in this coming year.