It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write. The other day I was packing up the car while Christy/Ginger was blogging, and she felt guilty afterward for not helping (or so she said), but I said, “No, Ginger, the most important thing is that you blog.”
I revealed to Christy yesterday that the name “Ginger” was shared by my family’s first dog (who is buried somewhere in the back yard, but no one knows where). However, I would like to state on record that my calling her that has nothing to do with Ginger the former dog (now rotting corpse), but rather with the host of the miraculous Brain Science Podcast that we often listen to, whose (sexy) name is Ginger Campbell. Someone else reminded me the other day of the Gilligan’s Island character named Ginger. And we didn’t name the dog, the name came with her, from a previous family. The one dog we named as a family was “Mushroom.” She remains in the garage waiting to be buried.
At the show last night, at Boones Saloon in Springfield (IL), my mother and step-father made an appearance. I was able to say, “Thanks to my parents for driving in to see the show, all the way from Springfield, Illinois!” Then I noted that there appeared to be lots of people that had come from Springfield, and we all took a moment to say, “Wow.”
I also alerted the crowd to the disappointing factoid, also recently exhumed (to continue a theme), that my mother’s legal expertise is of benefit only to someone who’s already in prison. My step-father, I did not point out, is of use to you only if you are the Federal Government. Anyway, I was still happy they were there. They heard our first set, which we played as a sort of entr’act between the Chris Maxey Trio’s first two sets.
Then my folks had to leave, so we held down the fort while waiting to play a second set. In the interim, who should show up but our across-the-street neighbors, the Trudeaus. We’d waved to them earlier in the day from across the vast gulf that is the street between their mansion and what in comparison is our shack, but we certainly hadn’t told them we’d be at Boones. They just happened to be there, meeting their son Chris and his wife, because they’ve recently gone into the brewery business (Rolling Meadows Brewery), and they were hoping to get their beers sold at Boones. Ginger had coincidentally had one of their brews the day before at Norb Andy’s, Abe’s Ale, and I’d tasted it. Wonderfully tart. We also got some insight into the Springfield brewery market. Springfieldians don’t like hops, it turns out (though I can’t remember exactly what they do like… My beer knowledge stops at the empty/full distinction).
After playing a second set at Boones (and getting people to dance, a feat when you’re only a guitar and a uke), we hung out for the remainder of the Chris Maxey Trio’s show (during which I heard for the first time “In My Time of Dying” played by someone other than Zeppelin). Then we headed over to the Butternut Hut.
We wanted to catch Tom Irwin’s set having met him the night before at the Tin Can Pub open mic which he hosted. Tom, it seems, is a main force in bringing the Springfield musical community together. He was leading the band at the Butternut, but this was a band which it appeared as if anyone was welcome to join, even in the middle of a song (!). We saw this happen a few times. There were no less than seven people on stage at any one time, and just about each of them took a solo in just about every song. Tom was a leader in starting off the songs and structuring the participatory nature of the group (or so it seemed), but he by no means hogged the spotlight. He was a sort of fatherly musical presence, a welcoming and nurturing one.
The night before, Tom had given us a copy of his recent CD, which is based on an 1893 journal of a sixteen-year-old field worker in Illinois. Tom had also, apparently, told Ginger that we could play some songs at Butternut if we could make it over there after our show. She forgot this, of course, so we showed up just to see Tom playing. We also ended up seeing the Trudeaus there (their beer is next up after a Sam Adam keg gets finished off, so the four of them were drinking as much Sam Adams as they could, and encouraging us to do the same). We also saw many others who’d walked over from Boone’s, including Chris Maxey and his drummer, and a girl who was using a Mood Hoop, who’s boyfriend was running sound for Tom. Tom decided his band needed a break, and so to our surprise he invited Cactus Tractor up to play a short set! This is when Christy remembered that, oh yeah, Tom had told her the night before we could play tonight at the Butternut. Some of the songs we played we’d performed five or six times in the last two days, and for some of the audience members it was the third time they’d heard them in two days. But they didn’t seem to mind. The nicest moment was when the crowd drew silent, suddenly, at the beginning of the fourth line of our opener, Christy’s song “You’re My Rose,” when we sang for the first time in harmony. We seemed to grab people’s attention at this moment—despite the late hour and the fact that the band before us was so rockin and raucus in comparison—and we managed to keep it through our folk-revived trip through the disco era (Stayin’ Alive, Billie Jean, Addicted to Love).
Now I’m trying to get Ginger to stop blogging, so we can go home and nap before our show tonight at the Tin Can, and maybe even practice…which we haven’t done since setting out on our journey. But then I remind myself, oh yeah, the most important thing is that she blog.
Just for fun, check out what we saw on the steps of the Old State Capitol this morning. This is where Obama launched his campaign for the presidency, back in 2008, as well as where he announced that Biden would be his running mate.