Tour Diary, day 832. Sometime in June 2022.
I’ve lost track. I meant to write a few days ago but was driving.
When last we left off I was in Colorado rocking with Roger. Coming down off that mountain I hit the flatlands of Kansas and don’t remember a thing until I was in Tennessee.
Lee Zimmerman lives in Maryville. He’s a rocknroll journalist, former A&R record company guy and an all around sweetheart. His basement looks like every college radio station I was in in the 90s. Shelves and shelves of cds and records all alphabetized and in a semblance of autobiographical order. I mention Blue Rodeo and he shows me his stack of Blue Rodeo albums. There’s tour posters on the walls that have started taking over the ceiling and photos of him with Paul McCartney and a legit super impressive collection. Lee also likes my music and shows me his collection of my stuff. He’s a completist so he wants my solo albums from the 90s and TFS and RATS and even GMs albums. I tell him I can hook him up with most all of that but definitely not my first two solo albums.
We have a casual hang in the patio with his two dogs running around - Buddy and Booboo. He is excited to introduce me to Booboo and loves the alliteration of going “Bobbo, Booboo, Bobbo, Booboo.” The dog is also a sweetheart and climbs up on my chest and snuggles with me.
Tonight I’m playing the Bird and the Book in Maryville. Lee has started a songwriter series there where folks perform and he interviews you on stage as well. On the way there I get the tour of Maryville and it’s a super quaint little town, dare I say “New England-like” in western Tennessee.
When I first walk in I see a blonde woman in a hat waving to me. I put my stuff down on stage and walk over - it’s Tara! I can’t believe she stopped by here. She used to live in SoCal but now lives in South Carolina and was on her way by from Chicago and wow. So cool. Lee is kind of stumped by how I have a “fan” here in Maryville. I tell him that I have “a” fan just about everywhere I play and that I’m working on getting two fans everywhere I go. We have a great catch up and snap photos.
Guitar Geek Audio Paragraph:
The house PA, they tell me beforehand that they had difficulty with the system last time and the soundman somewhat seems to know what he’s doing. I see that the mics are plugged in with xlr to 1/4” cables going into a 16 channel board and big mains and unclear how monitors are wired in so I get my Bose S1 out of the car, dial in my own sound as a monitor and take the line out from that and feed it to their board and tell him “just use this one fader, make it louder or quieter out front and I’m all sorted up here.” Being able to pre-mix and dial it in before it even gets to a foreign Soundsystem situation is a lifesaver.
This show is sparsely attended but everyone is listening. Everyone is there for this event and that makes every audience member actually count for 4 people. That’s the way it works. You can play to a packed room but if no one is listening or caring, it doesn’t matter. But if you play to 10 people that are all listening and want to be there - it feels like 40.
Lee asks me questions about songs and how I started writing and I do my best to be entertaining. He thinks I’m joking about listening to the Irish Rovers Live first album and how taken I was with the sound in that room and how it just sounded like the best place to be and how I’ve just wanted to be IN that sound.
Politics comes up slightly and I’m aware that I’m in Tennessee and maybe should keep my mouth shut but fuck it, I’m here, I am who I am and it turns out everyone in this room agrees with me. It breaks down another wall and we’re all friends here and we’re not alone.
I barely remember what I played but it went over well. I make some new fans, sell a bunch of merch and there’s even a new fan Linda who heard about the show on tv and just came to hear. She says lovely things about the music and buys a record. She makes sure I sign it to her because she saw U2 on their first tour and didn’t get Bono’s autograph then and she always regretted it.
Lee is clearly a fan of me and my music and it’s absolutely amazing. He is a guy that KNOWS his stuff, listens to music religiously and is always looking for the next thing. He has his favorites for sure but he isn’t afraid to love something. A lot of folks wait to see if other people love a piece of art or music or whatever but he trusts his own taste. It’s a lesson in trusting your instincts. And he has brought me to his neck of the woods of Tennessee because he likes what I do and wants to share it with his community. You cannot ask for more than that in this life. I can’t believe that I forgot to get a picture of us together but hey, we know we were there.
We say our goodbyes and I we go back to Lee’s and talk music and life for the next few hours. It’s a nice calm hang in the woods behind his house and truly relaxing. I tell him about some of my musician friends and he shows me some stuff I didn’t know - there’s so much amazing music in the world. The next morning we get breakfast, head back to the house Lee buys some of the back catalog that he doesn’t have and supplements my cd collection with things he thinks I would like.
I cue up The Zombies that he suggested I listen to and start driving, about 30 miles away and I realize I left my water bottle at his house.