We land in Boston before the Dunkin Donuts at Logan are even open. Make our way to Silver Line bus to do the Logan>Silver Line > South Station > Red Line > Porter Square > Commuter Rail > North Leominster journey.
It sounds like a lot but it’s actually pretty easy…when running right. Baggage claim waiting slows us down and so by the time we get to Porter Square we have missed the train by 3 minutes and thus have to wait another hour for the next one. Eventually the train from North Station to North Leominster picks us up and the 1 hour train ride becomes a 2 hour train ride because of “signal issues.”
We were tired from the red eye flight but having 2 extra hours tacked on really drains us and so we fall asleep almost immediately after getting to my Mom’s house.
Tonight we are playing a house concert in Greenfield, NH. It’s about an hour away from my Mom’s place and she’s baked brownie’s to bring with us.* We have a nice afternoon and then I pack up our gear to bring to the show.
Guitar Geek Warning: (next 2 paragraphs)
We leave some equipment at my Mom’s place, acoustic and electric guitars, a bass, bass amp, pedals, chords, mandolin - pretty much everything but a guitar amp and PA.** It’s party of a running list of gear that I have scattered all over the world at this point. There’s a spreadsheet along with inventory of cds/records and merchandise for sale. I’m working towards using and needing less stuff but there are still basics that are needed.
For the most part I will play my Gibson J100 xtra CE that my parents got me a few years ago. I’ve decided to leave this guitar at their house so it’s always there and, you know, it just feels right to keep it there. I took it on a couple of tours and I nearly punctured the front of it when I missed a step coming off stage in Germany. Some instruments are more precious than others, this is one of those and playing it reminded me why I love it so much - this is a FANTASTIC guitar.
We get to the middle of nowhere New Hampshire and then we drive 10 minutes further and find Dan and Robin’s place. It’s a beautiful spread with a great yard, dragonflies keeping the mosquitos away and a stage that Robin made for us to perform on. Inside the house is a makeshift “green room” for us. It’s so cute, so nice and really just feels like a hug to see. I joke on my website about not being at the “Diva” level yet and NOT needing a green room full of white orchids. Dan and Robin bought us a single white orchid and put it behind the 2 bowls of M&Ms (brown M&Ms removed) Tea, San Pellegrino, bottles of wine, and water.
This is rock star treatment.
Never mind the spread outside of burgers, hot dogs, shrimp, nachos and more.
Dan jokes to me that the PA sounds great but it’s “Not Ray Wylie Hubbard approved.”***
Dan has it mostly dialed in perfect and asks me to tweak knobs if I hear anything. I scoop some mids on his mandolin and it’s a hair better. (to my ears) Dan has a great set of some covers and originals. I love it when he goes Irish with a song about a father trying to remember how old his son is, it’s so cleverly written and a perfect sing along tune.**** Everyone is hanging out in the back yard and having a good time.
Dan is playing a Martin DM, appropriately since his initials are DM, and he asks me to do some guitar whispering for him. I love it when people are already paired with the right instrument. His Martin is a working man’s guitar. Dan spends a lot of time singing and strumming in bars. This is the guitar for that and it blends nicely with his voice too. Of course I’m still a bit of a guitar diva and tell him he should get a setup to lower the action and reduce the bow in the neck - but really, that’s just for his own good. :)
I should mention that *nearly* all the Gypsy Mechanics are here. Morgan, Jon, me, Al, Jimmy.***** and it’s great to see them all.
Tracy and I get up and have a great fun set and I’m able to sing my song about the GMs to the GMs. It feels good to do. And then we have a bit of a jam after our set and we tell stories. The statue of limitations has lifted so I tell the story about when we recorded “Pray these good times last” back in like ‘97 or so and how it was a stressful day in the studio that culminated in the first (of three) times I’ve ever smoked pot. Mom is in the audience and she doesn’t seem to freaked out by the story but the best part of the story is the fact that the song has the line “catch up with time” which that night morphed into “catch up, catchup, catsup, ketchup, catch up, ketchup…” and us giggling like school girls. Oh and after we got high we decided that the song needed mandolin and so the first time I ever recorded mandolin in the studio - I was high and could barely play the part.
It’s a great night of music, friends and laughter.
We get home after midnight and I realize that every time I visit my Mom or am with her, I’m dragging her to something way past her bedtime. I’m pretty sure she loves it but I forget that she’s 75, she sure doesn’t act her age. (In a good way)
We have breakfast plans today with Mom and her friends BZ an Midge - we’re going to Parker’s Maple Sugar Barn in Brookline, NH before our show(s). I mention this because 1) it’s great breakfast and 2) Tracy and I had maple glazed ribs and eggs for breakfast. (See photo) Maple glazed ribs. So good.
Then we head to Milford where we are performing outside of Union Coffee on their deck. Gary Young is playing with us today and also bringing along his Fishman PA for us to sing through.
Gary has a beautiful Collins acoustic guitar that pairs beautifully with him and he sings and tells some stories and then plays the saddest song of all time. (It really is) And I wish Gary would play more solo shows like this, he’s got a real natural talent for it with beautiful songs with interesting guitar parts. I tell him in the future he has to move his music stand because it’s right in front of his left hand and people can’t see the fancy guitar playing.
Gary has also brought a Fender Princeton for me to play through. It really is the perfect amp.
Tracy and I sing, strum and weave a tale or two for the nearly full patio area. We catch up with a bunch of old friends too. We finish playing and I go to check in at the coffee shop and they have closed, locked up, gone home and left us outside playing, still plugged in. That’s kind of a new thing that has never happened before.
Jon Grant also plays in a local band called The Incidentals with Pete and Morgan. Morgan is out of town tonight and they have a show about 100 yards away from us at Stonecutters and he’s asked us to join them tonight for a set. They have secured a drum kit for Jimmy to join us and it will be fun.
Besides being a drummer in The Gypsy Mechanics, Jimmy Mahony also played drums with Tracy and I before we moved to California. One day we came into rehearsal and told him we were moving away…in 3 weeks, and that was how we left him. It was a big move for Tracy and I and at the time we didn’t really take into consideration how our move affected him. We just left him. I still feel bad about it, it wasn’t done maliciously but we did abandon him a bit. To his credit, we have stayed friends forever and he’s always up for performing with us when we come back.
We throw some songs around that we can rock together and after a jazzy set by The Incidentals we make a good bit of racket. I strap on the telecaster and we tear through Candyland, Jealous Kind, 1,2,3, Long way to the top and a bunch of other tunes.
Later in the night Dan gets up with his mandolin and I join him for Charlie on the MTA and Copperhead road.
My Mom is getting tired now as it’s nearing the witching hour and she and her friends head home. We stay a while longer talking with friends and my cousin Brian. Brian also plays guitar and sings in a duo with his friend Jake and they get a few dates here booked now too. Brian tells me he’s trying to learn mandolin and I give him mine to learn on. Next time you see Brian he will probably be playing my 12 string Takamine too. I love sharing my instruments.
I know I’m leaving stuff out and forgetting stuff but it was a great weekend of gigs here in New England. We did 3 shows in less than 36 hours after landing in Boston. I need to schedule more time with my Mom that *doesn’t* involve dragging her to bars in Milford, NH!
Sunday and we head down to the Cape. I have two days of “vacation” and then I head home for more shows and stuffs. I plan on getting a lobster tonight (or just seafood, haven’t decided) and some maple walnut ice cream tomorrow. Those are my big plans.
*My Mom’s brownie’s are delicious. She makes one tray labeled “nuts” and the other “just plain crazy.” Now I know, you’re thinking “But Bobbo, don’t you make fun of your Mom’s cooking?” Yes, yes I do. But I DO NOT MAKE FUN OF HER BAKING. In the oven, she’s tops. On top of the stove…not so much. ;)
**A guitar amp and PA will probably be at my Mom’s place eventually, don’t tell her.
***This is a super inside joke that you really have to not only know who RWH is but also know that Ray hates playing through Peavey equipment. To the point where he has it in his tour rider that he will not perform through a Peavey PA.
****Dan, post a link to it!
*****Kris is missing again. :(