The Right Direction

Note to self: The L train is downtown from Times Square. Make sure you get on the NR heading in the right direction.

Mmmm hmmm, the right direction.

Ok, so I was to the Fifth Avenue station before I noticed. I was reading, for God’s sake. Nick Hornby’s ‘Songbook,’ for cryin’ out loud. Good stuff. Nay, great stuff. Not that I was distracted. Not that I was trembling just a little bit. Nerves before The Brooklyn Country Show? You bet your ass.

So I make it way out to Brooklyn, and walk over to Yabby by 8:30. The Smith Family is on at 9:00. So we tune, and drink beer, and pace around and stuff. Then we play. And what can I tell you, being that it’s 1:45, I’m eating soup and pretzels, and drinking Gatorade. Especially since — sorry, Mom — I’m kinda’ buzzed and all.

I can tell you this: I love The Smith Family. They’re good people. And they’re all doin’ it for the right reasons (fun, music, beer). Seeing The Smith Family name in ink (well, chalk anyway) was wicked cool. (Of course, I’m happiest that the band ended up with the name I suggested, but also that it’s taken on the spirit of a family already. It’s dorky, but we call each other names like Uncle Kevin and Sister Wren. In a city of anonymity, and disconnection, I find it kinda’ sweet.)

And I can tell you this: I love to perform. Did you know that of me? Well, it’s true. Singing all those Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash songs was a blast. Shakin’ my hips, playin’ like Pete Townsend, finishing big, and generally doin’ my best Grand Ole’ Opry shtick was a ball. I didn’t want it to end. I mean, if you got to sing “I’m the center of attention in this barroom, ‘cuz I’ve got the biggest heartache of the year” in a deep country twang with a pedal steel wailing behind you, you wouldn’t want it to end either. So ask me (when I’m done with my soup) just how freeing it was. Ask me just how much I loved vamping to Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, and such. A lot. A bunch. A ton. So much so that I said afterwards — somewhere around my fifth pint on the patio, or sometime around the band portrait in the bathroom — “Hey let’s do this again tomorrow night!”

Well, I’ll be doin’ it again tomorrow, solo stylee in Philly. And then, afterwards, finally, I’m gonna’ take a short walk to the creek in my Mom’s backyard, and sit a while in the Adirondack chair. Heck, I might even take a nap for a second.

Mmmm hmmm.

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