My Ultimate Supergroup

Nate "Taterballs" Perry got me thinking about this, so here's my supergroup:

On drums: The one and only Todd Nance

No one I've heard plays the drums like this guy, the drummer for Widespread Panic. He cracks the snare with such precision and in such perfect time that you literally lose all control of your limbs. I have spilled or completely dropped drinks because of him. I can't stand it. It's largely due to his playing that the hand becomes a fist and inadvertently reaches for the sky.

On keys: Mac Rebennack (AKA Dr. John)

This dude lays it down in serious style. The king of N'awlins himself, Dr. John can drop them keys on them hammers in the funkiest way I have ever heard. He seems to have no framework for the way he plays, he just hits em like he knows he should. I don't know much about the piano, but this dude can sure break one.

On bass: Mike "Cactus" Gordon

This probably goes without saying, but Mike Gordon is by far the best bass player of all time. Not because he plays insane stupid pointless bass solos like Victor Wooten or Les Claypool (although he certainly can and will), but because he perfectly and precisely adds the necessary bass element to every song in such a way that it is almost impossible to detect, until you hear the midbeat thump, slap, or bounce. Then you realize you are secretly being kidnapped by an instrument you never even noticed. Seriously, if you aren't careful at a Phish show, you'll find yourself quickly underwater and unavailable to all those around you because of his bass. It's happened to me. It's cold and dark down there, but somehow there is oxygen. Also, I should note that Cactus gave me my most amazing musical moment of all time (but that's another story).

On lead guitar: Mr. Derek Trucks

Now this baby-faced kid is the secret weapon of this (and every other) supergroup (he's a key member of pretty much every decent superjam). You see him on stage, not moving much, acting kinda shy, playing the rhythms and behaving properly, never intruding on his older bandmates, but when it's his time to take the spotlight he slips that glass slide on his middle finger and absolutely tears your face off in a fury of perfected notes and screams. If a ravaged and starving wolf could play the guitar, this is what it would sound like. People don't talk when Trucks is playing a lead. They either stare in awe or completely freak out and lose their shit. Trucks, baby.

On lead vocals, guitar, and harmonica: JJ Grey

This guy is definitely the least famous of all the other members of the supergroup, but he is the only dude I would have front my band. If you have never heard Mofro, go find em. I have showed them to tons of my friends and every single time I break them out, somebody always asks, head bobbin' "Who is this?". You just can't resist em. JJ sings like a 60 year old black guy who has lived a hard life, but is happy. I've never heard a white guy sound so soulful. He sings deep, low, dirty, and funky. He can also shred the guitar and harmonica whenever he needs to. He's the perfect frontman for a southern rock supergroup.

Between Nance's beats, Dr. John's Louisiana keys, Cactus's underwater depth, Trucks' face melting solos, and Grey's southern soul, no one could resist this epic band of geniuses, which would of course be called

The West Memphis Dog Track

Waterdeep @ The Prophet Bar

During the show we didn't speak to each other at all.Immediately afterwards, as the band was packing up the stage, and the crowd was returning back to the surface of the Earth, all I could manage to say was

That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life. I don't want to talk about it.

It is a waste of time to try to explain to someone who doesn't listen to them how majestically beautiful they are. How do you explain a sunset to a blind person? It makes no sense.

Waterdeep is really just Don and Lori Chaffer, and sometimes they tour as a full band (with drums, bass, keys, etc.), but this tour it is just the Chaffers, which is exactly how it needed to be the other night in Dallas. I can't be distracted by a drummer when something much more amazing is happening at the front of the stage.

They opened up with one of their more fast paced songs Life of the Party and I think it put everyone in just the right mood for the rest of the show. During the first song most of the crowd picked up their chairs and moved them up front for a more intimate feel. After that a lot of the people that were in the back came and sat on the floor right at the foot of the stage.

2420

It was obvious that Don & Lori were warmed by the crowds warmth. It was love being sent up to the stage and love sent right back down. The Waterdeep crowd is the kind of crowd that doesn't just kinda like the band, they know all their music. All of it. They've got the records and bootlegs and stickers and they know Don & Lori's kids names (Miles & Ruby). They've watched the YouTube videos of them in their PJ's doing silly cover versions of their parents songs.

So when a band that is really just an extension of your own family takes the stage and sings things like

Oh God it hurts so bad to love anybody down here

there is no hesitation of love or sympathy or honesty. It just permeates the room. The bartender even seemed to soften up to it.

Don's writing style is so clear and obvious that you might think you've heard the lines somewhere before, and then you realize that you've only heard them in your own head as the jumbled mixed-up confusion of thought that never makes sense to anyone else when you try to say it out loud. But Don writes it and there it is. All laid out for your to add to the database of your mind for quick and easy reference when you have no idea what else to say. Its just true. Some things need no further discussion.

And Lori.

How do I say this?

Lori could sing anything, literally anything, and it would instantly vaporize your heart into a buttery pool of emotion lying vulnerably on the floor. She could open up a biology textbook and just start singing it and I would cry for years. At certain points during the show, if you can manage to take your eyes off Lori while she is singing and look over at Don, you can easily tell from the expression on his face that he is just as awed by her beauty as the rest of us, sitting there breaking to pieces in our cheap bar chairs as the outside world moves by all around us. I think a rhinoceros could have busted through the back wall of the bar and no one would have ever noticed.

And then, just when you think you are at the pinnacle of glory and beauty, she starts to loop her voice. One of top of the other, climbing and building like a Chinese pagoda made out of cheese and sausage and love and wine. Ten or twelve tracks deep, Lori's voice charges from the stage like a tidal wave of ___________ (there is no word for it).

I can only hope the second coming will sound anything like it.

After the show we got to talk to them for a few minutes, which was nice. They are just regular people like us, really. Taylor and Peyton and I walked out of the bar dazed and high from the ambush of glory we had just experienced. We each got a beer in a bag and sat in the parking lot to debrief, but we ended up just smiling and staring at the stars, satisfied.

For Aaron B. Reddin (& Others, I Suppose)

Ok, you're right. I've been posting awesome videos and pics on here a lot lately with no actual writing; but I have something of an actual reason for this. Here it is:

1. I have been 1,000% inspired by music lately, as you can see from several of my posts below.

For those of you who know me well, you'll know that there is no other time of year more exciting, thrilling, and inspiring to me than fall/winter. Lately, I have been amazed with the music that's come my way again - namely, Cat Stevens, Phish, UB40, and the amazing African jams that Scram has been throwing at me. With the exception of the African stuff, I have loved the others tremendously at some other point in my life, and trying them on again is like putting on an old pair of Chacos, they know me like an old friend. And together we roll through the streets with great ambition and excitement, as the cool wind from Canada tumbles between the buildings and through the treetops of Arkansas September.

2. I am about to embark on a major adventure.

Some good friends and I are leaving on a (somewhat) epic road trip next Thursday after everyone gets off work. Our destination is the barren landscapes of northern New Mexico and possibly southern Colorado. We will camp and hopefully avoid all major metropolitan areas as much as possible. We will sleep directly under the stars and wonder what it must've been like to be an Indian sleeping in the exact same place before we came over and spoiled everything for them. This, naturally, makes me so overflowingly excited that I can only express myself through other peoples guitar solos. Trey Anastasio, for example. Like I said, just listen.

3. I have been rather busy lately.

This of course, is quite a good thing. During my days the past few weeks, I've been listening to the above mentioned jams, editing pictures, and dreaming about New Mexico. Since I'll be gone for four days, I need to knock a bunch of stuff out before we head. But as my boy Fatty just said to me about his workload: "I am almost buttoned up".

4. Also:

During the changing of the seasons, especially summer to fall, I find that there is not much to say at all - just a calm, resting peacefulness that settles in on me and causes me to just sit and smile, knowing what is to come next. Cooler. Brisker. Chillier. Frostier.

The car is cold in the morning, but the heat feels so good.

The coffee goes down warmer, and slower.

You have to snuggle up to your sweetie pie at night because the sheets are cold at first.

People hug better.

You get to break out the fleece again.

Your toes are cold but your neck is warm.

Ahhh, is there a better time of year?

No. No there is not.