July the 4th

Happy 4th of July to all you Yanks.

For the rest of this readership, the 4th is America's Independence Day celebration.  A national holiday... a day off to consume loads of beer, barbecue and detonate fireworks... either official lavish displays put on by each town and city or the home made version where folks take life, limb and legality into their own hands.  We'll be partaking of all three today, the latter legally.

The holiday began last evening with a trip down to watch our local baseball team, The Nashville Sounds, lose to the Memphis Redbirds 5-7.  Memphis being one of my many adopted hometowns... I wasn't too upset.  This is the last season The Sounds will be playing at Greer Stadium where they've held court for the last 36 years.  A new posh stadium is well under way and the team will kick off it's 2015 season there.  Greer Stadium is the last of the funky, old fashioned ball parks, the bleacher floors still wooden.  A hell of a deal too, general admission seating is only $8 and assigned seating only $4 more.  Hot dogs, beer and baseball is hard to beat on a beautiful July night.  I plan to attend another game or two at Greer before there are no more.  My motto, one last beer at Greer.  Cheers.

It's been a great summer so far and I must say I'm really loving being home to enjoy these months as we're not on the road.  That said, I did take a little road trip with my youngest son (26!) to the great midwest, Iowa City, Iowa to help Iris DeMent make a new record.  You may recall her current album, Sing The Delta, was co-produced by my good friend Bo Ramsey and me.  Iris's new one is very different in scope.  We decided it would be nice to throw the rule book out the window and record it in Iowa City right there in Iris's living room with her 1910 Mason & Hamlin piano.  Guitar legend Leo Kottke recommended a great recording engineer from Los Angeles who turned Iris's living room into a 'studio' and an adjoining bedroom into the control room.  Iris's usual band and I arrived a day later along with Leo K. and we began a week of sessions yielding 18 songs, all recorded live.  As I mentioned this is an unusual concept record and I won't go into detail as I don't want to spill the beans yet, but it was an absolute joy to record.

I've added a new adopted hometown to my growing list and that would be Iowa City.  It's a university town about 30 minutes south of Cedar Rapids.  Population, 70,000 full time residents.  The food and restaurants there a nothing short of remarkable. Lots of fresh, organic vegetables and dairy and I didn't have one morsel that even bordered on just alright.  Great pubs, fantastic coffee, record and book shoppes and good midwestern folks.  The whole place is so cool but not too hip for the room as they say.  It's a place I could live very easily if it weren't for the winters.  My blood's too thin, but the summertime's terrific and I look forward to getting back there again sometime soon.

I'll be heading into the studio again next week to roll the dice and hopefully come up a winner with a couple new tunes I've written for my newest album I'm making.

Thirty-eight years ago today I married my wonderful wife.  It was the luckiest day of my life and unimaginably, my luck still holds.

Here's wishing your luck still holds and you're enjoying this summer season.