We spent last weekend down in Southeast Ohio as guests and performers of the Nelsonville Music Festival. A good time was had by all and some of us might even have had too good of a time. We ran into some friends from the road and made a bunch of new buddies and got to watch Willie Nelson's big show from the hospitality suite, eating Skittles and drinking beer, just like they do in Texas.
Because we were scheduled to perform during the day, it was impossible to do the projections like I normally would during a show, so instead of drawing the songs, I inked the Festival.
With rain threatening, we headed over to the main stage to load in our gear. Folks from the area who had brought along fold out chairs and picnic blankets watched as we checked the levels, and tuned.
"Are you from Alabama?" we were asked repeatedly.
"Actually, Balthrop Alabama is a small town located in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, " we'd explain.
"That's a long way from here," one woman told me.
Normally I have my head down and my pen working fast during the show. I never get to look out at the audience and see the faces; I never get to watch folks hear the music. It was nice to sit on the stage and watch all that listening and smiling happen.
The weather stayed mostly dry while we played. Folks smiled big, danced and bought some CD's and T-shirts and some came up to us afterwards with warm words and friendly introductions. One guy, who couldn't be convinced that I wasn't Pascal, kept hugging me and telling me I sang like Tim McGraw.
"Welcome to Balthrop, Alabama!" is how we were introduced at our second show, Sunday morning. This might not have cleared up the central mystery of where we're from, but I suppose it let everyone know where they were.
Willie Nelson got his own stage and clause in his rider that said his bus had to pull up near enough to the stage that Willie could get on and off without having to be talked to by a bunch of people. That way, I guess no one can confuse him with Pascal and tell him he sings like Tim McGraw. By the way, in case you were wondering what music plays before and after a Willie Nelson show, I'm here to tell you that if you come to hear Willie, that's all you're gonna hear.