Tag Archives: Grant Peeples

Pep Talk

photo

Bucky, the recording studio dog, takes a break from recording to jump in the lake for a hot second.

I’m tucked away in the backwoods studios for Gatorbone Records, drinking too many cups of coffee, and waiting to lay down my backing vocals for some new Grant Peeples tunes. In my downtime, I’ve been talking shop with Elisabeth Williamson, which I would recommend for anyone who needs a good pep talk about being a musician (or about anything, for that matter).

Sometimes I get super down on the world and feel sorry for myself because it’s tough in the world for a musician. Although the rational side of me knows that everyone has their own type of struggle, I still believe it when the Krazy Kat Lady (that’s what I call the little devil that sits on my shoulder and whispers irrational/mean/untrue things in my ear… yes, “k” instead of “c”) tells me I would be better off had I chosen to be an accountant, chemist, or dog trainer.

This is not one of those times. Although I’m poorer than I’d like to be and less well know professionally, I’m pretty content right now with my place in the world. I’m doing okay.

Charlie sent me an email not too long ago:

Sarah,
Here is my word for you today:
“What is worth doing even if you fail?”
Is it music?

I think it is. I think that this is it.

And since you can’t have an Elisabeth Williamson pep talk, here’s one for you:

The Cyber-World Welcomes Mac Home

Hi friends! I’ve been noticeably absent from the cyber-world of late because I’m thinking that my computer might be one of the contributors to my insomnia problem. I kept it off for a while in hopes that the lack of lights and electrical whirring might help me sleep better. I found on the Rush University Medical Center’s website that:

“Americans are a sleepy bunch and laptops, texting, video games and iPods could be to blame. The 2011 Sleep in America poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation finds 43% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep on weeknights. And almost everyone surveyed, 95%, uses some type of electronics like a television, computer, video game or cell phone at least a few nights a week within the hour before bed.”

Keep in mind, Rush University may be one of those places that you can send like $50 and get a diploma in the mail, but I don’t think so. I mean, I’ve never heard of them, but then again, I play music and majored in social science, so I’ve never done any real research into medical schools. However,  staying off of my computer for a while has not helped the insomnia problem (in any noticeable way at least), so maybe it is one of those buy-your-diploma-online schools? I’m sure that after posting this, I’ll get a strongly worded email from a Rush graduate who is the world’s top researcher in something really important to set me straight. The truth is though, that I welcome those kinds of things because:

1)      Nobody likes to be the guy who’s out there spreading rumors—especially if they’re false and hurtful like, “that school is one where you buy your diploma online.”

2)      Although at this point, I might have peaked out in academic endeavors and will probably never go to medical school, it’s always good to know about the famous ones when you play Trivial Pursuit. My brother-in-law is the only guy who’s ever beaten me at that game. He did it pretty brutally with a question on the Church of Scientology. So now, I’m a sponge for any kind of fact that I might be able to use against him one day.

[Side note: Rush University Hospital was named in US News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals of 2011.” Just so that I seriously don’t get any strongly worded emails from Rush grads—I’m totally kidding and I don’t believe that you can buy a diploma online from this school. But even if you could, I saw The Ciderhouse Rules and I know full well that sometimes the best doctors are the guys who didn’t even go to medical school, but just studied under Michael Caine and then got a fake diploma.]

True words from Charlie: “My internal clock may still be 12 hours off, but I’m committed to living the dream, baby!”

All of that to say, I’m back.

I may not sleep, but I’m back.

The plus side is that it’s not just me (Sarah Mac) that’s back, Charlie’s back, too!! From Cambodia, that is… safe and sound (just in case you were worrying like Claire and I were—or at least I was). Poor Charlie, he came back and only had four days to recover before he was back out on the road in the mini-van. But as we tend to remind ourselves when we get to the end of our ropes and are too tired to go on, “This is living the dream, baby.” (You have to include the “baby” part, or it isn’t legit.)

 ·allman·brothers·band·museum·

Charlie was in Asia for his birthday, so Claire and I missed it. We decided that in order to celebrate it, we would take him to the Allman Brothers Band Museum in Macon on our way up to Atlanta. It was a bit out of our way, so we had to figure out a plan to keep the surprise a secret, without his questioning our sudden exit from the freeway. We decided to tell him that I had found a specialty boutique in Macon that sold the perfume that I want—this part is true. I do want this perfume and it’s not readily available online, so you have to stalk our the boutiques that sell it in big cities and pick up a bottle while you’re passing through. Had it been me, I would’ve said, “Seriously?!? You cannot convince me that there is a place in Macon Georgia that carries this perfume.” But Charlie’s a boy (just to clarify) and he totally doesn’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. So, he agreed to make a quick pit stop in Macon for me to buy my perfume.

I’ll just need to note here for God and everyone that Charlie was irritated and stressed by the whole thing. We had to leave town in time to get to the museum before they closed, but we told him that we had to be at the boutique before they closed because they wouldn’t be open on the day that we’d be driving back by Macon. I didn’t catch Hell like I expected for being a high maintenance girl, but it was still sort of tense for a bit. Charlie, man, you gotta trust sometimes that Claire and I know what we’re doing. Or at least, think we do.

Charlie often says of himself that he walks a fine line between focused and clueless. This was one of the times that he left the line and do-not-pass-go jumped face first into “clueless.” Either that, or Claire and I were particularly convincing in our lies (in which case the CIA should recruit us because we’d probably make a heck of a lot more money lying for them than we do lying for the Sarah Mac Band). When he asked what the name of the boutique was (because we actually passed it the first time), Claire looked him straight in the eyes and said, “The Big House.” I was sweating it hard core, because I knew that we had just been found out. Not so! He then proceeded to drive down the street looking for a sign advertising, “The Big House.”

“That’s a weird name for a fancy store, Sarah.”

We parked, we walked up the finely manicured sidewalk past the signs that pointed in different directions: bathroom, the Fillmore, Jacksonville, etc. and into the museum. Charlie was on the phone though, so he was distracted. Even after he walked in, he wasn’t really paying attention and Claire had to walk him through the steps to realize where he was:

Claire: “Look over there, What is that?”

Charlie: “What? Oh that? That’s a guitar.”

Claire: “Now why would there be a guitar in place that sells perfume.”

Charlie: “I don’t know. I was just wondering that.”

Claire: “Hey dude, look around. Do you know where you are?”

Charlie:”No, what is this place?”

Claire: “Dude!! It’s the Allman Brothers Museum. Happy birthday.”

Charlie: “What? What are you talking about? My birthday was last week when I was in Cambodia.”

We had some very enthusiastic guides who took us on a little tour and showed us everything—“so-and-so wore this shirt in 1964 and it still has the original sweat stains…” all the way to “this was the gold record that they got for….” Charlie was in heaven looking at all of the memorabilia because he’s a super-hard-core Allman Brothers fan. In fact, he learned to play guitar by listening to and emulating Allman Brothers records in his basement as a teenager. I was in heaven because of the phenomenal bathrooms at the place. I actually took pictures because I decided that if the Sarah Mac Band ever gets a band house, we’ll definitely model our bathrooms on these claiming homage to Charlie’s heroes.

Merch girl Ashley models the party shower with thirty-seven (not an exaggeration) shower heads.

Sarah and Ashley model the spacious claw foot party tub.

 ·atlanta·

Atlanta is always a strange trip for us. We have yet to really find our place in that city—which is sad for me because I love a good trip up there for the restaurants, shopping, and our great friends (Plus, they actually do have boutiques in there that carry my perfume.). Although we tend to have trouble in Atlanta, the outskirts are always good to us. We stopped in Zebulon, GA and had a remarkable show at A Novel Experience. In spite of blowing up our PA (because anyone who has seen us live knows that we rock twelve times harder than the average metal band), we had a great evening and made some wonderful connections.

True words from Charlie and Claire as they attempt to fix our PA: “We’re not professional electricians, but we did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night!”

The next night, we were supposed to play at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta, but we got bumped for a Jennifer Lopez movie shoot. Not kidding—J-Lo has officially been added to the running list of Sarah Mac Band inside jokes/jokes on us that are still really funny. Stayed tuned for a future cover of “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.”

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I’m not so sure what big picture, eternal purpose the J-Lo bump might have served. But the immediate consequence, or benefit as it turned out to be, was that we found a restaurant that would let us play for their dinner crowd. There’s a little part of me that says, “Wow, I’ve been at this for almost ten years just to play at a restaurant in a suburb of Atlanta? Maybe I should consider retiring.” But, I was determined to have a good attitude and an open heart, which was the right choice as the evening ended up being really fun. Plus, we made some new fans AND we got to eat at my favorite Atlanta restaurant for free!

·spotify·

 This is the hippest, coolest, newest thing. I don’t really know much about it except that because I’m a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), I got an invitation to join. If I take any cues from how excited Claire and Charlie are about it, I think that it might be the next biggest thing since Jesus. So, we’re going to be making fun play lists each week to share with you guys. Stay tuned and stalk our Facebook page because, I think that’s where we’ll post them.

·sarah·mac·joins·the·peeples·republik·band·

 While Charlie was out of town, I didn’t really have anything to do, so I went on the road with Grant Peeples and the Peeples Republik Band as the requisite girl backup singer (everybody has one these days). Check out some photos below as well as a live track, “The Hanging,” recorded straight from the board at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta.

Let’s Play Catch Up: A Photo Blog

Okay, folks… I’m still catching up from my recent stint of internet-less. I think it’s a bit funny that I make such claims of living simply, yet I get totally thrown out of whack when I find myself without the internet for two weeks. Oh well, I guess that in some way or another, we’re all living in denial of different parts of ourselves. Now that this one’s out in the open, I’ll have to find some other delusion to seduce myself into believing. While I’m trying to figure that one out, I’d thought that I’d show you some photos from the last few weeks in the Sarah Mac Band.

delusions•of•simplicity•

I used to have 24 pairs of shoes in an effort of live simply... but now that I've realized that the living simply was really just me living a lie and telling myself what I wanted to hear, I've decided to embrace my inner shoe whore. Introducing PAIR # 25!! (Yes, just in case you weren't sure from the photo, it's definitely bedazzled red suede.)

centralflorida•

I used to be terrified of bridges, which I can trace back to crossing the old Sunshine Skyway bridge as a child. This might have been my first trip across the new one, which strikes me as strange since Wikipedia says that this bridge (also #3 in the Travel Channel's Top Ten Bridges in the World) was completed in 1987.

Radio-Free Carmela and the Transmitters play at a concert benefitting WSLR in Sarasota... a mere week after running into her in Colorado at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival!

Carmela thought that these guys were up in the air measuring the decibel level of her set to make sure that she wasn't busting through any noise ordinances. I think that they were just trying to catch the concert without paying the admission fee.

Here you see the beginnings of a a hearty round of squash, fried egg and swiss cheese sandwiches-- the choice of champions for a show debrief at 3:30 AM after a hard night's work.

swamp•stomp•

This year the Swamp Stomp at the Tallahassee Museum was a BYOB affair. Some girls (not Claire and Sarah Mac-- like actual fans!!) brought their "OB" in these cups. They appear to be exact historical replicas of the Holy Grail.

There's not much as sweet as Kelly Goddard from The New 76ers joining Grant Peeples and the Peeples Republik Band onstage for a haunting rendition of "The Hanging."

a•little•unsettling•but•still•kind•of•funny•

I definitely found this in my purse not too long ago. Housemate thinks that I should call because it might be the long lost love of my life. I'm a little more skeptical about calling because of the sneak-factor that comes with slipping into my purse-- either he snuck into my dressing room to put it there or he walked past me and dropped it into my bag while it was over my shoulder. Either way, I'm kind of creeped out by it and wondering if I really misplaced my glasses or if he took those as a souvenir.

Rock Star Perks

There are some distinct advantages to being a rock star. I did a search on the internet of “rock star perks” and got some pretty hairy results.

  • Do all the drugs you want.

Of course, that would come with the territory. My drugs of choice (outside of cephalexin) are coffee and chocolate. Not quite as hard core as say… Courtney Love’s drugs of choice… but a close second.

  • Sleep with whomever you please.

The Sarah Mac Band might differ from other rock stars on this one…

First of all, Charlie doesn’t get to sleep with just anyone. He’s married and he’s a one woman man. Plus, he kind of HAS to sleep with his wife because she’s the only one who will deal with his snoring. In fact, the first time that Claire, Charlie and I all shared a hotel room, even Claire pulled the diva card and made Charlie go out and buy us earplugs the next day. (Those are the kind of moments—when Claire is the one pulling the diva card—that make me believe that all is right with the world.)

Claire's teddy bear modeling the first baby sweater I ever knitted, circa 2005-ish.

When Claire and I lived together in college, she still slept with a teddy bear that she had left over from her childhood. He was on his last leg back then, but probably five years later, I helped her out restuff him to compensate for the “guts” that he’d lost over the years and then sewed him back up. I asked her for permission before I published her bed buddy on the interwebs for God and everyone to read about. She said, “Yes, you can blog about it… but for the record, I don’t sleep with him anymore.” (Yeah, right… old habits die hard.) 

I, unfortunately suffer from sever insomnia, so I don’t sleep at all…much less with someone. I did, however, have two nights of full-complete-all-the-way-through-the-night sleep a few weeks ago. In fact, the next morning when I passed Housemate in the kitchen at the coffee maker, I asked, “Did I wake you up last night walking aimlessly around the floor above your bedroom as you tried to sleep?” Because we were both just starting on the coffee at that point, I only got a noncommittal mumble. That was really all I needed as an opening: “TRICK QUESTION, HOUSEMATE! I wasn’t awake all night walking around aimlessly above your bedroom! I was fast asleep in MY BED! ALL NIGHT LONG!!” Then Housemate walked away and I drank the rest of the pot of coffee by myself, which probably contributed to my insomnia that evening.

And my all time favorite perk of being a rock star as reported by multiple reliable sources on the interwebs…

  • Die as much as you want.

Rock starts go big and go fast. Think about it. Janis Joplin, Jimi Henndrix, Kurt Cobain, Jeff Buckley, Sid Vicious, Elliott Smith. And although we’re not so much the dying sort—I am sort of strangely acquainted with death to the point that Claire calls me “Six-Feet-Under Girl.”

It’s not uncommon when we’re packing up on the way out of town for me to be really uneasy and say, “okay guys, I just want to let you know that I have a bad feeling about this trip… I think that this might be the one where we get into a wreck and die.”

I didn’t realize until the last time that we went out of town when I told Charlie and he said, “You say that every time, Sarah.” Then when Claire got there and asked what was wrong, I said again, “I just have a really bad feeling about this trip. I think that this is it for us. This is the one where we’re going to get in a really bad car wreck and die.” In typical Claire fashion, she just kind of shrugged and said, “Yeah, but you do realize that you say this every time? We haven’t died yet.”

For the Sarah Mac Band brand of rock-stardom (which is more the low level local type), there are other perks. A little less flashy, a little slower pace… a little more my style.

True words from Grant: "It's hard to start a revolution when your face is six feet from the television."

For example, I get to meet and greet and get to be friends with other rocks stars. Like for real friends—like go to their birthday parties, get introduced to their kids and have their personal cell phone numbers. Just last week, it seems for various reasons, I ended up talking to Grant Peeples (on his personal cell phone) like twelve times. Okay, that might be an exaggeration… but we did end up talking several times. Some times scheming about how to take over the world… Sometimes talking about some songs that we’re going to do together. And once, he even called to check up on me after he heard about my losing battle with strep throat.

So it was only  natural when a short while back, I noticed while checking the stats of my blog (which I tend to do in a manner closely resembling an obsessive-compulsive tendency) that someone had used the search term “grant peeples married?” to find my blog. The first thing I did was go to Google and use the term “grant peeples married?” to see what rabbit trail someone took on that search to find my blog. The second thing I did was email Grant and say, “This is a search term that someone used to scour the internet to ultimately find my blog. That’s cool that people are reading my blog… but, Grant…OH MY GOSH!! SOMEONE IS TOTALLY CREEPING ON YOU TO FIND OUT IF YOU’RE MARRIED OR NOT, YOU STUD!!”

While you’re signing up to have my blog delivered to your inbox, get a copy of Grant’s new album.

Grant responded:

“Creeps up like them Fruit of the Loom shorts you can buy up to the WalMart for five dollars a dozen.

Ew.

I’m a confessed married person.

Here’s my thang on “blogs.”

I want them sent to me.

In my mailbox.

I don’t know an RS feed from a Flint River Mills feedbag.

I’d love to read you regularly ‘cause you are so witty and shit. But what do I have to do to get the blog in my inbox?”

That’s how he writes, too… each thought on a separate line. Well… at least in emails. He doesn’t write his blog like that. I’m linking here to a particularly funny posting on Grant’s blog about singing at a homeless man’s funeral. Claire read this out loud to Charlie and me one time while we were traveling. I think that she was trying to alleviate the tension that I was pumping out into the air because I was sure that we were going to die in a car wreck on that trip. Alas, because we were laughing so hard that Claire started crying and Charlie started hyperventilating (at the same time as driving at high speeds on the freeway), we almost did die. Then Grant would have had to sing at my funeral—which I have already informed my parents that I would like to happen in the event that I should meet my untimely end and they have to figure out what to do with me.

Because of Grant, I posed the question to Claire, “How exactly does one get our blog delivered straight to their inbox?” She took a long deep breath, as she always does when beginning an attempt at explaining something technological, and began in her best teacher voice: “They would ‘subscribe’ to it. And… Hmmm….. Actually, you know what? Don’t worry about figuring out how to tell people to do that. I’ll take care of it.”

Later, she sent me an email saying, “I’ve just made a little box at the top right hand corner of the blog so that people can plug in their email address and it will automatically subscribe them to the blog, delivering it to their inbox every time you or one of us post something.”

Way to go Superclaire! Sometimes I can’t even figure out how to access my email and she’s coding little blog sign-up boxes and embedding them into our blog. Man, even if she loses both hands in a tragic chain-saw accident and can’t play bass anymore, she’ll still be in the band as a technical advisor.

If like Grant, you’d like to receive our blog in your email inbox every time we write one (and I promise that unless the rapture is coming, I don’t blog more than once a week) then please use this opportunity to scroll up now to the top of this page and enter your email into the little box on the top right of the page. That should do the trick.

It’s a small world after all. Sarah Mac and Radio-Free Carmela run into each other 2000 miles from home!

Another example of getting to be pals with other rock stars occurred this week. I was in Colorado at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last week when I ran into none other than Carmela of Sarasota-based Radio-Free Carmela and the Transmitters. The cool part is that Carmela told the people in her party, “Oh my gosh, this is Sarah Mac from the Sarah Mac Band! We’re playing a gig with her next week in Sarasota.” She had to yell it to be heard over the music because we were pretty close to the stage and the music was blaring. Because she was yelling, all of the people around us heard and looked at me with a new respect, making a little more room for me as I threw elbows to get closer to Futureman who was standing on the other side of the fence that separated the common people (a category that low level local rock stars fall into) from the VIPS.

If you’re a Radio-Free Carmela fan (and really, how could you not be after you see from the photo how cute she is?  Don’t be fooled, though. She’s also pretty fierce. And I mean that in the most awesome way possible…), here’s the skinny on the gig that she was talking about, as well as our other upcoming gigs.

Thursday June 23
Evolution Records
Lakeland, FL
7pm
$3
(w/ The SoulCommittee, and All Together Now)
Click here for more information.

Friday June 24
The Hideaway Café
St. Pete, FL

Doors 6pm
Show 8pm
$10

Saturday June 25
WSLR Sarasota Community Radio

Sarasota, FL

8pm
$5 in advance | $7 at door
(w/ Radio-Free Carmela and The Transmitters)

From the Heart Music Hour – July 8
I don’t know if you saw my interview on WFSU last week (I didn’t, because I was in Colorado), but just in case you didn’t, it was touting this news:

Still from last November's "From the Heart Music Hour."

Last Fall, we were able to be a part of the From the Heart Music Hour. We’re super-excited that we’ve been asked to again take part.  From the Heart will appear on WFSU TV a few months down the road, but the live taping of the show will be at the Monticello Opera House on July 8th and 9th.  The Sarah Mac Band will be playing on July 8.  Don’t miss out on this wonderful evening of music in a BEAUTIFUL historic theatre.

Get tickets and more information now – click HERE.

And if I don’t mention this, Claire will kick me out of the band and somehow find a way to keep my name without paying any royalties…

Yes folks, we FINALLY ordered new Sarah Mac Band Single Revolution shirts!  We have been sold out for a while, but they’re back.  For all of you who have been asking – NOW is the time to order one before we sell out again!

See the shirts & order online.

OR email Claire to reserve yours. claire@sarahmacband.com

If you’re still reading this… you’re a trooper and I salute you. Keep checking back (or subscribe to our blog—see above) to get the debrief on my wonderful, make-my-heart-beat-out-of-my-chest-and-not-because-of-the-altitude trip to Telluride and the recap of our shows this weekend.

Central Florida Blitz in Photos

·central·florida·blitz·

We just got home from our Central Florida Blitz: 4 concerts, 1 creepy bird, 1 tv show, 2 radio interviews, 1,434 miles, 5 green libations, 1 radio performance, 1 car wreck, 14 cupcakes, 1 bitchy goth dj, 39 hours of sleep (3 people’s added together), and countless leathery, overly tanned, old people in obnoxiously revealing bathing suits. Here’s the gist of it, in a fashion atypical for me (Sarah)… short on words (well, sort of).

·orlando·live·

We were invited to perform on the internet tv show Orlando LIVE. Unfortunately, as I was performing, I have few photos—and the ones that I do have are awful… mainly because I was trying to keep my camera out of reach of the homeless man who was standing about 2 feet from me, holding a flashlight in my face. I guess these things happen to everyone?

 

Orlando LIVE host Peter Murphy asks Charlie’s niece Marni (who was standing on the street watching us) what she gave up for lent.

·plaza·live·theatre·

Before our show at the Plaza Live Theatre, we did some promotional stuff around Orlando to build up the hype. After all, this was the first time that we had actually played Orlando in almost five years. We sampled some of the best of Orlando’s locally owned establishments, bought artwork from a local artist and met some fantastic local musicians. In addition, we were able to forge a relationship with the Plaza Live Theatre, which is an amazing venue to that we’re excited to report, we’ve been invited to again. Stay tuned! Thanks Orlando, for being so hospitable to the Sarah Mac Band. We’ll see you again soon, especially since we accidentally left two of our mike stands with you.

 

Charlie was born ready to play.

Sarah Mac Band keeping it real at: Blue Bird Bake Shop; Austin’s Coffee; Drunken Monkey Coffee; Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux; Rollins College; Park Avenue CDs; and the White Wolf Café.

We had to stop to take a photo with the bus because we actually have a similar photo of ourselves with the same bus during our last Orlando trip (5 years ago). We’re just carrying on the tradition. Expect to see one of these from every Orlando trip to come.

Oh snap! That’s for real my name on the marquee between Robert Cray and Gordon Lightfoot. Mister Elwood would be so proud!

· wmnf ·

A trip to Tampa’s community radio station is always a highlight of any trip. We stayed up far too late the night before doing all kinds of crazy rock star things. Then we had to get up and get out the door by 5:45 the next morning to get to Tampa in time for our radio performance. And we still sounded kind of composed and (semi)professional on the radio. Let’s hear it for the Sarah Mac Band!

·hideaway·cafe·

We had several hours before we had to load in at the Hideaway Café in St. Petersburg. So, went to get some sleep.

This freaky bird watched from a neighbor’s yard as we pulled up to our host home. He crossed the street and watched us unload our van. Then he followed us all the way to the house until I rudely slammed the gate in his face.

After load in at the Hideaway Café, I played Star Wars with the club owner’s children while Charlie and Claire broke the “we-don’t-drink-before-we-play” rule and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day right with green beer. When I noticed that they still had the decorations that I made for our Christmas show hanging as their backdrop, I decided to celebrate as well and had a green wine (I know, right?).

Interesting that our time in St. Pete has a “crane” theme.

As we were loading up our van (which was parked in the street outside the venue) that night after the show, a drunk driver slammed into cars parked next to us. Glass and pieces of cars (literally) were flying all around us and amazingly, none of us were hurt nor was our equipment damaged. Claire was standing on the sidewalk when it happened, while Charlie and I were in the road loading the van. She said, “I’m not sure that we’ll ever be able to convey to people who didn’t see it happen how close you guys came to dying.” It was scary for sure (that’s why you DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE, KIDS!!!), but we came out okay. And since we couldn’t leave for a good hour and a half afterwards because of the first responders and the police, we just hung out with all of the people on the sidewalk, including this guy who displayed his strange singing/beat-boxing/mouth-electronica-music-making skills for us.

Presenting Black Zeppa from the St. Pete based band, Fall On Purpose.

·fort·desoto·beach·

After our epic near death experience the night before, we took a little respite trip to the beach on Friday morning before heading to Gainesville. All I can say is: “Wow.” Wow, to all of the old people’s body parts that should be tucked away and covered in Guayaberas or pink polyester pant suits. Beaches aren’t like that in North Florida. We mostly have pasty European tourists, which honestly… aren’t as bad.

In order to avoid looking like our sunbathing friends at Fort De Soto Beach, we were careful to protect ourselves from the sun.

·gainesville·

Welcome to the swamp.

Upon our arrival in Gainesville, Claire and Charlie quickly disappeared into a sports bar to watch the end of a basketball game. I went exploring. We met back up at Brophy’s Irish Pub and loaded in. While we were sound checking, a goth girl with dj equipment and an entourage appeared. Apparently she was under the impression that she was playing at the venue that evening. While she was talking to Claire, she got nasty. Claire’s nobody’s fool, so she got all ninja on the girl and throat chopped her to put her in her place.

Just kidding.

Eventually the owner intervened and cleared up the misunderstanding, but not before the girl took off in a huff. Honestly, I’m kind of glad that she left. She had a traveling security guy with her who was about as big as a house and of that body mass, only about 2% of it was anything other than muscle. And the stilettos on her platform boots looked sharp enough to knit with. Someone could get their eye poked out!

With a kickoff like that, I was sure that our Gainesville gig would be a bust. However, it was actually a lot of fun. We played well, we got to reconnect with our Gainesville super-fans and see some old friends. We made new friends including a “fan boy” (I’m still trying to figure out what that term means) and we got to eat dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.

It doesn’t seem like vegetarian and Cuban go well together, but my sandwich with plantains, cheese and pickles was excellent. Seriously, even Charlie and Claire liked it. I would even go so far as to say that I’d drive to Gainesville one day for lunch just to savor one of those again.

·bob·night·

Back by popular demand, Bob Night! Our friend Grant Peeples (who, honestly, I just can’t say enough wonderful things about) invited us to go on the road with Bob Night and play to a great crowd in Eustis, FL. It was a magical show. Seriously, all around enchanting—the old theatre, the quaint lakeside city with a vibrant, revitalized downtown, and the audience which both surpassed our expectations in size and exuberance for both Bob Dylan and the Sarah Mac Band. Unfortunately, none of the photos that I took do any of it justice. I think though, that the photographers that documented the event will get us some photos soon. Stay tuned and I’ll post them. In the mean time, I’ll end up with photos that I took when we stopped in on one of Charlie’s college buddy’s gigs in Tavares.

 

Although the old people pickup beach in St. Pete was awesome, this kind of Florida is more my speed.

·coming·soon·

We’re far from done, kids (Not Done Yet?!?). We’re home, but just taking a little breather before we take on the Dixie Theater in Apalachicola this Saturday. We’re actually going over early to spend the day in Apalachicola since our date there coincides with the Apalachicola Wine & Art Festival (complete with a wine tasting at 6pm—another instance where we’ll break the “don’t-drink-before-you-play” rule). The owner sent us an email today saying that the show is almost sold out. I would encourage you to go ahead and call to get your tickets if you’re planning on attending.

If this helps to persuade you, I’m pretty sure that we’ll be busting out the accordion!

What: Sarah Mac Band at the Dixie

When: Saturday, March 26 · 8:00pm – 11:00pm

The show may sell out! Be sure to call ahead to get your tickets.

(850) 653-3200

Tickets are $20.

·in·case·you·missed·it ·

You can click here to listen to the story that aired today during Morning Edition– The Sarah Mac Band on NPR (wfsu).

Thanks for going on this journey guys. I’m thankful that I’m here, alive (and not underneath a truck on the street in St. Pete) to share it with you.

Until next time, keep cool. We’ll see you at the Dixie.

 

The soundtrack to my memories…

If you’re not in the reading mood, here’s the CliffsNotes:

This Friday, February 4th at the American Legion Hall in Tallahassee

Bob Nite: Tallahassee artists pay tribute to Bob Dylan

Featuring: Grant Peeples, Sarah Mac Band, Pat Puckett, Bedhead Betty, Sir Charles Atkins, and Free Hugs (as in… the band, not actual embraces)

Doors open at 7:15PM, Music begins at 8PM

$10 cover

And now my dissertation…..

Insomnia is not a welcome or invited friend, but still one that visits quite frequently. Since I don’t have television in an effort to live simply, there’s not a whole lot else for me to do at 2AM but write songs and write stories. The songwriting is out because singing and playing out of tune guitar at this hour are generally frowned upon in house sharing circles. So, instead I thought that I’d satisfy my nostalgia by revisiting my sweet Mac family memories. You’re invited to journey with me. After all, Charlie, Claire and I say that after a while, we start to see you guys enough that you do sort of feel like family… now you can know where you come from.

 

Our story begins long ago in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Before cell phones and hybrid cars, when the world was still in black and white, in the shadow of Lookout Mountain there stood a little general store called Mac’s Groceries. This little store belonged to the original Mister Elwood who inherited it from his father. In the evenings after a hard day’s work, he retired to the apartment above the store and sat down in his favorite rocking chair to play banjo. At some point in time, he took a break from banjo playing to have a son, Mister Elwood (Jr.).

Mister Elwood (Jr.) had many adventures. He worked at the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta and was Al Capone’s guard during his tenure there (that’s before Capone went to Alcatraz). He went to war against the Germans and was shot down (I think that’s true, but there’s a chance that I made that memory up). He finally made it home to Tennessee where he met a foxy, leggy redhead who was already engaged to be married to someone else. Macs have gumption, though. Since he fancied her, he asked her to break off her engagement and take a chance on him. She did and they got married. Before too long,  came another Mister Elwood, our Mister Elwood [the third (III)]. I know it’s hard to imagine it folks, but yes… our Mister Elwood (III) was at one time a teensy baby and not yet six feet, six inches tall (but that was only until he was four and finally had his growth spurt).

My memories of Mister Elwood (Jr.) are few and far between because he died a few weeks after I turned six years old. Even so, I remember adoring him. By the time Baby Bear and I came along, he’d already had a couple of strokes, so his mobility was limited and he had these weird metal braces on his legs. He mostly just sat in his chair, read the paper, and watched wrestling and that country music show where the old people line dance wearing cheesy cowboy outfits. Baby Bear and I had a game where we would run by his chair as fast as we could, far enough away to make him exert effort to reach us, but close enough that he could. If he was fast, he caught us and smothered us in tickles and kisses. If not, he still had another chance as we had to pass by him to get back out the door. One day, I when I was sharing that memory with our older sister, who is ten years my senior, she laughed and said that she played the same game with him when she was little.

Although Baby Bear was less apt to leave home, I had that Mac gumption when I was little and even at 3, I would love to leave my folks and spend the night with Mister Elwood (Jr.) and Grandma Beulah (who even now at 89 remains both foxy and redheaded… well, really, it’s mixed with gray, but I’m hoping that I inherited her hair genetics because she didn’t actually start graying until the last few years). Mister Elwood (Jr.) would retire early and Grandma Beulah and I would watch The Golden Girls and The Dolly Parton Show and eat homemade banana splits with extra maraschino cherries. Because we stayed up so late having girl time, I always slept in. I never knew that Mister Elwood (Jr.) got up early and took his nasty, smelly, grunting, slobbery English Bulldog, Duchess, out on a walk before the sun came up every morning.

My most precious memory of my Granddaddy is catching him one morning as he was leaving. He knew that he was busted, so he told me that as long as I didn’t tell Grandma, I could come too.  I felt so proud and special to be his co-conspirator, getting to tag along in the dark, still wearing my pajamas, holding his hand as he creaked in his leg braces down the sidewalk to Optimist Park and then back home. When we got back, we fed Duchess Oreo cookies and I got to have one too! But only one, because we didn’t want to spoil my breakfast.

When Mister Elwood (Jr.) died, I don’t think that I quite understood what it meant. Mama Bear saved the card that I made and put in his casket that said, “Sorry you died.” I found it a few years ago when I was looking through some of her files trying to figure out where I’d put my college diplomas. All of the Tennessee family came down for the funeral and it was the first time that I met some of my cousins. Then we all rode together in a limousine to the cemetery. We were all surprised and touched when “Grandpa,” Mama Bear’s daddy, drove down from Georgia to be a pallbearer because they had been a part of the same old man’s club—the Masons or the Shriners (I don’t remember which one).

When Mister Elwood (Jr.) died, our Mister Elwood (III) suddenly found himself taking care of things that he probably never thought through before that moment. He had to find a home for Duchess (which he did… and was sure to tell them about the Oreos). Since Grandma only now needed one, he had to get rid of Granddaddy’s car. In spite of its leather seats and cool CB radio that was shaped like a phone, nobody wanted to buy an old Ford Thunderbird that probably got 3 miles to the gallon and smelled like bulldog. So Mister Elwood (III) seized the opportunity and upgraded from Mama Bear’s hippy-dippy, baby blue Volkswagen Beetle to a big new car that could accommodate his growing family.

That old Thunderbird served us well on many a fuel guzzling trips back to Tennessee. Mister Elwood (III) wisely thought ahead for these trips. He ripped out the 8-Track player and installed a cassette player so that we could alternate Trio (not the German group, but one consisting of Emmy Lou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt) and  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young tapes over and over again all the way to the mountains. Then at night, wherever we were staying, he’d pull out his guitar and we’d all sing those same songs (over and over again) as he played. Mama Bear took the high harmonies and Baby Bear and I chimed in when we weren’t too distracted by our books, Cabbage Patch Dolls,  and arts ‘n crafts. Even twenty-plus year later, I can still sing every word to every song on the Déjà vu album.

It’s funny how one little thing can send your mind racing down those memory lanes. This whole story was brought on a while back when I was trying to convince Mister Elwood to buy tickets for us to all go and see Bill Cosby when he comes to Tallahassee next week. I distinctly remember sitting around in our living room and listening to Bill Cosby comedy records together. I told him, “Daddy, I think that I’m going to cry when I see him in real life because I have such vivid memories of him being a part of my childhood.”  Then I started to think on all of the people who I have vivid childhood memories of, people that I want to see in real life before they’re too old and die and I don’t have a chance anymore. I’ve already seen Emmy Lou Harris and Dolly Parton- both more than once. I’ve already seen Willie Nelson. I’ve already seen James Taylor. I’ve already seen the Eagles.

I’ve already seen Neil Young, but I didn’t really appreciate it the way that I should’ve. Mister Elwood took me to that concert because I was still too young to drive, or maybe just to scared to drive on the interstate, because the concert was out of town. When Neil Young came on stage, I couldn’t appreciate it because the people next to us were smoking pot and I was mortified, “THOSE GUYS ARE GOING TO GET IN TROUBLE!! DON’T THEY KNOW THAT THEY’RE SMOKING POT NEXT TO MY FATHER!?!?!”

That day, I don’t think I understood. I think that I thought that Mister Elwood was crying because the pot smoke was stinging his eyes. But now that I’m older and I have a few more of those experiences under my belt, I realized that there is a magic that comes with experiencing the soundtrack of your life with all five senses, in 3-D and real time.

And I feel like I’ve been here before, and I feel like I’ve been here before.

You’re sharing a moment with that artist. They may not even know you’re alive, but they wrote that very song for your special moment and as they sing, they’re bringing those moments back to life:  your special moments of growing up, special moments with your family, special moments of realizing who you are, special moments of falling in love, special moments when you can say, “This is right and I’m proud to be a part of this world.”

I think that if people ever say that about my music, I will have accomplished everything that I was put on this earth for.

There are a few others: Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Cars, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan. Paul Simon will actually be in Mobile, Alabama this spring. I’m seriously considering driving over for that one. Bob Dylan was in Tallahassee not too long ago. I had a show the same night—that’s one of the drawbacks of being a musician, often times you miss some of the other musicians that you’d like to experience.

My dear friend Amber went to see Bob Dylan about 10 years ago with her uber-conservative, 60-something parents. She said, “I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself when my mom got carried away in the moment and was pumping her fist and singing out loud with him, ‘Everybody must get stoned!’” I had to break it to her softly, “Amber, I know that your parents are uber-conservative now, but they are old enough to be for-real hippies, and they lived in California… your mom probably got stoned with that song as the soundtrack.”

…Another person who understood the sanctity of those moments when you can relive your sweet, wonderful memories, in real life and with all five senses.

Although it’s not quite the real deal, you have an opportunity to experience a little piece of seeing the soundtrack of your life play out in 3-D and real time. On Friday night, in Tallahassee several local artists will be gathering together to celebrate one of the authors of our life soundtracks. The 6th iteration of Bob Night comes to the American Legion Hall at 8:00PM and we are please to be invited to take part. A great night of great acts singing great songs: Grant Peeples, Sarah Mac Band, Pat Puckett, BedHead Betty, Sir Charlies Atkins and Free Hugs (again, this is a band, not an actual embrace).

What: Bob Nite

Where: American Legion Hall

When: Friday, February 4th, 2011.

Doors open at 7:15PM, music  begins at 8PM.

Tickets: $10

See y’all there.

And now I’m going to try to go to bed again. I’m sure that I’ll have sweet dreams now that I’ve walked back through all of those wonderful, warm moments with the people that I love.

We have all been here before, we have all been here before.