13th, 2004 - Cow Bop enters Oklahoma City and the Cowboy Museum
of Western Heritage...
Got up on the wrong side of the bandstand today, I guess the pressure
of being the dad sorta got to me. Should we just wimp out and luxuriate
in the motel, and laze away waiting for the storm of the century
to arrive while we could be out cowboppin? What if it didn't rain
at all? I mean, the weather channel has to make it exciting, no?
They can't very well get me to watch for forecast updates every
ten minutes if my life ain't in imminent danger can they?
I decided we had to move on, at least the ten miles to Oklahoma
City (and find a cheaper hotel, see, Tulsa's house of blues taught
me not one thing). After all, had a few things to meet, people
to be, all of that. I informed the troops to ready for bivouac,
and after nitpicking like a heel-bitin Chihuahua and acting like
a grumpy old man (which is happening rapidly, more on that to
follow) we converged in the parking lot, Clementine her ever ready
self. The dark clouds and gusty winds had me a bit spooked, but
I assured all that we were gonna miss it. We wrassled with the
tarp that covers the speaker we use-when we have the option to
use some sound reinforcement. It isn't an easy task in gale-force
winds, and to strategically spread it so the wear spots wouldn't
be in any high water areas (not that it was really gonna rain).
Everyone was trying to help so much it looked like an octopus
Finally, we moved on. I gotta say, if the guys thought I was
nuts or felt any resistance, they concealed it from me, although
I was ridin with spurs and I think they knew it. I called Shorty
at Shorty's Caboy Hattery, which is the place for hats, if you
are into this sort a thing. She is a true artist among western
hatmakers. I figured I had to meet her after seeing her work on
various heads during my travels, she has really bailed out a few
lost cases to tell the truth. I'd sent her a CD in advance, let
her know I'd be coming through here...if we made it this far.
Luckily she liked it so we were given what we are realizing is
a true Oklahoma welcome. Shorty is an amazing person, a force
of nature who is feisty, fun and has a heart as big and deep as
an oil well. She was actually a bull rider in her day, and frankly,
if you think what we are doing is crazy... Bobbie-who works there
with Shorty-gave us a tour of the hatmaking process, from beaver
to brim creasing, and it made me appreciate the thing that keeps
my pate covered (for more reasons than I care to mention here).
We played right there in the store, they helped us out with a
nice toke and turned us on to a great place to play tonight by
calling Sheri, the manager of the best restaurant in town, a steak
house called The Ranch. She stopped by and heard us and offered
dinner and the gig, said we could play for tips and sell CDs.
She didn't tell me she was going to donate a healthy amount to
JazzMasters Workshop too...thanks Sheri!
But, of course, as tomorrow is my birthday, (maybe that's why
I was such an irascible and crusty crumdgeon this morning) anyway,
I treated myself to a new hat. They measured my head (no jokes
here please) and worked out the style. You guys, however, don't
need to do anything special, just consider the JazzMasters Workshop
if you are feeling in a gift-giving mood. Pledges are accepted
on this site actually (I promise, my last solicitation...today)
Then the rain hit, and hit. Wow! As Bobbie said, "see that?
It's like a cow pissin on a flat rock!" (That, folks, is
your quote of the day) We scrambled to get Clementine under an
overhang until it passed, didn't want to find out how well we'd
covered that stuff. The storm didn't seem to want to give in.
Shorty let us leave our stuff at her store and we went off to
check in to some budget accomodations. We were wet and ragged,
but clean (all of us did laundry last night, except Cozy Dog,
I think he'd found an all-you-can-eat all-night rib buffet and
decided that was a better usage of time. Actually, those were
the first words he uttered today (this was in the a.m.) "Ribs,"
he'd eyed a sign, but there was a forlorn nostalgia to the delivery,
sentimental even, I'm starting to worry.
We went to the Cowboy Museum of Western Heritage, a great rainy
day thing to do, and what an incredible collection of art and
artifacts. Could have spent a lot more time there than we did,
but we had to get our stuff and head off to The Ranch.
Time to be a guitar player and talk about gear. You normal people
can skip this paragraph if you want. I am playing an Eastman guitar,
a company I am now endorsing, It is a handmade arch-top that works
well acoustic or electric and believe me, I have put it to the
test. We have played inside and out, in hair salons, hot-dog stands,
clubs, stores, bars, car dealerships, (what I like about those
gigs is the new car smell). This box is powerful, but sweet, and
as it is solid wood it will age and get better. For any of you
pickers out there looking for something like that, these are really
worth checking out, and they are very affordable considering the
work that goes into them. The company also donated a great-sounding
bass too (they came to arch-tops from the bowed string world,
having made violins, cellos and basses for years). Drums: today
Mike played a metal basin and cardboard box, (not at the same
time) actually, tonight he expanded his set to two boxes, a stack.
He sounds great and think of the possible endorsements. If any
companies are interested, I am now his representative, so contact
me or send the boxes (full of course) we need to check them out.
Back at The Ranch, we ate like kings, set up in the bar and played
a few acoustic sets to some of the nicest people we've met yet.
That's one thing I have learned, this country is full of generous
and warm people who are genuinely willing to go along with a crazy
and fun idea like ours, and to genuinely embrace the spirit of
it and help us out. Of course, it also has a lot to do with what
we bring to the equation, and the effort is always worth it. In
that aspect, this trip has been an eye-opener and has affirmed
my belief in the goodness of people.
So I wake up older tomorrow, (we all will, just that one day
sort of stomps it into you once a year) but I am wiser and feeling
optimistic about the future on a deeper level. Happy Day to you
all, stay dry, and see you next chorus.
to check out pictures from May 13th