A Night on the Road - 4/14/2011

We have three rooms booked in a hotel in Toledo, OH, yet the five of us have all assembled in the same room. Joe Walsh is sitting on one bed picking my Gallagher like I've never been able to, while Leigh and Mike are playing guitar and mandolin, respectively, on the other bed facing Joe while working on an instrumental Leigh and Joe are writing. They just stopped to listen to a suggestion from onlooker Clayton Campbell. "Why don't you double-time it?" They try. "That sounds like a McCoury-type instrumental!" Mike sets the mandolin down. "I don't like this double-timing idea. This is beyond my mandolin abilities," says Mike with a laugh and Clayton takes over the mando duties as they switch to a Carter Family-sounding tune. Oh, I know this song. Leigh, wearing his new Toledo Mudhens hat after attending a game tonight with Joe, breaks into "Banks of the Ohio." Joe adds a keening tenor. I wonder how long this can go before Leigh adds obscene lyrics? Well, he just answered that question before I could finish typing the last sentence. I knew it. I am missing home, but there are far worse places to be than where I am right now. We have three-part harmonies now! Clayton has joined in. The blend is good, but I am worried we will get complaints from other hotel guests. I think I'll make fun of the way Leigh looks in the hat. In the past, I've done this and he's ended up giving me the clothing I made fun of. I'm really liking that hat.

We have been playing so many shows lately, and I'm not complaining. We have had several great nights in succession. We started this current trip in Peru, NY, headed to Saratoga Springs and then on to Anoka, MN, and Chicago. We play Pittsburgh tomorrow and McClean, VA, Saturday. I have never felt such power on stage, a direct result of time logged together, on stage and off. Times like this. Mike left a few minutes ago and has returned with his lap steel, a gift from his dad, Junior. He has no amp but he's having fun anyway. Joe sings "I am a Pilgrim" now. I like his singing. He's been singing on stage with us from time to time. I love that we're a brother duet, but I'm all for looking for other dimensions, new wrinkles. Joe's working on Ricky Skaggs' baritone part for "Singing as we Rise" and he's done "Mole in the Ground" a few times on stage now. 

The boys are feeling laid-back tonight. Maybe this is relaxing after the hectic ride through Chicago. Leigh's singing "Darcy Farrow," one we did as teens. I know he's my brother and I'm biased, but who's better? Who has a better tone? Who has more range? Leigh could sing any kind of music and do it justice. I feel lucky that he likes bluegrass. Man, Lefty Frizzell! They're doing "Always Late With Your Kisses" now. Ah, Clayton just got a phone call. I'd take the mandolin chair, but I'm such a string killer that I'm afraid I'd make Joe have to change his strings prematurely. Banjo would be too loud this late at night. I'm enjoying myself enough listening. For now, it's good to be me.