Ah….so let’s see where to begin. The ride down to Cincinnati was….well…not all that exciting. But it did go by pretty fast. I picked up a new harmonica and a new harmonica brace (yep, getting back into that whole deal) on my way out of Chicago, so I was able to rig that up and practice my chops while driving. Not the safest thing in the world I suppose – but then again I’m a pretty compulsive text-while-driving driver. Fueled on coffee and the “poor musician’s feast” – 1 mcchicken and 1 mcdouble – I shot down I-65 and met up with I-74 outside of Indianapolis which carried me straight southeast into the heart of Cincinnati. If you haven’t been there it really is a pretty town. It sprawls out over the rolling hills of the Ohio river valley, which this time of year are a deep green given the oh-so-generous rainfall that the midwest has recently received. The river itself is a beast, usually seeing a good deal of action from barges. I have a strange interest in inter-modal transportation, so that kind of thing gets me off. What can I say.
I took Pete Rose way around the Reds stadium and crossed the mighty river on a bridge depositing me smack dab in the middle of Newport, KY – about 2 blocks from home for that night – the Southgate House (http://www.SouthgateHouse.com). When I walked up to start taking gear into the venue I caught a glimpse of the marquee (photo shown above). Rock ‘n Roll.
The Southgate House is a really, really, really cool venue. Very unique. As I mentioned in an earlier post it operates with three different rooms inside the house. There wasn’t a big show in the ballroom last night, but there was another show in what’s called the Parlour Room (I’ve heard stories of My Morning Jacket and the Black Keys playing to 5-10 people in that room back in the day). I put together my gear in the Lounge (directly underneath the Parlour Room) which is essentially the main bar area, ran a quick sound check, and was enjoying a frost Kentucky Ale by 8pm.
Unfortunately my presence in the Cincinnati scene is not too strong yet, and the band in the Parlour Room didn’t have a super huge crowd. What did this mean for me? A slllllloooooooowwwwww night. I did get a chance to play for a few folks though, and they sincerely appreciated it. No CD sales but when I play to 5-7 people all night I can’t really expect much. I passed out a few biz cards, so we’ll see what the future holds
And the night rolled on, a few more Kentucky Ales were consumed, and then – the Tommy Gun. If you didn’t read my earlier blog, the Southgate House is the former home of the man responsible for the invention of the Tommy Gun. That said, one would expect them to have a signature drink bearing the same name. I discovered this little gem. I suggest trying it when you have the chance. Jameson shot with a pickle juice chaser. Bam!
By 3:30 or so I was closing down the bar with the remaining staff and making plans to travel a few blocks away to an all-night diner – The Pepper Pod. A “the pod” I enjoyed a full ham steak breakfast complete with a full side of biscuits and gravy and a specialty of “the pod” – Goetta…some sort of sausage mixed with oats and fried. Sounds awful but turns out to be absolutely delicious. Especially after having suffered a couple “shots” from the Tommy Gun.
Sleep finally overtook me on the side of 4th street, lying across the two back seat captain chairs in my van. I think I made it through about 2 1/2 hours before the morning heat kicked in and awoke me into a fairly bad state. Of course nothing a few liters of water, gatorade, 2 bananas, a granola bar and a Snicker protein bar couldn’t save. Having patched myself up, I rolled the van on up to I-71 S and began the voyage down to east Nasvhille. I spent the drive going over my demos for my next album, listening to some really bad radio and mentally preparing for tonight’s show.
I now sit here in east Nashville with about 5 1/2 hours to kill before showtime later tonight. Rock on people.