I would normally say at that “It’s been a while since I’ve written” but I don’t think that really explains the situation. I took time off from blogging, facebooking, and all other extraneous time consuming activities to focus on concluding some the projects I’d started. I firmly believe if you start something, you should finish it. What if Henry Ford invented the Model T but never saw it to its completion and Joe Donkey took the idea and completed it? We would be driving Donkey Mustang’s or a Donkey Focus right now.
The idea was to do two books and two albums this year. We finished the Zac Brown Band album “You Get What You Give” earlier this year. I just finished my second album Coy Bowles “Love Takes Flight”. Taking on writing two books in one year would be equivalent to a baby eating 4 large pizzas. I definitely bit off more than I could chew.
I decided to focus on one of the books. That book would be the children’s book. I knew nothing about writing books. Nor did I know anything about children. I knew only that I can read and write and children are fun to be around because they make you feel young and good about life.
This is a side note: A friend of mine named Donnie McCormick was by far the most creative person I’ve ever met. He was a painter, poet, singer, drummer, songwriter, outdoor seeker, collector, sculptor and many other things. When he passed away I decided that I wasn’t going to focus on just music. I was going to be more creative across the board. Being around the mastermind creator of many creative projects, Zac Brown, was quite an influence as well. I’ve always been the type of person that thinks “if someone else can do it, so can I.” The children’s book just happens to be the first project where I made the effort to step outside of music. I’m nearing the final stage of the book and finishing the artwork on the new album at the same time. The other book, which is a book about the last few years with the Zac Brown Band, is still to be continued. Two CD’s done and one book very close.
Overall I’ve been busting ass. I like living like that though. I also bought a house and redesigned the inside with the help of my awesome father. I’ve been working on creating my own fedora hat that is guitar accessorized with a guitar pick and glass slide on the side of it. I’m very excited about the hat by the way.
I redesigned my guitar rig that I play with ZBB. I joined forces with Fuch’s Amplifiers and Celestion Speakers. I’m playing a Fuchs 100 watt Overdrive Supreme through a Fuchs 2×12 cab with Celestion Heritage G12-65’s in it. I had a 12 button loop based pedal board made, and reconfigured my guitar pedals. Working all the guitar gear out can be quite a task.
I now am the happy father/owner of a 5 month old lab/collie/hound mix puppy named Capt. Tuddy. He is awesome and my parents spoil him rotten when I’m on the road. Needless to say Tuddy has it made and I’d be reincarnated as Tuddy any day.
In short, I had to jump from creative mode to a more managerial businessman position. It’s important to be able switch roles. We had about three months off the road recently. I decided that I would be busy enough with finishing the book and album that I was going to chill from playing music for a little while. I really wanted to let the last three years sink in. We’ve basically been on the road nonstop. I spent three months thinking about it and I still can’t really comprehend my life and where we’ve been and where we are. It’s almost so crazy, I feel like it’s best to not analyze it and just be. All I can say is that I’m very blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful and talented friends and I’m grateful my family is in good health.
I’m sitting on a Delta plane right now somewhere around 10,000 feet in the air. We are flying from Atlanta to LA. We play the Jimmy Kimell show tomorrow. If I had to guess I’d say we are somewhere over Texas. (I’ll check the moving map to see… Yep! we are right over the top of Dallas basically.) It’s been a while so I don’t really know what to write about. A lot of times I just start writing then I’ll get on a subject that is interesting and then I’ll erase all the nonsense I wrote before.
This weekend was a very amazing experience for me. One of my favorite guitar players and musicians is a guy named Jimmy Herring. I got a chance to meet him. He came and sat in with the band on Saturday night. When I was going to school studying music at Georgia State University he was my idol. I really thought he had such a cool style. He was a master of his instrument, seemed to be endlessly creative with his skill, and very honest with the notes and phrases that he plays. I know a lot of people who know him well and everyone has mentioned that he’s the best and most humble guy ever. Well I’m happy to say that is very true. I got a chance to talk with him and his wife. He and I have a few things in common. We both like music and fishing. His wife was awesome and so easy to talk to. I mean it’s just the coolest ever to get to meet your hero and he and his are just salt of the earth kind of people. He sounded sooo good when he played with us as well. Oteil Burbridge, bass player for the Allman Brothers, came out and sat in as well as bassist/vocalist John Cowan. All three of these cats are top- notch world-class players.
So here is something that is worth writing about. I got to play Duane Allman’s 19?? Gold top Les Paul. Yep. That’s right. This is the guitar that was played on “Eat a Peach” and ???
Duane Allman might be my favorite guitar player ever. I’d say I’m influenced by the Allman Brothers more than any other band. When I taught guitar lessons for a living the students that were interested in soloing had to learn the intro to “It’s Not My Cross to Bear” first thing. I’d show them each lick and phrase, note by note, and teach them that each bend means everything. The students that got it were soloing their faces off in a year or two, just from learning that one solo.
Holding and playing his guitar was an unbelievable feeling. I think I was in shock a little while playing it. At the moment I couldn’t really grasp the magnitude of what I was holding in my hands. Think about it. He held that guitar. He laughed shared jokes and had conversations with the best musicians of his time with that guitar in his hands. He let emotion drip out his fingers onto that guitar. He wrote and played the classic southern rock that we know and love on that guitar. Duane Allman, one of the best slide guitar players to ever live, owned and played that guitar that I played on Saturday, before the show. It sounded amazing. It felt and played just like you would hope it would. Every note that came out of it seemed to have the tone of intention. If you get a chance listen to Duane Allman play “Little Martha”. It’s an Allman Brothers tune that’s just him playing acoustic guitar. If you listen close you can hear him breathe while the microphone is recording his guitar. It’s kind of freaky and cool.
I’m excited about going to California. I made playlists today of music that I think represent the west coast vibe. These include Mr. Bungle “California”, Red Hot Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar Sex Magic”, Dr. Drew “The Cronic”, Beach Boys “California Dreaming”.
I’ve been battling a case of Tennis Elbow. I’ve never played tennis but that’s the name of the condition. From what I understand it’s where the muscle and tendon is inflamed or coming detached from the bone on the top of the elbow. I just had an MRI done and luckily my condition is minor. I don’t have tears or detachments happening just inflammation and maybe small abrasions in the muscle or tendon.
I had a thumb injury from practicing too much in college and I had to stop playing guitar for an entire year. It was one of the lowest points in my life. I didn’t really understand the situation and the emotions I was feeling. I had worked so hard to get the where I was at and I had it all taken away from me. I got super bummed out.
At that point in my life all I knew was music and practicing. Instead of focusing on piano or writing I just kind of threw my hands in the air and gave up. I look back on it and regret the way I handled it. After 7 or 8 months and no relief I had to start looking at different options for a career path and look inside to see where I wanted go creatively.
Ultimately every path that I researched was a dead end because I wanted music so bad. After a year of rest I picked up the guitar and my thumb didn’t hurt any more. I slowly started practicing and playing again and after a year and half I was back in the game and with a new found passion and a smile from ear to ear.
As soon as I felt any discomfort with the tennis elbow problems I immediately started talking to Dr.’s. One of my best friends is an Orthopedic surgeon. Without him I seriously don’t know where I’d be. I know I’d be lost. It’s amazing at that there’s not more information and education on how to keep musicians safe from injury. This time around I’ve gathered a lot of material as far stretches and guidelines to follow if you have an injury, safety measures to take to make sure you keep your body and hands healthy. I plan on having this information on the website soon. Being debilitated in any way is no good.
Well that’s about it for the last 6 month revision wrap up. I’m going to try to write more in the next 6 months as well. Hopefully I’ll get to rant and rave about nonsense instead of a play by play of what my life is and has been like. Until then don’t let the sun catch you frownin’!