Sunday April 9, 2006




Hmmmm...I think maybe my unconscious knew something I didn't. I kept feeling this unexplainable pull to come home this weekend. Not until I had planned it did I realize that this would put me home on April 9, 2006. This is exactly 35 years after my family's BC / AD demarcation. 35 years ago my Grandfather died. I don't think that my Dad ever truly recovered from it. And now I know all too well how he felt. I wish I would've been able to get to know my Grandfather. I feel like I would understand myself so much better. Still, I spent today in the house that he built with my Grandmother. Like yesterday, it was like pulling teeth to get her up and about but once I did, she was fine. We took care of a lot of errands that needed to be done and at her request, we went out to the cemetary to see "the boys" as she put it. It was heartbreaking enough for me. I can't imagine what it must be like to stand on a piece of ground reserved for you in between the final resting places of your husband and son. She carefully leaned over and neatly arranged some flowers for my Grandfather while I did the same for Dad. Somehow, it gave me comfort when I went to sleep that night to not only know that there were flowers out there but that she so delicately placed them there herself.

Since I had let the secret out that I was in town at this point, I got a couple of invitations that I wasn't about to pass up. So after I picked up Grandma some dinner (she didn't feel up to an evening out after I tired her out all day), I went over to Amanda's homestead for an early Easter dinner with her family. It was the only real time I spent with them during this trip but I'm sure they understand. Plus, while I was at my Grandmother's, Amanda got to spend time with them so we both got more real time in with our respective families than usual.

But we still weren't done for the evening as my Mom had invited us over to my sister's place to just hang out. Everyone else was there. Missy, Dwayne, Benji, April, Mom, Vern, Nichole, Robbie and McKayla. It was so good to see 'em all. Mom wound up digging up embarrassing pictures of us that Missy had collected and we had a few good laughs over that. Benji and I talked bootlegs. Amanda talked with Vern about the proper way to prepare "viddles" (don't ask). Nichole and I talked pop music, Robbie and I played Breakout and McKayla tried to figure out how to play me. She almost got me but I was only a sucker for a little while before I figured it all out.

I missed spending time with friends this weekend but I've gotta tell did my proverbial heart (and let's hope the literal one) a lot of good to have spent this time with my family. And who knows when I'll get a chance to be this relaxed with 'em again?





Saturday April 8, 2006








Well, I can't say today was interesting in any way to a reader (that's you) but it was important to me. I kept feeling home tugging at me all week. Even though we hadn't planned on it, I had to go home. Since Mike's car wouldn't get him to Athens anyway, I guess it was just as well. We couldnt' rehearse. Amanda agreed to support my whim but not until she made her early morning audition in Atlanta. So we were up and on the road sometime around 7 am on a Saturday. I felt like currap! I still hadn't recovered completely from my late nights of late and 7 am came up like a panic attack. We made it there, though.

Then we turned from due west to due east. We landed in Augusta sometime around lunchtime. Only after we had taken the exit did we realize that we'd just driven into Masters traffic. Oof. Still, we needed to eat. Believe it or not, Amanda saw and suggested Hooters. Now me, I've avoided those places as long as they've been around...just something on principle. It is cool that Amanda's not one of THOSE types that are so intimidated and / or jealous. Still, I didn't feel right going in there. Especially with all these old guys in their plaid golfing gear. Just 'twasn't me. I warned her one last time, "you'll probably be the only female in there who's not working." She laughed and said there'd probably be plenty of women. Guess what? She was wrong. When we walked in, it was just us, a bunch of Hooters waitresses of every ethnicity imagineable and golf-tees with little pockets as far as the eye could see. By the time we left a few other couples had ventured in (maybe Amanda paved the way). And the food was okay but it was WAAAAAAAAY too friggin' expensive. I guess the people that eat there aren't eating there for a good food deal, though. And while it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be (no Caution : Blondes Thinking signs or anything), I never see a need to go back.

Another few hours down the road and we were back in Lugoff. We stopped by Grandma's for a few minutes so Amanda could see her, then I took Amanda on to her parents', unpacked and turned right around to come back! I spent the entire day with Grandma. It wasn't easy getting her up and about to run errands but I eventually did. I let her choose the dinner venue of choice and she and I went out for a very pleasant dinner at Western Sizzlin'. While it wasn't quite like the old days (her frail state makes it impossible to be like when she was younger), it certainly reminded me of 'em. And it helped me to reconnect. Then we went back to her house and just sat around the table talking for hours. And it was good conversation. Tonight was important to me. It's been a long time since I wasn't pressured to get over or out of there for other committments. That was a big part of the reason that I didn't even tell anyone I was coming home 'til I was in town. 'Cause if they knew, I'd want to see 'em and wouldn't be able to resist splitting my time up. But today, I just needed to be HOME and spending time with my Grandmother.

And I cannot ever say just how glad I am that I had this chance and took it.





Friday April 7, 2006

Even outside of the tooth garden, Amanda's work is bloomin' like crazy!


Today was just spent editing and editing and editing of Editors...oh yeah and uploading 'em to Retna. Let's hope some publications bite on the buzz. My paychecks have been anemic lately and I could use some dough, bro (or at least a dobro).



Thursday April 6, 2006

Daylight doesn't destroy pasty white Brit-rockers!

(Just don't get 'em too close to carpenter bees...)



Today's kind of hectic. In the afternoon, I went to shoot the UGA Music Business Student Run Record Labels Showcase at the Melting Point. I've got to hand it to 'em. I've seen a couple of national acts there recently and none of 'em packed it out like these students did. I actually couldn't even find a parking place! Unfortunately, I was pressed a bit for time because I had to get over to the 40 Watt to do a late afternoon / evening candid shoot with Editors. Because of that, I was just running around trying to catch as much as I could as quickly as I could. I wasn't even able to pay much attention. Add to that the fact that the lighting was terrible (even with some daylight streaming in) and it was just not all that it should've been from a visual standpoint. Still, the students did a great job. They were all professional when they needed to be and casual when they should've been. They've learned a lot. Truth be told, the only one of the acts that I saw (and I didn't see them all) that really stood out to me was Hey! Revolution. They did one song but it was good and the performance was dynamic and powerful. It made an impact on me. The song was called something like "People In Love (Got Nothing To Say" and it was pure power pop which as you know is a weakness of mine. Good stuff. We need to be on a bill with them!

'Bout this time I had to scoot across town for my appointed 6 pm meeting with Editors at the 40 Watt. First off, if you love Brit-pop of any kind, you NEED their new (in America) album The Back Room. They may be on the back end of this Franz-Interpol-Coldplay-Strokes-Futureheads trend but their album is the best from this whole movement. They haven't forgotten that the songs that last have hooks and they haven't forgotten how fun it can be to rock on occasion. And they rock and hook with the best. They've already had at least 3 top tens in the UK but they're on their first real American tour now (as an opener for Stellastarr*). Still, Editors have stolen the buzz and sold out New York and L.A. on their own. The buzz hasn't filtered down to some of the smaller markets yet but I'm proud to be "in the know" enough to know about 'em. As much as I love a band like Futureheads, I know they're just too British to break America. Editors (despite the terribly generic name) could pull it off with some effort.

So anyway - back to my time with 'em. Of course, when I got there they weren't nearly ready for me. Stellastarr* was still soundchecking. So I plopped myself down on a sofa and began waiting. Man, was it boring. And I left my other shoot early to get here. I tried to tell Editors' publicist that there was NO way they'd be done with their soundcheck by 6. Still, I had to be there when I said I would be just in case. At various points, guys that I thought were Editors flopped on the other end of the couch or roamed around. Since I wasn't sure they were who they were, I left 'em alone until we were formally introduced.

After Stellastarr* took off, the guys I suspected did indeed start loading their gear on the stage. Following another endless set up, they started checking. On top of that, they even had the full light show going on. It was kind of cool to be the only person there as they performed songs like "Fall", "Distance" and "Camera". Yep, they kept doing the dreamy ones and I just kind of tranced out 'til Tom sang "Look at us through the lens of a camera" and I was reminded to pick it up and start shooting. So I got a couple of cool soundcheck pics right off. I even heard Tom do Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" before they hit a few of the more rocking songs.

When check was done, I went backstage with them and we took a few of them lounging around in the small room before heading outside to take advantage of the daylight. Editors have a pseudo-shoegazing image so I love that I got shots of them laughing, smiling and just hanging out in the broad daylight. I will say this - they seemed totally freaked out by carpenter bees. You know how those suckers can just hover around and drive you crazy? Well, they were everywhere outside. They kept asking "Will they sting? Will they sting?" I finally said, "I've never heard of anyone being stung by one but I wouldn't bet my life on it either way." They never did get over that wariness. It's cool to be in such a casual environment with such casual people. It was hard for me to believe that these 4 young, laid-back guys were able to record and release what is my favorite album (so far) of 2006.

Soon - I gave 'em directions to Weaver D's (as big R.E.M. fans, they had to eat at the Automatic For The People restaraunt) and I was back home watching My Name Is Earl. Then I turned around and went right back out to photo Editors at work.

And wow! What a show! I couldn't believe it but they sounded even better live than the record. Their soundman was incredible. Everything was massive when it was 'sposed to be big and silent when it was 'sposed to be quiet. The guys put on a heck of a show and blew the headliners completely off the stage. They leaped around unlike any band in their genre that I've ever seen. They gave it their all and (luckily) played a full hour. I believe every single song from The Back Room was represented as well as a couple of extras. This'll undoubtedly wind up as one of my favorite gigs of the year, too. Great stuff. Maybe this'll say even more...about half of the crowd left after the Editors gig. Many more left early in Stellastarr*'s set. I took a few pics and got the heck out of there myself. But not before talking to a Samantha, who's a "concert friend" I haven't seen for a while. I gave her a Joy CD and came on home after a full day.



Wednesday April 5, 2006

Oh the colors, the colors!

Here's the tooth garden from another angle...


Man, it's been beautiful outside. It's warm, sunny, a bit windy and colorful. The birds are singing and everyone's out and about. It's hard to beat spring in the South. No matter how many springs I experience, I never can quite remember just how spectacular it is until I see it again. And it takes so little time to start taking it for granted. Then it's gone again...

You know what? Screw this diary, I gotta get back out in it.



Tuesday April 4, 2006

Like grandfather, like father, like son...Owen Bradley stakes his claim on Nashville.




Today I returned to class at UGA. Clay Bradley (whose grandfather Owen Bradley pretty much invented the Nashville sound back in the 50s and 60s with Patsy Cline, Conway, Loretta, and all the way up to kd lang in the 80s) was the guest lecturer today. Just like the other speakers, he came in and gave the students the truth. And again the truth amounted to: "You have to love this. Trust yourself even when no one else believes. Never give up. Work your ass off." That's pretty much what every one has said but everyone has a slightly different spin and each of those spins gives a little more to each student to draw from. Clay's direct example was of Gretchen Wilson who he tried to get signed. He kept pushing for (literally) years. Finally, they gave her the shot...and of course she was the biggest country breakthrough of 2005 and she's already headlining arenas a year later.

As you can see, he's still working hard. The CD he's holding up belongs to Miranda Lambert who he's helping to push this year. Afterwards, he even asked me if I'd go photo her on April 20 when she comes through Athens. Why the heck not? See how easy? It's not a hard and fast rule but as many times as not if you ask, you do indeed receive...



Monday April 3, 2006

Manda's tooth garden is exploding out in our front yard. Ah, spring...

Alright, I finally did it. Concert Shots has been updated and it's a pretty big one. In addition to a Ray Davies concert review (and pics of course), there are CD reviews of the new ones from Drive-By Truckers, Prince and David Gilmour plus new pics of Motley Crue, Portastatic, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Silver Jews, the Gimme Shelter Benefit and Elefant. So how's that?

Click here for the (final ?) Critical Darlings' Wild Wing appearance and Charlie Brusco.