Chip Taylor's Road Journal

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July 27, 2013 – BLUEGRASS UNDERGROUND – McMinnville, TN

This was one of my all-time favorite shows/venues. It’s held in a subterranean amphitheater (a cave!), 333 feet below the surface. The monthly or bimonthly shows are produced by Todd Mayo & Laurie Gregory, with great assists from their awesome staff, Wally, Brian, Andy & the rest – what kind folks – these are the same folks that produce the great Music City Roots shows.

The venue is held in the amazing and breathtakingly beautiful Volcano Room, with its hundred foot ceiling and theater-like space holding 500 plus – about a ten-minute winding walk from above ground through various caverns. Two great guys, Brian & Wally were there to greet us when we arrived and escorted us to the mouth of the cave. From there they loaded our equipment on a golf cart-like vehicle (more like an old greens-keeper cart). Carrie & Luke & Ron walked the walk .. I went with the golf cart .. spoiled me!

Arriving at the theater-like area was so awesome .. you could feel a certain magic.. it was several degrees cooler than above ground .. 55% is what they say .. sounds right .. but comfortable for me .. a certain dampness I guess .. but again, felt good to me.

It’s a sold out show today – that’s right, today – an afternoon show! Except because we’re in a cave, it doesn’t feel like afternoon .. there’s a warm, beautifully lit darkness down in this cave! So inspiring! And it’s absolutely packed – fans from all over … all parts of Tennessee, South and North Carolina, St Louis, New Jersey.. Knoxville, Texas.. from all over.. even Belgium!

This was a special day for many, including Carrie & me.. as it was a genuine Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez reunion show .. similar to what we did in the total darkness of the north pole in Kiruna, Sweden last November.

SOUNDCHECK

Andy & his crew had us sounding great in minutes… awesome sound system coupled with awesome engineers will do that! Huge thanks Andy & crew! it felt so comfortable on that stage.. I couldn’t wait for the show to start.

After very good in-depth interviews with legendary WSM announcer Keith Bibrey, we were ready.

FIRST SET

Carrie and the great, charming Luke Jacobs (guitar) did a very cool 45 minute opening set, ending with their warm and precious co-write, I Don’t Mind Waiting and left to a standing ovation.

SECOND SET

I joined Carrie & Luke on stage, with awesome bassist Ron Eoff (Levon Helm/ Delbert McClinton/ The Cate Bros). I started with The Real Thing, then Block Out The Sirens Of This Lonely World, with its story about my prisoner-friend Tilly – which totally connected. Feeling this warm/great audience with us, it was more stories, lots about my neighborhood growing up, about New York City, and lots about my brothers and Mom & Dad (some stuff i never talked about before .. i felt THAT comfortable) and songs reflecting those stories – Hey Jonny, Yonkers NY, Charcoal Sky and others … Carrie, Ron & Luke were so inspiring and so easy to play these songs with .. and it amazes me how Carrie falls right into my songs.. singing harmony in the choruses etc.. like we’d been doing it every day .. so inspiring for me!

Then came the C&C duets .. what chills .. Your Name Is On My Lips Again, Don’t Speak In English, Must Be The Whiskey, Red Dog Tracks .. then Angel Of The Morning and Wild Thing.. and for old times and this wonderful group of folks, we closed the show with the sweetest, most loving version of We Come Up Shining …. what a day! It felt like the warmest of nights!

SAID HI TO MANY ..

first.. huge thanks to long time fans and great Carrie friends, Joann & Gary from St Louis, who took the time to sell our CDs.. in the kindest and most efficient way. HUGE THANKS! Wonderful to see you!

Hi Mike & Cori.. good to see you.. and Teresa & Harry from near Franklin TN .. so nice talking to you guys .. hi to Dave & Brenda .. Jean Claude & Tuni from Belgium celebrating Dad’s anniversary .. i think from New York?? .. is that right?.. happy birthday Bob (47) & Tray . from New Jersey .. great to see you .. thanks for the kind words.. that means a lot.. hi Sean & Dawn .. nice to talk to you both.

Hi to Karen & Janet & Ed.. from Fairfield Glade Tn .. great to see you! .. hi Sherry.. & Sammy .. was it?? .. anyway .. nice talking to you.. before the show.. nice meeting Hawk-love .. love that name .. and Mom, Christi-love and Dylan & Tracie .. good to see all you guys.. special hi to all the nice people in the back that I said hello to before leaving the cave .. hope to see you again

And Todd.. great to see Jackson & Maggie.. huge thanks to you & Laurie & the gang .. what a great bunch of folks!

note: Huge thanks to music journalist Larry Nager (a Yonkers boy as well!) for his terrific preview of our show on the Bluegrass Underground site and his own blog.

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