Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

Will Kimbrough – Mud and Moss Tour – Day 1: Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014

Will Kimbrough at Adrift Hotel

Will Kimbrough at The Adrift Hotel

Pat and I had an opportunity to be a part of the road crew for Will Kimbrough when he toured Washington and Oregon in January. We felt so honored to help support this rare solo visit.  He is humble, easy-going, gracious and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Oh–and he’s one of the most talented and versatile artists in Nashville.

The tour formed around the 50th birthday party for Lori, our friend in Bellingham.  The ‘Ham is a beautiful college town just south of the Canadian border.  Lori is a huge fan of Will’s; so naturally her husband Tim and brother-friend Kenny planned her birthday bash, coined it Lori Gras! and hired Will to play for her at the party. From there, the search began to find other venues around Seattle and Portland.  Will’s agent Sara with Axecess Entertainment contacted me to help with the search.  We brainstormed back and forth several weeks before the tour.  I wrote a press release that coincided with a blog and album review which Sara sent to prospective venues as an incentive to get him booked. Check out my No Depression Blog for more info on Will and his new album, Sideshow Love. Meanwhile, Kenny worked on flights, ground transportation and hotels, and coordinated details with Lori and Tim. Pat and I volunteered to drive and use our house as a hub between gigs. It took a village to organize this tour!

This is the first time I have seen Will play the Northwest on a solo tour.  In 2006 he opened for Rodney Crowell at the Music On The Bay series in Coos Bay, Oregon where he played to a stunned and elated audience (including my son and me) for about 1/2 hour. All of the other times I’ve seen him, he played guitar for other bands without an opportunity to open the show. 

Will Opening for Rodney Crowell.  Coos Bay, 2006

Will Opened for Rodney Crowell. Music on the Bay Series, Coos Bay, 2006

Seattle is a tough gig.  If you’re not Justin Timberlake or a local musician, it’s hard to get booked.  Other ‘tween acts, like The Gourds from Austin (god rest their souls while on hiatus), and other veterans of the club circuit are scheduled to play every six months to a year in advance. Unfortunately, there are so many acts vying for limited venues on a short calendar, there isn’t room for outsiders.  Sara successfully booked Will for the dates he requested, with some promising exposure through KEXP, our local public radio station.

Day 1: Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Adrift Hotel – Long Beach, WA

As part of the road crew, we were supposed to pick up Will at the airport Tuesday night.  The weather did not cooperate.  The East was slammed by a terrible, freezing Arctic storm.  The plane from Nashville to Chicago was delayed and eventually re-routed through Los Angeles. Will stayed there overnight, and then left bright and early Wednesday morning for Seattle.  Around 11:30, he showed up in the SEA Baggage Claim where we greeted and welcomed him.  Because of the re-route situation, not all of his bags came on the final plane.  Will remained calm–he’s used to this.  We finally located his bags among a giant maze in the unclaimed bag area.  After ensuring his guitar showed up in one piece, we loaded up and set off for Long Beach, Washington, a small coastal village in the southwest corner of the state.  We had a long drive ahead of us in the pouring rain.

Although he seemed a little tired from the flight and long haul to the Pacific Coast, Will was happy to be back in the Northwest. He honeymooned out here 20 years ago with his wife Jessica and enjoyed some great hikes and a stay in Seattle.  They also have some friends out here, transplants from The South.

We drove south to Olympia and found Fish Tale Brew Pub and settled on some great grub.  We all drank a toast to the upcoming tour and dug in.  I had a huge organic chicken salad with healthy chunks of chicken on spinach; Pat ordered a hearty stew, and Will wolfed down some delicious fish tacos.  We were back on the road within about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, Lori, Ken and Sara were somewhere behind us.  Sara’s flight arrived around 12:30, so they agreed to pick her up on their way down from Bellingham.  We hoped to meet up with them at the hotel barring any more stops or traffic.

We continued our three-hour journey southwestward, in dark gray skies.  I felt my Vitamin D level drop significantly.  Halfway there, the population dwindled and the highway was lined with tall, moss-covered trees. Will said the tree-lined drive was similar to his journey through Sweden.  Not long ago, he went on an 18-gig tour with only a few days of breaks.  He spent hours and hours driving through the Swedish landscape and into little villages, getting lost and finding his way again.  He also spoke of the difficulty of solo European tours: loading instruments and luggage on planes and in vehicles, organizing long flights and transportation, etc. So much work for the reward.

We drove on.  The landscape flattened out to lonely mud bogs and brackish streams, and the tall trees were replaced by low bushes covered in chartreuse moss.

Part of Will’s genius is the ability to observe his surroundings and start some chatter that eventually leads to a stream of lyrics. Along the way, he spoke of the mud, the moss, the wind and the rain, the strong craft beer, the rivers and the sloughs.  He noticed the road signs: Aberdeen, Willapa and Hoquiam.  We’d later be pleasantly surprised by his descriptive words at the Lori Gras! celebration. Our long commute also reminded Will of his traveling up and down the great state of Alabama. Will’s parents live in Mobile, and are in need of his occasional assistance.  Nashville to Mobile, Mobile to Nashville.  Three thousand miles logged in the van just in December alone. During those lonely drives up and down I-65, his mind produced page after page of lyrics.  His “magic phone” has voice recognition, so he’s able to record his words and continue to drive.  The melody usually comes later, he said, after he’s organized his words into verses and a viable rhythm.

I tried to be as professional as possible on this trip; but inside my skin, I was a major fan-dork.  Here is a musical hero–the Americana Music Association’s Instrumentalist of the Year; on the Grammy consideration list for Willie Sugarcapps’ “Gypsy Train;”  and a singer-songwriter getting rave reviews for solo album Sideshow Love humbly accepting our offer of transportation and lodging.  Will By-God-Kimbrough is hanging with us for the next three days!  Holy Shit!  All cool and collected on the outside, a giggling married groupie moron on the inside.  My dear, patient husband handled all of the excitement in his own quiet way.

Pacific Ocean Surf at The Adrift Hotel

Pacific Ocean Surf at The Adrift Hotel

“Are we there yet?” I asked wearily.  So much driving.  So little visibility.  So much gray.  Kenny later re-named our first destination “Long-Ass-Away-Beach.” Finally, the salt air and GPS guided us toward our venue: The Adrift Hotel.  Just steps from the thundering Pacific Ocean surf, the renovated hotel was a beautiful sight.  We were so happy to have finally arrived.  But the day was just beginning.  Will still had a show to perform in just a few hours.  Loading out of the truck involved a couple of trips in sideways rain. We were instantly soaked.

There was just enough time to settle in and get dolled up for the show.  The rest of the gang caught up and joined us at the restaurant, right before show time.  We knew going in that this particular show would not have a big audience.  During a summer month, this place would be packed.  According to their website, the Adrift hosts bands every week.  The oceanside resorts in January are mostly vacant.  Some people come to the beach to watch the storms roll in, and it’s only a bridge away from Astoria Oregon; so we hoped to get a few more people in the door.  Regardless, WE would be there to support him and cheer him on, and we made sure to do just that.

We ate apps and dinner at Pickled Fish, the hotel’s upscale restaurant: kale salad, oysters–raw and fried, pork bellies, rustic bread, crab mac n’ cheese, and other amazing, tasty dishes. Will joined us briefly, toasted Day One (again) with a strong IPA and then set up his gear in the small venue separated from the restaurant by large rolling doors.

DSC03624

Set List for The Adrift Hotel, Long Beach:

Another Train – From Americanitis, immediately got everyone’s attention.  Listen up, people!  Yeah, this guy’s from Nashville, and he will blow your freakin’ mind.

Piece of Work – My favorite song from Home Away , where it all began for me.  I heard him sing this on Jimmy Buffett’s Radio Margaritaville back in 2006 and wondered who that man was covering Jimmy’s song.  I soon learned Will wrote the song and Jimmy covered it! I then proceeded to purchase all of his music.

When Your Loving Comes Around – The first track from Sideshow Love sets the mood for the whole album.

Let the Big World Spin

Sideshow Love – Title track from his excellent solo album (see my review in the No Depression blog above)

I Want Too Much 

Nobody From Nowhere

DSC03613

Trouble – On mandolin, from the new Willie Sugarcapps album.  He showed off his mad mandolin skills on this one.

Mr. Lee – Also on WS album, Mr. Lee was a neighbor from long ago, born in 1900.  Mr. Lee was always willing to give you a good piece of his mind.  The same piece, but a good piece.

All That We Can Do is Love

Three Angels – from Wings and a tribute to his beautiful family.  The song is played in the Flatted 5th, also known as the Devil’s Note, made infamous by Led Zeppelin and proclaimed illegal by a former Pope.

Horseshoe Lake – Pat’s favorite that Will co-wrote with Todd Snider while hanging with him in West Memphis, AR

Gypsy Train – Grammy consideration list for best Americana song from his new Willie Sugarcapps album!

Mud Bottom – “Tonight is dedicated to some good ol’ Northwestern Mud!” exclaimed Will.

Oh, Colorado – From Willie Sugarcapps.  Savana Lee sings beautifully on the record, and Will sounds like John Denver’s twin on his version.

Wash and Fold – A dirty ditty ’bout gettin’ clean? One of my favorite Daddy songs.

I Don’t Like It

Hill Country Girl

Glory Be – Another hand-clapping Daddy gospel tune.  Amen!

DSC03634

Soulfully

I’m A Grownup Now

Champion of the World – a more upbeat take on this self-deprecating song from Home Away

I Don’t Have a Gun

Interstate

Lori capturing the moment

Lori Capturing the Moment

Goodnight Moon – This last song is Lori’s absolute favorite, and she was over the moon.  She used to sing this to her son before bedtime every night for years, until he outgrew the need for bedtime lullabyes, much to the dismay of any loving mom.  The tears flowed as Will tenderly sang and quietly played this sweet rendition. 

Twenty-five songs, just for us–and four other people.  Kenny said it felt like stealing.  A true professional, Will played his lil’ heart out like he was in front of an arena full of screaming fans.  Nope, just the nine of us.  We  sat back and watched The Alien at work.  He gets in a zone and fires up that guitar and mandolin like he’s from another planet.  He also used a loop pedal to record a riff, and then played live over it to add depth and harmony to the songs. It filled the whole room with sound!  We did our best to cheer, clap and whoop it up to show our support.  I teased Kenny because he could hardly speak after seeing Will perform this solo show for the first time.  “Kenny,” I smiled, “You just had a musical orgasm.”  The other newbies were awestruck, too, and purchased some merch on the way out. We closed the place down.  In Long Beach on a Wednesday in January, that meant 9:30.

We helped break down and pack up, and then headed back to the suite for a toast to Night One!  What a night!  What a set list! Will managed to play a song from just about every solo album as well as Willie Sugarcapps and Daddy.  It was an incredible day, but more fun was on the way.

Click [here] for Day 2 and [here] for Day 3 of the Mud and Moss Tour!

 

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January 15, 2014 - Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2006, Concert Season 2014, Music, Will Kimbrough, Willie Sugarcapps | , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. […] Click [here] for Day 1 of this rare tour! […]

    Pingback by Will Kimbrough – Mud and Moss Tour – Day 2: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 « Aplscruf's Music Blog | January 17, 2014 | Reply

  2. […] [here] and [here] for Days 1 and 2 of the big […]

    Pingback by Will Kimbrough – Mud and Moss Tour – Day 3: Friday, Jan10, 2014 Lori Gras! « Aplscruf's Music Blog | January 19, 2014 | Reply

  3. […] still exhausted from my crazy road trip from the week before and the sleepless aftermath of frantically writing the corresponding blog, we […]

    Pingback by The Brambles and Legendary Oaks – Sunset Tavern 1.18.2014 « Aplscruf's Music Blog | February 13, 2014 | Reply


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