“Man she’s really dragging this story out!” you might be thinking... but it’s amazing how a short trip to West Virginia can feel so epic.
I believe we left off here: After grabbing the guitars from Michael’s West Virginia Hall of Fame, we went to collect Rob and G at the airport. They schlepped over from Los Angeles; the ice and snow of the Smoky Mountains was a complete culture shock for those California boys.
We were safely shuttled to the city centre where we visited a rockin’ pizza place called Pies and Pints http://www.piesandpints.net/ the guys crashed out because we had a big day to come.
|** my pizza did not have meat on it! xx p|
The following morning the Culture Centre welcomed us with open arms (and all-you-can-drink coffee). Because me and Garo live in London and G and Rob live in LA we hadn't played together since the tour in October. So we jammed in the dressing room for a couple of hours while Calexico http://www.casadecalexico.com soundchecked with all their wonderful warm mariachi brass and crazy percussion pit. They don’t half put on a show!
I was running around with curlers in my hair trying not to get nervous, that all-you-can-drink coffee wasn't helping the nerves.
Chatted to those nice chaps from Camper Van Beethoven for a bit...
...and I got to meet Larry Groce http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Groce not only is he the lovely presenter of The Mountain Stage, but he was a pop a star in his own rite! He had a hit with Junk Food Junkie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLiVeRJTtqo and it was even covered by the Jackson 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWEe3IR58lw AND he wrote albums for Disney. How cool is that?
So we do our gig and it was really great fun to play such a classy big venue, and to see a radio show recorded live and to see all the other performers. The House Band was off the hook! And we had the best seat in the house for the rest of the gig, just backstage on the left...In fact you can hear the Mountain Show, on NPR here:
Will Oldham’s set moved me to tears when he did a cover of the Loudon Wainwright song “Screaming Issue.” But I can’t tell you what a fan I am of Will Oldham already anyway... and he had such an intimidating air about him I didn't know how to act. Rob said I was probably just making that up in my own mind. Rob is probably right. Maybe what seemed intimidating about him was just shyness or getting prepared in his own mind for his show to come. He had very intense eyes and he barely said a word to anyone.
My anticipation in the weeks building up to the Mountain Stage Session was magnified by how big of a Will Oldham fan I actually am. I covered his song, ‘Ease down the Road’ on one of my Country Roadshow singles a few years ago. In my mind I was going to meet him in West Virginia, give him the copy of the (now very rare) single where I covered his song, and he would love it... then we’d be new best friends. He’d put me on his speed dial (if he even has a speed dial) and I’d be his quirky Kansas City via London gal pal. We’d tour the world together; he’d sing with me, I’d sing with him. My friendship fantasy grew and grew... Will Oldham was going to be my new best friend!
Stay tuned for the final instalment of ‘My Will Oldham Story’
Do you think we are new best friends? Vote now: yes/no...