Sunday, 21 February 2010

USA Tour: Day Fifteen

A day with some sightseeing, Saturday church and Chinese food!

Today was day I could have a lie in so guess what time my body decided it wanted to wake up? 6:50am. Why does that always happen? Tomorrow morning (and it’s 11pm now as I write this) I have to be up about 6:30 as we have to leave the house at 7am so we’re at the church for 7:30 as the first service starts at 8:30am! 8:30am! On a Sunday!!! 8:30am!! I keep hoping someone will say ‘Nah….we gotcha! It’s not really on at 8:30.’ But it’s not looking very likely.

I spent some of the morning catching up on the Radio 4 comedy shows I love and have missed while I’ve been away such as “Act Your Age” and “Ed Reardon’s Week” and a new one by one of my favourite comedians “Sarah Millican’s Support Group”. She’s a very talented comic. Then Joel, our host’s 18 year old son, and I sat swapping funny comedy sketches on YouTube – we watched a lot of Python and “Not The Nine O’Clock News”.

Fred took me on a tour round old Franklin town – the site of one the bloodiest battles in the American Civil War. There’s some lovely old, by American standards, buildings in the town and the main street is almost as narrow as a British town centre but the shops are all 100% American. There are signs and monuments all over the town marking where particular battles, skirmishes and deaths of Generals took place. It's strange to try to picture this pleasant peaceful area being soaked in blood and carnage as the Confederacy finally crumbled towards defeat. It’s a miracle that the USA survived that war given that it turned neighbours and families against one another let alone towns, cities and states.

Godfrey and I then went into Nashville for another quick visit to "Fork’s Drum Cabin" and the guitar shop next door. Godfrey needed a new drum batter head for his little Ludwig kick and I needed some light jazz drum sticks for my Dad. We got a 16” Aquarian Super-Kick I and then went to a “Captain D’s” seafood fast food restaurant for lunch. I had the salmon sandwich which was actually pretty good, Godfrey’s battered fish was less so and he didn’t finish it in case it made him ill.

We got to Belmont Church for about 4:30 and the PA sound was a lot better during the rehearsal. Adam, the sound engineer, brought some excellent head phones in from home for me and they gave a much clearer and, more importantly, louder sound. I put the new batter head on Godfrey's little converted floor-tom kick and tuned it up.  It sounded fantastic.  A really deep punchy boom and from a dinky little drum. I think Godfrey's decided to bring it home with him rather than leave it here in the states. The rehearsal was a lot of fun – the band was really getting tight and used to playing together.  I've got a sound-desk mono recording of the night before - I want it just to hear my drumming and find out what mistakes I'm making so I can put them right, so don't bother asking for a copy; you won't get one!

The meeting started at 6pm and Godfrey did what he’s good at. He pushed the edges. In some places, like SloshFest, that edge is pretty far out and hard to find let alone push and in other more conventional or traditional churches pushing the edge could be just playing something that isn’t a hymn! He pitched it well tonight for the people that had come and the band sounded really good. I hope that the those attending got blessed and challenged, both together.

After the meeting Fred and Rob from Belmont took the band out for a Chinese meal at “Pei Wei Asian Diner”. It was excellent Chinese food cooked out in full view fresh for you when you order. We had a great time together laughing and telling stories to each other – there was a really good feeling of camaraderie. “The Band…Elwood….The BAND!!!”

When we got back to Fred’s I managed to call my son Paul on Skype.  He is 16 hours ahead of my current time zone, in Cairns Australia. It’s quite odd to be calling him the day before his birthday, my time, but for him it’s the middle of the afternoon of his birthday! He’s a good boy and I love him lots.

Tomorrow we do our last two meetings then we drive back to Atlanta ready for our flights home on Monday night. It would be good to finish with a bang not a whimper so I hope there’s some “Wild Bells” to be rung out tomorrow and some business to be done in Nashville by this mix of English and American musicians and singers – remember we’re ALL in the band!

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