Thursday, January 11, 2007

Madison County, Virginia.

Yesterday was complete madness-- wonderful, but exhausting. It was dark when we woke up for breakfast, and we drove the 45 minutes from Joe's parents' house into Charlottesville during sunrise. Several cups of coffee later we arrived at the WNRN studio to meet Anne Williams.  Somehow we actually fit all 6 of us, complete with bass and Stefan on the snare, into a tiny booth to play some tunes and anwer Anne's interview questions semi-intelligently. It was there decided that Emmy brings the "roots", while I brings the "kitsch" to The Sweetback Sisters, creating a perfect combination... too true!

After the radio show, we wandered the beautiful downtown area of Charlottesville and scoped out the Gravity Lounge where we would be playing later that night. Our tourist buzz didn't last long. Lack of sleep soon caught up with us, and we drove back to Joe's and went to bed.

Though we were all a bit dazed and hungry, the show at the Gravity Lounge was a total hoot. The audience consisted mostly of friends of the band members' parents-- the best kind of audience! We all kind of looked at each other at the break and said, "Hey, this is really coming together!" It's so nice to finally be able to play with each other for several nights consecutively, as opposed to the previous here-and-there gigs, and watch the group grow as a family (and honky-tonkin' machine!)

A nice bit of icing on the cake was this promo pic we threw together this morning before packing the cars to head to Philly. A bit matronly, but not a bad looking bunch ;)

Keep it country!

Zara and the Sweetbacks

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hometowns make us happy

Current mood: tired

I just sat on my guest bed at Joe's family's lovely Madison County, Virginia home. It was incredibly soft, with fresh linens, and country quilts, perfect to sleep on for hours and hours. But there was a cold, stark reality, this bed was in fact just a terrible tease and travesty, for in a little less than 5 hours we're all going to get up and drive into Charlottesville. A few days ago, in a stroke of bravery and restedness, we agreed to do a 9am radio appearance on WNRN (Anne William's morning show) knowing full well that we would be driving in from Baltimore the night before and probably wouldn't sleep at all. Eeek! Reality sinks in.... Ah well, atleast we're all keeping busy!

We just had a show in Baltimore this evening at a great little place called Current Gallery in the middle of B-more's financial district. Due to no planning on our part (Thanks, Carly!), the evening ended up being an elegant history of country music! The first act was a small group of Shape Note Singers, performing the polyphonic early American church music that was so influential for early country singers like the Louvin Brothers ; the second was Caleb Stine, who sang an array of early folk amd blues tunes, including some Guthrie & Carter Family material; and third was us, with honky tonk and beyond. A nice history lesson for all.

Alright I should go. My goal is to get at least 4.2 hours of sleep.


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The House of Ice

Current mood: chipper

Hey y'all.

We had our first show of the tour last night! And with only a few minor complications... We got a call 24 hours before the show informing us that we couldn't play as scheduled at Elkins' premier Venezuelan restaurant (long story...) so Emily and Jesse scrambled around calling every joint in town and landed a gig at a bar called the Ice House, which was actually used as such back in the day. What is an ice house, you ask? Read on...

"Ice House (Circa 1890s)
A cyclindrical stone structure, originally built by Stephen B. Elkins, the Ice House stored the Elkins family's ice supply when they were in residence at Halliehurst during the summer months. In 1969, the structure was refurbished and has since been used as a coffee house/pub."

The building is a three-level cylinder of stone and concrete, complete with two balconies along the perimeter and spiral staircases. You walk in on the top and go down into the depths to get your beer. We played on the middle balcony, and since the building is fully open in the middle people could hear us from all levels. Man, NYC would kill for a bar like this!

We spent the night out at Jesse's parents' cabin (really a house in the woods) out on the edge of the Monongahela National Forest. After some whiskey and generous helpings of Jesse's two-day old birthday cake, we happily went to bed.

We woke to snow, real life snow! How strange to actually be excited for snow in the heart of winter. Global warming will do that to you.

Alright well, off to Baltimore!