A Fly-Fishin’ Musician

I got into fly fishing in August of 2016. It has quickly become my escape from music; my outlet to help me clear my head. More on that in a different post.

Jessie and I had a great weekend this weekend. It started off with playing for a private event on Friday night. We had a great time, and it seemed that everyone else did too! Then it was off to my parents’ lake house for the two of us.

We got up to the lake around 2 am and settled into bed pretty quickly. We were the only ones there, so we had a quiet house to sleep late into the morning. Saturday afternoon, we joined my cousins for a birthday party for their two year-old’s birthday party. We had a blast sitting around and watching him play on the inflatable water slide.

We headed back to the house for some afternoon naps. Well, Jessie napped. I cut the grass. We laid around the house the rest of the evening. It was so refreshing to get some much-needed rest! We finally felt like we caught up on sleep!

Sunday was a very lazy day. We did take some tome to go fishing. I had been fishing already on Saturday, but on Sunday, Jessie and I fished together. Jessie took a fly fishing class with me a couple of weeks ago, and she was ready to try out her skills on the water. We spend a little time by the boat ramp with no success.

Later in the afternoon, just before sunset, I took her out in the canoe. I hit some spots that usually hold fish, but nothing was biting. Finally, after about 45 minutes, we found one! Jessie caught a little bluegill all on her own on a fly! She loved it! A few minutes later, she also caught a small bass. I think she got the hang of it.

Monday morning rolled around, and our weekend of relaxation was over. We woke up early and drove to Knoxville for WDVX’s Blue Plate Special concert series. We had a blast and met some really great people. Then it was back home where we are preparing to jump back into our “normal” routines. Nothing is normal when you’re a musician.

What a great weekend! It was a much needed respite in between gigs, and I’m glad we took advantage of it. Bring on tomorrow!

Our New Tour (Camper) Bus!

Jessie and I have been talking about a pop up camper for a while. It would make it so easy to pack up and tour, save money that we would have spent on hotels, and we can take a little bit of home with us wherever we go! So several weeks ago, we bought a pop up.

We found one on Craigslist that was just right for us, and that was ready for some work. We have found a little website called ThePopUpPrincess.com that gave us the confidence that we can make a pop up our own. We have big dreams for this little thing, and I can't wait to get started.

The camper is in good condition, and I think we can do quite a bit with it. Some of the first things we would like to do are replace the floor with some faux-wood vinyl (or something similar) and paint or replace the cabinets. When we do this, I also want to carve out space to build-in our mini fridge. Eventually, we want to redo counter tops, upholstery, curtains, paint the exterior, and a laundry list of other things as well.

Shortly after we bought the camper (just days after), we headed off on our maiden voyage. We had a show at our favorite venue on the Gulf of Mexico – the Green Door Music Hall in Ft. Walton Beach. Jessie survived the heat and humidity in the camper for two nights, and we called the trip (and the show) a success! We had so much fun!

We love the quiet peacefulness of the camp sights we've found so far, and we can't wait for the adventures that await us. As I write this, we are currently on a week tour across Wisconsin in our camper, playing our music for the wonderful people in this state. We have yet to meet people that are better friends or love music like these cheese heads! I can't wait to update you with our latest adventures when we return. Until then, I'll enjoy the ride and reminisce about the awesome times we've had like lunch at the Back Porch a few weeks ago.

I'll do my best to log our adventures, both on the road and in remodeling the camper, right here.

Steak and Green Beans

Jessie and I have decided to blog some of the meals we cook. I don’t mean to brag, but we’re some pretty good chefs. She made some curry potatoes that are the jealousy of the lunch table at my office.

Tonight I made steak and green beans for lunch for us tomorrow (because we both had other dinner plans tonight, and I had a little time to throw this together).

Jessie got two ribeye steaks the other day, so I pulled them out of the fridge and threw them on the grill. I sprinkled garlic salt on top and left them to cook while I ran inside to take care of the green beans.

I put some water on to boil, then went to town trimming green bean ends, washing them, and getting them in the boiling water.

I went outside to flip the steaks while the green beans boiled for about 6 minutes. When the steaks were flipped, I sprinkled more garlic salt on the top. Then back inside to finish the green beans.

After draining the green beans, I mixed in Emeril’s Essence Seasoning. I’ve also added some butter before, but I didn’t this time, strictly because I needed to get back to the steaks. I think they turned out fine without butter, but I much prefer some buttery goodness.

I made sure the steaks were cooked well enough through the middle, and removed them from the grill. I was able to make a great meal fairly quickly, with just a few ingredients, and very little hassle.


I would have preferred to have cooked the steaks over medium heat, but I kind of forgot to turn the grill down after lighting. I got distracted my text messages and never recovered. My steaks were slightly more well-done than I’d like, but I’m still very happy.

The Problem of Nashville

Nashville is great. I’m one of the few that grew up here. I was actually born in this city. My dad grew up here, mom grew up within a few miles of here, as did 3 of my 4 grandparents. We’ve been here a while, and I’m very proud of that.

Nashville has been an “it” city for several years now. I could have told you that before the craze started. People have been moving here for decades to pursue music after they became the big fish in a little pond wherever they were raised.

I never had that big-fish-in-a-little-pond experience. This Nashville pond is more like a Great Lake. What I have discovered is that Nashville locals don’t attend music shows like in other areas. Music is too common. Why go out tonight when I can go out any night? That usually turns into rarely going out to hear live music at all. I know because I’ve been there.

My wife and I have decided to change our habits of never going out for several reasons. One, for me, is “do unto others as you would have them do for you.” I love it when people come out to our shows. The people who come often say things like, “I love seeing y’all play! It’s so great! I didn’t realize how much fun this is!” I know it’s hard to get butts in seats. It hurts to see empty rooms. It feels awkward always telling friends about shows only to hear three words in return: “Sorry, I can’t.”

My wife says I’m loyal, sometimes to a fault. I try to keep up with other musicians, buy their records, go to their shows, and show up for anything possible. I don’t really care whether I like the music (although I have very talented friends); it’s about supporting a person, a friend. I do it because I know what it feels like if no one shows up.

Music City, U.S.A. is a hard place to grow up in music. Why go hear someone you know but don’t know their music when you could go elsewhere and hear someone sing their 15 top-10 hits at a writer’s night next door? Sometimes we talk about moving anywhere else because we want to be big fish. Little fish get thrown back in the water.

If I didn’t believe so much in the music we make, I wouldn’t take it so personally. I know the music we create and the experience we provide is better than most of this town. I just wish others would take the little time and effort it takes to see this too.

College Football at Tennessee

Fire Butch Jones if you think you can find someone better.

I don’t think you can find someone better.  There is only one Nick Saban.  The closest thing to another Saban that I have been able to find is an Urban Meyer, and he is closely followed by a Jim Harbaugh for now.  After that, there is a gap before a Jimbo Fisher.  They don’t make those kinds of coaches very often.

Butch Jones is a good coach.  If the coaches above are the only great coaches, then Butch is a good coach.  I’m perfectly happy with a good coach!  Not-good coaches for Tennessee have looked like Lane Kiffin and Derek Dooley.  Kiffin took a program that was already in a little bit of trouble with the NCAA and made it worse.  Dooley didn’t really do anything wrong – he just didn’t do anything.

Then comes Butch.  He coached some boys and helped make them men.  He did what he could to make sure they were doing the right things like staying out of trouble and studying.  I haven’t looked at numbers of arrests, but it seems to me that there have been fewer during Butch’s tenure than during Phillip Fulmer’s.

Butch started recruiting star players.  He recruited ones that he thought would fit his program – ones that had character and talent.  Sometimes you get a player in that doesn’t buy into the coaching philosophy.  One of Tennessee’s players who best exemplifies that is Alvin Kamara…when he was at Alabama.  The problem comes when you have someone who doesn’t fit, who took up a scholarship spot, and there are not enough qualified young men to step up into the roll.  With only being able to sign so many players a year, it takes a little while to stock-pile the roster like an Alabama – they have a senior go down, and there is a junior to replace him.

Then the injuries.  I really believe strength and conditioning only goes so far.  When multiple players all go down with shoulder injuries (like 2015), I understand how that can be strength and conditioning.  When the injuries are all over the body (2016), I’m not sure who to blame.  That feels more like we, as humans, are passing our limit of the abuse our bodies can take.

Our defense wasn’t supposed to win championships, not from what I was told.  I was told our defense was supposed to beat Florida, which it did.  After that, we dwindled down to zero defensive tackles.  I’m not sure how many football fans out there actually know the difference between a defensive end and a defensive tackle – it seems like most who talk about Tennessee don’t know the difference – but they aren’t interchangeable.  Tennessee had to interchange them, and look where that got our defense the last three games.

Would I have gone for it on fourth-and-four?  Absolutely.  Score a touchdown, get a two-point conversion, and then you just have to get within field goal range to have a chance to tie.  That, I thought, was playing to win.  If Butch had kicked a field goal and not been able to score a touchdown at the end, I bet the same people saying he made the wrong call by going for it would say he made the wrong call by kicking a field goal first.

So fire Butch Jones if you think you can find a better coach.  Tom Herman lost a game he should not have lost to Memphis, yet he’s still heralded at the second coming of Christ at Texas.  I don’t think Herman could do better at Tennessee.  I think Tennessee fans, and any fan of a college football team, should realize that these things take time unless your name is Saban, Meyer, or Harbaugh.  Butch is a good coach, and I wouldn’t trade him for any other coach out there – not even Saban, Meyer, or Harbaugh.  If Tennessee lets Butch do his job, and think we will all be happy.  If we let him finish what he is only starting at Tennessee, everything will be just fine.

Why I’m a Disney Fan

I’m spending my Sunday prepping CDs for an upcoming tour date, folding laundry, cleaning, and watching Disneynature: Wings of Life.  I have been a Disney fan for a long time.  Nearly every child, at some point, loves Disney – they have a movie they love, a character with whom they identify, or that trip to Disney World that they remember forever.

The moment that did me in was a trip, I believe in middle or high school, to WDW with the family.  I remember walking down Main Street, U.S.A. with my dad when he pointed out the second story of the shops on Main Street.  He told me about how the second story is designed and built to be just a little bit shorter than the first story, thus creating an effect as you look down Main Street to the Castle.  It makes the Castle that much bigger – all thanks to “forced perspective.”

Since then, I fell in love with the details.  Don’t get me wrong – I love the attractions too!  The beauty is in the details.  The bathrooms are clean.  There is no trash on the ground thanks to Cast Members picking up any trash that hits the ground.  Characters only refer to things inside the Disney universe.  Every queue is themed down to every detail!  This is what made me fall in love with the parks, and I see it in everything Disney does.

Jessie and I went to Disney World for our honeymoon (and twice in the 4 years since).  While we were there, we saw a movie poster for Chimpanzee while on the Backlot Tour in Hollywood Studios.  Shortly after getting home, the movie was released in theaters, and we went to see it.  I realized then how much effort was put into making perfect pictures.

I can’t create perfection, especially not in everything I do everyday.  I can, however, strive to create the best possible experience for others through the music we create, the way we present that music, and how we communicate with fans.  Our CDs, though “home-made,” look planned and intentional.  Jessie creates cool-looking graphics to advertise shows and music releases.  If we create enjoyable experiences, people will return.

This is what Disney has done – they have created enjoyable experiences so that people will return.  The cheapest advertising is keeping current customers happy and making them happy enough to tell others about how great their experience was.

Disney World is a beautiful example of marketing and taking care of customers.  I know it costs money to go to Disney, but it wouldn’t be packed all the time if it were not worth it.  This is why I love Disney.

Thanks to Dad for pointing out the details that started me on this fascination; my friend Chris for having the same love and passion for all things Disney; Lou for his WDW Radio Podcast to keep me engulfed in the details of Disney; and finally, Jessie for loving all of this with me, even if not quite to the same extent. 😉

WDW Radio

It’s Valentine’s Day

It’s the last installment of my Valentine’s blog series. The first time I heard this song, I instantly thought of my wife. She works so incredibly hard chasing a dream, and she sometimes has those days when it all seems like too much. Break on me. I want to be that place for her.

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear.

There’ll be days your heart don’t wanna beat
You pray more than you breathe
And you just wanna fall to pieces
And nights, those 2 AM calls
Where dreams become walls
And you just need a break
Break on me

Shatter like glass
Come apart in my hands
Take as long as it takes, girl
Break on me
Put your head on my chest
Let me help you forget
When your heart needs to break
Just break on me

There’ll be times when someone you know
Becomes someone you knew
But you’d do anything to change it
And words you wanna take back
But you know you can’t
When the page just won’t turn
And it still hurts
Break on me

Shatter like glass
Come apart in my hands
Take as long as it takes, girl
Break on me
Put your head on my chest
Let me help you forget
When your heart needs to break
Just break on me

Oh, when you need somebody
When you need somebody right now
You’re where I’ll be
Break on me

Shatter like glass
Come apart in my hands
Take as long as it takes, girl
Break on me
Put your head on my chest
Let me help you forget
When your heart needs to break
Just break on me
Break on me
Break on me, baby