Listening to: Gary Ray and the Heartwells – Mississippi Streets & Smile

One of the things that my wife and I have not done in a while is go out to a concert.  We have been out on occasion, but it was on rare, carefully planned dating excursions to non-remote locales.  This mostly had to do with the responsibilities involved with taking care of Mom.  I went out to run errands once while my wife was at her office, leaving our then eighteen-year-old daughter to watch Mom for about an hour.  I was about fifteen minutes from the house when Mom’s blood-pressure plummeted and she passed out.  I then received a panicked phone call and I flew back home.

So tonight, I decided that I needed to get out and throw off this funk I have been in for the last three weeks.  I am part of the street team for a local (soon to be world-famous, if I have anything to say about it) band, Gary Ray and the Heartwells.  Since I don’t get out much, most of my work has been pimping them on the web.  A task I must admit I am pretty good at.  There was a street team contest at Reverbnation and I won it by generating the most interest from my various posts,  The prize was an autographed copy of their latest CD, “Livin’ the Dream.”

I have been a fan of Gary’s from his solo days.  I have everything he has ever released, from his days with the rock band Obsession Day to his current band, The Heartwells.  His music has heart and it’s fun, so I love it.  Plus, he’s just a great guy from the few occasions I have had the chance to speak with him.  A lot of artists disappoint you by being jackasses and he honestly likes his fans, which is a valuable trait that I hope he keeps when he hits it big.

So I emailed him back the other day to let him know that I’d be at the show tonight so he could save the shipping of sending the CD to me.  My wife and I saddled up and headed off to Kramer’s in Atlanta for the show.  No cover was an added bonus, but I had cash, so I bought an extra couple of CDs for some friends who wanted a copy but were unable to go.

While I was chatting with Gary, I mentioned two of my favorite songs.  “Smile” is pretty much a universal favorite in my household.  My wife and I love it and I am pretty sure most, if not all, the kids have it on their iPods as well.  It is a song from his solo days and he said he hadn’t played it in a while, but he would give it a try.  The other song was “Mississippi Streets.”  He plays this song using a glass bottle as a slide for his guitar.  Love that song and it is on their latest album, so it was part of the set they were going to play anyway.

The show kicked off and they mixed their own song with some outstanding covers of such songs and “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Copperhead Road.”  When he got to “Smile” he dropped my name as one of his top street team members, so I have some street cred right there.  That’s right, y’all.  I rule.  Don’t forget it.  The song went fine until he started the second verse.  Remember that this is an old song of his from before he formed the band.  I was impressed that they were able to pull it off since I have never heard them play it at all.

Gary looked down off the stage and said, “Ok, you’re gonna have to help me here.  How does it start?”

“I’m headed down I-65!” I shouted.

“Right!” he said and lit right into it.  Mucho street cred for me once again.

So Gary, sorry for requesting such a blast from the past, but I just friggin’ LOVE that song.

After that, he played “Mississippi Streets” and rocked the asses off everyone there.  We stayed until they took a break, a little after midnight, listening to and singing along with the music, watching drunk people dancing, and just having a great time.  I wished the guys a good show and went on home since the A/C in the place was  overpowered by the dancing bodies and the humid June evening.

I know this had nothing to do with writing, which this blog is ostensibly about, but since Mom started to go downhill, I haven’t written anything of note that wasn’t either required by school or a post here.  Part of being me is the therapy I have to go through before I can start back again.  I may as well bring this blog along for the ride, if only so I can have some documentation of these days for future reminiscence.

Thanks for listening.

Well… reading.

You get the idea.



“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.”

~ Truman Capote