Sunday, September 30, 2007

Everything I learned in life, I learned from The Great Gatsby. (Or why I love Louisville)

Current mood: amused
Category: Travel and Places
As I was driving down I-71 this weekend, I read one of my favorite books. Two qualifications: 1) i wasn't really reading per se, rather listening to Tim Robbins read aloud via my iPod. and 2) the book, The Great Gatsby might actually be my favorite book, and not just "one of my favorites."

You may have been forced to read it in school and hate it, or never have been forced, but still hate it. And that's fine. I won't judge you. But know that I happen to love the book, and i re-read it every other year or so. This is the first year i've had a dreamy actor read it aloud to me.

In chapter one, our narrator, Nick Carraway, visits his distant cousin, Daisy Buchanan at her home across the Bay. Daisy and Tom have another houseguest, Jordan Baker. When she hears that Nick lives in West Egg, the following conversation ensues:

"You live in West Egg," she remarked contemptuously. "I know somebody there."

"I don't know a single——"

"You must know Gatsby."

"Gatsby?" demanded Daisy. "What Gatsby?"

(Warning: mild spoiler alert -- though it certainly won't ruin the book for you)

We learn later in the story that Nick lives right next door to Gatsby. And that this Gatsby is an old suitor of Daisy's. Small world, i always used to think, and most people suspend their disbelief that this strange connection could actually happen.

But here's my theory as to HOW and WHY it happens. Because in the story, Daisy and Jordan are from LOUISVILLE, and Daisy met Gatsby in LOUISVILLE. And to folks from Louisville, it's not weird at all that your best friend's second cousin lives next door to the poor boy your friend used to date and that just so happens to be the nouveau-riche man you met at a party just last month. Because those kind of connections don't just happen in Louisville; they are expected.

When I lived in New York, I was always explaining that Kentucky is a big state and, "no i probably don't know the guy you know from Kentucky." But somehow it always turned out that i DID know him, or my mom went to high school with him, or my friend dated him, or something. This always just proved to the northeastern folks that, yes, Louisville is the smallest, most charming little backwards town.

I have read The Great Gatsby at least a dozen times, and the fact that Nick, Jordan, and Daisy all knew Gatsby from different avenues never bothered me. I never assumed it was a writer's trick or tactic; i just figured, "Isn't it funny how Louisvillians always know each other?"

That being said, it's good to be back here for a while. I've missed my dog and my deck. Tonight I cooked a butternut squash dish that I thought was delicious, but which my dad hated. See if I ever invite you over for dinner again, Dad. Mom ate it quietly, but used the salt quite a bit.

I'm playing Western Kentucky University on Tuesday afternoon, at noon. I think maybe i'll have a night out in Nashville on Monday. It's been a while. Then this weekend: the St. James Art Fair. I'm playing a quick set at the Blue Sky Kentucky booth. Well, they think i'm playing, but i'm thinking of painting instead. It is an art fair, after all. Gotta love St. James.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Current mood: calm
Category: Travel and Places
I'm sitting in the tour van in downtown Birmingham. We left Louisville last night around 8:00, arrived in Atlanta at 3:00am, woke up at 6:20am to play/sing on Atlanta's top-rated morning show: Good Day Atlanta. Check out the performance here.
There's a great interview with Peter and we rock out on "I Believe."

We took a nap, and met up with a friend for some chips-n-salsa. Apparently, Peter shares my obsession with these two divine foods.

Peter and i watched part of the original "Dawn of the Dead," while Steven drove us to Birmingham. Then i napped until Peter mentioned we were passing by Talladega. We talked about our own personal Baby Jesus and drove like Ricky Bobby.

Now seems to the point where we have arrived at the club, and have gone our separate ways briefly, without mentioning the fact that we each seem to want to be alone for a few minutes. Nice when you don't have to explain that.

Back to Atlanta tonight for a big show there tomorrow.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Current mood: busy
Category: Music
Peter Searcy, Steven O'Reilly, and I spent the last week in a sweet high-top conversion van, spoiled by air conditioning AND a DVD player.

I'm still a little tired, so this blog will likely not be the most exciting or clever. Apologies in advance.

vignettes & interesting things learned from the road:

-The trip began in a sketchy Econolodge between Dayton and Columbus. We didn't get to the hotel until 2 am and were immediately approached by Drunk Guy, who saw we had a van full of equipment. I thought about volunteering to sleep in the van to protect it, but then Drunk Guy and his Hooligans would have found two guitars AND a redhead. We decided that was not much of a deterrent, so Deputy Drummer O'Reilly slept in the van.

- Apparently if you are in a band, and can donate a CD, you can get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for free. Unfortunately, for the first time in my life, i was caught without a CD. And the museum was only open for 30 more minutes anyway, which i spent in the gift shop, buying postcards to send to Peter & Steven's wives.

- The drive from Cleveland to Albany, along Lake Erie and through upstate new York, is absolutely beautiful.

- Still true: If i could live anywhere in Manhattan, I would choose Brooklyn Heights.

- I thought i had found happiness with Louisville bagels, but i am once again back to former New Yorker snobbery. No more bagels unless i'm in Brooklyn.

- The Shenendoah Valley is breaktaking.

- I really wanted to stop off at the Woodrow Wilson library, but we didn't have time. Instead, i pulled out the laptop loaded with the World Book Encyclopedia, and Peter and I learned all about Woodrow. We then went back to G-Dub the First (George Washington, duh!) and got all the way up to John Quincy Adams. It seems that all of these Founding Fathers married wealthy widows, which allowed them free time to sit around and philosophize about a new country. Thus, without the money of their women, America would be a very different place.

Thursday we leave for Atlanta -- look for Peter on Good Day Atlanta on Friday morning. Friday night we play Birmingham. Saturday we're back in Atlanta.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

John Prine

John Prine
So John Prine did not respond to my offer of free accordion accompaniment at his Louisville show tonight, but John, if you're reading, I forgive you. Because tonight's show was absolutely fantastic.

Of course, this could be because I was sitting in the third row of the orchestra pit, with not a chair, nor hair standing between me and John Prine. Rows A & B were two separate aisles, but row C, where i was, was a long row, and i was right in the middle. I could see every wrinkle on the face and scar on the neck.

But the best part was when, after singing, "She's My Everything," John Prine stepped out into shadows in front of the spotlight ... rocked out a bit at the electric guitar ... looked straight at me (i was smiling as wide as i ever have, out of pure joy of being exactly where i was), acknowledged me with a nod and a smile, to which i replied with a nod and a smile and i think i blew him a kiss, and he cocked his head back and nodded again ... and the woman two seats over looked at me and said "brigid, that was you!! he was looking at you!!" .. and i said, "i know!!"

It was a wonderful concert. I think most of you were there.

Jason Wilber's guitar solo on "Far From Me" had me in tears. Check out Jason's songs, if you get a chance. He's a great writer on his own.

The Highlands Fest was fun. I just love playing live shows. to bed, to bed

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Yee haw and away we go

Yee haw and away we go
Current mood: chipper
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers
For those of you following along: I got my driver's license renewed.

This turned out to be an exciting event because the woman at the DMV recognized me ... "Are you Brigid the singer?!" I think she knew I must be famous because of the ballcap and sunglasses I was wearing -- a dead giveaway. Hee hee. This didn't really cause much of a stir there because, well, i'm not really famous. But she did let me cut a bit in line, and sent me straight to the photographer. A few other people were trying to figure out who i was, which, really, is no one, so that was funny. I think, perhaps, the key is to make people think they should know who you are. Sort of like those snotty indie-rock kids from college: "You've never heard of insert-stupid-band-name-including-gerund-and-plural-noun?!?!? Wow." Then, all of a sudden, you've heard of this terrible band.

Well, the impetus for this blog is that I am hitting the road with Peter Searcy next week to tour his new record Spark. We played a kick-ass show at Rock the Water Tower this weekend. I also played a fun solo show, in which i decided to play accordion and piano at the same time. I sold a bunch of CD's, thanks for the fine folks at Label X for walking around with the merchandise during my set.

Anyway, Peter and I are heading northeast, with stops in Dayton, Cleveland area, Albany, NYC, NJ, and Virginia. We're traveling as a 3-piece. I'm hoping to avoid the fast-food trap of the road. So if any folks in our destination cities have restaurant suggestions, come out to the show, then take me out to eat! (I'll have two bodyguards, so beware.) Also be on the lookout for video blogs, like the one featured here. I told Peter we're stopping at every mechanical bull or equivalent roadside attraction.

My favorite thing to to in Louisville lately has been to sing with some of my favorite musicians on Monday nights up here at Gerstle's. It's Steve Cooley, Larey Raley, and lately Stephen Couch, of the Betweeners ... i join in on vocals and musical saw on occasion. And last week, i took a big step and revealed to the world a never-before-seen-secret: I can yodel.

Upcoming shows:

HighlandsFest on Saturday, Sept. 8 in Louisville. My band plays for FREE at noon, immediately followed by Tim Krekel, followed by Peter Searcy. Then i hang out for an hour or so. THEN I go see John Prine at the Palace. Anyone out there need tickets? I have a friend who mentioned might have 2 extras for sale.

9/10-9/16 ... on the road

10/17 Going to see Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan in Louisville. If you're reading this, Elvis, can i sing with you? I'm not as tall as Emmylou, but I won't charge you.

Late October ... recording new CD.

December ... working out a UK tour, possibly to spread to the continent. If you've a fan, band, or venue in Europe, hit me up ... let's work out a show.