Who's gonna throw that Minstrel boy a coin?
Who's gonna let it roll?
The treasure’s not the takin’. It’s the lovin’ of the game. Winter chill hits Columbia Missouri. Rivers soon frozen. Marking the Twain; ten shows in; fifty to go. Blood and Candle Smoke. From sold out show in Boston to midnight run on old interstate 95; here we are on this broke down, rutted highway and three in the morning and worried about making the Letterman show. We make NYC in the afternoon and walk head on into the “controversy.” Letterman tapes two shows on that Thursday, and he tells of the extortion plot against him. Dave handled it a lot better than those boneless politicians with their faux shame. Ratings climbed 50% higher and we began to chart on Amazon. More gigs: Joe's Pub, Turning Point, World Café with Gene Shay, who says he puts "Blood" into the top 25 of his 11,000 plus record collection. Told me he had dated Nina Simone. Vienna Virginia, XM Radio with Bob Edwards which will air soon; Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Ann Arbor, Fairfield - Iowa…home of the Transcendental Meditation tribe. Blueberry pie and Vedic houses and down the road to Columbia. Then K.C., St Louis and Mt.Olive. There is still an America out there, but it's a house of mirrors. You don’t know what you're actually seeing; or eating. Much illusion. But the bridges and the rivers are still there, carrying coal, and shrimp and broken bottles through the night. Old America still exists inside used book stores and on the faces of Amish women.
People want to know what this life feels like, asking: "don’t you get tired of traveling?" Naw. What baffles me is what OTHER people have to do for a living. Just give me that fruit platter and two bottles of water in the dressing room. A towel and decent hotel. We follow an ancient path of old wagon ruts left by guitar toting muleskinners who carry the word from town to town. An honest trade in a tired land. And I dream back to that old Ed Sullivan theater dressing room where they tape the Letterman show; thinking about that tray of fresh cookies and those wonderful old photos on the wall; people who have shared the dressing room: James Brown, The Beatles, Bob Dylan (with his upside down Gibson guitar - the photo must have been backwards.) It's all worth it, if you can stay inside the song and sing it honestly.
Why do we do it? How? I quote the song lines:
But beside the lookin' for…
The findin's always tame.
There's nothin' drives a gambler,
Like the lovin of the game.
"The Lovin' of the Game"
Letterman link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIDCYjvj5XU
(Southwest tour coming….and Texas….check www.tomrussell.com)