Stranger On A BUS

Busking Tour Fall 2001

Louisville, Kentucky

indent spacerBack in late July I received an email from one Heidi Howe, and up and coming song writer from Louisville, offering me a chance to share a bill with her in a pizza parlor gig she was booking for the fall season. I'd signed her email list in 2000, when she performed at the Soma Coffehouse in Bloomington, Indiana. She had checked out my web-site and mp3 songs. Each Tuesday, she has a different songwriter share the stage with her, swapping songs and stories. Exactly what I had hoped having a web site would provide.

indent spacerOf course I responded with a quick yes, you pick the date. She chose John Lennon's 61st birthday annivesary! (later, at the gig, she told me she hadn't been aware of this, but I got a nice little buzz out of the choice...). So, I contacted friends in Atlanta, South Carolina, and Oregon. My thoughts were to put as much of a tour of benefits and busking together around Louisville as possible.

indent spacerMy long time friend Doo-wop John helped me get with a mutual friend who has helped Food, not Bombs in Atlanta, and a small benefit was arranged for October 13. I began making plans for a month of bus based touring...my experience in the past few years has been, sketch the plans - if it can somehow bear witness to the Mercy of the Most High, the details pencil themselves in...more opportunity to share my "mantra" - Let the Burden BE Lifted, May the Healing Continue.

(For some thoughts on this, please refer to Dream it UP!)


indent spacerAugust came and went...my patient readers know that I will post a feature page on 2001's Woodstock-ers' "Multi-family Yard Sale" - EXTRAORDINAIRE!!! indent spacerIn Early September, I secured a temp position in the Gresham foodCourt, of Foster Quadrangle on IU's campus. (History buffs might be interested in the bust in the lobby, it's of John W. Foster...the maternal grandfather of the Dulles brothers, Allen and John Foster, who served in the Eisenhower administration). By September 11, I was adjusting quite well to my second shift hours, the rigors of grill cooking, and a 40 hour work week...I'd secured the day off on October 9th, and had decided to scale ideas of a big month on the bus back to that night, and careful planning of more Mp3.com presence, and few other business of my own Kolo Records matters made possible by steady employment.

indent spacerI would wake up the next morning to the shock of my life! I've survived a number of personal events that had me in a physical state of traumatic shock, but nothing like the tragedy still unfolding before a benumbed world! I did go to work, even though the "bombings" of the WTC and the Pentagon were having a heavy affect on my spirit. I thought of the rescue-emergency personnel and the long exhausting stints they were putting in from moment ONE at Ground Zero, and found the strength to overcome my own feeling of impending colapse...when I got to work, one person was absent...the other fellow, thankfully, was a seasoned worker, and we got through the dinner rush somehow by sheer grit. Yet I was thrashed. Woke up on my day off feeling miserable...talked to a friend about the attack - he said he was in a state of shock...then I realized what was happening to me...it didn't take very long that day to start pulling back from watching too much coverage...I went in the next day, couldn't focus, and had to call off sick after 2 hours...Although I felt rested Friday, the 14th, as soon as the state of the world impinged all the trauma symptoms returned...I emailed my friend in Oregon, asking help in relocating myself there at the beginning of November, then called the temp agency and the Food Court Management and said due to "circumstances beyond my control", having nothing to do with your work, I withdraw from my position...The bottom line was/is: I had/have to respond to what happened September 11 as The Busker For FREEDOM 24/7...The same still voice that is NO Voice which is the source of many of my songs would be my guide...my Oregon friend replied that evening: "You're On...when can we expect you?"

indent spacerI had nearly a month to get my bus pass financed, move out of my place, and finish tie-ing down some other dates...It all went smoothly, by a very seasoned mover's method...Tuesday the nineth of October found me in downtown Louisville around 1pm - seven hours to sight-see, explore Louisville, and find the Palace theatre, where I'd seen Bob Dylan once in the late nineties...It wasn't too difficult finding the right bus to Frankfort Avenue...and Clifton's Pizza...I allayed any performer's nervousness with my mantra, mentioned above (find it here), and had a simple rice and beans dinner across the street.

indent spacerWhen I walked into the room where the stage was, a funny little synchronicity stroked me, giving me a bit of a buzz, but otherwise of no further significance...the clock on the wall read 7:17pm...the month and date of my birth...I laughed quietly, and thought "Cosmic Giggle Factor" comes into play...Heidi arrived just as she said - 7:45...it was then I realized I'd forgotten an important detail...I hadn't told her I had no pick-up on my guitar! Unprofessional! She wasn't too happy, because we wouldn't be able to swap back and forth as was the format of this series of hers...too bad, there's extra dibs I could have called in from friends, Jesse...Yet she adjusted like the trouper you need to be, and said that I'd play for an hour then me...when I began I apologized for neglecting to ask about this...later she would take responsibility for not asking me the sweetness of grace works well even in small moments such as these.

A partial set list follows, with some comments:

indent spacerI've been having a great time with Bob Dylan's Love Minus Zero/No Limit for the past several months...I like to open sets with it, more or less as a Theme Song...I consider it an under-appreciated gem! Some other songs were Fred Neil's Dolphin Song. It's one of my favorites - covering war, peace, LOVE, and Dolphins (!!!) all in 3 verses! The Travelling Wilbury's anthemic End of the Line has such a great LIFE-affirming repeating phrase: "It's Alright!" I had the pleasure of playing You Ain't Going Nowhere, Dylan's classic song, where like him, I've rewritten the original verses. I've further had the pleasure of playing this version for David Whitaker (whom you'll find stories of by following the link...), and WavyGravy, at a benefit for Berkeley's Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (He liked it enough to give me another song to play!). My own Golden Dawn, Baby Spoons, Everywhere YOU Are, and From Here to Jubilee were my contribution to the original spirit Heidi projects so well. For me, a highlight of the evening occured when a table full of a family of parents my age with their adult children broke into applause at the point where "stop time" happens at the end of the second bridge:

So take a good look inside
Where LOVE lies deeply hidden
It will enable you to truly see.

Now, what is there left to hide
That is still forbidden?
Let's put it on the "TABLE" come the JUBILEE!

indent spacerSuch heartfelt response gave me pause to stop, yet that spot in the song is where the repeat chorus of the song kicks in, for emphasis...so, I simply kept going...their applause was equally strong at the end of the chorus (which the reader can check out by following the link to the lyrics at my mp3 page: Jubilee!

indent spacerHeidi Howe acted as a cheerleader a few times early in my set, where I didn't get any response. When she assumed the stage she mentioned that a technical glitch had prevented us both from been on stage and trading songs and stories, which was her format, usually. Then she took responsibility for not asking me did I need a guitar microphone, or not? (This is the very definition of a professional in my book! She knows for sure!)

indent spacerHeidi deliver one great song from her 2 albums after another....I've hardly had much time to get her music from her site, so I've only heard her in person...one number that sticks in my mind asks the (often fearful) question: "Would you still love me if...?" proceeding to name some not too pleasurable conditions the likes of which we tend to not want to wish onto others..chance-y topic, indeed. But Heidi brings a conviction and a quirky sense of humor to it that carries the song off. May she write play and sing many more. She can take a sentiment that would be a mopey country ballad in the hands of a lesser artist, and bring an upbeat zest into it, that let's us all laugh at what too often only makes us cry!

indent spacer10pm rolled around on the clock, and she chose to close with her one cover, Tom Petty's (a fan's links page) FREE-FALLIN'. (Here's the tablature.) Couldn't have been a better send-off song! I got up and harmonized with her, sharing a laugh when I went above her octave into my falsetto...I helped her break down the stage, she gave me my pay plus some tips, and drove me back the Greyhound station.


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