A highway I was driving in America.

Road Loner Chapter 1

For Daniel.

I love to travel and at this point I hate to fucking drive. Driving is like boiling pasta in reverse. When I started I had a spine like an al dente noodle, limber, pliable and now I’m stuck with brittle fettuccine holding my back together on a prayer, ready to snap with the tickle of the breeze. Its part of this gig though, I’m 10% musician, 80% truck driver, 10% binge eater.

Let that all be prelude to my gratitude. I’m on a tour, opening for Donavon Frankenreiter, and this, like every other tour Ive been on has yet to throw anything my way to make me regret saying yes. I love to tour so fucking much. Besides, I’m lucky. Im on a boat right now, a’ motorin to Nantucket, land of chowder, the decimation of the sperm whale, and the Chicken Box, the venue that makes me hungry whenever I think of it (*sadly the chicken box no longer serves chicken*) and purveyor of mixed drinks the vomit from which would stain a marble floor. More notably its a glorious beach shack of a vibe, bringing Muddy Waters to the Island in the 60s and catching the Reggae wave early, in the 70’s. Its an epic place.

This will be the 2nd show of the tour. Last night was in DC and was wonderful. I love the venue, The Hamilton. Its the Pentagon of larger club-level entertainment. Elevators you can’t operate without clearance, winding and extensive honeycombs of sublevel service staff landscape, good sound, that DC vibe. Not Southern not Yankee, lots of good-looking, smart people who drink too much and have well-ironed clothing. Plus they’re seated so table manners go into full effect. “I drunk, talk loud” guy and “THAT WAS SO FUNNY HAHAHAHAHA” lady are generally muted by the presence of napkins and bread baskets. Its ideal for solo opening acts who make music that doesn’t compel you to thrust.

So the lights went down and I threw the fuck down y’all. I told my stories, sang ‘em songs. I felt good and I think they did too. I really love playing alone, not as much as playing with other people but theres a rush that comes with staring back at all those faces by yourself. I wrapped up the set and packed up my shit, hugged some people and dealt with the geographical reality of playing a show in Nantucket the next calendar day. I had to bail out early ( didn’t stick around for all of Donavons set, though he and his guys sounded great) and was helped out through the garbage-reeking loading dock by DC friend Ray, a former Air Force pilot who has taken it as matter of habit to gift high dollar hotel rooms to the needy (me).

Then I woke up in Bethesda and achieved the impossible, making the 9 hour drive to Hyannis to catch the ferry out to Nantucket without pissing myself or slipping a disk, though its hard to tell if the long term impact of the day won’t lead to more of the two of those things in my future. Future Ben will have a much clearer understanding of my current choices.

The water is getting choppy, I don’t want to hurl. Chapter 1, done.