Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Well we are off to Nottingham, England. Hate to say good by to Switzerland, it is a beautiful place. The flight from Zurich to Frankfurt was only a little over an hour and was a nice and smooth flight. Carlene and her people sat about middle of the plane and I was in the back. Lufthansa Airlines is a great airline, except they repeat everything 2 or 3 times in different languages. Upon arriving in Frankfurt I found out they take their security to heart. I have never seen so many guns and so many security personal. We had about an hour and a half before our flight to Birmingham, England, so we decided it would be best to go on to the gate. The security was very thorough, as we all got searched pretty good. After we went through security we realized that the check point was right at our gate. Then we realized that there were no bathrooms or food anywhere close. We would have to go back through the checkpoint if we needed to food or the bathroom. Cory, Carlene’s sound engineer threatened to strip down to his boxers and go through, but he was reminded of the very stoned face guards and decided against it. The flight to Birmingham was only and hour and a half and uneventful. We were met at the airport by 2 of the Americana drivers as well as the promoter, Chris Jackson. The drive to the hotel was 2 hours and along the way you could see the damage that had been caused by the rain and and flooding they have had recently. This is the worst weather they have ever had. It started to rain again and you could see the worried look on Chris’s face. He has a lot of money invested in this festival and it is an outside event. The hotel will be our home for the next 4 days. It was build in the 1600’s and at one time was a home for wayward women. Just my luck that has all changed now J
Found out 1st day that England is costly as far as the American dollar is concerned. Our dollar is worth nill. 1 pound is worth $2.00 USD. 1 beer is $5.50 USD. We had the rest of the day off so we just hung around the hotel, looking for some of the wayward women J and watched it rain…
Had real fish and chips for dinner and that was wonderful. We are the first Entertainers to arrive so we kind of had the place to ourselves. No wayward women anywhere, but a lot of nice people working there, they really took care of us.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Happy 4th of July!
Have every intention of trying to get online today. We walked a few blocks to town to see if we can find a “hotspot”. The hotel is not set up for internet. Did I mention that the hotel only has 5 TV channels? All English, but the Wimbeldon Tennis Tournament is going on and 3 of the 5 channels were covering it. While in town we could not get hooked up. Called Lindsey and let her know I could not check email and asked her to check it for me. It is starting to rain again…
This is starting to look bad. We made it back to the hotel, after having another round of fish and chips for lunch. I think I am beginning to grow gills! LOL!
Heather Myles, who was in Switzerland, is playing tonight in the town of Nottingham. I wanted to go and see her show, but I found out it was going t o cost us about $160.00 US to take a taxi. Told you it was expensive. Well I will just have to wait till next time. I’m on an expense account so I do not believe my BOSS would approve. J
Speaking of my boss, I know from her road reports that she jogs every chance she gets, usually early in the AM, before anyone is up. I want you to know that I’ve had many urges to go out and run also, but luckily there was a bed or chair close by and I would sit down until the urge passed…
We all had dinner together and talked about the day. Carlene did a little walking in town and 2 of the band members also did some sightseeing in the rain. There is so much history in this area. Most hopeful that I will be able to come back and see the Castle as well as Sherwood Forest. To celebrate the 4th I tried some of their English ribs for dinner. Not bad but not American. It was a good evening in just sitting around and talking. This would be a good place to tell you about Carlene and her band.
Carlene- is the daughter of June Carter and her step dad was Johnny Cash. She has been performing since she was a small child in the Carter Family. She looks a lot like her mom and has her mom’s personality. She does a lot of her own songs as well as some of her mom’s and Johnny’s songs. She is loved over here and is very excited about Friday night show. She opens the festival.
Big John Main – is the oldest of her band. He is the bass player and is one of Carlene’s oldest friends. He has played bass for some of the greatest bands in the Entertainment industry. He was also one of the original players on “Will the circle be unbroken” He spends a lot of time in Europe, so he was my go to person about food and customs of the British.
Kevin Wells – is the drummer. He hand his wife live in the San Francisco area, where Carlene and Joe just moved to. They have played together for many years and their 2 families are extremely close. Kevin wrote “Walking on a Thin Line” for Huey Lewis and the News.
Chris Casello – is the electric guitar player and is something to watch on stage. He really gets into it and has the crowd going. Can not stand still. He has is own little band, so I am most hopeful I will be able to work with him some more. Doesn’t hurt that he thinks Roy is the greatest. Chris also has played with some of the best listening to his stories were most enjoyable. This brings us to the road manger and sound tech Cory Stone. He really knows his business and was fun to watch in operation. This was his first trip out with Carlene, but he fit in extremely easy and fast. Cory is the sound guy for Pam Tillis, but had a couple of weeks off and went to help Carlene out. Cory gets to work with my daughter, Lindsey in Norway when she takes Pam over there in a few weeks. Now here is the fact of the trip. In England, “Cory” is slang for “penis”. Cory is aware of this and takes it all in stride. It is hard not to see the strange smiles on people face when you yell out his name, especially in the airport. With the Hell’s Angels as the security for the festival, we all suggested he introduce himself as “Stone”
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Decided to go out to the venue to check it out and get with Chris Jackson on any last minute changes, etc.
The place is very muddy, but the trailers, mobile homes and people going to stay in tents are arriving in full force. Puts a smile on your face to see them backed up for miles. I know Chris is feeling a little better but the outlook for later in the day does not look good.
The Americana Festival is based on a salute to the American culture. Hot dogs, hamburgers and characters acting out the ole west are everywhere. It is one of the largest festivals in Europe. Chris has over 40 acts performing. I was taken over the grounds and met quite a few of the “characters”. As I said the Hells Angels are the security for the event. The do a very good job and are highly respected. Get back t o the hotel in time to listen to Carlene and the guys go over their set list. They want to add a few songs and have a blast for 2 ½ hours. People at the hotel loved it. Carlene took all of us out for real Indian food. Once again I call on Big John to lead me in the right direction for ordering. He ordered me the same thing he got and it was very good. It will not be the last time I eat Indian. Get back to the hotel late and have a pint of beer… still no wayward women anywhere and it is starting to rain again.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Well it is show day finally! Upon awakening my room is mighty cold. I had slept with the window open! Went to get some coffee and sat outside with the owners son in law. We talk for awhile and the rain has quit, but the wind is blowing making it very cool. The guys toured one of the haunted castles that was close by. Carlene toured the city with her manager Cathy. No rain so far and the sun has started to shine a little. Leave for the venue at 8:15 PM, Carlene goes on at 9:30 PM. It is a bit chilly but Carlene goes out and wow’s them to no end. She does her 90 minute set and the crowd absolutely loves her. Chris Jackson is smiling from ear to ear. What a way to get the festival started. Chris meets me after the show and says here are the dates for next years festival and tell Judy I want Carlene back and by the way I want you back also. I hope my boss is reading this. After signing autographs we head back to the hotel. The guys are pleased as to how the show went, as well as they should be!
I must tell you, as usual my timing is terrible. While Carlene is performing, I am standing backstage watching the show and when Carlene gets through performing this one song, I hear her say “Sorry about that, and I would like to apologize to those who have a problem with seeing breasts.” Seems she had a wardrobe malfunction during the show.
We are scheduled to leave the hotel at 4:30 AM to catch the flight home at 9:00 AM. Had time for 1 pint of beer before getting 2 hours of sleep!
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Security is not too bad so we all made it to Newark without problems. In Newark, Carlene and Kevin head to San Fran and the rest of us head to Nashville. I believe it was a most successful trip.
I must say being my first trip to Switzerland and the UK was an experience that I will long remember. Not only the sights and the people in each country, but mainly for being able to meet some of the artist that I have heard Judy and Lindsey talk about for years. How great is it to take American Artist over to different countries and watch them perform and watch the reaction of all the attendee’s at the festivals. They know all of the songs and sing along with each one. They love our music and our people love to perform for them.
It was a pleasure to finally meet Howard and David Bellamy and their lovely wives and the band. Augie Meyers is a true legend and the Texmaniacs are a great bunch of guys. Heather Myles and her group were awesome. Carlene and her bunch, who I spent the most time with, were a delight. They put up with the ole man and I really appreciated it.
In parting I will say that I’ve heard for a long time that “Music is the Universal Language” and I got to experience it first hand.