HANK COLE BAND / Blog
The wife wanted to go to Graceland. Elvis' home probably isn't in the top ten on my bucket list; but Lori's wanted to go since we've been together. After 22 years I supose it was about time. Having never been to Memphis I first noted how long it took to see the skyline. Memphis is an old town that pretty much has remained the same since Reconstruction or at least it appears that way to me. We stayed at the "Days Inn" directly across "Elvis Presley Blvd." from "Graceland." The first thing that struck me when we got out of the vehicle was Elvis Radio was on the PA at the hotel, and the store next door, and next door to that. Actually Elvis Radio was on every PA for 5 blocks either direction from Graceland. I actually began to feel like Elvis was still here. In a way I suppose on Elvis Presley Blvd he still is. The high point of the "tour" for me was the visit to "Sun Records." It was a hole in the wall then and still is now. It is a step back in time to the mid '50's. Don't know how much enhancement was done to the music at the Sun Museum but the first song they played was by Howlin' Wolf. The first lick on the guitar made the hair on my arms stand up and I felt a lump in my throat listening to the purity of the sound. Outside of the historical significance of "Graceland" I've seen and partied at bigger homes. Since the purchase in the mid '50's I assume economic growth has sprung up all around the "Graceland" grounds. So it is now an oasis amidst residential housing, gift shops and the transit terminal that has developed around the grounds since Elvis bought it and the grounds for around $100,000 back in '56. The most impressive thing at "Graceland" that I found was the awards hall. Anyone that can wall paper two 40 foot walls with gold and platnum records you have to take your hat off to. The transit was convienent. We road the "Sun Record" bus just about everywhere we went during the day. The first evening we went to Beale Street and listened to some music and sampled some "Q." Both were very good. But if the "Q" we had was an example of Memphis Bar BQ, Carolina Bar BQ, specifically Shelby, NC at Red Bridges has a better taste imo. We took a carriage ride afterward. We should have done that first because down on the river front it was cold as a witch's tit in a brass bra in December. The next evening we found a bar called "The Old Whitney Tavern" in Braxton that had an open mic night. I played 5 originals solos and "The Weight" with the sponsors Bob and Susie Sally. They were spot on and it was fun because there were no worries as to who was supposed to be where, when they were supposed to be there. By the end of the evening the carriage ride the evening before had taken its toll on Lori and she was about to cough up a lung. We also went to the Gibson factory that Wednesday. There I was disapointed to find out that the Gibson rejects didn't become Epiphones....They just cut them up... Oh my heart. Over all I liked Memphis alot. Would like to go back. It's like everyone there has a tune in their head. It is a music town. The big difference I senced between Memphis and Nashville was, in Nashville someone writes a song. Then someone buys a song. They find someone to sing the song. Then they find someone to play the song. In Memphis...The guy in the bar or street corner wrote the song, sings the song and plays the song. Another observation I made. I didn't hear a rap or thrash the whole time I was there. It was very refreshing. I want to go back.
NEW SONG ENTRIES !!!!
With the premire of the "Etched 'N Stone" CD I've revamped several songs on the play list. Songs associated with the "Etched 'N Stone" CD are designated with "ENS." Hope ya enjoy them should you give 'em a listen.
The Town Pump Gig
This is a unique place to play. Black Mountain, NC is and has been an oasis for sometime. I can recall, when I was a HS senior, way back in 1970, Black Mountain was where we went to play music and get a beer. (Remember then you could drink at 18.) The physical bar is cool but nothing that seperates it from any other establishment that sells spirits. What IS different is the music that management wants and what the clientel has come to expect when they walk in the door. Originals! Save for "Whipping Post" and "Learning to Fly" every song I performed last night was original. I again want to thank "The Town Pump" and their patrons for an awsome evening. I hope y'all had more fun than I did....But I seriously doubt it. I can't say enough how much I appreciate your hospitality, acceptance and participation. I hope to see y'all again soon.
Best Laid Plans...
...Oft times go asunder. The development of the "Etched 'N Stone" CD has been a learning experience. To say the least. The education has come from learning how to "play with the toy." ie Adobe Auditions. After getting everything right audio wise I still had to get it to a CD. Working from the starting point of total ignorance I'm happy to say, as of yesterday, I've achieved the goal of getting the music to the CD. A couple of the acoustic songs still need to be tweeked volume wise; but all in all I'm pretty darn happy with the results. Now it's just matter of the cover presentation. I hope I'm not jinxing that. But seeing as, that's what I do, I hope this end of the project will go smoother that the recording. So long as we start soon on the next album and stay in practice with "Auditions" the next recording shouldn't cause as much anxiety and hair loss.
Put the last guitar track down last night for the "Etched 'N Stone" CD. Mix down is happening now. With any luck we'll start burning no later than Monday, Sept 30. Suckers sounding good!
The Watering Hole
From the outside looking in "The Watering Hole" looks small. But there is a concert area out back that would easily accommodate about 200 comfortably. There were probably about 100 there after the benifit ride Saturday. I played third and was chewing at the bit to play some R&R after the first two acts. They were darn good but every song was slow and laid back. I can only take so much of that. So by the time I walked on stage I was so pumped I couldn't even set down to play. Evidently everyone else was ready to rock because the reception to the first three tunes was awsome. By the fourth I had to slow it down to catch my breath. I played about an hour so I didn't even scratch the surface of the song list. I hope to be able to go back soon to "The Watering Hole" and do a whole show. It was great to be able to play for those who appreciate the music.
Tom & Pam Fest
If I recall correctly this was my very first all original, solo performance. It was a lot of fun. Played about a two hour set and still didn't get through all the tunes. Felt pretty good about that. Hurricane Ivan scared some folks away but over all the weather was great! So that was your loss if you were invited and didn't show. It was some great original music with people that wanted to listen in a remarkable setting. Free beer and the food was awsome! I want to thank Tom and Pam again for inviting my wife and myself to their beautiful home and for their wonderful hospitality. I hope to see the folks who showed up at the T&P Fest at "The Town Pump" in Black Mountain, NC on Friday Oct. 12. If your reading this and are within a reasonable drive time of "The Town Pump" I'd love to see you there as well.
Over the last week I've made progress on around 15 songs for the "Etched N Stone" and "Big Black Cadillac" CD's. Tomorrow I'll start mixing the the "Etched N Stone" CD. Hoped to have some to sell at the song writers jam this week end. But I'll have to go over the songs I'm playing for that, tomorrow. (Practice helps fight CRS.) But I just don't see the time to do justice to but one endevor before the week end. So the refresher course will take priority. But it does feel good to be moving forward again. I'm pretty pleased with what we've got even before the mix down.
Systems Are Go
Suppose the "Good Boss" wasn't willin' cause The Broad River ain't crested it's banks in a decade. But after unavoidable delays, I've now got the capability to produce the music. Now "'Good Boss' willin' and The Broad don't rise" things will go quicker in getting out at least two finished albums and a good start on a third.
Two Day Song Writers Party
Sept 1 - 2 I'm looking forward to heading up around Cherokee, NC. Not to lose all my money at Harra's. Not even going near the place. But to go to a two day, private, invite party, of songwriters. Tom Wilkes, owner and builder of "Carolina Mountain Guitars" is "captain" of this event. If it's half as good as his instruments it could be the best multi-artist event I will have ever been to or may attend. HCB will perform as a guitar duo for our set. Hope to be able to get a video made to post. At the least there will be photos. If you happen to be up between Dillsboro and Cherokee, NC on most Saturdays or Sundays (NOT Sept. 1 or 2) stop by Uncle Bills Flea Market. Tom has an indoor space where he displays some of his non custom work. "Outstanding" is an undestatement. No matter what guitar your now playing you will want one of these instruments. The attention to detail, sound and playability is unsurpassed.