With our last gig on tour approaching, we decided to head into Alabama a day early and hang out with our friend who helped get us the gig at the Athens Ale House. Saunders knew that Athens, although small and perhaps not the most exciting town, had a few fun things to offer, so we did those.
Buuuuuut first, if you know me, you know my very favorite souvenir to collect while on the road is more ink! Well, I almost had given up on finding an artist I really connected with until one night I got a text from Jared. This was weird because he was just outside the car, pumping gas. “Check this girl out”, his text said. I scrolled through the instagram pics and immediately loved her work. (HellYeahWhyNot Tattoos) When he got in the car, he was beaming! “Did I do good? I saw her sticker on the gas pump advertising her tattoo shop, scanned it, made sure it would be art you liked, THEN texted you the info!” What can I say, he knows me!
Anyway, long story a bit summed up, we contacted her, met, collaborated on a design concept, and set the appointment for Friday morning, May 26! And here is my new beauty, a tribute to my precious Champagne Sunday and a reminder of our Nashville trip and the concept of being a broken record for the things I believe in!! It is perfect. I truly never wanted to get another head tattoo because it is legit the worst temporary pain ever. But it was the best place for it, and I’m a badass.
The “Kreate Hub” is a shared art/office space for many different entrepreneurs, in the old Gibson Building.
Hanging in Sophie’s tattoo space💖
So, with happy heart and throbbing head, we drove the hour and a half down to Athens, Alabama! Saunders took us to Ro BBQ for dinner where I had the largest ice tea I’ve ever seen.
Got to see these two dudes just living their best bluegrass life outside a coffeeshop in downtown Athens.
Saunders took us to the country’s largest gas station, “Buc-ee’s”.
Imagine if a Walmart Supercenter and Disneyland had a baby and named it “Buc-ee”. But Walmart and Disneyland just couldn’t make it work as parents because of fundamental differences in their outlooks on life, so they had joint custody of their baby and constantly pitted him against one another. And that baby grew up and went to therapy because it had such a simultaneously sad and thrilling childhood, but Buc-ee felt looked over and couldn’t find purpose. So Buc-ee’s therapist advised him to do something “just for himself” and maybe explore nature or Buddhism, but Buc-ee didn’t listen because he was too screwed up from years of the harsh visualization of fantasy and reality in constant combat with one another. So Buc-ee did what came natural to him and opened a place of his own that is BOTH thrilling and sad. And, here lies Buc-ee. Entrepreneur and beloved son of two industry giants who don’t even know about his legacy or that he’s dead. And I bought a burrito AND a bikini with beavers on it here…you know, for Buc-ee, rest in peace.
I don’t know how you’re even going to be able to read on after such a sad retelling of Buc-ee’s life. But, for him, we’ll all manage to go on and….
We were looking forward to our Saturday night show because it had been a bit since we got to play a full two hours, and the Athens Ale House was a perfect little cozy joint to do so. There really weren’t a lot of people there, but the place could only hold maybe twenty people if the back room was full (we played in the front), so we weren’t disappointed. I’d say we had a solid ten people all night, sold some merch, and really got to just enjoy singing and playing music together. It wasn’t a grand way to go out, but it was lovely. Jared and I just sank into the songs and truly had a good time playing our music. I will say this, one of my very favorite things was said to me after the show that I think sums up the whole tour, and perhaps our whole purpose, pretty damn perfectly. After staying for the whole night (even though they had already been there two hours before we started!), this woman took me aside while her husband was buying a hoodie and some music from Jared. She said this, “I am a VERY conservative woman. You guys are VERY liberal. But your music was so enjoyable. You just connected everyone and never used it as a tool for divisiveness. It was so good and heartfelt. You really have a gift. Please keep going.”
I believe this is the sole purpose for doing what we do. Every artist has their own path to travel, and each time we are out, despite the frustrations, the pitfalls and setbacks, the uncertainty, we KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are doing the right thing and living in our purpose. I feel like if you are open in your journey, life will let you know what it needs, and show you ways to achieve it. If you listen and follow, the rewards can be outrageous. And sometimes the only reward is just knowing that you are indeed making a difference and living the best way you can.
After the show was over and the people were gone, a huge thunderstorm rolled in with lightning and gigantic drops of water! Saunders and I ran gear out to the trailer, while Jared loaded it all up into his perfected Tetris configuration. I found an old cardboard box inn the trailer and wore it as a hat to protect myself from the rain. Saunders (a southern boy through and through) didn’t give two shits about the rain, and got soaked! Once we had loaded, the staff closed up and went home, Saunders, Jared, and I stood under the awning, finishing our drinks and enjoying the end of the storm. The city hall building had a clock on it that was all list up in a purple-hued light. Jared swore it was the clock tower used in “Back To The Future”, and excitedly took video and pictures of it in the storm while exclaiming “Marty!!!”
Once the storm let up, we walked to another bar, caught the tail end of a young man’s set of music, and then headed out. We had an hour and a half drive back to our “Nashville home” and the temptation for another beer was pulling on us, so we knew it was time to go. A wonderful time had by all, a kind and generous host, and a quaint, but genuinely satisfying send off. Champagne Sunday officially closes the door on our spring tour. Thank you guys for following along on our journey. I will blog a couple more times as we head back west, but as for shows and such, this is it. You all have been more than supportive and encouraging and it has literally fueled us in more ways than you can possibly imagine. We love you and look forward to sharing more adventures with you as we head out again in just one month for our summer tour!!!
“We’re tired now but that’s ok, sometime near the end of day, our second wind will pave the way, so let’s get dressed up!”