Quick apology for the lack of activity on here lately. Classic JJ to have launched a blog and then promptly dumped an entire peppermint vanilla chai latte into my laptop. Fried the damn thing and had to say bye-bye to those stolen moments between appointments where I could shoehorn frenzied fits of writing. Serves me right for ordering such a pretentious beverage. I'll spare you the details of the nightmare that's followed; the upshot is that I am no longer mobile, am instead chained to a desktop during the moments when I can physically be in my home office. I will never, ever forgive myself for spilling that drink. Enough of all that; I want to fill you in on some of the shows I've been to since our last visit.
My friends Pete & Lindsey are unbelievably gracious about opening their home in downtown York for house concerts. I am fortunate to sometimes help, peripherally, with booking and promoting some of the shows there. The venue is known as Sign of the Wagon, and artists who have played there have enjoyed Pete & Lindsey's hospitality and the attentive audiences.
At the end of January, Sign of the Wagon hosted a performance by Andrew Combs and Spencer Cullum, Jr., with special guest Ron Gallo. Combs and Cullum, who are roommates in Nashville, had both played SOTW before, just not together. Combs was here last summer when he was on tour with The Kernal & His New Strangers (Jackson, TN) and Mechanical River (Charleston, SC). We got to see all three bands, plus Rachel Kate Gillon, in the same night, and it was an absolute blast. Spencer, the 6'7" pedal steel player from London, England, had come through town with Jonny Fritz. I adore both Combs and Spencer, have seen them both play many times separately, and was delighted with the opportunity of seeing them play together. I was also very much looking forward to seeing Ron Gallo open with a solo set. I'm a big fan of his band, Toy Soldiers, but had never seen him perform solo before.
It turned out that Jonny Fritz was traveling with Combs and Spencer as their road manager on this tour, and since York cannot get enough of Jonny, it was with great pleasure that we announced a few days before the show that Jonny would play a set that night, too. My phone buzzed for hours once the news started getting around. (Note the countdown clock on the lefthand side of your screen - ticking ever closer to the release of Jonny's album, Dad Country.)
I sold tickets to many of the usual suspects, as well as a handful of people who had yet to experience a show at SOTW, and a couple who were not yet familiar with these talented songwriters. My phone blew up again the day after the show with people talking about what a great time they had and the sense of community they felt at SOTW.
Spencer sat in on a few songs with Jonny, and Ron was joined for a few by Toy Soldiers drummer Dom Billet and the wildly talented Ali Wadsworth. Then most of the guests left and we ate a 28" pizza and Ron entertained us by demonstrating the quintessential Philly accent. Ask him about it if you ever run into him.
Photos by Digital Ephemera Photography, except for the pizza ones. But I had to show you.