Dates with George Strait come to an end, meaning there's time to relax, write and record on the horizon.
So, where did I leave off? I think I'd just played Raleigh. Well, since then we went into the studio and re-cut "New Strings" with my band. It sounds SO good.
Then we went to Columbus, Ohio, and played a kick-ass show at a little club there in town. It was so packed and so loud from all the fans singing. At one point I just quit singing and pointed the mic at the crowd during "Bring Me Down" and they did all the work. It was one of those rock'n'roll moments that you see on TV all the time and I think it was the first time it had ever happened to me. I got chills on my arms.
Tonight is Saturday and we just finished the first big run of George Strait dates. Until early summer I'll be back out on my own trying to take it to the people. If you see a fair, festival or any other public gathering with livestock and a ferris wheel I'll probably be there.
I'm sure I'll start missing this tour very soon. This first run with Strait really has been great because of the people around us. It felt like we were leaving summer camp when we had to tell Tracy Lawrence and his guys goodbye, we'd kind of gotten to be partners in crime.
On Thursday night in Champaign I had my friend and co-writer, Travis Howard, out on the road. After the show (which was GREAT, by the way) we were sitting in the dressing room when Tracy and his band came in followed by part of my band and crew. Next thing I knew, Travis was playing every old Merle Haggard tune on the guitar with Tracy singing lead and me singing harmony. Then my dad walked in the room and grabbed the guitar and he and Tracy knew stuff I haven't even heard in years. After an hour of sing-a-long, we broke into David Alan Coe's "Never Even Call Me By My Name" and it seemed like an appropriate end to the evening. We all spilled out of my dressing room and boarded our respective buses bound for Moline.
In Moline it started hitting me that I was really ready to get home. I don't think I've been there since the first week in January. I miss my dogs and my house and my family. Out here on the road we have a girl named Jill that works for the tour. She's a production assistant and her job is to assign dressing rooms. Every day she spends a couple minutes longer than she has to in mine... she adds some candles and a couple tapestries and some little speakers for my iPod. She just takes the time to make it feel a little more like home and that stuff really helps out a lot. Saturday night was Jill's last show, she's off to run the show for Kenny Chesney. We'll miss her like crazy.
So, I'm on my way to a few days of relaxation which I haven't seen in a LONG time. I'm going to lay around on my couch, play with Dixie, fish in my backyard and do absolutely nothing. Then, after a couple days of that, I'm sure I'll be sick of myself and be ready to pick up the guitar and write a couple songs. I go back into the studio on March 20 to try and finish up the new record. Travis and I wrote some great stuff while he was out over the last week. We worked on one I call "Favorite Ex-Girlfriend." It's a total rocker, I really love the way it's coming.
So for the next three weeks, you won't hear from me. No, that doesn't mean I'm keeping my mouth shut... that's impossible. It just means I'm not out touring the country for once. As soon as I do, I'll write again. Until then, thanks to all of you who come see me. If you drive two miles or 2,000 miles, you are the reason I get to do this. Thank you.