The girl comes alive in "a small place with a jukebox in the corner, a few regulars talking at the bar and a stage where you have to prove yourself."

Wow, it's been a long week. Last week after our shows I took a couple days off and visited a friend in Arizona. It's funny because I feel like I travel for a living, then for vacation I go get on an airplane and fly across the United States.

I hung there for a couple days before flying back to Atlanta for another show with George Strait. The Georgia show sold out in something like 30 minutes. I'm just learning how amazing it is for someone to sell 15,000 tickets to one show... much less to do it in 30 minutes. I think that just shows how much staying power George Strait still has in this business. It sets the bar kind of high for young artists like me, Dierks Bentley and Sugarland.

After the show in Georgia we headed to West Virginia. This might have been the best show of the tour for me and my band. Sometimes it's hard playing these shows because not everyone is even in their chairs when I start and, if they are, sometimes they don't know who I am. This wasn't the case for West Virginia.

We started the show like normal, but when we played "What About Georgia" we broke down in the middle and sang a verse to John Denver's classic song "Country Roads." It's the state song of West Virginia and one of my favorites. The crowd went completely crazy. They hit their feet and sang with me at the top of their lungs. It really set the tone for the rest of the night... they were with me the rest of the way.

After that show, George's band and crew headed home to Texas but I had more work to do. We headed to this little roadside dump in Raleigh, N.C. Now you have to understand that I'm from Texas and when I call someplace a "roadside dump" I mean that in a good way. These are the kind of magical places I cut my teeth in and saw some of my favorite artists play. It means that it's a small place with a jukebox in the corner, a few regulars talking at the bar and a stage where you have to prove yourself.

Well, about 600 of my closest friends in Raleigh showed up to help us out. We played for an hour and-a-half and even tried out a couple new songs we've been working up. It makes me feel really good to go back and play some of those places after playing all the arenas we've been through with George.

So we pulled out of Raleigh and headed straight for East Iris Studios in Nashville. I took the band in with me and we re-cut "New Strings." When you play shows every night, some songs evolve over the countless times you play them. I wrote "New Strings" and love the way we recorded it for the record; however, we play it differently when we play live and I love that way too. We may use it as a new single or we may just put it out as a download. It was great getting into the studio with my band and it sounds SO GOOD. I can't wait for everybody to hear it.

OK, so I'm looking at my calendar and getting REALLY excited. I've got a couple shows coming up that you can't miss. At the start of this diary entry I was talking about those magical places where I loved playing. March 31 in Chicago I will head back into Joe's Pub. This is a funky little place you've probably heard me talk about before. I think it holds about 1,000 people and they told me a couple days ago it's sold out. The first time we played there we had about 300 people. The next time it doubled. It's one of those places that make me feel so lucky to go to work.

If you can't get into that show, you better check us out on April 20 in Athens, Ga. This show is at the Georgia Theater. I loved Athens the first time I went there a few months ago and I've been dying to get back. The Georgia Theater was a really historic movie palace that turned into a big concert venue. The band and I are talking about working on some new stuff for upcoming shows, so you may here some old stuff mixed wit new originals and new covers. Let us know you're there by screaming loud.

Well, it's 10 p.m. and we've got bus call in an hour to head out for Columbus, Ohio. I haven't even started packing. Nothing like waiting for the last minute, huh?

M

Read Miranda's previous entry.