May 28, 2012 – Happy Memorial Day
When I was in my early 20’s I was flown down to Virginia Beach to play with my good buddies Clark and Bruce Eno. They had been gigging with a pianist down there who got sick suddenly and I they asked me to cover him in a day’s notice, so I went. Virginia Beach in the off-season was so much fun. It was pretty much just the bar staff, musicians, and hotel employees partying and I think we had to play above the bar – like climb a ladder to get to the stage.
Anyway, we became friends with some of the country bands down there. We were playing jazz to nobody and they were playing country music to a packed bar of locals. I remember one of those country dudes said to me, “I don’t know about that jazz stuff. Sumthin ’bout it just dont smell right.”
Although it’s not in my roots — I’m a New Yorker! — there is something relaxing and calm and real about country music and country artists. The songs are about heart and family and country and life, and I always feel great singing along.
Last year I was musical director for the T.J. Martell Foundation Gala, which I’ve done for years, but last year the featured artists were Martina McBride and Darius Rucker, and Rascal Flatts made a surprise appearance. They were all so easy to work with and they all sang their asses off. OMG Martina could rival some of the best R&B singers in a minute, but she wasn’t concerned with that. She just told her stories in her song. And there’s a key difference. Some singers are riffing all over the place (hello- I’m guilty of that sometimes) but the great country artists just sing the story and sing it right.
This Zac Brown song, Chicken Fried is a perfect example of that and he gives a nice nod to our veterans and our country.
Happy memorial day y’all.