Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Music 48.

Back in town. (Room #5)

music corner. 2010.

Back in Town.

Finally back in town. This barstool is my new home for the night. No where and no one to come back to. And I deserve it.

Across the room there’s a handful of couples two-stepping to the melody coming from the old jukebox. The stage hasn’t been used in nearly six months. The band hasn’t been in town half as long as that. I should know, it’s my band.

We packed up three and half months ago and headed on the road. Twenty-six town tour that would take me and the boys right through Nashville for a chance to play the Opry. The sweet sound success calling me out into the unknown and my girl stood by my side for every minute of it. Came to all the shows. Played back-up in the band on occasion. Encouraged me to take the plunge. Hit the road. Be a success. Sell a million records. Sure enough we did and more. Makes what I did all the more despicable.

Nodding in my direction the bartender slides over another long neck. Ice cold comfort to an old Buck Owens song. Reaching in my wallet for a loose five, I come across it. A folded up reminder of my former life. My music shop. A musical getaway from the external facets of life.

In all actuality it was as much her place as it was mine. More than half the instruments were hers. In fact, more than half the music was about her. To say she could play anything was an understatement. The only thing I could master was the guitar. I remember when she brought the Organ home. She’d been out looking at yard sales and came across it. To her, it was like finding a treasure of immeasurable wealth. New instruments meant different ways to bring the harmony in our life together. Now the only harmony would rest in the folded up image.

Getting rid of the pictures of her was the easy part. It was the memories of home that weren’t so easy to part with. I swore I’d never set foot back in that room again. And I just did. I never wanted to screw things up. But I did. Fuck. I never did have the answers. All I have is the crumpled up memory resting between twenty bucks and an old piece of paper within my wallet.

Songs and lyrics reflect a happier time. Melodies inspired by our bliss. Anytime I was stuck she would ask what I needed and provide it. The better days when so much what mattered wasn’t the future. The present was the only thing to keep in sight. Those early days were so much richer than after we went gold. Our first record went double platinum within a month of touring. Things changed. When I’d hung up my first guitar on a visit home, she couldn’t understand. The thought of replacing a classic with a new imposter was ridiculous. Guitars, Women, and Cover songs. You can replace a classic with a newer model. She was right about one thing, it won’t be the same. The new strings on my red Fender won’t compare to the sound of my old guitar.

Success will throw a lot of things your way. That is until you come home. See, back home they know your number. There is no chance of escaping where you came from. Who you are will always be the same when you’re in town. This is demonstrated perfectly tonight. Not one person in the bar gives a shit if I’ve sold a million records. They keep on drinking and dancing while I sit on my barstool moping about my mistakes.

With fame, came a thousand things I didn’t need. It brought a horde of people at my side. A person to bring me anything and everything I could ever want. Managers with free gifts and publicity.  Assistants with water and phone calls. Salesmen with expensive cars. Girls for quick company.  She certainly never cared for the things that came with the fame. According to her those luxuries were the worst distractions. And she couldn’t have been more right. Anyone on the outside would have called it the same way. I just thought it was part of the gig.

Something about this old honky-tonk keeps bringing my mind back to her. Listening to the melancholy tune of a forlorn cowboy obsessed with his past. I’m a sad song in the making without the no good woman. In fact, the only cheatin’ came from my cold heart instead of hers. Missing her over my two buck beer. Watching the ‘no company’ bartender talk to everyone in the place, except me. This is the last place I’ll ever find company cause of what I’ve done, but it’s the only place that I feel closest to home.

On the road I never wanted to do anything like it. Things were always crazy. Too many people around. Everyone wanting to be a part of the success. Amusement of so many people relied upon the group. Anyone attached was an attraction. Boys, girls, and much more willing to get a piece. It was everywhere. Out in the open. On the bus. In the vans. Bathrooms on planes. People came along for a one way ride to the next city just to spend a few moments connected to a music man. All I could think about was not hurting her, but it wasn’t enough to stop me.

The manager flew in my gal for a show and an overnight stay before Columbus. I can just imagine her surprised face discovering that I’m surprising someone else in the back of the hotel room. A random someone who never wanted more than a story to tell and a piece of my fame. Five minutes that I never knew was coming. And she never took another look back on the way out the door. Can’t blame her for walking away. She didn’t deserve that. It was an insult to everything we had together. I’ll never see her again and I don’t deserve to.

Bartender nods to let me know that he’ll send another beer down soon. A quarter to twelve and I’m out of options for the night. Barstool is more comfort than the empty room of the motel six. Jukebox kicks in another sad tale of collapse while the couples on the dance floor slowly pull tighter to the ballad of woe. Just another night before I head back out on the road again. Away from the no one and nothing that I came back to visit.

Story. Been listening to a lot of country music. Love Patsy Cline, Connie Francis, Hank Williams and oh I can keep going! SHHH! No comments on the matter. I love all kinds of music. Besides there’s poetry in songs… not just country music either. Strip away the music, keep the words. It transcends. Anyhow, I’ve been trying my hand at channeling the lovin’, cheatin’, and cold heartbeatin’ into something. It’s an idea I hadn’t thought about before.. New musical territory. Besides, there’s already another ‘something’ coming in the same vein.

Room. It’s a music room. There are more than a handful of musicians in the family, including myself. We are all very musically inclined. As a result I have numerous instruments at my disposal. Not pictured: A trumpet, a flute, a few accordions, a couple of keyboards, an arsenal of guitars (acoustic & electric), and a few more amps. I’ve been trying to acquire a cello for about sometime now. I’m going to teach myself. Favorite part of this one had to be hanging the guitar on the wall…

Enjoy the story. m.

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