By: Dusty Sommers
Hmm lets see here, Lanaroo… seems like it was a long time ago…. lol…
Ok, here I go. Before I left Friday morn’ (11/14), the power went out a few times. The winds were clocking up to 50 plus miles per hour, or so I’m told every time it came back on, the burgler alarm came on. So it was a up and down night. Got up around 6:30 am – usually dont get up till after 9, but Pam wanted a early start…lol….( yea right, with me heheheh). So I loaded up the Coachman with more than enough guitars and clothes, and Jake the Doberman,( that ole Boy Scout thang..of ‘being prepared’) and left…..
But by the time I got to Woodstock….sounds like a song eh ??? The wind was really clocking and blowing me and everyone else all over the highway. At Pam’s we quickly loaded her gear and took off southbound down highway 84 – and being blown all over the highway till we got to PA. We stopped at the first exit to gas up and get a coffee and walk Jake. Then I looked up over the mountains and saw some black clouds, and a gentle snow started to fall………. hhmmmmmm.
About a half hour later, the snow was beginning to build up on the side of the road, but no big deal. And higher and higher up we went … and it really started to snow … big flakes … and started to stick to the road and bridges ( they do ice up first I’m told ). We pulled into the Mt. Cobb rest area, to make some calls and walk Jake. As I was ouside and Pam was doing her thing on the phone calling everyone, I looked up at the lights in the rest area … and it was coming down the size of half dollars. In the 15 minutes I was out with Jake the whole area was covered with a few inches. It sure looked pretty, but if I wanted to look at something pretty all I had to do was look over at Pam hehehe.
We got back on 84, and the traffic was going about 45. “Hhmmm, this dont look to good”, I told Pam. And in a few more miles, it got worse …. and I was having problems seeing more than 20 feet. We passed a few exits with motels and would have pulled over then, but we were trying to make it to LamDog’s outside of Scranton. Then it got to a point where I said, “That’s it !!!” and pulled into the only motel, a Holiday Inn – and very over priced one, even with my discount……and a dumpy room too!!!!!
As soon as we got in and settled a bit, Pam called LamDog telling him we weren’t gonna make it to his place and told him where we were. He said, “I know that place!!and it’s right down the road from where I’m playing tonite. I’ll be right over!” In about twenty minutes he showed up and by then it stoped snowing hard and only flurries remained( figures huh ???).
So we jumped in the Coachman and followed Lammie a few miles to his gig at the Y Not Club. We had a bite to eat, burgers and mushrooms, and relaxed with some sweet slide playing from the ‘Lam Man’ and the band. They played some very cool arrangements of Stones, Dylan and some other good tunes. I’ll tell ya, I was very impressed with his slide playing!!!. Very nice electric style, and the cats in the band were very cool. Like I told Pam when we were sitting there, what a cool vibe the place had with the sweet music – always makes me feel comfortable.
Lammie asked if I wanted to do some playing, but by that time I was totally wiped from the trip ( I thought that then lol). I had, what my friends called when we use to fly small planes from here to there and back, a “gorillia grip” on the steering wheel all day. I’m a thumb and finger picker type of player and my hands looked like claws LOL…hehehe.
Back at the Holiday Inn, we opened the door and on Pam’s bed, Jake is lying there with the phone book open, with his paw on it, looking up at us like, “There you are, I’ve been calling all over!!!!” We kinda lost it laffing so hard…hehehehehe.
After some Letterman and the weather channel we called it a nite, or so we thought.
See we’re simple Swamp Yankee country folk. Up where she lives they have one stop light. Now here, I’m at the end of the road on the water, so its pretty quiet. There ain’t many tractor trailer trucks going by at 70 mph 200ft away on a major highway all night long. So the only one I think slept good was Jake – and he took up half of my bed and snored all nite long……lol!
Well, ya thought it was gonna be just a short story HUH? With me, Never!!! hehehe …. Not to get off the subject, probably the best story teller I’ve ever met was Twiggs Lyndon. Many years ago the ABB was in RI. After the show I took a few friends into the Holiday Inn to meet up with some of the folks and Brother Twiggs saw us in the hall and said, ” Hey!!! come here!!” Now this was the first time I saw Twiggs in a long time. He had just gotten out of his ‘Problem’ in upstate NY and was with his Brother Andy ( AJ).
After a few smokes he started talking about how he was doing etc. He started telling us of the story of Mr. Smith, the guy he got started talking in the nut house, and a few others from the white Van & Winnie years … showing us his tattoos and just being Twiggs. My friends keep giving me the eye, wondering what I got them into, but I knew it was just Twiggs and all these stories about Lanaroo are dedicated to Brother Twiggs.
But back to the ride….. On 80 it was pretty nice. Nice countryside, cool mountains, and very little traffic. We stopped at a rest area,, to gas up and grab a bit to eat. I asked the girl, “How many miles to Elwood City???”
and she had never heard of it, and looked it up on the map. She said “You’re the first one to ask were that is”, and added it in a book of towns and cities in PA with the milage. lol….it was about 247 miles from wherever we was.
Now cutting to the chase, nite was closing in fast. We kept going and going and going and somewhere along the line we talked to Lana again and told her we was a coming as fast as we could. The next thing I remember were finally off the highway and going down backroads, crossing old rail bridges and small towns … begining to feel like home. We get to Elwood City. Fifth St. Second St. Bingo!!!! First Street! The Keystone!!!!!!!
‘Lord have mercy…!” someone said (probally me! always need alot of it! lol) and we pulled right up and parked right at the side door!!!!! I love it when that happens!!! Lazy old bastard I be!
We walk in and find Matt!!!!!!!! Him and his band are setting up,, and he introduces us all !!! Good vibe! Very cool folks!!!( a lot more on these guys soon!!!) Miz Lana is nowhere to be found, but after 15 or so minutes …. its Lana!!!!!!!!! My dear friend ,soulmate and birthday girl!!! Big hugs, kisses and handholding all around, and Shey, who I have ‘known’ for 6 years or so, but never met ((Hug)), and David who’s gonna be sitting in on harp with me!!!
Now I’ll tell ya over this past weekend, my alt bluegrass/folk band the’ Lighten’ Brothers’, we had a jam. I was telling them about Lanaroo and told them about David sitting in without ever playing with me before and they said, “WOW!!! Damn, that guy must have brass cojone’s to do that!!!” lol!
Then folks started arriving, but not before I gave Donna and Carley a big HUG! It was so nice to finally met them !!! Then Karen and her husband Lynn!! Now Karan who, as you all know, is a very special lady with all her love and positive vibes, gave me a medallion and a carved peacepipe ( got it on now, absorbing the power from it!)
Then Jim showed up. I met Jim at the GOTV this year with his daughter, but he was a bit more relaxed this time. Great guy … funny cat !!!! I enjoyed watching him and Pam kicking his butt. After a few minutes of meeting new friends, I asked Pam where Goldtop/Ron was … and at that moment he walks right in with his wife. Now Lana or nobody else knew he was comming. Ron and I PMed back and forth about it, but no one really knew.
Pam introduced Lana to Ron and she didn’t catch on for a sec’, until Pam said “Goldtop!” Then Lana was hugging, kissing and so happy! All the way from Santa Cruz!!!! And what a Great guy!!!!! A true Brother!!!
I know this is getting long, but it was a good time, a very good time! And let’s face it folks, does anyone really want a good time to end? hahaha!
.Around 9:30 or so David the Bass player in Matt’s Band came over and asked if I was gonna open up. I said that I would do a short set with Dave Sutton, Lana and Shey’s friend from Raleigh when they took a break. ( I should have opened up … DOH lol )
Matt’s Band opened up with ‘Liz Reed’…. and its like’ ‘Wow! hhmmmm !!!” Now I’ve known of Matt for about 6 years or so. Me and him were on another music website with Jack Pearson, Jimmy Hall, and Dru Lombar (Grinderswitch, Dr. Hector…) I got his CD years ago and liked it a lot!!!! Over the years we talked a few times, but never in person. I’ve heard a lot of good thing’s about Matt over the years – and they’re all True!!!! This guy is an amazing slide player!!!! I rate him up there in the Top 10!!!! If I can go out on a limb here I bit and try to describe his style, it’s kinda like Jackie Pearson’s, with a heavy Brother Duane influence!!!!! And some Warren for sure…… and every song got better and better!!!!
The rhythm section reminded me of ‘Double Trouble’ Tommy ‘Slut’ Shannon and Chris Layton. They were that tight!!!!! David the bass player is simply amazing! Ya gotta see him to believe it!!! And the cat playing second lead was simply fantastic and reminded me of Brother Dickey in many ways, pushing Matt higher and higher. And it got better and better. Every song was a wow! from me.
I was sweating bullets (to cop a phrase from Gregg Allman lol) thinking I gotta play at the first break. Well, these guys played for a good hour and half. So I was soaked with sweat knowing that I had to get up there after they
burned the place down!!!!! Well break time came, and I wasn’t near an exit door……lol. So David and I got up there, with my Dobro, a pick and the first slide I grabbed. Now I don’t usually play with a pick. I’m a fingerpicker and thumb player, but I was up for my ‘Bukka White’ impersonation lol – kinda ‘Thrash’ Dobro…..if ya can picture that.
We started off with, ‘Sun Gonna Shine’ off my second CD solo and included in the blooper section of my third CD with Maddog. We jammed with that for awhile, doing the ‘stream of conscious’ thing, adding whatever lyrics came to my tired mind. Some ‘Fixin to Die’, some ‘Big Road Blues”, kinda a blur. Then looking out to the audience I saw Lana and Pam in front with big smiles. That made it for me! Two of the cicest ladies ever in my life!!!!
But, I was kinda losing David a bit with my erratic playing. Now remember, I just met this guy and he got a crash course in my music driving up from Raleigh with Lana and Shey … listening to my CDs on the drive up…….Bless them…. lol.
Funny story, one of the first times I played with Maddog, a decade ago, we were doing ‘Moon Going Down’ by Charlie Patton and I was playing in the Patton style of keeping the rhythm by banging on the guitar while playing and singing. Now he’s looking at me really weird. We stop and he asks, “What’s the banging about ???” I explained about Patton and he said, “Oh! I thought you were mad at me!!!” lol…. Now this cat has played with Koko Taylor, Harvey Mandel and calls James Cotton a close friend….lol and it took awhile for me and him to play together. hehehe. Unfortunately he disappeared back in Sept. He suffers from post-traumatic stress from ‘Nam. Last time, just before the CD came out, he showed up the first time in 2 years. He was in the hospital for a year and homeless. It’s sad, folks, very sad. Send out vibes for him, please.
So David had big brass cojones to get up there with me!! Next song was ‘Mean Old World’ and we did the long version, with David wailing away on harp and my gruff, grunting vocal style was doing a number on me too quickly. We kicked in to a fast version of ‘Going Down Slow’ with a bit of jamming, then called it done. And everyone starts clapping! I was expecting bottles, and was ready to duck !!! hehehehe!
I thanked everybody for being so kind and as Son House would say ‘took my place and sat down’ with two of my fingers bleeding, lol. Then people start coming over and saying how good it was!!! I was blown away!!!Wow, even people I didn’t know! They were all so kind!!!
Then David, Matt’s bass player, came over with a big glass of ice water. That was so good of him. My voice was a rasp, to say the least. Then this smilin’ guy walked over and said ‘Any time if you’re going to be in NYC, I’ll get ya some payin’ gigs’ and hands me his card – Brian Golden. Hhmm the little wobbly wheels in my brain start turning and I remember a post Matt made a few weeks before, about a Brian who might be coming to playat Lanaroo.
Next thing he’s grabbing a white Strat and Matt’s going into his second set and up Brian walked and plugged in with that smile all over his face. The night was taken to another level… and what a level!!!!!! The second song ‘Mountain Jam’ was Amazing!!!!
Now I just got recently re-turned on to MJ by Pam and the current versions and love it again!!!!! But let me tell ya, Brian and Matt and Band “Burned”!!! I was standing with Ron(Goldtop) watching the interplay and the bass player David… and going wow!back and forth to eacher other! lol (I’m listening to Ron’s CD right now.)
Then next up was Ron… all the way from Santa Cruz, CA! What guy!! I spent as much time as we could between songs talking. I can’t tell ya folks how cool he is! So Ron gets out his Goldtop and walks on stage, plugs in – and wails!! I don’t remember the song, I think it was ‘Southbound’, but what a player! It was Matt on Slide and Ron on lead, then again and again!!! A truly amazing man!! ( Ron, it’s on Full Moon Cruz now ) He walks off, and hugs all around!
We start talking saying how much fun he was having and how glad he he was that he came!!!! A few more song of Matt’s and I’m propped up aginst the brick wall with my eyes closed and a smile on my face, soaking in the great music and vibes.
I’ll tell ya, folks, all my life it seems I’ve been at the right places at the right times….. and the “Being There” at Lanaroo for our dear sister and genie Lana who has brought us all together, not only through the website, but at the all the shows she graces her positive love and presence with!!! (and in my lucky life all the calls, gifts and a visits over the years )…..’Being there’… was all that mattered right then that night!!!! The long travel there and the other ‘stone in our pathway’ were nothing compared to being there with her and all our Brothers and Sisters!!!!!! And I’m sure my road manager will agree lol!
And, of course, to Brother Duane. It’s his efforts we celebrate every time we listen to the ABB. I am very fortunate to not only have seen him many times, but we were also friends off stage. We were the folks up in Boston who ran the electrial cord to the abandoned house they were crashing in ’69…lol. So many stories and memories…. I tell some of them to Pam, usually late at night on one of our road trips. and some I’ll probably never tell.
Well, that’s it. I do have a bit of the story on my way back, but that’s for another time. I’ve put ya through enough for now hehehe. Would I do it again? Damn yeah!!!!. In a second!!!!! Lanaroo 2 will be better than the first!!!!! I’ll just make sure I open up and do some fingerpicking and sliding hehehe – and then let the real cats play!!!!!!
Thanks again all! So nice meeting yas!!!!!!!
Wishin’ yas peace, love & happiness