Cutting through Illinois things started to look more and more like the South, every few dozen miles there would be another gun club and old decrepit barns spotted the landscape. Very cute small towns with some empty houses, I might buy one of those some day. My shoes were stinking pretty bad so Tara suggested I buy new ones, we compromised on shoe spray (it’s working well). In Anna Illinois, no booze was sold on Sunday, so we carried onto Cape Girardeau, the location of our third concert. It’s a mid size town on the Mississippi river that’s the biggest town between St. Louis and Dallas. A couple named Larry and Jean Underberg have been putting on concerts in their home for the last few years and we were lucky enough to get a bill. They’ve been putting on these concerts for a few years and have developed a reputation for bringing out quality musicians; there was a good turn out of an appreciative audience. We were met by a big article from the local paper about us, I was described as playing “unadulterated folk music”. I’ll send the link.
The chairs were set up in the dinning room which over ooked the living room, where we were performing. The PA sounded good and we did our first full songwriter’s circle. Our various styles contrasted and complimented each other, creating a nice flow and rhythm for the performance. We’ve been developing a good repartee on stage; there was plenty of time for jokes and comments, it worked well when the audience gives you undivided attention.
I talked about my vocal explorations and it seemed to resonate with the crow. Apparently many of the audience members were psychologists, so NLX asked if she could have a talk in lieu of a song. A couple in the front was brought to tears at her love songs. The four cats in the house darted around the room, rubbing against our legs as we played. It was all nice and homey. The audience was all warm and generous with hugs all around. Over dinner I had great chat with our host Larry, who’s a professor of communication and speech at the local university. He created a class all about social protest in music, the sociology of metal being of current interest. Larry and Jean showed us the man-cave, a their basement which is filled will interesting guitars, amps and various instruments. Amanda played the electric drum kit and I jammed on steel body. Then the girls went off to bed early and Larry brought me to a bar typical to the banks of the Mississippi river. Stepping into the bar, it hit me that we had crossed the Mason-Dixon line, I was officially in the south. First of all, there was smoking permitted in the whole bar, this caught me off guard since smoking has been illegal in bars in Ottawa for the last decade or so. Everywhere I looked were people from 25 to 75, mostly in blue collar clothing that gave no hint of decade. I’ve heard that time moves slower in the south and I think it’s true, I felt at home. It felt like everyone was in the moment, laughing and talking with vigor.
Rick, the host, had an accent so think I could make about half of what he was saying. We settle into a round table at the back and I listened to a a middle aged man singing about fishing. It was my turn to perform and I was a little nervous, but it went well. I asked if anyone had been to Austin and quite a few applauded. Broadcasting familiarity seems like a good way to get people on your side. The skinhead milk farmer joke went well and there was some great applause. An older lady by the bar said she liked my old time style and was enjoy a huge man named ralf said he was Rick’s sax player and quite enjoyed the show. He said he loved playing sax but couldn’t write a song to save his life.
After me was a fellow that reminded me of the character “lucky” who showed up in a few of the later seasons of king of the hill. A goofy and sweet demeanor, made a cheap shot joke about quebec and sand some drinking songs. He seemed to have a good music career going on, playing in the area. Bob I think his name was. He came up and apologized for tat shot, it was against Quebec after all, he shook my hand and complimented my music.
On my way out I waved and hollered good by to the crowd. “Good luck, good by Maxim!” the crowd replied as they waved goodbye. We went across the street to thirty foot flood wall, it showed the high water points over the last hundred years or so. I sprinkled some water on myself from the mighty Mississippi. There was a barge slowly pushing cargo up the river and freight train went behind us. The south was alive and I’ve entered into it’s belly.