3TO tour report – episode 1

Steve Dilling has agreed to share the ups and downs, in and outs of a long IIIrd Tyme Out road trip with our readers. They will be traveling from coast to coast, and back again, this first two weeks of April. Here is his first report.

We are so excited to be sharing our experiences with everyone here on Bluegrass Today!  This trip should really be fun and we’ll keep you updated with pictures and memos as often as we can.

IIIrd Tyme Out getting ready to load up the bus - Russell, Justen, Jack and SteveWe loaded up the bus and left from Russell’s house on Friday, April 3rd, at noon for the Down Home in Johnson City, TN.  After a Wal-Mart and fuel stop, we arrived at 6:00 p.m. for sound check and a great meal provided by the Down Home.  This is a GREAT venue to perform at because the audience is close to the stage and it gives you, as a performer, a personal touch with those who attend.  The house was packed with long time fans and followers, many ETSU students and a few fans that had never been to one of our live concerts.

We also had a couple of ‚Äòspecial’ treats for the band‚Ķ‚ĶBlue Highway band member, Jason Burleson, and his wife came to the show as well as Sally and Tensel Sandker (Rhonda Vincent’s daughters) of the band Next Best Thing!  (On a side note, we’ll be traveling on the Rhonda Vincent & the Rage Bluegrass Cruise in 2010 and we hope you’ll join us!!!)  We had a fun-packed night at the Down Home and had a great time visiting with everyone, but it was time move on, so we loaded up and headed for Arkansas.

It was about midnight when we left the Down Home and Russell, Jack and myself took turns driving the bus.  I took the first shift on this night with Wayne, Justen and Edgar staying up to ride shotgun.  I drove ‚Äòtill about 3:45 a.m. and then it was Russell’s turn to take the wheel.  Russell drove until around 8:30 a.m. then handed it off to Jack who took it on for a while.

fayetteville.jpgOur next venue was in Fayetteville, AR. for Goodfolk Productions on April 4th.  We arrived at 4:00 p.m. for sound check and what we found for the venue was a beautiful house that was built in 1905.  It’s located right in downtown Fayetteville and adjacent to the University of Arkansas.  The huge living room has been turned into a concert room and there is a stage in the corner, a sound system, lighting and several rows of chairs set up.  This place is COOL!

Mike Shirkey is the owner and has had many artists perform there.  We did our sound check and visited with Mike for a little while and then went back to the bus for some dinner and to relax for a minute before our performance began.

Showtime was at 8:00 p.m. and we were scheduled to do two 45 minute sets with a short intermission in between.  The house was packed and, having such an intimate setting, made for a great night!  Some friends of ours had set up a surprise 40th birthday party for Ali Maze.  She was so surprised!  They had a huge cake for everyone there and we got the audience to sing along to ‚ÄòHappy Birthday’ for Ali.  Thanks to Amy Baker for helping set this up!!

We got loaded up and pulled out around 11:00 p.m.  Russell was driving and Donnie, Wayne, Justen, Edgar and myself sat up to watch a DVD.  I finally went to my bunk around 2:00 a.m.  Russell drove ‚Äòtill about 3:30 a.m. and pulled over for some good sleep while sitting still.  We always try to do this when we can because we realize the importance of getting good rest while traveling on the road.

As I write this, it is Sunday morning (April 5th) and we are on I-40 in the Texas panhandle heading toward California. Nothing planned today but lots of riding. We’ll check back in soon.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.