This post is a contribution from Steve Dilling. He will be chronicling IIIrd Tyme Out’s west coast tour for Bluegrass Today in October, as he has done in the past.
We left Friday afternoon to go over to Livermore, CA at 4:00 pm to be there by 5:00 for our sound check. We got caught in a terrible traffic jam, and it was nearly 6:00 before we got to the venue. We managed to get a quick sound check, and had dinner which was provided by Wes and Cynthia Spain. Of all things, their restaurant is called Carolina BBQ. They specialize in North Carolina style BBQ. It was so good! Wes is actually from Wake county, the same county that I live in.
After eating, it was time to get serious. The show started at 7:00. There was an opening act called OMGG. I found out this stood for, Obviously Minor Guys and a Girl. These kids were awesome. It was great to visit and get to know them. The house was pretty much packed. A few empty seats on the side. There were lots of California Bluegrass Association members in attendance including CBA President, Darby Brandli, and longtime friend Carl Pagter. It was a great night and a good way to kick off our shows in California.
After the show, we loaded up and went back to Bill and Maria’s house for food and drinks. We hung out for a while, but had to get some sleep as we were going to be pulling out early on Saturday morning.
We woke up Saturday morning to a cool, chilly, steady rain. We got on the road around 8:00 am and drove about 3 hours north to Potter Valley CA. We stopped and fueled the bus, filled up our fresh water tank and pulled into the venue at 11:30. We had a 12:00 pm sound check and show time was at 4:00 pm.
This was a very interesting place. It was on a farm owned by Skip and Barbara Newell. The home was called The Spottswood House, which was built in 1887. They have a barn in the back where they hold concerts. It was nothing like I had expected – it was huge! Downstairs, the walls were full of pictures of artists who had performed there in the past, and it was an honor to be added to the wall of fame.
The concert was held upstairs. It was a full concert area with a stage in the end of the building. The weather was terrible, as the rain didn’t let up all day, but it didn’t stop the people from coming out. This show was put on by the Willits Rotary Club. Our friend Bruce Burton was the promoter of this show; it was great to see him. The show was sold out. We had people standing around the back and the sides. The crowd was awesome and they were really into the music and we fed off of their excitement. It was a great day!
We loaded up and pulled out around 8:15 pm headed south to Los Olivos, CA. This was looking to be about an 8 hour run overnight. I drove the first shift. Wayne and Edgar sat up hanging out and keeping me company. The rain was still falling, so it made the drive a little more interesting. I quit driving around midnight, and turned the wheel over to Justen. He and Wayne pulled into a truck stop in Santa Maria at 4:00 am to sit still for a while.
Russell got up at 5:00 am to start preparing for the next show, which was the Valley Harvest Church in Los Olivos, CA. We had a show time at 9:00 am. and in order for Russell to be able to sing, he has to get up at least 3 or 4 hours before the show to be prepared. He drove on over to the church. We got in and did a quick sound check and were ready to go by 9:00. The pastor and his wife, Rob and Lisa Walter, are big fans of ours and it was nice to go by their church and do a show for them.
The service was mixed…. our music, Rob’s message and then some more of our music. After the show, they had a big lunch with some of that famous California Tri-Tip and grilled chicken with all of the fixings! It was a great time. Those people at the Valley Harvest Church were so kind to us.
We pulled out of Los Olivos at noon, to drive to our next venue about 4 hours up the road in Fresno, CA. Jack was behind the wheel. On the way, we managed to stop at Wal-Mart and Home Depot, as we were having a little trouble with the alternator on the bus. Not only is Russell the 2010 IBMA Male Vocalist Of The year, he is one mean bus mechanic! While he was addressing the problem, I ran across the street to Fantastic Sams to grab a quick haircut. We got back on the road, and made it to Fresno for a 6:00 pm sound check.
The name of the venue in Fresno, was the Cal Arts Academy. It was a neat place, with a theater upstairs. We had never played in Fresno before, and weren’t sure what to expect, especially on a Sunday night. But to our delight, the place was packed and ready for some music. The audience was very enthusiastic. Once again, we had two great sets and a good time was had by all. Most of this audience had never seen the band before, so it was good to make some new fans. Pat Wolk and her staff treated us so kindly.
We pulled out around 10:00 pm heading south toward Bakersfield. I drove about 60 miles and pulled the bus into a Wal-Mart parking lot to bed down for the night. Sunday was a very long day, and everyone was ready to get some sleep. After we got parked, Wayne, Donnie, Edgar and myself went into the Kroger to pick up a few things. When we came out, the lock on the door of the bus was jammed, and here we found ourselves locked out of the bus while everyone else was sleeping. This wasn’t good. I went around and knocked on the back glass of the bus, and woke Jack up. He came up front and finally was able to get the door unlocked for us.
As I am writing this, it is 9:30 am on Monday morning. Russell and Edgar are working on the door trying to get the lock fixed. We have about 50 miles to go to get to our destination in Bakersfield and we have to stop by the Detroit Diesel place to get some parts for the alternator. I will give you a report on the Bakersfield show tomorrow.
Check us out at www.iiirdtymeout.com