Adam Duritz is probably tired of me kissing his ass about how big of an influence he and Counting Crows have been for me. Haha. But it’s true! Jokes aside: I’m honored to call him a friend, and was thrilled when he asked me to play the Underwater Sunshine Fest in New York City. I knew it was gonna be a stretch to go to NYC, play the show on my own, come right back to Texas… and get ready for Tour. While it was a whirlwind of a trip, it was well worth it. I had the best time.
I’ll save you the tourist-y (I can’t help it, I’m from Texas!) type stuff I did. But just know, I was glad to have a few hours to explore New York City, Saturday morning, before the festival.
I had an afternoon, acoustic performance at one of the famed “Garden Sessions”. I arrived a little early, to a room full of fellow artists. This much talent should not be allowed in one room. Haha. It was intimidating, but I was ready. Speaking of talent, I was excited to meet Author, and favorite new Podcast Host, James Campion! (if you don’t have his Warren Zevon book, “Accidentally Like a Martyr”… you need it on your life immediately)
James had recently called our new single, Mamacita, a “rock n roll masterpiece”. So, of course, it was the first thing I mentioned. Haha! We had a good laugh about it. You know when you meet someone, in a “business” type environment… and you can tell, even though everyone is sort of on their best behavior, that you’d be friends? That’s how I felt when I met James. What a great dude. Always nice to meet genuine, good people in this crazy business.
So, I hung out for a bit… then, got ready for my Garden Session acoustic performance. I guess I could have done a couple songs I’ve played 1,000 times … but, I decided to play 2 songs I’ve never played before. Because I’m clearly out of my mind. Haha. I will chalk it up to being in a room FULL of uber talented peers, and wanting to up my game a little. So, with a voice full of nerves, I played a cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accent”, and a new song called “This is the Sound”. I knew Adam was a fan of the new tune, so I wanted to play it for him. I think I did ok. I felt good about it, and got a good response… which always feels nice.
Then, it was back to the Hotel to get the rest of my gear for the festival performance later that night. I decided to play electric guitar and use a loop (drum) pedal. Why? It was actually Mickey (our drummer’s) idea for a previous tour we were booked to do… but then the band couldn’t make it. I decided to have another drummer fill in on that tour. He did ok… but it just wasn’t the same. Mickey had suggested using a loop pedal, and just having fun with it, for that previous tour… and hindsight being 20/20, I wished I had done it that way, back then. SO… I was excited to give it a shot.
While there will forever be something extra special about the 5 of us getting together and our band playing live. I gotta say: using this new loop pedal, and playing electric, is a close second! I know it’ll never be the same as when everyone is on stage together… but it’s leaps and bounds beyond trying to keep a room’s attention (especially a bar in NYC) with a solo acoustic performance. So, I had some fun with it and got a great response! Felt really good.
As a musician you always hope to be welcomed into that old school “family” world. It’s a rare thing these days in the music business. Not only have I been lucky enough to find that kind of family with Wicked Cool Records… I gotta say: Adam, James and the whole Underwater Sunshine crew got that same family vibe goin’ on, and I am so thankful to be a part of it.
Hope to see them all again sometime soon. -Ryan