“With our hearts filled with love, we count our blessings.” ~ David Bennett
Because we had fun at Graeter’s Ice Cream, we also had fun with selfies afterward. That’s all I’ve got at the end of a super busy Monday. It’s summer, eat ice cream. And lots of it. That’s my advice!
Michelle Shute couldn’t exist if she couldn’t make faces. These are just a few from today after her long weekend in Lexington. We were talking about how long we’d known each other this afternoon. We met in 1991. I think it was when we played at a great dive bar called Sluggo’s in Pensacola, her hometown. She came backstage and I remember signing her guitar. Then, she brought her sister to see us at one of the best bars in America called The Big Apple in Puryear, Tennessee. Those were good times for sure. She’s gone back home now and we’ll miss her. Michelle’s a light in my world.
It was an utterly gorgeous day in The Bluegrass. We scooped up Michelle and took her to Wallace Station for a cheeseburger. The ride through horse country with the windows rolled down was like a drive through heaven. Fresh cut grass wafting through the air as weanlings frolicked about. As usual, Wallace Station didn’t disappoint, and Stacy brought home a box load of their delicious baked goods. I enjoy Michelle’s visits so much. They’re too short, but I’m glad we get ’em. She’s a nut and I love her.
Michelle Shute flew up from Florida, then she, Stacy, and I drove to Cinci to meet one of Stacy’s old high school friends, Beverly Hodge. We then proceeded to the Taft Theater where we rocked our socks off to the Pretenders. (Crystal Heis and Mr. Boyfriend were in the balcony. We waved at each other.) Chrissie Hynde was adamant about no pictures, so an empty stage was all I got, and a selfie of us after the show. As much as I like Chrissie, I fell in love with her guitarist James Walbourne. In fact, his band, with wife Kami Thompson (whose parents just happen to be Richard and Linda Thompson) opened the night. They were totally captivating. They’re called The Rails. Tonight, they played as a duo, and that was perfectly okay because they were transcendent. Chrissie was extremely complimentary of them as well. In fact, I’ve never seen her smile as much as she smiled tonight. I saw the Pretenders at Memorial Coliseum on UK’s campus way back in ’86 when Get Close came out. Iggy Pop opened. It was a good show. Tonight was a good show, too, but this guy James Walbourne – he blew me away. Imagine if Lindsey Buckingham, Jeff Healy, and Richard Thompson had a baby. That’s what he plays like. Plus, he has a great voice. And did I mention that Beverly Hodge is a keeper? She was an absolute delight and I hope we see her again soon. This was a beautiful day, start to finish. Remember that name: James Walbourne.
Michelle Shute, whom you met back in 2012 and again in 2013, came to town a few days ago. Her friendship has enriched my life repeatedly. Over the past 25 +/- years she has turned me on to more great music and books than anyone I know save for Stacy. Little wonder they’re great friends, then. I happen to be the lucky recipient of their good tastes.
Michelle has been without a car for four years. That changed this week when Stacy gave Michelle her old car, Goose (pictured here). Stacy keeps things for decades, and they always look and work like new because she’s extreme in her care. Looking at Goose you’d never guess she’s nearly 17 years old. It was as if Stacy was handing Michelle a brand new car. When I first met Michelle she drove a red car, so it’s fitting she is once more in the saddle of a red ride. Stacy, meanwhile, wins the good samaritan award of the year, and rightfully so. She changed Michelle’s life, providing her freedom that many of us take for granted. Imagine how hard it would be to live your life if you were dependent on others to get around. That’s been Michelle’s life of late.
I have two great people in my life who love and adore one another and that makes me rich beyond measure.
This record showed up in my mail yesterday. Old friend, artist, and vinyl connoisseur Michelle Shute, whom you met in May 2012 and again in October 2013, sent it to me after I mentioned that I love Wings. It’s called Wild Life, Wings’ first album. Apparently, it’s a bit rare now. There’s not a single song on it that I’d heard before today. The critics panned the record when it was released in 1971, but every tune is like gold to my ears. It was recorded quickly, five of the tracks are first takes, but it doesn’t sound rushed at all. It sounds fluid and fresh, deliberately underproduced in the most beautiful ways. I did some research and found an article about the album by Jason Hartley. His last line perfectly sums up the recording for me. “In hindsight, this was almost a heretical act of artistic bravery. But it hardly sounds that way in 2014. Not just because McCartney has continually challenged and surprised us ever since, but also because Wild Life sounds like so much of where indie rock landed 40 years later.” If you ever come across this album, buy it. It’s a brilliant piece of work, and “In this wrapper is the music they made,” is a perfect ending to the liner notes. Thank you, Michelle, for always having great taste and sharing it with me.
Over the last week I’ve been repairing the feng shui in the house; a long overdue task. In my reorganizing I came across five issues of Michelle Shute’s Trailer Trash. Back in 1990, Michelle was spinning discs at her local radio station in Pensacola, Florida (which she still does) and hanging out with touring bands (like Stealin Horses) at the local watering hole, Sluggo’s, and publishing zines. Fast forward twenty-five years and we find her zine pioneering ways have helped academics the world over understand that zines are both works of historical significance and art. Zines often include personal commentary – many times just as informed as newspaper editorials – fiction, poetry, and visual arts. Trailer Trash is just such a zine. Michelle is an incredibly smart woman with equally intense opinions and a right-brain creative to boot. When she’s not publishing Trailer Trash, she’s creating beautiful collages and three-dimensional shadow-boxes, one of which lives with me. Finding Trailer Trash transported me to a time I loved, made me laugh, made me think, and most of all, made me remember how much I love and admire my friend Michelle Shute. Fixing the feng shui in my nest was long overdue. Here’s to 2015!
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
“I just saw you. Turn around, and come back,” I laughed. “How do you see me? Where are you?” Michelle Shute questioned. As she drew closer I stepped into the street – literally – and all heads turned, except Michelle’s. She still didn’t see me until she was right up on me (above). I love Michelle. She’s been my BFF for over 20 years. My Pensacola buddy loves music of all kinds, and her knowledge of the obscure is impressive. She started making simple collages a few years ago, but recently branched out to three-dimensional shadow box style artworks. I loved the camera piece (below) the second I saw it, so I bought it.
The U.S. Postal Service did their best to kill it. They were unsuccessful, though they did manage to knock loose several key pieces. Michelle came to Rosemary Beach for a visit and a quick repair. I had the best afternoon with her. I am proud beyond words for how she has embraced her right brain. I’m excited to see how her work continues to grow. If it’s anything like her ability to be a true friend, her future is bright. I sure do love her.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
I traveled to Tahlequah, Oklahoma for the 2-Pony Reunion and Survivor’s Gathering. There was no internet service. My only means of posting was through my phone via facebook. Posting a picture was really all I could manage. Make no mistake, there was much picture taking and happiness stuff (stuff’s the technical term). I returned with nearly 2,500 images and five days of love to share. For the next five posts you’ll find above the photos I was able to post and below what I would have posted had I been able to access more than my phone. I hope you enjoy the trip and feel the love as much as I did.
Memphis resident and massage therapist extraordinaire, Tammy Jo O’Neal, was my first passenger pick-up. The last 2-Pony gathering was in 2000. It had been even longer since I had seen Tammy Jo. My second passenger was Florida native Michelle Shute. She caught a ride up with her nephew who just happens to live a few blocks from Tammy Jo. Convenient! And thus, the love-fest began.