DATELINE: September 6, 2008
We set sail for Rome, Georgia on a beautiful Carolina day, with the iPod pumping some good tunes to help make the drive to Atlanta more palatable. The haul down I-85 was cool, and Jill and I were rocking out the whole way. Before I knew it we were in Atlanta, catching 75 North to Rome.
I know I’ve said it before, but driving into Mike Proctor’s farm is really like finding the Bat Cave. It’s kind of a well kept secret. It took me a few visits before I finally got the knack of finding the place. Of course, if I did get lost we now have these new fangled things called “cell phones,” and I could just put in a call to Bruce Wayne and get directions.
The first folks we saw when we drove in were Kerry Creasy and his wife. Kerry plays bass for The Crosstown Allstars. Over the next hour, we hung out and had some laughs with all of our old friends from Tommy Crain and The Crosstown Allstars and The Tommy Talton Band, Donnie Winters, and our new friend, Amanda Martin.
Proctor’s private club, The High Lonesome, remains one of the coolest places I have ever been to. I always look forward to coming back.
Mike had a great spread for us with pulled pork barbeque, ribs and all the trimmings. Good stuff.
At seven it was time for the evening’s entertainment to begin. Hey, wait a minute. That’s me! I opened the show doing a songwriters circle with Donnie Winters (The Winters Brothers Band) and up and coming country singer/songwriter Amanda Martin. We were joined on guitar by Tommy Talton.
The High Lonesome was sold out, and the crowd was just great. We took turns doing our original songs, with Donnie playing both classic tunes from The Winters Brothers days like “Shotgun Rider” and other great tunes. At one point, Donnie blew the collective audience’s mind with a song that included an amazing yodeling part. It reminded me so much of Donnie’s father, the late great “Yodeling King,” Papa Don Winters.
Amanda Martin of Nashville played some of her excellent tunes, including her signature song “You Can’t Help But Love Me” and a crowd favorite, “Whiskey Makes Me Cry.” Look for Amanda’s songwriting on the new Trace Adkins release in November. The Amanda Martin/Larry Cordle song, "Sometime's a Man Takes a Drink" will be included on the album.
After a short break, Tommy Crain and The Crosstown Allstars took the stage. Now, these guys just get better every time I see them, and with the recent addition of Bob Jones on Hammond B-3 and piano just makes the mix that much better. They absolutely smoked their whole set, which included several originals like “Find Another Lover,” and a cover of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Jessica” that brought the house down. Speaking of Le Brers, Crain and the boys took it even higher later in the set with “Hot ‘Lanta.” Wow.
Tommy Crain and Bob Rumer are two smoldering hot guitarists, and they were both hotter than a hog jowl at a pig pickin’ tonight. Tommy paid tribute to his “old boss” with “Long Haired Country Boy,” and closed out with their Southern Rock original “The Hill.” The crowd went nuts.
After another brief set change, it was time for another awesome band, The Tommy Talton Band.
I had been in the green room before with Talton and the band, just clowning around and having fun like we always do when we are together. Tommy was in rare form tonight, and had me laughing so hard I thought I’d cry. Of course, Brandon the bass player is pretty wacky himself. Fun stuff.
One factoid I wanted to note is that Bill Stewart is now in the band. Bill played with Tommy in Cowboy, and on the Gregg Allman albums in the early seventies, including the double On Tour album that found Cowboy backing Gregg. Bill is also drummer for The Capricorn Rhythm Section. A great drummer and a great guy too.
Talton and the boys played a great set of songs from his new album Live in Europe: Someone Else’s Shoes, including “Time Will Never Change,” “How Come People Act Like That,” “Baby I’m On Your Side,” along with Cowboy classics “River to the Sea” and “Time will Take Us.” They also rocked out on their funky version of Buffalo Springfield’s classic “For What It’s Worth” and Tommy’s instrumental, “My Baby Don’t Shave.”
All the while, Talton joked with the audience, danced around the stage like a 20-year old, and generally put on a show for the books.
Songwriter Diane Durrett, who had sat in with The Crosstown Allstars earlier in the evening, joined Talton on his song “Color My Sleep,” improvising vocals in a voice reminiscent of Janis Joplin’s finest work.
Earlier in the evening, Mike Proctor had asked Talton to do something special for him. He wanted the band to play the Gregg Allman classic “Queen of Hearts.” While Talton played it with Allman, this would be the first time ever with him singing the song. They printed out the lyrics, and someone held the sheet up and Tommy knocked it out of the park. Our friend Terry Reeves from Music Matters Entertainment added some background ambiance. It was classic.
It was obvious that this one of the hottest shows ever to hit The High Lonesome. I truly cannot say enough about the music. It was quite special. I am so happy Mike and Tara Proctor have such a cool venue for live music, and just feel lucky to have been a part of one seriously historic night.
Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.
BUFFALO'S PHOTO RETROSPECTIVE
Photos by Buffalo and Jill Smith
SONGWRITERS: Buffalo, Amanda Martin, Tommy Talton and Donnie Winters.
Donnie Winters sings. Tommy Talton was kind enough to join us on guitar. How cool is that?
PALS: Mike Proctor, owner of The High Lonesome and Terry Reeves of Music Matters Entertainment,
SLIDE MAN: Bob Rumer of The Crosstown Allstars.
CROSSTOWN ALLSTARS: Towson and Kerry.
The one and only Tommy Crain.
The newest Allstar, Bob "B-3" Jones.
Tommy Crain & The Crosstown Allstars
Buffalo, Amanda Martin and Proctor.
The GREAT Tommy Talton.
Funky Brandon Peeples.
COWBOY: Drummer to the tenth power, Bill Stewart.
Tony G gettin' crazy on them keys.
He who has the tequila gets the women. Mike Proctor, the Hugh Hefner of Rome.
Kristen and Jill Smith.
Buffalo hamming with Amanda Martin.
Tommy Talton duets with guest jammer Diane Durrett.
THAT'S ALL FOLKS!