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Reminiscing About New Year's Eve Past

Posted: Jan 01, 2007 New Year’s Eve was fun this year. We went out for dinner, then came back home to chill out and watch the Garrison Keillor special on PBS, live from The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. What a great show, with our friend Cowboy Jack Clement, and top of the line pickers that included Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Buddy Emmons, Emmylou Harris, Doyle Lawson and many others. It was a great way to bring in the new year, and very appropriate that it was live from Nashville and we are planning to move to Nashville this year.

I started thinking about New Year’s Eve’s of the past, and reminiscing about the good ones, the bad ones, the happy ones and the sad ones.

One of the very first New Year’s Eve’s I really remember celebrating was in 1973. That was the first year that Dick Clark presented his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. I remember it like it was yesterday. My Mom and my sister had gone to bed, but Daddy and I sat up and watched the show, which featured a very pregnant Helen Reddy singing her huge radio hit “I Am Woman.” I recall Billy Preston playing “Outta Space,” and singing “That’s the Way God Planned it,” swaying side to side, with his massive afro leaning like a tree in a high wind.

One of the 1970's New Year's Eves was spent at a Marshall Tucker Band show. One of my favorite bands of all time brought in the new year Southern style. "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" was awesome.

I remember being all alone in an apartment one year, feeling depressed and sad, I really don’t remember why I felt that way. I was channel surfing and came across David Allan Coe playing live from some place. The one thing I remember most about that show is that Warren Haynes was in the band, and I had never seen or heard anything like that boy before. Little did I know he would later play with both The Allman Brothers band and the Grateful Dead, as well as form one of the hottest rock bands ever, Gov’t Mule.

I remember one New Year’s Eve back in the 1970’s when my friend Larry and I were playing pool and bowling on New Year’s Eve, which was kind of fun, actually. And I remember being out with a girl I was totally obsessed with on year, and kissing her while standing outside in the snow. I was pretty young, but that night I grew up several years.

I have played music on many a New Year’s Eve, but none was more exciting than First Night Greenville, back in the early 1990’s, with my band The Buffalo Hut Coalition. We brought in the New Year at the Peace Center Amphitheater in front of several thousand people. It was a blast.

So far, my most memorable New Year’s eve has to be the 1999-2000 one, when Jill and I flew out to Port Arthur, Texas for the Millennium Concert by Edgar Winter, who was reuniting with White Trash singer Jerry LaCroix and members of their old band, as well as Chris Duarte. The afternoon we arrived, we learned that the concert had been postponed until the night of the first. It seems President Bill Clinton had assembled an all-star rock band to play New Year’s Eve in Washington, DC. John Fogerty, Slash and others, along with, you guessed it, Edgar Winter.

So we spent New Year’s Eve in the lounge of The Ramada Inn in Port Arthur, being treated to an awesome show by Jerry LaCroix and his band. Every time they would show Edgar on the huge TV, playing live in DC, everyone would cheer. I’ll never forget Jerry coming out into the audience at 12:15, January 1, 2000, and leading me by the hand to the stage, where his guitar player placed his Strat around my neck, and I sang and played “Redhouse” and played on the White Trash classic, “Fly Away.” It was quite a rush.

The concert the next evening was great. There weren’t a lot of people there, probably because of the rescheduling, but those of us who were there has a stone cold blast. From the opening band, through Chris Duarte’s set, Jerry LaCroix’s set and the Edgar Winter Band, with Jerry sitting in, it was amazing. A great memory.

Happy New Year. I hope your New Year’s Eve was a memorable one.

Keep it Real. Keep it Southern. - Buffalo

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