Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ramble On-- Janurary 30

I'm about to hit the road for almost three weeks. To celebrate actually having my stuff packed early (dear lord, please say I've packed enough underwear...) here is my favorite song of the moment.

 Hit Me Like a Man-- The Pretty Reckless

"Love is strong, but I am evil. You are wrong about me."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gary Allan, I don't like it when you're happy.

Gary Allan has always been sort of a country weakness for me. My little rocker heart is just hypnotized by him. There's something about his voice and his kinda bad-boy image (which I know, probably is only a persona produced to lead little girls astray from their typical not-so-country music, but I'm just saying the tattoos don't make me like him one bit less). 

More than that, though, his songs don't typically fall into the trap of the country cliche that so many artists are drowning in right now. As I mentioned already in my Whiskey Myers post, I hate that 95% of the country songs on the radio now are about being country. Like, really? Don't dumb down your music for your audience. We get that you're country. That's kind of a given. I'm ok with songs about your wife leaving, dog dying, whiskey bottle being empty. That's apparently a staple of the country life and I get that. But don't just tell me about a country girl who you would like to shake it for you, or try to explain what country is to you. It was nice idea the first ten times it was done, but it's over now. Let's move on. 

On his new release, Set You Free, Allan stays on my good side, with not one song containing the word 'country' in the title or theme. But, overall, my first listen didn't leave me head over heels with this album. I listened to it again, because I really wanted to love it. It was then that I realized the only songs I liked were the ridiculously sad ones, and there weren't very many. Which led to my conclusion: I do not like it when Gary Allan is happy.

I know, that makes me a terrible person. Poor little Gary has had a pretty tough life, especially in the wife department. Wishing for more misery in hopes that it produces depressing songs is really not something I want to do to him. But he just does those songs so damn well! The saddest, deepest songs are the ones that I love the most by not only him but any artist (and I sense this has some deep psychological implications that I choose not to address at the moment).

Maybe I should phrase it differently: I don't like it when he sings songs that are happy. I know he doesn't write all his songs, and it turns out that most of the super sad ones on the album weren't written by him. So go ahead, I give you permission to be happy. Just keep enough of that misery reserved to belt out those sad songs with a sufficient amount of emotion to make them feel real. Thank ya lots, Gary.

After reaching that compromise, I tried it one more time, and it turns out that the few songs on the album that are the "she left me, my heart is broken, time to drink your memory away" kind are pretty amazing. Like have been on a repeating loop for the last hour or so kind of amazing. 

Because the album just came out yesterday, most of the songs don't have YouTube videos yet, so if you use Spotify then you can stream the songs from this post using this playlist:

Gary Allan-- Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)

I could have bet my roommate's dog that I already made a post on this one, but I can't find it if I did. And even if I did, I love it enough to post it again. I bought this song after I heard it the first time on the radio and have had it in pretty steady play ever since. Though it falls more into the 'getting over it' phase of the sad song evolution, it has just enough tug on the heart to make it one of my favorite songs on the album, as well as country radio right now.  

Gary Allan--It Ain't the Whiskey

Just so terribly depressing. Everything about it. In the album version, the sounds of the steel and organ just about break your heart. And I love it. I would have chosen that version to feature, but no avid fans have made a video using it yet. I highly recommend you check it out, but this live acoustic version should be more than enough to hold you over and convince you to hear the real thing.

A couple others worth mentioning: "Hungover Heart" and "Sand in my Soul," aka how being left by a woman affects various body parts. "You Without Me" is also worth a listen.

Allan goes a little Kenny Chesney/ barefoot on a beach with "No Worries." I do think he does this better than Chesney, though, bringing in a reggae vibe that definitely make me wish I was in a warmer place (because I am NOT made for this cold. Probability of me going outside is looking like it may stay at "not a chance in hell" level). On "Drop" he gets way jazzy, like coffee shop/wine bar/snaps instead of claps. It's not terrible, but once again, it doesn't make me cry so I don't love it. 

Overall, when I leave out the happy songs, I do love Set You Free. It is the kind of country that I'm not ashamed to admit to liking. I don't want to go so far as to say that Allan is the "real deal" country, because I honestly don't know where that line lies now that I have been exposed to this whole new world of underground/outlaw country music that I never really knew existed until I ran off with a band that falls into that genre. I certainty don't want to discount what he is doing just because his music is played on modern country radio. I feel like it would be complete lies for any artist to say that what they aim for isn't that kind of success. I have seen firsthand what it's like to be a struggling band, giving every bit of your heart, soul and money to pursue your dreams. Up and coming musicians don't do it to play to half-empty restaurants. Gaining a following large enough to support a lifestyle better than what you started with has to be an end goal, otherwise there is no way in hell you can stay sane enough to keep pushing forward.

What I do know is Gary Allan is doing something that is different enough to, in my humble opinion, set him apart and make him closer to real than most of the other guys on the radio today. His songs make me feel, and if you're listening to music, I mean really listening and absorbing and taking in songs for any other reason, then you should probably put on some Taylor Swift and read another music blog.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

4000 views. Cupcakes and mouth kisses for everyone!

I can't say thank you enough! Burning Bright  has been getting a ridiculous amount of views lately, and it isn't even possible for me to express how happy that makes me.

If I could, I would give each and every one of you a cupcake and a kiss on the mouth. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time or money to make cupcakes, and I'm pretty sure kissing too many people on the mouth is frowned upon, especially if both parties aren't willing. So instead, I'll just say thank you and hope you keep coming back to read these senseless ramblings of mine. Also, here's a funny cat video, which is almost as good as a cupcake.

You're welcome.

Seriously, if you don't enjoy that, I don't think we can be friends. Actually, if you can only watch it one time I probably don't like you. Let's be honest: I just watched it five times, making the total times I've watched it approximately 3,265.  Go ahead and catch up with me. I'll wait.

tour blog 7

This was easily one of the best weekends I have had with the band. It was a short run, with just two shows, but both were at awesome venues with great people each night. Too much fun was had for sure, but it was amazing.  

January 18
Tootle's Pumpkin Inn
Circleville, Ohio

This was my second trip to Tootle's with the band, and I was so excited to be back there because I love that place. Seriously, on my list of favorite bars, Tootle's is near the top. Super cool place, super cool people.

Turns out bourbon has 0 carbs. So there's that...
( just as an fyi, the italicized things that i randomly throw in here are my tweets i've posted--i swear, reading my tweets is how i remember many pa-pow.)

I didn't wear this hoochie skirt for nothing. Somebody come buy some merch from me!

Git amongst it.

Beatles, what are you looking at?

Edible Fifth on the Floor on a giant doughnut. Umm tasty.

Caught ya Parsons.

 This is why this place is one of my favorite bars I've been to with the band. That donut is low carb, right?
Ank God.

Dear Jesus aint the word for it. You know any Candlebox?

January 19
The Machine Shop
Flint, Michigan 

This was the most excited I have been to go to any venue thus far in my touring adventures. I had heard a lot about The Machine Shop- so many bands that I love have played there, and it has always been on my list of places I wanted to go with a band. I was literally a giddy little girl all the way there (well, as giddy as it is possible to be after spending six hours in a van, tempted by the smell of delicious evil giant carb-filled doughnut five inches from my face).     

I think I have a problem.
 Back story to this picture/caption: I have an addiction to stealing trucker hats. I cannot control myself. I apologize to anyone who has been hurt or lost a hat to my thieving ways. If it makes it any better, I don't even know how I got this one. I just unzipped my backpack Saturday morning and, like a Christmas morning surprise, my new hat was there and waiting to be worn. So wear it I did. Even though Justin called me Fred Durst and even though the locals of Circleville judged me hard core. I guess they don't usually have hot messes running around in hoochie heels, leather leggings, trucker hats and wayfarers. And for that I am sorry for them. Anddd for myself also for being that mess.
And then I wore this in public and I was not ashamed

I love playing the lottery as I enjoy my meal. Thanks Ohio!

That is the doughnut, smelling up Kelli's back bench cave. It was a cruel torture as we drove six hours and I wanted to eat the entire thing, but instead ate Atkins bars. Not as good as doughnut, btw.
The mission of Ohio: Paint murals on every wall.
And now I know who Ted Lewis is. 

"Ted Lewis was an American entertainer, bandleader, singer, and musician. He led a band presenting a combination of jazz, hokey comedy, and schmaltzy sentimentality that was a hit with the American public." -- Thank you, Wikipedia.

And then we found a screw in the NEW tire and I got to chill in another Pepboys. Sadly, this one had no street map rug or free coffee. I'm writing a complaint letter as we speak.

This is one of my ridiculous dreams come true. Merch girling at the Machine Shop in Flint. Most legit thing I have done yet!

Ok, I couldn't get a better picture because there were sooooo many people and I couldn't back up far enough to get it all in. But, for the very first time, I had a legit merch set up. Like I got to stand behind a counter and hang my shirts on the wall. It was so cool! I finally felt like a real merch person.Which is probably really confusing for you, as normal sane people.

And I know, it is really hard for most of you all to understand why I do what I do, and beyond that, why I enjoy it so much. To quote an actual post that was made on my Facebook page (by someone who I know loves me and was just concerned with my strange detour from my perfectly, meticulously planned little life): "KELLI! What are you doing?"

The answer to that question is totally easy: I don't have a freakin' clue.

I know the things I should be doing at this point in my life. Let's be real- homegirl is getting old. It seems like everyday another friend of mine is popping out a baby, showing me their gorgeous engagement ring, or walking down the aisle. And I am so happy for them. I really am. Honestly, I'm really jealous of them. As a 25 year old girl, I am realizing that I am quickly reaching my prime and the way things are looking now, I'm gonna cruise right past prime, leaving my trophy rockstar wife plans in the dust and replacing them with the hopes of transitioning into a semi-attractive cougar.  Which is not appealing to me at all because "must be older than me" is one of the four main items on the "qualities that must be present for me to date you" list.

So, as a logical person would do, you ask, "Kelli, why don't you just get a real job grown-up job, buy a house, stay in one city for long enough to meet and subsequently talk/date/marry/etc. them? Get that white picket fence and a puppy and go to work from 9-5 everyday and be normal!"

The answer: I can't. Because that would be easy. And easy is boring. And I HATE boring.  

My entire life, I've done the right thing, the thing that I was supposed to do. The safe and boring thing (with one exception, and even in that straying from sanity, most of what I was trying to do was save someone who had no desire to be saved and be made into something safe and boring). And where did that "right" path get me? Miserable. I was so so so unhappy, and I desperately needed more.

So when the chance to do this merch job came about, the timing was too perfect to turn it down. It was terrifying. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever done. But it has been the most rewarding growing experience of my entire life. It is about way more than just selling a tshirt or cd. I'm traveling across the country. I'm meeting fascinating people. I'm listening to live music every night. I'm learning about the music business. I am so unbelievably poor and I do miss my impulse shopping sprees. But as silly as it sounds, I feel like I'm really living my life. And that is worth the sacrifice.

So, when I tweet or facebook things like this: "Y'all. I am selling merch at The Machine Shop. Definitely having a moment right now." I know you probably don't understand. And that's ok. Just know that I am happy.    

If it was like this every night, I'd never quit. I'm so in love with this.
Fifth on the Floor with Rachel Brooke singing "Wine"


Doing my own vandalism.

Part of my job is recruiting men to model FOTF  merch. Ok, not really but I may do that now. I've got a good start with this one.  It's blurry on account of all the preciousness.  

 And it worsens. Machine shop hoodie though! Kelli for the win. @ Inside of Biscuit

Best part of my job? Maybe.
So I guess I don't have to worry about the whole forever alone thing anymore. Facebook proposal....I'll take it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ok, one more.

Should have thrown this one in at the end of the last post, but I'd honestly forgotten about it until shuffle on the old iPhone reminded me (btw it sounds glorious through my beats, just in case you were wondering).

Chasing Layne--Filthy Mind

"Drowning in a river of sin but don't save me"

This is only a tiny clip I shot in lex when the guys were playing there at the A1A/Dame/Roxy/whatever it was called at this point. Do yourself a favor and hop on iTunes and buy the song. You have no idea how bad I miss the days of the Layne. Well, the good ones at least.

Ramble On--what day is it anyway?

Last night the band played at a venue I've always dreamed of working, The Machine Shop in Flint, MI. You know the night went well when the a band guy proposes to you via fb. Fake leather trash bag like material pants and 5inch heels. They work my friends, they work. Or it could just be my sparkling personality.  I'm gonna go ahead and put my money on the shoes.

So, actual reasoning for this post: I'm obsessed with this song right now. I've loved it for a long time, but today it is my jam as I'm lounged out in the back of the van.

Modest Mouse--Satin in a Coffin

"Do you believe what you're saying?" "Yeah, right now but not that often."

I only know where I've been by the clothing I have procured this weekend....

Friday, January 18, 2013

tour blog 6

This part of the tour was my favorite by far. I got to see some of the coolest things in some of my favorite cities, meet great people, and the guys played some really good shows. When I look back on this part of my life when I was touring, I think these will be some of my greatest memories.

January 7
Day off
Kingston, NY
Bagels for breakfast in New York! Life is good, my friends :)
 It is slightly strange, but I realize that not until this trip did I take pictures of the band aside from my nightly photo of them on stage. This changes in New York. Hence, many of the following pictures. Also, I apologize because I was super touristy (I might as well have been wearing a fanny pack) and took so many stock tourist pictures. Hopefully you will enjoy looking at them. I know I enjoyed taking them.
Band love, in the form of a heart shaped bread tie. One of these parties was open to the love. One was not. You decide who is who. 

Bundling up for our adventure to Big Pink!
Big Pink. Pretty awesome!
This is the album cover for Jericho. Looks pretty similar to my pic! Thought that was pretty cool.

 For those of you who don't know (because I admit I didn't know myself) Big Pink is the house near Woodstock, New York where The Band and Bob Dylan recorded Music from Big Pink and The Basement Tapes.  (Both are excellent albums, by the way. I highly recommend you check them out.) It was such a cool moment walking down this tiny, icy road past multiple "No Trespassing" signs to the house where so many legends lived. What if I was standing in the same exact spot as Bob Dylan?! Not likely, but still, a cool thought.


 After our Big Pink adventure we went back to Kingston and wandered around the downtown area there where there were a lot of historical things to see. Like oldest building in the US historical. Very, very cool. 


Gravestone from 1724

My name is Kelli and I am a journalism nerd.

The Senate House, one of the oldest building in the United States.


These are heaven in my fat little mouth.

January 8 
Day off 
New York City (!) 

This was a really big day for the band, as they got to listen for the first time to their mastered album and then had a meeting with a potentially important man to their career. I felt so lucky to be a fly on the wall that day for both experiences. Plus, NYC is one of my favorite cities and I loved just being there.

First listen to the album at a new friend's studio.
Listening to the entire mastered album. Such a cool experience for me to sit back and be a part of.

And finally, we arrived in NYC!


Insert sterotypical racial comments here.
Views from our hotel window

Rambling around the city....

Of course we find a country bar in NYC

One coaster is for losers. Cool kids need at least 100.

Subway adventures! Taken right after I fell into the lap of a kind but random hispanic man. Lo siento, amigo.

Not Justin-sized.
Look! I can take the train to Tompkinsville!

@dayna_parrett @CarrieTKentucky @Jennifer_Ann_7 #merlot #hashtag #assface   
Best tweet ever. Love my girls!

January 9
Hill Country
New York City, New York

Watching big deals in the works, taking it all in.

"Lexington, Kentucky's killer roots band"

"Another bender night break me, but it's too late to save me right now" amen hellbound. Amen.
Just chatting with some fancy pants manager at a bar in NYC, no big deal. Love. My. Life.

January 10
Hill Country
Washington, DC

A little more sightseeing as we left the city.

Central Park

Statue of Liberty
Yankee Stadium

Holland Tunnel
This doesn't even look real. Love it.


"NYC this morning, DC tonight. It has been a very good day"

Squinting my eyes and watching the Cats play! Bleed blue y'all.

The secret life of a merch girl...coloring behind the suitcase with my bourbon & diet and lots of limes. Bless you, adorable bartender.

And then we had adventures in DC with tour guides who Mama Kelli was not a fan of. And I expressed that. Sometimes the redneck in me just can't be held in.

"This is our nation's capitol!" 

"When Kelli is choosing the music and makes the band listen to DMX and damn it feels good to be a gangsta, the night has gone awry."

It was a fun night though. Sharing my back bench, blasting ridiculous rap from DMX to Eminem on my iPhone, it was a memorable night for sure. 

January 11
The Empty Glass
Charleston, West Virginia

"I've been fighting back a streak of redneck crazy anger all week but if this group of idiots doesn't move up out of my way I'm about to go all Tville on them"
I was tired. I was grumpy. I was hot and these idiots were all up in my business. So I may or may not have kicked a girl all passive aggressively in the back of the knee. But she did move, I will tell you that. 

"We have live music here seven days a week, 369 days a year" apparently the year lasts a few days longer in West Virginia...  

January 12
V Club
Huntington, West Virgina

V Club has the best show fliers.

It's been a while since I've had to listen to a shitty local band. I haven't missed it.

So I became a Packers fan this tour after watching much football. It had nothing to do with this man. Ok, that's lies. But come on, admit it. He. Is. Beautiful. And real good at football, right? 

The band dedicated the whole show to me. Makes my tired, pissy mood much improved. Love these guys.

Between creepy murderers trying to kidnap me, old men puking and boys who yell like rusty from squidbillies, tonight was...interesting. Now, home to my bed! 

These was some of the most exhausting times of my life, but I loved it even as I started to hate the world in my grumpy state of mind. I am so blessed and extremely lucky to have this opportunity. One day I will think back and realize that these were some of the best days of my life. For that, I am thankful. If I only made more money I would do this forever.