SECTION FIVE

sm
COLUMN NINETY-NINE, NOVEMBER 1, 2003
(Copyright 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)

LETTER FROM NASHVILLE:
PART THREE: A SOULFUL TRIP---PANAMA TOURS NEW ENGLAND

Nashville TN,  July 25  - - On the morning of Friday June 26  I said goodbye to my friend Sebastian and, aided by his hand-drawn map of a "much more scenic" route, the Volvo and I set out for Middletown, CT, and the Buttonwood Tree.  In a little less than two hours I had moved from the twisty backcountry of New Hampshire into the mostly urban setting that is Connecticut.  Towns, strung like pearls along the Interstate, blended almost undetectably from one into the next.

I arrived in Middletown at about noon, and was directed via cellphone by Jennifer Hawkins, the Buttonwoon Tree---proprietress, I suppose---to the Record Express store down the street whose manager, Ian, is also the sound dude at the Buttonwood Tree.

I introduced myself.  "Hey, man, I see you don't have any Panama Red records on the shelves here."

Ian shook his head sadly.  "Sold out...just can't keep enough of  'em in stock."

I fell over laughing.

Because Ian couldn't leave just yet to take me for my sound check, I ambled across the street to get some coffee.   I discovered that here was also a good place to get a bagel and lox. So I sat with my Jewish donut and French roast out on the sidewalk in front, worked a couple of crossword puzzles, and put in a call to my number two daughter, Nicole, who lives in Connecticut with her husband Carlos. She got back in touch and said they would be down before the show, so we could get in some hang time.

Ian and I took the Volvo to the club for the sound check. The Buttonwood Tree is a gallery, bookstore and performance space that seats about twenty-five people. But it's been "presenting underserved but deserving artists" for ten years, and I'm glad to be considered deserving. After the sound check, I dropped Ian off back at his store and recrossed the street to the deli. Just as I got inside my cell went off. It was daughter number two. She and Carlos had arrived and were waiting for me back at the Buttonwood Tree up the street.

We greeted each other with much enthusiasm on the sidewalk in front of the club. I hadn't seen them since Patty and I came through Arizona where they lived three years ago, and I was delighted they were looking so well and happy together.

We all went in while I introduced myself to Jennifer, and then we headed back to the deli down the street. Nobody was really hungry and pretty soon it was getting close to showtime, so we three set out in search of a wee bracer which we found at a Mexican joint between the Buttonwood Tree and the deli. Then it was time for the show.

The audience was enthusiastic. The sets went well.  I sold a few CDs and T-shirts and made some new friends whom I hope to see on my next swing through Connecticut. I didn't have much time to visit with Jennifer, as one of her children was ailing and she had to get right back home. I give The Buttonwood Tree two thumbs way up.  A few nights after I played there, Roy Bookbinder came through.  Its reputation as a small but important cornerstone of the New England original music scene is justly deserved.

Carlos and Nicole and I headed back to the Mexican joint, ate some Mexican stuff, drank some Mexican beer, listened to some non-Mexican music. My kid is very loving (and a BeeAyBeeEe), and my son-in-law a mellow laid-back dude. They enjoy each other's company, and seemed to enjoy mine. We had a good time, but they both had work the next day and I was anxious to see my brother in Almost Heaven.  I left Connecticut about midnight.   ##

CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN NINETY-NINE


CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS

The Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
info@blacklistedjournalist.com
 
 

THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ