We drove from North Carolina to Texas on Friday. Jackson Mississippi, in the lobby of the Rainbow Co-op, there was a chair masseuse and a fortune teller. The fortune teller's cards were fanned out across a dining table next to a chalice, colored stones, and a brass ankh. She had three customers in the fifteen minutes it took us to eat. The masseuse had one.

 

I love going to Texas. It gets warmer as you drive. Redbuds then dogwoods. Deciduous trees in leaf. Pines frothing. Somehow the speed limit goes up but everything else gets slower. Like the way people talk. Counter service. Making a left turn.

 

We even have a playlist for the Texas border. First thing up is Red Headed Stranger.

 

We did some stuff in Texas. Not shows, but the other part of the music business. I'll tell you about that but first:

 

March 22

George's Majestic Lounge

Fayetteville AR

opening for our friends The Steel Wheels!

 

March 24

The Tin Pan

Richmond VA

our friends The McTell Brothers open the show!

 

April 6

The Foundry

Athens GA

This is a benefit for 17 year old Jacob Ohl who lost his legs from the knee down in a recent train accident. Also playing: Natti Love Joys and Dyrty Jays Gangsta Grass Gospel Hour

 

April 7

White Horse Black Mountain

Black Mountain NC

 

April 9

Muddy Creek Cafe

Bethania, NC

 

Saturday night, after another fantastic experience in a growing list of fantastic experiences out at Blue Rock Studios in Wimberley, Johnny and I climbed their four-story tower and looked out over the Hill Country. Johnny took his phone out and put on Unfair Weather Friend from Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard's "Django and Jimmie." We talked about how much Paul would have loved this place he never got to play. We talked about how many friends he would have made here. We sent smoke signals out to the other side to let Paul know we miss him. (The Official Monday Report photo on Instagram is a shot of Johnny descending the stairs in the Blue Rock tower at midnight.)

 

I spent the next day deepening a friendship out in Wimberley, drinking Topo Chico and passing a guitar back and forth. We listened to The Pickup Cowboys next record through a board that was designed, built, and signed by Rupert Neve. We ate enchiladas and brewed Peruvian coffee.

 

I spent another half a day on Monday writing a song with a friend in an Airstream trailer parked outside their house. I heard some old familiar neighborhood music and said, "Is that an ice cream truck?!" We don't get ice cream trucks in the woods of Cackalacky. We ran out into the street just in time. They had a Mexican flavor called chamoy in a popsicle. The taste is a combination of pickled fruit, salt, and chilies. There's nothing else like it. Thanks to our friend Casto at Ome Calli in Beaverton, Oregon for introducing me to this distinctly Mexican flavor.

 

Our big-hearted host in Austin made us listen to our next record again in his study last night. His house is so full of great art and music, it is hard to believe he wants more of it. He'd even had a minor surgery that day, but his ears were still in good shape. This album sounds so good. I can't wait for y'all to hear it.

 

I'm very excited to have started dreaming of projects with my friend Rodney Bursiel, my pick for the Best Photographer in the World. He's in France right now shooting wild Camargue horses. I'm writing poetry about horses. Hmm.

 

Now we're back in the van with Andrew Pressman, on our way to Fayetteville Arkansas to shoot video and open the show for The Steel Wheels.

 

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Food:

 

We had some great tacos in Birmingham Alabama at Tacos Dos Hermanos, a food truck on 14th street. Check Yelp for the actual location. Map apps have it wrong. It's worth the trouble.

 

We had a good breakfast at the original Kerbey Lane on Kerbey Lane in Austin. Now, I know Kerbey Lane doesn't need any more recommendations, but it's still worth recommending. I had the heuvos motuleños, a Yucatán dish with eggs, ham, beans, cheese, a red sauce, and fried plantains. Johnny had the brisket hash. We all had a damn fine cup of coffee.

 

Mostly we were fed by our hosts, which is also recommended but highly exclusive. Thanks to those who fed us. I believe that feeding others is sacred work and I try to receive it in that spirit.

 

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Water, life, spirit, and horses kept coming up this weekend. I went back and found a poem that means more to me now than when I wrote it.

 

Seven Horses

 

Seven horses swimming

All granite head and mossy eyes

Eleven bands of ripples wake

Iron brown and veed like geese

 

They stop for a moment in slow unison

The ripples gather around them in circles

Stones in the gravel bed of a zen garden

Stopping for a thousand years to pay their respects

To their destination, as if reaching it would relieve them of the struggle that they came for.

As if they have traveled this far to see God

And now they are afraid.

 

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Your fan,

 

JByrd

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