Thursday, July 5, 2012

Trying to get a flavor of Traverse City @PureMichigan, I pop into the brew pub for one Violent Femmes song. I might just check you out.


Well, this fellow certainly on the guitar didn't show his appreciation for my work to take his picture playing a Violent Femmes tune. So, I decline to post it. I was enjoying his chops but he was entirely too well fed a talent, well fed every day of his life, well fed by parents who bought his guitars and paid for his instruments. I imagine I can here this quality in his music. How else to explain that certain something missing. Now Paul Miles has lived out of the treasury of his open guitar case, fed and sheltered himself with busking dollars. When he squeals as he sings and strums on the street of Royal Oak, those squeals are real. Miles has made progress, more than providing the instrumental backbone of the Detroit musical, "We Are Not Good Girls". Miles made it big by playing his guitar like he stole it on a H & R Block commercial. I hope he grows rich on the residuals but still brings his guitar to the street.

People watching becomes an entertainment on the long bus ride. I was fairly sure the beautiful young woman with the long curly hair would depart the run at Big Rapids, college town of Ferris State. She did, and hugged an grey haired version of herself outside the bus. The scene unfolded below my bus window so how could I be a voyeur? She opened a taped, reused Amazon box and showed off the cover of a CD. The best scenes unfold beneath the windows of buses, adding and delivering passengers, actors for the rolling drama.

I thought that was end of scene, conclusion of that character's role. When we stopped in Reed City, she was flitting around the parking lot with another package in her hands. When I passed by her seat, she giggled when I called her a secret agent girl. "I was just stretching my legs!" She protested, amused.

When we stopped in Traverse City, she had struck up a written correspondence with the Latin woman in the seats before her. The Latin woman couldn't hear. I couldn't help it, but when she carried a guitar case over to a waiting Jeep Cherokee, I had to know her story. Did she really have a CD? Like many music fans, I collect stories and acquaintances with musicians, especially troubadours. If you get off a bus with a guitar in a case, you are a troubadour.

"Wow, you are a troubadour!" Not a bad opener, but telling her about my musical connections with the staff of Seven Steps Up opened her up to my genuine inquiry. She had completed a two year situation as a nanny in South Haven, Michigan and she was being picked up by her family, who had just driven in from the Leelanau Peninsula. A country girl at heart, she was about to spend July with her family, picking up gigs her and there. She had no CD, no web page and was going to pick up what gigs that she could. I was about to pull out a twenty just to hear one song. Better than slipping it up the g-string of an exotic dancer. A beautiful creature like her had to sing like an angel. And maybe, if I wrote fantasy or religious literature, I would write something improbable, "She was undercover all right: an undercover angel". She finally introduced herself. Maybe this moment had the potential to make music history.

She shared that after July, she was moving to Georgia? "To work in the music studio of Usher?" Between Atlanta and Chattanooga, there's a mountain town she'll call home in August. Notatlanta surely, and I hope its either Rome or Cartersville. She could sing at the Appalachian Grill in Cartersville or the cigar store in Rome, both old haunts of mine to which I must return.

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