So, off we go to Houston today. Sarah picked up a sleek black people carrier that came with free sunglasses and dark suits. We weirdly turned out of the studio driveway instead of staying there for the usual 13 hours of recording. It was about five hours of freeway from Dallas, past all the different churches (yes, there is one called The Cowboy Church), through the fields of grazing longhorns, and stopping for lunch at their nadir, Sonic, the drive-in takeaway. Luckily I’d prepared myself with avocado and Dave’s brown wheat bread and settled into a grease-free afternoon. Sonic was in Buffalo, Texas, the buffalo left long ago, knowing that the Sonic corporation was coming to build on their fields. What stands in this area now, a highway intersection full of trucks and other noisy air-choking vehicles, all the beauty of America lost with the encroachment of ‘civilisation’ manifested in concrete and fast food.
Houston appeared in the distance, stalagmites, crystals thrust up from the Earth, glistening glass and steel. Houston is the fourth largest city in America and getting across it can take some time, luckily we were just before rush hour (although rush hour is always) and we arrived at the venue, Mucky Duck (say it in a northern accent). It’s the perfect place for the show we are doing with 12-string and violin, plus Salim’s set with nylon string and a pick-up and Joe Reyes on electric guitar. Joe played on the album I made with Salim, A Nuclear Winter, I haven’t seen him for so long because of the pandemic and suddenly there he was in the car park arriving at exactly the same time as us. Joe lives in San Antonio where we will play our last show, convenient.
Soundcheck at the venue, meeting friends William and Julie who we are staying with in Houston, and the venue crew who were super nice, result. We met Jaylin the sound guy who was standing in front of a brand new desk installed last night (agggh) but all was well, he did a great job navigating the new board with the sound. Nicely attended in these difficult times and a concentrated listening audience, walking on stage and settling into an audience that is completely silent is an experience in itself, happy to have known that. Thank you to all who came to see us and keenly listened. Thanks to Rusty and Theresa, Jaylin, Juan, Joe, Shane, Graham, Ray, Nicky, and all the staff for a great evening. Back to William and Julie’s and the three Siamese cats with friend John who flew in from Mississippi, talk, sleep.
Music today was comfort food, Pink Fairies‘ Kings Of Oblivion (1973). I needed comfort food after Jeff Beck died despite it being a quite different beast (Larry Wallis on guitar). This album was one of my fave albums growing up and I wonder if that’s why I called Chromium, Chromium as there’s a song on there called Chromium Plating. There’s also City Kids, one of the first bass lines I ever learned and the prescient I Wish I Was A Girl. Love this record.