Tour journal for July 20, 2013 — Louisville, KY

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Notes from the Road

Bats and Bourbon

PHC staffer Ella Schovanec is on the Radio Romance Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Aoife O'Donovan, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.

We crossed the Ohio River into Louisville, famous for their bats, the Louisville Sluggers, and their bourbon, Jim Beam and Four Roses and Makers Mark. It's the home of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Fried Chicken. They keep the secret KFC recipe, 11 herbs and spices in their exact proportions somewhere around here, in a thick concrete vault under 24 hour video surveillance. Nobody, not even a supplier, gets the whole recipe.

The formula for a perfect midsummer's show is not so secret. You start with an All-Star band, a siren like Aoife O'Donovan, a sound effects man who can sing Barry Manilow as a humpback whale, and a host who knows just how put it all together. And a great audience, like the one we had in Louisville that can sing during intermission under the rafters "How Great Thou Art" and "It is Well With My Soul" with the basses separated out to create a beautiful harmony with the cicadas and the crickets.

Okay, a more tangible secret:
During rehearsal, Pat Donohue pulled out his National steel and showed us his trick to stringing a guitar. I don't play a lick, but I thought I'd share it: Instead of cutting the extra string that sticks out, Pat twists the wire into a little circle to create a kink near the tuning key. Then, he just wiggles the wire back and forth until it snaps off. No tools required and you don't have a sharp edge that will poke you later. So, there you go. On to Cincinnati, the city where pigs fly.


Photos from the Show

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