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Last show of the tour - Los Angeles, CA - Cat Club

Our tour has ended. After 89 days of rehearsals, photo shoots, gigs, tv appearances, all night drives, hotels, celebrity meetings, sabbaths, reunions, blogs and tweets, the end is here. . This experience has been invaluable to me as a musician and a person, and I will use this summer as a reference for a long time I think.

Last night we played at the Cat Club on the Sunset Strip in LA for the 'Sunset Strip Music Festival'. The gig was a great last show. Great crowd participation, cool little club. The Cat Club's owner, Stray Cats drummer 'Slim Jim somebody', looks like a skinnier Fonz decked out in rockabilly gear; leopard print suede shoes, flaming pink shirt, black tux jacket and hair that was combed back only on the sides. He greeted us as we loaded our gear into the club and even held the door for us. Seeing him hold the door for us was kind of a celebrity moment. He had played drums alongside Lemmy (of Mötorhead) and a guitarist in a blues set during the previous night's entertainment.

The kickoff the night before was really to honor Slash (guitarist in Guns n' Roses/ guy who always wears sunglasses and a top hat) who was this year's special guest. The city of West Hollywood elected to make August 26th 'Slash Day'. They had it at the House of Blues and was pretty much insane. I met childhood idols Traa and Sonny of the band P.O.D., a band I listened to on repeat for two or three very important years in my development. And I saw from afar Nikki Stikks of Motley Crüe and the guitarist of Alice in Chains. There were tons of people there, I have no idea who could've been there and I just didn't notice.

Getting back to the show, knowing that it was the last time I was playing with the guys for a while made the set move slower. I savored it. Tried to make it really, really good. Over the summer we've figured out the exact spot where Taylor liked to lay back on the beat, where Dave and I would have a moment, where Blake and I would do a lick at the same time. Getting that close with a group of guys was really cool. I'd never had the opportunity to spend that much time learning a group of people musically like that.

This summer was fun, but I think I'm ready now for a break and then some time in one city for a while. I've got some things to tie up in Kansas City while I'm there, and then I'll pretty much be ready to head down to Austin. More to come,

Jon
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The End Begins.

Driving through the Arizona desert on our way to our last gig of the summer. Well, almost. I guess more definitively, we part ways for a time after this show on Friday. Myself and Taylor head to LAX Saturday morning to fly to Kansas City and Boston, and the rest of the gang drives back to Austin, TX (haha) to close the deal on the house they are gonna be living in. We will meet up again in Connecticut for an industry showcase in New York, a show with State Radio in Boston, and a 24 hr drive to Kansas City.

The end will come in it's own time, but I think we're all ready for it. We've all tried our best to get along, some more than others, but that's not the point. Fact is you see people's worst when you spend this much time with one another. After a while, all you see are people's faults, and that makes it pretty hard to get along. But I think we're about to cross that crest of being able to look past all that again. It might happen after our show, which would be a shame but I would still take it. I don't mean to sound incriminating. I think humans naturally don't get along, so it's a blessing nobody killed anyone. :D

I do know that we're all looking forward to our new lives in Austin. Trying to plan that and do a tour was hard enough. We are all ready to be there. But first, I'm ready for a couple weeks in Kansas City with my family. Taylor is ready to start Berklee. Blake is ready to start his krav maga (craw meh-gah) back up. Dave's ready to see his honey in LA. And Tucker's just ready to have a stack of movie tickets and a regular sleeping pattern.

Overall this has been an incredible experience. Traveling comfortably all around the country for an entire summer was amazing. I got to see what it was like playing the same music with the same people every night. I've been to every city I've thought about moving to. I've met a lot of people. I've seen parts of the country I've never seen before, some of them twice. Good food, cool hotels, cool venues, long drives. When all is said and done, we will have driven 15878 miles, and spent 244 hours of our lives in the car. That's 10 days. (not including the drive back to Connecticut or shorter trips within the cities we've played). The good thing is that we are all in ironman shape when it comes to car rides now. I think I could drive or ride for ever and be totally fine.

We're still a couple hours outside of LA now. Looking forward to the heavenly nap that's gonna happen this afternoon before tonight's partying. The Slash tribute show is tonight at the House of Blues in LA and with our gig tomorrow night, we were given passes. Should be fun. I just love that song he does, 'American Woman'. ; )

Jon
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What To Do When You Don't Have A Show (Gallery)




He was actually looking at the Green Lantern display.



Our now exposed right-side trailer tire.

'Izzabelle', the ferocious gaurd dog.


Enough said.


Jon
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Denton, TX - Andy's

I type 100 yards from the shore of the Gulf's waters. This tour has led to many moments of tranquil beauty, be it in Connecticut, New York (in it's own way), Los Angeles, Colorado or another place. One of the really cool parts of traveling all over the country. The hope is that you can appreciate it all when you're in the midst of the chaos that is touring. It's not that bad of a life, but there's something about it that makes it seem like a grind sometimes. It's moments like right now that give fresh life.

In the square of downtown Denton, on the corner is Andy's Bar. The saloon-y venue had a hip basement billiards room, and a main room which hosted a long neon lit bar. A rolling librarian ladder allows the bartenders to grab new bottles of Jack and Gin. The 21+ only balcony overlooks the stage at the back of the room.

Our roll that night was to cap off a night of 90s reunion shows. A Hootie-esk band and a Metallica wanted-to-be band were getting together again for a single show. It was a night of wondering if they were any better 15 years ago. The verdict was not. After a 2 hour delay and mass exodus of the supporting crowd, we played a semi-drunken set to the bartenders and local drinkers. Semi-drunken because, lets be honest, if you're supposed to play at 11:30pm, but you start at 1:30am, you're not going to NOT drink until after your set.

We had a hotel, so we slept in that night and drove back to Houston in the afternoon. We decided to head to the beach later last night and got here after the sun set and the moon had come out. Beach walks in the moonlight are unbeatable.

We're here for another night and back in Houston tomorrow afternoon. Couple days of practice too before we head out west.

Jon
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Austin, TX - Momo's (round 2)

Once again the Powell family shows us their kind hospitality. Due to the cancellation of our House of Blues show, the Powells are going to enjoy our company until we have to leave for LA. This saddens us as much as it causes delight. A show is cancelled, but we get to eat really good food. Such is life.

We knew when we were planning our second trip out to the west coast, wanted to hit up Momo's in Austin again. It just has a nice atmosphere, it sounds good in there, staff is awesome. We were fortunate enough to get a time slot on a day we could do it, so I know we were all looking forward to it in our own little ways.

Simply because a time slot was available for us to play in doen't always mean it is the best slot for us. At this stage in the game we will take anything. As we should. But closing the night after sitar, soprano sax and tabla night is pushing it. Some how we got tacked onto the end of 'World Music Night' at Momo's, which I believe is what happened last time.

"And now, representing America, 'Tucker Jameson & the Hot Mugs'!"

It was a late night but a chill one. We had some great Mexican food, drank good beer in the air conditioning. Set for us started at midnight, so we played till about one, but not after relaxing with our friends who had come out to see us. Then we drove back to Houston.


I am thankful that Blake & Taylor's bass playing dad has quite an extensive bass library. I'm workout my Victor Wooten chops this week with Victor's self-transcribed book. There will be much swimming done this week, much practicing, drinking, hanging, all with lots of food. Not a bad week.

We leave for LA in 6 days and I head to Kansas City in 8. Looking forward to seeing the KC peeps. I want to go to a Chiefs' game.

Jon
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Indianapolis, IN - Lizard's (round 2)

We played Lizard's (ironically owned by a chick named 'Liz') about a month ago on our last tour round the country. We liked it so much that we wanted to come back, especially since the booking agent for the venue promised us we could directly support (play right before) the headliner: owner Liz's band. But since disappointment circulates in the music business like the common cold, we got slotted as the opener for the night. What ev's. We dealt with it.

Lizard's, to refresh your memory, is this dive across the bad side of the train tracks outside of Indy. A basement venue, it's just one of those places all the blue collar guys go to drink when they want to get away from the wives, and where all the bikers end up when they're done being seen. So needless to say, we fit right in with the crowd. We're surprisingly liked at Lizards however. I don't get it, but I won't fight it.


So after we got done with our set and put our stuff back in the trailer, we got hit with a musical experience NOBODY was prepared for. Words do not describe.


They were terrible, but they had the look going, that's for sure. Interesting to watch, but their set wouldn't end soon enough for me. I was so tired I passed out in the van for the last hour we were there. And after Tucker made the rounds we headed home (hotel).

After a pit stop at Guitar Center we are headed down to Houston, TX for a day of R'n'R before the show in Austin on the 17th. Austin, Dallas, Houston, LA, HOME. The end is in sight. Pray we don't kill each other before then. :D

Jon
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Cleveland, OH - Roc Bar

For our first time in Cleveland ever as a band, last night wasn't bad, especially considering the headliner cancelled. A few days ago we did a college radio interview in promotion for the show, and the host who interviewed us came out and chilled with us. The Roc Bar staff are really nice, they fed us and took care of our drinks all night. It's on this sketchy street south of downtown Cleveland, but next to a hoppin' night club. The street went from being super deserted when we got there to being a happening part of town by the time we went on.

Watching the 5th Element right now. Such a good movie.

We played a longer set last night because headliner, acoustic blues dude Billy Wallace, cancelled last minute. So the other acoustic guy played his set and we rocked out for a little longer than usual.


Cleveland turned out to be a late town. We stayed hanging out and making friends until around 2 am. New friends are nice. Feels good leaving towns knowing you met people worth seeing again.

We're in our hotel in Indianapolis right now, chillin' before our gig later. Back to the 5th Element. :D

Jon
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Chicago, IL - Reggie's

What a cool show yesterday. We we're the only out of town-ers, and the rest of the groups brought great crowds. This was a special show though; we were the oldest band there, which for us, is a rarity. The first group was a 16 year old Allman Brothers band who ripped on some bluesy jams and hinted that they had some jazz chops too. They were from a local Chicago School of Rock, which, by the way, has yet to let me down. Every band that I've heard from those types of programs has been burnin'.

We were up next and didn't bring the house down or anything, but I think the younger bands enjoyed seeing what some older kids could do. This summer I started paying more attention to people's faces and how they reacted to what I played. I've been trying to project what I play like I would if I was trying to tell somebody something from across the room without using words. That said, I think I connected better with the kids if we had a little eye contact to go with the crazy fill or whatever I did.

The band after was a cute group of 13 year old girls and their 24 year old baby-sitter/drummer. They were so good! Even for 13 year olds. Great performers too. Then the band after them was a group of high school students who had a Killers or MGMT kind of vibe. The whole night I was thinking about how great it must be playing at those levels at such young ages. They kids we played with last night could all go really far if they wanted.

New show added: House of Blues in Houston, TX! That'll be sweeeeet. Show date is August 24 (11 days from now), @ 8pm. But first off to Cleveland tonight, Indianapolis tomorrow, and Austin, TX a couple days after that. We're passing through Indiana, the "Crossroad of America". Must be depressing knowing that nobody wants to stay here, they only want to cross over it.

Peace be with you,

Jon
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Boston: I Will Not Miss You... (read on)

(Some of this is more to myself; pardon any poor or cliche writing)

I will not miss you, Boston.

But I will miss your people. You are the home to so many of my best friends. And that is the only reason I am sad to leave you. You are not the place for me though. You were great to me when I was at school; I enjoyed so many parts of you, but they will rest as fond memories in my mind, not as devices to pull me back.

My last weekend in Boston was great. I pwn'd my packing responsibilities, and had most of my time there to hang out with friends, friends I won't see for quite a while I fear. I recorded my parts for the Video Game Orchestra album which is gonna be sick. Check out a little sample:



It still hasn't hit me that I'm not going back any time soon. Being still two and a half weeks away from the end of this tour, I have yet to experience the typical sense of leaving. It's strange leaving in a place for good but not settling in another place for another month. And it's not like I've been living in Boston at all this summer; I've been out playing with the band since June 1st. So I had to sit and think about the life I was leaving in order to appreciate the severity of this move. I won't see my friends for a long time, I won't play with Video Game Orchestra, I won't be a part of the Boston church movement, I won't pay 700 dollars a month just to have a roof over my head.

Okay, there are some perks to leaving, definitely. And after considering it all I know it is still worth it, it's just that right now I'd rather not go. Even though the touring life means your with people 24/7 it has been easy to feel lonely. I think you still need the people who get you in your life. People who you have other things in common with you other than work. Makes me appreciate those I've gotten to know over the past 4 years a little more.


Shout outs, goodbye for now. I love you guys. I'm sorry I didn't all get to see all of you one last time before I left.

VGO:
Rosie
Brent
Brian
Akash
Zac
Niki
Alvaro
Shota
Yohei
Jeff
Julgi
Alex
Barak

REUNION/Common Church/Park Street:
Andrew
Bobby
Krissy
Pete
Graham
Gerald
Melanie
Mike
Tim
Nick
Phoebe
Trevor
Damon
Lisa
Hanneke

Berklee:
Kevin
Brian
Justin
Paul
Jidam



Much love,
Jon
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Pittsburgh, PA - The Altar Bar


After a couple days of breaking in Boston, we headed out to Pittsburgh, PA for a single show at the Altar Bar. The 'Altar' Bar in uptown Pittsburgh is rocking the 'church converted to a venue' renovations. A two story club with a balcony section and bar upstairs, it was definitely one of the cooler places we've played this summer. They get a lot of major acts in there too. I don't know if you saw my Twitter post last night, but Vanilla Ice is playing there in 4 days. They can get some bigger acts, if only the washed up ones, but should any roll through
they have the facilities to handle them; I believe I saw that the Method and Red men would be performing there in October.

The show was fun, big stages always are. I got hooked on bigger shows when the Video Game Orchestra got to perform for seven thousand people one time. So any time the stage has a little more room it makes me a little more crazy.

Good to play again, but now we have an even longer break. We all have to go to Boston to pack our stuff. I'm already packed for the most part, so I'm gonna do a recording session and just hang out with my friends for one of the last times for a while. It's gonna be sad moving from such a cool town where so many of my friends are. I'm blessed with good people.

I'm recording with Video Game Orchestra this weekend so I'll post some pictures and maybe an audio sample...

Jon
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NYC - Angels & Kings (acoustic show number 2)

We played at Angels & Kings about a month and a half ago and loved it. They do a great job of setting up shows, so we were happy to come back. It's an intimate setting, so you feel like you get to know your performer, you get more of a VH1 Story Tellers atmosphere. But last night was even better than our previous time at A&Ks, bigger and better crowd, better fellow performers, overall another great gig.

The drive back to Connecticut was quite silly after the show. For some reason we ended up with a light saber iPhone app fight in the middle seat. I think I won. :)
(sorry the video hangs off the page a bit)


I'm sitting at my desk in Boston right now, about to start my packing for Austin, TX. I've got more stuff than I thought I had. : / Wish me luck! I'll be back with another post after our show in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Jon
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Philadelphia, PA - D&B's Dockside bar

Rain or shine, the Hot Mugs rock, but the rain was almost too much for us yesterday. The Dockside bar outside Dave & Buster's in Philadelphia is right on the water facing New Jersey. The view from the dock was beautiful, even in the pouring rain I enjoyed the mist over the water shrouding New Jersey. It rained all day and into our scheduled show time, but the event coordinator gave us the okay to wait it out. And sure enough, 20 minutes later the skies broke and the sun showed up for us. It turned into a beautiful sunset as well.

The crowd was stiff, but we had fun, and you can't beat playing waterfront. And you KNOW when you play anywhere near a D&B's, you go. We ate a delicious meal that we totally bought just so we could game cards to play games in their giant game room with. Nobody won an iPod or a Wii, but we definitely had enough tickets for at least a temporary tattoo set. Blake and Austin had a gleeful time playing the "rapid fire; mow em' down" machine gun game; I'm pretty sure that's all they played actually.

It was my turn to drive last night, so I was rocking an amazing playlist, three specific albums: 'Worship & Tribute' by Glassjaw; 'Black Holes & Revelations' by Muse; and 'Blue Sky Noise' by Circa Survive. Throughout this summer of pop and alternative blues rock stuff, I have not lost my affinity for angry, violent styles of music.

We're quite happy to be back at our home but not quite home, the Jameson house here in Connecticut. A little bit of familiarity is enough to hold me over at least. Playing an acoustic set again at Angels & Kings in NYC tonight. The acoustic set is gonna be a welcomed change to our typical electric attitude.

Jon
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Harrisburg, PA - IndieBarn.com Summer Fest

I'm just thankful we're all okay after last night; free vodka was a little too tempting for some people. We're all safe in the van on our way to Philadelphia right now, don't worry, but we definitely had to go looking for a band member, and eventually found him in an ambulance saying he thought he was in New Jersey. He has been reprimanded and ridiculed. He will not live this one down any time soon. :D

Last night at the IndieBarn.com Summer Fest was our most diverse show ever. IndieBarn.com networks bands, artists, film dudes, models and fashion designers, and this was just one of their summer events. The bill was full of R&B/Hip-hop artists, a poetry slam artist, and modern rock, punk, and blues rock bands. It was so much fun, boundaries fell down last night. My favorite act of the night, The Burning State, put on an awesome set of hard rock originals but threw 2 amazing rocked-out covers, 'Umbrella' by Rhianna and 'Billy Jean' by the only Michael Jackson.

Our set was a lot of fun. Lots and lots of energy on that tiny stage.

We just got to Philadelphia, after taking the bridge to Jersey on accident (navigator fail, minus 1 team Jon), in time though for load in. Actually we're early. Woot. We're playing at a Dave & Buster's so we're gonna go eat a delicious meal and play some games before our load in. :D

Jon
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Niantic, CT - Music For Music Festival

Last night was pretty fun. We played for an hour and a half which, for us, was a really long set. I loved it though, everything's different when you play long sets; how you interact with the crowd, song order. The tough part is staying entertaining for that long. But people seemed to have a great time, it was a pretty chill environment and people would stop to watch from the sidewalk (it was an outdoor show on busy street on a beautiful night, so there were people around). It was fun playing all of the songs we have to play too, that's a real challenge remembering words and changes but I was proud of us, we done good last night.


We're headed out to Philadelphia right now to play at the IndieBarn.com Summer Festival, a combined music, film and fashion festival. Then tomorrow night we're at a Dave & Busters outside of Philly. I'm excited for D&B's. It's like an adult Chuck E. Cheese. :D

Peace for now,

Jon
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Spring City, PA - Chaplin's Music Cafe


Add another venue to the 'Mojo Filled Stages We've Played on This Summer' list. Last night in Spring City, a town 40 minutes outside of Philly, we played in the acoustically perfect venue that Charlie Chaplin and other pre-movie era performers would perform in the early 1900s. The space would've been an awesome acoustic-only venue, but they obviously spent some money with their sound system to make it just right (not too live, not too dead) for electric bands with drummers. Chaplin's was a BYOB club too, which helped put off this intimate coffee shop vibe, which is hard to do with an electric band but I think we did okay.

I really enjoyed the artist we played after, Spencer Mulder. He had such a great voice and a really good band. We hit it off too, talking to them after our sets for quite a while. Good guys. Their from Grand Rapids, Michigan but are looking at heading down to Texas to check it out, so hopefully we'll see them again this fall.

In other news, I've committed to Austin, Texas as my next destination. I've thought a lot about this and I think it's gonna be the best place for me after this tour's over. I'm gonna miss my friends in the north east, but it is just not the place for me right now. I can totally see myself going back some time in the future, but not any time soon. It feels sad to commit to moving; I made arrangements with my folks about moving this week, but I know it's what I want to do. Being in Texas last week really affirmed a lot of guesses I had been making. I met Christian artist Robbie Seay and his bass player, Ryan Owens and became quite inspired to follow my desires to be in the Christian music scene as well, which Texas supports in a big way. Austin was such a cool town, I could totally imagine living there. I'll be moving sometime in September, as soon as I find a place. This is gonna be good. I'll keep up with details as I make more decisions about that.

On our way back to the north east to play in Connecticut tonight. We head back to Pennsylvania tomorrow, but it'll be nice to sleep in a familiar bed tonight.

Jon
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Back On the Road

After a four day break at the Powell's home in the greater Houston, TX area, we're back on the road to play at Chaplin's Music Cafe in Spring City, PA tonight. We left yesterday morning and should get there in time for a nap at the hotel. Our little break happened by chance. It was supposed to be two days off, but turned into four after a last minute gig cancellation, but let me tell you, we could not have been happier about it. 2 months on the road has been grueling, and I think we were all starting to notice that we needed a day or two off.

The break was thoroughly enjoyed. We spent time just lounging around the house, went to church at Fellowship at the Woodlands, saw a great concert by the Robbie Seay Band, shot guns at a shooting range, all sorts of fun stuff. But we're excited to play again today. Being a musician on the road is still better than doing anything else. :D

More to come. First we've got to get to Pennsylvania.

Jon

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Dallas, TX - Fat Daddy's Sound Shack

So this will be my last blog for a bit, we're gonna take a couple days and break here in Houston and enjoy the hospitality of the Powell's. They've been so awesome. I sit here and type eating homemade breakfast burritos and salsa with fresh cantaloupe and coffee. Mrs. P is such a great cook.

It's always fun visiting the childhood homes of your friends because their parents usually have pictures up that they like, but their children don't. And in the age of camera phones, it's very easy to nonchalantly take quick shots of these mildly embarrassing pictures for your blog. :D

:sigh: Payback will be sweet, I'm sure.


Yesterday we drove to Dallas for a show at Fat Daddy's Sound Shack, one of the only venues in Dallas that you can basically say you want to play, show up, and play. Unfortunately we were booked with all hard-core metal bands, but we impressed them a good deal I think. The other bands and their fans were very supportive and listened to us just like they did the other two bands. Last night, for me, was just another example of how patient and interested Texan listeners are. Fat Daddy's was full of character, the walls were covered in the graffiti of bands who wanted to leave their mark; it was a little dark so I couldn't get a great shot of it. I figured out pretty quick who 'Fat Daddy' was:


It was a great show. Here are a couple highlights:

Oh yeah, the graffiti made it to the bathroom too.

"Happy day-off to you, Jon!" Oh, why thank you! I'm gonna go chill by the pool now.

Peace,

Jon
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Kingwood, TX - Nico's

Last night's show was truly the homecoming show of Blake (guitar) and Taylor (drums) and David (keys/guitar). The local support was stronger than ever and we cleaned house merch-wise. We stayed at Blake and Taylor's parents house and will be back there after our show in Dallas tonight, so huge thank you to the Powells! Mr. & Mrs. Powell have been so hospitable, putting us up last night, feeding us breakfast this morning, and sending us off this morning with a cooler full of snacks and drinks. Papa Powell even set up a super nice sound system with a buddy of his for our show last night. So needless to say, we cancelled our hotel in Dallas tonight and are gonna drive back to stay at their house again. :D

Back to the show. Last night was a blast. Nico's is a local bar with a little area to set up a PA, holds about a hundred people. We booked the show only a few days ago in lieu of a cancelled show. Since this was gonna be a chill show mostly for family and friends Blake had the idea to put together a half hour blues set as a trio to open up the night just for fun, but it turned out awesome! Blake, Taylor and I played some John Mayer Trio, Jimi Hendrix, Edgar Winter Group, some shuffle blues. I really hope we do more of that. Taylor is such a good lead singer from the drums and Blake really rips in a blues setting. The Hot Mugs is fun music, but the trio thing was exciting for us because we got to let loose for a half hour. A half hour to play what ever you want. Awesome.

It was a packed house last night! Friends of the Powells, Austin our road haus, and David. And with a really long Hot Mugs set, it made for an awesome night of music. People seemed to have a great time. The cool thing was that it felt like we had the support to play longer if we had any more songs, a feeling I keep getting here in Texas. Hmm...


Headed to Dallas now but we'll be back in Houston area in the the middle of the night; it's about a 4 hour drive between the two cities. Wish us luck,

J