Spring is Sprung and the holidays are upon us. Whether you honor Passover or Easter I wish you the best of everything from the bottom of my heart. In truth I feel we are more alike than we are different and it is at this time of year that I hope we look for the sameness we have with each other and with our maker.
When I first moved to New York City I was invited to my first Seder. Before that time I had only read about this ritual or seen it referenced in a few theatrical pieces, so I was very excited. I was also warned by everyone who had all ready had the experience to fast most of the day because there would be SO MUCH food I would need to save room.
We took the subway all the way out past Coney Island to the home of our friend's 93 year old grandmother who was preparing our feast. As soon as we got there, the tiny little old lady's face lit up with love when her eyes fell on my face. Something about me made her think I was her dear departed sister and she pulled me down to embrace her tiny frame. She was barely 4 feet, 11 inches tall, and she kissed one of my cheeks and then the other saying "Sister I miss you, Sister I miss you," over and over again.
I quickly learned that we would all be called by our Hebrew names and that Linda in Hebrew is Leia. Just like that I became a Princess in the Star Wars series. My date, on the other hand, Steve, an Englishman, was quite disheartened to find that he would be known for the evening as Shlomo.
The aroma of chicken filled the air and I was so curious to find out what our promised multiple courses would include. As we sat down to the table with the books that told the stories of the famines and plagues that had led the Jewish people, God's chosen people, on the long and winding path that had led to this night, our hosts began to skip ahead many pages at a time to get to certain parts of the books. "Otherwise," they explained, "we'll be here all night."
My "new sister" leaned into my face and began to question my knowledge of the Torah, the religious book of the Jewish faith. Much to my surprise I was coming up with all of the correct answers. Having been raised a "good Southern Baptist" our Sunday School teacher had drilled us tirelessly on the stories of the Old Testament, making sure that we commited large portions of it to memory. Every time I got an answer right the sweet little old lady clapped with glee and she'd say, "You a good girl Leia-you very good girl." It turns out that the Torah is comprised of the first five books of the Old Testament in our Bible.
My pride of knowledge was soon being over powered by my growing hunger so you can imagine my dismay when we found out that the little lady had been cooking all day to produce only some chicken broth from boullion cubes and some dry matzoh crackers - and oh yes, the all important bitter herbs. Poor thing - she had become a little confused (come on she WAS 93 years old) and had "forgotten" to make anything else.
On my way home that night from my first and only Seder so far, I had hunger gnawing in my belly but my heart was full of wonder at this miraculous adventure we call life and how much love the Lord had provided for all of us, no matter what our belief system. Rather than being "Oh thee of little faith" the truth was more likely "Oh we of many faiths" and for me there is great comfort in that fact. After all if God IS infinity, there has to be enough to go around for all of us.
There I was hosting the CBGBs monthly Honky Tonk Hootenanny. It had been a beautiful sunny day and I had curled my hair with my molecular steam curlers because I wanted to look so nice and purty for the crowd. After all I was wearin' red and yeller and that's when you're s'posed to get to kiss your feller. Imagine how silly I felt when I took off my hat to fan myself and CW said, "Lindy Loo - You've got a roller in the back of your head! Want me to take it out for ya?" I started laughing at myself and said, "Nosiree! I'm gonna take it out on stage and tell all of the audience on myself."
So I went onstage and said to all the ladies in the crowd- "Well scrub my pot! I sure hope this never happens to you gals but I got in such a rush today, and then I couldn't see the back of my head." Turning around, I removed my hat and showed them all, "Here I done left a roller in my hair! You can even see the end paper I used so my curls would be nice and smooth." Well don't you know it got one of the biggest laughs of the night!
Thank goodness I wasn't in church. I remember when I was around 10 years old and just getting into primping on my own. For church that week, I had tried to re-create a beautiful hairstyle I had seen in my Millie the Model comic. Even if I do say so myself, from the front it looked beautiful to me and I felt very grown up and sophisticated. With my red hair I thought I almost looked like the mean model in the comic, Chili Storm, although her signature hairstyle always covered one eye. Guess it saved a lot of time on eye makeup.
Sitting there in the pew at church listening to Rev. Jerry telling his weekly Bible story to the kids with the help of his ventriquilist dummy, Little Rev. Jerry. He wasn't a very good ventriliquist which was emphasized by the fact that he let Little Rev. Jerry tell most of the story leaving the kids to cock their heads from side to side like confused puppy dogs.
How quickly my feelings of looking like a la-dee-dah lady went out the window when I heard in a very loud whisper right behind me, "My gosh - she must have used a whole pack of bobby pins in her hair! There couldn't be more metal in her head if she had a steel plate in it!" Chili Storm would never have been caught out like that! Was my face red!
B'gosh and angora! Which means "Scrub my Pot!" in Gaelic! What's Gaelic?! Why that's the language of the old country-the language of our dear Emerald Isle. A magical day for me all ready - a wonderful gig appeared from out of nowhere at the drop of a tam-o-shanter a decision had to be made-
Plus CW is acting like an entrepreneur hocking green hats & flashing shamrocks, while I got thrown out of a bar on 8th Avenue for handing someone a flyer about the Hillbilly Hayride and when the bartender busted me the two guys and a gal at the other side of me brushed their fingers at me in the "shamey shamey shamey on you sign" suddenly I was the bad girl and I stood there all alone, savoring the moment and my pint of Stella.
Finally leaving without protest, I saw the small circle of musicians at the end of the second room quietly strumming - something. At least I hadn't washed my hair.
Scrub my Pot! You'll never believe what an incredible night CW and I had attending the opening night of the Broadway show using all Johnny Cash music, "Ring of Fire, the Musical" and then we got to go to the after party as well.
First everyone who attended was asked to wear black in honor of Cash, the original Man in Black himself, and seeing the audience so dressed was impressive in itself. We were seated next to the most wonderful couple, John and Anne, who had flown in all the way from Virginia, on that very day just to attend the opening. As soon as John and CW clapped eyes on each other's big black cowboy hats they knew they were going to be great friends. As John said to CW, "Where are all the other outlaws here? Did they leave their hats at home?" Anne said, "Since he brought it all this way I said you have to wear it." We hit it off immediately and it felt more like we had found our old friends and were just catching up.
As we all sat there in the darkened theatre and listened to the music of Mr.Cash something magical began to happen. We all laughed, cried, clapped along and had a marvelous time ending in a thunderous standing ovation that went on and on until the cast finally returned for another bow, some even pulling their costumes back on as if they were surprised. Anne and I were amazed by their humbleness because we all felt they knocked it out of the park-great singing and great acting. We loved it!
Off to the opening night party where my thrill of thrills was meeting the legendary Cowboy Jack Clements-who worked in the original Sun Studios and was the man who for all intents and purposes created Rock 'n Roll when he asked Jerry Lee Lewis to record one of his live songs because there was extra tape and he mixed it on the spot. A few weeks later, "A Whole Lotta Shakin Goin' On" was released and musical history was made forever. I was lucky enough to have my photo taken with the man himself.
Cowboy Jack Clements and his fan, Lindy LOO
They had a fantastic band imported from Nashville, The Stringdusters, a bluegrass band that had some exceptional pickers, one of whom was Chris Eldridge. Turns out he knows our friend Eli Smith who has become a regular member of our monthly Hillbilly Hayride - they went to college together and we promised to pass on Big Hellos.
There were even special Ring of Fire glasses provided by one of the sponsors, Makers Mark, ringed in red like their trademark bottle. CW managed to put away enough and flirt enough with the hostesses to acquire us a whole set of four. CW and I had our own pictures taken in front of the backdrop - we were having such a fantastic time.
My next big thrill of the night came when I was at the sushi table and I noticed the most incredible black on black embroidery on the back of a jacket, in the manner of a real Manuel suit, and who should the wearer turn around and be but John Carter Cash himself. Somehow I found my wits and managed to have a brief conversation with him, telling him how happy I am to see him in the new Brad Paisley video and that I have followed his own producing career for some time. He told me he felt certain that his mom and dad would be so happy with the show and that he and his own wife had been blessed just two weeks earlier with a brand new baby boy.
Just when I thought nothing could be any better than that, I ran into one of the leads of the show, who actually recognized ME! He had come to the Johnny Cash 74th Birthday celebration I had hosted at Southpaw in Brooklyn and said, "Lindy LOO-you are the greatest!" I had met his mother at the intermission - a lovely southern lady who hails from Raleigh, NC who told me Jason actually met Johnny Cash in person when he was just 15 and now here he is on Broadway singing his songs.
Lindy Loo running her mouth with star of Ring of Fire, Jason Edwards. He even said he might come out and sing with us at the Hillbilly Hayride one of these days. All in all it was a night we will treasure for the rest of our lives. A special thank you for it goes out to Kenny Greenblatt and Alan Glist-two of the producers of the show who were kind enough to invite us as their guests. One thing is certain we fell into a burning Ring of Fire and we never wanted to leave. Run to see it while you've got the chance. Take it from Lindy LOO!
Here I am with Jason Edwards running my mouth. What a surprise huh?
Well Scrub my Pot! It's been a little while since I last "blogged" as ya'll say. A LOT- A LOT has been going on since our mention in Country Weekly last November. But it's all been pretty terrific. The other problem is that I have treated this like it has to be so good so that you will LIKE the writing and that is not the point of having a blog. You're supposed to just write what's on your mind that day and I have been a little too precious about the whole thing. So enough of that--besides I think CW might put a boot in my butt if I don't just start writing all the time. ALSO-when I do write I have to not always go on and on and on-brevity is the soul of wit-but Hey I never claimed I was that witty.
What do you put off in fear of not being perfect? Progress not Perfection - let that be our motto for the day maybe even for life. XXO, Lindy LOO
SCRUB MY POT! Scrub it until it sparkles and gleams of copper! Scrub it with Twinkle until it can shine no brighter! I have just returned from the Big and Rich new CD signing at the newly opened Best Buy at 44th and 5th Avenue and it was the most amazing capper to what has fast become a most cherished week in my life.
Let me just first clarify for those of you who may not have my listening leanings, which are diverse to say the least, why I like Big and Rich so much and how their music speaks to my soul. It's the spirit, the musical references that have a remarkable range of genre's and generations, the absolute reverence and irreverence at the same time and for the appropriate things. That is how I felt from simply listening to their first CD, Horse of a Different Color.
However, when they played CBGBs in June of 2004, it was their live show that blew one's mind and raised the bar to an entirely higher level. These guys knew HOW to perform and they worked the crowd into a sweaty frenzy with Kenny flinging his "Love Everybody" tee-yes the very one he had performed in-flinging it high into the sky above the packed crowd on the dance floor.
Suddenly I who is not even athletic, not by any stretch of the imagination, suddenly found myself leaping into the air like I was "Wilt the Stilt" going for a jump shot and snatched it out of the clutches of a teenage drag queen and I got it! Me! Me, who never wins anything won Big Kenny's tee and he even signed it backstage.
There was an after hours show and seeing most of their Mafia kin bring the Muzik Mafia to the Cutting Room helped keep the party going into the wee hours. It also gave a lot of New York based performers a lot of food for thought and provided inspiration for many artists and producers, some who had traveled quite far for the evening's entertainment.
Flash Forward to September 2005 when C.W. and Lindy LOO are walking around Union Square adding atmosphere to the country festivities and also getting front row seats for the noontime concert of Big and Rich, sponsored by Chevy's American Revolution Toour.
Once again they were amazing LIVE! C.W. had missed CBGBs so he finally saw what I had been telling him about since that night a year earlier. I lifted my big hat to reveal my little hat several times and had vainly convinced myself that both Big and Rich had each seen and laughed at Lindy LOO's hat trick. I even told C.W. that my fondest wish was that they might say to each other at some later point, "Did you see that funny gal with the little bitty hat?", and have a laugh together.
Cut to present day and there I was on line waiting to see B&R again as Lindy LOO and I must say the Best Buy clerks were all incredibly gracious, good humored and genuinely nice folk who made the time pass very well. Just then the crowd broke out into applause and B&R magically appeared from the back of the store-while everyone had been feverishly watching the front door for their entrance. Instead they had snuck up on us from behind. It was so Wild West Ambush!
As I approached the signing table, Big Kenny gave me the most beautiful beaming smile and said before I could speak, "I've been telling everyone about your little HAT!" I think I replied but I was in a heavenly haze from his kind remark when someone said, "Lindy LOO! Look this way!", and I suddenly remembered something about a picture. I know we both turned towards the voice and I either saw a flash or stars, but I'm not sure which. One thing I do know for sure is that I was definitely smiling!
I shuffled the three steps sideways to speak to John Rich saying, "Maybe one day you'll need a funny lady to open for ya'll!" Then he looked up at me and said, "We sure could use another Minnie Pearl." To which I replied, "I'm sure hoping so-"when I suddenly looked into his eyes and my head began to swim with all the things I wanted to tell him about his music, his incredible writing, that I want to use their songs in my show, Big City Hick, but everything seemed to be in a cobwebbed jumble inside my head.
All I remember is staring at the brim of his hat trying to stay focused. In fact, I'm certain that I could describe in minute detail that brim, although I did manage to stammer out how much I love the song "Never Mind", on the new "Coming to Your City" CD (which I of course PRE-ordered) and how that song just rips my heart out. He smiled, "You like that?" and then they were pushing me on and through, giving the next fan their opportunity.
I fairly floated down the stairs, posing I think for a few photos along the way, but mainly floating on a cloud of dreams and gratitude for the most incredible country vacation that I've had in years. And it was all here in my very own backyard! There really is no place like home! Scrub my Pot!