BIG and RICH CD Signing at BEST BUY!

    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!


Oh What a Night at the CMAs!

    Scrub my pot!  I have just returned from the most incredible and unexpectedly unbelievable evening of my life.  As most of you who are reading this surely know, the Country Music Awards were in New York City for the first time in forty years.  Also for the first time ever in all of those same 40 years, it was possible for someone to buy a ticket to the awards show-something that had never been done before. 
    However, since neither C.W. nor myself could afford the $250 per ticket minimum fee to get into the Big Show, we left our name with the Mayor's office as volunteers to work the hospitality suite for the visiting ticket holders. Little did we know what an incredible night we were in for when we got there..
    The young woman who was from the Mayor's office was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  She was awful young and pretty sweet, but it seemed like if anything went wrong she was gonna lose her job from the way she was acting.  We were given our entitled necklaces bearing the words "Talent" and "Volunteer", along with the CMA hats and tee shirts we were told to wear, to indicate that we were the folks to ask questions.
    I of course had my trademark Lindy Loo double flowered hats on so I just took off the bigger hat and covered it with the CMA ballcap while wearing my Bigcityhick electronic bling belt over the tee.  Luckily C.W. and I were posted at a small stairwell leading up to the PRE-television fancy party and a first our post seemed anything BUT lucky to me.  I am embarrassed to admit that I was complaining about the lack of traffic and even suggested that we go home.
    Then out of nowhere came some of our first folks to direct, a beautiful lady with ginger colored hair and a bright red beaded evening gown-she looked like a figurine that my grandma used to collect and set on the piano.  Right on her heels all in a beaded white gown came, Miss Lori Morgan who gave us a smile that set the night ablaze and it kept right on to burning for us the rest of the night.
    Next came Billy Dean in an incredible knee length jacket emblazoned with embroidery on the back and he was with the one and only, Bill Anderson, who looked incredible in a bright yellow jacket set off with beautiful black appliqued motifs, accenting the great star that he is.  Mr. Anderson chuckled and said, "Okay Miss Minnie - where's your price tag?"  To which I replied, "Hey I couldn't steal everything from her - so I just have a little hat," while raising the CMA ballcap to reveal my little bitty flowered hat.  Mr. Anderson and Mr. Dean hooted with laughter and I remembered to thank and congratulate Mr. Anderson for his great song, "Whiskey Lullabye" and he graciously bowed and said welcome.
    Imagine how I was shivering in my boots when next came the family of Mr. DeFord, the first black star in the Grand Ol' Opry followed by Glenn Campbell himself, both being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  I bowed down low to Glenn Campbell, saying how much pleasure his work has given me all these many years, and wonder of wonders, he extended his hand on his own accord and shook mine.  On the very night he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  C.W. said we should put a plastic glove on my hand and not wash it ever again.
    Next were the VanZant brothers, who were as nice as pie and accompanied by some of the prettiest sparkliest ladies we saw all evening.  On their heels came a musician fellow, who when he spied my electronic belt said, "I used to have a belt just like that!"  I said, "Really?  You had a belt that said Bigcityhick,com?"  This stopped him for a moment before he said, "No-I was on tour with Sheryl Crow so it said Sheryl Crow." 
    Right then a feller came in from the hallway to ask me to also be watching that door as some of the bigwigs might need directions to the party from there.  I commenced to checking the hall every few minutes when I saw a blond highlighted haircut on a guy from behind that made me think for a moment it might be Keith Urban, but instead it was Jon Bon Jovi.  I just stood there for a moment, when he looked up,  but he didn't laugh.  Instead he just turned his head away slowly as if not to alarm me--this was when I realized how much like a hick I surely looked.  Even the little bitty hat couldn't make him laugh or see the joke.
    Just then a representative from the mayor's office in the form of a seat filler (One who fills the seat of a celebrity while he or she must go to the restroom and often also escorts talent from point A to point B) suggested that we not speak to any more of the celebrities since she could escort them to their final destination at the fancy vittles party.  Even though hardly any of these volunteers knew what mega-stars they were even escorting.
    This should underline to you how much we really looked more like hicks than anyone there (being true to our souls) and you should also know that my real friends always say they will put on my tombstone, "She just HAD to say it!"  So when she suggested to us that we not speak as though we were really country stupid, I had to say, "Should we overt our eyes and just not look at them?  Should we hang our heads and merely point?"
    To her credit she seemed somewhat embarrassed to realize that there was some real intelligence behind the naivete and stammered out how we could look at them but not speak to them.
    Not talking to the stars flew right out the window for me when next came Trace Adkins, who was absolutely resplendent in an unbelievable trench coat that made him look even more western and knightly than usual.  He didn't seem to mind at all when I referenced two of his latest hit songs and his lady seemed to enjoy it all the more.
    Then here came the redhead lady again escorting Cross Canadian Ragweed who stopped for a chat with someone crossing paths with them.  How she tried to avoid looking at me as I just stood there with a finger to my lips indicating to here that I would not be speaking to HER celebrities.  How upset she looked when they commented on my belt and hat in a positive manner and spoke to me first anyway.
    Several of the next fellows through were players in several different people's bands.  I met several who played with Faith Hill and of course I had to give them an over abundance of cards since my dream is to open as the funny gal in front of her and hubby, Tim McGraw.  I guess I'm hoping she'll feel she owes a "Hill family member" a job down the line.
    Next group through were Montel Williams, Clay Walker and Hal Ketchum, followed quickly by Blue Country.  Right about then the phenomenal Aaron Tippin came along with his sweetie and then the lead singer of Lone Star, who not only laughed at my little hat but also commented on my red hair.  By now I was absolutely gone-OVER the rainbow with Dorothy and Toto and I didn't care if I ever came down.  (Please God let me entertain the troops with Mr. Tippin-I promise I'll be so good the rest of my whole life!)
    To say I was a hog in mud is the master of all understatements.  I couldn't believe it when the other volunteers were complaining about wasting their time because they didn't even know WHO they had directed to the VIP party.  Our shift was at an end so we were given a box lunch and a seat in front of a very tiny TV.
    C.W. disappeared to make backstage mischief, disturbing the nervous girl from the beginning very much, until I pulled him out of there by his ear.  We made our way out of Madison Square garden by the wrong door so we ran right into Joan and Melissa Rivers and C.W. posed for a photo with Joan.
    Capping evrything off, we had our photos taken, Lindy LOO and Chicky Wicky, right in front of the CMT logos on the red carpet.   Who should turn up at that moment but the redheaded gal who looked more miffed than ever that folks were treating us swell and even taking our pictures.
    Oh what a night!  We will not soon forget this unbelievable, up close and personal evening with the country music community.  Scrub my Pot!


Celtic Country

Well scrub my pot!  What a time C.W. and I had at the Rodeo Bar last night!  First we had run up past Carnegie Hall cuz Chicky Wicky was a hopin' to see how big  Trace Adkins really is, while I was hopin' to catch a glimpse of my idol, Little Jimmie Dickens. 
     Instead we found a very gussied up group of folks standing in line to be let in with nary a spangle or a sequin in sight.  We figgered the stars had all ready gone into the dressing room so we headed down to the Rodeo Bar, for some fine food and entertainment.
    As usual we were not disappointed--first up was a great country band backing Lane Turner, a newly signed Warner Bros. recording artist direct from West Texas . He sounds as good as he looks and his band was tight as a drum. Next came the infamous Jack Grace Band, the very Rodeo booker himself, and they graced us with all kinds of tunes from the Hag to Zep.  They showed folks you can live in the apple and still do it up country all right.
    Smack dab in the middle of the room was a great table of Irish folks who have come all the way to our fine shores just for the Country Music Awards.  They are the third group of Irish visitors we've been lucky enough to meet this week and they'll be the first to tell you about their love of country music.  ALL country music.
    We all agreed that it makes perfect sense.  After all if you think about it-most of us started out on the other side of the pond, often referred to by our forefathers as "the old country" with tales of how they had brought their old-timey songs and ways with us when we got a fresh start here in this big new land.
    Many of the Appalachian dwellers hailed originally from Ireland, Scotland and such parts.   Then the Carter Family drove through, heard all those old celtic tunes wafting down the trailside, sometimes with a fiddle or auto-harp playing along with it. They recorded it and called it American country music.
     Even our country clogging is just a less formal Riverdance.  That form of Irish dancing with their hands held tight behind their backs..  Where I come from if we get our feet a-going then we just have to get our hands a workin' out front to, else we might just spontaneously combust.
      It was so nice to chat with these Irish folk who were just as lovely and as enjoyable as you can imagine.  They wanted to take pictures with us so each took a turn at a photo with Lindy LOO lifting her hat and her skirt just for them, sharing a giggle or a wink.  All under the watchful eye of C.W.  of course.
    Talk about eat, drink and be Merry--all that and more! YEE Haw!  Scrub my POT!


Elvis and the Lion

    With Veteran's Day just passed and so many of our young men rapidly joining those same ranks as Veterans of Foreign Wars, it made me proud that all of the men in my family have served their country in the military services. My oldest brother was a paratrooper and served in Korea and at one time all three of my brothers, Jerry, Lowell and Rick, were all stationed in Germany at the same time on separate military bases.
    As most good G.I.s do, my brothers often got most of their immediate information from The Stars and Stripes, the Army newspaper.  Imagine the shock of both Jerry the oldest and highest ranking at Master Sergeant, and the youngest brother, Richard, a PFC, Private First Class, upon reading an interview with their middle brother, Lowell, right on the front page.
    He was quoted about being raised on a huge dairy farm that bred fine cattle, horses and herd dogs.  It went on to say how he had been active in the training of all the animals, even teaching them fancy tricks and painting himself as something of a "horse whisperer" for all kinds of animals.
    Further the article said that because of Lowell's vast experience with animals his platoon had chosen him to be in charge of the handling of the company mascot, a huge male lion so big and fierce, that he could easily have been a stand-in for the MGM beast roaring from the silver screen,   
    Of course both brothers were startled to read about the non-existent big homestead they had never seen or heard of before reading about it in the Army paper.  Neither of them could wait to write Mama and Daddy about the news item.  Both also wanted to know why Lowell got the "lion's share" of the big dairy farm and demanded their share.  I can remember Mama reading that part of the letter to Daddy and laughing.
    "Well I've always said about Lowell, 'He can take a story all the way out the door and around the corner.'  He likes to embroider on the truth, that's all."  Then she'd laugh and add, "What do you expect-he's six foot five-of course he's gonna tell tall tales."  She'd refold the letters, shrug and turn back to the stove, still shaking her head and chuckling low to herself.  She always had liked that part of him.
    When Lowell came home on leave, his prize possession was an 8X10 black and white glossy photo of he and the lion setting on the hood of a jeep.  He'd tell you all about the lion and how he got out of maneuvers and certain training sessions because he had to sit down in the basement by the lion's cage.  He had convinced the higher ups that his proximity to the lion was a big part of his training plan.
    "In the meantime I'm down there reading cowboy novels.  There's not a Louis Lamour book I don't know."  If you coaxed him even further you might get to see the red faced devil with blue black hair tattooed on his upper right bicep framed with the words BOOT HILL.  He almost seemed to be winking at you when he flexed his muscle.  "All the fellas in my unit used to call me Boot HIll so," then he'd flex again.
     Finally, he might be convinced to hold up that photo and tell about the time Elvis Presley toured his army base and met up with Lowell's lion.  Both the King and my brother were serving in the military at the same time.  It was right after Elvis had exploded into stardom for a couple of years and then suddenly had been drafted into the service.
    Yet even in the army, Elvis was afforded certain privileges that most enlisted men did not, and the army was determined to treat him like royalty when they gave him a tour of the facilities.  "They figured it was probably good for the morale of the base," my brother would explain, "and I guess in a way it was."
    "Well of course they want me to bring the lion out, you know, put on a big show for Elvis. So I combed his mane and got him about as nice and purty looking as I could,  without letting him bite me."  His hand would flinch automatically at this memory, as if he physically remembered some nasty bites.  His gaze would go off into the distance and he'd add in a low, wistful voice,  "He could be a nasty big cat sometimes."
    Back to his story, he'd go on to say, "So when Elvis was walking around, he comes up to me and the cat and he just goes ahead and tries to pet the lion.  I said, 'Whoa Elvis!  Nobody can touch that lion but me.'
    "Course, he don't listen to me,  I guess he figures 'Hell!  I'm Elvis!  I'm the King!  I can do whatever I want to do!'  Because the next thing you know, he's reachin' his hand out to pet the lion.  Just lucky thing I seen it and jerked the lion back.  That ol' lion was just about ready to take a big bite out of his arm."
    "You should've see Elvis jump back.  That ol' lion would've even bit his arm clean off if not for me.  You tell me how he could've played the guitar then?  Who would've watched him in all them hip shaking movies then?  He'd be off balance with just the one arm." 
    He'd lean back in his favorite chair, pop a can of Coors, and continue, "Yep. . .except for me jerking that ol' lion back, the whole entire history of rock and roll could've gone a whole other way.  Musical history might have been changed forever right before my very eyes."



    YEEHAW!  Country Takes Manhattan with the Country Music Awards coming here for the first time in forty years EVER!  Nothing could make this old Kansas Sunflower happier than seeing a few more cowboy boots trodding the sidewalks of New York and a few ten gallon hats high enough to rival the Chrysler Building. 
    I've heard some folk asking the question WHY New York?  Why on earth would there ever be a connection between country music and the Big Apple, but I beg to differ.  People asking this question are obviously only looking at our differences instead of seeing how there's so much sameness in us all.  As a Big City Hick, I feel obligated to try and bridge this gap.
    Born in Kansas we had a cracker box of a house with no running water and a path to the outhouse "out back".  Now I live in the heart of Times Square in an old school walk up with the tub right in the kitchen.  I've got no need to complain however, because at least it's inside and it's not jut made of tin and hanging on the wall.
    I have come to love New York and if I could just help first time folks to NYC see what a friendly city it can be, if you're introduced properly.  As a former tour guide who for well over a year rode the top of a double decker bus doing five two hour circles of Manhattan every day six days a week.  I really got to know the city up close and personal from that point of view.
    Tickets were good for two days and they were "Hop On - Hop Off" tours so I would often get to see my passengers again later in the day on the fourth or fifth loop around.  When I'd take the tickets at the top of the tour, I'd say, "Where you from?" -Heads lowered, they'd look up at me and mumble "Nebraska. . ."  or "Alabama. . ." as if they were waiting for the mean New Yorker to put them down, but as soon as I'd answer, "Really?  I'm from Kansas!"  they could relax because then I was surely the biggest hick on the bus.
    There's a security in that.  Just knowing that if you felt somebody had tried to out-sofisteeKate you at some snooty store you had to be buzzed into just to look around-just still knowing that if you could find that hick's bus you'd be the top dog again and you could regain your bearings.  I became a sort of security blanket for some of my passengers and It was quite lovely.  People telling me their personal stories when a tour had all but emptied out at the Empire State building and left only an old couple who I simply sat with and they told me about "their New York" when they were young and so newly in love and here for their honeymoon.How they had moved south and created the American Dream for themselves.
    New York is the birthplace of America, the spirit of the American Revolution and there is nothing more American than Country Music, so to me it seems so natural that the country awards show would come to New York.
    Monday there will be Country Music at Carnegie Hall with a cavalcade of today's top country stars, much like the famous sixties show at Carnegie Hall with Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Miss Minnie Pearl, among others.  On one visit with my dear mentor, Miss Minnie, she told me about that night and how gossip mongers had spread rumors of cat fights and competition between all female stars, especially stories about "rivals" Cline and Lynn.
    "When I walked in that dressing room and saw the two of them talking and giggling, I just put my hands on my hips and said, 'Leave it to the two of you to put an end to all this she-squabbling!"
    Speaking of Miss Minnie, with her dangling price tag from her flowered hat, that's another thing these city women have in common with here.  Hardly a day goes by that some lady at my job doesn't walk by my desk,  with price tags tucked up her sleeve so she can return what she's wearing the next day.  I feel Miss Minnie's hand on my shoulder so often in my life and always with a great sense of humor but always a wonderfully humbling message as well.
    Like one time I had been hired to read tarot cards at a very cheecheeLA-dee-dah party in a very beautiful mansion on the Upper East Side and I knew I had to look like I made the money I was charging them.  I found a Thierry Mugler designer purple suit at my favorite thrift store for only $12 -yes I DID say, $12!  I cut out the tag, got dressed, felt great-worked the party beautifully with great soul satisfaction in my readings and floated home feeling so cool.  As I undressed, when I took of the suit skirt off I found the thing that had been poking me all night was the second price tag, reading 2pc./$12.  I burst out laughing at myself and my high and mighty ways and I whispered a thank you to my dear sweet Miss Minnie.
    Yes, Country Music takes Manhattan.  No other artistic community has made as much of a contribution to Post 9/11 Patriotism, consistently being there for our service men - giving them the constant and unconditional support that the Troops not only NEED,  but so richly deserve.  No matter what one feels about the war, we must all agree we support our boys.
        Of course Country Music has indeed made a truckload of money with this theme which is why I find it all the more respectful that the CMAs are honoring that truth by giving back economically to New York City and bringing the Awards Show to the Apple. Even the "purist country folks", some out in Brooklyn for instance would still have to admit they have profited by what to me is the true "Royal Visit".   All I know is, I've never been more proud to be the country hillbilly I always and forever am TRULY gonna be, just like Loretta sang, "When you're looking at me, you're looking at COUNTRY!".
Welcome to New York CMAs and country kinfolk!