TAKING THE BACK ROADS WITH SOUNDTRACKS
When an artist-musician friend suggests we meet at Cherry’s for a music evening in the Woodshed, I look at my tall stack of artCentral weekend laptop work. Instantly I decide to take a break, up front, for some Friday night fun.
We converge at a darkened store front. Like many venues, Cherry’s has a summer schedule. This is a night off. Gosh. What to do?
I’m always amazed at what men carry around with them. Women may load their purses with every possible need. Men load their vehicles. Into the back are tossed the dog’s seat protector, some art supplies, a fishing rod and tackle box (though the fish aren’t biting in the heat) and some things I can’t identify because stuff’s flying by pretty fast.
When the seat is finally clear, I climb aboard and we’re off, agreeing the back roads are always the best for aesthetic pleasure. Taking the county road cutoff that crosses Center Creek, we stop in the middle of the bridge, lower the windows and listen to the singing water and serenading crickets and dusk calling birds. Moving again, Tom Waits companions our adventure.
Winding up and down hills we see fields with fat hay bales, a big white barn and a dilapidated round one, a donkey spotted brown and white and a curving underpass where you have to honk to warn an oncoming driver. We end up at a funky juke joint perched above Shoal Creek.
The atmosphere is perfect. Greeted by a friendly waitress, we’re directed past the popcorn machine, the pool table, the t-shirts for sale on wire hangers and the card game on a green felt tabletop illuminated with a single dangling bulb. Strings of colored twinkle lights are everywhere. Special faceted blue ones decorate the ladies room.
Music is on the deck suspended over the languid green water that looks more like a bayou than a creek. I keep expecting a lazy alligator to raise his curious head.
Two baseball-capped women, on twelve string bass and keyboards, harmonize flawlessly on a playlist built around the crowd rousing “Delta Dawn” which has my artist-musician friend singing his heart out. What good fun!
When we walk out there’s brilliant Jupiter cradled by a golden crescent moon putting on a spectacular sideshow just above the dark deckled edge of the tree line.
Over the winding back roads home, the skies dramatically flash with an oncoming summer storm while the Italian-French Carla Bruni and Portuguese Zizi Possi fill this night of music with soundtracks that are pure pleasure.