Next morning Paul M spots a cherry tree in the side yard of our bunkhouse, miniature cherries bursting to ripeness. If we don’t pick them there will be a birds invasion, and no one wants that. We do our duty, fill a bag with the dark red beauties. We pack the Yukon, ready to roll, when a Pioneer Days posse of covered wagons, rawhide and coonskin cap bedecked old timers and their progeny parade down the highway through town. Two CHP cars with flashing lights return us to 2007 at the parade’s end. Cool.
Reverse directions, back to Highway 50 and the long steady descent towards Sacramento, which looms suddenly in the hazy distance. Cell call to Richie in Sacto, tell him we spy Sacramento on horizon. “Do you feel like pioneers?” asks Richie. Exactly.Sacramento haze silhouetted skyline looms and looms, and then we’re here, exit freeway maze and down 26th Street to our old friends and third Tourette patron saints, Richie and Katie .and their 1907 shady street wood frame manse. Katie makes lunch, tres bon, Richie heads off for an early gig, Hawks head for Winters, spared Friday afternoon traffic madness by Tourette miracle.
The Winters water tower announces the town to the fields and orchards, tiny downtown left and right, and we unload at the Palms. This great and tiny old opera house is starting to feel like home, and we’re headlining for the second time. The first band, Rowdy Kate, with an indeed rowdy and talented young chanteuse and great jamesburtonesque guitar player, do a great honky tonk show, lots o’ Emmy Lou, great to hear these songs that you don’t hear down in L.A. these days.The Hawks do a long electric show, with Richie sitting in on accordion, and once again the crowd is on their feet, a great night. We’ve figured out that we’re a band that survives on the fringes, like coyotes in the foothills in the glow of city lights. New York, Chicago and L.A. are okay if you’re Wilco, but our destiny seems to flourish in the backroads, in Winters, Pioneertown, Gallup, and unnamed lodges in the Sierras and the Berkshires. And festivals where the audience retires to tents ringing the stages at night.
Big thanks and hugs to Winters soundman Jeremy and main man philosopher sage Dave, load up, back to Katie and Richie’s, late night single malt tasting, life is indeed good, our hosts are indeed good, and we sleep on clean sheets amongst art and love.