©2009 Eddie Rhoades
In November I went to Gulf Shores for their Songwriter Festival. I was there for the kickoff ceremonies and signed up to play. The Emcee that night said I was the only performer people got up and danced to. Following me was a guy named Buzz Kieferand. I'm glad I played first because I'd hate to follow him. I couldn't remember his last name so I kept calling him Buzz Lightyear. He sang the most outlandish funny and bawdy song I've heard with lines like "I want to be a Christmas tree, with that angel on top of me." That same night I also heard Sam Anderson and later Marc-Alan Barnette, both great performers. Look any of those names up on MySpace.com.
No one mentioned providing me a place to stay and I didn't want to be pushy so I spent that first night in my car in the parking lot behind the Silver Moon. It was a pretty cold night plus the parking lot was well lit and I sleep better when it's dark.
Next morning breakfast and lunch was provided at the Silver Moon. The Newcomers (that's me) had a block of time in the afternoon plus there was an open mic directly across the street at the FloraBama Lounge. I signed up for both and was running back and forth to play at my assigned time slot. These events are not always perfect so the old-timers signed up and performed during the Newcomers performance time but there was a time gap before the next scheduled performance so we did finally get to play.
Late that night they had a picking party at the Silver Moon and I stayed up till I guess 2am. I had inquired about a room and they said even though I was invited down I wasn't scheduled to play any of the venues therefore I didn't get a room. So I got a room at the Holiday Inn Express and since I was with the songwriters they gave me a discount.
The next day was a repeat of the last with me running back and forth to play in as many open mics as possible and playing at the newcomers time slot. That night I stayed up playing till 3am and it was so late I spent another night in my car. Well I only slept 3 hours and woke up at 6am and drove back to Marietta.
I spent a couple of nights at home and the wife and I both went back to Gulf Shores. We booked a couple of nights at the Holiday Express as there's no way my wife was going to sleep in the car. Though it was cold, the next morning we got coffee and got in the hot tub outside. It was nice and relaxing. I fixed me a drink about 10 am because, what the hell, I'm on permanent vacation.
On my last performance at the Silver Moon my brother Robert was there and besides doing his own songs he sang backup for me and played conga drums on a couple of fast numbers. I got a big response with my new humorous song "Toss It" and many people came up to me afterwards to tell me how much they enjoyed all my songs. All in all I had a ball and look forward to doing it again next year.
My brother Robert and I keep writing better and better songs. I've gotten standing ovations for some of my performances and Robert has been asked to sing other peoples songs for their demo recordings. He has a great voice. Got to run, I think I will try to catch Aaron Barker at the Swallow at the Hollow in Roswell, Georgia.