Pictures and thoughts from a Memphis Musician's Wife

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My Two Jobs

Balancing two totally different lifestyles can be tedious. Most people have no clue of what it is like to travel with a band full time. Most people think it is all fun and music, lots of beer and liquor, and great hotels. This is not always the case. Some days, we spend more time on the band van going to and from the gig than they actually play. Sometimes you arrive at a venue that is so small you would never expect to be able to have a good turnout or good sales, but it turns out to be one of the best gigs you play. There are long days and not a lot of sleep. You spend many of your hours sleeping on a van. You eat good sometimes, and other times you don’t eat anything but gas station food for days. My official job title with Ghost Town Blues Band is “merch lady.” However, at times, I help drive the van, move equipment, play ambassador when the guys are on stage, take photo and video to document the band’s exploits, and whatever else is needed of me. You see, I am normally the only band wife/girlfriend to ride along. I have tried to be an asset to the band, and it has taken me so many places I never thought I would see. Today, I was able to go see Niagara Falls with Jeremy and see one of the most beautiful sights in the United States. I always look forward to seeing what new places we will go and all the beautiful things we get to see.

Then, there is my other job. I am a waitress at one of the best sushi/ Japanese restaurants in Memphis. I love my job because I get to meet so many awesome people. It has always been so amazing to me seeing all the differences in people. I love bringing a smile to people’s faces. This was originally a job I took so Jeremy wouldn’t have to work so much in the summer and we would have income in the winter time, when things got slow on Beale Street. It has now turned into a full time job for me whenever I am not touring with the band.

Balancing these two jobs can be difficult. I usually have to find time to manage Jeremy’s band in between all the other things going on: working at the restaurant, being mom (part-time) to Tytianna and my 14 year old son, keeping my house taken care of (although Jeremy has been doing most of that lately because I am rarely home), taking care of 7 dogs (yes 7), and doing things for my mom. There is not much time for personal time, getting haircuts or nails done, or even going on a date. I have yet to learn how to balance all my activities. If i had about three more of me, maybe I would get everything done in a timely manner. That, however is impossible.

It’s Been a While…and some changes came!!!!

So, it has been a long while since my last post. I didn’t have a computer, and it is such a pain to post from my phone, so I just didn’t post for a while. SO much has changed since then. Ghost Town Blues Band has now taken off, making a big splash everywhere they go. Our little drummer is now a full fledged trumpeter and in school. Jeremy is touring full time and not really playing in Memphis much these days. Suavo J. featuring Mr. 88 and the Bones is now Suavo J and 88Bones and actually playing at better venues, getting paid much better than before. I have literally traveled through every time zone in the country as Ghost Town’s official merch lady. I have tons of adventures to talk about. This has been one crazy ride in the past two years. Hopefully you will keep up with me once again.

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Tyti’s “shake shake”

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Almost Famous

What makes a musician famous? Is it their album sales? Is it the clothes they wear? It seems these days, that with all the new studio technology, you don’t even really have to know how to play an instrument or really even sing to make a hit. With pop culture, you don’t even really have to be saying anything in a song to have a hit and sell millions of records. On a daily basis, I see musicians who play LIVE music every day struggle to get by. I see a band of young “hip” stars touring with full police escorts who lip sync and have full bands of musicians pretending to play instruments to a click track. Someone said something to Jeremy the other day that really made a lot of sense. They told him he is a pianist, not a keyboardist. Keyboardists use their keyboards as machines, to make beats or use all kinds of crazy sounds. Pianists use their machine as nothing more than an instrument when they are in a live situation. Don’t get me wrong, the keyboardists are definitely skilled artists, but I truly believe that the people getting all the big money should be the ones who are actually doing all the work without all the technical help. Musicians years ago didn’t have the ability to transpose their pianos. They had to actually learn all of their scales and chords. It’s really sad to see how little respect the musicians who have actually learned how to play their instrument get and how much respect the people who have no clue as to what they are doing get. We need to bring back the days of real live music. Where there is feeling and passion in what the musicians are actually doing.

Friendships build the best relationships: My Prince Charming

My husband and I met on Beale Street in October of 2010. I was just coming back to town from South Carolina to basically start my life over. I went down to Beale to hang out because I needed the music and wanted to try to look for a job. I met Jeremy in passing and thought he was a drummer for a long time. That was until the day we really met each other.

On October 24, 2010, I was on Beale Street to meet some guy for a lunch date. He stood me up because it was raining. I was standing in Handy Park when Jeremy came walking through, soaked. I called out his name, and he hugged me when he walked over. He didn’t say much. He walked me over to the wall at the front of the park, and we just started talking. He held me close to him, letting me talk away. People would walk up to us and tell us how cute we were together. We weren’t even a “couple” yet. LOL. That day, we spent hours talking to each other, walking on the river, talking more. I felt like I could trust him with anything, my deepest darkest secrets. He didn’t judge me. He just smiled, held my hand tighter, pulled me closer, and would kiss me gently from time to time. It was like something out of a movie. Around 4 am, we ended up at Denny’s. We ate breakfast, and Jeremy asked me how I was getting home. I had no car at the time, and I was going to have to wait another two hours for the bus. I asked him to walk me to the bus terminal, but he refused. He wasn’t going to leave me alone at the terminal for hours. He caught a cab and took me to his house.

Jeremy was living with his mom at the time, and we snuck into the house. We spent the next day together on Beale. And the next. We couldn’t leave each other. We got our own place, continuing to build on our friendship and relationship. It was different than any relationship I’d been in. We trusted each other. We loved each other. We appreciated each other. I could tell him anything about me, and he refused to judge me. Within a few weeks, we knew our connection was permanent. We were meant for each other. He was the one who suggested that we get married.

11 months to the day after we started dating, we were married. September 24, 2011. No, our relationship has not been all peaches and cream, but I can’t imagine my life without my husband, my best friend, my lover, my partner, my business partner. Our lives are together, which is something you don’t find in most relationships today. I am truly blessed to have found my true Prince Charming, Jeremy Powell.

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Just Be Good to Me

Suavo J. feat. Mr. 88 and the Bones with Sweet Angel singing “Just Be Good to Me” at the 2013 National Bikers Roundup in Tunica, MS

My Guys with Sweet Angel

So, you always hear all sorts of things about singers these days. Some are total divas. Some are self-centered, rude, and hard to work with. Some are just particular about what they like. Last year, Jeremy got a call from Mike Dobbins, husband and manager of Sweet Angel, “the Redbone with the Saxophone of Blues.” Due to scheduling difficulties, we were not able to work with her. In that year, Sweet Angel had another band or two, and the Bones started to take off on their own.

About a month or two ago, we got a call from Mike Dobbins. Jeremy was asked to put a band together for a Sweet Angel show. This time, the band was ready. All they needed was a guitar player. Moe, our bass player, suggested someone. He came to two rehearsals (there were only 3) and backed out on the day of the event. Moe called a guitarist named Adam. Jeremy has played with him a lot of times on Beale Street. I was sure if anyone could do the music he could. But that story comes a little later. Jeremy booked the gig for the Bones, and the Bones began rehearsing the music.

Now, I should explain something before I go any further. All of the musicians I work with are able to listen to a song and normally play it back just like the CD. You will rarely ever see chord charts, drum charts, or sheet music around them. A majority of them are self taught. I don’t mean, they only play by ear. If you gave 3/4 of them sheet music to sight read, they could. There is just something different about these musicians.

I was emailed all of the music and made sure my band got it. The first rehearsal lasted an hour or so. They seemed to breeze right through the music. The second rehearsal was a little rough. Of course, there was a different added element, the guitarist. I was not personally at that rehearsal, but I know it tool almost 3 hours. I also heard stories about the guitarist arguing and whining throughout the rehearsal with Sweet Angel. I was at the third and last rehearsal. The energy through the first run was low. When the second run was played, Sweet Angel sounded pretty satisfied, although still skeptical of if they could pull the show off with the energy she needed.

The day of the show rolled around, and we all rode together to Tunica, MS. We were performing at the Tunica Expo Center and Arena, opening up for Avant and Keke Wyatt, as well as Mr. Bobby Rush. Avant’s band was on stage doing a sound check when we walked in the door.  Jeremy thought he would be able to use the keyboard in the backline, and there was a backline for everyone else, so nobody brought their amps or big equipment in. They took a very long time to finish their sound check. Sweet Angel and 88Bones were going on stage at 7, but when the band finally got to step foot on stage, it was 7. Of course, Jeremy couldn’t use the other Motif on the stage. We had to run out and get his equipment and set it up. We did that in about 5 minutes time, and the band got started.

#88Bones

The first song was so full of energy.  Adam, the guitar player, fit right in with the band, even though his first time hearing her music was in his car on the way to Tunica. Sweet Angel was sweating by the 2nd verse! She told the guys during rehearsal that she wasn’t satisfied until she started sweating.  After the first song, I went to sit beside the stage.  The show went of without a hitch. When Sweet Angel came off stage, she told me I’d whipped them into shape. I didn’t do anything. That’s just my guys. They may not be perfect during rehearsal, but when the lights are shining and people are cheering, these guys give their best.

We got in the van for the ride home, all feeling somewhat satisfied. It looks like this could be a new path for #88Bones. Stay tuned for this adventure. Oh, and Sweet Angel has proved not to be anything more than a professional lady. She was kind, generous, encouraging, and wants the best band she can get because she puts on a show that needs just that. We truly appreciate her professionalism. I am very proud to say I am the manager of Suavo J. feat. Mr. 88 and the Bones. They are an amazingly talented group of professional musicians, and I am honored to be able to work with them. I’m so glad that they entrusted me with their future as a band.

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