2:49 P.M.—A farm in LaFayette, Alabama. There are hardly any structures around for miles, only cornfields and silos. My band will play a concert here tonight. A hoedown, if you will.
Our band’s only mission: Fun. With a capital “F.”
When I arrive, the band is already waiting on me. I have been playing music with these men for many years. We’re not great, but we’re okay.
Tom (bass) sits on a porch swing, overlooking miles of corn. Jimmy (drums) leans against his car, smoking a cigarette, lost in a moment of spiritual reflection.
“Gosh,” Jimmy says, “I wonder where people go pee out here?”
The sound-guys are erecting speaker towers. And I am watching a copper-topped boy in a cowboy hat run in circles.
3:32 P.M.—Soundcheck. Tom tunes his upright bass. Jimmy tightens his drumheads. Aaron is on fiddle. I’ll be playing guitar and accordion tonight.
I have played accordion since my early days. The accordion is not an instrument per se, but more of a family embarrassment.
4:08 P.M.—Cars arrive by the dozen. People are mingling. There is an old man drinking out of a Mason jar, clear liquid. I doubt it’s water.
4:32 P.M.—Copper Top approaches me and says, “Is that a REAL accordion?”
“And are you REALLY gon’ play that thang?”
When I was a boy, I took up accordion because I wanted to be like my grandfather. But I learned to play with a bad habit, I stomp my right foot in rhythm. Sometimes I stomp so hard that I develop knee issues. But it’s fun. And that’s the keyword tonight.
5:11 P.M.—The parking area is now overflowing with cars. People have brought folding chairs and coolers. There is a taco truck in the distance.
The old man with the Mason jar is having an animated conversation with a cow.…