Shuffle Through Chicago

One day while waiting on a train a man came up to me and started talking. Having a guitar case in your hand will do one of two things; draw people in to tell you about themselves or keep them away. Kind of like having a baby with you but the conversations are far different.
"I used to play with B.B. King." the man said after a couple of sentences into our conversation.
"Really? That's awesome man." trying to not let my face indicate my internal BS meter was pegging out.
"When I was 12 he let me come up on stage at a show and play. My grandma was a friend of his from long ago. I still play some but I can't keep up with the hustle." he said pulling a cigarette from the pack sticking out of his shirt pocket in a fashion people rarely keep them anymore. A quick nod offered one but I declined as has become my habit to counter the habit I used to have.
"I bet you got a lot of work in this town"
"Nah, this town is saturated. Saaatuuurated with blues guys. I moved around a lot and once I left I didn't think I'd be back but my momma got sick and my son was in some trouble"
The screeching and hissing El was announcing it's way into the station when the man asked me for any spare change I had so he could have bus fare when he got off at his stop.
Rarely do I have actual change these days but I had some cash from the night before's tip jar. I see the tip jar many nights as a karma that must be passed forward in some capacity. Most of the time a little bit winds up in a busker's guitar case or with the bartender that has had to listen to me the whole night through while slinging beers to progressively drunker patrons and a continuous emotionally fragile musician. That day though the karmic tip jar cash wasn't for the bus fare, beer, or music but for the story of what was or wasn't true. The man gladly took the wadded up singles as he got on the train but then stepped off quick as the door closed. He had more stories to tell and more bus fare to get but I don't see it as much different from what I do on the stage. For a couple hours I tell you about myself and I want you to believe what I'm saying but really I'm just looking for bus fare.

Short Road

3 a.m. I didn't even bother going to bed. Hell, I didn't even bother booking my hotel room for the night.  There were parties on three floors and the bar open until 2.  I got my bags from the front desk and got an Uber to the airport.  The key to staying up for 48 hours on 4 hours of sleep, for me at least, is to keep moving or keep talking.  The mad rush of interacting with as many people as possible and making sure I didn’t miss any event I would regret began to take its toll. Everything ran together and nothing stood out.

A white SUV arrived to pick me up on the wrong side of the hotel so I slogged up a grassy hill with my guitar, suitcase, and backpack to the adjacent street and pulled myself into the backseat where I slouched for my 30 minute ride to the airport outside of town. Easily could have taken longer in a northeastern city but it was the middle of the night, and this was the midwest, where a straight highway can stretch over the horizon to a sunrise that at this hour you hope comes sooner than advertised. 

For a brief time, at this point in my life, I toyed with the idea of driving for a ride share company to make some extra cash so I asked the driver how he liked it.  He said he was new to it but liked it so far.  I had a feeling he was just being upbeat to his company's customer. Normally he drove a taxi but decided to start driving for Uber because his taxi business had slowed down. As we talked more he told me about the costs associated with his taxi. He payed $30k for his taxi medallion but he doesn't need one for Uber.  He also pays a monthly fee to a taxi company that he is having to drive for his company's competitor to help pay for.  This equation doesn't make sense to me but I've been up for too long and the drone of wheels on a highway lull me into mumbling my agreement.

I feel for the guy. His is another industry disrupted by the new way we look at goods and services.  Like the record labels of old the medallion was a gate keeper. A price of entry to the market, but why would I pay twice the price for a ride to the airport based on a taxi fare versus keeping my ride cheap. I left him a good rating and wished him well.  That's how the invisible hand that guides business works now. The real payment is 5 stars and a half asleep wish for good luck.

Short Road
By: Danny Whitecotton

Weary gray morning but I make my way
To the city along the interstate
Sell what I can pull myself up by the bootstraps
You're not living unless you work yourself to death

Living on coffee and hand rolled cigarettes
They keep me fed until dinner time comes
Work a little cheaper, work a little longer
Till that sky matches my eyes

Short road to ruin if you don't stay between the lines
Short road to hell if your intentions are as good as mine
Short road home if it's been a good day
Short life we live when you're selling it all away

Been at this longer than I like to admit
Move from one hustle to another
Now I drive folks around who won't remember my face
Blind ambition to save a dollar

Short road to ruin if you don't stay between the lines
Short road to hell if your intentions are as good as mine
Short road home if it's been a good day
Short life to live when you're selling it all away

Make my way home an hour or two
The city I work I can't afford
Do all I can pull myself up by the bootstraps
But it's never enough, never enough

Short road to ruin if you don't stay between the lines
Short road to hell with intentions as good as mine
Short road home if it's been a good day
Short life we live when we're selling it all away

A Lengthy Invite To My Show

Waiting on a construction crew to get here so our chimney could be re-lined. Thought i would take a moment and tell you that I'll be out at Argilla's tonight.  I've got new songs to play and a desire to experiment with some sounds. I've been using the pedal board for the past few shows and have really liked some of the sounds I'm getting. There's always room to improve so I'm also incorporating more harmonica into the sets. People seem to dig more harmonica, maybe to give them a break from my voice, so I'm working on getting more in there. My harmonica licks run out pretty quick, but when you listen to Bob Dylan or Neil Young you'll realize there's do too.   

Started writing a new tune yesterday and I'm curious to see where it goes.  It talks about how we're just tourists in every aspect of our lives and how connections with others is the only thing that can be semi-permanent. It's permanent in our conscious mind but we know nothing is permanent that's external to us.  I've been trying to write a lot this year and some is pretty good and a lot leaves me scratching my head wondering why i thought writing that was a good idea.  I have taken to the concept though of taking good concepts out of bad songs and using them again.  Sometimes there's a great melody but the words aren't there or vice versa.  Goes with the old saying of don't throw the baby out with the bath water which is something I would do. With songs, not the baby. 

Trying to apply this to aspects in other parts of my life of getting rid of the things that I don't need and don't have time for so i can do others that make me happy.  Only have the hobbies I want, only focus on what is important to me, and only play the shows and songs that make sense for me. 

This was a long sidetracked way of inviting you out to the show tonight at Argilla's. I hope you'll make it out. 

Post-Apocalyptic Wordpress Crash

Welcome to the new and improved dannywhitecotton.com. One fine spring day as I was getting ready to fire off some e-mails to prospective venues asking them to check out my page and perhaps schedule me to play some songs for their fine patrons, I decided to update my site. Just in the most mundane way possible in hitting update to some plug-ins that were on the site. This was a mistake.

I then had a blank site. Just white screen.  Godaddy folks saw the same. I spent a lot of time on building and designing that site. I eventually got my page back... kinda. You couldn't go to any other pages than the home page so it made it essentially useless. So after shopping around I wound up here at square space where everything just seemed to work perfect. I hope you like it and stay tuned for all the fun updates I can do now : ) Without the website coming to an end.