Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Rock and Roll Never Forgets

admin | March 12, 2010 in Music,Running | Comments (6)

In 1976, I turned twelve. I was running with my dad on a regular basis, makin’ loops around the neighborhood in our small town for two or three-mile runs. We were loggin’ some miles, stretching our legs toward what would be my first real distance event – the eight-mile Dallas Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.

I was also stretching out on the piano, getting away from just classical sheet music and picking more songs out by ear. I would make cassette tapes from records on my stereo upstairs, slap them into my dad’s portable cassette player, and carry them down to the living room where the piano lived…and go to work.

Bob Seger’s Night Moves album came out around then. The title cut was the biggest hit off that record. “Mainstreet” and “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” also made it to the radio. My favorite tune from that record was “Fire Down Below,” rockin’ and aggressive and awesome for a twelve-year-old kid to bang out again and again and again.

Bob Seger’s career took off with that album…and I followed it. More big records and more hit songs. I grew as a musician, nourished by many of those songs. “Sunspot Baby.” “Turn the Page.”

And like every other card-carrying bar band warrior, I have played Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” eleventy-seven thousand times in clubs across the country for many years since.

Then, in 1976, I was running three-mile loops with my dad and picking out Bob Seger’s first hits on the piano.

Now, in 2010, I’m back in Dallas visiting my folks. On Sunday, my dad will be cheering me on at the Inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon…and just a few weeks ago, Bob Seger was in the audience of our “Southern Voice” tour in Madison, Wisconsin as we performed some of the hit records I’ve played on with Tim McGraw…after first honing my craft…from learning his.

Thank you, sir.

Rock on.

Touring and the Treadmill

admin | March 6, 2010 in Music,Running | Comments (7)

Following a terrific Texas warm-up run by the Alamo, it was off to Omaha, Nebraska.  We would spend one day just getting there; then we’d have three days to hammer out details before launching the 2010 Tim McGraw “Southern Voice” tour on February 11, 2010.

It’s a big job.  The band’s got the tunes down already, but there’s staging and lighting and video to build into the show. Everything’s gotta be right…so we have a lot of rehearsal to do.  We’ll hit it in the morning, knock out various details in the afternoon, and do it again at night.  Go to sleep and do it again.

There’s no time to waste, and everyone needs to be on point.

And I’ve still got running to do.  I can’t just NOT do it – not with another marathon out there on the horizon.  Omaha’s got snow everywhere, (not like the “heavy” snow I ran through in Tennessee), and I can’t twist an ankle or get lost during a run and show up late after running an extra three miles I wasn’t planning on.

So, for these first few days…(gulp)…I suck it up and hit the treadmill in the hotel for two, three, or four miles before scurrying back up to my room and getting a shower.  I don’t have a hard plan, no set interval workout or anything, but I know to get the most of this, I’ve gotta push harder…so I run clearly negative, increase my pace throughout…and by the end, I’m running faster, stretching further, and hitting my best clip of the session.

I hate it, but I do it, and I feel better having done it.  The legs are looser, the head’s clearer, and I haven’t let my training completely fall through the cracks before the tour is even underway.

The phone rings.  Oh, crap.  They’re lookin’ for me onstage.

Time to run the show again.

Makin’ the Record: “Southern Voice”

admin | February 13, 2010 in Music,Running | Comments (12)

Once upon a time, Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors made a record.  The people in the town couldn’t wait to hear it.  Tim was very proud of both the record…and his band…with whom he made this record.

“I’m ready for everyone to hear [the songs],” said McGraw.  “I think it’s the best work that we’ve done.  Great collection of songs, the tones, the whole sorta tapestry of the album is something you can really wrap your arms around.”

Unfortunately, the record got lost in the woods and didn’t come out for a long, long, time.  When it did finally make its way out of the darkness, it was a lot like listening to the record for the first time…even for the boys that made it.

Music is funny.  So much time can pass, and one song can still put you right back in a particular place, heart and soul, like nothing else can.  Sights, smells, sounds, and feelings can all rush back with just a few notes of a particular tune.  And it doesn’t have to be one of those “break your heart” songs, either; if “My Baloney Has a First Name” was something you laughed about with someone you love, then even that silly little hot-dog ditty can carry your heart back to the tenderness of that time.

Hmmm…(“It’s O-S-C-A-R”…)

I can remember exactly what was happening in my life when we made this record together.  The good and the bad.  The things I was excited about, and the things that pained my soul.  What was on my heart, in my mind…and even in my legs.

Yeah.  As it happens…the first day of our “Southern Voice” recording sessions was the first day after the ING New York City Marathon 2007. My third marathon; my first in New York City.  If you’re a runner, you’ve been there.  Hobbling, stiff, constantly trying to stretch back out and get things moving again after yesterday’s pounding.  I was sitting still at the piano day and night for those first few days, constantly shifting my weight to find a comfortable position, forgetting that, for a while, there just won’t be one.

Whew.  That was tough…but totally worth it.

These songs carry me back to all those things.  And now, after our musical marathon, the new “Southern Voice” record has found the finish line.  The songs are out, and it’s time to carry them out to the folks.

So we are hittin’ the road – probably comin’ nearby.  I’ll have my runnin’ shoes in my bag and I’ll be logging miles all over the country.  I’m still forming a real running plan, but I think Coach Kevin already has something in mind for me.  ‘Til then…

I’m just planning to run.


Click here to visit the Official Tim McGraw Store and purchase a copy of the album “Southern Voice” by Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors.

Road Dog Runner

admin | January 28, 2010 in Music,Running | Comments (18)

If you look up the term “road dog” on, there are seven different definitions.  Most include a “travel” element, one entry mentions “jail,” where I’ve never been, and another references “beer,” which I hate.

The last entry of seven hits closest to my world:

ROAD DOG: A person who is consistently “on the road,” on the go, or someone who travels to and fro frequently.

Yeah, that sounds a lot like me.  It’s what I do, who I am, and how I roll.  I’ve never been one to sit still for very long, and as I sneak up on twenty years makin’ a livin’ in the music business…I guess I’ve never really had to.

Twenty years.  Yep.  This March, I will click over my seventeenth year as keyboardist and vocalist for country superstar Tim McGraw.  As one of his longtime band, the Dancehall Doctors, we’ve crossed the country numerous times.  We’ve taken the stage at Madison Square Garden, played a cruise ship in the Bahamas, rocked the house at the Hollywood Bowl, and performed overlooking some of the world’s greatest historical sites in Rome, Italy.

I have definitely logged some miles with McGraw and the boys.  One might think that in the midst of a concert tour, when the planes land or the buses park, I’d blow into the hotel, prop my feet up and just “chill.”  But that isn’t usually the way it works.

Because I’m a runner.  It’s not just the “travel” that makes me feel more at ease…but the “movement.”  And it’s really pretty simple.  Grab some shorts and my shoes, get off the bus…and start running.

If it looks dangerous, turn around.  If I think I might get lost, stay close to the hotel.  If we don’t have much time, run short.  No show that night?  Run long.

Bottom line?  Just run.  If things are good, running makes ‘em better.  If things are crappy, well, at least they get a little less crappy if I can just get out the door.

And I usually do.  No matter how many miles we’ve already covered since our last concert.  Because I’ve still got a few more to do on my own.

Road Dog Runner. Yeah.

I like that.