Last Saturday evening, the Sons of the Western Bootheel travelled to Trail of Tears state park for a concert. We were really surprised to find that it was much more hot and humid in the hills than it had been at home in the swamp. By the time we hauled our equipment about a half a quarter (1/8 mile for you city folks) in to the outdoor amphitheater, we were wringing wet. The site is a neat place to play, very secluded, but that means you can’t drive to it (plus it’s an up the hill, then down the hill). They had about 130 in the audience, which we’re told is a big crowd for that venue. At both T of T and Bollinger Mill the next day, the park staff were careful to include a big thank-you for the sales tax percentage that supports our state parks. "That’s what allows us to bring you programs like this." The audience was an enthusiastic mix of campers and local folks. Several had brought their dogs, but there was only one small dog-fight. [Big dogs, small fight — not enough to switch me from cowboy to doctor.]
Fortunately, with a little rain during the night, the humidity vanished to provide a perfectly wonderful Sunday. I had camped out at T of T, and met the other Sons at Bollinger Mill in plenty of time to set up. Interestingly, I took a wrong turn out of the park and found a beautiful polo field where the game was apparently just winding down. Lots of folks and lots of "ponies".
Here we were able to drive right to the stage, which was set up in a wooded park area that could not have been nicer. This stage is called the "Showmobile", and yes, it’s that sales tax at work again.
Here’s what it looks like opened wide and full of cowboy songs. It could not have been a more beautiful day, or a nicer place. There was a good crowd here, as well, including my friend and former associate, Dr. Karen Fieser. It was mighty good to see her and some other friends from the area.
We did have a minor snafu when a car alarm went off during "…a sensitive and moving portrait of the cowboy alone in the grandeur and solitude of the Great American West." Kind of a mood-breaker, but since we also deal in feeble attempts at humor, we were able to work it into the show seamlessly. Well, maybe not seamlessly, but there were a few folks who actually thought we had done it on purpose. You have to wonder how good your music is when people think a car alarm fits in with it pretty well.