Sun and Fun on the Redneck Riviera……..
A couple of weeks ago, I packed up with Mrs. Jenna Danielle Moore and headed South (our FAVORITE direction!) We loaded up Ol’ Blue, our trusty Dodge Ram 1500 Sport Pick-up Truck and set out on our journey through the Heart of Dixie-Land. Part business, Part Pleasure and ALL fun was what lay in store for us on this 3 day trip. Bound for the Flora-Bama in Perdido Key, Florida on the Alabama/Florida line. The Mighty Flora-Bama is known as “The Last Great American RoadHouse” and has become a favorite Honky Tonk -Tour Stop for The Dallas Moore Band and a very special destination for myself and Mrs. Moore as we once renewed our Wedding Vows there with Donna Slater presiding over the ceremony in true Flora-Bama style and have had some of the best times of our life together on the Beach and in the Bars surrounding the area known as the “REDNECK RIVIERA.” We left a day earlier than my Brothers in the Band to ensure as much Beach Time as possible. With our Band not scheduled to play til late each night, we had nothing but Sun, Surf, Sugar White Sands and BUSHWHACKERS dancing in our heads. Up and at ’em early (after a late night show the night before at the Infamous Knotty Pine in Cincinnati,Ohio) we rolled Ol’ Blue out of Southern Ohio, crossed the river into the Bluegrass State of Kentucky and we were Officially “SOUTHBOUND!”
I LOVE the State of Kentucky. The Land of The Bourbon and the Bluegrass is one of my favorite places on Earth. Both of our families are deeply rooted in Kentucky and we had alot of fun on the drive tellin’ tales of when we were young’ns on each of our families farms and stories passed down from generations of our kin folks. The Fall leaves were in the very beginning stages of the beautiful burnt hues they will eventually become and the scenery was awesome. As much as I Love “My Ol’ Kentucky Home” our destination was a 14 hour drive away that I was Hell bent and determined to make in 12 hours. With no hesitation and yours truly at the helm of the wheel, Ol’ Dallas put the “Pedal On The Right” all the way down and before you could say “Trashville says our Musics Dead And Gone” we had blown through KY and rolled around the familiar curves of Nashville, Tennessee…Music City U.S.A. It seems I have always had a Love/Hate relationship with Nashville. I LOVE the Town, the Friends we’ve made, the Restaurants, Honky Tonks and History. I HATE most of today’s “country music” and the whole Nashville System that perpetuates the pop country charade that has become modern day Top 40 Radio Country. Needless to say, since we weren’t in town playing a show at 12th & Porter or 3rd and Lindsley (two of our Favorite spots to jam off of Nashville’s beaten path) I made like my friend Shooter Jennings says and kept it “STEADY AT THE WHEEL!” It seemed like a flash and we were GONE out of Tennessee and marveling at the Stars and Bars just across the Alabama line. Now friends, on this trip, once you hit the Alabama line you still got a LONG way to go with Birmingham bein’ just about the halfway point, give or take a little. Stopping only to fuel up and runnin’ Ol’ Blue like a scalded dog, we hauled ass towards Montgomery, home of Hank Williams Grave and the BEST Fried Green Tomato and Bacon Sammich on Gods Green Earth. Swill yerself a Peach Sweet Tea and you are in the Heaven that is the Deep South. By this time the Sun had been down for hours so we locked in with the tail lights of a few Brother Truckers, Loaded up the CD player with NOTHING but WAYLON GODDAMN JENNINGS and rolled on into the night. Again, in what seemed like no time we made the Alabama/Florida line and were pulling up to “Ye Old River House” across the street from the Flora-Bama. Checking my watch, I was tickled to realize that we made our trek in a record 12 hours and 15 minutes from our drive-way in Ohio. HOME SWEET HOME ALABAMA!!
We started our day off right with a visit to The REEF Bar and a round of Ice Cold PBR’s. Our Great Friends (and bizness partners) Brian DeBruler and Michelle D’Amico from our label SOL RECORDS and the band PURE GRAIN made their virgin trip to the Flora-Bama and arrived early in the morning and joined us at The REEF to do our our daily internet updates. Gotta take care of Bizness before we start playin’ hardball and havin’ FUN! With a few cold one’s down and our morning work done, we wasted NO time hittin’ the beach.
The Sugar White Sands and 84 degree Sunshine of Perdido Beach wished us a WARM Welcome to the Gulf Of Mexico! We enjoyed Royal Red Shrimp, Fish Bites, Oysters and (best of all) BUSHWHACKERS from the Flora-Bama as our 1st meal of the day. For those who don’t know, a “BUSHWHACKER” is the famed House Drink of the Flora-Bama. A wickedly delicious concoction that tastes eerily similar to a Frosty at Wendy’s with several varieties of Rum infused in it! The late, great Rusty McHugh had a song about it called the “Bushwhacker Boogie” which told the tale of many who met their early evening demise at the hands of the dastardly Bushwhacker. The hook line was “The Bushwhacker Boogie…..You Think Your Dancin’ But Your Really Just Fallin’ Down.” I can tell y’all from personal experience, I have been Bushwhacked in all it’s glory and lived to tell about it! If ya pace yourself right and ya take a late afternoon nap, you’re in pretty good shape to wake up, eat, and enjoy a few cocktails and lefty’s on the back deck of the River House while taking in the Breathtaking Sunset that I like to refer to as “The Calm Before The Storm” that is about to take place when The Dallas Moore Band hits the stage to a standing room only crowd in the BAMA DOME at the Flora-Bama. Pictured below is a picture of both the “Calm” AND the “Storm.”
Day two offered even more Beach time and all the Brothers in the Dallas Moore Band, as well as our good friend Ben Bowman from Prospect, KY enjoyed our time at the Ocean and the TIKI Bar. We also got to eat at BELLA LUNA to enjoy our favorite slice of New York Style Pizza Margherita on the planet. I have enjoyed a slice at the finest pizzeria’s in New York City and swear that NONE can compare to Bella Luna in Perdido Key and I’ll stand on Anthony Bourdains coffee table in my sand spurred cowboy boots and tell him so By GOD!! After a day of Sun & Fun with family and friends, we retired for a late afternoon siesta. When we awoke and cleaned up, we were pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Professor Neil Hamilton and his wife Lesli. Ol’ Professor Neil is an Author as well as a Professor at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. He is a really cool cat that we got to meet while being interviewed for his upcoming book OUTLAWS: STILL AT LARGE detailing the History of Outlaw Country Music and Profiling the Modern Day Hard Core Troubadours that are carrying on the Music and expanding on the themes of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe, Billy Joe Shaver, etc. We are honored to be featured in Neil’s upcoming book and it’s always a lot of fun when we get together and see who REALLY is the King Of Bullshit Mountain!
Saturday nights jam was equally as packed as Friday’s in the BAMA DOME and extra Rowdy given the early afternoon victory of the Alabama Crimson Tide over the boys from Arkansas. ROLL TIDE ROLL was the defiant war chant for the evening save for the LSU fans that had rolled in from South Louisiana, including BILBO STRAIN and The LOOZIANA WRECKIN’ CREW. It was GREAT to see our Cajun friends and boogie woogie to whiskey soaked versions of JAMBALAYA and MARIE LAVEAU. AYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEE!!!
On Sunday Morning, Jenna and I attended WORSHIP ON THE WATER. The very unique Church Service presided over by Pastor Jeremy every Sunday at 11:00 am under the Big Top Tent outside the Flora-Bama. Always inspiring music, fellowship and message. Come as you are and leave feeling better about life than you did when you walked in. Even if you don’t like to “Attend Church” this experience is recommended to all by Ol’ Dallas himself. At the very least, you are welcome to enjoy a bloody mary to heal your wounds from the night before and enjoy the outstanding music that leads the charge. I promise you will never think of “CHURCH” the same!
Sunday afternoon’s “early” show found us easing onto the stage at 4:30 in the afternoon. It wasn’t long before the groove was on and we had the pleasure of being joined onstage to jam by a few of the many STELLAR musicians that haunt the Flora-Bama. On This day it was Pat McCann, guitarist for the Legendary songwriter FREDDIE POWERS, Jazz guitar wizard Rickey Whaley and our pal Mike Check-resident sound man extraordinaire for ALL of the stages at the ‘BAMA. It’s always amazing and inspiring to jam with our friends!!!
Monday was the day we had dreaded since before we left Ohio. The rains had moved in and we had to move out of “Ye Old River House” and head back North, leaving our friends and the Alabama Sunshine behind us until our next visit to our “HOME AWAY FROM HOME.” Our trip down South wouldn’t be complete however without one last stop. We pulled off the side road in Stapleton, Alabama to visit our “God Father” JODY PAYNE. For those who don’t know, Jody was the Legendary Guitarist for Willie Nelson and Family for nearly 40 years. He also played with Merle Haggard and a who’s who of Classic and Outlaw Country Artists in addition to releasing his own solo material. Several years ago, while I was on tour opening for Willie, Jody and I struck up a conversation and realized that he had graduated Norwood High School (my alma mater) one year ahead of my Mom, Madgelee Hanes Moore. We bonded over the next several years and shows and we had the honor of Jody joining us to make our newest Cd “HANK TO THANK: LIVE AT HERZOG STUDIO.” Most times when we play the Flora-Bama Jody joins us, but on this run the South Alabama/Florida Humidity was simply too much to take on so we are looking forward to jamming together in November of 2012 for the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival.
We had a nice visit with Jody, his wife Vicki and sons Waylon and Austin. I presented Jody with a Crystal Skull Ring that is similar to the one I wear that Jody has often admired. It is always a treat to be with our extended family The Paynes. Until next time my friends….
After leaving Jody’s place we ambled on to I-65 North and rolled through TORRENTIAL rains all the way back Home to Ohio. Out of all of our visits to the Redneck Riviera and the Mighty Flora-Bama this was DEFINITELY one of the BEST. We are already looking forward to our next trip in November. If you’ve never been, this l’il blog is just a small peek into our adventures and you MUST SEE IT FOR YOURSELF. If you have already been there, well I’m sure we’ll see ya “Down On The Line” as I Know you’ll return. The 1st BUSHWHACKER is on ME! In the words of KINKY FRIEDMAN……. “Why The Hell Not!”
See Ya Down The Road…..