When I set out in my brand new rental car (8 miles total on dear Elvira), I had no idea that my spontaneous (due to the fear of flying with my camera gear) road trip to shoot The Wedding in LA was going to turn into a cross country Discover Music Tour. I was driving because about a week before my flight, I got a dread so deep in my stomach about flying with my gear that I cancelled my flight (refundable) and rented a car (unlimited mileage – woot) and began what I was told was an insane – crazy – boring – horrible – LOOOONNNGGG drive across the country. Now, I’ve driven across and around the country before and I find it none of those things. I find it thrilling – beautiful – exciting – unexpected and awesome, course that was doing the trek with people. I was a little hesitant about covering 6,000 miles solo…
well, mostly solo. I did have Miss Head to keep me company. Miss Head is a brilliant roadtrip partner. She never begs to stop to pee, doesn’t care about being left in the car (..Mike Sag screaming out the windows when Nancy and I locked him in the van that time in Northern Cali – HTFSUAA) and she doesn’t force me to listen to that damn Rihanna song over and over again (love you Lalee, but that cd HAD to be thrown out the window – HTFSUAA-2). So for the HTFSUAA-3 (How To Fuck Shit Up Across America 3) it was going to be me & Miss Head.
So I set out! Late… cuz I had to stop at The Virginia Moonwalker where Russell filled my car with the music of my friends to keep me company. Chrissy – Tick, Tock…I am IN LOVE with your new song…I can’t wait to hear how that stuff grows.
So with the sounds of RVA filling the car, Miss Head and I hit the road. Left Richmond around 8:30pm and drove through the night. I stopped in Charleston, WV cuz the capital building looked AMAZING from the highway. There were incredible clouds in the night sky and the moon lit everything perfectly. I HAD to take a pic. So I jumped off the highway and found my way to the building and started to figure out what equipment I would need to capture the scene. The beautiful scene was interrupted by fighting cats and suddenly I got sketched out. The area that I was parked in, didn’t look so great on a 2nd look and here I was, with only Miss Head to protect me and my gear from any troublemakers in the night. The screaming cats continued to hiss and make such a fuss that it started to get to me. Now, I’m not one to get easily scared but I am one to always listen to my gut and my gut said ‘go’ so I left and found a Holiday Inn Express (my jam) on the outskirts of town and checked in. So there I was, in bed at 4am and pissed off. How the hell was I supposed to enjoy this drive, if I couldn’t stop and make pics of anything I wanted, anytime I wanted?? See, here is the thing that I learned… Miss Head might allow me to HOV it and look like there is always someone sleeping in the car when it is parked full of my stuff….but she isn’t good at having my back. And when you are a solo female with A LOT of camera gear, it isn’t the greatest idea to be out and about focused on shooting and not paying attention to what is around. DAMN IT. This was going to be annoying. I suddenly wished that there was someone with me. This was going to be a long drive.
Sitting in bed, pissed off, I pulled out my ipad and googled my next destination. St Louis. I was scheduled to create images of a fave band of mine, When Particles Collide, on Thursday. It was Wed morning at 4am…so there was tons of time to get there. It was only about an 8 hour drive. hmmmm….went my brain…..and my eyes saw Louisville on the map halfway tween. I wondered if there was any music happening in good ole Louisville on a Wednesday night? Google makes things super easy and found an event called Wednesdays on the Waterfront sponsored by 91.8 WFPK, the local radio station. I didn’t know any of the bands but this video that was on the festivals site made me perk out of my pissed off mood.
yes. That was awesome. This would be the show. & this would be how I would get around the country. I would discover music in each city I hit. So at 4am, I shot an email to The Whigs and went to sleep. When I awoke, there was an email waiting for me with a ‘hey! Def come take photos plz!’
and so I hit the road.
Made it to Louisville and figured out where to go, somehow got rockstar parking when 8 lots out were allready full.. wow. I wasn’t expecting ALL THIS. The waterfront area was PACKED. People were everywhere, cars were everywhere. This was going to be a huge show!
I knew I was on the right path….
It was about 2 hours to show time and I headed over to the stage where I met Billy, the guy who was running things. The Whigs were at a recording session for a local station and hadn’t gotten there yet so I wasn’t on the list. He took my name and said he’d get the photo pass ok from them when they arrived. I decided to walk around a bit to get the lay of the land and noticed two guys who had to be musicians walking across the lawn. I walked up and said ‘hey, y’all have to be musicians, which band are you playing with tonight?” They laughed and said “we are with Dawn!” I introduced myself and what I was doing and they sent me backstage to chat with Dawn about my spontaneous Discover Music Summer 2014 Tour. She turned out to be as sweet as she is beautiful and later I learned as she is talented. The lovely songbird had Billy add the blue stars VIP bracelet to my wrist and I was set for the show.
Dawn Landes was up first and I was excited! My brilliant 4am idea was about to START. It was all happening. 🙂 I was about to discover some music and wow, discover it I did! Dawn, in a sweet tasseled shirt and black & gold boot pumps took over that stage. She got the people settled down on their lawn chairs up and dancing, even with the sun beating down. It was around 6pm and it was one of those sultry summer nights where the heat from the day is as strong as the sun is still high. and that sun was still high…
Dawn’s voice lightened the air, her voice!! wow! Songbird. She has an album called Bluebird and she is. She is a beautiful bird who sang and the Louisville night answered, giving sweet relief with a steady breeze. Her voice is sweetly awesome. One song would be all bluegrassey swing with her voice rich and snappy and then she would switch to a ballad with a quivering and fragile quality. She pulled me in right away. Her backing band was fabulous. I’m always a fan of a lap steel.
Next up was the reason that I was in Louisville. The Whigs video had me wanting more and they delivered. They are rock & roll at its most vibrant, with hard hitting drums and delicious songs that keep you rocking hours later. Energetically loud and awesome, they bring it. & you can tell they enjoy it beyond measure, that the road leaves them excited and ready to share their sound when they hit each new town. The rock n roll super trio is a damn good time.
WFPK & the city of Louisville throw one heck of a show. The first Wed of each month, they have incredible bands play in one of the most gorgeous locations I have seen inside a city. The stage was right next to the Ohio River with this beautiful walking bridge spanning the two states. There was a huge lawn area and a food truck row. Most delicious quesadilla, well worth the 30 min wait in line. Hollah to Brooke who I got to pass the time with in the drink line, I hope to get back through to see your band on another trip!
I got to chatting with Todd, one of the fab members of security, and Marion from 91.8 WFPK. They filled me in on the awesome of Louisville and how supportive the city is in supporting music and the arts! There are a lot of cool things going on in this rich and vibrant city. The backdrop for the show is the Big Four Bridge. The bridge opened this past May and connects the city to Indiana with the walking/cycling bridge. Apparently the KY side was open in Feb of 2013 but Indiana took a while to complete their side……. Slackin’
The Big Four Bridge was a former railroad truss bridge that was finished in the late 1800’s, at some point in the 1960’s it fell into disrepair and was left to sit without entryways getting the nickname ‘The Bridge that goes nowhere” until the city launched a campaign to refurbish and restore it and create a walking bridge between the two states. I will walk it next time, this time I was tired and my camera bag was heavy so I decided to just stay and focus on the music and some more badass music was about to start.
The Old 97’s took the stage and the crowd was 15,000 deep at this point and everyone was amped up from The Whigs and ready to party. The Old 97’s are a well seasoned machine of awesome ‘get drunk & party’ songs. They sing the anthems of the boys that drink too much whiskey, get scorched by wild women & left heartbroken with only a bottle and a guitar. They play the songs of the conquests in towns left in the rear view mirror with an emotional intensity that leaves you aching for late nights lost in bourbon.
Next up – When Particles Collide in St. Louis.
if you would like to follow the adventure in real time, I post phone shots on instagram.com/ashlycovington 🙂