It happened at The listening Room of Mobile. Chuck Mead (a fabulous entertainer if ever there was one), backed by his Grassy Knoll Boys were there to entertain.
This gang of Grassy Knolls consists of:
Carco Clave-Likely the best steel guitarist I have ever heard…but he is more than that, he also plays the harmonica like an old blues pro. Add to that he played what looked to me like a miniature electric guitar (5-string)…At first glance my brain said “never saw an electric ukulele before!” When I heard it, I was amazed that it sounded like a full-sized electric guitar. Somebody probably knows what it is called. Well, whatever it is Carco has mastered it just as he has the harmonica and the pedal Steel Guitar. He sits there spot-on playing like the master he is with a stoic look. Never does he show emotion, except for a little bitty effort at smiling when he got a standing ovation roar after hopping up to the mic and playing that harmonica!
Scott “Buford” Icenogle was fabulous on the upright bass. I have seen many upright bass and bassists in my life, but somehow this one looked taller than any I had seen before. He wore a shirt that matched the others, jet black, long sleeve, with white embroidery here and there…but over his shirt was black bib-overalls. To me, a man who wears overalls to special events piques my interest. I had a great uncle name Elijah. He lived in the backwoods of Winfield, Alabama, always had a dip of snuff in his lip and always wore bib-overalls. He saved his nice ones for weddings and funerals…others were for everyday wear. Buford also had a big resemblance to Uncle Elijah…who was a fine, yet intriguing man. You never know what to expect from a man in overalls. I bet Buford is like that too!
I didn’t really have a conversation with the drummer, just a brief introduction. His name is Martin Lynds. He wore a gray derby hat that made me think he might just speak with a British accent, but that was not the case. Most of the show he was blocked from my view by the lead singer. Occasionally the rapidly moving lead singer would move just a little to the right of the stage and it gave me a chance to watch him for short snippets of time. He smiled a cute smile and played those drums like he meant it. He is a good drummer, one that knows when to get busy and when to slow down. (Believe it or not, some drummers only know how to BANG!)
This leaves only the frontman, Chuck Mead, the lead singer who also plays a pretty bad-ass lead guitar. I know what lead guitar is supposed to be (my son was lead guitar in his first real band), then he was lead vocals and acoustic guitar in a rock band that played around the world for 15 years. I have seen a wide variety of lead guitarist. It is so important that position is filled by someone who is skilled with his instrument. To also be a great vocalist is wonderful. But if you add “good-looking” to his attributes…you’ve got ya a perfect frontman. I just described Chuck Mead.
Chuck is an excellent guitarist, with lots of energy on the stage. He has a wonderful smile, great hair that he pushes back with his fingers from time to time, always leaving a few strands stretching down across his eye or poking up awkwardly. He is gorgeous from every direction.
He wore a black long-sleeve shirt, with white embroidery designs and black skinny jeans. The way he moves…it leaves every woman in the room needing something cold to drink to cool themselves down a bit…(maybe even a couple of guys too).
Chuck is a seasoned pro, having started at the age of 13, playing in his parents country band. He was making googley eyes at the girls in the audience way back then…so he learned how to hold the attention of the audience all those years ago. I was mesmerized as he would bend his long legs…he bent them inward, then outward, then he would lean far to the left and far to the right as he played that guitar…I think I saw him do some yoga moves…never missed a beat the whole time. I just loved him!
Lyrics are important to me. He caught my attention with his lyrics and his delivery of them. One of the lines I loved was “I’m alright for the shape I’m in” “Tired and torn and battered, holes in both my shoes”, but I’m alright for the shape I’m in.”
Another song, another line I loved was “You can see things better in the light of day, that’s why they look better at night!”
“Girl on the Billboard” was a great song that required a person to sing it who could recite details, accurately and quickly…It goes “Well who’s that girl wearing nothing but a smile and towel in a picture on a billboard in a field near a big ole highway!”
He got that line right over and over in that song and it painted a picture that made ya feel like you were right there looking at her.
“Dear John”…, while a sad situation; it was humorous as well.
“When I woke up this morning there was a note upon my door, said don’t make me no coffee boy because I won’t be there no more…DEAR JOHN, that’s all she wrote!”
He asked us all to join in on one of his songs and I believe every voice in the room joined him. Our job was to repeat a line every time he said it…the line was “Hey-Ho-Alina”…everyone at my table belted it out every time we got his cue. It made us feel like we had a part in the show and it brought the audience to an even higher level of fun.
I can only sing or shout praises for Chuck Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys. He said they have a new record coming out June 28th of this year, so google him now and buy his music, go to his upcoming shows near you and mark your calendar for the release of his new music. It holds the promise of something fabulous!.
I want to thank this exceptional band Chuck Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys for coming to The Listening Room of Mobile and rocking our world.
I want to thank Jim Pennington for continuing to bring in such talent, some we would likely not hear otherwise.
I want to thank the courteous, engaged, enthusiastic audience that came to hear the music.
It truly is a night I won’t forget!