On the Road with Pam Tillis

2007 started out with a bang for my friend and cowriter Mary Sue Englund – literally! She suffered a really bad fall on the way out the door to pick me up at the airport, and broke four of the vertebrae in her lower back! She was bedridden for about a week, so I moved in with her and played nurse as best I could until she was on her feet again.

Mary Sue is Pam Tillis’s touring acoustic guitar and piano player, and Pam had some dates scheduled last weekend in South Carolina and Florida, so they took me along to lighten Mary Sue’s load. It was my first time on a tourbus, and I LOVED it! There were eleven of us on there including Pam, the band, and the sound and light technicians, so it was a full bus. We slept in bunks (about 7 feet long and 3 feet high – not quite tall enough to sit up in). The first night, I didn’t sleep a wink – I was hyper aware of every movement the bus made – but after that, I slept like a baby, especially in the pitch dark of my bunk. It’s quite a surreal thing to fall asleep in one state and wake up in another!

I even managed to fit in some extra fun – I got to ride the ferris wheel and feed giraffes at the Palmetto Fair, wade in the ocean and get a sunburn in Fort Pierce, and watch Marty Stuart play his show from backstage on the last night (which was absolutely riveting). Pam was as elegant in person as she is on stage, and before I got off the bus on Monday she signed my ragged old copy of Homeward Looking Angel, which was in my CD player for my entire second year of college. Funny where life leads you sometimes!

I got off the bus on Monday just in time to go down to 12th and Porter and sing background vocals for Lauren Lucas in her band showcase. Included in her set were a new song called “What Am I To You” (Lauren and I wrote it with Jerry Flowers), and a cover of my song “I’m Gone”. Lauren always rocks, so it was great fun to be up there with her.

I also found out over the holidays that my song “Fly” (cowritten with Amy Dalley) was recorded by Broken Bow Records artist Megan Mullins for her debut album, which is great news. She’s currently the fiddle player in the house band for Nashville Star (which airs Thursday nights on USA). I’m especially enjoying watching this season because it features my cowriters Josh Stevens and Whitney Duncan, as well as my friends Zack and Angela Hacker, as contestants. Josh got me a ticket to see the show in person this week, so I’ll be there cheering them on.

Well, it’s back to cowriting now. Getting back into the swing of things is always a bit tough after taking a break, but I’m ready to get started again!

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