I am feeling a little sick today, but it is kind of ok because I am pretty sure I contracted this cold via Zac Brown, of the Zac Brown Band. Last week my dad was invited to play on stage with Zac because our good friend Lucas plays guitar on tour with him and took my dad's (and Doc's oak!) guitar to show him. So last Thursday Jimmy Edmonds, my dad, Lucas,  a great young singer from Galax, Lindsay Nale, and I all piled in the car and headed to Charlotte, NC to watch Zac's show and visit with him and the band a little.

Wayne and Lucas picking a little on the bus.
We arrived about 3 hours prior to the show and were escorted behind the stage and onto Zac's tour bus. I don't know how he can tell his from any of the other fifteen buses lined up back there. Maybe there is a sticker or something. Anyway, Zac greeted each of us, but declined to shake anyone's hand as he was sick and didn't want to spread his illness. (Hmph... :-/) After a little bit of small talk, it was on to the inevitable discussion of guitars. Zac played a new Edmonds guitar that Jimmy had just finished for him, and he sampled my dad's number 52 as well. One thing I thought really endearing is that Zac and my dad were quite similar. Kind of laid back, quiet fellas who seem interested in other's talents and uniqueness. Both are interested in knives and guns and guitars. Is that a common grouping of obsessions, I wonder? When you visit my dad, he always wants you to have a good time, and if he notices that you might appreciate something he has to offer, he will send you home with it to commemorate your time in Rugby. I love that Zac shared a similar hospitality. We all got leather beer coozies, and Zac presented my dad with a gigantic knife that his company, Southern Grind, manufactures out of old saw blades. Jimmy also got a knife, quite a bit smaller, but exponentially more dangerous as it flicks open its blade as you slide it from your pocket. "Now be careful with that." Zac warned. Not five minutes after we left the bus Lindsay's dad asks Jimmy to see his new knife, and is immediately bleeding.

My dad shows off his new knife courtesy of Zac Brown.
Since Zac was so hospitable, my dad wanted to reciprocate the generosity and asked Lucas if Zac would appreciate a genuine tortoiseshell guitar pick that he had made and just happened to have in his pocket along with his finger picks, change, and always present pocket knife. Lucas said he probably would, so my dad asks, "Mr. Zac? Would you like a genuine tortoise shell flatpick? You could probably do more with it than I could. But don't throw that one out on stage. It is kind of rare." Zac promised he wouldn't and thanked him for the gift.

With a few minutes till ZBB was to go on stage, we pushed our way to our seats, and got ready for the show. Since it was not a full production show Lucas stayed out front with us most of the time, and luckily knew when it was time for my dad and Jimmy to head back stage for their 15000-strong audience debut.

While Zac shot t-shirts into the crowd (and several into the rafters of the amphitheater) I saw my dad waiting behind him on the stage shrouded in a dark blue light. We all screamed with excitement, listening to the 'acoustic set' that had most of the band members sitting or standing in a casual manner on the front of the stage. My dad and Jimmy played Fox on the Run, my dad taking the first break and Jimmy following on his fiddle. My dad said afterwards that he couldn't hear a thing so he had no idea whether he was in time or playing the right thing or what. I, perhaps biased, thought they sounded great, however I couldn't really hear much above the screaming either so it probably wouldn't have mattered if the timing was off, or someone missed a note or anything. It was very interesting to watch my dad and then Lucas make their way back to our seats, as people parted like the Red Sea to let them through this time. I guess they couldn't believe that these ordinary looking folks who, minutes earlier, had been on stage with Zac Brown Band were sitting in, or near, their row out front.

On stage with ZBB!
After enjoying the rest of the high energy, brightly lit show, we headed back to Zac's bus to thank him for a great evening. As he approached having just left the stage, he said to my dad, "Oh man I almost lost this!" Holding the tortoiseshell pick. "I forgot it was in my pocket and when I was throwing picks out on stage it fell out and a girl grabbed it and I had to get it back from her, telling her she couldn't have that one!" "I told you not to throw that one out on stage!" my dad proclaimed in jest. Luckily Zac traded with the eager fan and hopefully will use his new handmade in Rugby pick!

After a beer or two on the bus, and a presentation of t-shirts (my dad's was donned immediately), we headed out of the arena's parking lot. And just to demonstrate the company I was keeping, and the delirious state I was in, due to excitement and exhaustion, I was alarmingly happy to stop at Taco Bell for a midnight snack for the drive back to Rugby.

Wayne: Hang on! I have to get properly attired for the picture!
So I am now trying to get over a cold, while working on a tenor ukulele and gearing up to go to another sweet concert this weekend! I am not cool enough to get back stage this time and hang out with Jake Shimabukuro though. Hopefully I will be able to throw a few elbows and get to meet him, as he is an amazing ukulele player (seriously, look up the youtube video of him playing Bohemian Rhapsody on his uke). It would be amazing to get some advice from him as it would be priceless for my ukulele building.

Oh! I do have one more thing that is probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to me, and it is also thanks to my best-good pal Lucas. A few weeks ago he took the guitar I made for Doc with him on Zac's tour when they stopped in Nashville. John Mayer just happened to join them to play a set or two, and he ended up playing my guitar a little bit. (I will never change the strings. Well that's a lie because my dad is playing that guitar tomorrow for a tribute to Doc Watson, and requested that the strings be changed for that, so I will revise that statement and say that I will forever keep those strings.) If you know me at all, you know that I have this kind of weird, unwavering love of his music so to have him touch this guitar means a significant amount to me. And it was enhanced exponentially by a note from John saying he liked it. So that was kind of amazing.

John Mayer sais he liked my guitar!!!!!!