Well I’m Goin’ to Carolina…

As I have talked about before, struggling with mental health can be a real bitch.  For the better part of a year and half, I have finally been treating my mental health issues.  Since starting on meds (Prozac, Xanax, and Welbutrin), things have definitely gotten better but things aren’t always perfect.  I sometimes forget that these things just don’t get “cured” or “go away” forever.  Taking meds and writing and playing music are tools that I use to help myself in managing but sometimes shit happens.  The week before last I had my first panic attack since I started taking meds and it was pretty fucking crazy.  Luckily, I have this amazingly understanding wife who sat me down in a chair, rubbed my neck and just spoke to me calmly until I came out of it.  She didn’t make a big deal about, she didn’t panic, she just knew what to do and it made things so much easier for me.

I had a trip coming up the following weekend that I was so excited for and honestly, it was everything I needed and more.  Things kicked off on Friday with a trek to Charlotte where I teamed up with my old friend Bert Wray.  I did a solo performance opening for his band, Bert Wray Blues, and it was so much fun.  Just the great vibes of the music and the people were so great for me and healing in a lot of ways.  Even staying out until 4:30 in the morning didn’t seem to faze me and it was just a great, positive day/night full of laughs and great music.

The next morning I got up, had some chill time with Bert and then hit the road for Chapel Hill.  I was going to see our old friend, Chris and Anita.  My wife and I have known them for many years and even though I was going solo, getting the chance to see them was something I just knew would fill me with so much love, laughter, and great, positive energy.  Upon my arrival, I was greeted with hugs and smiles and we literally talked for hours.  Chris and Anita’s kids (who are now 9 and 11) were just killing me.  A while back I wrote a song about them called “Brother and Sister” and Anita and Chris played it for them all the time.  Imagine my joy when their daughter, Kiara, asked me if I would play music with her.  She pulled out her ukulele and her brother, Luke, sat with us as we sat around their fireplace singing songs like, “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, “Helpless”, “Fade Into You”, and “Country Roads.”  9 and 11, y’all.  These kids were willingly playing these songs.  It was so much fun and I just felt so overcome with love.  It really was such a great experience and then once they went to bed, Chris, Anita, and I just sat around talking, laughing, and drinking wine until we were exhausted.

Breakfast the next morning came with a side of snow as snow fell hard from the Carolina sky.  We sat at the bar, ate cinnamon rolls, told silly jokes, and laughed as the snow fell and then eventually melted away before I could even get my car packed up.  It was so beautiful and peaceful and Kiara asked, “Will you stay another night?”  As much as I would have loved to, I had to hit the road back to Atlanta but not before seeing my best friend for lunch.  I met James at Spanky’s on Franklin St. and we talked and laughed over a great lunch and some drinks (water for me).  It’s funny because I talk to James every fucking day and I love it so when we do get together, there’s really no “catching up.”  It’s like, finally just getting to see each other in person.  We talked music (as always), documentaries, and traded books/DVDs.  I lent him my Grateful Dead bio and my Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper) autobiography and he sent me home with a live Journey DVD and a that killer new Beatles doc.  Just seeing him for a moment was the perfect way to close out and pretty fantastic weekend.

The ride home was filled with music.  Gregg Rollie and Journey were part of the 6 hour soundtrack that included Jess and the Ancient Ones, Blues Pills, Graveyard, Brave, and the Grateful Dead.  How’s that for diversity?  This trip filled me with so many great feelings and so many great new memories that will last me a long, long while.  I’m already looking forward to my next Carolina trip to hang with the Faircloths and to singing more songs with their awesome kids.



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