02 - Whiskey, Women, and Stories

So like I said, back in 2015 we met in a dive bar called the Red Line Tap on the north side of Chicago one night in early October. I was passing through town and Sarah was playing in a bluegrass band called the Mudflapps. I was there with a friend who was married to the lead singer, and there were more people on stage than in the bar. I think when Barrett and I walked in we doubled the size of the audience. But hey, it was a regular Tuesday night gig for the band, and it was still early, the regular crowd started to filter in little by little. When the band finally took a break the bartender started lining up shots of whiskey down the bar, which I learned was a band tradition. The Mudflapps are "A drinking band with a music problem", it says so right on their bumper stickers. Since I was with the lead singer's husband, the bartender grinned and said I was an honorary band member as well, so I got a shot too. The band fanned out around the two of us to pick up their glasses and Sarah just happened to pick up the shot glass to my left. After a minute or two of silence as I sipped my Jameson, (I didn't know anyone in the bar except Barrett and he was busy kissing his wife), I looked over to Sarah and said "Tell me story."

She gave me a kind of quizzical grin, paused for a beat or two to think, and then told me an abbreviated "Once Upon a Time" story... which sounded to me like it was basically her life, but in third person. I smiled, raised my glass, and said "Nice story." We talked a bit more as the night went on, I told her I'd been traveling the country doing a solo singer-songwriter thing, if she ever wanted to sit in on violin she was welcome. She said she'd contact me. I didn't think much of it really, I'd heard that sort of thing before. And I wasn't living in Chicago. What were the odds.

But a day or two later she messaged me on Facebook asking about my offer. I sent her some recordings, links to my records on Bandcamp, links to mp3's I had on my website, that sort of thing. Over the next couple days we messaged back and forth quite a bit, she said she liked the songs, she asked if I'd help her with a lyric she was working on for a song called "Palatine" and I sent back a bunch of lines. I was impressed that she only used part of one line. She took what she liked and discarded the rest. I really liked the finished lyric.

I'd met a real writer. And she said she was interested in playing sometime. Did I flirt online a little? Sure. There are few things more attractive to me than someone who can really play and really write.

That's when she told me she was married to a woman and had been for four years, but it was breaking apart. She'd left that part out of that first abbreviated story I guess.

Whiskey, women, and stories. And this woman's story was getting more and more interesting every minute. More whiskey? I've always moved toward yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.


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