America! Those of you who have been keeping up with our articles
know that we are in the middle of a story where we are taking you
with us on a weekend trip so you can experience just what it’s
like to be out on the road with the Waymasters; an adventure that
always seems to go as unexpected as humanly possible.
To remind those of you where we are and to bring those of you
who may have missed the first two articles up to speed, we’ll do a
The band left Nashville, TN at 6 a.m. on Friday in order to play a
show at the ICGMA Awards in Missouri with intentions of leaving that
night to travel to Asheville, NC for another performance the
following evening. After
our second performance at the ICGMA, we were stunned when we were
called back on stage to receive the award for the 2015 ICGMA
Bluegrass Artist of the Year. We
left off last time with the group standing on the stage, holding the
award, staring out at the cheering crowd, shocked in every since of
Tommy spoke the only words he could, “We are speechless. We were
in no way expecting this!”
He went on to thank the appropriate parties and gave all the glory
to God who has so richly blessed us in the last few years with
amazing success on the Christian Country Gospel charts.
We walked off the stage to the sound of applause and in complete
backstage we were greeted by a line of artists, shaking our hands
and congratulating us on the prestigious honor.
We were scheduled to play another set during intermission at
an area set aside in the booth section. That’s
the area where many of the artists had booths with CDs and
information for the fans; the idea being that during intermission
the fans would visit that area to meet and greet their favorite
gospel artists, while some of them actually would be playing at the
“mini stage” they had set up.
Once intermission began the fans who wanted to stretch their
legs ventured through the booths as we began to play. It
was set up to where the fans could literally walk just feet away
from us as we were playing, with a few rows of seats set up to allow
those who wanted a place to sit and enjoy whomever was playing. It
was exciting for the fans and fun for us, and once we finished our
set, we quickly returned to our table where we were able to visit
with all the wonderful people who truly love their Country Gospel
music. We signed
pictures and CDs and stood with fans to have their pictures taken
with us all the while laughing and enjoying the company of wonderful
people of God.
Once intermission was over, the crowd moved back inside the
auditorium and we began to make preparations to pack up and get on
the road for North Carolina. This
meant going back to the infamous locker room of shock and awe to
change back into travel clothes, then packing up the CDs, guitars
and gear, saying our goodbyes, and hitting the road. By
the time we did all this, it was pushing the 11 p.m. mark as we
stood outside Sugar Bear discussing our strategy for departure.
We had discussed setting up driving shifts on our way to
Missouri for our all night drive. Chewie
had claimed first shift as he declared, “Once I get sleepy, I’m
done! So I’ll go first.” Having
not eaten since lunch, we were already tired and hungry and ready to
get started on our long trip. We
climbed aboard Sugar Bear and with Chewie at the helm we sped off
into the night.
“How do I get out of here?” Chewie asked.
“You go up and turn right where we ate lunch and stay on that
road.” Tommy responed.
With those instructions, Chewie turned at the red light and
continued through town. The rest of the band watched out the windows
as one by one every restaurant in town zipped past.
Darrell asked, “So I guess you didn’t want to eat at any of
Chewie seemed shocked, “Oh! Did ya’ll want to get something to
After the band simultaneously reminded Chewie that we had
just talked about food and made comments of disbelief and
disappointment that we had just passed any hope of satisfying that
basic need, he reassured his crew that, “I’m sure there’ll be
something else up the road here.” …Famous last words.
Everyone settled in for what could be a while before we found
food. Tim was riding shotgun and had taken it upon himself to be the
wingman of whoever was driving to help keep them awake. This
because Tim wanted no part of taking a driving shift of his own. Tommy
leaned back in one of the captain’s chairs while Darrell, having
drawn the third shift of driving, laid down on the couch to try and
get as much sleep as possible. With
everyone in their place, the ride was dark and quiet as the band
cruised off into the balmy Missouri night.
1 a.m. Chewie
stopped in a small town somewhere in the middle of someplace,
Illinois. He still can’t tell you to this day how he got there.
“Here we go boys! Told you there’d be something to eat on up
The guys staggered out of the van to find ourselves at a
Huddle House just off the main road. There
were no complaints as we walked into the 24 hour dinner, with either
little or no sleep to show between us. As
you can see, life on the road is often unpredictable and never, and
in this case, the need for food far outweighed the need for sleep,
as we would soon learn, wise decision making.
We discovered quickly that not every state has no smoking in
restaurant laws like TN and NC; so we were surprised by the 1 a.m.
smoke attack that we encountered as soon as we walked through the
doors. We found a table
and was greeted by our waitress; a thin, mid-height woman in her mid
to late twenty’s with several tattoos, straw like hair and
evidence of a lifestyle that made her appear older than she actually
was. She had a big
personality like many waitresses do who need work early morning
hours in all night diners. A
string of “honey’s” and “darlin’s” was seamlessly
interwoven into her speech as she asked for drink orders and moved
us to a larger table to accommodate our anticipated sizable food
As she moved around the table to take drink, she would lean
over each member of the band as if to hear us better. Once the drink
orders were completed, she hustled off while we were making our
final food order decisions. It
was Darrell who finally pointed out a character trait of our server
that he thought only applied to him.
“Chew,” he said. “I think I just got a chest bump from our
“Me too!” Chewie replied, relieved that someone else had
experienced the awkward moment.
“Me too!” echoed Tommy, thinking he was imagining the
“She did the same thing to me!” Tim opined, making the
experience all inclusive for the band.
“I can say this for Huddle House, they sure are
Tim is an idiot.
She returned with the
drinks and then began to take food orders. The
guys had already decided they were getting the “Big House
Breakfast Platter.” This consisted of all the usual breakfast
goodies with a choice of biscuits and gravy or grits among them.
As she moved around the table she would ask the guys one by
one, “Would you like biscuits and gravy or GRITS?”
Every time she would say the word “grits,” she said it
with repulsion on her face and disgust in her voice. This
occurrence was not lost on Darrell who was the last of the guys to
order, so when she repeated the line to him he asked, “Why do you
say ‘grits’ like that? Every
time you say it you make this face. Are
they not any good or something?”
“No, they’re fine.” She exclaimed. “But I ate grits
every single morning for six years straight while I was in prison so
I don’t care if I ever see grits again the rest of my life!”
The table was deathly quiet.
“I guess that explains it.” Darrell replied.
She walked away and the guys lost it. You can’t make this
Remember, you are the ones who wanted to know what it was
like on the road with the band. This
is it; nonstop organized chaos with no hope of anticipating what’s
going to happen next. Here’s
the thing…this trip was only half over! And
as we ate our “Big House Breakfast” (no pun intended) we thought
we had hit our shocker moment for the trip…we couldn’t have been
To be continued…
See you next time for "the rest of the story."