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Way Up With the Waymasters


        We’re often asked what happens on our hours of road trips we embark on every year. We suppose some folks 
can’t imagine what four grown men would or could possibly do for hours on end crammed together on a bus. So here is 
a sample of a typical trip one could expect if they were to embark upon such a weekend trip with the band.

        The concept seemed pretty simple. We had to play Friday in Missouri and Saturday in North Carolina. We figured 
a six hour drive from Nashville to Missouri, play, pull an all-nighter and be in NC by lunch Saturday, freshen up and 
be ready for the 7:00 performance that night. Again, simple in theory…but then, a theory is a theory.

        Departure time was set for 6 a.m. Friday morning. We were going to make this trip in Sugar Bear, our now 
infamous customized Chevy van. All preparations had been made; oil checked, tanks full, instruments loaded, and 
with Chewie and Darrell’s last minute arrival, all members were present and accounted for. With the last bag packed, 
the doors were slammed closed and Sugar Bear and his four passengers roared off into the air with excitement and high 
hopes for the coming weekend.

        A couple hours into the trip Chewie announced he had forgotten his phone charger and his phone was dying. 
Fortunately, we happened upon a small Wal-Mart where a quick stop provided a suitable remedy for this unthreatening 
but annoying hiccup. We thought to ourselves, if a missing phone charger is the most exciting thing that happens to us 
on this trip, we’re going to be a sad bunch of guys. Remind us never to say such things in the future.

        Once we were in Missouri we made a quick stop for gas and a snack and we were back on the road. Being mountain 
boys, we were rather enamored with the miles of shot-straight roads. We grew up winding through mountain lanes doing 
our best Dukes of Hazzard impersonations, so not having to turn the steering wheel for what seemed like an eternity was  
all we could talk about; that and the weather. Ominous looking storm clouds got our attention; at which time Tim asked 
about tornados. Chewie checked his phone and reported severe storm warnings were in the area. That caused Tim to 
declare, “One thing’s for sure, if there is a tornado, we’d be able to see it coming for miles!” Fortunately we didn’t 
see any tornados or even any rain for that matter, so at this point the only adventure we were experiencing was in 
our imaginations. But the black sky and abundance of lightning prodding the flat landscape provided plenty of wide-
eyed moments for these highlanders.

        At noon-ish we pulled into West Plains, Missouri right on time. We found a restaurant for lunch and then arrived 
at the Civic Center where we immediately found the stage and got ready for sound check. Half a song later, the 
talented sound crew had us ready for our first performance that afternoon with another to follow that evening.

        We were in Missouri for the prestigious ICGMA Awards Show and Banquet, an internationally recognized, three-
day event that peaks with the awards show on Saturday night. We were taken by the event organizers to our booth 
where we set up our CD table and were given our instructions for when we were to perform. We were still in our 
travel clothes which included t-shirts and shorts for a couple of the , and it was at this time that our joke of “Well, at 
least we don’t have to change clothes!” was met with an icy stare and a look of, “You better be joking.” Clearly 
our slapstick humor wasn’t appreciated at that stressful moment by those who had spent countless hours to make 
this event one of the top three, gospel awards programs in the country.

        We were asked if we would perform at intermission in the common area where all the artists had booths set
up for visitors to meet them, buy CD’s, and get autographs, etc. They had a small stage set up and of course we 
were honored to be asked to perform at the time when they anticipated the most fans to be in that area. As the
afternoon pressed on, it was time to get changed and ready for our first performance, so began the search for a
suitable place to change clothes.

        Being a civic center, there were bathrooms and even locker rooms all around if one knows where to look. It was
just such a locker room that Tim and Chewie stumbled upon. Thinking they had found the mother-load of changing 
areas, they began to change into their performance garb and doll themselves up as best they could for the quickly 
approaching stage time. As they were finishing up, Tim was sitting on a bench getting ready to put on his boots when 
Chewie realized they were actually in the swimming pool shower area. No sooner had he made this observation when 
a man appeared from behind a bank of lockers, towel slung over his shoulder, and walked mere feet directly in front 
of Tim sitting on his bench, gave him a “howdy” nod, and proceeded into the showers. Chewie and Tim looked at each 
other with startled confusion and after a few seconds Tim broke the silence with, “I could have done without that.”

        We played our afternoon performance and went back to our booth to await our next time slot which was to be
early in the evening showcase. With a little time to kill we mingled around the booth area, talking with other artists
and meeting what few fans were not in the auditorium. We came upon some friends of ours who we hadn’t seen since 
last November. The Reed Brothers are a talented country gospel band who, like us, tend to get mis-categorized with 
their style of music. Such was the topic of our discussion. The Reed Brothers were nominated with us for Bluegrass 
Artist of the Year. Neither of us consider ourselves Bluegrass Gospel bands but because we are both “acoustic,” we 
were nominated in that category. Since the name of the award is misleading, we joked that the other bluegrass artists 
that were also nominated with us, greats like Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, the Isaacs, and former lead singer of 
Shenandoah, Marty Raybon, would flip if one of the more country sounding bands like either of us were to win. With 
chuckles and good cheer we bid our friends so long for now and wondered off to see what other treats we could 
uncover. As time was approaching for our evening performance, we were eager to perform and excited to be part of 
the showcase.

To be continued… so hope to see you next month!!


The Waymasters

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