Episode Four of the Lion in Tweed: People come and people go on Gorgeous Washington Street in front of Orion Beauty and Balance



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The Lion in Tweed placed his four-track in the extension ladder and plugged three XLR cables and one quarter-inch guitar cable in the back. He had three microphones and his guitar going into the four-track, which was being recorded and dropped out through the quarter-inch headphone jack right into the amp. One mic was for voice, one was near his foot, near the piece of wood he now brought to gigs.

A real gig, playing as a musician sponsored by a downtown business for a local "event." The City of Binghamton's First Friday, organized by the Gorgeous Washington Street Association, and here he was, slated to play on Gorgeous Washington Street itself. In particular, in front of Orion Beauty and Balance, who were sponsoring him with space and power. He was happy to be setting up outside: it felt like the first day of spring, and maybe it was. The birds sang.

One mic he set to the side. If, as he hoped/planned, an audience member would clamor to be on the podcast, that fourth mic would be the one to use.

That weird issue with his high E string

He tuned his guitar. His G chords were getting buzzy up top. The way he played the G chord, he put a pad of his paw on the third fret of the highest string. He usually pinned the string against the metal edge of the fret with authority, which would generate a clean sound. But now, this buzz seemed to chastize his grip. C'mon tough guy, the action on this guitar neck too hard for ya? The lion can't tame the high E-string, big fellow? What is this, the bluegrass re-envisioning of "The Wizard of Oz," like "The Wiz" did with Motown, with the cowardly lion on guitar?

But he *felt* like he was planting his paw as decisively as he'd ever done, but that highest note in the G-chord buzzed and buzzed. He couldn't figure it out. Well,

"What do you play?" asked a man in a wheelchair who had come up to the Lion. He had a blanket over his knees on this first warm day of spring. He lifted the bottle of cranapple juice from his lap with his right hand and wisked off the cap with his left. A quick swig and the cap was returned.

"What was that?"

"What do you play? You're playing, right? What do you play?" asked the man.

The Lion plugged the other end of an XLR cable into the butt end of the microphone. "Acoustic guitar. Harmonica, kind of Dylan-style."

"Folk?" the man continued to prod. The Lion looked at his feet; then at the microphone placed near his foot.

Folk and blues.

"Uh, folk, yeah. And blues, some blues." The man nodded. The Lion couldn't read the man's face to see what what he thought of that: "folk and blues." A claim of "Folk" often lead to a political discussion, which was fine, if necessary, but not his favorite topic with strangers. He sighed, flaring his jet black moist nostrils set in a matte black nose. The edges of his nostrils quivered like grassland in the wind.

"Time to earn my keep," said the Lion.

"You should play `Prizefighter,'" said Blue.


I would like to thank Kim DeLisa of Orion Beauty and Balance for inviting me to play at Orion for Binghamton's first friday. I'm starting a rumor now that there may be another event at Orion soon.

Lots of episodes in store. Lots of new collaborators on the horizon. Other rumors to drop: Davin (or @Onidavin) may be roaming MaxFunCon with a digital tape recorder, giving you the opportunity to contribute to a future Lion in Tweed episode. If you're a Lion in Tweed fan, and going to MaxFunCon, you should track him down. Email me at thelionintweed@gmail.com and I'll make sure you get your chance.

[I ain't ever satisfied by Steve Earle.]

This concludes Epsiode 4,People come and people go live on gorgeous washington street in front of Orion Beauty and balance. Other songs including my original "That's about right boy" are available on the bonus material podcast or can be downloaded from the episode page, which is http://thelionintweed.com/Episode/4. Thanks for listening.

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