Tied Up In Your Story

Here she is, ladies and gemmen, Elizabeth Wise, from the In Your Ear Shockoe Sessions, in which I make a cameo appearance bearing an armload of Carlisle Montgomery. Come for the blues, stay for how NPR tunesmith BJ Leiderman introduced Elizabeth to In Your Ear and the reason why she fashions a guitar slide from the broken neck of a beer bottle. Playing alongside her for this performance, Scott Milstead, percussion/drums and Rusty Farmer on upright bass. 

The more I see her perform, and learn of her background, the similarities between some salient aspects of Carlisle’s personality are surprising. Part of the reason I missed out on the Elizabeth Wise Experience is that she spent some of the time during the novel’s writing in…New Zealand. Where she played, well, like this.

One detail (of several) I wish I’d known for the novel: during her girlhood, she slept with a guitar found in a cardboard carrier box at her house, like some might with stuffed animals. Carlisle of course has a big purple giraffe dinosaur with google eyes. But she would’ve snuggled the guitar to her chest as Elizabeth did. 

Main thing is, I didn’t trip over any light fixtures or electrical cords. I also somehow — nerves — misidentified Weems Shackleford’s instrument — it’s an upright bass!! I think seeing Rusty and how he kind of reminds of Weems, flustered me. How did I do that? “Well,” I can hear Weems grump, “sometimes I drum on it. But, dude, really? How long we known each other?” 

Thank you, In You Ear’s staff, Reese Williams and Carlos Chafin. A magnificent hour and I was fortunate to be there. And, now, on with the show.

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