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TeenyTexasTour, Hartford, Newburyport and More

Hi VanceFans!! It’s a busy November. Come laugh, hear good words, and pretty decent guitar and singing I promise:

11/18 Fri - Austin, TX 512-626-2229

C’mon Austin Peeps - you axed for this!!

11/19 Sat - Dallas, TX private thing (see? this could be you…)

11/20 Sun - Richardson, TX 972-863-8999

Tiny-Assed Texas Tour!!
11/26 Sat - West Hartford, CT 860-635-7685

THE Someone bring me a turkey sammich show!!
12/11 Sun - Newburyport, MA 978-465-7300

I can’t wait to play this local show and eat the food...

~~~~ The VancePack. Holidays are a Comin’ so get this - All 8 available signed CDs of mine, and 1 signed USB CD player thrown in for $130. Help clean my basement of about 2,800 CDs that'r down there (thanks to a warehouse closing), and you get to gift that X’er or Millennial that doesn’t own a CD player all of Uncle Vance’s avail stuff. Lemme know.

~~~~ Coaching songwriting, voice, performance. Even coaching public speaking and presentation. Just lemme know. (I’ve had about 3 inquiries from the last mailer- I’ll get to you folks this week..)

~~~~ Short Notice Holiday Parties - December Weekends are almost gone. Yes these are fun and popular. I get to try out new stuff too. I’m less expensive than you’d think. Lemme know

My Hair, 29A, and 29B


So I get ready to board my flight to Raleigh Durham, and my ticket has me on the last seat of the plane, window. Window equals sleep, even with this General Electric CF34-3A1 turbofan whirring in my ear, it’ll be sleep. That’s fine with me, really, as this has been a week of slim sleep at home thanks to the surprising election results, and the passing of both Leonard Cohen and Victor Bailey on the same day. Victor Bailey was a bass player for the stars through the 80’s and 90’s including everyone from Weather Report to LL Cool Jay, so his loss was big to someone like me who’s pop music is half defined by the names on the back of the album cover...

And Leonard Cohen was Leonard Cohen.

So, as a tribute, this final verse to Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne got tacked onto my Leonard Cohen tribute (which became a medley with Leon Russell’s This Masquerade at Sunday’s show….stop it already 2016!!) at two of the shows this past weekend:

Somewhere Leonard Cohen
Is playing with Victor Bailey
The words are so compelling
For the story that he's telling
And the bassline is amazing
As it slithers through the stanzas
But it's a battle for the bottom
Leonard’s going subterranean
And Victor slaps a B-flat
That rattles in your basement
Of the music room in heaven
Where somehow all these notes
Sing out just fine…

Add to all this that I just applied for TSA Precheck like 8 hours before. A program where you can pretty much buy yourself a quicker, less intrusive pass through security with most airlines at most airports. That one can buy lesser security speaks to a level of theatre of the absurd in what really happens at the gate, but that’s another story. Particulay ironic for me after my airline crazy incident 5 years ago, where I was removed from an airplane, detained and questioned about reading aviation history material. Yes, another story.

So I feel particularly, manifestly belligerent, confrontational to authority, so my hair is OUT, my bright red Munson’s Airliners 1909 to Today book proudly in my hand, and I go and have a seat in 29A.

Bring it.

Comes along a man in jeans, flannel shirt, work boots, about 6’7”, a little flabby not unlike me, about my age. Short cut crew cut-ish hair, semi-clean shaven white guy. Squeezes into 29B.

“Holy Smokes, Sir”, I say to him as his knees are right up in that pouch behind the seat in front of him. “If anyone deserved an exit row at no cost it’d be you!” He laughed. “Yeah, well it’s ok for a couple hours. It’s a last minute little vacation trip to Florida to hang with a few buddies”.

I think to myself that this is going to be a long leg, listening to this guy’s plans to “celebrate”. So we get to talking about travel, and he remarks how if it wasn’t going to be such a short trip he’d have done it by train.

“So you’re a train enthusiast?”

“Oh yes” replies he. Proceeds to tell me of places in NJ and PA where he has witnessed steam engines start up and of a tunnel he and a friend went into on some unprotected area. “Crazy thing to do as it was an active freight way, but we had to - just HAD to - go see the switch lights inside.”

“I can be crazy like that about aircraft too. I’m a musician by trade, but an amateur aviation historian, so I get it”. I show him the book. “There’s a whole community of crazies like me too”.

“That’s great!” He says. We get to talking. Model trains. He loves HO Scale, as it’s easier to model them with his big hands. N gauge, a decidedly smaller scale means “Needs glasses", although that’d be better for him since his divorce and sobriety, which leads him to a smaller apartment. Which he does get out of frequently for exercise, as he is diabetic (he says while eating the cookie the flight attendant has handed him). Sees the cookie as a “pick-me-up”.

Long silence. Then it comes.

“So how was Tuesday for you?”

What a new funny way to ask who you voted for. I gave my little idea of what I did. I asked him the same. Lo and behold here’s another person I’ve come across that voted outside of the lines, Libertarian, a surprise to me as I’d sworn he was a working class stiff - he was retired from selling paper products or something - and I was all ready to hear his reasons for disenfranchisement. Really, I’m trying here.

Another long silence.

“Yeah, diabetes - beats cancer” he opines. “Close friend of mine - they found his cancer in the middle of his sex change operation. Six weeks later she was gone.”

“Oh, so sorry”, I say from my face, while inside I’m saying “OK dude, for real? You don’t have to play me for the next hour forty-five…we can talk more about N Scale trains or some shid….”

But I see his face. This is no bullshit. He continues. It tumbles out of his mouth as if there was a way you say these things and he has said them before to someone new - not that he outright trusts, but someone that he figures it might be ok to have as a witness. “So I’m heading down with some friends, we’ll look at some trains during the day. In the evenings I’ll finish the shave, put on make up, dress and we all go out - I’m TG - and then Tuesday I come on home.”

“Sounds awesome!” I reply.

Jesus. A transgender model train club. And here I thought tissue covered balsa model planes was a niche.

That’s all I had. "Sounds awesome." That’s it. We deplaned. Waved goodbye. He didn’t swish when he walked off. He looked like a middle aged Republican guy that once sold paper products. And maybe plays with trains.


My bag with clothes and CDs comes up pretty quickly in baggage claim. However, the wait for the guitar is always a teeny bit worrisome. I have a Calton case for it, which is nigh on indestructible, but rough handling is rough handling. The oversized baggage door opens and I’m off to the side, but I see a young man gently place my guitar case, upright, on its feet, and gently guide it to the bottom of the oversized trough. I go over there before he lowers the door:

I say, “Hey young man. Thanks so much for the great treatment of my instrument.”

“Aww man it’s no sweat. I dunno - I don’t get treating something obvious delicate all just throwing it and stuff. I never get that. It ain’t any harder to just do this. What kinda music you play?”

“Uh, mostly folk, some jazz”

"Aiiight, man, aiiight. Have a nice day!” He closes the door.


It’s 9 am. I’ve just driven 4 hours to the airport. I’m back in line at the Delta counter to go home. I’m in the midst of a previously simmering now raging diverticulitis attack. I am not well. An Italian/American family is in front of me. My hair is out again, and I am now quite arrogantly TSA Precheck - even before the TSA interview which is at Logan later that afternoon.

An old lady, in that family, pretty still in a wheelchair, looks at me, smiles, and says “Your hair looks funny”. The line of people, initially shocked roars, as do I. I look at her. I laugh, and without dropping a beat I reply “Well you would know, lady, ‘cause your hair looks funny too!”

Well that was that. The line fell apart. The nephew, from Italy, was crying with laughter. He didn’t apologize for her - apparently she and I were both right with the tufts she had growing- and he and I just laughed and talked about Italy and where I’d go if I visited. Under all of this I see the old lady shrug, purse her lips, and then hear her say “I’m 85. I say what I like”.

Right on, sister. We do our hair how we like to, right?


peace and love and understanding everyone please. when it’s least likely to make sense is when we need it most.