As Miranda Lambert sings...
"Every last one, route one, rural heart's got a story to tell
Every grandma, in-law, ex girlfriend
Maybe knows you just a little too well
Whether you're late for church or you're stuck in jail
Hey, word's gonna get around
Everybody dies famous in a small town."
Hometowns are proud. Small town hometowns are even prouder. We like to take credit for raising champions. Whether it is a high school football team or a World Series champion, a guitarist in a world famous band or a New York Times bestselling children's author (hey now, it could happen), small towns and hometowns like to feel their brush with fame. Oh sure, we won't talk about the ugly side of humanity in small towns that actually likes to relish in human failures, but most of the time small towns are really supportive and extremely proud.
People like to connect with greatness and tell the story to their kids and their friends of how they "knew them when". And for a flickering moment, those usually unimpressed kids might even listen and they might even have you repeat the story again, especially if they were texting the first time. You might be able to tell them that once there was a guy who really wanted to be in a band and he played gigs in the fire station or TJ's Club 47 for us when we were teenagers. And then after many years of hard work and a $1000 van, Jimmy Stafford became the lead guitarist of Train.
And as a parent, you have to give props to his parents. Do you think when he was jammin' in the garage with friends, they would say, "Go read." or "Is your homework done?" or when he said he was picking up and moving to California did they say "Are you nuts?? You're going where??" Or when he said, "When I grow up I am going to play the ukulele on tour all around the world." Did they say, "Ri-i-i-i-i-ight." or"That's nice dear." ?
With a blog like Trainspotting, I couldn't resist the opportunity to go spend the day at Ravinia in Highland Park when Train came to town. Jimmy is as down-to-earth, hometown, modest, and humble as any rock star could be. He calmly showed us around backstage and spent the day hanging with his family, with intermittent breaks to go for photo ops and "Meet and Greets" with fans.
Train has definitely outgrown Ravinia. Thankfully for hometown fans they had two nights to try to get tickets. The lawn was SO full there was barely room to set down a wine glass, so everyone had to hold them for the whole show....*cough*...good excuse. But that wasn't the only thing to hold, there was NO chance to leave camp to get to the restrooms. For the lucky fans, the pavilion is the place to be. There is not a bad seat in the house and dancing and clapping is easy since, unfortunately, wine glasses (or any food or drink for that matter) aren't allowed.
Train did not disappoint. They played their new catchy tunes from California 37 and definite fan favorites in which everyone knows all the words. Train's lyrics are so clever, funny, sensitive and real, I personally think the lyrics are genius. They have such a fresh way to look at the everyday. My new fav is You Can Finally Meet my Mom. It makes me smile and breaks my heart all in 4 minutes and 40 seconds.
If you missed Ravinia but wish you hadn't, they are touring now and locally you can see them in 2 days at the Illinois State Fair on August 15th. Go. You really should. Thanks, Jimmy! You've made Morris proud.
**Since this is a re-blog from last summer, (2012) please don't head to the state fair expecting to see them. But you may still have a chance to head to the bigger venue at the Tinley Park Midwest Amphitheater.
(and nice photo bomb, James)