We first visited the Merry Widow campground, in Basin, Montana, about a year ago. It is just off Interstate 15, almost exactly halfway between Butte and Helena. It was a wonderful experience the last time around and we had a few days between playing some dates in Bozeman and heading on to Missoula, so we decided to spend a little time at Merry Widow again. We arrived on Thursday, set up camp, and I had parked myself next to the RV and started to play the guitar, when I was introduced to Bobcat Jack Everitt. He is a session player who once played for the Steve Miller Band (before Boz Scaggs took over that gig), and has spent the last twenty years or so touring with Van Morrison. In between, he plays a circuit of wineries (particularly in the Northwest), while also representing Gibson and Bose (he has endorsement deals with both those companies). We had a great time talking shop.
One of the features of the Merry Widow campground is a large, barnlike structure that has been turned into a Rec hall. They have potluck dinners there on Wednesday nights, and the last time we visited, I played for one of those dinners and managed to sell nearly a dozen or so CD’s. One thing led to another, and Bobcat Jack and I decided to put on a show for the other campers last night. I was the opening act, and Jack very generously set me up to use his Bose sound system, as well as his wireless headset mike. Everything sounded wonderful. Once again, I sold nearly a dozen CD’s at the end of my show, with Jack doing the same after his set.
It has been a real delight making the acquaintance of this man, who cut his teeth learning Chicago blues from the likes of Luther Allison and Buddy Guy (and all manner of others). I have been regaled with all manner of stories, as well as learning a few additional road tips from the man.
A rather important side lesson: in the past, I would have felt compelled to try to emulate, or otherwise compete in some fashion with such a musician. I made a very conscious effort not to do so this time around. I reminded myself that I am who I am; my music is my own, and it has to stand on its own. I received what, for me was one of the best compliments I could have asked for. At the end of the night, Jack said, “You’ve got your own sound, and it’s good.”
We’ve traded business cards and all, and I will look forward to chatting and hanging out with this guy for another day or two, before we head our different paths. This is one of the real treasures of our new gypsy existence: meeting some other fine musicians along the way.