Hard Working Americans – By Day and By Night

Read our music travels California to Fayetteville Arkansas

USA Music Tour 2015 Day 6

Fayetteville Arkansas Wednesday 26 August

Hard Working Americans 6 am

The three of us were outside around 6.10 and the two large bins on the tractor tray were already filling.  Jenny helped with ridding the vats of unwanted foliage, Jim and I took photos and generally stayed out-of-the-way.  Bronwyn and David were expecting 2 to 3 tons of Barbera grapes to be picked today, all of which would be specifically for the neighbouring Amador Cellars.

The pickers were working very hard, combing four lines of grapevines at a time as it is the most efficient way, less walking and therefore less time between vine and bin.  What they had achieved in twenty minutes or so was very impressive.

Bronwyn and Jenny working the bins, David working the tractor

Very soon, it was time to get ready and pack.  By 8am we had said our goodbyes to our wonderful hosts Bronwyn and David and set course for Sacramento Airport.  About an hour road trip, we then filled the car with gas, returned our rental, caught the shuttle to the terminal, checked in and negotiated security, all with little fuss.

The first and by far the longer flight leg was to Dallas, around 3 hours.  We had boarding group 3 which sounded pretty good, but there were about seven groups called before us – the categories seem to increase every year.  Our seats were in row 32, the very last tier.  The view from our seat was of a giant engine and nothing else.  Have you ever seen a Titanic movie and there’s a scene from the boiler room, you know pistons banging like thunder? The noise on this flight was not that dissimilar.

Still, most importantly the American Airlines flight to Dallas/Fort Worth departed on time and in fact landed ahead of time.  Handy as we had a tight connection with the flight to Arkansas, a quick turnaround at our rental house and a gig to go to!

The second-leg aircraft was very small, holding only about seventy passengers or so.  Again I was allotted the very back seat but this time with a window view.  As we taxied into Fayetteville, I was struck by the size and number of forests, the vivid green grass and the full dams.

We went to the taxi rank and got in the first car in the line – it was large, powerful, had no meter and turned out to be expensive, but we were in a hurry.

We finally found our rental house, dropped our luggage and walked down to George’s Majestic to discover that Hard Working Americans would be on stage at 10.15.  Time for a quick mexican meal and beer from Chipotle, a chain but right across the street from the gig.

George’s – photo by Jim Jacob

Hard Working Americans 10.15 pm

What a show!

Hard Working Americans is a relatively new musicians’ collective.  The band features artists from the Americana, singer/songwriter, experimental, jam and rock communities, comprising Todd Snider (vox) alt.country singer/songwriter, Dave Schools of Widespread Panic (bass), Neal Casal of The Chris Robinson Brotherhood and The Cardinals (guitars/vox), Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi (keys), Jesse Laycock (guitars) and Duane Trucks of Col. Bruce Hampton’s school of music and Trucks family lineage (drums).

One studio album (2014), a live release subsequently and they’ve been touring since 2014.

Snider is charismatic on stage, in the moment, passionate, jaunty, enjoying himself and being in such a classy outfit.  The band members’ diverse music backgrounds makes for a tight, eclectic and unpredictable in the best sense.

It’s pretty difficult to pick highlights as there was not a dull spot throughout, but I must mention the opening “I Don’t Have A Gun” (by Will Kimbrough & Tommy Womack) “Blackland Farmer” (by Frankie Miller) merged with a thunderous “Born To Be Wild” (the Steppenwolf classic), “Down To The Well”, “Stomp And Holler”, the Bottle Rockets’ “Welfare Music” and Randy Newman’s “Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)”.

Todd Snider – photo by Jim Jacob

Todd Snider and Dave Schools – photo by Jim Jacob

Neal Casal – photo by Jim Jacob

For the first live show for this four-week music tour, the Hard Working Americans have set an incredibly high bar.  An utter treat.


Read our music travels California to Fayetteville Arkansas


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Author: Rob Dickens

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  1. Love this band rob what a treat to start the tour looks like it was up close and personal

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    • yep Baz and Sue, a fascinating mix of styles and backgrounds, doing mainly (even all??) covers. We were close but Jim’s camera make it look even better. You’d be happy with a Trucks in any band wouldn’t you? Hope the new holiday house is going well. Cheers

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