The 5:15’s

I’ve been in Virginia for a few days now, halfway down the great rolling coast en route to the spanish moss and still country of south Georgia. If I get within a hundred mile radius of my hometown on a Monday, I’ve gotta go sit in with “The 5:15’s”.

Each and every Monday, The 5:15’s meet at the “rock’n’roll office”. It used to be a dentists office my dad built and, left vacant two years ago in the recession, now it’s where people come to rock. The set up just lives there, the amazing accumulated wealth of years of gear: full drums, a wall of huge ancient speakers that still sound awesome, keyboards, multiple amps, mics, Fender tweeds, Rickenbacker 12 strings, pedal steels, SG’s and Les Pauls, electric fiddles and mandolins, my old acoustic guitar from high school, Stratocasters tuned to Keith Richards and and PRS’s hardly tuned at all, Precision and Jazz basses, and, of course, my mom on Cowbell.

It’s pretty amazing, I grew up knowing these guys, the doctor, the lawyer, the chef… and every Monday they shed skins and drink whiskey and play the songs they’ve always loved. There are the obvious classics: BADGE, Down By the River, Dead Flowers, Springsteen, The Byrds, Joe Cocker. Then there’s some more obscure stuff, Steve Earle, Delbert McClinton, Government Mule. If you want to learn to play a song, you bring a sheet: a printout of the lyrics and the chords, just make sure you bring enough copies for everyone.

These guys aren’t professionals, they just love playing together. Sometimes people hit clams or miss parts, and sometimes everyone kills it. We hit the harmonies, nail the drum break, slay the solo and the room gets that full and lifting feeling, that elevated heart-rise that happens when music is good and music is love.

They don’t play for anyone but themselves. Every Monday, starting at 5:15.

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