Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry in the Dixon (Ill.) High School Auditorium, August 18, 2012
The morning began with us waking up, on the floor of a bar in Dixon, Illinois, the birthplace of Ronald Reagan, around 7 o'clock in the morning. It was likely a rougher and earlier morning - relatively - for Abigail Washburn and her band and HAIM - the first two bands that we taped during the morning, afternoon and night of the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Tour there, this August. The downtown streets had died down from the night before, but they still smelled like beer, corn dogs and walking tacos as we picked up a McDonald's breakfast and waited in the high school parking lot for the custodian to unlock the doors to the auditorium.
We cleared the stage, threw our cords and cables out, put some microphones up in the two-story, linoleum hallway for a natural echo chamber, and we were taping Washburn within 35 minutes of getting into the place. The results, heard here on the haunting "Keys To The Kingdom," were nothing short of magical, under the circumstances. The performance speaks for itself. Washburn was off to soundcheck as the golf carts brought the ladies and man of HAIM - the girls playing their first-ever show without one of their parents present - to the auditorium for a whipped up on the fly acoustic version of "Honey & I," a song that they recorded in their debut session with us in Austin, during SXSW this past spring. Once again, they floored and it was pretty evident that it was going to be a good day. If you were to go to the Dixon High School auditorium, you'd see the HAIM tag that Alana Haim scrawled on the theater chalkboard.
Gentlemen Of The Road Tour
Abigail Washburn Official Site