Saturday, June 4, 2011

Confessions Of A Greg Brown Fan Part Six

The Solid Heart movement took on a life of its own when Greg agreed to do a weekend set of shows the next year.  Now that we knew how to create a CD, that option was unavailable this time to raise additional funds.  We had to find alternative ways to augment concert ticket sales for the event.  Well, he did mention Scrabble in his Oregon song the first time.  I reluctantly took the role of organizing and promoting a Scrabble tournament.  That keen intelligence had escaped me when I agreed.  I was clueless about how to make it happen.  So, I made a list.  I’m going to need multiple playing boards, participants and brush up on the official rules.  Instead of borrowing game boards from friends who probably had missing letters, I went to the manufacturer requesting assistance.  Tactfully, I explained my mission and the cause.  They generously donated ten deluxe editions and some hints on running a tournament.  This was crazy easy.  My prime market for players were list members who might come to the concerts.  My ploy was for a small entry fee, they had a chance to play Greg in the second round.  For those who would be unable to attend, I solicited pledges for each point Greg would score in the finals.  That way everyone had an vested interest in the game.  The pledges added up to a nice sum, but I was never told how many followed through with payment.  Somehow, the local newspaper got wind of the event and did a nice article about it, but all the players were GB fans collected from around the country.  New York, Connecticut, California, Tennessee, Washington and Oregon come to mind.  Even more states were represented at the concerts.  It was a good turnout and this group of at least a couple dozen people were strangers, merely connected by their love of Greg’s music.  The camaraderie in that room was a sweet feeling.  For some reason they even put up with me pretending to be the Scrabble boss.  Two games were played with the table partners mixed up each match.  The two players with the highest combined scores were automatically in the finals.  A third name was drawn from a crazy Glenn hat.  The game was a success and everyone who participated was invited to see the final match the next day.
               The Scrabble game was just a piece of my involvement in Solid Heart 2.  I donated baskets full of live performance recordings to the silent auction and helped out at the venue wherever I was needed.  The concert was going to be special as I looked out at the crowd lining up in front of the Unitarian Church.  How did I become an insider?  During Greg’s performance, he became a preacher and passed the baskets through the aisles to raise extra funds for the foster children.  It was so entertaining watching him shake coins out of pockets.  I was full of nerves, scheduled to make a presentation after his performance.  One of my major customers donated a guitar for me to give him as gratitude for his contributions to In Harmony.  Humbled, embarrassed and yet intrigued, he pretended to smash it on the tiny stage.  As all the concert goers exited and the volunteers cleaned up the facility, Greg was in the corner tinkering with his new toy. 
               The next day, most everybody who participated in the Scrabble tourney came to witness the final match in a back room of the church before the matinee concert.  It was New York, California and Oregon versus the champion of the English language from Iowa.  It was anyone’s game as they played around.  New York put down a word and got rid of his “G” and “W” that would have been disqualified by me, the Scrabble boss, because it was a misspelled word.  But, much too much time expired before it was challenged by another player.  The game continued.  Greg was called to do his soundcheck.  In steps a temporary replacement to keep the game moving.  I forget what the word was that his replacement threw down, but all the players from both coasts conceded defeat.  It was so much fun to put the whole thing together.
               Concert time and Greg had the new guitar I presented him the night before.  There was a kid theme this day since a bunch of them were seated on the floor in front of the stage.  Bathtub Blues was sung freely by Greg and some of the kids chimed in with lyrics.  I captured some of it on my video camera and I have to admit the guitar I presented him was aesthetically prettier than the sound quality that it produced.  The one he played the night before was superior.  Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.  It was another enjoyable, but different show. 
               Tried to help clean up afterwards and had to say all the goodbyes.  We were heading back that night to Seattle so I could fly to Los Angeles on business the next day.   Solid Heart 2 was a success.                                                 


  1. that's a great story about the Scrabble tournament! Thanks for sharing these stories, I'm enjoying your journey.

  2. Thanks, Jan. I enjoy telling these stories and just might have a few more.