From Here, Where?

I’ve been trying to write something, anything but this for the past week. The Trisha interview threw me for a loop, and sent me reeling. She did so inadvertently, of course. She said “started back at zero.” She said she was cynical and biting to the point that she hurt people. She said that after her brother’s death, humor became the default operating system for all her social interactions, and that she stayed away from any other emotions.

It was the starting back at zero comment. I hadn’t heard that exact phrasing before, not outside of my own head. Then she listed a shared symptom, humor as both sword and shield to fend off and defend from real emotions, and people, and how people can grow into you, and how people can suddenly go. Then she said how she was sad for ten-plus years, and didn’t even really know it.

I came to Brooklyn at zero.

There was a girl, and she was the one I loved the most. Many years I loved her. Many years she loved me. Then a freak bout of lung cancer claimed her. I left my home in Georgia, because the heart I loved best had left me. My world was made beaconless. It is a profound feeling to become untethered. Value-wise there is suddenly no difference between the raindrops on your face and a parking lot; between the others dying in the hospital and these very live ones going about their day before you. No difference between your best friends and shuffling strangers. So, what do you do? Shuffle on now that you’re the stranger, for the way is forward, is it not?

Funny thing that. Forward is omni-directional. Any which way I face from here is forward.

I used humor in my early days to stave off bullying in my trailer park. Then to win friends. Then to make her laugh. I was an atheist heathen then, and she a faithful Christian. The God-loving, life-loving girl would laugh at my darkest jokes. I don’t know how we got along so well being so fundamentally different. She could get me out of my head. It’s been hell not having someone who can do that.

In NY the humor has been to beguile workmates and others into believing there is a friendship, but what have I ever revealed of myself? Not a thing. Trust me, make people laugh consistently and they won’t want you to do anything else. It’s nice. Yet, an interesting thing has occurred. I do not joke or act funny around these southern souls I’ve met and am coming to know. The notion of keeping up an act suddenly becomes exhausting to me around them. So, I smile and nod my head struggling to fathom what else is there to say other than a joke. “How’s it going?” That sounds like something regular people say, right?

I made jokes about meeting Amanda (of Barefoot & Bankside) in an earlier post. I joked about not knowing if I liked her or not due to her unending saccharine hyperbole. The truth is I glimpsed a spark inside Amanda that I came to recognize because of that girl. I know Amanda will read this. She’ll probably give me a big hug, which is a less irksome thing to me nowadays. In a dark little room in a basement, I think Amanda was the first person I told about her. Believe it or not, Amanda was actually quiet. In a good way.

That spark is in Jamey Hamm, and Trisha Ivy, too. It is in Amanda’s husband, Christian (he read my novel, he said he liked it). It is there in Andreea, the intrepid photographer. It’s just about damn near everywhere if you can find the right eyes to see it. Their music, their stories, their photographs have become my right eyes through which I can glimpse a world still full of kindness, and joviality. It’s still somehow a decent place to live despite her absence. The road southern is not the way back. It is not the road home. It only leads forward from here.

The Trisha Debacle

Trish Interview

Oh, were it that Trisha showed up to the interview drunk and make-up smeared, hitting me up for cash for her cab fare, and that was the debacle of which I lament. And lament I do, damn it! I have been woe begotten, I have been beset upon and off…putted (I think that’s a thing.) since Trisha Ivy sat across from me smiling, shining, a happy and eager girl. The interview went very well. In Freddy’s dark ill lit backroom where this took place she was as sunlight pouring through an open door. I, however, friends… I, sitting opposite her, was the very opposite of her. I had literally just come off a sick spell. I had no sleep the night before. It felt as though a cannon ball had lodged itself in my sinus cavity. And my voice was made just as low as I was feeling.

I let the happy and eager girl tell all she had to tell. My thinking was to post a short printed version of the interview, then embed the thing in its entirety so you all could hear the musician speak for herself. But the mic had a hard time with my unnaturally deepened voice, and when I eliminated interview ruining background noise it subtracted from my voice, as well, and to the degree that I sounded like a drunken murmuring hobo. So, I’ve had to transcribe the 45 minutes of our enlightening conversation for print. It’s taken over a week!

Overall, it’s a good interview. It was our first conversation. Over the year of being at her shows I had begun making guesses as to who she might be off stage. I was tickled to learn my guessing was wrong and the truth is far more interesting, as it tends to be.

So, you can either click here for the interview, or click up there next to “Roots” where I’ve given Trisha her own page.

Enjoy, with love,

Jody and The Road Southern


The Alex Mallett Band and YOU

Tonight Help Crowd Fund The Alex Mallett Band’s New LP Eyes Wide Open!

7:30 @ Hometown BBQ in Red Hook

Eyes Wide Open

This man, this Alex Mallett man, is amazing at the instrument that produces my favorite sound, the banjo! I’ve seen him get whole Brooklyn crowds jumping up down to his pickin’ and a strummin’. He is a constant in the BK Country and Roots Family music communities, often playing with every other band in a line-up as well as his own sets. The man, the Alex Mallett man, is tireless. When I first started seeking out the be all of BK Country his name was dropped by everyone I spoke to as the man I need to see play. I have since seen his shows and they are stellar. Help this man, this Alex Mallett man and his band, The Alex Mallett Band. The deets are these. You can even have a listen to their first album right here! Hell, you can even check out a video below! I know I’ve just been clever (very) and cute (always), but, really, I’ve seen this band a few times, and I’ve heard songs from Eyes Wide Open. It deserves to be made and put out into the world.

This video was recorded at Jalopy, and is where, by all accounts, the hub of BK Country is said to be. Just FYI.

I Am Drinking Again

Blogging has required an adjustment on my writing process. Before this I was and am a wannabe Literature/Fiction writer. We don’t get an immediate, if ever, audience. We don’t get instant gratification like those pansy-ass musicians and artists. The process is a practice in patience and dedication. Solitude. I cannot be under the influence of anything when I write. Not for the purity of the blah-blah-blah, but because a couple drinks in and all I want to do is hangout, make fun of my friends to their faces and make them laugh about it, too. A couple drinks in, to hell with solitude.


the Mack Truck logo let’s you know it’s bad ass

I grew up with every piece of trash in the trailer park declaring that, “Budweiser is a man’s beer!” “Miller High Life is a real goddamn beer, by god!” And Coors, and Natty Lite. Corporate piss water. A can of that weak-ass shit has 5% alcohol. A glass of froo-froo wine is about 13%. I say that like I’m going somewhere with this. For all my cries of falsity, and redneck ignorance, what was I drinking? Zima. Jesus. My prom date and I got drunk on Aftershock, which is some cinnamon liquor that crystalizes in the bottle as you drink due to its insane amount of sugar. My white trash angel harangued me into procuring it for this magical reason. On my 21st did I go out on the town proper, from bar to bar? Nope. Planet Hollywood, where I could drink overpriced drinks named after popular movies. A place for tourists and other rubes. On the reservation in North Carolina, me and my Injun cousins would get someone with a car to carry us deep into the mountains where every underaged one of us drank Sysco wine, which I believe was even lower rung than Boone’s Farm or we’d get some Diesel 190 proof grain alcohol from the ABC store just off the rez. This was tougher stuff, sure, but even trashier than the trash I was trying to cultivate out of me. I didn’t know how to not be trailer park.

I was a pizza delivery boy for a bit. I worked for some real New York Italians who had transplanted to my hometown for some odd reason. I would deliver a pie to some rednecks here and there who would proposition me with an even better tip if I’d ferry them to the gas station for a case of Bud. I’d say, yes, every time; take ‘em to the store, take ‘em back home, take their money and sit and drink a can with them. There was a derelict hotel I’d deliver to. It was usually dudes at the middle or end of some awfulness in their lives. They never had tip money. They offered booze or drugs. I’d drink with them. I was never trying to be an alcoholic, and these excursions were not too regular a thing. We were all just so very bored. They, confined to their homes because they fucked around and lost their licenses, or holing themselves up in shitty hotel rooms because in a town where everybody knows everybody no one will take them in, and myself confined to my car having heard all I could stand of NPR’s sensible and enriching programming. I laughed with them. Every one of them told me that theirs was not a life a young man like me should want to have. It seems like anger and resentment are the only reasons I left my home in Georgia, but it was also out of respect.



My barroom education came about when I moved to Atlanta, then New Orleans, then Athens. I learned that Bud and Miller were actually lagers. Shitty lagers. Sweetwater Brewery was just hitting the scene. I learned I really like IPAs. A chain restaurant that primarily exists in GA called Taco Mac featured 300 beers, and a little “Around the World” program that encouraged drinking the gamut of brews. I worked there, drank all the beer. My tastes improved. I never touched that swill stuff. Artisan crafted potables all the way. $8 a pint, and honestly believing whatever I was seeing at the bottom of the glass was better than those rednecks of my homeland. I moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to write my novel. I quit drinking for the most part, and quit smoking entirely. I learned to keep my head down in solitude.

High LifeI finished my manuscript and now I’m in Brooklyn. At first, money kept me from drinking at all. When things got a tiny bit better, I’d enjoy a drink now and then, making sure it was the most micro-brewed-crafted-as-all-hell as could be. I had finally cultivated an aversion to that piss water of old, wouldn’t even touch the hipster approved PBR. Then this blog. After dealing with long-form for so long I found it hard to be in the moment. I would habitually try to make long arcing storylines to be addressed in later posts. I was mentally cataloging everything I was seeing and hearing, and thus in danger of becoming an internet journalist. Can you imagine? I want to be excited, and surprised in this journey through BK Country. I want to be mouthy, and raucous in my telling of it. So, it behooves me to drown out that cultivated snob that I in too many unearned ways have become. Now all my 1st draft posts are done at Freddy’s Bar, a couple blocks up from Roots Café where I do the final drafts. At night, it’s High Lifes until I get that snob quieted down enough that I can have some fun, so I can laugh about these high times, piss and moan about the sorrows. Then, in the light of day with coffee and cheese grits, try to makes sense of the night before. I do it for you, dear reader.

Happy to be here.

Happy to be here.


Roots Family Pictorialathonarama!

A Night of Song and Feast and Miller High Lifes

Pics by badass rad assassin Andreea Radulescu

Join us, won't you?

Join us, won’t you?

Roots Family Reunion is a night of celebration for the tight knit community of South Slope (and beyond) musicians, artists and proprietors. These photos are from the 4th annual iteration, and The Road Southern was damn happy bear witness to it!

God and Country!

God and Country!

Even God made an appearance to show support! But, then got way too drunk, way too early. I mean, He was ok. He didn’t do anything terrible, per se. It was just weird, I guess. A little too rowdy for the room, maybe.


Bambarger, Hair products for your face!

Bambarger, Hair products for your face!

Bambarger‘s beard products looked so fine that despite having shaved that morning, I forced out a beard on the spot. Hurt like a son of a bitch, but thanks to them, I have the finest beard in Brooklyn. Go get your beard did!


That Moon

Moon Shine

That Moon in full shine.



Flirt Vendor

They have write ups in New York Mag, and Time Out New York and everything, y’all!

Flirt Boutique. I was hoping this was a kissing booth.

the Cornell BrosThe Cornell Bros.

Write your parents. They're worried. They only know Brooklyn from the movies.

Write your parents. They’re worried. They only know Brooklyn from the movies.

Ryan LammA little Ryan Hamm of the Barnyard Brothers, and Justin Kilburn surprising the hell out of me on steel guitar. (pictured right)

Gypsy George

Ladies and gents, Gypsy George!







Matt Frye and Chris MurphyMatt Frye, whose music tickles my soul, and Chris Q Murphy who may become my Virgil through BK Country.

B&BBarefoot & Bankside. Jamey Hamm is the man who puts Roots Family Reunion together. Thank ‘im when you see ‘im.

Kinda feeling like I should be paying my photographer.

Kinda feeling like I should be paying my photographer.

And Miss Trisha Ivy. I swear, I never would have thought a voice could be caught on camera.