Big guns and lots of fun 

Published 2:44 pm Wednesday, August 18, 2021

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I want to begin by saying I love music. In my playlist that I listen to in my vehicle the sounds of Johnny Cash, the Bee Gees, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Waylon Jennings, Beethoven, Glen Miller, and so many others from so many musical genres can be heard in no particular order. My son, like me, loves the variety and so we listen to everything together. 

One afternoon I was searching for something to do on a Friday. My son has every other weekend with his mother. This in itself is the toughest thing I have ever faced in my life and if you have read my autobiography your mouth would drop open at the notion. From the time he was born he has spent nearly every moment with me. I was the first to hold him in my arms. I rocked him to sleep every night. I woke up at all hours, still getting up at four and working a full 13-hour day so my then wife could stay home with him. As he grew our bond became stronger, so when my wife and I decided to part ways it wasn’t easy. My son is my life and this Friday was his mother’s weekend. And I needed to take my mind away from him not being with me. One of my great pleasures in life is sharing things with him, however I was alone this night. 

A friend from work as I found out is a drummer for a band called J.R. and the Big Guns. He (Randy Day) invited me to come and hear him play and I was excited at the thought, especially given my affinity to music. I readily accepted his invitation and went. 

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It was held at the Moose Lodge in Johnson City to which I did not have a membership. So I called ahead of time to see if a “nonmember” could come in and listen to the music. The lady on the phone was very pleasant and said “sure it will cost five dollars to get in for nonmembers.” I said great, thanks, and hung up the phone. 

I found the place and entered through the double doors bypassing some of the band members when I spot an older gentleman looking bored sitting behind a table with a cash register drawer open and a log book in front of him. Upon my approach he growls, “Membership card.” While holding out his hand [palm up.] I pause and say, “I don’t have one.” To which he aptly relies “then you can’t go in.” I look at him for a minute and explain what the woman had said on the phone. 

Now it is his turn to pause. He then says, “Well, probably a bartender. They don’t know the rules.” So then he begins questioning me as to why I am not a member and starts telling me about all the good works they do. I nod and when he finishes I simply say, “I am just here to listen to the concert.” And then, in as a stone face deadpan of an expression as he can muster says, “A what?” At first I thought he might be joking but the confusion on his face tells me otherwise. Then I assume he is either trying to get me to understand that they do not put on “concerts” or the guy has no idea as to what is happening around him and has somehow in his life missed the term concert and what its meaning is. So I say, “You have never heard of concerts?”

And his response, “We have a band here tonight.” So I say, “So it’s a band but not a concert?” I seriously felt like I was talking to Costello. And just when I was about to ask “who’s on first?” He then says the most intelligent thing. “Never heard of it called that before.” I looked back to the front doors to make sure I had not stepped through some alternate dimension where concerts do not exist. Then he says, “What do you want to do?” I then look back at him with all the disbelief of the situation on my face that I could muster and say, “Well I guess I am going back home.” Then again he presses for the membership. However by now I am not sure I want to take part in a place that haggles over concert verses band. Now I need to say that this sort of thing would only happen to me. 

I really want to hear my friend play so I let him go on about the membership once again when suddenly he gets up, gets a pamphlet, shows me how to fill it out and promises to be my sponsor. I tell him I will consider it if nothing more than to just to get through the doors. Then he generously signs the log and puts me down as “his guest,” and then well, I still had to pay the five dollars to get in. I hand him a twenty and he grumbles about me wiping out his change so I dig and find five ones. The night started out great.

Once through the doors I see the band setting up — J.R. Moore, the lead vocal; Jeff Wright, guitar, banjo and mandolin player; Robert Regenold, guitar and sax; Burchel Pierce, bass; my friend Randy Day on drums; and R.J. Smith on keyboard. 

I really had no idea what to expect and then they began to play and I was blown away. The whole band was amazing. Everyone worked together to bring the sounds from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s together magically. I heard everything from rock to country. There was something for everyone.  And to watch my friend play the drums impressed me to no end. It was simply amazing. I will close with this advice. If you ever come across this group playing it will be a complete loss on your part if you do not stay and hear them. Or at least seek out their next gig. They are on Facebook so you have to look them up. And if you are going to see them at the Moose Lodge be ready to become a member and for goodness sakes have your five dollars ready. Please enjoy one free audio review copy of The Sons Of Thunder Chronicles (Volume 2), now available on Audible. Redeem the one-time use code below at


So far. Piper and Colvin go to interrogate a street man nicknamed the rat but instead they find the axe man.