Ross Livermore and I are playing at Coda in the Tremont district of Cleveland OH, and our opener’s an incredibly talented singer named Collin Miller. He’s young, hungry, and beyond stoked to be on the bill. Grinning ear-to-ear and nervously vice gripping my hand, he says he's a huge Allen Stone Band fan, saw us at the Grog Shop twice and holy shit that time Swatty went weedly-wee and you went widdly-wah over Voodoo. I hope he digs my strum-a-lum-a-ding-dong singer/songwriter alter ego even a tenth as much.
Collin’s a gifted songwriter and truly special singer, and I thoroughly enjoy his set. Predictably, all his friends show up during the last song, and he’s clearly bummed, hoping I think to have rolled out the red carpet for Ross and me. As he’s wrapping cables, I jump up on stage and ask if he knows any Allen tunes.
“Sure,” he says, “I cover Unaware and Voodoo.”
“Awesome! Look, your friends just got here, so stay put, we’re playing those songs, like, right now. And then I’m keeping you up here for a couple of my tunes. Sound good?”
And so Collin Miller, eyes closed, delivers an earnest and pitch-perfect rendition of Allen Stone's most popular song with the guitar player he saw go widdly-wah that one time at the Grog Shop. The room’s alive with camera phones now, and as we launch into Voodoo I warn both him and the crowd that someone’s taking a long, LONG solo, and it ain’t gonna be me. Collin shreds the gnar capably, even catching the re-harm curveball I throw at him during the outro, and leaves the stage to thunderous applause. His dad’s visibly tearing up in the audience.
As artists, we seldom know what we’re doing in this crazy world, but every once in a while get one right. And that can carry us for a good long while.
My heart's full today. Thank you, Collin. And thank you, Cleveland.