On Sunday, August 23, The Tim and Bob Show joined 1855 of our closest friends standing in a ditch in the middle of the make-believe town of Luckenbach, Texas. Why were we there? Well, there were two basic reasons. The first was to take part in a fundraiser in support of Voices of a Grateful Nation, a group associated with The Welcome Home Project. The second was to take part in breaking a world’s record for the greatest number of guitar pickers ever playing the same song together.
Sunday morning broke clear, blue, and hot. We knew that 104 degree temperatures were forecast for the day, so we set off together with grapes, cherries, Diet Dr. Pepper, and plenty of water. We had already played that weekend, but there was no way we could resist this opportunity to contribute. We’ve done several fundraisers for several worthy causes in the four years the band has been together, but nothing on the scale of this. As we were to learn, the guitar-picking and The Welcome Home Project were a more natural match than one might have expected. The project is very concerned with the plight of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans whose wounds include severe head trauma. One of the treatments most successful in repairing the brain’s control over physical activity has proven to be music. Specifically, many soldiers have enhanced their therapy once they were taught to play guitar.
And so, there we were, on the top of a hill overlooking the ditch. We got there pretty early in the day, and located a spot set aside for members of The Texas Music Coalition. Since we’re their current Artist of the Year, it seemed the natural place for us to set up our chairs and wait for the event to begin. Of course, being in the middle of all those guitars makes it difficult to just sit there, so it didn’t take long for Steve and me to get into a couple of jam sessions.
Soon, “the professionals” in residence mounted the stage on the other side of the ditch from us, and began to entertain. About 15 minutes later than advertised, those of us with the white, numbered tee-shirts on were invited to take our guitars and find someplace to stand in the official area. Counting would soon begin. Naturally, there were delays. But these delays allowed for more jam sessions. During one of them, we heard someone say, “What a great way to spend my 40th birthday!” Steve and I looked at Mary Lou and Kathy, and a split second later, we launched into The Beatles’ “Birthday.”
The delay, we learned, was to ensure that everyone who was arriving would have a chance to get in place and be counted. While we waited, we played several songs, including “London Homesick Blues,” and “El Rancho Grande.” Finally, the final count was given – 1,859 guitarists were about to let ‘er rip. This was a full 56 more pickers than the total attracted by the German group that set the previous record. While they played “Smoke on the Water” for 10+ minutes, we had something entirely different planned.
It had been decided that the group would play TWO songs of 5 minutes duration each. Since we were where we were, the first song we played was “Let’s Go to Luckenbach, Texas.” And, since we were where we were, the second song was “This Land is Your Land.” When we finished the last notes, we lifted our guitars into the air and hollered as loud as we could. The effect was amazing.
As more jam sessions broke out, the four of us decided that we had been baking our brains long enough. We packed up and drove away from dusty, remote, ecstatic Luckenbach with a memory it will be exceedingly difficult to erase from any of our minds.
If you’d like to see some photographs and videos of our adventures, go to The Tim and Bob Show’s Facebook page. If you’d like more information about Voices and The Welcome Home Project