Back In Blythe

Well it’s been a while since I’ve been here and also a long time since I’ve posted here!

I’m on the road with Mike and Flamekeeper for the first time in 2012. We flew from Nashville to Phoenix and drove here to Blythe, CA to play at the festival here tomorrow. This is my third time here in this town…I previously performed here with Alecia Nugent and Special C.
Blythe’s a small town, and it’s always funny to me how my travels take me to these same random places quite a bit. There’s a great Bluegrass festival here, so I’m not complaining…just observing!

Every once in awhile I meet people and even if I hear a slight accent, I can usually guess where they’re from. Most people are amazed, some are a little creeped out.
I can usually pull some small town out of my mind and mention that I’ve spent days of my life there and people say “how did you ever wind up there?”
Seeing different places and people is what’s the most interesting to me about this traveling life.
Speaking of which, I’m headed back to one of my favorite places in March…Switzerland! So if I still have any readers from Europe, come see Flamekeeper in a month and a half! I’m excited about getting to return to the mainland of Europe that I got kind of familiar with when I was with Special C.

As far as in town work, I’ve been doing random studio work here and there, and Mashville is still doing some select dates at the Inn. One is coming up this Tuesday (1/24).

Also coming up shortly is the debut of a new Americana/Country Band that I’m thankful to be a part. The members are Deanie Richardson, Brandon Bostic, Austin Ward, Melonie Cannon, Garnet Imes, and myself. We’re kind of “known” as bluegrass players, but this is going to be a little different. Still very rootsy, but leaning towards the country/americana side of things.
We’re called “The Likely Culprits” and our first show is at the Station Inn on Saturday Feb. 11th!
We’ve been practicing quite a bit, and I think it’s going to be something very special!

Ok, time to chill out and relax and get ready for the show tomorrow! Hope everyone had a great new year and a great year to come!

Update

Well once again it’s been a while since I posted an update here. Sorry about that!
It’s been one of busiest summers on the road that I’ve ever worked, which is a good thing! We’ve had a great string of gigs with Flamekeeper…stretching from Rangely, Maine to the Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood, CA.
If you came to see us out there somewhere, I greatly appreciate it.

We have one more hoorah this weekend before a break off the road until mid-November. Tomorrow we’ll be in Farmer’s Branch, Texas near Dallas and then it will be a marathon drive to southeast Ohio for the Bob Evans Farm Festival on Sunday.

I must admit I’m ready to be back in Nashville to start a few different side projects a little extended R&R!

Speaking of side projects, Mashville Brigade rides again on Oct. 27th at the Station Inn at 9pm, featuring Brandon Rickman, Randy Barnes, Jim Van Cleve, Scott Vestal, and myself (Hi my name’s Ashby). We need a packed house because it’s being filmed by the Music City Roots crew, so come on down!!!

Until next time, check out my Facebook Artist page for more frequent updates!
Thanks for reading.

Off to Scotland again!

Since I last posted, I’ve been doing this and that here and there… January’s always a slow month for musicians!

I was fortunate enough to be invited by my friend Josh Williams to perform with his band at the Loveless Cafe’s Donna the Buffalo New Year’s Party, and I had a blast! Met some new folks, and ate some good chicken!

The Loveless Cafe is pretty close to where I live here in Nashville, and is famous for it’s Chicken and Biscuits. While the biscuits can’t compete with my mom’s (seriously), they were good enough to be part of the “Biscuit Throwdown” on the Food Network. I was a happy camper! Get to pick good music with Josh, Randy, and Jason, and eat! Good New Year’s!

The first official Mashville road show in Lebanon, VA that was scheduled for the next weekend,  had to be called off due to weather. I’ll be sure and let everyone know when it’s rescheduled.

So this week…I’m picking with Mashville tonight,  writing a little bit this week, and then on Saturday it’s off to Scotland to perform with my former old-boss-lady, Alecia Nugent. 🙂

We’re doing a BBC taping on Monday, then performing for the Celtic Connections crowd on Tuesday! I’m really looking forward to it. Anybody have any suggestions on what to do when in Glasgow? Be sure and let me know!
I hope yall are staying warm this frigid winter! Cya on down the road…

Wow…

Well, considering I participated in a seminar at IBMA about blogging, I really have fallen behind during this busy month.

After two days at Silver Dollar City, we had a all night, no sleep, drive to Denton, NC. We made it to the show with about an hour to spare before our first set. Cutting it close.

My mom out-did herself once again in bringing food for all the performers at the festival. She’s becoming more famous for her food then I am for my picking. hehe. Just fine with me. The crowd wasn’t as big as expected at Denton, but it was a fun show and a lot of my family came down to listen. That always makes me feel good.

I was pretty beat down after the all-nighter, but we got up and drove to Nashville the next day. The driving never seems to end. This should be called Ashby Frank’s driving and riding blog.

Once I made it home, being a glutton for punishment and for good music, I met some of my friends at the Station Inn for the annual Ronnie Bowman IBMA Week Kickoff Concert. It didn’t disappoint. Ronnie’s one of the greatest singers of country and bluegrass music, and I know from the little bit of time I spent on the road with him that he’s an equally great guy. First late night of the week… more to come.

Sunday was a day to kind-of relax. I did some quick graphics work, printed up some cards at Kinko’s, then I picked up one of my friends at the airport. We went to meet some more out-of-town musician buds at a restaurant to watch some football and eat some wings. We stayed up kinda late, but that’s the theme of the week.

Monday I went down and did some old fashioned networking and howdys. After that was a rehearsal with the new Special C w/ Ryan Roberts, then 3 after hours showcases (which start at 11PM and end at 2:15ish). Hung around with all my friends afterwards, and got to bed around 5am.

Tuesday, I got to participate as a panelist in a Blogging seminar (apparently people actually read what I write here!) and much fun was had. Heard a lot of good ideas and hopefully someone got something from me. After that was the 3rd annual, totally unofficial and unsanctioned, IBMA poker game (I lost). Then it was off to the Station Inn for a practice for a later showcase, and then Mashville.

Mashville was awesome! Everyone was on their game, and the crowd came to listen from far and wide. We got to debut the Mashville road crew with Terry Baucom, too!

After that, I dashed down to the Station Inn to play that showcase I had practiced earlier for with my buddy Brandon Rickman. Brandon has an awesome new CD out, and is one of the great undiscovered song writers here in town. Anytime he wants to sing and pick, I’ll be there if I can!

I got done with that by around 2:30, then I got to jam some with The Chapmans, Kenny and Amanda Smith, and Thomas Wywrot.  Good times. I think I got to sleep that night some time after 6.

Wednesday, more talking and rewiring my bluegrass networking, then 2 showcases with Special C and a Mashville guest spot at the Mountain Heart 10th Anniversary Concert. Sleep time…4AMish.

Thursday, went and shopped for a new tie then headed on down to the Awards Show reception. Gathered my date (who got me an awesome 4th row ticket) and then headed down to the Ryman. The Awards are always fun, and this one was no exception. I was especially pleased that Jesse Brock won Mando player of the year. He totally deserves it.

After the awards, Mashville played at the big McCoury Music Afterparty at BB Kings on 2nd Ave. The sound was kinda rough at first since there was no time for a soundcheck, but after all that got straightened out it was a blast! I greatly appreciate the McCoury Clan having us down there.

So I got out of there around 2:30, and went back down to the hotel for no real reason. Like I said, I’m a glutton for music… and punishment. Listened and jammed, and got to sleep around 6.

FRIDAY, had to get up way too early to go play our FanFest set at 11:50. Now that doesn’t sound way too early, but consider that I got in bed roughly 6 hours before I was supposed to be on stage.

Special C set over, and then it was time to practice for sitting in with Alecia Nugent for her FanFest set at 3:30…but only for a short while, because Special C had to go and give a workshop on  teaching bluegrass. After that was over, I ran back to the stage and did the set with Alecia. Shew! Bed time…for three hours! I took a nap, and then it was time to go back to the hotel to do a set with Terry Baucom at the Deering Banjo Showcase at 11:30. I jammed for awhile after that, then I went home around 4.

Saturday I got up and was a fan for awhile… watched some FanFest, then it was time for another workshop. This time for the Mando with Alan Bibey, Andy Ball, and Sierra Hull… three of the best players around. It was a huge honor to sit on the same stage as these “guys”… fun too.

When the workshop it was over, it was time to drive north of town to meet the Turtle Top and ride to Chicago. We made it up there, and played the next day downtown at the Chicago Country Music Festival. Awesome day, good crowd. Yep. Ryan and I wrote a good song after the gig, too. Productive day.

Today we had to wait around for 4-5 hours later than we thought because the bus was once again in the shop, but we left out from Chi-town and made it home for me to type this from my own bed tonight.

I’ve got a case of the confused mental clock/exhausted/allergy body aches, but I’m sure I’ll be ready to pick tomorrow night at Mashville.

WOW. What a long trip. Even though I was in my own bed for a portion of it, that was pretty much 3 1/2 weeks straight of work. I’m going to start making the rounds and calls to some of my favorite festivals to try and get some new gigs for Mashville starting tomorrow, but I’m going to set aside some time for the gym and for sleep. I need both very badly right now! I don’t regret one bit of it, though! IBMA week is so much fun for me.

Until next time…

The Bluegrass Calendar

Yesterday I left home for the beginning of a 12 day trip, and when I get back it will be time for the annual IBMA World of Bluegrass Week and Bluegrass FanFest in Downtown Nashville.

In some ways, this is like “Bluegrass New Year”… when all the musicians and business people start their new booking/promotion year. In some ways it feels like 5 years have passed since it was this time last year, and in some ways it feels like it’s only been a few months.

This is my favorite time of the year to be in Nashville, or the South in general. The weather has been awesome and I’ve been getting outdoors a lot.

Anyway, for the trip this week, I left my house yesterday at 7am and almost didn’t make my 9:40am flight because a wreck had jammed up the traffic on I-40. After much stress, I did make it and David and I flew to Chicago where we had a layover at our old haunt, Chicago Midway Airport.

The plan was to get picked up by Justin and Greg in Saint Louis, and they were supposed to leave Chicago before we flew in there for the layover. BUT as usual, we’re having problems with the TurtleTop, this time with the ABS system and pretty much little problems left over from people not cleaning and tightening up all the repairs to the axle and brakes over the last couple months. So needless to say, Justin and Greg were still in Chicago when we landed there, and we beat them to Saint Louis by quite a few hours. I now know my way around Terminal E of the STL Airport pretty well. hehe

We did make it to Grant’s Farm (Which is a really nice place to visit if you’re ever in STL) in time for a soundcheck and dinner, and had a fun show with a packed house. I must say that by the end of the second set my voice and body were pretty tired from going to bed late after another blast at Mashville, getting up early, and being in a dry airplane all day.

After the show we drove on to a hotel in Lebanon, MO and we’ll be playing at the big Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival tonight and tomorrow that’s not too very far from here. I was happy to find a bed and a good 8 hours of sleep and not be too far from our venue tonight!

After the festival here, we’ll be heading back to STL to fly to Billings, MT, and then drive to Miles City, MT for a few days there! I remember last time I was there I played some poker and watched a rodeo. Hopefully I can do it again, and of course play some good music and make some new friends.

Everybody have a good weekend! Come see me.

This weekend…

After a long drive yesterday to Chicago, which included a good 1 1/2 hour traffic jam in Indiana, we made it to Special C’s annual concert in the park Arlington Heights, IL. The weather was perfect and it made me wish I had been outside all day enjoying it!
Tonight Special C’s back at the Fiddler’s Hearth in South Bend, IN… we’re on our way now.
Tomorrow we’re playing in Niles, MI at the Niles Bluegrass Festival. Last year we had a little trouble getting up there (Justin had to drive through a flood). Hope we make it there easier tomorrow!
Sunday we’re playing an outdoor an outdoor concert near Chicago in Schaumburg.
If you’re in the Chicagoland area, come see us! If not, have a great weekend.
Now I’m going to get back to the ridiculously stupid computer game I bought until we get to the gig!
Anybody want to rent me a jet to get home Monday night? I’m getting really tired of I-65! hehe

Mocksville and Tyro

This past weekend, I went back home to NC to help kick off my Dad’s 2010 Re-Election Campaign for District Attorney with two “Pig Pickin’s”. I was thrilled to get to help out, and some of my best friends and favorite musicians in the world (Gena Britt, Greg Luck, Beth Lawrence, and Clay Jones) helped out too!  I had a blast. The only bad part was having to drive back to Nashville (about 400 miles) in the rain with a sore leg. It was worth it though.

I got some video from the second event, in my hometown of Tyro which follows below.
Tomorrow I won’t be Mashing, but I’ll be flying to LA. Wednesday we’re doing school programs in Santa Maria, CA, then Friday and Saturday it’s the Parkfield Bluegrass Festival. Hopefully I’ll get some pics.
Thanks for checkin’ my site, come back soon!

Clay Jones, Gena Britt-Tew, Greg Luck

Clay Jones, Gena Britt-Tew, Greg Luck

Pictures from Ireland and Scotland

Well, I’m back from Colorado.

We played a very diverse set of gigs out there. 3 days. One park show that got rained out, one show at a Club/Restaurant, and another at a huge YMCA Resort on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. I have to say I wish I could have had a few days off before that trip. I was so tired and cranky the whole time, and I didn’t get any pictures. I’m so happy to be home today! I went out and bought a new lawn mower and messed around in the yard in the  97 degree heat all afternoon. It was great.

So, here’s the rest of the pictures from the trip. The last set was from our arrival, and the week we spent in Wales. These pics are from Ireland (We played in a town called Athy) and Scotland (for the Guildtown Festival). We had some downtime in the middle where we hung out in Dublin, Belfast, and Edinburgh. Saw a lot of sites, and took a lot of pictures. Here’s a few of them:


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Another one of those…

This past weekend we had a light schedule.

Just drive up to Niles, Michigan for a Sunday show and come on back. Well, it got a little complicated.

We made it up I-65 through Louisville, and then started seeing the signs about how the Interstate was closed because of the flooding. So we get a few miles closer towards Indianapolis, and saw the dreaded detour sign.

Here we go! A parade of traffic down a two lane road ran us right into Columbus, IN. We were pretty hungry and tired from the parade so we decided to stop for some grub at the Chili’s. Some of you Bluegrass folks make know Columbus as the town on I-65 that you exit at to get to Bean Blossom (One of the big Bluegrass festivals).

When we turned into the parking lot, we noticed that there was a lot of standing and running water in the ditches and drains nearby and that the river that ran on the other side of the road was very high, but we had no idea how bad it really was.

After we were seated and made our order, the waiter apologized for his not being very happy. He explained to us that he just found out that his house was flooded and everything he owned was ruined. Pretty shocking, but I guess he couldn’t do anything other than keep working. He told us that the whole town was about to shut down and all the roads going North were closed.

That didn’t make us feel very good… because it didn’t take us very long to figure out that Michigan is NORTH of Indiana… we’re just smart like that. We figured we were stuck some place in this town, but we didn’t know exactly where to go, so we decided to go ahead and eat and see what happened.

As soon as we got our food, some sort of frantic call came in to the Chili’s that told them to close, and that all the dams and a bridge had collapsed and that the restaurant would probably be flooded by the morning. So we got our food boxed up and headed out to the parking lot to see if we could at least get out.

This is what we saw:

Parking lot in Columbus, Indiana
Needless to say, it was getting bad pretty quickly.

So we took off, and decided to try and go East and go around town. There were quite a few houses that were flooded that I saw, and that was pretty rough. I’ve never seen anything like that before and I sure hate it for those families that live there.

After seeing many streets closed and roadblocks everywhere, we made it out on a road going east and traffic seemed to be moving along just fine. Then we kinda got into a spot.

There was some water in the road. We debated turning around, but we saw quite a few cars make it across, and surveyed the situation around us and saw that there was no way that we were turning around.

So Justin guided the ol’ Turtle Top (we’re now calling it a Duck) through the water. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to drive through water, but we really had no choice. It was pretty exciting actually. Kind of like we were in some movie. We made it through! That’s all that matters, right? haha

Anyway, after that whole ordeal, we were glad to get back to the Interstate. We found a hotel, slept
some, and made it to the show in time in Michigan. Even though there was a Tornado warning and the show almost got canceled as we all ran to cover, it all cleared up and we got to pick! Here’s a couple of pictures I snapped at the venue:

I got home early this morning, and man is it HOT here or what? Hope everyone’s dry and cool.

Mashville tomorrow will be the regular band again for the first time in a few weeks! That’d be Darrell, Randy, Aaron, Jim, and myself.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

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No Mashing Tonight

Just as a reminder, there will be no Mashville Brigade tonight at the Station Inn. We’re taking a much needed break, but we’ll be back next week!

I just got back from a long weekend in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Tip for the week: if you’re ever going to La Crosse, Wisconsin and need a room, book it way in advance.

The only place left that we could find open rooms for our two nights there was one of a kind….a real winner. From the 15 thread count green see-through polyester sheets left over from the Carter Administration era, to the (as advertised) COLOR TV, and the broken thermostat guts hanging out of the wall, it’s a place I’ll always remember.

But seriously, the festival that we played at Cushion’s Peak Campground in Houston, Minnesota couldn’t be set in a nicer spot. It’s in a valley between the hills on the river, just a couple of miles outside of the nice little town of Houston. I met some very nice folks up there! Maybe we’ll be back someday, but maybe at another hotel.

I know I’ve promised pictures, but I’ve been having camera issues (it’s gettin’ pretty old) and hopefully I’ll have some more photos from my excursions soon.

This weekend we’ll be in Kendallville, Indiana for the Spring Northern Indiana Bluegrass Festival!

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