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!

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

Chart Action: Take This Hammer

I just got an email about the XM Bluegrass Junction Chart for this month, and it’s pretty cool!

Take This Hammer is now #5 on the chart, and the Mashville album is #13 in the Satellite World! We REALLY appreciate everyone requesting our music, the whole Mashville gang hopes that you keep it up! We need your help to get us to the top of the chart next month… and considering that last month’s #4 song is the #1 song this month, I think we have a pretty good chance.

You can call XM Bluegrass Junction at 1-866-267-0375 to request Take This Hammer, or any other song that you might be in the mood for… but make sure and ask for Take This Hammer while you’re at it. hahaha
Even though it’s probably a better idea to call in, you can also request via the website XMFan.com here’s a link.

Also if you don’t have satellite radio, I would REALLY encourage you to do so. For a low monthly fee, you can listen to pretty much any kind of music, pretty much anywhere in the US or Canada. I have a unit that I can move from a stereo, to a boombox, to my car. I’ve had it for 5-6 years and it’s great. I don’t leave home without it.

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Wish I Could Slow Down

The trip to South Dakota was great! I got to see the sights and hang out with some good friends, made that long drive through nowhere seem a lot better. I have some good pictures that I’ll try to put up here tonight.

I spent my afternoon prepaying bills and trying to get my tags renewed before my next big trip, and here in Davidson County, TN that’s not much fun.

Waited in line for over an hour for an emissions test, then I stood in line for 20 minutes after I drove to another place to get my sticker. I wonder how much gas was burned and emissions were put out during that time when all of us stupid Nashvillians were parked in a creeping line waiting to pay someone to see if we have a good gas cap so we don’t waste gas. They really need to open more of those things with more workers if we need them. Enough of that rant.

I won’t be at Mashville tonight because I am so behind on getting ready for the trip to Ireland and the UK that I leave for tomorrow, but Josh Williams will be organizing what I’m sure will be a good show.

So yeah, I’ll put some pictures up here later hopefully, and I might be able to blog from overseas, but I don’t know. What I’m saying is, it might be awhile before I get to say much more, but I promise that they’ll be a lot of pictures and stuff when I get back.

Oh and by the way, Happy Independence Day! Downtown Nashville’s the place to be for fireworks and music on the 4th, so come check it out!

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Everybody Dies Famous in a Small Town

I made the local paper! Check it out! Thanks to Jill Doss-Raines and the Lexington (East Tyro) Dispatch for the press!

Click here to read the article at the-dispatch.com/

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This ain’t Dallas…

I’m bad to get a song in my head from a town that I’m driving through.

This week it’s been Dallas, and good ol’ Hank Jr.’s “This Ain’t Dallas”.

This ain’t Dallas, and this ain’t Dynasty, this is a real life, two job working family
and I ain’t JR, you ain’t Sue Ellen. We’re just a man and a woman holding this thing together.

I’ve been haunted by those lyrics for two days now, and will be until I drive into Houston on Sunday with echoes of the Gatlin Brothers ringing up in my head. Yes, I know I’m borderline crazy.

Luckily, like most of the rest of America, I have an excuse for my ills! What good can come out of a problem if you can’t blame someone else for it anyway?

I grew up in a house where music was always on, and I liked it that way. My house is still that way if I don’t have the news or some dumb TV show on in the background. I listen to CDs; my Ipod; and FM, AM, and Satellite Radio pretty much every day. I love sound, and music’s the best kind of sound. Much better than truck stop noise in Little Rock that I got to enjoy for a few hours of a nap in the bus the other night. Lots of sirens in Little Rock… Hmm.

Anyway, I’m actually in Bedford, Texas tonight and will be performing with Special C in Dallas tomorrow, and Houston on Sunday. Check out SpecialC.com for more info if you’re in the area!

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Wild Weekend

As some of you may already know, I’m a sometimes insomniac. Sometimes I have trouble going to sleep with no reason, sometimes I don’t. I think it has less to do with sleeping as it does procrastination. I like the night, and I always stayed up as late as I could for some reason. I don’t know what appeals to me about being up and around when everyone else is sleeping, but I’ve always liked it.

So I stayed up too late and waited to pack until the last minute for our trip this past weekend, I got to sleep around 2 AM on Thursday night knowing I had to be up at 6:30 to leave. Most of the time I stay up late like that before I know I have to get up because I get nervous that I’m going to oversleep, so I lay there and worry about that and any other things I can conjure up to worry about without taking action, until I go to sleep. But it takes a while.

This night was a little different, because I woke up early. 4:30ish actually. I heard a strange noise that resembled the noise that a tornado or bow echo wind makes when it’s close that I’m familiar with that was loud enough to wake me up and rattle the windows, so as I woke up I immediately turned on the TV to see if I should go crawl into my bathtub to take cover. The first thing they said was “clear skies today as we look out over Downtown Nashville”, so I turned it off and walked over to my window and didn’t see any wind or rain. I dismissed it as a low flying plane or loud train somewhere near here, and went back to sleep.

I woke up at 6:30 as planned to the sounds of the House Foundation Morning Show talking about the 5.4 magnitude earthquake centered near Evansville, Indiana that shook Nashville. What the? Earthquake? Hmm. Of course it had to be the day before my birthday. Crazy and bad stuff always happens on or near my birthday. Columbine School Shooting, Waco Dividian Raid, Oklahoma City Bombing, Virginia Tech School Shooting, ect. Now an earthquake! haha. It was pretty freaky. Nothing dangerous really, I don’t mind strange things like that marking the anniversary of my birth as long as it doesn’t kill anyone.

So I fight the traffic, and make it to meet the band for the drive to Goshen, Indiana. I got some sleep while we’re rolling, woke up a few hours later to us pulling into some Taco Bell to eat, then we made our way to the show. The venue was the “Old Bag Factory” which is an old Trolly Car Station and Factory that has been converted into some very nice small shop and cafe space with a good sized performance hall on the third floor.
Pretty fun show, and very nice folks (thanks for the Bar-B-Q’ed Salmon…good stuff!). The bad part of the day was still coming, as we had to drive overnight to make it to the next show in Carlisle, PA which was an Earth Day Festival at Dickinson College.

The vehicle that we ride around in is kinda like a bus or a motor home, and kind of like an airport shuttle. It has bunks and a lounge and space, but on a van like chassis. It’s a good embetween option between van and bus (I’ve had a few years of both of those forms of transportation and they both have drawbacks.) The one we’re in now was purchased new by Special C when I wasn’t in the band, and it now has over 300,000 miles on it, so some things are starting to go wrong. For instance, the paint is cracking on the side view mirrors. Greg likes for this thing to look good and well kept, so he took it to a certain Ford Dealer here in Nashville while we were in Canada last week to get them repainted.

So, Justin had the first shift and I was riding shotgun, and right after we crossed the Indiana/Ohio line on I-80, Justin started laughing almost hysterically for no apparent reason. It took a minute, but he finally was able to speak enough to tell me to look at the mirror. Well, I tried… but it was gone.

No drivers side side view mirror, and hours to go on our drive. After we both quit laughing pretty hard, because we thought it was strange for Greg to make such a big deal out of getting the mirrors painted and now one of them simply fell off, we stopped to see that the mirror’s last action before shattering on the road was to put a little gash on the side of the bus. Great!

Now it was my turn to drive! I drove from near midnight til almost 4, and managed to navigate my way through the Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas with no mirror. I did hang in the left lane a good bit though. haha.

The next day (my birthday) was pretty long, but good. We got to our rooms with enough time to take a shower and leave for the show which was on the beautiful campus of Dickinson College. We got dropped off after the show at the guest house where we were staying, and Greg and David took the bus to some guy that one of our friends knew of that happened to have an extra mirror that would fit, even though it was really small. At least we had one!

So we had another show, which was kind of a blur because I was pretty sleepy and worn out, but I know it went OK and they had some great food there for us! Carlisle is a really nice little college town and I’d like to go back some time when I have time to look around.

The drive back was just as long, but less frantic. We got stuck in a really bad traffic jam in Bowling Green, KY (I think there was a wreck) which added a good bit of time to our trip, but I made it home safely at 11PM last night.

Shew! Well, I hope this weekend’s trip to Park City, Kansas and Dallas, Texas won’t be nearly as hard.

Everyone remember that this Tuesday is the CD Release Show and Party for the Mashville Brigade Smash Hits of Bluegrass CD at the Station Inn! Come on out and join Darrell, Aaron, Jim, Randy and myself if you can!

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Atlantic Time

Made it! What a long day of flying. I really hate that… plus my fancy movie and TV screen on AirCanada didn’t work then it was a 3 1/2 hour van ride after the day of flying. Shew.
I’m not complaining though, really. I really enjoy being up here and seeing this part of the continent.
Click here to see where I am on a Google map

Anyway, I’m a long way from home now and I can see the ocean from where I type this. Sure are some nice folks up here, and I’m looking forward to the shows.

Oh, and by the way… I think the Mashville Brigade show on Tuesday will consist of Brandon Rickman, Jim, Aaron, Randy, and myself, but I could be wrong (again), eh?

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Recent News and Pictures

Here’s a couple articles that reference me that have popped up over the last few days:

“Crowd Warms to ‘Hillbilly’ Concert”(Canada.com)

Bluegrass Impressionists (The Bluegrass Blog)

Here’s a few of the pictures I took last week during the Mashville recording and Regina trip:

Regina, SK

I made it up here…
Pretty long evening of flying. Nashville to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Regina.

It was about 8 degrees when we touched down and the driver picked up up. Once we got to the hotel at about midnight, Justin and I went down to the entertainment section of town and walked through the Casino Regina and hung out for a few minutes, just because it’s right down the street from our hotel and they have a shuttle running. Pretty nice place… I played a couple hands of blackjack, went up a few bucks and then went down to even and we left. A good few minutes of entertainment for free, then it was back to this pretty cool old Hotel Saskatchewan where we’re staying.

We’re going to practice the tempos with the symphony conductor here in a few minutes, then have lunch, and probably hit the gym before rehearsal tonight.

Oh, and btw, here’s some pictures from the Mashville recording session at the Station Inn from the other day, and a few from our travels so far this weekend:

(Moved to post above)