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I’ve reentered the world of computers and cell phones after spending a week at the Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax. It was an eventful one this year, what with the 389 mandolins breaking the world record for largest mandolin ensemble and all. (Click the link for a sample of what it was like!) I also managed to sneak into the top ten again this year with eighth place in Bluegrass Fiddle. I got some pickin in with all kinds of great folks and now I’m thinking about something I heard a few years ago, to paraphrase, “Galax is real life. The other 51 weeks of the year are just waiting for the next Galax to come around.”

As I’ve said in previous emails I’m not too terribly busy with work this summer although I do have a few gigs coming up in DC, Detroit, Minneapolis, WV, and NYC which I’ll tell you about in a minute here. But first I want to give some thanks to the farmers. On my visits to friends in the past month I stayed on a few farms and if there’s one job that’s harder work and less pay than being a musician it’s being a farmer. And as satisfying as it is for me to make music and make people happy with music, it’s hard to compare anything with the satisfaction of living from the fruit of your own labor (quite literally) and to feed people with excellent food, grown with love.

I also want to thank Chester River Runoff for taking me on a few gigs with them right before Galax. Here’s a video of me playing with them on our first gig together in over two years, at the Front Porch Series in Trenton, NJ: here

So here are my upcoming shows, starting with TOMORROW in DC at a place called Sova, I play with a fun honky-tonk group called Clear Blue Sky

And then this Saturday, Aug 18, I play with Sabra Guzman in our group the Long Branch Ramblers for the Institute for Musical Traditions at the Dance Exchange in Takoma Park, MD — event details here

Sunday, Aug 19, Sabra and I are off to my hometown of Detroit for a couple of Long Branch Ramblers shows, first off on Sunday at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1pm, Free show.

Monday, Aug 20, we play at PJ’s Lager House in Detroit, 8pm, $5, with a special set from Alison Lewis (no relation to me that I know of!) — Come early for food, PJ’s has an excellent menu.

Tuesday, Aug 21, Foundry Hall in South Haven, MI. 7:30pm, $9.

And then in September things get really exciting when I play two shows with Nora Jane Struthers!! I met her at my first Galax 11 years ago. Since then we’ve always been pickin pals but in recent years she’s been making great strides with her band and now I’m going to play my first gigs with her ever, hopefully not the last! Here they are:
Sep 3 at the Laughing Waters Bluegrass Festival in Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis, and
Sep 8 at the Poor Farm Fest in Williamsburg, WV.

In between these dates I play with Long Branch Ramblers one more time, on Sep 6, in Floyd, VA, at the Hotel Floyd Summer Concert Series at the Floyd Country Store, 6-8pm, Free!

And then my last show in the US will be on Sep 11 at Jalopy with Thomas Bailey and Max Johnson, supporting our new record, Wild Hog, which you can hear for free in its entirety at — NY people please come!!

I depart my home country of USA on September 13 after a long visit which has been so full of good friends, food and music, it will be hard for me to leave. What’s next for me? That’s a good question. A tour in Germany with the Froggy Mountain Boys? Solo gigs in the UK? Drastic changes and/or humble monotony? I’m not totally sure myself but you, dear friends, will be among the first to know.