Corn Potato Tour Dates + Dos Señoritas Vinyl + Book Report + More

The working name for the upcoming tour is “I AM THOR” — I am open to other suggestions!


I got back to Detroit a few days ago from the Silk Road Global Musician Workshop, held at the New England Conservatory in Boston, which was a blast and a half. I met so many wonderful humans who also happen to be incredible musicians. I played banjo in a band with trumpet, sax, drums, nyckelharpa, led by Balla Kouyate, a Mandé balafon player. I played banjo and fiddle in a klezmer band led by Hankus Netsky with accordion, piano, kamanche (Persian fiddle), pipa, and guitar. I played fiddle in a band led by Indian violinist Kala Ramnath with accordion, piano, guitar, bandura, erhu, and percussion. Each band had three rehearsals before performing in front of a paying audience, so it was quite the thrill to get this totally new and challenging material ready. It was a real feast at the five-star buffet of musical delights!

I came away from it reflecting on the purpose of music — I could easily devote the rest of my life to learning a bit of every style of music in the world and creating new fusions, but who and what is it for? More on that in future newsletters, perhaps… For now, here’s what you’ll find in this newsletter:

  • Corn Potato String Band “I AM THOR” Midwest Tour Dates + Other Upcoming Gigs
  • I Will Be Offline from this Thursday until Sep 12
  • Join Me at Patreon
  • Book Report: Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Dos Señoritas: Classic Banjo Duets – Vinyl Is a Real Thing

I got the first of two shipments in yesterday of this beautiful 10” vinyl record, quite possibly the only album ever made to feature exclusively classic banjo duets, and they look and sound amazing! The other shipment is being delievered here any minute.

We are bringing these records with us on the “I AM THOR” tour, and a few pre-orders have already come in, but if you want to make sure you get a copy before they all sell out on the road be sure to pre-order your copies now! (Click here to pre-order)

Corn Potato String Band “I AM THOR” Midwest Tour Dates + Other Upcoming Gigs

  • Tonight! I play with Alex Belhaj at Alpino, 6:30-7:30, $10
  • Sep 13 – Detroit – St. Peter’s – I’m playing a short set with Lindsay McCaw to open for Lone Piñon, New Mexico string band all the way from Santa Fe!
  • Sep 26 – Ypsilanti, MI – Detroit Square Dance Society at Ypsilanti Freighthouse
  • Sep 29 – Detroit – Detroit Square Dance Society at HowDyfest at Old Miami
  • And here begins the Corn Potato tour:
  • Oct 5 – Sukkot on the Canals at Coriander Kitchen and Farm, Detroit
  • Oct 6 – Ghost Light, Hamtramck
  • Oct 7 – ??? Got any ideas for me and Ben in or near SE MI? Lindsay is busy but Ben and I are available!
  • Oct 8 – Peninsula, OH – GAR Hall (TBC)
  • Oct 10 – Fort Wayne, IN (TBC)
  • Oct 11 – Kalamazoo, MI – Dormouse Theater (TBC)
  • Oct 12 – Lansing, MI – The Robin Theater
  • Oct 13 – Goshen, IN – Ignition Music Garage
  • Oct 14 – Lancaster, WI – Three Springs Barn Concert Series – RSVP to [email protected] (Must RSVP to reserve seats)
  • Oct 15 – Soldiers Grove, WI – Old Oak Inn – 608-624-5217 for tickets and reservations
  • Oct 16 – Minneapolis – Monday Night Square Dance at the Eagles
  • Oct 17 – Minneapolis House Concert – Email [email protected] for address
  • Oct 18 – ??? Something between Minneapolis and Chicago, help us out with an idea!!
  • Oct 19 – Chicago – Banjos After Dark at Borelli’s Pizza
  • Oct 20 – Ann Arbor, MI – House Concert (TBC)
  • Oct 21 – Detroit – DSDS Potluck + Queer Square Dance at Spread Art
  • Oct 22 – Farmington Hills, MI – Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (TBC)

and that will be it for a while, whew!

I Will Be Offline from this Thursday until Sep 12

In case anyone is trying to reach me between Thursday and Sep 12 I will not be available. I am taking a little break from screens and phone calls and media and pretty much everything, going to a cabin in the woods for a while to just listen and breathe and plug in to the universe. If you happen to think of me please send good wishes, I’ll be very receptive!

Join Me at Patreon

For less than the price of a cup of coffee you can enjoy the warm feeling of knowing that you’re enabling me to carry on researching, arranging, rehearsing, recording, and performing rare old fiddle and banjo gems, and sharing connection through music (with ourselves, each other, our ancestors and future descendants) with a wider audience. You’ll also get early access to new videos and some videos that are Patreon-only, and you’ll also have a direct line to my ear! Join here.

Book Report: Ministry for the Future, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Ministry for the Future is technically science fiction because it takes place in the future but the world of this novel is this world, our one and only planet Earth, and it’s very realistic. The main character is Mary, the head of a newly-created UN Ministry for the Future, which is tasked with averting climate catastrophe and somehow fixing everything. Spoiler alert: We succeed.

This book goes into detail with realistic approaches to the serious problems we are currently facing as a species. Everything from biological and geological issues to economic and political policies gets covered. At one point Mary is in a meeting and an analyst says 95% of our computer modeled projections show us a planet that can no longer support human life — We’re aiming for that 5 percent.

I got a good sense of optimism from reading Ministry for the Future. Despite the massive damage to all life on Earth that has happened, is happening, and will unavoidably happen in the future as a result of climate change, this book shows us that we already have the solutions we need to repair and protect our future. It’s only a matter of finding the will to put those solutions into action.

And with that I bid you

Farewell for now!