Digital Foci – NEW ALBUM – Tour Highlights + Upcoming Dates + MORE

I am so excited to share with you this album of material I made almost ten years ago. it’s taken me this long to work up the courage to release it as it’s so different from anything I’ve released in the past. It could be the start of a new branch on the tree of my public musical life, or it could be a one-time folly. Time will tell. In any case, I hope you enjoy it: HERE IT IS — The whole album is a FREE DOWNLOAD so please download for better playback quality, and share with anyone you know who may be interested.

This album even has a MUSIC VIDEO for one of the songs! Made by Rennie Elliot. Also, the album artwork is by Andrew McLeod, concept by Rennie Elliot and yours truly. Mastering by Mythology Mastering.

OK. That’s out there. I’m really nervous and excited to just get it out. Now let’s proceed with regular email stuff. In this email you well get my
– Upcoming Dates
– Brief Tour Highlights from the Two Tours I Did This Past Month

– New Videos! At Least One or Two
– Book Report (Yes!)
– Rambling Reflections, if I’m up for it.
Upcoming Dates
5/3 – TONIGHT! I play a house concert at Bumble Bee House in Corktown, Detroit. Contact Joseph Krause on FB for details, there may still be room. I’m splitting the bill with dear friends Red Tail Ring
5/5 – Ann Arbor – U-M Museum of Art, 1-2pm
5/6 – Oak Park, MI – Congregation Beth Shalom wsg Klezundheit 4-6pm
Then on Tuesday I take a train to Minneapolis and begin the great Minneapolis to Buffalo Corn Potato String Band Tour of 2018!
5/10 – Minneapolis, MN – Ivy Building wsg Miss Myra & the Moonshiners
5/11-12 – Gays Mills, WI – Gays Mills Folk Festival
5/13 – Milwaukee, WI – Anodyne Coffee wsg Fox & Branch
5/14 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Barn Dance wsg T-Claw
5/15 – Oregon, IL – Cabin Concert
5/16 – Bangor, MI – Foundry Hall Concert at Cognito Brewing
5/17 – Kalamazoo, MI – House Concert wsg Sam Herman
5/18 – Detroit, MI – Detroit Institute of Arts
5/19 – Peninsula, OH – G.A.R. Hall wsg Jen Maurer & Anthony Papaleo
5/20 – Rockton, PA – Over The Mountain
5/21 – Buffalo, NY – Sportsmens Tavern wsg Tyler Westcott
5/23 (was 5/24) – Huntington Woods, MI – House Concert
5/25-27 – Remus, MI – Wheatland Traditional Arts Weekend
And that’s our big U.S. tour for the year! Hope to see you out there. Just check out my online calendar or the band’s schedule online for all the details.
5/28 – I play banjo on my first gig with River Raisin Ragtime Revue, a wonderful ragtime ensemble, in Saginaw, MI
I hope to be able to catch up with you during the week or so of down time I’ll have in early June but I may decide to go off to some fiddle festival, in which case here’s some of what’s coming up in June:
6/9 Lindsay and I play the Nor-East’r Music & Art Festival in Mio, MI
6/21-30 Roochie Toochie Midwest Tour:
6/21 – Bloomington, IN – Players Pub
6/22 – Bloomington, IN – Hoagy Carmichael Room
6/23 – Battle Ground, IN – Indiana Fiddlers Gathering
6/24 – Arcadia, IN – Hedgehog Music Showcase
6/28 – Oregon, IL – Cabin Concert
6/29 – St. Louis, MO – Workshops at KDHX Folk School
6/29 – St. Louis, MO – The Focal Point
6/30 – Mascoutah, IL – Espenschied Chapel
In early July I will head back to Detroit, hopefully by way of a few gigs I recently found out about in central Illinois and possibly Chicago as well.
Tour Highlights
Starting at the beginning of April, it was great to spread my wings and play a bunch of solo sets and share the stage with Escaping Pavement. The highlights for me were visiting the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and coming back to Viroqua, WI, to play Driftless Books & Music again. I love the U.P. and Viroqua, too. I end up wanting to move to these places any time I go and visit. Also, late spring, plenty of snow, climbing a slippery Sugarloaf in Marquette, lots of time out in the countryside.
The tour I just got back from on the West Coast was also full of beautiful places and wonderful people, new friends I hope to see again and again. I knew it would be a good time and a great band but I didn’t know just how good this band was going to be. I don’t know about future plans for this group but I hope we continue making music together, it’s really special and world-class. Also, redwoods, moon rocks, spectacular mountain and ocean drives.
New Videos!
This right here is the perfect music video for the song, made by Rennie Elliot. I think it’s a masterpiece. Check it out — Crazy Cats
Here’s a really nice video from the Old Time Tiki Parlour we made at the start of my last tour. We played that great Kenny Baker number, Denver Belle
Corn Potato String Band played at WBCM Radio Bristol’s Farm & Fun Time at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and so far we have this video of Russian Rag, more to come! It is a Facebook link — YouTube links coming soon.
Book Report
Yes, I actually did some reading this past month, thanks to Driftless Books & Music in Viroqua, WI. What an amazing place. If you love books and small towns I dare say it’s worth making it a destination. Especially if you can time it to coincide with the Gays Mills Folk Festival.
I read John LeCarre’s Our Game, a slightly underwhelming spy thriller, probably not his best. One of the main themes, aside from suspicion, secrecy, cunning and betrayal, was getting old.
Then I read two novels by Robert Heinlein. The first was called Revolt in 2100, and the second was called Methuselah’s Children. They were also not his best work but certainly had their moments. If you’re familiar with Heinlein you will recognize the usual themes of libertarianism and free love, technophilia and the pursuit for immortality. If you don’t know Heinlein’s work, you will find most of these ideas in any of his books. I won’t say he’s an amazing writer but it’s fun to read his books.
After that I started reading Aku-Aku, by Thor Heyerdahl. It’s an account of his expedition to Easter Island to be the first to do any serious excavations. Worth buying for the photos alone!
I got to the part where they landed at Easter Island before I made it to Mendocino County and visited my friend Kellen Kaiser, who has published a memoir of her own a couple years ago, called Queerspawn in Love. I read it pretty fast as it was written in an easy-to-read, conversational storytelling kind of style. Kellen and I are the same age and have a lot in common so I could relate to much of what she wrote about, especially the being young and in love parts and not so much the having four lesbian moms parts. It’s a fun book to read and it’s written by my friend! Check her out!
Rambling Reflections
I’m still thinking a lot about community and culture. The preservation of tunes, songs, dances, recipes, etc. is so important and useful. But I sometimes worry that we can lose sight of where those things come from. We get so caught up in accumulating tunes, lore, etc. that we forget about preserving the circumstances that allow those things to be generated in the first place.
In my reading and experiences I see a trend in which culture is generated by groups of people who are suffering together. Culture can be a group identity-maintaining coping mechanism for oppressed people, which then catches the attention of the dominant culture which then appropriates and the cycle continues. I see an inverse relationship between prosperity and authentic culture as a general trend. Is there any way to create meaningful group identity and share day-to-day interactions with increased prosperity and health for all?
I’m not expressing myself as clearly as I could if I were to take the time to edit this a little bit but there you go, some raw rambling thoughts from your AJL.
Thank you for keeping in touch. I hope I’ll see you out there soon. Stay tuned for UK tour dates for August (or as I like to call them U-Kray! Tour Dates.)
Be good.