I took the plastic off the windows and opened up the house today. It’s not especially warm but it’s sunny and a fresh breeze is blowing through. It’s almost time for ice cream!
I’ve been home for almost two weeks and the time is flying by. I’m so grateful to have a lot going on. Between gigs and rehearsals with an array of local musicians (check out Escaping Pavement, whose new single I played on, Nick Adams & The Aral Sea Divers, The Flutter & Wow, David Simon), getting the new Corn Potato record into production as well as a couple more albums that will be released soon, getting ready for the American Banjo Fraternity rally in a couple weeks, and plenty of other more mundane tasks, I’m happy to say that I am staying well busy.
In this email I will to tell you about
– New releases — You’re the first to hear about these new albums!
– Upcoming tour dates
– Highlights from the Home Routes tour
– Some books and records I’m currently enjoying
– One new video we made
The new Corn Potato String Band album, “Good Job Everybody,” is now available for digital download. Yeeeeeesss!! Physical copies will be available via CDBaby in about a month. What else can I say? Check er out. If you like any of the other Corn Potato albums you will probably liket this one, too. The album will not be ‘officially’ released until June 22 so you are really the first to know…
If you know of any radio DJs or reviewers I should send a copy to please send me their names and addresses and any other relevant info. I’m trying to get advance copies out right away.
Two more albums are on their way to getting released soon — One, the “LIVE, Mostly” album I made with Ben Belcher for our Home Routes tour, and two, an album I made with Joe Troop after Galax last summer. We’re calling it “You Bring Out The Hamster In Me.” Stay tuned for more on those releases soon.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
Saturday, April 29 – 54 West in Clawson, MI, with David Simon. David plays almost every kind of Latin-American music and this will be my first time joining him on fiddle and mandolin.
Friday & Saturday, May 5 & 6 – Mr. Miguel’s in Warren, MI, with David Simon. Happy Cinqo de Mayo!
Thursday, May 25 – The Robin Theater in Lansing, MI, with Corn Potato String Band, wsg Micah Ling
May 26-28 – Wheatland Traditional Arts Weekend w/Corn Potato, we will teach workshops and play for square dances, ooh this will be good!
Tuesday May 30 – Jazz @ The Elks in Ann Arbor with Marge’s Bar Band, I get to swing out with my fiddle
After that the plan is to go to Mount Airy, NC, for a big pickin party. Will I see you there?
Thursday, June 8 – Lindsay and I play 20 Front Street in Lake Orion, wsg Marbrisa
June 9-11 – Noreast’r Music & Art Festival with Corn Potato Duo (me and Lindsay)
Saturday, June 17 – Buttermilk Jamboree wtih Detroit Pleasure Society
Wednesday, June 21 – Square Dance at the Gaelic League, our last one til the fall!
Saturday, June 24 – River & Roots Festival at Watermelon Park in Berryville, VA
Tuesday & Wednesday, June 27-28 – Earful of Fiddle Music Camp
I’m going to stop there although there is even more coming up, I should be able to send another email out before July, and if not you can always see my schedule here.
I can’t gush enough about what a great time Ben and I had in Southern Manitoba (and Eastern Saskatchewan!) on our Home Routes tour. The muscles I use for feeling anxious or ill-at-ease really atrophied. First of all, EVERYONE we met was so friendly and welcoming. Second, it’s always great to get out of your own country for a bit, get some fresh perspective. Third, we had great weather and loved the landscape, driving through a lot of mostly flat, mostly empty space with just the sky and the road and the reflection of the sky in the snowmelt in the ditches beside the road. Also, we had some significant firsts. I’ll share just a few of them:
– Flying in a small plane
– Going to a casino
– Visiting the Narcisse snake dens (highest concentration of snakes in the world)
– Seeing lots of polar bears and also a white bison (at the Winnipeg Zoo)
I kept a tour journal but probably will not publish it. Unless a lot of people ask me to.
Anyway, I would definitely recommend Home Routes to any of my musician friends who like playing small house concerts. The program is in its tenth year and I hope it continues for a hundred more. I heard they are looking into expanding into the US, and I hope that happens.
BOOKS & MUSIC
I picked up a few CDs while I was on the road. Kayla Luky and her husband Ian are both musicians and Home Routes hosts. I’ve been enjoying her CDs, “The Time It Takes” and “Back To Dirt,” and his, “The Diamond Roads.”
While I was away the debut CD, “Objects,” from The Nightjar was sent to my house. They’re my dear friends in the UK and aside from the sheer immensity of their talent, they have created a unique and fascinating sound.
On my way home I went to a pickle party in Minneapolis and got a copy of the Dumpy Jug Bumpers CD, “Dumptown.” Great old jug band tunes played well.
The last CD I’ll mention was another one that came while I was away. It’s called “Old Time O’odham Fiddle Music” by Gu-Achi Fiddlers, a wonderful collection of fiddle music from the Tohono O’odham (“The Desert People”) of Southern Arizona. The band is comprised of two fiddles, guitar, snare and bass drum playing polkas, two-steps and mazurkas. Thanks to my pal Martin Kennard for recommending this.
I’m still reading Mark Twain’s Roughing It, his ‘nonfiction’ account of his trip to Nevada. Very entertaining. I’m also reading But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman, a series of essays looking at the present as if it were the past. In a similar vein, I’ve also been sporadically reading The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman, which describes what the world would look like if we weren’t around anymore. It’s well-written and interesting, and not as depressing as you might expect.
I wanted to share this with you as well — Ben and I had just learned a couple of classic banjo duets and tried them out as the soundtrack to Lindsay’s crankie show. Before you click the link I’ll just tell you, it’s a journey… Corn Potato String Band – Classic-Style Banjo Duet Accompanied by Paper Theater
That’s all for now! I hope you’ll enjoy our new Corn Potato album and help us spread the word. I hope to see you at a show again some time soon. And I hope you are having a happy, sunny, beautiful spring time!