Countdown to Blastoff, New Recordings and Haircuts!

February 4, 2013

All Righty Right! I’ve been settling in here in Nashville and getting ready for my first tour with Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line. We’ve been rehearsing and preparing and as our first tour date draws closer (this Thursday! In Lexington, KY!) we are all getting more and more excited. We had our first two shows in Nashville over the past two weeks and they both went really well. I especially enjoyed playing for the square dance at Fontanel Mansion, with calling by Te Claw and special guest fiddlers Chance McCoy and Kevin Martin. So far have there have been no changes to the tour schedule with the exception of one new show in Detroit on Feb. 18 at PJ’s Lager House. I played there last summer with Sabra Guzmanand had such a great time. Plus, this time around we will have at least one great local opener,Shine On Kentucky Moon. Last time I played PJ’s local singer-songwriter Alison Lewis joined us and I hope she can join us again.

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I Have Arrived in Nashville

January 20, 2013

As I sit in the living room of my new home in East Nashville and write to you I am listening to the newly mastered and as-yet-unreleased debut record from my new band, Nora Jane Struthers And The Party Line, and I’m thinking about how in just a few short weeks we will be on the road. I haven’t played many shows since my last newsletter but a lot has happened. For one thing I moved in to my new place! I even bought a new bed (not used) for the first time in my life. How grown-up of me. Well, it’s great to sleep on it and I’ve been told it’s important to have a nice bed so I can look forward to coming home when I’m on the road. In no particular order I’ll share some of the highlights from my past month as well as some news of upcoming events, including my first big tour with the Party Line! I may save that for last so I can give you our big list of gigs. One of the…

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Crazy Cats, Farewell to MA, Hello NYC, and I’m Still Pupating

December 13, 2012

My Dear Fellow Cocoons, I’ve been having a fairly creative and productive time here in western Mass despite there being relatively little going on. This pupating thing is working out pretty well. I even had a psychic tell me that I’m at the beginning of a serious creative period right now. Who would have guessed? I’ve never had a psychic reading before but I did enjoy it and might just do it again. In this post I will share SOME of what I’ve been up to here, and I’ll list my upcoming gigs. There aren’t many of them but they will be fun. And I mean the kind of fun that comes from not knowing exactly who you’re going to play with or what you’re going to play, but knowing that they are great people and you will make great music. I really love that. I’m finally getting some of that cold weather I would have had months ago had I stayed in Berlin. Love that frost! Last weekend Ben Belcher came out and joined Matt, Kip and me for some shows and a…

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I’m Pupating! And News of Nashville and Hunger Mountain

November 16, 2012

Well Friends, Now I’ve done it. I’ve picked up and moved back to the USA. It’s a pretty big change from living in Berlin and not at all an easy thing to do but I’m glad I took this chance and I look forward to what the future here has to offer. I’m also harboring some not-so-secret hopes to return to Europe for some visiting and performing as soon as possible… In this post I have a precious few gig announcements. Mostly I’m going to share my impressions of Nashville so far and tell you what I’ve been up to since I got back to the US. So, Nashville…! Without going into too much detail I’ll say that Nashville is very different from Berlin, especially in terms of variety in food, music, arts in general, and types of people you’ll meet. Also public transportation, that’s a big one. But the most important things are well covered and those are nice people and great music. Everyone I’ve met in Nashville so far has been super nice, and not in a fake way,…

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Big big BIG News…!

September 9, 2012

I wish I had a needle and thread Fine as I could sew I’d stitch that pretty girl to my side And down the road I’d go This is the song lyric that comes to mind as I prepare for the next big step in my life. My big news is that I’m leaving Berlin and I’m moving to Nashville in order to play full time with Nora Jane Struthers and her band. I just want to take all my friends and loved ones with me. As much as I’ve loved the experience of playing in dozens of bands at a time over the past ten years or so, I’ve always wanted to go all the way with one band. Now I have the chance to pursue that dream and I’m gonna go for it. Nora Jane is an old friend who I first met at Galaxabout ten years ago and she’s always wanted me to join her band but I’ve always been busy or overseas. I just played a couple of shows with the band and the songs are great, the group…

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Back to Screen Time

August 16, 2012

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…

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Wild Hog Pre-Release Now Available for YOU!

July 6, 2012

Happy Summertime Everybody! In this post I’m going to tell you about some of my tour highlights so far, some of the things I have coming up, and of course the big news which is that my record with Thomas Bailey and Max Johnson is now available online! So in case you don’t have time to read all my ramblings, here is the link to the album: For now only the digital download is available but if you want a physical copy either come to one of our shows or sit tight and they will become available online in the next few months. I’m so happy with the way this album turned out and I hope to be able to make a lot more like this in the future.

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Big Fat Newsletter for May. YAY.

May 20, 2012

Just trying to cut down on the exclamation points. But it’s hard!!!! Aaah, addiction… Here’s my latest news in letter form. To receive these newsletters in your own inbox simply add yourself to my email list or send me an email with the word ‘subscribe’ in the subject heading and a description of your favourite animal. (Autocorrect is making me spell things British-ly today because I’m backstage at the Thomas Dolby show in Frankfurt surreptitiously using the guitarist’s laptop to execute this ‘news’ mission. Shh!) Oh My Dear Dear Dears! How are you? I heard that the summertime has arrived in Berlin but the weather here is not so sure. Yes, I’m back in Berlin, back in front of the computer, and although we’ve had some pretty cold days lately at least I’m not hauling coal up from the cellar to keep the flat warm anymore.

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Tour Highlights from the Tour I Just Did That Was Really Good

April 19, 2012

And what a tour it was! A tour of firsts. Little firsts and big firsts. And a dearth of big fists, excepting those that pumped the air in jubilation. I think there were a lot of those type of fists. Before I get into the little things that made me smile and all the happy events that took place I have to first give you some idea of the bigger picture. I was in a special position, i.e., I got to open the show with my longtime pal Ben Belcher who I had hardly played with at all in the past two years and just any time I get to play with him it’s so so good. And then after opening I got to play part of the headline set with Thomas Dolby and his excellent band, Kevin Armstrong on guitar and Mat Hector on drums. Musically, this was very exciting and beneficial for me, especially since the two sets I played on were so different from each other. And personally, these are all just super great guys who I love to spend time with and I’m so…

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Stay Warm This February With Route 77, The New Froggy Mountain Boys Record, Now Available Online

February 17, 2012

Brrr! Shivery Greetings from Berlin, It is definitely winter here and I hope you are staying warm this February. I’m getting by, staying close to the coal oven with lots of hot tea and getting out for lovely jam sessions in warm places whenever possible. I’ve got some exciting news and I’ve got some REALLY exciting news for you in this post. You can decide which is which! I’m going to tell you about the Froggy Mountain Boys’ trip to Finland for the TunturiBlues Festival. I’m going to tell you about my gigs this month in Berlin. I’m going to tell you about my upcoming tour with Thomas Dolby. And perhaps most exciting-ly of all I’m going to tell you about the NEW ALBUM from my Berlin-based Western Swing band, the Froggy Mountain Boys! It’s called ‘Route 77’ and is now officially released to the world! We’ve worked so hard on it, recording in Berlin at Paul-Lincke Studio (Alexander Ott), mastering in London at Marylebone Studio (Pete Thomas), including fine artwork from Doug Chayka and fifteen tracks of hot swingin love from your very own Froggy Boys! OK, enough waiting,…

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