“Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet” Is Ever-So-Officially Released

Dear Friends, Folks, and Family,

I know it hasn’t been that long since my last newsletter but it’s probably going to be a long time until the next one, and I have a lot of great news for you! What I would like to do here is give you all the big news first and then save my rambling reflections on life for the end. I’ll also give you the punchline to this joke, a recent favorite I got from our local auto mechanic. I’ve been telling everyone I meet: “What’s the best thing about Switzerland?” (Scroll down to the end for the punchline.)

That’s right, and you heard it here (or on Facebook) first. There’s not much more for me to say, except to please check it out. Listen for free on CDBaby, buy physical copies (Christmas is just around the corner!) and downloads from CDBaby, or stream/buy from our website and tell the world how much you love it. I really considered spending a big chunk of change on a PR campaign for this record but I decided not to. If we can do as well with this one as we did with the last one then we should be fine. Of course I want to expand the reach of the band and our music, and to get into the ears of anyone that might be interested, but I have to be patient and let it happen on its own because we don’t have a budget for PR and we don’t tour enough for it to seem worthwhile to push that hard. We’re doing this grassroots style. So I rely on you — If you like what we’re doing, please help us out by spreading the word and buying our music. Oh, and coming to our shows!

are up on our website and they are still being updated but we are mostly set now with May in the US and June in England, Wales, and Scotland. See the website for all the infos but for our US tour we will be in Knoxville, Kalamazoo, South Haven (MI), Flint, Saginaw, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Rockton (PA), Albany, Cambridge, Philly, Baltimore, Strasburg (VA), Berryville (VA), and Takoma Park.

Locally our biggest show we are really trying to promote is in Ann Arbor, at The Ark on Sunday, May 15, the week after Mother’s Day. Tickets are available here. (Hint: Moms love us.) And to sweeten the deal a whole lot more, Lac La Belle will be opening the show for us!

The Detroit Square Dance Society will host its last dance of the season on Thursday, May 12 at the Gaelic League in Corktown, Detroit. Potluck at 6:30, flatfooting with Hannah Lewis (my sis!) at 7, Southern squares with Lindsay McCaw calling from 7:30-11. The band will include but is not limited to myself, Ben Luttermoser and Rachel Pearson (of Behind The Times). I guarantee that there will be special secret surprise guests. I also guarantee that you will have an extremely excellent fun time if you can make it out to this dance. All that or your money back. ($10 suggested donation, no one turned away. All dances taught, no experience necessary.)

The Corn Potato String Band was featured in an episode of a BBC program called Normal for Norfolk. This show focuses on Wiveton Hall Farm and its wonderful owner, Desmond, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the last couple times I played there. The show makes it seem like hosting a bluegrass band from the US is sort of a desperate attempt to raise some money but it also shows how much fun it is, and how worth it it is (beyond financial benefit) to try and get lots of people from the community together for some live music and dancing. I also appreciated seeing how much effort went into preparing for our show in the barn. You can watch the whole half-hour episode here.

My college alumni magazine just published a sweet article about yours truly. I think their circulation is in the hundreds, possibly thousands, so I’m getting pretty big. Just saying. Check it out here.

Last night I played a wedding for the first time with a regional mega-band that specializes in weddings and corporate events, playing Top 40 cover songs, and I had a blast. (I call it a mega-band because there are dozens of musicians involved who will split up and play multiple events in different cities at the same time. It’s very organized and professional, something I’m not so accustomed to but I sure can appreciate. The real name of the group is The Bluewater Kings.) For one thing, everyone involved has a great attitude and they are all great musicians. For another thing, it’s a wedding! That means everyone is there to party, they’re all in a great mood, there’s lots of great food and drink, lots of dancing, what’s not to love? Also, the pay is pretty good. But I’ve mainly been reflecting on how a gig like this gives me some perspective on my career as a musician. I like that most of the songs are great fun to play and some of them are just horrible radio hits that I can’t stand. How many musicians throughout the ages have had the privilege of playing whatever they want and never playing songs they don’t like? I take pride in identifying with the grand tradition of being a working musician, i.e., playing what the people want to hear. And I’m lucky enough to spend a lot of my time playing just the songs I want to play, with the people I want to play with and in the places where I choose to play, for people that actually enjoy the music I’m playing. Wow!

And with that, I will leave you. I did finish reading The Best American Mystery Stories of 2014, and I am still reading The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes (published 1975). The pile of books I want to read is stacking up, literally, but I don’t anticipate having much time to read this summer as I tend to do all the driving when we’re on the road. Until next time, and I hope to see you again soon, I go now.

Corn Potatotastically Yours,
“I don’t know either… but the flag is a big plus!”