I’m home from tour now, no big travel plans in the foreseeable future (with just a few exceptions, see below), and I am really enjoying the autumn in Michigan. I’m going to catch you up on some of my recent activities and upcoming plans, but first I have to say how much I’m enjoying drinks.
Most people who know me pretty well know how much I love drinks. I don’t mean exclusively alcoholic drinks, although those are of course included, but I’ve been getting excited about making (nonalcoholic) ginger beer and drinking lots of tea as the weather finally cools off.
In February of 2015 my dear friend Ed Hicks came to visit me in Detroit and road trip with us to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. He brought with him a few years’ supply of great English tea, black tea, what you call ‘ordinary’ tea, but of course he brought us the best. We even had a tea tasting, which was illuminating, to say the least.
Another drink I’m excited about is sake, Japanese rice wine. I got some on special at Whole Foods and I’m just waiting for the right food pairing inspiration. It will probably be take-out sushi.
The other drink I’m into right now is the classic Manhattan cocktail. We did a Corn Potato show at Sugarlands Distilling in Gatlinburg, TN, recently, and I took home a jar of their Rye Apple Moonshine, which goes great in a Manhattan. I’m still trying different vermouths and bitters to see what I like the best. Anyway, the point of all this is to say that if you have any favorite drinks you think I should know about, I want to know!
All right, so where did we leave off in the saga of our journeyman adventurer AJL? I was getting ready to go on tour and now I’ve gone on tour. And what a tour it was! So many great places, great people, so much great music. I want to list highlights but everything was a highlight on this tour, really. It was great to get back to St. Louis, and to hang out for a few days in Atlanta and to make new friends there and in Florida. Hope to come back soon!
Since I’ve been home I’ve had a lot of fun going hiking in the park, visiting an apple orchard, going to see Megadeth with Amon Amarth, Suicidal Tendencies, and Metal Church, at Joe Louis Arena, karaoke and taco night in Hamtramck, Kielbasa Day at Tom’s Tavern, a great night of bluegrass also at Tom’s Tavern, playing the beautiful Robin Theater in Lansing with Red Tail Ring, and just last night playing a square dance at my friends’ wedding right here in Detroit.
I’m feeling pretty relaxed since I’m not planning any tours for the time being. This means I don’t have to stress as much about figuring out the future. It also means I’m available to play with more different people and more different kinds of music, which always makes me happy.
I do have a few things coming up I can tell you about:
– Humanity in Harmony concert in Flint next weekend — On Saturday Lindsay and I are doing a workshop/presentation on American fiddle styles (mainly focusing on old time and bluegrass), and on Sunday we are playing a concert along with many other great bands featuring string instruments as part of a tribute to Daniel Pearl. Promoting mutual respect and understanding y’all!
– Corn Potato String Band is playing the Ann Arbor Folk Festival for the first time this year! This means that Lindsay and I will play a very short duo set a week from Monday, Oct 24, at the announcement party at The Ark. Then we will play a trio set during the festival at Hill Auditorium on Saturday, Jan 28, and we will play a follow up show of our own at The Ark on Saturday, March 4, also with all three of us together. I expect to book another show or two for the trio before or after each of those dates so stay tuned for that.
– I’m taking a trip to North Carolina next month to visit friends, play a wedding, and check out the Banjo Gathering in Charlottesville, VA. I will be home in time to vote!
– And then I am going back to NC to play solo sets and with Ken Waldman at First Night Raleigh, a New Year’s Eve celebration. From there I’m going to NYC to play a bunch of shows with Wild Hog, i.e. myself, Thomas Bailey, and Max Johnson.
– Late March through mid-April I have a Home Routes duo tour with Ben Belcher in Manitoba…! To see the tour schedule follow this link and scroll down.
– May 26-28 I’m playing with Corn Potato at the Wheatland Traditional Arts Weekend in Remus, Michigan. Also teaching workshops. Looking forward to it!
And that’s about everything I have planned for now. I’m sure more things will pop up so keep an eye on these emails and on my online calendar.
Before I go I better tell you about what I’ve been reading (besides the nonpartisan Voter Guide from the League of Women Voters…) — I just started reading an article in The New Yorker magazine about a future without cash. It’s funny because I just listened to a podcast about the same thing. Seems hard to imagine but I do remember busking in Scandinavia and people asking if we took cards. (We didn’t and nobody had cash so we didn’t do too well.) But in the podcast they said that local beggars are provided with card readers so people can give them money without using cash.
I also started reading The Men Who Stare At Goats, by Jon Ronson. I saw the movie years ago and didn’t really get it, but the book is wonderfully funny, absurd, and kind of scary just because it’s a true story and he’s writing about very high ranking members of the U.S. military and their wacked out ideas. It’s a juxtaposition I can enjoy.
And I went out to the movies recently. A new, independent movie theater just opened in Detroit, called Cinema Detroit, and I went to see The Birth of a Nation. I have to say it was hard to watch but I would definitely recommend it. It’s a well-made film, very powerful, and I was worried it would be too Hollywood for the subject matter but I think it was tastefully done.
I feel like I’m forgetting something. If you can think of what it is please remind me, I have no idea. I’m still wobbling, like a punching bag after it’s done being pummelled. But I’m also feeling very grateful and very privileged for all the wonderful people who took care of us on the road and for my in-progress house in Detroit and my friends here and in the area (that’s including all of Michigan, Ohio, Chicago…) I am open to suggestions for things I should look into for 2017, please feel free to send any and all ideas, websites, contacts, I appreciate it all.
Hope to see you again soon!
P.S. If for any reason you don’t want to receive these e-mails just write and let me know and I’ll take your name off. I don’t want to spam people so if you want off just let me know and it shall be done.
P.P.S. I realized what I forgot was to post a lot of videos. We got a lot of good videos that came out on youtube recently. I’m not going to post them here but if you want to find them you can always just search Corn Potato String Band on youtube and set the filter for most recent or whatever. There’s some good ones!