2013 Fall Newsletter

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I’m so late posting this fall 2013 newsletter, that in about five minutes I’ll post the spring newsletter for 2014! Oh well.  Better late than never?  My last blog left off in late spring of 2013, so this one picks up in early summer of 2013.
In June I made it down to play the Crossroads Music Company in Winnsboro.  It’s a cool little vintage town, with lovely restaurants, and I loved the venue.  Very intimate!  From there I headed down to the Kerrville Folk Festival where I hosted the ballad tree and did a showcase for Camp Sweetness & Light.  The next night I got invited by my friend Michael D’eath to sing with his harmonica circle, and I sat in with “I Don’t Need A Man”. It was the first and no doubt the last time I’ll ever sing that song with TWENTY harmonica solos in it! It was mind blowing.  I had not been to Kerrville since I played the mainstage several years ago, so I had a great time prowling the campfires with all the other pickers, sitting in here and there.  I especially enjoyed sitting in with accordion master Radislav (who was on Prairie Home Companion just a few nights earlier) and hearing him play on “I Want To Touch You”.  Kerrville is the festival where I won the songwriting competition in 2004.  Needless to say it’s one of my faves. After Kerrville I headed for Austin where I taped the podcast, and then down to Houston where I played Anderson Fair finally.   Love that venue!
May took me east up to Baltimore  for a lovely house concert in a great old foursquare.  My host was celebrating her husband’s new “Judgeship” and it was a great party with a whole table of crab, to say nothing of incredible dishes.  I LOVE playing house concerts.  Not only do I make new friends and get to sing in a really intimate environment with no drunks yelling across the room, I get to eat the most delicious food! On the way out of town I stopped at Fort McHenry where (a rather handsome) Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner”.  I was astonished to learn the song was originally a waltz!   From Baltimore I got to visit my cousin Karen a day or two, and then played a cool concert series “Focus Presents” in Rockville, MD.  The next day I drove down through the smokies to Asheville, NC for the annual Southeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference.

Smoky Mountain Rain

It was in a word FABULOUS.  Not only did I get seen and heard by many venues who offered me gainful employment, I also learned a lot from the workshops, and bonded much more deeply with my fellow traveling bards. It was so great to chew the fat with other singer songwriters about life on the road touring.  It probably seems to the fans that we all know each other well, but only at festivals and conferences do we perform at the same place and the same time.  I know it’s a cliche, but life on the road when you perform solo can get a bit lonely.April was a busy month, with shows in Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. In Nebraska I was hosted in a house concert by my friends Addie & Pat, at their beautiful home in Weeping Water.  It was a GREAT party, with fabulous food besides the (ahem) stellar musical talent.  (If you are interested in hosting me in a concert some time, email me back and I’ll send you some info about it.)  The next day I had the chance to be on Deb Anderson’s “The wimmin’s show” on KZUM radio in Lincoln, NE and several friends stopped by the station so we all went out for lunch after. From NE I headed down to Kansas, where I performed a week of shows for the arts and humanities project in Coffeyville, KS, Then it was on to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In ABQ I did a show for the Sandia Heights Coffeehouse.  What a gorgeous city, and what incredible hosts!  Linda & Kerney Bolton put me up in their stunning house at the base of the tram, (Kerney is an architect) and took me to dinner there.  There was a view of the whole town, and it was such beautiful weather.  The show was great too, and I was thrilled to be asked to do an encore.  I spent the next day rolling around up in Santa Fe, where I visited the Western exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum.  It was like taking a step backwards in time to when I was a kid on my dad’s ranch.  Viewing the old ranch photos from the 50s and 60s, and seeing the tack, clothing, and art, was rather emotional for me.  Santa Fe is stunning, and well worth a visit.

I then meandered down to Alamogordo, NM where I had the chance to be on KALH radio with Ken Bass.  Ken was the first DJ to play my new CD and has given me lots of airplay so I really appreciated the chance to meet him in person.  I played a lovely coffeehouse down there called “Stumpy’s”  and also did a house concert for “Alamogordo Live”.   When it was time to drive home, I took the back way through Roswell.  I didn’t see any aliens, but I saw some beautiful scenery and an interesting VW cemetery.


I left Nashville at the end of July, and my first stop was the Lupus General Store. Lupus is about 500 feet from the Missouri River, on the other side of it from Columbia, MO. The store is a very old building that reminded me a lot of my grandfather’s store in North Dakota.  It’s a brick shotgun, and with those old tin tiles on the ceiling the acoustics were fabulous. The weather was perfect too, and the audience was open, fun loving, and generous. I had a great time!

The next night I performed in a 150 year old barn in Weeping Water, NE.  It’s south of Omaha and east of Lincoln, and again the weather was perfect!  It was about 75 degrees, and at the end of July it could have easily been 100!  The barn, being made of wood (natch) and several stories tall had terrific acoustics just like the Lupus store, and I was wishing I could have recorded both shows.  My voice sounded so incredible in these two venues that I felt like an Italian Opera star. The evening was especially fine thanks to a great visit with a couple of my moms girlfriends, Addie Idler and Leslie Howard. It is so wonderful to have people in your life who remember your parents, only I can’t look at them when I sing “His Left Side” or I wont get through the song!

From Nebraska I pushed on to Denver where I did a show at a new venue called Starlite Station which is nestled in the center of a cloister of art galleries. I have played in many Colorado towns in the past but this was my first show in Denver. It was a combination of work and vacation as I was also able to see my Aunt Eloise and a couple cousins while I was there.

The next night I performed in Centennial, Wyoming.  It’s a small town up against the base of the Rockies, and I sang in a bar rather than a concert venue like I usually perform in.  The audience was well oiled when I got there, and after I sang a Patsy Cline song it was obvious how the evening was going to go.  I spent the rest of the night singing every old Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and Willie Nelson song I could think of.  I had not sung those songs for a long time and I had a blast, mostly because the audience did too.  Normally I won’t take a bar gig, but Wyoming was a bucket list show as I’ve now performed in 48 of the 50 states! This is where I stopped for breakfast the next morning…

After a quick swing through Boise at the beginning of August I was on my way up to Seattle.  I was born in Tacoma, so performing on KBCS radio was something of a bucket list performance as well.  I  played a house concert up there at my friend Mike’s beautiful home overlooking a lake, followed the next night by a show at “Kenyon Hall”, a venue that has been in existence since my parents dated in that town. During my show at Kenyon Hall I got a wild hair and dumped my set list in favor of playing some new songs.  I’m planning a new CD, and it occured to me that I better start playing the new songs in public so I can see what the response is to them. It’s a brave thing to do.  We who do this for a living know which songs are guaranteed to get a good reaction, and it’s tough to cut one out of the set list to make room for a new one.  Still, if you aren’t willing to flop, show biz isn’t the right career to choose!

From Seattle I drove south through a forest fire down into Northern CA.  It was far enough away that it wasn’t scary, but still plenty smokey.  Mount Shasta was much closer than it appears in this photo, because of the smoke.

The perfect upper 70s weather followed me from Seattle down into Northern California where I played several shows and made my annual pilgrimage to see some dear friends.  I don’t know what I would do if I had to give up the road.  I’d miss my friends all over the country so much, and especially Northern CA as I grew up there.  My old school chum Marsha hosted yet another show for me in her stunning home in Los Altos Hills on 8/9, and the next night I played a show at the “Woodshed” at Keith Holland Guitars in Los Gatos. LG is where I cut my teeth in show biz long ago. My first partner and first love Chuck McCabe and I lived there and the venue is named after his record label, which was named after the bar on Cape Cod where we performed.  It was a full circle night, with many of his friends in attendance.  I just wish he had been there too, but sadly he passed away to pancreatic cancer a few years ago.  I did get to share the night with one of his best friends however, Jay Howlett.

The following weekend I performed a house concert in stunningly beautiful South Lake Tahoe at he home of some friends who first heard me sing back when I lived in LA in the early 80s!  They had recordings of me that even I didn’t have!

From Tahoe it was down to Pismo Beach to play Steve Key’s Songwriter series.  I had a stunningly beautiful drive down Route one through Big Sur.  God was having a REALLY good day when it did this…

I went on to play Noble House Concerts in Van Nuys (North LA), and then went down to San Diego to play the San Diego Songwriters Showcase which was killer fun because I got to play with a band, and had a lot of fans show up.  I had to backtrack up to LA from there for the Western Arts Alliance conference where I was humbled by the response from bookers. It was pretty darn exciting!  The next day I headed for Texas.  This was the sunset I saw just outside El Paso. As the sky grew darker, I saw “international roaming” on my phone, and lights began to appear over to my right.  It was the Mexican border.   A lot of hope crosses that border.  I after a couple shows in Texas, including “The Rock Room” which is a way cool venue, I headed for home.

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