Monday, April 25, 2011

Poster drawn by Chris Engle

Spring Tour Reflection

Spring is an excellent time of year to leave behind the "mud" season New England is stuck in and take in all the beauty and smells of Virginia, North Carolina Tennessee and even Pennsylvania in the springtime. The warm air comes sooner. I wished I packed sandles. We got to "pollinate" some ideas and new music with bugs and bees working hard to do the same right alongside us.

We began our tour in the company of a wonderful family who run Gypsy Joint in Great Barrington, MA. Their menu offers unique and homemade foods vegetarian and otherwise for all tastes. Family owned and operated with the youngsters running around underfoot. We were well received by a mixed audience which included adults and children. Then we rambled on to the Red and White Cafe in DeRuyter, NY. This small town in the Adirondack region hasn't changed much since the 50's. Owner operator Chris strives to preserve what's worth preserving by operating the Red and White out of the restored former general store of DeRuyter. Great Food and Coffee and occasional live music lure in folks from town. In homage to the days weather we played our best rainy day songs (including our version of Leadbelly's "Lotta Rain"). Our audience seemed entertained by Mark's dry wit.

In Scottdale, PA we found some excellent company at a new venue called The Table. Though usually closed on Sundays they hosted our show anyways with an appreciative audience. We met several active members of the community including Phil Haddad who co Authored a book offering quotes from the political career of Ron Paul with local writer Roger Marsh. Marsh is also main contributor for and filmed an independant Film entitled "Mars Attacks Mt. Pleasant" in Scottdale, Pa utilizing many local residents as the cast and crew. We were given a copy of this film but have not yet been able to watch it. Many thanks to our friend Chris Engle for hosting us , setting up this show and drawing up a wonderful poster of our likenesses.

We spent a few days in beautiful Northern Virginia recharging and exploring. We were fetured on WNRN in Charlottesville, VA Acoustic Sunrise on April 20. Then headed down to Johnson City, TN for a show at Acoustic Coffehouse. Bluegrass musicians are so common down here you can even find them pickin' on a song in the Laundromat.

Through some strange cosmic coincidence on April 21rst (4-21) we headed off to Davidson, NC on route 421. We spent the day enjoying a local park where the pond was brimming with Turtles, Ducks, Geese and huge Carp. We had some amazingly good Pizza at an old auto garage converted into a restaurant called Fuel. Concluding the evening we got to perform outside at Summit Coffee with two of the areas most talented songwriters. Chuck Johnson "The Charlie Horse" and our host Rob McHale. Rob hosts a songwriters showcase at Summit every month. We got to listen to both of their records in our travels and each CD reinforces what great songwriters these two guys are. We got to spend some extra time with Rob McHale and find out that many of songs are references to area landmarks or local historic places.

Then we returned to one of our favorite venues The White Hart. Every time we visit we notice that this place has grown and improved. The conversations are always so good that we find it hard to leave.

Finally we concluded our Spring tour at the Conwego Cafe in Elizabethtown, PA. We were received warmly by owner/operator Marti who accompanied our performance beautifully on her oboe. This cafe is housed is a beautiful 1870's Victorian home with very ornate and interesting features. Performing from the turreted corner of the front room we were very pleased with the wonderful acoustic offerings of the high ceilings and old hard plaster walls. The cafe website has some interesting history on the home. We also had the pleasure of meeting Michelle and Paul from the band Shipwrecks who provided us with some great hospitality. Elizabethtown happens to be nestled right in between the M&M Mars candy Factory and Hershey, PA so it smells of chocolate all the time.

Tours always leave us feeling re-energized to continue to reach out to people in our own way. We met many great new friends during this trip and felt that many of these performances were just where we should have been at the time. The kindness and hospitality of strangers and folks you have just met renews our sense in the goodness of humanity. Thank you to all those who helped us along our way. We will be posting more pictures and video as they come to us. Thank you for being part of our journey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Oh Tour! Oh Tour! So i think there is a weird bunch of emotions that one goes through while traveling for a long period of time. It can be exciting and awe-inspiring but it can also rattle your nerves and tolerances. Especially those tolerances for other people. But then when you come home you are faced with a whole new set of emotions. In a weird way it is sort of depressing to return back to all your routines and for us our very busy and stressful "lives" we live when not touring. As I glance over my schedule for the next month I think to myself "Jeez how am I gonna fit it all in?" And I haven't even started thinking about music yet.

Though I could do without a long drive anyplace for awhile, it is weird to go from spending almost every night witnessing some kind of art, as well as meeting new people, and now back to barely having time for it. Sometimes when you step away from the norms of your life for a little while you start to see how far away your reality has become from the way you actually want to live. The House always looks weird to me when we return from a long trip. I see my own Ruts. This time upon return we spent the whole first day back just cleaning and moving furniture and rearranging. As if we needed to keep in motion. Save momentum. Move on from our patterns of living over the summer so as not be sucked back into the same old thing. The same old thing seems broken somehow. When I see it I wonder how these routines were working for me before because they don't seem to be now. I wonder how they ever worked for me. It is hard for me to figure out where I am actually most comfortable. Home or The Road?

Thursday, November 11, 2010


“Some days are diamonds,” and of others I am reminded of a friend’s slogan “I got a rock,” quoted from the Peanuts Christmas Special.

The existence of that small business – whether cafe, art gallery, lounge or cycle shop – is similar to that of the artist within the larger scope of towns and cities as they stand today: bottom feeders in the desert.

In each, the valuable stories of past and recent heroes haunt the streets and scurry through the backroom conversations and anti-climactic constructivist dialogue.
We are all living in filth up to our necks, alongside vermin with the bugs, looking up at vultures who wait for us to drop. And to think those crafty marketeers romanticize this lifestyle and hand it back revamped and fashionable – at a price no more or less perverted in our expedient economic doldrums.

It can be so because we let it be. Is all good? Is all free?

The artist makes good works, not without refinement. Who dictates this refinement – the artist himself, or is it through the audiences’ unbridled want? Does the audience want art or does the audience want what it wants? The less amount of physiological noise, to belong, to be handed the script, to not dig – OR – to be excited by unknowns, to have doubts, to dream uncensored, to be happily lost.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Hey there! Writing to you from Milledgeville, GA. It is a warm and lovely day. We are back to the east coast again on the home stretch of our tour. In respect to our situation we have been feeling like most of this tour has been just a reconnaissance mission for future tours. Though sometimes that means we find this out by visiting the "wrong" places first and finding out where we should have gone. Or people sharing with us more spaces to look into. All of it encouragement for our future. Which we are already working on. Planning for a late feb/march tour and then a second walking tour in late spring/early summer and then another Fall tour. Now is a good time for requests if any of you have some places you would like us to go so you can see us. And of course if you are friends or family we will be visiting as many of you as we can. It is apparent that without such support we would not have made it this far. Our feeling is that we are building some sort of momentum... Snowballin' if you will. And that feeling makes it all worth doing. However as Mark and I grow very tired from long drives in the car and late nights, we happily anticipate recording something new this winter. And the idea that we may be able to bring a band with us next time. And finding a new vehicle to travel with like maybe a conversion van. We have had many long hours to dream about this exciting future ahead. And many long hours to reflect on our experiences thus far and the hospitality and support we have received. And the gratitude we feel. If you are ever feeling down about people not showing enough kindness toward each other than I encourage you take a road trip, "give it up to the universe" (as a friend of ours said once) and see what you find. This country is amazing and full of amazing people.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


As we move along from state to state, a conversation is continued among those we meet; the theme is one of perspective and another of perseverance. I am reminded of a lyric left on my chest back home – “from where I’m standin’ you all seem like you’re waiting for your love to return.” In Illinois, I was told that making others believe that you are, indeed, an artist or important supersedes the act of creating. Hence, it doesn’t matter what you make as long as people perceive that what you’re making is grand. This trickery involves imagery, slogan making, branding, and the conquering of social networks such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. Although undoubtedly powerful tools in the game of garnering support, I believe that these mechanisms are doing nothing more than creating “fans,” a term now rebranded as, I guess, “likers.” The trouble with this is “how much thought goes into liking something?”

Any time spent advertising is time away from creating and of course one may argue that the marketing process is and can be part of the creation, but I disagree. A few years ago the buzz word was “artfully” or “artfulness,” so then each task aside from the actual creation of art could be managed “artfully” therefore cleansing one’s conscience of that dreadful sensation which corresponds with selling oneself.

Many artists continue these conversations ad infinitum for a lack of understanding - reaching out as if within the plethora of social networks and among countless “friends” they remain answerless. Where is the community, where is the support – if the questions are still being asked and some still feel hopeless?
Maybe the community was never there, maybe the support has been stolen, maybe the infrastructure is corrupt and maybe the route is wrong.

Unless it is your route.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tour Day 9

We have spent the last few days traveling around the Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. We made some new friends but we also got to spend a good amount time with some dear old friends. People who live in this part of the US and the way people live out here feels much different than back home in Massachusetts. Our friend John commented that he frequently misses turns because many intersections lack any sort of character to distinguish them from other because they all look the same. Which is true. Corporate chains have invaded much of this landscape but in contrast to where we are from it is not in replacement of small town main streets, the chain stores are everywhere because there was not anything at all around before they came in. It is a strange concept for us to grasp because Massachusetts has such an old and rich heritage but much of the land in the Midwest was not settled until much later. There are not many houses or buildings older than 100 years at the most. It is also strange (compared to New England) to see a landscape so flat and expansive where you can see for miles and miles but this land is all cultivated. It is all being used to feed America. The other day we drove through a section of Indiana where hundreds of acres of farm land also hosted hundreds of wind turbines all turning away slowly. A doubly industrious use of the same land. I feel a strange sort of energy here. Part of me is proud and awestruck by the immense expanse of cultivated land but another part of me wonders how necessary all this corn is. Not to mention all this land that has been altered to serve that purpose. Was this all trees before?? Where are all the animals?? What was this land like before the farms??