1, 2005 (Clearwater, MN)
I wound up the fall tour last week and look forward to a peaceful
December around here. There's a little snow on the ground and
it's gorgeous outside. Brewster and I just came in from our daily
jaunt in the woods.
of this month will be spent booking the summer tour for '06. Oh,
and trying to come up with a good present for Tammy. They tell
me the stores have been crowded so far, and that's great! Everyone
should be shopping NOW so that when I get out to the mall in a
couple of weeks, I might actually find a place to park.
I shop, I generally go without any idea of what gift to buy. I
wander around (and around and around) looking through every aisle,
hoping something will spark an idea. I usually see lots of things
I would like for myself. I guess "It's better to give than to
receive" applies only to things you give to someone else? So I
try to rationalize that Tammy would enjoy a new laser equipped
Skillsaw. Eventually I know it can't be justified, so I wander
off to the next store. Hmmm, new headphones for the studio? I
so it goes, until I find just the perfect gift for her.
At least, Tammy always tells me it's the perfect gift. She's a
good woman, that Tammy. :)
18, 2005 (Vermillion, SD)
I just finished a wonderful concert at the National Music
Museum. It was a full house - with some folks even set up in the
hallway on extra folding chairs. I’ve done a lot of shows in this
part of South Dakota over the years so it’s always a treat to
come back. If you’ve never been to the National Music Museum,
it’s on campus at the University of South Dakota and well worth
the visit. Old, rare and beautiful instruments of all kinds make
up this three story building. My friend Andre Larson, who also
happens to be the head cheese here, gave me a personal tour of
the new “guitar” room. If you’re at all interested in seeing some
of the best guitars ever made, this is the place to go, not to
mention all the other cool instruments. Stop in and say "Hi"
to Andre for me.
battling a lung/allergy thing that began somewhere in Ohio last
month. I was in Lincoln, Nebraska a couple of days ago and could
hardly find the voice to sing. Very kind and patient people there,
putting up with the snorts and hacking in between songs. A lovely
image, eh? Thanks to the Jacoby’s for taking me out to the finest
buffet I’ve ever experienced at Valentino’s. I waddled out of
there wondering how to bring a franchise to Minnesota. Maybe I’m
just a sucker for any place that has kalamate olives in its dishes?
too, to Bill and Sandy Thurmond in Lincoln for letting me crash
at their house. Bill is a music enthusiast who used to be a school
principal in my home town of St. Cloud, Minnesota.
14, 2005 (Charlottesville, VA)
Greetings from the beautiful home of Len and Ginny Jaffe, where
I’ll be doing a house concert tomorrow night. Len and I have been
trying to work out this concert date for about 5 years, maybe
longer. He first called me after hearing my Perfect Morning CD,
and that came out in ‘98? Glad the routing finally worked out.
I don’t get to the east coast as often as I used to. Back in the
day when I played mostly colleges, I’d get out here at least twice
It’s tough for a Midwesterner to travel out east. We don’t seem
to drive fast enough and thus end up being honked at or given
an honorary salute.
on the east coast, many towns and cities have “rotaries”. In the
Midwest, the Rotary is a worthwhile civic club that the local
town leaders belong to, meeting on Saturday afternoons, drinking
weak coffee, griping about the mayor and sharing the “secret handshake”
before getting around to doing good deeds for others. But on the
east coast, a rotary (also known as a “roundabout”) is a small circular "road" that replaces an intersection,
with several different entrances and exists, and NO stop signs.
With the popularity of NASCAR, cell phones and tourists, rotaries
strike fear into anyone with a weak heart.
I noticed last month that those darn radicals in Nashville have
come up with an innovative scheme to slow traffic through their
downtown rotary. They recently put a bunch of nude statues right
in the center of it all! Amazingly, traffic does move slower,
though I wonder how many accidents may have been caused by inattentive
I was in Chicago a few days ago, a city equally famous for it’s
toll roads and fine restaurants. I blew a lot of money on both.
By request, Darlyne Cain and I did an impromptu couple of songs
before a spirited (and I mean “spirited”) and packed house at
the Bucktown Pub. Dar and I also met up with musician friend Alice
Peacock who’s new album should be out any day now. Like her previous
releases, I’m sure it will be outstanding.
So after the house concert here in Charlottesville tomorrow, I
head to Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is about a 500 miles drive.
Gas is about $3 a gallon. If you're a stockholder in Exxon Oil,
I think the least you can do is send
me a Christmas card and a little "thank you" note. :)
18, 2005 (Prior Lake, MN)
Darlyne Cain left yesterday for Chicago. She's been gigging with
me the last few weeks. We also recorded a bunch of songs for her
new CD, which I'm producing. This is going to be an awesome CD! www.DarlyneCain.com
you ready to say, "OOOH, AHHHHH"?
finally convinced me to enter the world of cell phones.
I've resisted this technology, if for no other reason than it's
one more piece of equipment to keep track of while I'm traveling.
But thanks to ALL OF YOU who have cell phones, the phone companies
don't see the need for pay phones anymore. Twice so far I've forgotten
to turn off the ringer and have had the cell phone go off at my
own concert. Now THAT'S embarrassing! I did get a headset, so
when I'm driving I can still keep both hands on the wheel. It's
kind of fun to be able to call in the middle of a long days drive
in western Nebraska and to tell Tammy, "Hey, I just saw a tree!"
10, 2005 (Brookings, SD)
Okay, it warmed up! Brookings is always hot in July and this year
at the big arts festival, it's no different. Nice to be back,
though. I've played this festival many times over the years. While
I lost count, they claim over 100,000 people show up for the weekend
fest. Isn't that more than South Dakota's whole population? All
I know is Margie and the gang put on a great party and I've pleased
to be a part of it. An interesting note about Brookings is that
Jimmy Buffet once lived here, very briefly. As the story goes,
he was living in a trailer on the west edge of town, going to
summer school at the University when he got a glimpse of a tornado
heading towards the trailer park. Apparently, after that, he decided
to take his chances with hurricanes in Alabama. I guess they give
you more warning?
made it home for the 4th of July weekend. I never take gigs over
the fourth. That's family time. So yesterday we went on an adventure,
in search of LOST LAKE! My Dad and my brothers used to fish and
duck hunt at this hidden oasis, tucked deep into a state forest
of North Central Minnesota, accessible only by four wheel drive.
Being too young (the excuse they gave me), I never got to go with
them. As soon as I WAS old enough, they quit going.
few times, in recent years, I've discussed this with my brothers
and we even made an unsuccessful attempt at finding this mysterious
that all changed last weekend. Tammy and I, along with neighbor
Theresa and her grandson Lief, piled into the Geo Tracker and
set off on an expedition. With no maps (and consequently several
U turns), we four-wheeled through mud and muck and came to a stop
at a beautiful, undeveloped little lake where several others were
camped out. They confirmed that we had found Lost Lake!
says, "So it's not lost anymore?" My question was, "How
did all these other people find it?"
I thought about my Dad a lot that afternoon. He passed away years
ago. I think he was my own little GPS, guiding
me through the woods to the jewel he never got to show me.
7, 2005 (North Logan, Utah)
Well, who would've thought this time of year would be freezing
cold in Utah! The road over the pass was closed with six feet
of snow, so I had to sneak in the back way, going north and west
around the mountains. I toured out here a couple of years ago
in early June and it was in the 90's every day. So far this week,
it's been in the 40's and 50's. Last night in Provo we had 998
very enthusiastic folks. The Fire Marshall cut us off, otherwise
we would've had even more in the grand old ballroom.
to Salt Lake City tomorrow, in search of warm weather and a good
dark roast coffee....
28, 2005 (Warner Family Cabin, Northern Minnesota)
May has been a busy month with school programs and presentations
around the BEADS ON ONE STRING Project (www.WarnerSongs.com/project).
It's amazing how creative the schools are with presenting the
concept to the kids. There's nothing I've done in 21 years of
performing that's been as rewarding as seeing kids grab a hold
of the message and to take it to heart. We've got a long ways
to go in better understanding and respecting differing beliefs
and cultures, but these kids are on the right path. "We're all
Beads on One String..."
this month, I got to catch up with Bill Miller (www.BillMiller.net),
a musician originally from Wisconsin who moved to Nashville many
years ago. We lost touch along the way. He's had a great career,
including a multi record deal with Warner Bros. Nice to see him
having such great success with his newest CD on Paras Records.
Wednesday, June 1st, I'll be the guest of honor at the ORDWAY
THEATER in St. Paul. They're using my song BEADS ON ONE STRING
as the kick off to their International Children's Festival. From
there I head to Des Moines, IA for a show with Mustard's Retreat,
then out to the Rocky Mountains. I'll be on the road mostly 'til
the end of July. Wave if you see me.....
15, 2005 (Home Sweet Home, Minnesota)
I've been enjoying this new coffee grinder that Tammy gave me
for Christmas. I found out today that when you're grinding the
beans, make sure the little plastic cup is in place to "catch"
the coffee after being ground up. It's amazing how far coffee
can travel in it's powdered state. In an instant, I was covered
in expresso roast. You can imagine what the kitchen looked like.
If nothing else, this experience will teach me keep the cupboard
doors closed. Well, maybe...
been a busy winter tour-wise, but things are slowing down now
for a couple of months. Plenty of time to regenerate for the summer
tour which will kick off in Utah! I can't wait...
new LIVE CD is out! Samples are available for listening on the MUSIC page. It's a great representation
of me in concert with the band and also as a solo artist. This
is just volume 1. Volume 2 has been recorded and will be released
later this year.
think it's time for a cup of coffee...wish me luck. :)
21, 2005 (Clearwater, MN)
Well, it's finally snowing. YEAH! Last week was actually our
first real snowfall of the season, with 7 inches. Brewster (The
Wonder Dog) took us out for a snowshoe hike in the woods. It was
awesome. Now today, we might get another 5-7 inches. Funny, but
I especially like the snow when I'm not on tour...
been doing several school programs this month with the The
Beads on One String Project. It has been great fun
and I thank Royalton Elementary School for the terrific response
at the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) concert last night. 400+ enthusiastic
parents, teachers and kids.
Next week I head to Des Moines and the Lighthouse for a benefit
concert for neuromuscular disorders. My friend Chris Stark has
ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's Disease). Alice Peacock, Dave Moore and others will be there, too, with guitars in hand. The Des
Moines Register did a nice feature in the January 20th edition.
I'm sure you can find the article on the internet.
writer Julie Rust's new CD is a really good one. Check it out! www.JulieRust.com. It
just so happens that yours truly has a couple of co-writes on
the album... :)