December 21, 2013
Cocoa Beach, FL
Spent the day at NASA. My first time there. Very impressive! As you may know I love being outside in nature, especially at night when all the stars are in their glory. Is there life on another planet? All the dreaming and thinking that goes on when staring into space. I rode in the "Space Shuttle Experience", simulating a shuttle launch. Wow! That was powerful.
It was also neat to relive the memories of the 1969 moon landing, watching Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. I remember that day. My mom thankfully knew the importance of that moment, calling me into the house to watch the TV, interrupting a seven year olds failing attempt at making a peddle car like the one on Gilligan's Island!
November 9, 2013
An Amazing night at Scanland Hall. They tell me it's been nine years since I was last here. That was over 900 concerts ago! I appreciated the warm welcome back. At one of those previous concerts, we couldn't go out for a beer afterward because the bars closed at 10pm in Topeka. Tonight we were able to go out for a bit as they now close at midnight.
These folks really treat their performers well. Thanks to Deb for bringing me the home- made apple pie.
Interestingly, while trying to find my host Carolyn's house at midnight, I pulled into the wrong driveway and parked by the garage, where I started to unload my van. Fortunately, I figured it out before I opened the front door.
It's amazing how fast I got things back in the van and how quietly I backed out of the driveway. Hey, is it my fault there were five white houses in a row?
Glad the folks didn't call the cops on me.
October 21, 2013
Gloucester City, NJ
After a harrowing NASCAR type drive through Philadelphia, I am happily checked into my hotel. Gotta get back into east coast driving mode.Vroom, vroom.
The fall colors have been great on this tour. And I loved the concerts in Naperville, IL and Columbus, OH. Tomorrow I'm a few miles away in Haddonfield, NJ then up to New York City and a radio interview on WBAI in Harlem with Bob Fass. It will be good to hang out with my music buddy and New Jersey native Dennis McDonough.
September 16, 2013
I'm not on the road, I'm on the water, snuggled into my cozy sailboat cabin on Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota. This afternoon I performed a "Beads on One String" program at Onamia Elementary School, about a half hour west of here, on the edge of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Nation. Despite my sound system deciding it wanted to remain on summer vacation, it was a wonderful day with some awesome kids.
After the concert, being so close to the marina, naturally I had to come over and check on the boat. Naturally, right? I had a beautiful few hours of sailing, arriving back to the marina just after sunset. I have bagels, nutella and a couple of apples. I'm good to go and look forward to a peaceful night sleeping on my favorite water bed.
August 30, 2013
It's been a very interesting week as I completed my first stint on jury duty. I was a bit apprehensive, wondering how difficult it would be to find someone guilty knowing it might mean a long time behind bars for them. I'm all about forgiveness and working through issues, and sending someone to jail might feel like the opposite of that?
The three day trial was a facinating look at our justice system. So many procedures that need to be followed. The prosecuting attorney looked to be about 25 years old and fresh out of college. She was nervous yet you could tell she was also very bright and articulate. The defense attorney was also young and well spoken, but quite the opposite of the dynamic TV defenders like Perry Mason or my favorite, Denny Crain.
The defendant apparently didn't know it was illegal to threaten to kill someone. Actually, to kill two people. Hmmm...
Just so happens one of the people he threatend was the mother of one of his children, a now former girlfriend. Turns out he has three children under one year of age with three different women, and a new baby on the way with yet a fourth girlfriend. Which is particularily interesting since he's only been out of jail for a total of eight months in the last eleven years. Now we know what he was doing with his freedom.
Frankly, I'm surprised the threat wasn't from one of his former girlfriends!
Of course, most of this is unrelated to the charge of making terroristic threats. The defense really had no defense. The only person saying he was innocent was his attorney. The defendant didn't speak up on his own behalf. Even his mother didn't show up to say what a good boy he was. I did feel bad for him. This young man apparently had no solid family foundation growing up. I wonder who his role models were?
Yet you can't go around threating to kill people, especially if your past includes violent behavior with a gun. Hopefully, more time out of society will help him figure out how to manage the next time he is released back into society.
If nothing else, he won't be fathering any more children for a while.
August 14, 2013
What a wonderful birthday today. My good friend Paul Ernst drove up from St. Paul, MN and we took the sailboat out on Lake Mille Lacs. This is one of the larger lakes around. With good wind, it takes about 5 hours to cross from east to west. Going south to north is about 7 hours, again with ideal wind conditions. Today the winds were light and variable, meaning we motored sometimes and sailed when the wind came up. Swimming was excellent! All in all a fantastic way to celebrate another trip around the sun.
I'm working in the studio this summer on two different projects. First, recording the children's album that I received a grant to create from the Central Minnesota Arts Board. The second project is video, editing my concert from the Paramount Theater last spring. As those clips get completed they'll be posted on YouTube. Keep checking for those.
June 2, 2013
St. Paul, MN
I'm backstage right now, with about 45 minutes to go before showtime. The concert is sponsored by the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, who have been extrememly supportive of my career for many years now. Just about every June, they invite me and the band in to be a part of their major Flint Hills International Festival. A number of years ago they even made me "Guest of Honor" as they used my book "Beads on One String" as their festival theme. I love Dayna, Patricia and the crew, and the professional way they treat us.
May 8, 2013
It's really wonderful to be back here, especially when it's not below zero. For some reason, my booking agent seems to schedule me here in December or January every year. (Okay, I guess I'm the booking agent...)
One reason I love it here is Cori McRae, who teaches at Woodson Elementary. She and I connected several years ago when she was running for Miss Minnesota and used "Beads on One String" as her platform. Her enthusiasm for my music inspires me. I love continuing our friendship and stopping in to sing for her kids at Woodson every year.
Plus, like me, she's a big fan of the Minnesota Twins....
April 8, 2013
Waiting at Logan airport, heading back to Minnesota. It's been a great week. The springtime weather has been dicey in the past out here, but not this time.
I tend to not fly to a lot of gigs. If you've seen my van on tour, you know I carry a lot of stuff. Two guitars plus all the merchandise. Flying is my challenge to pare down to the bare necessities. In doing so this time, I forgot to pack socks! Hmmmm.... had to make a stop at Macy's in Boston.
This is another busy month with 15 concerts scheduled, including the big show in my hometown of St. Cloud at the Paramount Theater. Can't wait!
March 23, 2013
Great to be back in this beautiful town in the hill country of Texas, west of Austin. Tomorrow's concert here should be a lot of fun. Last night I played in Ganado, southwest of Houston about 90 minutes. The drive over here today was gorgeous with the bluebonnets in full bloom.
I had a few days off last week and stayed in Austin with my friends Gina Chavez and Jodi Granado. If nothing else, I love eating in Austin. Every restaurant I visited was terrific. The local swimming hole was closed for repairs. That would have felt good with the 90 degree temps. My local swimming hole back home in Minnesota is still under 15" of ice!
February 19, 2013
Toronto, ON Canada
I love being back in Toronto! I'm not much of a big city person, but for some reason I like it here. I'm helping Folk Alliance staffers Cindy, Liz,Caleb and Eric get ready for the international conference that starts tomorrow. Okay, they're pretty much doing all the work, and I'm running little errands here and there to help them out. They's good people!
On Sunday I performed at the Unity Church in London, Ontario. Loved it! I did get set straight on something though. During the service when we "shared the peace", everyone turned to their neighbors and shook hands. Usually with Unity, I'm used to a lot of hugging instead of hand shaking. When I asked a gentleman about this, he said, "Oh no, we don't hug. We're Canadian!"
Anyway, I laughed!
February 11, 2013
Key Largo, FL
It's been 80 degrees every day this week here in the Keys. I could get used to this life...
Flying north to Chicago to pick up the van tomorrow, then continue onward to Canada. Guess I have to resign myself to having to wear shoes again.
Poor me, I know.....
February 2, 1013
What a thrill to perform tonight on the Midnight Special. Thanks to Rich Warren, the host for inviting me and being such a strong supporter of my music. Better get to bed....flying to Miami tomorrow morning.
December 4, 2013
I've always loved Pennsylvania. It's kind of like Wisconsin, where the whole state is just beautiful. I'm at Penn State University. They actually have an ice cream making class here! You know, I would've considered going to school at Penn State had I known this. I had a peach malt and thought it was outstanding.
Driving into campus, I was expecting to find a student body of overweight people because of this Ice Creamery. Not the case at all.
November 5, 2013
Busy week. Phone interview with radio station WDCB out of Chicago today, tomorrow a house concert here in Louisville and Wednesday a concert in Elizabethtown, KY (E-Town, for those in the "know") at the Community Center. Friday and Saturday I'll be back in Chicago for three concerts. I'm grateful for all the gigs and wonderful people I'm meeting along the way. Kentucky is gorgeous this time of year.
October 30, 2013
This is my first time in New Jersey in many years. Nice to be back, though it's sad to see how the hurricane really affected the coast. So much damage. The boardwalk is open here, but most of the coast is still shut down for repairs. I stopped at a marina and spoke with a boat owner and am amazed they were able to ride it out. Still floating in the marina were many pieces of furniture from nearby houses that were destroyed.
I really enjoyed the concert tonight, playing for the New Jersey Association of School Librarians. And tomorow I head to Unity by the Shore for a concert.
October 28, 2013
For the first time ever, at least that I can recall, I breezed through Atlanta without a traffic slow down. The secret? 7:30 am on a Sunday morning!
I had an amazing time at the Unity North Atlanta in Marietta. Ryan Almario leads up a fantastic house band that helped me out. Can't wait to come back!
October 20, 2013
Hard to believe, with all the miles (over a million) on the road, this is my first time in Houston.
The weather has been very cooperative. I've been warned to be satisfied if the temperature is around 90 degrees, even at this time of year. Right now, it's 89!
After my performance at the Unitarian Church today, I will head to the coast and camp out on the beach near Galveston for a couple of nights. Then a house concert in Waxahatchie on Tuesday and back to Houston to play at the legendary Anderson Fair Thursday night.
This is way too much fun!