|Winter 2000 Travels
On Saturday March 10, we opened for "Get Back" a Beatles Tribute band, at the Somerville Theater.
The show sold out and the crowd enjoyed the opening set - even though we are far from a Beatles Tribute band.
The Beatles were proficient at writing catchy 3 minute pop tunes .. and they carried
their talent into more complex music later on. I marvel at what a phenomenon the Beatles were.
Even today's superstars seem to pale in comparison - but that could be because the nation was a bit more homogenous
when the Beatles had their heyday.
Most musicians will never know that kind of success and adoration. Meredith and I find joy in seeing new places and
meeting the people we have met. We are grateful to listeners and promoters for their support.
(Photos by Michael Halle)
We played near the Carabasset Valley. Our song "Dead River" is about a local town. In 1955, the town of Flagstaff was moved when the Dead River was flooded to make a reservoir, Flagstaff Lake. We had beautiful weather on Saturday and Sunday (see left).
Friday's snow and traffic made traveling slow. We left 2 extra hours for travel, but an accident on the turnpike and then
another in Farmington (which meant we had to turn around and find another route into the town) consumed most of our extra time. We had a nice crowd at the Latte Landing, a newly refurbished student space with coffee and pastries, computers to surf on,
and really comfortable looking chairs. Shannon runs the booking, and she was grateful for the chance to be involved with the U Maine community. We have a cousin who attends U Maine Farmington. He came to the show and also spoke highly of the sense of community he feels in this university of about 2,000 students.
On Saturday we traveled to East Sangerville, near Dover-Foxcroft
ME through snow covered small towns by winding rivers. There was a beautiful glowing orange sunset at the end of the
drive. The sign on the Grange door said "Sold Out" as we arrived. (Cool) The Grange was refurbished by a group of
citizens who have turned it into a meeting place and successful performance space which sells out many concerts.
(They also have yummy desserts pictured on the right.) The crowd was very tuned to the music- very appreciative and
attentive. They also loved to sing, and there wasn't a voice unheard on "Shenendoah, "Wade in the Water" and "Down
by the Riverside". We got two encores, and we thank the volunteers and listeners for a spectacular night.
We played an Indiegrrl show at Club Passim. The show
was packed- thanks to all who came. And this crowd was great! All the performers played well, and we were thrilled to have such a fun
night at this legendary folk venue in Harvard Square (www.clubpassim.org)
We also had a spectacular show at our musical birthplace, Stone Soup Coffeehouse. When we were growing up, we'd go to Stone Soup to hear great music,
and play the open mic. The folks there have always been so supportive. We played our first show there, and they have had us back every year since.
This year they have relocated to Slater Mill in Pawtucket. This historic mill has a beautiful room upstairs with lots of windows
and neat old wooden floors, thats perfect for a folk venue. Its by the Seekonk River, and the combination of the architecture, the history,
and the location make it a perfect place for Stone Soup. The volunteers at Stone Soup are awesome. They inspired our song "United"- about people who say "we".
We are so grateful to them for helping us get started in music.
We traveled up to the Folk Alliance, a conference of acoustic musicians of all
sorts. This conference is a circus. Performers "showcase" in hotel rooms, and by the end of the conference they even play in the halls. The hotel lobby is covered with posters, and no one
gets much sleep with all the music fills the air. We saw a lot of great music and got some show offers from our own showcases. The Folk Alliance always serves as a reminder
that there are a lot of talented performers on the scene. This is both enthralling and humbling. We got a chance to see some of our favorite performers like James Keelaghan, Greg Greenway,
Pat Humphries, Rob Laurens, Irene Ferrera, and the Paperboys.
It was also important to get away from the conference and see a bit of Vancouver. Vancouver is a beautiful city, with a vibrant downtown. The city is surrounded by mountains and water. My favorite place was Stanley Park,
a park on an island where you can run or walk 8 KM around the perimeter with views of the harbor. Saturday was a beautiful day to spend in the park.
We drove back to seattle on Sunday. The scenery along Canadian rt 99 and US rt 5 is spectacular- mountains looming over the farms in the valley. We were so excited to see
bald eagles- they were just sitting in trees by the highway- we saw a total of 10 and I took this photo of three of them (not National Geographic quality I know,
but we were on the side of the highway). We figure there was a "run" of fish nearby that brought all the
eagles out. We had a fun trip to the Northwest.
We were conscious for nearly all of Valentines Day 2001- woke up at 4am to get to Logan for our 6am flight to Philadelphia and then onto Seattle. We arrived hoping to see Rainier. We did get a clear view of Rainier from the plane on our trip back in September, but the winter’s cloudy gray obscured the top third of the mountain this time.
Our friend Pam picked us up at the airport and we stopped by Pikes Market (or the Public Market). I love this indoor/outdoor market for the colors - fruit, flowers, crafts and neon signs line the halls- and the activity. People were busy buying for Valentines Day, and Pikes Fish market urged all to "buy a fresh Maine lobster for your main squeeze."
Pam and her sister Mel are friends of ours from college. Pam is a member of the Seattle Folklore Society. She brought us out for a spectacular show in Sept 2000, and this show was also well organized, well run, and very well attended- even though it was Valentines Day. We are so grateful to them for inviting us back.
Now we head up to Vancouver for the Folk Alliance conference.
Sadly, this weekend I forgot the camera at home...So no images yet.. but my Mom did snap a few photos with a
regular camera, and perhaps I can get those up.
We traveled to NY and had a fun show at the Postcrypt Coffeehouse. We caught up with some old and new friends there:
our friends Amy, Joe and Mark have been to so many shows, but we always love to see them. Our "new" friends Lene and David saw us
at the South Florida Folk fest and flew up to NY for the show (well, they also visited their daughter in the City).
We had a spectacular show at the CT Audubon Society. We had a full house, great sound, and a very warm audience.
Sunday we traveled to Saratoga Springs and met some cool people at our show at Skidmore College. We decided collectively that
almonds are the best nuts- and we discussed lots of other important issues...They invited us back later this spring. We drove back to Boston
in the cold night and arrived home around 2:00am. This week we return to Seattle- where we will see friends, and hopefully catch a few glimpses of Mt Rainier.
We arrived on the Cape early, and went to a beach just as the shadows grew long enough to make the rocks
and look like a moonscape. The day was sunny, but windy and very cold. The Cape is quiet this time of year.
Route 6A winds through small towns with small clapboard houses and cranberry bogs. Cranberry growers are
having a tough time lately, dumping surplus cranberries back onto the land to try to lift the prices. These growers
must also have a hard time resisting the urge to sell their land to folks who wish to buy on such a
desirable location. I have a lot of admiration for people who work the land.
We played at the Driftwood Coffeehouse in Liberty Hall in the town of Marstons Mills.
The Driftwood is a small one room theater like room with a
a kitchen on the side.
Ken organizes the Driftwood Coffeehouse,
his own shows, and mentors other musicians.
We've come to know some people like this- people who love folk and acoustic
music so much that they volunteer their time and effort. I am so grateful for these people.
Ken has a new dog, Charlie, who was found by the side of the road around Christmas time. Ken said Charlie was
the best Christmas present ever. Charlie loves to romp and did not want to
sit still for pictures.
The show went very well. The resonant hall augmented the sound without much extra amplification. This was a show where the crowd really listened.
We never take this for granted. The turnout was very good- luckily the inaugural night of XFL football did not seem
to dissuade people from venturing to see some live music. Rich, who opened the show, played my favorite Woody
Guthrie tune "Deportee" and a
wonderful song by James Keelaghan "Cold Missouri Waters". "Cold Mo", as James calls it, has been getting lots of airplay
on folk stations and by other musicians. I think James' song will become a folk classic before long.
Photos by Michael Halle
Greetings listeners! We had a spectacular weekend for shows. Friday we played the Full Moon Café in South Strafford VT.
The Full Moon is a nonprofit coffeehouse run in a beautiful building in the tiny town. We took “Old Boston Rd” a serpentine
dirt road that used to lead all the way to Boston. This bumpy dirt road was in better condition than some of the roads
we drive in Boston. We arrived at the coffeehouse and they said they had so many reservations they had to turn people away.
The volunteers made a wonderful dinner of chicken or tofu curry, and there were some wonderful looking desserts at the
counter. People came out of the woodwork and filled the room with warmth and conversation. This coffeehouse is a
meeting place for people in the area and a place to go on a cold winter night.
The crowd was “with us”- it was a crowd that participated in the show- responding to the comments, and singing along.
It was a fabulous show.
We went cross country skiing on the Appalachian trail the next morning. Its incredible how the colors change in the winter:
with a coating of white snow: brown turns to gold, green to emerald, gray to silver.
We poked around the town of Norwich. People were browsing at the bookstore and “Dan and Whits”, a general
store with just about everything: groceries, toys, clothes, hardware, books, boots…
We shared the show at the Daily Grind Coffeehouse in North Andover with a father son duo, the MacVitties.
They harmonized well and we enjoyed hearing them. Michael Calienes, our bass player augmented some of
the songs, and the packed house at the Daily Grind made for a wonderful show. Thanks to all who came out!
We played at the Blackthorne Tavern on Superbowl Sunday-luckily we played in the morning, and not during the actual game! Some people traveled down for New Hampshire
to hear us, and the usually quiet Sunday brunch was quite busy. Happy Super Bowl, for those who celebrate…
Meredith and I were one of twenty finalists in the South Florida Folk Festival (out of over 200 entries) and this was the weekend of the finals,
so we left snowy Boston and headed south to Fort Lauderdale. The hospitality was incredible. Sue, a volunteer, picked us up at the airport
and was a cheery as could be, even though she basically drove a shuttle to the airport all weekend! Other volunteers were equally kind and supportive.
Broward County Folk Club Volunteers cooked food for the performers and housed us. We stayed with some very kind volunteers who are nurses in Broward County.
All in all, the festival reminded me what a wonderful community of people support this music.
We played "United" and "Clearwater" at the finals, because those were the two songs selected by the preliminary judges. We did not win the contest- but we weren't
all that disappointed. The folks who did win were deserving- and I could have picked several other songwriters who would have also been deserving. Art is so subjective.
We did sell out of our albums "Wood and Stone" and got to talk to a lot of people who enjoyed our music. (You can see some
of the mail we received from Florida.) We also got to hear a lot of music. Meredith found some
percussionists to jam with, and played onstage with Billy Jonas- a wonderful childrens performer - for a song.
The final performer was Melanie- a star when folk was really big in the 60s. She played with her son, who was a fabulous guitarist, and, of course the crowd loved her. Other
acts I enjoyed were "One Drum" a world beat band, Billy Jonas, Jack Williams, and a lot of the finalists in the songwriting contest.
I also enjoyed seeing the different vegetaion and birds. I encountered a peacock on the festival grounds,
and saw some cool roots that grow up out of the ground (pictured)
forming a small mountain range.
We traveled to Norfolk for a Harris Creek Acoustic house concert. Kelly
runs a terrific concert series- Harris Creek Acoustic concerts. We had a full house, and met a lot of very kind people, and ate some really caloric
cake. Kelly has wonderful taste and her house her house has many cool objects like the star pictured.
We went to a beach in Norfolk before returning to Boston on Sunday. It was a beautiful mild day for a walk.
Tomorrow (Friday Jan 12) we leave for the South Florida Folk Festival, where we will perform "United" and "Clearwater" in the finals.
I think song "contests" are a stretch- there are so many different approaches to music and song, but I
am looking forward to Fort Lauderdale and hearing some live music.
Happy New Year to everyone! We had a relaxing holiday with family
(and hope you did too!), and we ended 2000 with two performances at Providence First Night.
Luckily the Providence and Boston area missed the brunt of the storm which was supposed to dump a foot
of snow everywhere, and ended up dumping it to
the north and west of us. We traveled to Providence and visited our old church, the First Baptist Church
in America- founded by Roger Williams, who also bought the land for Rhode Island from the Native
Americans after he was kicked out of Massachusetts around 1636.
Providence has undergone a renaissance of sorts, as we mention in our song "United". They opened up the
riverfront and have events in the area in the summer.
First Night was packed- lots of people came to events all day long. We saw gymnastics, juggling, Celtic
music, magic, dance and other music. Then we played two shows at the Mathewson Street Church in their
sancutary. We enjoyed seeing so many old friends and making new ones.
Its incredible how many memories come back when we visit Providence- after fourteen years there you really
get to know a place, and the people.
(Photos by Michael Halle)
We traveled to Fredonia Ny to play at the Unicorn Coffeehouse at SUNY Fredonia. We had a full house
and really enjoyed the show. The Unicorn is run
by the students, but the true visionaries are Dick and Carmen Gillman, who perform old time music
with the Newton Street Irregulars. Dick repairs old fiddles and banjos and has a room full of them- pictured above.
They also demonstrated the "courting dulcimer" for us.
Fredonia has a cute downtown with the oldest running Grange Hall
in the US, and an ornate old-style opera house. The opera house was almost demolished,
but a group of volunteer citizens got together and refurbished
the site (Dick and Carmen spearheaded the group) and now it is quite a place.
(Photos by Chris)
We stayed close to home this weekend. On Thursday we played the Blackthorne Tavern, a bar in South Easton MA.
On Friday we played at the Kendall Cafe, a Irish bar near MIT and Cambridge St in East Cambridge. Since we started playing
at the Kendall, they have redone the stage, the seats, and painted the walls a warm red. The Kendall is
a good place to see music with up to four acts a playing in a night. Our set went very well- I have never seen so many
people in the Kendall Cafe-- thanks to all who packed the place. After the show, we went out with some friends, and took some pictures
of cool neon signs in Kendall Square
On Saturday night, we played at the Emerson Coffeehouse in a Unitarian Church in Melrose MA. Melrose is a
neighborhood with tree lined streets (Somerville is fine, but we could use a few more trees!). The room that
the coffeehouse was in had incredible acoustics- the flute resonated beautifully, and the crowd was warm and enthusiastic.
See our Other travels
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