Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gotta Lotta Catchin' Up To Do

Well, that look says it all, don't it? "MAN! Staying connected online when roving parts of the country with little to no cel phone service is difficult!" Suffice it to say that a LOT has happened since July 4th. Which is why you see me standing above on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium; former home of the Grand Ol' Opry.

Common Ground On The Hill was fantabulous - had a lot of great interactions with musicians and plenty of good jam sessions, some of which were captured on recording and will be heard in the upcoming "RV Project: Official Album." After departing, McDaniels College in Westminster, MD - I headed out on a mini-tour of Pennsylvania State Parks, stopping at Cowan's Gap in Fort Loudon and spending a few idyllic days at Trough Creek in James Creek.

Rita and I enjoyed a week of camping, hiking, mountain biking and just plain sitting around and doing nothing, which was mighty nice after that last burst of rushing around between New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Maryland! After that bit of recharging, I headed up to Portage, PA for Portage Dulcimer Day and had a great time with JT Taylor and the folks who came out for a day of workshops and the concert.

With the final stop on the first leg of tour complete, I angled for setting out early in the morning to begin the long journey back home. Up to this point, Rita held together fast and braved the harsh weather and road conditions for a spectacular shakedown tour. However, knowing that the alternator wasn't long for this world, I knew that there would be trouble up the road and, as it turns out, it wasn't that far up the road. In fact - after rolling out at 6 am to traverse the Dutch country hills, Rita made it fifteen minutes before the engine began to sputter up those inclines and the headlights began to dim in concert with the dash lights - classic signs of a failing alternator. I cruised to a stop in front of an old abandoned restaurant and wrestled with the lack of cel reception before finally landing Triple A and getting a ride down to Bedford, PA where Rita was fixed up and ready to go for the rest of the way. A quick stop over north of Richmond, Virginia and we made it home in decent time.

Long enough to have a visit to Epcot and then.....

Jae, Sheri and I hit the road again - this time heading for Kentucky where we planned to visit some bourbon distilleries en route to the Indiana Dulcimer Festival.

The Indiana Dulcimer Festival was great, sharing the staff duties with Stephen Seifert, Lois Hornbostel, Butch Ross, Aaron O'Rourke, Rob Brereton and Katie Geringer. There was also Woodburn Day In The Park going on simultaneously, so Folkcraft dulcimer players were featured in the parade (we rode on a flatbed trailer.) There was also some razzle-dazzle showmanship going on that introduced me and Steve Seifert to a concert in the park, opening for and then sharing the stage with the Dixie Bee-Liners.

Unfortunately, Jae got ill during the festival; complications from the bronchitis that had been plaguing her while I was on tour. Luckily, she recovered enough to enjoy the rest of the trip; a journey to Nashville and all that goes with it!

While in Nashville, strolling Broadway, I sat in with the Craig Curtis band at Legend's Corner and Bart Hansen (guitarist for Loretta Lynn) at the Whiskey Bent Saloon. (Including The Stage, that makes three Honky Tonk Row establishments that I've performed at now.) We wrapped things up with a visit to the Ryman and then brought it on home.

We're enjoying some downtime, though a lot of this being home involves just getting ready for the next leg of tour! Coming up will be a return to The Pickin' Porch in Townsend, TN and a first-time stint at the Gateway Festival in Belleville, IL. I will do my best to stay on top of things as we go. The next big outing will be in September as I hit the road for the southern United States, west coast and midwest for a month. Of course, I've been pretty diligent about getting pictures and recordings (the latter, I'm working on) and you can catch up with all of the photos on Facebook using the following links:

RV Project Tour: Part One

RV Project Tour: Part Two

RV Project Tour: Part Three

RV Project Tour: Part Four

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