Friday, August 15, 2014


Midwest Uke Fest starts tomorrow and already having a great time. Just wanted to remind myself that I can post to the blog through email. :)

Pics to come!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone

Performing at the 2014 Central Florida Blues Challenge
August 10th
"Been a long time gone
Lord, I aint had a prayer since I dont know when
Long time gone
And it aint comin back again" - Darrell Scott
Since March?  Really?  I didn't realize how inactive I've been on this blog until today; my apologies.  Though I always have the best of intentions to keep all my social media streams humming, the road always has other ideas about how best to spend my time and there you have it.  Truth be told, I'd probably update this blog a lot more if my iPhone battery could cut the mustard, but spend a day in a theme park snapping pictures, taking video and killing time in line really drains the darn thing.  Plus, I forget that I can update this blog through e-mail, so there's that.

Besides, you all know where to find me and that's where 99% of my effort goes.

So, you probably know that I drove over 3,000 miles this summer to various gigs and had a grand old time riding roller coasters and visiting old trolley parks in between.  You also probably know that Rita had a couple of breakdowns, but the old girl is still hanging tough.  You might even know that I quit smoking cigars on July 6th and have joined that curious group of people known as "vapers" who look like they're smoking but are actually using e-cigarettes to save their lungs while still getting their nicotine fix.  That's been fun.

What you may not know is that, at some point during the summer, my lovely and long-suffering wife, Jae, suggested that I compete in the Central Florida Blues Challenge, organized by the Orange Blossom Blues Society, because she figured I had as good a chance as any to win the thing and get sent to Memphis, Tennessee to compete in the International Blues Challenge.   

Well, damned if she wasn't right.

Yesterday, I competed against four full-size blues bands all by my lonesome and ended up winning the Solo Artist award and a sponsored slot to head to Memphis in January.  My head's still spinning from it all, but it was a blast introducing a new room of people to the mountain dulcimer and bringing it back to the front porch for four songs.  Made some new friends (The Pitbull of Blues Band were three of them - they took home the band award and are super-neat guys), harnessed some great new connections and if I thought I was under the gun to get on the stick and deliver before, I've really got to man up and get my shit together because the best of the best from all around the world all converge on Beale St. for this event.

I don't even like competitions, which is why I've never gone to Winfield to compete in the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship.  The CFBC and the IBC, however, just don't feel like competitions to me, not outright.  They are both just amazing opportunities to get in front of people and do what you love to do the most.  There's no tension between acts, no "I'm gonna git you sucka" looks at all, rather, everyone is chill and walks up to you saying, "hey, good luck" and "nice set."  Yeah, I know it can be that way at Winfield too, but I've judged my fair share of competitions and some of those folkies can get uptight.

OBBS President Herb Ransburg presents me with
the Solo Act award for the Central Florida Blues Challenge.
Memphis-bound, baby! (Look at my face! Happy disbelief!)

I go back out on the road this week for a very short hop (just a couple thousand miles) to the Midwest Uke Fest in Woodburn, Indiana which is home to Folkcraft Instruments, and I always love coming home to that place.  I'll also be heading to Nashville, Tennessee to visit with my good friend, and fellow mountain dulcimer crazy, Stephen Seifert, as well as some other fine folks that I know in Nash Vegas before heading out to the Great Smoky mountains and a cherished gig on the Pickin' Porch at Wood 'n' Strings Dulcimer Shop in Townsend (plus one more theme park sojourn with the Clemmer Family to Dollywood, where I ain't been in a hound's age.)  One of the nicer things about touring extensively is the people.  And once you develop nice relationships with folks, you've always got a homecoming coming up on the road.

When I get home, things are going to get very, very busy as there are at least five albums that have been brewing and stewing in my heart and soul for awhile now.  I'll get back to posting some workshoppy things here at some point, but, seriously, it's going to be fairly light reading here on the blog for some time.  Unless one of you out there is an administrative assistant and can help carry some of this load.

Last post, back in March, I was talking about being blessed and that very much stands true today. In fact, if it's possible to be over-blessed, than perhaps I'm just that.  So, I hope that some of these blessings are boomerangs and that they'll loop around my head and shoot right back out there into the world where everybody else lives because I've truly got more than my fair share.  I hope, at least, that I can deliver a few straight-shot blessings to others in the meantime and if there's anything I can do for you, let me know.

Now, back to working on resource materials, after glowing, vaping on Buttery Nipple e-juice and thinking about ridiculous alpine coasters in the Smokies.

Be good,