Friday 21 October 2016

Awesome time playing at DAT Bar in Merrill, Wisconsin....

Awesome time playing at DAT Bar in Merrill, Wisconsin….

NOT terribly sad to leave Fond Du Lac behind…not the most exciting place to stay…and make for Wausau a couple of hours’ drive away.

Suffering from my 3am ‘everything’ burrito and pile of tater tots I need to try and eat something healthy. We stop at a Perkins again, but this time I have a cob salad then sleep the next 90 minutes while Margaret drives.

There’s time to catch up on some work and chill for a while before we head to Merrill for tonight;s show.

We arrive at DAT Bar and given a warm welcome by owner Dennis and some of the folks who’ve come out early…including our pals Tom and Alison. Tom’s playing with me tomorrow (Saturday) in Wausau and Sunday in Green Bay. Great to see them.

We grab a beer and and some dinner then opener Phyl Wickham arrives and we get all our gear in. Haven’t seen Phyl for a few years and he plays an awesome set and goes down a storm.

It’ nice to see so many folks from pervious shows here and I blast my way through an hour-and-a-half or so non-stop set and then enjoy chatting with folks ’til closing time.

Another late one…and looking forward to tomorrow’s (Saturday) show at the Polack Inn 🙂

Phyl Wickham plays a monster opening set

Phyl Wickham plays a monster opening set

...and although supplies are running low, there's time to share a Glengoyne with, from left, local press photographer and reporter Jeremy Ratliff, Phyl Wickham, DAT Bar owner Dennis Fick, yours truly and Jackei Wendorf...

…and although supplies are running low, there’s time to share a Glengoyne with, from left, local press photographer and reporter Jeremy Ratliff, Phyl Wickham, DAT Bar owner Dennis Fick, yours truly and Jackei Wendorf…

Saturday 15 October 2016

On stage at McAuliffe's, Racine...

On stage at McAuliffe’s, Racine…

WE have coffee and chat with Ken before leaving Winona.

It’s 250+ miles to Racine, and once we get a few miles under our belt we stop at a Perkins for some grub.

JJ – booker/owner at McAuliffe’s where I’m playing tonight – has sorted a hotel just a mile form the venue. We check in, sort out some stuff then make our way to the venue.

It’s a great place and we had a brilliant time last year. We load in and soundcheck then The Cow Ponies arrive and do the same. We have some pizza while they sound check and a few beers…Spotted Cow being the choice of the night 🙂

Both my self and the Cow Ponies have a blast playing and although it;s not as busy a night as we’d all hoped for, everyone has a great time and it’s after 2am by the time we’re back at the hotel.

The Cow Ponies

The Cow Ponies

Sharing some Glengoyne love with Reggie and JJ

Sharing some Glengoyne love with Reggie and JJ

Thursday 13 October 2016

We love coming to Annandale and all our pals here :-)

We love coming to Annandale and all our pals here 🙂

JUST 150 miles today from Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Annandale, Minnesota.

We stop short of Annandale to check into our hotel in Minneapolis but we’re way too early so find a Panera Bread for lunch. At 2pm I have a phone interview on Winona’s KQAL89.5 FM to preview tomorrow’s (Friday) show at Ed’s….I use Panera Bread’s wifi to Skype in to the station and have a nice 20-minute love interview.

Next stop our hotel where we check in and have time to catch up on some work before we leave for Annandale about 50 miles away.

Our pal Casey’s ready and waiting when we load in at Russells – load in and soundcheck is a breeze then we have a beer and dinner.

There’s quite a few folks we know in for the show, including a photographer we met at a show in Rochester, Minnesota last year.

Jesse Revel opens up with a fantastic set…very cool music and all round good guy..then I play an hour or so’s set and have a blast.

There’s time to chat with folks after the show then we start packing up the gear and merch – but before we go we share a Glengoyne with the venue owners, promoter, soundman and Jesse. Everyone’s falling in love with this dram!

Jesse Revel plays an amazing opening set

Jesse Revel plays an amazing opening set

We share a Glengoyne with the venue owners, promoter, production team and Jesse

We share a Glengoyne with the venue owners, promoter, production team and Jesse

Saturday 8 October 2016

After the Pine Room show in Nashville some of the locals enjoy a wee Glengoyne...

After the Pine Room show in Nashville some of the locals enjoy a wee Glengoyne…

BREAKFAST at the HoJo is pretty much non-existent….Margaret remembered we stayed here on a previous tour and it was shit…we’ll avoid them where possible!

So where do we go? Panera Bread, of course…right beside the hotel. Once we’ve eaten we organise money order to send to the t-shirt printers to pay for the merch they sent to New York for us, pick up some gaffa tape, batteries and other bits and pieces.

Its 180-miles or so to Nashville (Indiana) and we split the driving. When I take over we try a Facebook Livestream  but the mobile data stream’s not good enough – we get about 10 seconds done before it cuts out – so we stop outside a McDonalds and hop on the free wifi to do a wee live tour update.

We get to Nashville and l load into the Pine Room – a great venue that our friends Rev and Breezy Peyton got me booked into on last year’s tour. Booker Richard meets us and we’re immediately handed beers and a menu 🙂

We eat, I change the strings on the banjo,  get set up on stage  then we nip away to check into the hotel the venue’s sorted for us  – back just in time for showtime.

There’s a good crowd in – many of whom were at last year’s show. Margaret’s on sound and I play two beer and whisky-fuelled sets.

After the show we chat with folks round the merch table and then sit down with the venue owners and some of her pals to enjoy a wee dram – Glengoyne, of course. They love it. Seems our favourite dram;going down pretty good here 🙂

Thursday 6 October 2016

The USA tour kicks off at Howlers, Pittsburgh...

The USA tour kicks off at Howlers, Pittsburgh…

WE broke the back of the NYC to Pittsburgh drive yesterday, so only 100-miles to do today.

Before we leave our Super 8 I do a quick Facebook Livestream update – I also attempt to sort some of the wee video clips we’ve taken so far, but for some reason neither Final Cut or iMovie will let me set up a library on an external drive. It sets up fine, but crashes when I try and import any files.

There’s not much spare memory on Margaret’s laptop, so I try and free some space by deleting some stuff out of Photos and backing the rest up on an external drive…but Photos is playing funny buggers and not working properly. Hard enough doing all this stuff not eh road when things work.

Frustrated with the technology we hit the road and, after stopping off to pick up a cool box and some lunch supplies, carry on to our Pittsburgh hotel.

We arrive soon after 2pm and I fight with the hard drives and Margaret’s laptop for an hour or two before giving up…anyway, it’s time to head downtown to Howlers to load in for tonight’s show.

I played this venue a couple of years ago – a great room, nice PA and good people. I get my gear loaded in and set up, booker Mary Jo orders us some pizza and support band – The Me Toos – load in. These guys have been promoting the hell out the show on Facebook, local music forums and wherever they can. And their music is shit-hot too. Good people.

Showtime comes around and first on David Musick plays a half-hour set to get things going. Next up, The Me Toos hit the room hard with their surf-indie-punk sound then it’s my turn to take the stage. Towards the end of my set I invite The Mee Toos up to join me on Good Friend Blues and we have a blast – I’m hoping Margaret’s managed to catch it on video…if I ever get the computer and hard drives behaving enough to get some video blogs going, you’ll see why I like this band so much.

Once we’re all done and tidied up we grab a bottle of Glengoyne, round up The Me Toos and crew and celebrate with a wee dram. With Glengoyne‘s support, part of my mission on this tour is to let fellow musicians and bookers taste  real dram…and entourage them to sip it rather than shoot it – #sipdontshoot !

It’s after 2am when we get back to the hotel and cash…a long day tomorrow (Friday) – and a gig with my pals Left Lane Cruiser at their hame base venue Brass Rail in Fort Wayne. Bring it on.

Local guys The Me Toos – magnificent :-)

Local guys The Me Toos – magnificent 🙂

The Me Toos and crew join me for a Glengoyne tasting session after the show – and they all agree it's a magic dram.

The Me Toos and crew join me for a Glengoyne tasting session after the show – and they all agree it’s a magic dram.