All photos by beth unless otherwise noted Chris Darling and David in the studio at WMPG front steps, Drylongso David and Annie Provenzano Graveyard behind Kennebunk Coffeehouse Beautiful day in Kennebunk Big bat, Liberty NY Hydro-powered radio! Angela Page, Beth, David and Dave at the dam photo by John David and Dave, WJFF Benefit, photo by John
David and Mindy David and Dave, Tamworth David and Dave, Kennebunk On stage with Joyce Anderson and Dave Clean living, Liberty NY The hotel they played at Harmonie Hall, Western Hotel, Callicoon David and Vance The hotel they didn't play at!
A little trip to America - April 17-22 - scroll down for new photos
I'm far behind in my writing so I will try and be succinct. I probably won't manage it however. I should apologize at the outset to all who sent me congratulations on the Juno win. I had the best of intentions to write everyone back, but with the restrictions of time just now, I have fallen woefully behind. I will take this opportunity to thank those who happen to read this installment. All the thoughts and wishes were greatly appreciated and most welcomed. Thank you all for taking the time to write.
Our post Juno home visit lasted exactly an evening before we headed out for a brief tour of New England and New York. We had booked this trip long before the Junos became a reality, hence the quick turn around. Our evening at home was a brief chance to see friends in the village and to do a laundry. Sometimes the glamour of this life is overwhelming. Needless to say, what needed to get done got done and the next day saw us headed south on I-91 for a series of New England dates.
Our first stop was in New London, New Hampshire, at the Four Corners Grill, playing for Tom Pirrazolli, a fine singer songwriter himself. Given the fact we were relative unknowns, the crowd was surprising and enthusiastic. Food and coffee were wonderful as well. Many thanks to Tom from all of us.
That was the Thursday night. Friday morning saw us up at six and off the Portland, Maine, to revisit musical friend Chris Darling at WMPG, and do a live broadcast on Chris's show, "Us Folk". I am and have always been fascinated with the medium of radio, and I love being in radio studios at any time. To work with Chris is to work with a man in his element, and so the show itself was a highlight for Dave and I. I'd like to thank Chris and all at the station for making the visit so enjoyable and for the Station Bumper Stickers. I try and collect them from various stations we come in contact with, much to Beth's chagrin. Our friend, Mindy Cairns, shepherded us through Portland and we had the pleasure of her company for the better part of the weekend. It was an unexpected joy.
Tamworth, New Hampshire and the Drylongso Café were our next port of call, and we were once again reunited with Annie and Raetha, the women behind the venue. The last time I played here, myself and Mark Westberg opened for Bill Morrissey, an exceptional thrill in its own right. This time the venue site had been moved to a warm and beautiful church in the village. The acoustics and the setting were perfect for the evening. Tom Pirrazolli was kind enough to do a beautiful opening set, the first time I got to hear Tom live. I hope it won't be the last. The crowd was large and happy to be there, and there were faces I remembered from our last trip down. The singing from the audience was as good as I have ever heard, the harmonies abounded in what could have been mistaken for a choir recital. It's always delightful when that happens. I remember thinking a year ago that this was somewhere I was looking forward to returning to, and I was not in the least disappointed. I'm already looking forward to next year. I wrote a song while sitting by the river at Annie's house. It was a welcomed moment of quiet contentment, at a time when such moments are all too few and far between.
Meridith and Kent at the Muse in Londonderry were our next hosts, where we had the pleasure of opening once again for Bill Morrissey. I am a great admirer of Bills writing, and his performances are not to be missed. This is a man with his ear to the ground and his vision firmly fixed on the passing world. A beautiful writer of the ordinary in life and a compelling performer. About as funny as they come as well.
A great evening for me, as it combined a bit of performing and a lot of listening. It was a treat for us, certainly, and we have Meridith and Kent to thank.
Roland Goodbody hosted us on WUNH in Durham NH at the University of New Hampshire. We were shepherded to the studio and back by John and Stephanie, and we managed to squeeze in a visit of sorts. Roland proved an excellent host, with intelligent questions interspersed with ample opportunity to play on air. Lovely sound and pleasant people, a seeming staple at New England radio stations. We all had the pleasure of meeting up that evening at the Kennebunk Coffee house folk club, in the hall of an impressively large and beautiful church in the centre of the village. Shawn Henderson, a bear of a man with the look of a wrestler, runs the club. Mercifully, looks are deceiving and you'd be hard pressed to find a more accommodating and quiet spoken fellow. I still wouldn't go three rounds with him though. We split the bill with Johnsmith, a man from Wisconsin, blessed with a beautiful voice and a lovely turn of phrase. The crowd was again enthusiastic and given that both of us were relatively unknown in the area, here's a nod to Shawn for drawing a crowd. It was a great evening of music from our point of view and I think the audience concurred. We closed the night by singing "Times they are a Changing" at the top of our lungs, with the audience also letting her rip. Stirring stuff that. There were many friendly and helpful volunteers in attendance and we would all like to thank them for treating us so well. On the drive home Beth and I had the rare treat of listening to a song penned by Craig Werth, who chose as his subject matter none other than ourselves. Its a piece entitled "Spinning Gold", and we were very moved and honoured. It is a lovely song, beautifully sung and played by Craig himself. "It's a lovely thing…"as the song says.
We made it home for a few days before heading out to Callicoon, NY, to perform at a benefit for WJFF, a hydro powered Public Radio Station in Jeffersonville NY, "the best Public Radio station by a dam site." Actually got to visit the station and the dam itself. Our host was Angie Page, one of the first DJs I met and the first to get me to do a station ID. I was scheduled to play last year but had US visa trouble and it speaks volumes for Angie that she was able to call Christine Lavin to "fill in". Some fill in!
At any rate, we split the bill this year with a man I had heard about but had not yet seen, namely, Vance Gilbert. Oh my, what a tour de forces this man is. He had the audience howling with his observations and his lighting wit. All I could think of was "I'm so glad we went first. We get to relax and listen, but more importantly we don't have to follow him." He is a wonderful songwriter and a delightful man, and he couldn't have been more gracious and welcoming. I'm very thankful to him for that. The evening closed with a feast in the restaurant of the Western Hotel. We all enjoyed our stay with Angie and John, and would like to thank the family for putting up with the invaders from the North.
And so the little trip to America came to an end, with a slow drive through the Catskills and a meander up the Hudson River Valley. As always, our American friends showed us the side of America the world should see more often, the side routinely ignored by the mainstream media and the spin doctors. A very real and very kind people. No need to make up a bumper sticker after all. It was going to read "We're Canadians… we mean no harm"
Will write again when time allows,
All photos by beth unless otherwise noted
Chris Darling and David in the studio at WMPG
front steps, Drylongso
David and Annie Provenzano
Graveyard behind Kennebunk Coffeehouse
Beautiful day in Kennebunk
Big bat, Liberty NY
Angela Page, Beth, David and Dave at the dam photo by John
David and Dave, WJFF Benefit, photo by John
David and Mindy
David and Dave, Tamworth
David and Dave, Kennebunk
On stage with Joyce Anderson and Dave
Clean living, Liberty NY
The hotel they played at
Harmonie Hall, Western Hotel, Callicoon
David and Vance
The hotel they didn't play at!