Thursday, May 14, 2009

Party Party Party

Last weekend was long. Tip to tail. Sarah's family was in town, so I was on shorty duty on Friday evening. Soccer in the backyard (nicely groomed), grilling, beers.

Sun went down, as it will tend to do. Party moved inside for a little concert.

Then the real party started as the older set started to roll in. Robin's got the guitar slinger thing down...

Panda wanted to play dress-up. I thought all the little girls had gone home, but apparently not. That's my wife's clothes.

The next day Janice and Andy Hall were married. Post ceremony we went back to doing what we do best. This was the best shot of the night (three kegs will blur some photos), the great Stage Rabone on guitar. This jam had it's moments.

A fitting end to this weekend, Tuesday night Bike Polo at Shelby Park. I managed to whack my front wheel so hard I bent up a bunch of spokes and knocked my wheel completely out of true.

Yesterday I trued the wheel up, it went right back into round. Two of the best hours of my life on the bike at Monkey Bell. Managed a full Blue, White, Yellow and two Red loops in under two hours. Can't believe I'm going to miss the Monkey Grinder race next weekend. Pretty sure I'm on form right about now. It's weird, I spent the last week in party mode and still managed to lose about 5 lbs. Maybe I'm just dehydrated. Headed to East Nash in an hour to ride with Jeremy. Road ride this time, must drink more coffee before heading out into the rain.

The next two weeks are a confusing mess of travel arrangements, bike rides, band gigs, duo gigs and golf rounds. Dusters Tour this week. Then immediately upon return I head to Colorado for four shows with Anders Beck as part of our Book & Beck Tour. I'll try to wedge some riding in on my downtime before I hop back into the van for another Dusters tour, dubbed the Clean and Dirty tour. Night of the 14th I'll finally settle in for a couple days.

Friday, May 8, 2009


This is serious business. Disgusting.

Had a nice sized party over at the house last night. Good excuse to get the house all cleaned up. The rain held off until later at night so we were able to spend the afternoon out on the back patio with a huge gaggle of kids playing soccer and grilling burgers. After the sun went down the kids went to bed and the musicians/ping pong players showed up. We moved the table out on the back patio and played most of the night. I should post up some pictures but I'm feeling too lazy and it's not raining so I'll be grabbing a cup of coffee and heading outside instead.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kindling Stone/Blue Heron

Sometimes days unfold in unexpected ways, presenting opportunities and experiences that could not have been imagined days before. Chris Moore's songs and the arrangements of Kindling Stone have a way of reminding me of this. Sarah and I left the house today at 9:40am and headed to WPLN, Nashville's public radio station to play live on Studio C, a weekly music program. Load the car, dodge traffic, arrive on time and soundcheck. Quick de-briefing by the shows host and we were off. No matter how I try, I rarely feel completely prepared for gigs, even with my own band. Mistakes were made, time ran short, but overall the experience was rewarding. Sarah and I loaded
the car back up and walked across the parking lot to the wetlands bordering the studio and there, hunting in the shallows was a Great Blue Heron. The heron, in all it's prehistoric glory is generally regarded by me as a good sign. Especially so on this day as my favorite Kindling Stone song is in fact, Blue Heron. "Who is it here in my canoe...?"

Steroid shots for my poison ivy seem to be working, though they've left me more agitated than usual. The sun is finally peeking out, Nashville was starting to feel more like Portland and not for the right reasons. In fact, I need to get outside while the sun is still shining and cut the yard. Possibly even work to hack down the "shrubs" that have grown in the wake of my yard neglect. As the sun grows brighter, the lure of the yard grows stronger. Until tomorrow...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Memphis/Poison Ivy

Last night the Stringdusters settled into a nice evening of music at the Bartlett Performing Art Center. Everyone was relaxed, the audience was attentive, if not a little on the quiet side, but it didn't seem to matter to the band as we rolled through 2 sets of mostly original Stringduster music. The attendance exceeded promoter expectation, which is always the goal and we even got out of there by 10:45. Memphis to Nashville usually takes 3 hours, but Jeremy was driving and we made it in under 2.5.

I've been battling a case of poison ivy for a few days now and thought I was turning the corner but for some reason the Benedryl wasn't working (well, it was making me feel very very docile and relaxed but it wasn't stopping the itching) and I ended up rubbing holes through my socks trying to get some relief. Scratching a serious itch can be almost euphoric. Unfortunately, like most highs, when it comes to poison ivy that euphoria is followed closely by intense discomfort. I got in the house and into the shower and scrubbed for what could have been an hour, I don't know, it felt soooo good. Today I have a nasty rash to show for it. If you don't like pictures of body parts in a sickened state, I suggest you read someone else's blog.

The Spring Rain Cycle continues here in middle Tennessee. No mountain biking this week. Todays hourly forecast calls for rain. The ten day forcast has precipitation every single day... It would figure that the only time I'm home this year for more than 5 or 6 days I would have poison ivy and it would be raining. I suppose I should just re-align my priorities, play a lot of music, get out the running shorts and fix the flat on the 'cross bike. It's pavement or nothing.

Back to the ivy. How did I get such a nasty case? I live in a nice little neighborhood in a nice little corner of a nice big-ish city that is seriously lacking in greenspace. I see a lot of towns/cities and generally with a little bit of research ( I can locate a nearby greenway or even just an empty space on the map that the locals have hacked a trail through. Nashville doesn't really have these. At all. There's a few greenways, but they're all well out of running distance from my home and dispite the river being less than a 10th of a mile from my house, there's no real decent, clean access. Just a boat ramp with an endless stream of gutted fish and beer cans lying around. In my quest for a place to get into the woods within' walking distance of my home, I located a blank spot, sandwiched between two neighborhoods, the river, and I40 West. It seems as though it's been set aside by the city in case they want to build a bridge across the river, but that's unlikely to happen anytime in the next 20 years. Two streams or "drainages" run through the piece, creating a little bit of an island vibe, there's some elevation gain and loss and I've seen some massive turtles. The piece is probably 10-20 acres and it's absolutely full of garbage.

I've taken it upon myself to cut a trail through the property with the purpose of creating access to this nice little piece for myself and the neighborhood, and also as a means to clean up the property. Like I said, it's absolutely littered with garbage. So, I've been heading in there and clearing out brush and sapplings and cutting through endless thorns and bamboo and it was coming along nicely until I broke out with a nasty case of poison ivy.

I'll probably put on long pants and head over there again today since I'm stupid and I really want to make this project a reality. The trail I have mapped out will likely be barely a mile, but it'll be so nice to throw in a mile or two of trail running into my running routine. I also envision setting up a small fire ring and heading out into the woods to watch the sun go down and burn a little brush. I'll take the camera so I can start to document the progress and the trash (already have large piles every 15 feet or so).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stringdusters in Memphis

Dusters head to Memphis tonight. We're playing at the Bartlett Performing Arts Center as the Grand Finale to their Pickin' Picnic Bluegrass Festival. We're gonna freak out some bluegrass traditionalists and turn a lot of new people on to the Stringdusters. Tickets still available, let your Memphis friends know we're coming and if anyone knows Justin Timberlake, tell him we want him to drop by and sit in with the Dusters.

Initially I planned to take a few laps at Stanky Creek over in Memphis prior to the show but it's been raining for days and I've got a wicked case of poison ivy so I'll just be riding in the van today. Big thanks to everyone who came out to the Belcourt Theatre Thursday night. The Dusters threw down and it was good to see a lot of young people out at the show. Stringdusters Cafe, Coffehouse, East Coast Eatery Tour is locked in. Next week and a half are off so I'll be trying to get on the bike and stay away from the ivy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Music on the last day of April

Sometimes I marvel at my good fortune. Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the entire day amongst friends, playing music. Tennessee Mornings on Fox at 8:30. The band played one song, Echoes of Goodbye, off of Jeremy Garrett's new solo record, I Am A Stranger. Unfortunately Echoes requires I sing an exceptionally high tenor part and 8:30am is a little too early to be singing as high and as hard as possible. It's all good though, I held the note out at the end and "won."

Got home around 9:30 and by 11:15 I was in the midst of a Kindling Stone rehearsal in my basement. Kindling Stone is a very cool duo consisting of my friend Chris Moore and my father-in-law Mark Wingate. My wife and I played on their record so whenever we get the chance we sit in with them. We're playing on the local NPR Station WPLN on May 5th at 11am, you should be able to stream it live from the WPLN website.

After rehearsal I headed down to the Belcourt. Jedd Hughes opened the show, he was incredible. The Dusters rambled through two long sets of music, the light show was raging and the sound was excellent. The vibe in the Belcourt was a little stuffy but we had a good time and a bunch of folks showed up at the after-party at Boscos.

It's raining hard in Nashville today. Picked my car up from the Belcourt lot (first order of business for new Stringdusters Manager Michael Allenby: Drive bass player and his wife home), met with the band and Allenby for a few hours, stopped down at Trader Joes for some mixed greens, eggs, apple sauce, bananas, apples, cauliflower, tuna and spinich. Love this place. I posted up a video about Trader Joes in an earlier post. Somehow in the course of work on a new personal trail building project I've acquired a nasty case of poison ivy. Nasty. Not happy about it.