Monday, December 2, 2013

My Debut Solo Record: Alice

It was 2001, I had only just discovered bluegrass music and Yonder Mountain String Band was my favorite band. I’d heard stories about a songwriter named Benny Galloway, whom everyone called Burle, who had been responsible for helping that band get started and writing some of my favorite songs. Somehow I’d ended up at a picking party in Durango, the first of what was to become the centerpiece of my musical life, and I was hovering around the edge of the jam, watching it unfold. A song ended and the bass player yelled, “anyone else know how to play this thing?” Someone pointed to me and the bass player turned, smiled, and handed me the instrument, the first time I’d ever touched an upright bass. I was face to face with Burle.

Thus began a long, deep friendship and apprenticeship with the single most influencial musician in my life. Writing sessions, rehearsals, gigs, tours and picking parties, whenever Burle was on the scene, he had his guitar, Alice, slung over his shoulder. She became as much a part of my musical education as the man himself. He gave her credit for the songs they wrote, for 20 years the two of them collaborated to create some of the best music I’ve ever heard. A few years ago Burle finally felt that he’d pulled all he could from Alice and put her away. When I heard a rumor that Burle was considering selling her to finance an upright bass, I called him and offered a trade, only temporary, for my old Miesel, the instrument I’d owned and played during that era.

This is how I became caretaker of the most mythical instrument in my world. I’d decided to experiment with playing solo shows and Alice became my guitar of choice. As I played Alice, the songs Burle had taught me and the songs we’d written together kept bubbling to the surface, flowing out of the old Martin D-35 and becoming the centerpiece of my solo repertoire, in so many ways defining my sound. These songs are a part of our shared history, this record a gift for Alice and Burle, a window into my past and a collection of songs that will always remind me of those years with Burle.

Today is the launch of the pre-order campaign, you can purchase a copy here. It'll ship in January prior to the Release Date of January 14th.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Ah Thanksgiving, how I adore your simple mission. Let us all take a day, just one day, to be thankful for what we have, for who we have and for another year of life. Wait, what's this? The consumption machine wants us to go shopping instead? But isn't that the antithesis of what this one day of 365 is about? How could we let this happen?

Thanksgiving, we're sorry. You deserve better. Here, then, is my Thanksgiving prayer, in honor of the greatest Holiday that has ever or ever could be conceived.

Thank you, God, whatever you are. The Great Life Force that moves everything has been good to me this year and I will continue to seek harmony with it. I'm thankful for so much this year, the year of my daughters birth and my fifth anniversary of marriage to the most wonderful woman in the world. I live a privileged life with a beautiful family, a nice home in a perfect spot, meaningful work, a reasonable schedule, and good health. I'm so thankful for the abundance in my life, and to further my sense of abundance, I intend over the next year to continue to simplify and hone in on my personal mission. My possessions will become fewer, but of higher quality and usefulness. More doing, less screen time. I'm thankful that I have skills and I will demonstrate my thankfulness by putting them to good use.

Thanks again, Travis

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Is music an endangered species?

We all know all about the issue with the selling of music. "Music is free" the artists shout, "how can we keep making it if we don't get paid for it?" And they're right, you know.

But there's something bigger and even more ominous than the "freeing" of music. People just don't engage with music like they used to. Music is not near the center of our cultural sphere anymore. Social media and television, iphones and video games have taken center stage. After a long day of meaningless work (I have written and will continue to write at length about this subject) the sheeple head home to plop down in front of their TV to watch Top Chef while they browse Facebook. I know this is what we do because this is, very often, what happens in my house. There was a time, arguably before I was born, before computers got awesome and television really figured out how to get us to watch advertisements, when music was everything to a lot of people. A new record came out and it was THE THING that everyone talked about. There were Black Friday-like lines at record stores for Led Zeppelin II and live music was something that everyone engaged in.

I'm optimistic. In my career, specifically as part of The Stringdusters, I continue to see more people out at the shows and every well run, well intentioned festival continues to grow. I may be wrong about this endangered species thing, actually. But I have a sense that ours may be the last generation that craves music, that needs the kind of experience and community that you get from being a fan.

What is to be done? We need to spread the word, turn our family, friends and co-workers on to what moves us, drag the couch culture out of the house and drop them in the front row of our favorite band and make a habit of going out to see music at local venues. Perhaps more importantly, we need to get our children stoked about music, it should be part of their culture. Let's cultivate music, help it grow and make it better, before it vanishes.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Road to Boulder

The Stringdusters have just released an EP, Road to Boulder, to benefit flood victims from the September flood in Colorado.  The song Road to Boulder features the incomparable Bruce Hornsby on accordion and the EP includes three songs recorded at Bluegrass Underground.  This is an easy way to help those in need and get some good music in your ears.

The Road to Boulder Tour kicks off December 4th with stops in Columbus, Madison, and Lawrence before two nights at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado.  The road FROM Boulder goes through Austin, Fayetteville, Chattanooga, Chapel Hill and Wilmington.  Full details and tickets available at

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honduran Goodbye

"People are thrilled that you showed up, but no one really cares that you’re leaving."

In my circles we call it the Honduran Goodbye.  I hadn't ever thought about it being derogatory, as it's actually a really thoughtful, considerate, and efficient thing to do.  A friend forwarded this great blog post, I won't be redundant, I'll just drop you a link.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Our Founding Fathers

My bandmates and best friends Panda and Falco have a new project, The Founding Fathers.  I don't really know how to describe the music... programmed beats, electric guitars...  They've made some live tracks available on their website, it's really really good stuff, worth the stream while you're getting into what else you're getting into on the internets today.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Music Update

Rediscovering the e-bass at The Festy IV

Motivation and inspiration hit hard sometimes.  The last few weeks have added so much fuel to the fire that it can barely be contained.  I'm charging ahead with my solo project with a planned release date sometime in January, Sunliner's decided to cut a 45 or a single (two sides) this week or the next and the final session for the upcoming Stringdusters album less than three weeks away (and I've been charged with the task of writing another song for that session).

Post Festy, pre Holiday Tour was intended to be downtime but it's quickly become as busy as any other time of the year.  It's not only recording, Sarah and I are doing a few duo shows in Asheville, Roanoke and Ashland and I'm playing with her on her mini-tour in support of the re-release of her epic album Covered (see earlier blog post for more on that) in Boston and New York City.  Solo shows take a back seat this fall but January is going to be busy around the record release.  More on that later.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Albums of the Year

This year is not over yet (thank God) but Blue Ridge Outdoors prompted me to share my favorite albums of the year and the process got me thinking about all the great music I've uncovered in 2013.  Two in particular have been hitting me hard in the last few months, thought I'd share.  Hope you like badass pop.

LEAGUES:  You Belong Here

I’ve been a big fan of Thad Cockrell’s since my wife and I landed a brilliant Holiday record of his a few years ago.  He was living in Nashville at the time (as was my wife and I) and they shared some of the same social circles.  I hadn’t heard Thad in a few years before Sarah played me the Leagues debut album but his voice immediately brought me the same sense of joy I had when I first “discovered” his music several years before.  I’m a sucker for badass pop/rock music and this record is as good as it gets.  


This record was released in 2011 but I only just uncovered it when my lovely wife, Sarah, coupled it together with the latest Silver Seas record, Alaska, (2013) for a cross-country journey I took late summer.  The Silver Seas are my favorite band, simply put, and Tashian one of my favorite songwriters.  I can sing every line of every song of every record.  I didn’t read the writing on the disc, just put it in and immediately fell in love with what I thought was the latest offering from the Seas, but when track 10 rolled around and the chorus of Alaska hit, at first I thought “oh, how creative, the title track last” but then the track ended and another began and I realized my error.  I had been listening to Arthur.  Hook after hook, shameless pop and devastating bridges (I once laughed for at least 20 minutes straight at a cocktail party as Tashian riffed on a joke about opening a business on Music Row called Bridges Inc. where all the songwriters co-writing on the row, struggling with the bridge would drop by to get their bridges written for them)... Arthur’s the best thing I’ve heard all year.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Festy part IV

The calm after the storm.  Neither rain nor wind nor conditions more akin to Scotland than Virginia could keep the Dust down at The Festy's 4th edition.  Despite a steady but soft rain compliments of a tropical storm that simply refused to push north, The Festy easily and handily achieved the designation of "best Festy yet."

Friday Marco Benevento blew my mind.  I think his bass player was David Dreiwitz.

Saturday Sunliner debuted and surprised ourselves with the rock potential of a power trio.

Saturday night, the John Scofield Uber Jam had me so fired up I had to walk away lest I burn every ounce of energy I had.  Scofield sat in with the 'Dusters later that night, first backed on his own tune, Kelpers, then trading solos with Chris Pandolfi on Fire.  Sunday I kicked back and enjoyed the music and the sights.  Already making plans for next year, The Festy part V.  Hope to see you all there.


Photo's by Brian Band and Pati Bobek except Sunliner photo, no idea where that came from.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists

Terrorists.  That's what they are.  The individuals responsible for the obstruction of the Affordable Health Care Act and this government shutdown or federal lockout are terrorizing America.  As Elizabeth Warren put it, they couldn't accomplish what they wanted through Democracy, that is to say through elections and the courts, so they're holding the country hostage.  They're terrorists and we don't negotiate with terrorists.  We tell them to go fuck themselves and then we put them under arrest. I suggest we do the same to Mitch McConnell and his toxic cronies. This is not a breakdown of our government, this is a situation where we have a vocal minority taking radical measures to further their backwards ideology.

Satirist and conscience of the nation, Jon Stewarts take:


 From one of our greatest leaders, Elizabeth Warren:


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Very Lucky Man

This week two guys have been working at my house, sanding and staining the windows.  From 7 to 4 every day they've had a front row seat for my life.  Today I was leaving the house and I got to chatting with one of the guys.  As I wheeled my bike to the truck he said, "you're a very lucky man."

Friday, September 20, 2013

These Days

My uncle Dan gave me a Glen Campbell recording for my road trip.  Southern Nights and Gentle on My Mind are my favorites, but I was struck by These Days, a Jackson Browne song.  Listening to Glen sing I was reminded of an incredible performance of Pony by Tony Rice.  Both songs are written by individuals other than the performers but both songs capture these men at the end of their careers and both songs sound like they were written for them.

"I don't do too much dreamin' these days"

Monday, September 16, 2013

If you want to view paradise...

simply look around and view it.

Sometimes marketing works in ways I hadn't expected.  Pair a haunting version of Pure Imagination by Fiona Apple with a stark view of the reality of our food landscape and this is what you get.

Say what you will about Chipotle.  It's probably the same things you could say about Whole Foods, but the reality we face is that so long as the Market is deemed the ultimate in our food system, large scale distributers like Chipotle and Whole Foods have a tremendous opportunity to change the system from within while the local, non-GMO and organic movements seek to change it from without.  If you need food fast, it's good to know that at least one fast-food chain seeks to find harmony, or at the very least, elevate the conversation.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


"The story goes like this: A decade ago, the 22-year-old Siskind cuts a remarkable album with producer Tucker Martine (Decemberists, Beth Orton) and guitar god Bill Frisell. Then Siskind gets sick. Very sick. The album disappears. Enter Justin Vernon, who stumbles upon a copy. His band, Bon Iver, happens. Vernon starts his own label and rescues Siskind’s criminally neglected work, whose emotional rawness is typified by this song’s sly chorus. “Baby, I got you covered,” Siskind coos, before completing her thought. “So covered, you won’t get out.”
"The record is layers and layers thick.  Sarah's voice, earthy and mournful, is brilliantly offset by Bill Frisell's dreamy guitar work.  The songs themselves play like a collection of tiny novellas leading you from one scene of quiet longing to another.  The album is moody, mysterious.  Even the album art is plain black and white, Sarah never looking directly at her audience.  It was only with many listens, weaving through the intricate ribbons of guitar and root-bound vocalise, that I began to unravel the stories, rich in detail and reverie."



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sunliner debut at Four Corners Folk Festival

Sarah and I have been making plans for a duo project named Sunliner.  Our first show under the name Sunliner went off Sunday at the Four Corners Folk Festival, fittingly, the place we first met.  It was completely inspiring, I'm looking forward to our finding time and a budget to record this amazing music.

Ruby was serenaded backstage by Darrell Scott.  Lucky girl.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Garden

Greens for days and thriving Three Sisters.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


My relationship with this piece of land continues to evolve.  Last night as I was digging cucumber sprouts out of the compost (volunteers make for great gardens) I unearthed a family of mice living in my compost heap.  Twice I uncovered them, intending to disturb their home, send them packing, but both times, as I watched the adorable baby mice squirm, I was reminding of my own adorable baby and   both times I recovered the mice and decided to let them be.  Before heading to bed, I set a mouse trap in the pantry and this morning there was a fat healthy mouse in the trap.  Mom?  Dad?  Maybe those mice won't make it after all...

I'm on my fourth or fifth reading of Michael Pollan's first book, Second Nature.  Most recognize Pollan from his blockbuster The Omnivores Dilemma, or the curious Botany of Desire but his finest work, I believe, is found in his discussion of man's place in the world.  Second Nature explores his relationship with an abandoned farm that he slowly works into a true garden.  Not a garden in the American sense of the word, all tomatoes and carrots, but a garden more in the English sense, a landscape consisting of grasses, trees, plants, and of course, vegetables.  His discussion of nature is particularly interesting to me.  There are few places in this world that are untouched by man, and arguably, due to our effect on air and climate, there are none.  As stewards of this earth, or at least as enlightened being living on it, we have an opportunity, if not a responsibility, to see our place in it as natural and not alien, and to use the tools and knowledge at our disposal to shape the landscape, to consult "the genius of the place" as he would say, and to find a best-use scenario that encompasses the needs of every plant and animal in it, not the least of which, our own.

I've found as I grow older, as I work in and with the land, planting and cutting, weeding and digging, that my careful input has a greater and more positive impact on the land than merely letting nature run it's course.  Living on this piece of property has given me added perspective, for here is a place that has not been "natural" for many years.  If you poke around the fields and woods you will find old rusted plows with 40 year old trees growing up among the tines.  30 year old locust trees dominate a once thriving boxwood grove.  Only through careful, meticulous and consistent editing (a fancy word for weeding with a chainsaw) has this land begun to emerge as something more than a random collection of woods, planted and otherwise, and fields.

So it is with the saw, the weedeater, the mower and the hand clipper that I reclaim and shape this place, this garden.  Our traditional vegetable garden encompasses several square feet (for now) but I see this entire place as a garden, 80 acres begging for attention because the oaks can't fight the locust and the paradise trees on their own.  Trails give access to the far corners and now that spring has sprung, the spaces are truly gaining their character.  My time and energy is limited, but my vision is not.   To abandon this place "to nature" would be unnatural.  It's a garden, a place where humans and mice (and one fat raccoon) live in harmony, so long as they stay out of the pantry.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Farm

At one time, the property here was all farm.  Animals and plants, tractors and barns, the whole nine.  Over the years the fields were reclaimed and the structures crumbled.  Twice in its history this land was planted as a nursery.  The evidence is everywhere in the trees in tidy rows and the holes, the never ending holes that will probably never be completely filled.  10 years ago the fields were cleared, roads and utilities were laid out, lots divided and prepared for green vacation homes.  Fortunately, the economic situation of the entire continent shifted and the lots were left fallow, the seedlings and shoots got their opportunity and they took it.

4 years ago a group of intrepid individuals walked these fields and had a vision.  Green fields, trails, music, camping and even a return to it's original purpose:  farming.  The fields are now mowed, trails built and building, music and campers come regularly, but the farm aspect is only just now starting to take shape on a windswept, rocky patch near the only home.  This farm is without name and as yet mostly without shape but it's mine.  I have a vision, a shovel and a compost heap.  Two 3 foot wide, 20 foot long beds carved out of the ancient river bed, clay soil, too much sun and wind, not enough water, no drainage...  the obstacles are substantial.   But a productive farm is not made in a day, no amount of soil amendments can transform a spot of earth overnight.  Sun, rain, soil and human input collaborate in the ongoing evolution of a cultivated patch.  Mine is only just beginning and it looks fairly lonesome out in the field, just a patch of broken up clay with too many weed seeds and not nearly enough bed depth...

So it begins, one man's mission to tame the grasses, herd the worms and feed his family.  Pray for rain.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blame Walmart

This is about meaningful work.

Listening to NPR, hearing stories about people who don't have work, can't make ends meet.  I blame Walmart.  Hear me out.  Walmart rolls into a community and puts up a big efficiency box.  You can get everything you need there and you can get it cheap.  Auto parts, bike parts, groceries, clothing, pharmaceutical, office supplies...  it's all in there.  None of it was made in this country, by the way, no one under that roof, save maybe a couple managers, makes a living wage.  If you're a consumer and cost and time are your highest priority (gotta get home to watch TV), Walmart is appealing.  One-stop shopping and the lowest prices ever imagined.  A more short-sighted and selfish consumer the world has never seen.

So Walmart moves in and offers the services/products of 20 specialty stores.  Your local gas station, oil change place, sporting goods store, grocery, pharmacy, clothing store, housewares shop... none of these places can compete with the price and convenience of Walmart, so they shutter their doors and the employees go to work at Walmart.  But Walmart doesn't need all their employees, specifically they don't need any of the white collar workers like management or owners.  They only require one manager, one accountant for the entire store.  19 managers are out of work.  19 middle class workers now go to work for minimum wage.  Because the jobs aren't skilled, they can share across departments, so while the oil change place on main street used to employ 10 guys full time, Walmart makes it work with 5.  So 5 guys take a pay cut and 5 go unemployed.  The local bike shop gets it the worst.  Ever been to the sporting goods department at Walmart?  There isn't a bike mechanic under that roof, there's not even a single employee that can tell you the difference between a presta and schraeder valve.  There goes another 8 positions, formerly filled by passionate, inspired individuals, who now can't find work in their field of expertise.  This has social and health implications as fewer people get into cycling when the bike they buy was put together with the fork on backwards... but this is primarily a rant about economics so back to the point.

Distribution is streamlined, so there's only 3 trucks making one delivery per day instead of 20 trucks making 40 deliveries to individual businesses.  This is great from an environmental aspect, I admit, but delivery and trucking jobs are meaningful and pay well.  They also keep the community connected.  You know your UPS man?  Your mailman?  They know you.  17 of those jobs are gone now too.

Of primary concern is that 20 business owners, engaged and invested in their work and community are now working for a faceless mega corporation.  Their work went from meaningful to meaningless.   Their job requires no skill, has no positive impact on the world/community and they're easily replaced.  Their value as a worker is basically nil.  They wonder now why they get up in the morning...  Of course we're facing unprecedented unemployment;  we've allowed Walmart to concentrate the wealth of an entire nation of skilled business owners in the hands of 5 individuals in Arkansas with the last name Wal.

Ok, so we hear about the economy and there's a huge segment of this country in the role of the victim.  They can't get meaningful work, but they shop at Walmart.  They can't afford to make informed choices, so they walk through those sliding doors and put another nail in their own coffin and pop one in their neighbors while they're at it.  We are the economy.  WE ARE THE ECONOMY.  Did you fucking hear me?  If everyone in this country skipped their weekly Walmart trip for a year, the entire Economy would flip on it's head and the available jobs in this country would be more than enough to keep everyone meaningfully employed.  The choice is yours, economy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


This is how we roll in the High Country.  This bad boy's hour meter read 0000.  Plan to return it with at least 15...  we'll see.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Moots Trail Builder

If you know me, you know I love to build trail, ride bikes, run a chainsaw and drink beer.  Moots out of Steamboat built this one-off titanium 29er designed for just that.  

If you want more details, better pictures and close-ups, click HERE

Just got off the most epic Stringdusters Ski Tour ever.  We had shows outdoors in the snow, a mess of new people coming out, we met the cats at TGR (the greatest film company on the planet), scored some ill Icelantic skis and ripped at a bunch of world class resorts including a 15+ inch pow day at Jackson Hole.  Home now, chainsaw today, solo show tonight...  On and On and On and On!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ski Tour 2013

Ski Tour this year is proving to be absolutely epic.  Record shows in Durango, Aspen, and Boulder and an unprecidented outdoor festival show at night in a blizzard with 0 degree windchill.  So far three great days on snow, new friends at Icelantic skis, plans hatching for Summer River Tour and 2014 Ski Tour (expect big things)..  Here's the photographic evidence:

My daughter Ruby is absolutely gorgeous.

The Crew at Purgatory, opening day of Ski Tour.

This was the view from the audience at WinterWondergrass.  It was storming onstage too.

These are the actual three bottles of Stranahans we downed at WinterWondergrass.

Here's our skis from Icelantic (Pilgrim), and pow at Vail.

Tomorrow we ride Park City, then rock Park City Live.  Another day of skiing follows, hopefully at Powder Mountain with the Icelantic Crew, possibly here at Park City if it's snowing...  Then two days/nights in Jackson Hole and I'll be headed back across country to resume The March of the Chainsaw on the property.  Looking like we're gonna need more trail...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cross Country Course Design

It starts with a short section of singletrack.  Just a few turns through some cool terrain.  Then everyone agrees a trail run would be fun, so you build a course with a hand clipper, a weedeater and a chainsaw.  The few sections you've built aren't enough so you take what you've learned and you build more.  Then the parents and the kids and their dogs show up and every nasty thorn, every bit of fossil fuel you burned is worth it.

One thing leads to another and one day you realize you have an opportunity to host a High School Cross Country Meet on the trails you've built.  Having never technically run Cross Country, competed in a Cross Country event, or even seen a Cross Country course, the first thing you do it take to the internet seeking information.  The Race Course itself is a racing events greatest and most crucial asset and as designer you have a certain obligation to the entire past, present, and future of the sport, to create a distinctive, unique, demanding course as well as one that is up to regulation.

In my search for information, I came across this 150 page Masters Thesis on Cross Country Course Design by Audrey B. Lancaster of Utah State.  A very interesting read for Course Designers of any off-road genre'.

In the 2010-2011 manual written by the IAAF, the supreme world-wide governing body for cross country, it states, “There are extreme variations in conditions in which Cross-Country is practiced throughout the world and it is difficult to legislate international standardization of this sport.  It must be accepted that the difference between very successful and unsuccessful events often lies in the natural characteristics of the venue and the abilities of the course designer.”  Indeed.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


4 days of rain. Supposed to turn to snow this afternoon and evening. Conveniently, Sarah's having contractions so we'll likely be braving a blizzard to get to the hospital. I guess when you claim to love adventure, sometimes you get a little more than you bargained for. During a brief respite yesterday I dug some holes and transplanted some trees.  Hoping to develop a buffer between the parking lot, campground and house and also get a year-round visual barrier so you can't see the messy garage and the soon to be messy garden plot from the highway.

Rain, we're glad you're here and we'll be happy to see you go.  Thanks.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

(Mountain) Cross

Single Speed National Championships were held yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin and Adam Craig was triumphant yet again.  I love this cat, he excels in every discipline and wears cutoff jean shorts every year at the SSNC.  Virginian Jared Nieters finished in 4th, the only Virginian representing for the Commonwealth.

In local news, the Devils Backbone Mountain Cross returns March 23.  This great event happens on my home turf and starts and finishes in my back/front yard.  Just one of the many many perks of living in the Upper Rockfish Valley.  The spring edition is just 67 miles (or 27 if you opt for the shorty), last year this was my first event of this kind.  I don't crawl onto the saddle for 4+ hours unless it's going to be epic and I wasn't disappointed.  It rained, it was hard, I finished 22nd in 4:32.  Much of it looks like this:

If running's your bag, we've got a night time 5k/10k on the trails here at Devils Backbone this Saturday, called the New Moon Rising.  Pre-registration closes this evening, but you can always just show up and run.  I've put a lot of work into these trails, they're my baby (until my real baby arrives), and they get better every time someone runs/rides them.  Looking forward to kicking this cold I've had and returning to running them next week.  Get out and do something.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

San Juans

This is where I used to live.


:21 is a shot of Raider Ridge, you can't see the town of Durango tucked behind the ridge.
:41 is where I used to teach/ride.  it's a large part of the reason why I dropped out of school.
:55 is where I proposed to my wife
1:13 is Engineer Mountain, I've been up and down that one many many times.
1:18 is Silver Peak.  I had an amazing mushroom trip up there once, we arrived on top and there was a bush with a million ladybugs on it (at least I think that's what I saw).

Monday, January 7, 2013

Free Stuff

We get stuff sometimes.  It's a perk.  Best stuff is the stuff you can do things with.  Some of my favorite stuff is from the uber-cool company Klean Kanteen.  We gave all the campers at The Festy a Klean Kanteen cup when they arrived and made them available for sale to day-trippers.  There were no disposable cups on-site.  We even made filtered water available, for free.  As a result we kept 30,000 cups out of the waste stream.  That's substantial.  These are my three favorite things right now, I only drink out of these three items thanks to Klean Kanteen.

Awhile back I got some stuff from Mountain Khakis, pants to be specific.  Think High Country Carhartts.  I use mine for work, I love them.  This is what they look like after weed-eating and chain-sawing for weeks between washes.

Incidentally, mountaineering boots are kick-ass chain-sawing, trail-building and tree limb-busting kicks.  Those Garmonts suck to hike in but they can stomp the shit out of stuff in the woods.  Anyway...

The point of all this is that Mountain Khakis is awesome and not just because they gave me some pants.  They're giving away 2 nights lodging, 2 ski passes to Jackson Hole, dinner for 2, and 2 tickets to our show in Jackson in February.  Sounds awesome to me.  You can enter HERE and maybe get yourself some free stuff.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

On News

Twitter has become my favorite place to catch breaking and interesting news.  I can aggregate several different feeds and it's coming in real time.  This today from Mother Jones was particularly interesting, a connection between lead poisoning and crime rates.  Wonder what else we're collectively doing that is causing us longterm harm...  probably damn near everything.  There's a few news feeds that are super valuable, like NPR and CNN.

Huffington Post's Twitter feed this morning, however, sent me over my own cliff.  The first three tweets were about Jessica Alba, Sofia Vargara, Diane Keaton and a Kardashian.  THIS IS NOT NEWS.  Huffington Post is not exactly fair and balanced, but I was counting on them to bring me some good info and recently, it's been more like TMZ than legitimate news.  Yes, you heard me Huff Post, you're more like TMZ than news.  Can you sense my frustration?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ski Tour and a 36er

Ski Tour is around the corner and our partners from Icelantic are hooking it up with some nasty demo skis.  Mountain Hardwear just came through with some parkas for the boys and I, I lined up a matching bright orange top and bottom, I'm gonna be hard to miss.  Looking like the big family ski days will land be Vail on Presidents Day, February 18 and two days before at Eldora on February 16.  The Oskar Blues Brewski Bus is giving everyone a ride, kinda like a rolling party all day.  Just get on the Bus!

Copped this from Bike Rumor, a clearing house for all things cycling.  This is a picture of a 36er (yup, 36 inch tires) from Black Sheep Bicycles I saw on Bike Rumor.  As much as I like big wheels, I definitely need to throw a leg over this baby.  Actually, I need to throw a leg over just about any bike right now, it's been nothing but music, trail-building and running for the last couple weeks.  

Pretty sweet, eh?  Looks like fun to me.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Into the Wormhole

'Dusters dive into the wormhole today for a week of rehearsing and preparation for our next studio album. We've got a short list of 30 tunes we're working through, arranging and recording over the next 8 days. It's interesting how a session like this really stokes the creative fires. If I had a New Years Resolution, it would be to spend more time creating original music, more time just simply making things up. It's the most challenging and most rewarding part of this "business" and it doesn't always get the attention it deserves.

 So every day this week I have two 50 minute commutes and so far I've spent the entire thing on the phone, putting out fires and wishing people Happy New Year. Today I'll stay off the phone and let the brain spin, maybe some of these new tunes I'm working on will come together a little better before the demonstration period.  My songwriting hero, Benny Galloway, always left the radio off.  He'd put someone else behind the wheel of his F-250, sit shotgun, tell stories and let the mind roam.  It was Burle's birthday a few days ago.

Seems a strange time to be thinking about the garden, but my window to get the sod cut and beds covered is shrinking. If I want to plant in April, I have to have these beds done before the baby arrives. I received a fantastic gardening book for Christmas, The Vegetable Gardners Bible and I can't stop devouring the info inside. Ed's deal is W.O.R.D. or Wide, Organic, Raised, and Deep and I dig it.

My one regret of my career is that it makes it really tough to stay on top of a food production operation. Keeping plants weeded, wet and trellised is a daily activity and I'll go weeks away from home in the summer. The key is deep healthy soil and if I don't get that sod turned and the beds double-dug by the end of January, I'm going to have a real uphill battle.

 This year I see myself watching less television, drinking less (but of higher quality) spending more time outdoors with my hands in the dirt, more time in the kitchen with my hands in the sink, more time with a nose in a book or on a Google Document daydreaming and scheming. It's not a resolution, just a sense of my own subtle shifts in individual consciousness that will hopefully lead me toward a more productive and peaceful existence and ideally influence those around me. The most peaceful and content tend to be the least outspoken, the most troubled and upset make the most noise... maybe this is the root of our culture of fear. I think it's time for a culture of faith; in each other and in the cosmos. A smile, a deep breath, a vegetarian meal, an errand by bike, a simple meditation. These are the small changes that will add up to a brave new world.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year

What a year. tried some new things, fell in love with a new place, made a new person. What's in store? our child is on the way. new business plans. new music. definitely going to build a massive wooded pumptrack next fall/winter. epic shows. cyclocross and other bicycle related endeavors. more chainsaw. solo anyone? A little Maiden's Prayer, compliments of Andy Hall