Spring and Summer Shows

Whew. I forgot what’s it’s like to go to work after playing the night before. I gotta stop. Going to work, that is.

The Fork, in Lyons

The Fork, in Lyons

Big thanks to Wayne and Debbie and crew,  and everyone who came to the Fork in Lyons last night. And huge thanks to Brian Eyster for jumping in and playing on a last minute gig. Looking forward to more shows with Brian in the future.

I’m back at the Fork on a Sunday night on the 1st of June, but before that I’ll be at the Stone Cup in Lyons Sunday morning the 18th of May.

Then the Fork June 1st, and then Saturday night the 12th of July at Left Hand Brewery in Longmont.

All of those are acoustic shows.

Need directions, times or just want to see what’s up? Check here, or follow me on twitter or Facebook.

Stay tuned for shows with Malibu Drive- some of the same songs played louder and faster, and a bunch of other songs as well.

Couch by Couchwest Wrap Up! (extended cut)

I meant to write this a while ago, but I didn’t. So here we go.

CXCW is definitely my favorite bit of internet crazy. We had fun making the videos, and I had a lot of fun watching other peoples vids. See here for my mid-festival update. The only big thing to add to that is that MY SISTER, Anne Stott, finally got in the game at the end of the festival. Here is her video. Great to see ya sis!

We (Brian, Pam and I) actually did four videos as we were prepping. When I played them back I chose two to send in. Now, for your viewing pleasure, are all four. Yes, it’s CXCW UNCUT! Which is sorta funny if you watched some of the videos. Most of them are pretty ‘uncut.’ Including ours. Which is, after all, pretty much the charm. I was impressed that even Roseanne Cash did a one taker in a venue basement this year.


I did use CXCW to make a little pitch for floor relief in our town of Lyons, Colorado. Two of the songs were written in the wake of the flooding here last fall, and if you feel inspired to donate to a great cause, Lyons Community Foundation is the best way to put some support directly in the hands of people who need it. There is more information and a video about the flooding here.


Of course, I also write songs about tragic lives gone horribly wrong. So there are two of those songs here as well.


Who doesn’t like a good old fashioned story about failure and hopelessness? No one, that’s who.

If you made it this far, please feel free to leave us a greeting or comments below. And make sure you keep yourself in mustard. You can never have enough mustard. It keeps things spicy. (Lusty Monk is a sponsor of CXCW. I received no consideration from them for plugging their wares. I just REALLY like the mustard. Plus, they are big music fans).

Couch By Couchwest Mini Set and Update.

Six months to the day after the flooding that hit Lyons, one of my songs is on Couch by Couchwest (the OTHER festival going on right now). It’s a flood song, of course, but there’s another song as well. A classic American story of dreams gone bad and lives ruined. I love that stuff. You can find them both at the link above. When it’s all over I’ll post all the songs we recorded in prep for CXCW. ‘Till then, CLICK THE LINK.

All a fella needs is a couch and a guitar.

All a fella needs is a couch and a guitar.

As always, CXCW has been really cool so far- burning couches, singing children (though not at the same time), funny videos, great songs and some heavy hitters in the song department (David Olney and Gretchen Peters, to name two of my favorites). It’s an example of the best of what the internet can do- rally people around a fun common passion,create community, give people a voice.

My favorite moment so far has been a song by Aaron Lee Tasjan called East Nashville Song About a Train. It’s a really great song.

Big thanks to Brian and Pam who played on the videos with me, and hope you click CXCW and watch some great music and hilarious videos. Four days to go. Make sure you have mustard.

Couch by Couchwest Again!

All a fella needs is a couch and a guitar.

All a fella needs is a couch and a guitar.

So if you are into strange internet events, it’s time once again for Couch by Couchwest.

The ultimate independent music festival, it’s so alternative you don’t have to go anywhere at all. Just sit on your couch and let the festival come to you. Also, follow along on twitter at #CXCW or #CXCW14 to keep up with the conversation. No lines for the port-a-johns, no overpriced food and drink, no sweaty crowds (well, no idea what you house is like). It’s a very cool thing.

If you are  musician, whip out that cell phone and make yourself a vid. Submission rules are here. It’s not hard, nor is it a discerning festival. They don’t run out of space, just time. That is a large part of the fun. To see what crazy really looks like, here is one of last year’s best efforts, by a band from Utah called Two Mule Blues. Explosions and everything.

This year I actually planned ahead and got a few friends from Lyons to help make some vids. I’ll pass them along when CXCW posts them. CXCW starts on March 9 and runs through the 15th. And because it’s all on the internet, you NEVER miss a set. Music, your couch, the internet, what more could you want?

Well, mustard. That’s what.

That will make sense if you follow Couch by Couchwest. I promise.

Hey Ray Wylie, I did my homework…

Ray Wylie Hubbard, who has taken to writing loooong and really entertaining Facebook posts, included a song suggestion in a post not too long ago. I’m a big fan of his, so I just couldn’t resist following his instructions and seeing how it came out.

Here are his instruction reproduced exactly:

rwh instructionsrwh instructions rwh instructionsSo there you go- a throw down from the master. I tuned the B to an A, got out a pen and started writing. I didn’t really do the “Blue Moon of Kentucky ” thing, but I got everything else in one way or another:red shows, black cross tattoo, cursing in Spanish, butcher knife, hexes.

Here you go:

I haven’t taken it to an open mic yet. I’ll let you know how that goes.

 

Happy Birthday Elvis!

I don’t really have much to say beyond that. Without Elvis, where would we be?

This video hit MTV when I was in college. It was about the only thing I liked on MTV back then. Or now, quite frankly. Mojo Nixon is still on SiriusXM I think. You can hear an awesome interview with him on the Thanks for Giving a Damn podcast by Otis Gibbs.

Elvis is everywhere. Elvis is in boats. We are all moving towards perfect Elvisness.

Damn straight.

Out with the old, in with the new.

All in all I’m pretty happy to put 2013 to bed. There were some high points, but what with a major natural disaster in the black half I’m more looking forward to a new year of rebuilding and rejuvenation.

So have a very happy new year. May all the best come your way.

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Rack up the axes and get to work. It’s a whole new year.

Home Sweet Home, and ‘After the Flood’ Thoughts (song included)

Lyons, CO

Yes, it’s good to be home. There is no denying that. Sleeping in my own bed is good. The dogs are happier. The cat is still grumpy, but he’s home. And I love waking up to my Lyons view every morning.

The sun hitting Long's and Meeker at about 7am.

The sun hitting Long’s and Meeker at about 7am.

But just because we are home doensn’t mean everything is rosy. Many of our friends are not home. Many of our friends don’t have homes to return to. The damage is still there. Highway 36 to Estes Park opened monday, but it will need to be completely redone come spring. Our water went out this morning. I share that not to elicit sympathy, but to point out that while the ‘feel good’ media stories have passed, our town and the other communities affected by the flooding still have a long way to go. There are a lot of folks here who still need help. If you are looking for a good way to lend a hand, I recommend this website: Lyons Fights Back. The video is pretty powerful, and the links allow you to direct donations.

The outpouring of support and volunteerism has been wonderful, and it needs to continue. Fundraising is still desperately needed and while things are being patched together, many fundamental questions about rebuilding remain. The complexity of dealing with a river that moved is only now becoming clear.

The river used to run here.

The river used to run here.

Now the river runs about 250 feet south of where it did.

Now the river runs about 250 feet south of its original course.

And yet we try to be as normal as we can. Everyone goes to work and school. The piles of debris are getting smaller. Some restaurants are opening, others will be up and running by December. Some will stay closed.

I posted a song a bit ago that was flood inspired, and I keep churning out songs. Most of them are crap, as is the way with making art. You’ve got to make a lot of bad to get to the good. When I wrote the song posted here I was thinking of some friends of mine whose losses are much greater than ours, and I was thinking about the sense of community that has arisen in the midst of this. At a town meeting in October (we were having our town meetings in Longmont since no one could get in to town)a reporter commented via twitter that the sense of community was palpable. I liked that. Community is something you feel. It has a physical presence. Even after the flood.

Experience into Art (with songs and a flood update)

So I posted the Flood Update a while back. In between finding a more stable place to spend our exile from home, talking to FEMA (I feel like I have a close personal relationship with a government agency), trying to have half a normal life (getting the kid to school, getting myself to work, helping my spouse  get ready for a major trip she had planned for this month and remembering to occasionally change my t-shirt), and checking social networking to get news about home and friends, I actually had some time to write a bit.

I think I heard Bruce Cockburn talk quite a few years ago about responding to tragedy with art. His comment was something like, “we are initially stunned, and we think ‘what’s the point,’ but eventually we just go back to work, because it’s the only thing we can do to respond.” Which I now find to be true. There have been all sorts of benefit shows and such, but the demands of my life are challenging enough right now that I haven’t put much energy towards those things.

But picking up the guitar, or a pen, has been wonderfully soothing, and I think helps with the healing quite a bit. So I’ve written a bunch of songs, for better or worse (I’m sure I’m not the only songwriter who feels that strange combination of anxiety and ambivalence at his own work). Begging forgiveness for the technical qualities (I’m recording on the phone), here is one of several new songs.

I need to give a shout out to my friend Carole, who told me I had to write a song with that title. She was working on a piece of writing in response to the flooding, and asked me to read it for her before it went live. We had an interesting discussion about how humans respond to natural events, and I made a crack about how “the river doesn’t care” is a great line in a song, but you can’t make a whole song out of it. Carole told me I had to try. So there you go. Thanks for the push.

On a practical note, it sounds like we will be back in our house by Thanksgiving. Maybe much sooner. The more hopeful prognostications are great, but every time getting home looks closer, the seconds between now and then seem longer. It’s an exercise in patience.

If you want to hear the ‘full band’ treatment of the song, Malibu Drive is working it into the set list and hopefully will roll it out at our gig in Longmont in December. If you want more regular updates, hit the ‘like’ button on my facebook page.

After the flood…

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Looking East from Lyons. Highway 36/66 completely covered by the St. Vrain River.

So there’s that saying about ‘life is what happens when you are making other plans.” I often see it attributed to John Lennon. He was pretty smart, he might have said that.

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Flooding in what was the parking lot of Bohn Park in Lyons

Last post was upcoming gigs and fun stuff. Then we had a flood. My next three gigs were Lyons, Jamestown, Lyons. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess they aren’t happening. Though all reports are that the Jamestown Mercantile is standing, and I know first hand that so are The Lyons Fork and Spirit Hound Distillery. The Lyons venues both have water in them, but I know Debbie and Wayne will be getting the Fork back up as soon as they are able.

In the meantime, I’m in a hotel in Boulder looking for a short term rental for my family, wondering how everyone else in Lyons is doing, missing my town, wondering if the power is back on, checking Facebook for news, wondering if the sewer treatment plant is salvageable, checking twitter for news, wondering if the FEMA guys kicked in my door, trying to call friends to make sure their okay, wondering if the bridges can be repaired, walking the dogs in the hotel parking lot, wondering about my friends who lost everything, buying cat litter because we can’t let the cat out of the hotel room, wondering…

My neighbor Brian and I had been rehearsing for the Fork gig this weekend, and I’m pretty bummed about that. Not the rehearsal, the fact that the gig isn’t happening. But the songs I’ve stuck in here are what you might have heard if it had happened. Hope you like the songs and I know you’ll love Brian’s dobro, because he is awesome.

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It’s a sunny day, but I’m not in Lyons.

Lots of music stuff is ongoing. Malibu Drive will play in the Longmont/Lyons area soon, and many musicians are gearing up for various benefits and fundraisers. Stay tuned for more info. And if anyone knows of a month to month rental that’s pet friendly…?