I’m actually writing this October 2nd, in the friendly confines of the Madison, WI airport. It’s indicative of the kind of month I’ve had. It began innocently enough at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC.
My book,Christmas in the Trenches, had been selected to represent the state of Georgia at the Festival. Carmen was a featured author, as well, so we got a rare chance to attend a festival together. It began with a swanky affair at the Library of Congress, possibly my favorite building in the US, and a reunion with old friend and wonderful author, Alice McDermott.
Winfield came up next and Delta airlines managed to coincidentally seat me next to John McEuen (of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame), allowing us to have a proper visit and plot out crashed sets at the festival. The Steel Wheels, who are entirely too nice to be as good as they are, joined me, as well, and a good time was had by all. I arrived back home in time to join my brothers for the Packers-Falcons game, but I don’t want to talk about that…
The following week I spent in the studio working on Ghost Light (details below), followed by a return to the nearby Birchmere and then a wild weekend in the Twin Cities with Holly Near, supporting the work of EPES, then on to Cedar Rapids and, finally, Rochester, MN. After a couple of days at home I returned to my alma mater, St. John’s University, for an amazing concert with their orchestra and chamber choir. And last night I was here in Madison. I’m looking forward to a much-needed weekend off…
Coming up this month is grandson Brady’s 1st birthday and hammer dulcimer guru Paul Van Arsdale’s 96th. Oh, and I do have some shows, as well.
I’m heading back up to St. John’s on the 20th for firing of my dear friend, Richard Bresnahan’s, pottery kiln. Richard has been the artist-in-residence at St. John’s for 35 years and has the largest wood fired kiln in North America. He also has a beautiful family that has welcomed me as its own. I’ve composed a piece of music for the lighting of the kiln and plan to pull my shift loading and tending. There’s beauty in the work and even more beauty on the other side.
My trusty tour manager, Tommy Slothower, underwent heart surgery in July, putting him out of commission until this past weekend. He’s been my traveling companion for nearly 30 years and my dear friend for far longer. Many of you know him as well as you know me from our years of touring together. He’s the reason I get to places on time, the reason the sound is always nearly flawless, the lights are properly focused, the CD and book sales run smoothly, and that everyone feels warm and fuzzy at night’s end. He puts his heart into everything he does and it got severely tested this summer. He’s gradually making his way back and is his usual agreeable and genial self. His crappy jokes are even coming back. Give him a greeting when next you see him. I know it’ll cheer up his day.
Well, flight looks like it actually might be on time. So I’ll close here with another thank you for your company and support. You’ve made the time away from home feel familiar and the work lighter. Here’s wishing you love and light until we meet again. I’ll be back here again next month.
After many years, my web site, www.folkmusic.com, has gotten a make-over. It’s easier to navigate, has a more logical layout, a better tour calendar, and translates onto portable devices. There’s a really cool lyrics section that allows you to search not only by song title, but even by key words in a song. More stuff will be added all the time and we’ll alert you here. But it’s up and running today, take it out for a spin.
Ghost Light News
My new album, Ghost Light, is nearing completion. All the elements are in place and my engineer, Bob Dawson, and I are mixing later this month. Design is underway. Mastering is the final step before we hand it over to the manufacturer. It’ll be officially released in early February, but will be available on my web site sometime in mid-November. So you still have an opportunity to assist in the production of this new release. This seems to be the new paradigm: communities investing directly in the artists and music they want to support and see thrive. I deeply appreciate anything you can do to help bring this album out. There are ways small and large…and each one matters. If you order at the $50 and up level, we’ll send you a rough mix of one of the songs!
The simplest, cheapest thing is to pre-order the album. Official release date (when it’ll be available on iTunes, CDBaby, in stores, etc.) will be early Februry. But we’ll have it at Appalseed probably mid-November. Cool holiday gift, huh? Click here to do that. $15.00.
For $50, I’ll sign and personalize the album, plus you’ll get a free download of the album. Click here for that option.
For $100, I’ll do the above and get you two tickets to the concert of your choice. Click here.
For $250, I’ll do all the above and list you in the “Special Thanks” on the album itself. Click here. Deadline for this perk is October 27th.
For $500, I’ll do all the above and list you as “associate producer” on the album. Click here. Deadline for this perk is October 27th.
Any of the above can be done in multiples, of course, if you wish to gift something to someone else or honor them with their name on the recording. Thanks for your interest and, of course, thanks for your help. I’ll keep you posted.
Here’s a listing of the songs:
Me & Jesus
Waiting for the Rain
Dark Side of This Town
The Story of Abe
A Perfect Day
Burley Coulter at the Bank
When My Fight for Life Is Over
She Just Dances
There are still a small handful of spots left in each of my Songwriting Camps at Highlander. As I continue an active touring calendar, these will disappear very soon, as non-newsletter recipients learn about the camps at my concerts. So if you are considering coming this year, it’d be best to act quickly.
The sessions are scheduled for:May 20-24, 2018andJune 24-28, 2018
Click here for more information. The $150 deposit holds your spot. No further payment is required until next April.
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