June, July, August 2019
NADA - I don't have much to tell you about June, about gone anyway. I'm embarked on nearly four months without airplanes, the longest stretch in a decade. I worked a lot of odd jobs as a young man, and for the last twenty years worked one of the oddest, spending a third of my time on the road. This type of thing unfits you for normal life, so that when you finally stop for a while it's the spiritual equivalent of having been thrown free of a car wreck. The natural impulse is to sit very still and gently feel around to see what might be broken. That's what I've been up to, sitting still.
TRUEBLOOD - In July I'll play the Trueblood Performing Arts Center on Washington Island, off the tip of the Door County peninsula in my home state of Wisconsin (7/13). My parents honeymooned on the island, and we would camp and fish there when I was kid. It's a beautiful place, a brief ferry trip from the mainland, and I haven't seen it in years. This time I'll have Kris Delmhorst along with me to play viola and sing. She's a fantastic sideman and she works cheap, because we are married, and she is technically my property. I'm almost sure she doesn't read these letters.
HIAWATHA - The week following I'll be up in Marquette, Michigan for the 41st annual Hiawatha Music Festival in Marquette, MI. (7/20-21), on an eclectic bill that includes our friends in the band Lula Wiles. My niece captained the swim team at Northern Michigan the past couple years, and I've been trying to find a reason to get up there for a visit in the month they call summer. Both sides of my family trace back to the Upper Peninsula, one of the less-peopled and least-known pockets of the USA, and it feels like home.
PHILLY FOLK - In August I'll reconvene the band after a long break, at the Philadelphia Folk Festival (8/15-18), on a bill with old friends like Peter Mulvey, Caitlin Canty, others. Billy Conway will be tall in the saddle after a 6 month sabbatical, and as this is a folk festival, I refuse to bring an acoustic guitar.
ETC - There's a swing through the Northwest and into Montana slated for late September and into the first half of October, a few other trips on the horizon, so keep an eye on the tour page for details. Meanwhile, I've been reading Stephen Mitchell's translations of the Gospel of Jesus; Thich Nat Han's life of the Buddha, Old Path White Clouds; Stephen King's fantastic memoir and ode to craft, On Writing; the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment; Richard Hugo's Collected Poems; and Barry Lopez's Field Notes. I've been thinking about music, and playing a lot, mainly the salvaged pine baritone custom that my friend Creston Lea built me last year, but I haven't been listening to much. I did take a swing through Howe Gelb's great recent collections Future Standards, and Further Standards. Also, Small Town by Bill Frissell and Thomas Morgan.
That's all I can tell you now. Let's try to keep this thing on a need-to-know basis, and assume nobody really needs to know.