Hello 2019 and Goodbye Mary Oliver
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and New Year. I think that I did, although it’s hard to remember at this point. Everything moves so fast and each day leaves the recent past a blur. All I know is that so far 2019 is kind of kicking my ass. I’m not sure yet if it’s in a good way or a bad way. Or both. I haven’t written a thing in several months and that always feels precarious. However, I have been learning lots of new fiddle tunes and that is joyful to be sure. I have laughed a lot and cried quite a bit. I’ve had a lot of good food and wine, and also a stomach ache for a month. It’s a mixed bag, as everything always is. And I feel like this year has barely even woken up yet. Oh lord.
In happy news, we are playing The Drive at Five, and hanging out with the Chillbillies on 92.9 FM WAME Radio in Statesville this Friday, January, 25th from 4-6pm. You can listen live by clicking the button on the WAME website or you can even watch the show on the ChillBillies Facebook page
Take a look at our website for other upcoming dates. But not to worry—I will send out reminders. We are also working on our new album with Keith Thomas of Ivy River Studios. So far we’ve always done everything ourselves, so it’s a departure, a relief, and a delight to be working with him.
In sad news, Mary Oliver died last week. I didn’t know her but I cried anyway. So many actors and musicians that I have loved have died over these past few years and I acknowledged their passing and didn’t cry one bit. I love the poetry of Mary Oliver. I think I cried for her because her passing caused a huge swell of feeling to rise in me—like a giant shot of all her most beautiful words at once, straight to the heart. The creator of all those words that have brought me all these feelings has left the theatre. But lucky us, her words are still here.
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
That last line slays me every time. What do you plan to do? I plan to let my heart crack open and to love. Because what else should I do? What else can we do?
A Whimper into the Void
First things first. I want to admit to you that I haven’t been telling the truth when I give you the weather report and then claim that I don’t know why I love to talk about the weather so much. I do know why. It’s because it’s so damned hard to talk about other things. We may not all agree on all things, but we probably can agree that these past two years have felt much like living in the middle of a maelstrom. It. Never. Ends. And maybe it’s naive to pin it all on these past two years. Maybe it’s all years, all the time, for all time. Maybe. But these past two years have been particularly hard for me personally. It’s a hard time to be human. So with all this in mind, I will not give you the weather report other than to say that weather happened. Some of it was catastrophic. Some of it was lovely. Let’s move on.
It is August and it is raining. I should have written a post in July so I would have had something, anything different to say about the weather, but I waited too long and now we’re back under water. There are flood warnings in our area and we are hoping that we get through this bout with less damage than the last time. And that is your weather report. I’m not sure how or why I became a weather reporter, but I seem to love doing it so expect more to come!
In other news we have been hard at work recording songs for our second album, working on new stuff for our shows, learning to appreciate red wine, and generally having a good time. It’s been a good summer so far. Here is a clip from the new song Dogwoods to Maples, taken at a recent practice session.
We have some exciting shows coming up. On Thursday, August 30th we will be playing a patio show at The Grey Eagle. This show is from 5 to 7 and we’re pretty excited about it. The Grey Eagle is one of the best venues in Asheville. We’re starting on the patio and hoping to get ourselves on their main stage one day soon.
In October we get to do one of our most favorite things and play a house concert at the beautiful Far Flung Farm in Canton, NC. Ben and Kelly Lovejoy moved here from Columbia, South Carolina, where they hosted an ongoing house concert series. They are now starting a farm and continuing the tradition in WNC. Their series is called The Opulent ‘Possum House Concert Series and you can find them on Facebook.
That’s about it for now. Looking forward to playing some great shows in some new places and to seeing lots of your beautiful faces in the not so distant future.
Hello friends! Here we find ourselves suddenly at the end of a very soggy month of May. It’s warm and lush and wet as anything around here.
A few nights ago we played a show at The Whistle Hop Brewing Company in Fairview, North Carolina. And no surprise—it was raining. We have played there before, out on their big deck, but on this rainy night we all piled into a vintage boxcar, set up a minimal sound system and had a party. It was a good time. We will be there again on Saturday, June 23rd and I’m almost sort of hoping it rains. You can see from the photos how pretty it is inside, with beautiful reclaimed wood and twinkling lights strung from the ceiling. Everything looks better in a vintage boxcar!
It's Spring! Just kidding... No I really mean it this time! Just kidding...
So that's been April in a nutshell. And that's your weather report. Moving on....
We had the amazing opportunity to play The Blue Plate Special live show on WDVX out of Knoxville, Tennessee. We packed up and had our first Scatterlings road trip. Granted it was only two hours away, but it still felt exciting. Maybe because Rick made us leave at 7am so it felt momentous as I generally only get up at 6am if a plane is being caught. If you haven't ever been to Knoxville, and I hadn't, it's a beautiful city. I'm eager to go back and explore it some more.
You can listen to the show here: WDVX Blue Plate Special. Be sure to click on “Select a previous date” and choose April 14th. The Blue Plate Special starts at 12:00 pm that day.