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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Northeast & New England

The month of June was a wet one in the Northeast. It seems there is always too much rain or not enough in any area anywhere. Drouts & floods are what we hear about. After performing solo at Kclinger's tavern in hanover. PA on June 11, I had a nice listening audience at The Little Coffeehouse in Camp Hill, PA. The folks that showed up for the performance in Hershey on June 13 were very responsive and a joy to play for. Heading to a resort to perform in Lancaster, PA was very nice, especially being able to park the rolloing motel room right on the river for 3 days. Then playing at my regular stop at the Relax Inn in Chambersburg, PA., it was out to South Jersey for a solo performance there on Friday night. This was the weekend for the annual Knife and Tomahawk Throwing Championship Tournament in NJ. I had to catch a flight from Philadelphia to Kansas City early on Saturday morning to perform with the band, Levee Town at the Parkville, MO. Riverjam, so I missed the blade flying festivities. Unfortunately, I was told that rain put a damper on much of the weekend in NJ. I was right back in NJ a day later. Seems like I was commuting between PA. and NJ several times and trying to avoid Philadelphia traffic most of the time, but still finding myself wrapped up in it. The end of June had me performing between PA., and NJ, and in E. Stroudsburg, PA for a fun time with the band at the Timothy lake North Preserve. At this writing, I am in Boothbay, Maine doing a few solo acoustic perfromances, and prearing for the North Atlantic Blues Festival Pub crawl on Saturday, July 11. Til next time!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Road Continues

After hanging out for a couple of enjoyable and relaxing days on Lake Gaston in North Carolina, it was time to head north once again on Tuesday, June 9. I had a couple of days, so I wanted to try to see some sites. After deciding to make the trek along Virginia's Skyline Drive, I headed that way. When I arrived about 6PM, there was still a few hours of daylight left, so I ventured in. The view was somewhat hazy, but the sun shown beautifully and I think I got some great shots, which will be posted later. At dark, I headed down to Harrisonburg, VA. to get some dinner, buy some supplies, and spend the night. This, of course, is done at the world's largest retailer, which is referred to as The Million Dollar Refrigerator. We'll leave it at that.

In the morning on Wednesday, after breakfast and doing a bank errand, it was back up the mountain. This day was very hazy, but the drive was still enjoyable. I took a lunch break at one of the wonderful views off the drive. Late that afternoon, I headed to a regular travel stop of mine to grab a nap, fill the water tanks, and head into Hanover, PA., where the next gig is. When I arrived at Kclinger's Tavern I was pleasantly surprised that the legendary Nighthawks are performing. This group has been on the road playing the Blues for 40 + years. The highlight for me this night was to sit in and do 3 songs with the band. I was getting kind of restless with a couple of days of, which is normal, so sitting in with a band of this caliber was just what the doctor ordered. At this writing, I am getting ready to set up for tonight's solo gig in the beer garden at Kclinger's. If it becomes the rain garden, which it might, we'll check now for the alternate indoor location. Stay tuned. Next stop is St' John's Coffee for a solo show on Friday.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

2009 Blazing A Thousand Trails Tour Now Underway

Left home on Thursday, June 4 in the rain. Usually this is the toughest time to head out on a tour. With 4 months of the unknown ahead, it can make one wonder why we do what we do. It is always easier returning from a long tour, because the wonderful experiences are always better than you thought they would be. From the gigs that turned out great, to the CD's sold to folks that like what you do, to sites that you got to see, to the great people met along the way, to that exhilarating feeling returning home of a mission accomplished, are all the reward. Whereas most people leave home in search of a vacation, for a change from the norm, coming home to a touring musician is only the start of a wonderful vacation.

The first night out in Greenville could have been better. Thursday night is Bike Night at Chief's, but the rain kept the bikes way. We still had a fun set inside, although some of the folks didn't know what hit them when the band started. The bikers never have a problem with that. Not to worry as there will always be another good weather Thursday down the line.

Friday was a different story. This was a great time in Greenville. Thanks to the folks that drove 100 miles or more to be with us, and they were numerous. That's why we're on the road. Now the band heads back to Atlanta and I head North. Next stop: Lake Gaston, NC.

The solo gig here on Lake Gaston, NC was OK. When you play for a crowd that has a DJ mentality, then communication is sometimes hard. There is a whole generation of folks coming along that were raised on recorded music. That is so sad. Fortunately, there are always a few in the crowd that have a clue, and appreciate good music and to hear something they haven't heard before. I can observe so well the people sitting and listening, that are enjoying, and are relating to the songs I wrote, as well as the ones I didn't. They are the ones that will buy CD's, contribute to the gasoline fund, and let you know they liked what you do. As long as DJ's, Karaoke bars, and the media for that matter, keep feeding the the masses the same thing over & over, that's all they will ever hear. Here's to the independent musicians and songwriters that keep on writng and touring and attempt to weave new threads into the old fabric.

Now I'm sitting in a beautiful site in the campground on the lake. I'm going to work on some new tunes, and to listen to the Atlanta Braves on XM (even though I'm PO'd at how they treated Tommy Glavine). I'll hit the beach, do a long walk, and thaw the steak for a cookout later. The plan is stay here two days and head to Pennsylvania on Tuesday. More to come. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

2009 Florida Tour (2nd Leg)

When I left the house to head back to Florida on April 1 at 8PM, I realized about 2 miles down the road that I had no headlights on the van. The parking lights and everything else was working, but no headlights. I was hoping it wasn't a fuse or even worse, an internal electrical problem. Since it was already dark, I had to drive with the brights on, since I had a 1o hour drive ahead of me. My friend, Dale, who is a master auto technician in St Petersburg, called me back and told me to pull over and tap the lights to see if they might have just shorted out. About 2 hours later, in Macon, GA, I did just that, and the right light came on. Since I didn't want to drive too far, I went another hour or so to Cordele, GA, and pulled over into a Wal Mart to spend the night. In the morning I would head to an auto parts store for a bulb. Luckily, O'Reilly Auto Parts had the part I needed, and then I was on my way to Cocoa Beach for my solo acoustic gig at the Beach Shack.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March, 2009 Latest News & Update

This is the first update I've done in a while. So many great things have been happening that I thought I would just let you all know what all has been happening in my world. This can probably be considered the Bluestorm Records First Quarter 2009 Wrapup.

In the fall of 2008, I performed at the legendary King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, AR. 3 days of non-stop Blues acts including former Muddy Waters' band members Pinetop Perkins, now 95, along with legends such as Hubert Sumlin, Eric Clapton's favorite guitarist. It was a real honor to perform around the guys that pioneered the Blues, America's purest musical art form. An opportunity to jam on some street performances with Deak Harp from Champagne, IL was also a highlight. At the same time, my latest CD, Exodus, received extensive airplay on Sirius-XM Satellite Radio, and went to #23 on the Living Blues Radio Chart in September..

In January, I taught a week long course of Blues In The Schools (BITS) to a middle school in Raleigh, NC. I then traveled to the National Association of Musical Merchandisers (NAMM) Show in Anaheim, CA. There I was able to land some instrument endorsements from companies like National Guitars and Burris Amplifiers, just to name a couple. Meeting folks from the industry is alaways a plust, as was a casual conversation with Gene Simmons, bassist from the group Kiss, about the state of the music industry.

In early February, I had the pleasure of representing the Suncoast Blues Society from Florida at the International Blues Competition (IBC) in Memphis, TN. Just getting to perform on Beale Street in Memphis is a treat, but to be there among 170 top acts from the U.S. and around the world is another great honor. The next week had me on the road with legendary Muddy Waters' band member, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Willie was Muddy's drummer from 1961 to 1980, but he is also an accomplished harmonica player, vocalist, and songwriter. We did 4 dates as a duo in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio, and had sold out shows at every stop. Then a quick flight to Key West for a 4 day stint at Sloppy Joe's, opening for Pat Daily, a legendary songwriter from Put In Bay, Ohio, who makes an annual jaunt to the southernmost city each year. Then another trip to Northern California for my 6th appearance at the annual Tattoos & Blues Festival in Santa Rosa always rounds out February for me each year. A great addition to that trip this year was being the featured performer at the Redwood City Jam at The Little Fox Theatre in Redwood City, California.

And if that wasn't enough, I have just been accepted to perform at the Bluebird Café, the top songwriters' venue in Nashville, in the fall. The best to ever grace Nashville have played the Bluebird., soI will try to hold up my end of the bargain.

This writing finds me on my 2009 Florida Tour, just completing 2 nights at House of Blues in Orlando, Bert's Bar in Matlacha, FL, and the Tarpon Lodge, a favorite stop of mine on the Florida Gulf Coast, as well as The World Famous Buckingham Blues Bar in Fort Myers, and Aces Lounge in Bradenton, FL . A direct short stop back home for an appearance at Blind Willie's in Atlanta will happen on Tuesday, March 31 before a quick turn around back to Florida beginning with the Beach Shack in Cocoa Beach. A next stop will take me to my third appearance at the Springing The Blues Festival in Jacksonville Beach on April 5. Do look for me back home for the Big Shanty Festival in Kennesaw, GA, The Taste of Marietta in Marietta, GA. Diamond Dave's in Kennesaw on April 28, Sam & Dave's BBQ1 in Marietta on May 2, as well as the The Whole Hog Happenin' at Whitewater in Marietta, GA on May 16. That will all happen just before the 2009 tour that will once again take me across the U.S. & back. If you can, please stop by and say hello.