Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Well, all right, we’re back from Colorado and New Mexico and recovering from the long ride home and watering and resting the ponies. Here I sit collecting my thoughts and remembering the past ten days, the green covered mountains, blue sunny skies, driving up to Bitter Creek to view a pristine mountain lake.  We arrived in Alamosa CO. Friday afternoon. Saturday and Sunday we took a trip and played on the Rio Grande Scenic Railway. The train departs the station in Alamosa at 10:30 AM and slowly winds it’s way up for a couple of hours to La Veta Pass where there is a solar powered stage built and set in a spacious surrounding meadow that forms a natural amphitheater. It’s a wonderful place and a memorable way to play music, or to listen to it.

We were part of a multi billed tribute to our friend Chuck Pyle who passed away in October of 2015, shortly after playing Michael Hearne's Big Barn Dance. With Don Richmond, Bill Hearne, Zeke Severson, we opened for Suzy Boggus and her band, and we sang some of Chuck’s songs and told stories, entertained the folks and as the show unfolded we became ‘the incredible ever expanding band’. Everyone joined in. After about a three hour concert, we all climbed back aboard the train and headed back down the pass singing train songs in the club car back down to the depot. Like I say, it’s a unique and memorable way to play music. It was great fun and we hope to be invited back next season. Thanks Ed Ellis and Fred Hargrove and the friendly and helpful crew on the train. Thank those of you who were able to make the trip up to be with us on this experience!

Sunday evening, after we returned from the train trip, Dee and I gathered at Don and Teri’s home with good friends from Texas, Pam and Greg Leitner and Rick and Delma Schriever who came for the train ride and other music events. We had dinner and catching up time and afterwards a little picking and singing out back around a nice glowing fire pit, built by the architect of the fire himself…Donnie Richmond. It was the perfect way to spend time with friends and to end the long but enjoyable day. We were sitting in a circle, living "at the speed of love". It just doesn't get better than that!

Monday we packed the ponies and headed south to Red River, N.M. Also known as ‘The Texas Alps’ and the land of green chili! Michael’s old friend and patron and longtime supporter of the music Steve Heglund (and owner of THE MOTHER LODE ) was kind and generous to put us up at his hotel The Lodge for a few days. What a great place to hang out and chill! There was great food in the long favorite steak house restaurant called TEXAS REDS downstairs in the lodge. We played Monday and Tuesday night in the bar called ”The Lost Love Saloon”. We shared the night with regular Mike Addington and his band, Jody Maphis and Colin Burke. It was a good warm up for our big show next door at ‘The Mother Lode Saloon’ on Wednesday night.

Wednesday evening around 8:30 Michael, Mike Roberts and I were looking at each other and it was looking like it might be a slow night. We were standing in a nearly empty saloon wondering if anyone was going to show up. Then just a little before 9PM as we were taking the stage to begin, it was if by mountain magic, folks began streaming through the front doors as if the buses had finally arrived.
From the down beat of the first song, until the final encore…..they were on the dance floor for every song. Don Richmond and his wife Teri came down from Alamosa to join us for the show. Don brought his fiddle, mandolin, banjo, accordion, and singing along. We pulled out several of our older dance tunes for the occasion like “New Boots” and knocked the dust off them. We played tunes from our new CD’s. We played all the favorites too! It was a rocking good Red River time! Thanks Steve! Thanks Jody for doing sound. Dancers came out from around the area and many drove up from Taos to party and dance. What fun it is to watch the great dancers reeling and waltzing and stomping around the floor. It almost makes me want to take dance lessons. Almost!
Friday night we played at the historic Fort Burgwin outside of Taos (off the high road to Taos) for an SMU party. Jimmy Stadler joined us for the evening playing piano and mandolin and singing harmonies. Jimmy always brings great playing and big fun and high energy to the mix. For your information, Jimmy plays on all three of our new CD’s!
Saturday morning we hit the trail and drove to Terrero, NM for a private cabin warming party! I use the term "cabin" loosely as it was a beautiful home with a porch that wrapped around all 4 sides and windows to let in all the majesty of the scenery! It was outside of the Santa Fe area. To get there we drove up into the mountains into beautiful scenery on a winding road, with giant bluffs on one side and a mountain stream on the other. We made our way up to their property which also had a mountain stream running next to the cabin. I was told if we kept going up the road for a few more miles from their place we would reach and be at the top of the world. I’m sorry we didn’t get the chance to check that one out!
Our hosts were Ken and Deb Eckel (and Deb's mom and dad, Faye and Ron Detry). We had performed at Ken and Deb’s wedding and party last year outside of Houston. It was held inside an airplane hangar. Ken is a professional pilot, so the bride and groom exited the party running through the flying rice and taking off into the wild blue wonder in a bi-plane. They circled the waving, cheering crowd of family and friends below flying off to their honeymoon! It was one "wing dinger" of a wedding. Definitely one to remember! So, there we were, blessing their new cabin they had built, with friends, family and neighbors. We were playing some tunes and taking requests and even a little dancing going on in the kitchen. Then was food before we hit the road back home to Texas. Thanks Ken, Deb, Ron and Faye for inviting us! "You’re only as strong as your dreams". We’ll see you at Michael's Big Barn Dance in September.
Now we’re back home and playing this Thursday night at Main Street Crossing in Tomball, TX. Show starts at 8 PM. There are still tickets and good seats left for the show, so come on out and join us! We will be recording the show and copies of the performance will be available for purchase on thumb drive immediately following the show. Isn’t technology great! We hope to see you here! www.mainstreetcrossing.com for tickets!  Thanks Mike Roberts for making the trip with us and driving Michael Hearne, aka Mr.Daisy!  Gotta love the bass!

Hey, I almost forgot….our new duo CD “Only As Strong As Your Dreams” is at number nine on the FAR charts! FAR stands for Freedom Americana Radio.
It’s made up on hundreds of independent Americana stations reporting what new music they are playing on their programs. It’s a good sign!!!!! Also, my friend Bruce Bryant called me and said he was in Boulder CO and heard “Loser’s Gumbo” on the NPR station there! Too cool for school!
See you up the road. Peace

www.mainstreetcrossing.com for tickets and good seats!  Main St. in Tomball, TX