Hello Beautiful VIP Members!
Happy to take some time out to catch up with you on our latest and greatest, some not so greatest, travels! It’s been a whirlwind, let us tell you! So glad that you’re on this musical journey with us! Helps keep the pep in our step, and a smile on our faces! Especially when you're playing in sweltering heat!
Well let’s back up a smidge….last we shared we’d been in CA, and had a great time aside from the transmission dying and getting a speeding ticket just after entering the Idaho border after a long 10 hour drive at the end of our 3 wk tour. Guess you gotta take the good with the bad, huh? Ultimate duality in effect, putting all in to balance in some glorious grand design we’ll never fully understand. Sounds like the line in a “BEAUTIFUL” song….ha ha!
Well we hit the ground running upon our return from CA. doing a retirement party the next day in 103 degree heat, and then a Celebration of Life/Memorial the following day. Had the week off to lick our wounds so to speak, then played another private, and early church service Sun. Don’t forget about the B.O.O.B.S. (Bustin out of Boise) benefit sandwiched between the two gigs in sideways rain and thunderstorms. A 6 hour endeavor to help raise money for this dedicated non-profit helping folks get through cancer treatment. We’ve done this benefit for 10 years now. The set is 4 hours, and not for the weak of heart by any means. But it's part of our journey to give back and help whenever we can, and we bring the best of who we are to these benefits knowing that we're making this world a better place one day at a time.
On average we’ve been playing 5-6 nights a week, sometimes 2 times a day and the throttle is wide open! Talk about being amped 24/7. Usually takes us 2-3 hours to settle down after a gig….yes, going to bed at 1am not so bad, but getting up at 8am to play a gig the next day, as it would go sometimes, brutal combination. Like your feet aren’t going to hit the ground for a day or two so be tender to yourself, kinda thing. Don’t make any quick or sudden moments…..could be catastrophic. The plane must land!
On Sat. 6/16 we were heading home late from a house concert we did honoring our VIP Blazing members, Mark & Bonnie Benson. From 20 miles away we could see the Cloverdale Bridge on fire, flames exceeding 70 feet off the highway, and our hearts sunk. We knew something tragic was happening. We took an alternate route home, and later found out that 4 Mountain Home Air force base men lost their lives in that crash. Can you imagine, having served your country for all those years, being in hostile territory, life or death situations, and then to lose your life as a civilian on the highway?…….it’s a bitter pill to swallow. Moreover, if we’d left the party 10 minutes earlier, that could have been us trapped in between the flames of that commercial vehicle. We sent prayers to all the victims and their families, our hearts breaking with news of the tragedy. Grateful, once again, to be alive, and be doing what we love. The gifts of life unyielding, until it’s time to hang up the proverbial hat. Makes it all that more important to start attending to the things on our bucket list….
Speaking of bucket list, we’d always wanted to go to the Old Time National Fiddle Festival in Weiser. We’d heard from multiple people and musicians how amazing and life changing this festival was, so we wanted to see what it was all about! We’d made arrangements back in March to camp and see the competition, and didn’t get a single booking during that usually very busy weekend in mid June, so off to the races we went!
A clear lesson in “things aren’t always as they appear.” We pulled the trailer up Thursday, and ran into our good buddies Sue and Ellen, (also VIP members) passing through from Mt. Vernon WA. Super cool treat to have dinner with them, but the temperatures exceeded 100 degrees as we gnawed on our burgers and fries. Our campsite, turns out, was in the direct sun, and we have no A/C. Fortunately we did not have our precious Juno puppy. She would have melted along with us. Either way, the outcome was not good. But she was rather comfortable in Aunt Jackie’s air-conditioned home and big back yard with play mates!
We were going to stay all weekend and enjoy the fiddler’s fest, but we found the event to not be what we expected. Instead, we were falling asleep during the competition, probably due to the extreme heat, but it was very scripted, songs were truncated (shorted) to fit the formula, and you weren’t allowed to clap until after they’d done their quintessential 3 song set (We learned that the hard way). We were thinking that there would be songs in the round with other bands, or perhaps a “play off” where several bands or more did a “face off.” No such luck, it was very serious…..we, on the other hand, were far from serious, and quite delusional!
We had a show the next day in Halfway OR. Drove the 43 mile, 2 hour drive through Hells Canyon to get there, and decided not to turn back. We were full of the fiddle fest experience, and home was calling us. We kicked off the Summer Concert series in Halfway on a Friday night 6/22 and tried to find refuge in a nearby church parking lot to sleep in our camper for the night, as camping options were minimal. Seems reasonable, right? Well apparently this church likes to mow their lawns at 5:00 am on a Saturday morning, the day before Sunday service, so that was our wake-up call the next day! A giant mower driving right by our door in the early A.M. Time to move on B&K!!! Screamed from their doorstep. And so we did! Wow, getting home never felt so good. Especially when sleep deprivation is your middle name.
In Nicc's delirium she playfully wrote a little "diddy". *"Don't go parking at the LDS, don't go thinking that you'll get some rest, oh no....no they have a lawn to mow." We laughed all the way to Baker City where we had to land in a residential area and shut our eyes for at least another hour. Could have been more sleep without all the commotion of the neighborhood and diesel trucks driving by. The world, turns out, can be a very loud place! *Note- we have LDS friends too, so this little song is not meant to offend. It's basically where Nic's mind goes with very little sleep. She gets witty when a bit delirious! This is THE ACTUAL RECORDING from her phone. We attached it below (Nic does all that techy part, thank God!)
OR. TOUR 6/27-7/6/2018
Packing up for Oregon was a lot of fun! It’s like playing Jenga when we pack for a trip. Everything has its own spot, every crack and crevice is accounted for, and you’re lucky if you get 3-4 inches of space to see out the back window. Juno gets the best seat in the house, 4x4 on a cushy, self cooling pad, yet rarely sleeps there. She rather insists on sitting between us on the console, and falling asleep for brief periods of time with her head drooping, just like grandma and grandpa used to do. She doesn’t want to miss a thing!
We drove to Bend Wed. 6/27 and landed at our good buddie and former drummer’s place, Scott Lindbloom in Bend. It was wonderful to catch up with him and Katie, his girl! They’d just gotten back from Iceland, so they had a lot to share. We played “out in the sticks” of Sisters, OR for a house concert the next evening. That was an interesting experience, but so much love in the small room of folks. The three jack Russell/corgi dogs made things quite lively at almost all times!
Friday 6/29 landed us in Newport, OR on the coast where we played at Canyon Way Restaurant and bookstore. That’s right, the last of their kind, an actual bookstore in Newport. They had great food, lovely people, and a listening crowd. Our wages were not guaranteed, but we were up for the adventure. There was a tip jar on each table, and while not stated aloud, the culture of the place over the years implied “if you like what you hear, show your appreciation in the tip jar.” We had a family from Boise, some gals from Eugene that had seen us 3 years ago, and Francine and Lynda from WA, our VIP members show up to the show, which made the experience that much more wonderful. Thanks Gang for coming!
The Pixie Festival in Lincoln City was like nothing you’ve experienced. A beautiful family throw back of a restaurant from the 60’s that used to serve all you can eat steak and lobster. The kind of place where you’d get a pitcher of tea, coffee and water on your table as soon as you showed up, instead of waiting 20 minutes just to order your drinks. They’d also opened an amusement park nearby, thinking perhaps these iconic landmarks would put Lincoln City OR on the map. While it did not survive more than 10 years, a whole generation or two remembers this place on the coast, and that it was as magical as Disneyland.
We played both Sat and Sunday, right on the ocean at the Chinook Winds Casino, and froze our patooties off! They’d tried to block the stage with two large trucks, but instead created a wind tunnel that blasted us with a steady flow of chilly wind…..now we’re not complaining, but we were so grateful for our vests who’s collars went up past our ears, and Nicc was so happy she still had long hair at that time, great scarf! Really fun time watching all the kids play games based on Pixieland trivia, and kids and adults dressed up as Pixie’s (kind of like a naughty fairy without wings), and families having a great time on the rides, and dancing to the music. Definitely a blast from the past, and we were happy to be a part of it.
We took Juno to Pacific City and threw the ball for her in the ocean, she’s very brave! Played for a 4th of July party at our friends, Jenn and Mary’s in Lincoln and had about 30 folks pass the hat. Kind of an informal house concert. Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating so we had to end the set early, our entire sound system was wrapped in plastic bags and duck tape. Then we watched the fire works from the end of their street, and said a special blessing of gratitude for the Independence of America. We are all very lucky….
We returned home to gobs of practice time with band members, Bonnie Johnson on electric lead, and Meghan Kelly Watters on Cajon to get ready for two high profile shows we had last week. Twin Falls Tonight Concert series, 2 hours East of Boise on Wed 7/11, and the Mountain Home Concert Series, 1 hour East on Friday, 7/13. Both shows were in 100 degree heat, and the stage on Friday was directly in the sun. We were lobsters! But both crowds seemed to enjoy the shows, and we were very proud of our "waggie tail" band members for doing such a great job. Now, we are so grateful for air-conditioning! Ha! It also feels really good to be hired to perform regionally, and get compensated for your Art. Beats driving 14 hours to the show! Many hours on the road is very taxing on the body! That’s why we try to eat very nutritionally, even on the road, so we can keep our health and stamina. Makes a huge difference!
This week we have 8 shows, 2 shows on both Friday and Saturday. These are the weeks where we just focus on one day at a time, or you go into overwhelm. Every day we wake up, we take in much gratitude with our first waking breath, and thank the Universe for the privilege of sharing our music with the world! And so we thank each and every one of you for being such an incredible support in this adventurous career. Thank you for being the wind beneath our wings folks! We are smiling widely thinking of all of you! Take good care of yourselves! Be happy and healthy, and we’ll talk to you soon!
All our best,
Mo and Niccole