|Winter/Spring 2002 Travels
We opened for Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen at the Folk Project's Minstrel Coffeehouse. Steve and Cindy are both wonderful performers. Cindy played guitar and squeezebox, Steve guitar and violin. They
joked freely with the audience. The coffeehouse is in the police station of a park, an unlikely place for the
sometimes non-conforming folk community.
I was sick this weekend, so the shows were challenging. We don't cancel shows for sickness.
We visited friends in Bryn Mawr, PA and then went to the Point, where we opened for the
Kennedys. The Point is a cool venue with wood and warm, dim lighting. The Kennedys are great
people and spectacular performers. Pete is an amazing guitarist. They talked about moving to
New York City, and played their newly home recorded and mixed album before the show.
We finished off the weekend with a house concert. We knew this couple when they lived in New
York City and had just met. Now they have bought a house and we were their first house
concert performers. We had a great time, and my voice held out until our very last song. The drive
home was rainy and snowy. The radio had threatened snow, but we made it back to Boston before
We played a show in Cromwell CT, and a Cornell Club event at the Roaring Brook Nature Center
in Canton CT. The Nature Center is cool, with trails out back and exhibits inside. My favorite was
the life size wigwam that you could walk into. As kids we loved to make tents out of sticks lashed
together with twine and old blankets. It's fascinating to see how these structures were held
together. We played right in front of the snake exhibit, which was luckily covered over with
The end of January and beginning of February we have been busy finishing the album. We had
several guests. Duke Levine played guitar and mandolin on some of the tracks.
He is a masterful player and performer. Jim Henry played alternate acoustic, electric guitars, and
banjo on other tracks. Richard Gates played bass, Doug Plavin drum kit, and Seth Farber
accordian and organ. Doing music ourselves means we are intimately involved with all aspects of
the production, mixing, mastering graphics, marketing and distribution.
We played the Songstreet Festival at the Somerville Theater.
The festival was rescheduled from October 13, 2001, because ticket sales were low after September 11.
We arrived at the theater early and set up and sound checked. We got a chance to speak to fellow performers
Chris Williams and Edie Carey, but I was surprised that the performers for the second half of the show were not yet there.
We had a great set, and enjoyed meeting people during the break.
In the second set, Mary Lou Lord announced during her performance that this would be her last live performance.
Mary Lou was a frequent subway performer and busker. Meredith and I have done some subway performing, and it can be
fairly grueling, especially if it
s your only income. I had seen Mary Lou Lord perform in Harvard Square, and she mentioned
between songs that she had carpel tunnel syndrome. On another occasion I saw her and her voice was barely more than a whisper.
Even after getting a record contract with Sony's WORK group, she always went back to street performing, claiming she loved it.
We played at the Hardware Café in Marion MA. John, who runs the café/performance
space/hardware store. John was a sideman for a while, so everything was engineered to make the
musician feel at home-including extra picks on stage (which I appreciated as a guitar player who
loses picks). I asked him which part of the tripartate hardware store-performance venue-ice cream shop business brings the most in, and he said "the ice
Saturday we took photos for the album by a reservoir
at the Winchester Fells. I love to run in the woods around these bodies of water. One of my favorite spots in the pump house, a beautiful brick structure with rusting
metal doors. Our friend Michael Halle took over 300 digital photos that day. I am writing from the
mastering studio, listening to the new album blasting from high quality speakers. This is probably
the highest quality at which I will ever hear this album. These rooms are actually independent of each
other and the building, with buffers between the non adjoining walls and a layer of sand above the
ceiling to insulate the offices above. The engineer and I talked about the differences between
digital and analog tape, and he mentioned that "analog" film (as opposed to video, which is digital)
even picks up the difference in air quality between New York and LA, so that "NYPD Blue" scenes
filmed in New York look bluer than those filmed in Los Angeles. He has some interesting
perspectives on music and film, and how similar the two genres are in terms of capturing them on
We played in a yoga studio/performance venue in Newton. The room was open, with yellow walls and colored
lights in each window. A blues musician, Doc Nichols, ran the sound and does the booking. He is writing a book on performing,
and asked us for an interview. Folks brought lawn chairs to sit on - and a lot of people came to the show. The night was warm for March.
When we first moved to Boston, we stayed with friends who lived in Newton, and I fondly remember our friends, who have now relocated to
We traveled to Attleboro. (I've always wondered why some maps and signs say "Attleboro" and
others say 'Attleborough" - did the final consonants get dropped in a budget cut? Did they go out of style with the "u" in "colour")?.
We opened for Kerri Powers at the Rug Room Coffeehouse in Attleboro MA. Kerri writes and sings country music.
She has a lovely voice. I enjoyed especially a song she wrote called "Battle Road," about the unhappy residents
of a country road. Kerri told us about her travels and her family, and how it is challenging to balance her family and music career.
The sunday school has a may pole in the corner, and had painted their room purple.
We played in Providence RI at the Aldrich House, a venue run by the Providence Historical Society.
A mural of Providence back in the 1880s was on the wall and as people arrived they marveled at the
buildings as they were and how that mural had changed. People were murmuring "there's the original Unitarian Church
with 2 steeples - it burned down a while ago" and "look at how the river was open back then, before they covered it up.
We had a good crowd - neighbors from Woodbury St. when we lived there, even our elementary science teacher and art teacher came.
We then traveled to Vermont to play a show in Rutland. We stayed with our great-uncle Evan and our great-aunt Edith, who are both more than eighty years old now.
His wife Edith was in Florida visiting relatives. A neighbor, Tengy was staying with Evan to help cook and shop. Tengy talked about
his plans to drive the whole length of the Americas, from Chile all the way to Alaska. You need to take a ferry to cross some
places where the road does not traverse the jungle.
Evan worked as a head librarian in Detroit Michigan for many years. He still enjoys reading - books lining the walls of the
farm house that he and his wife retired to. They have every "flavor" of retriever: golden, chocolate and labrador. They love those dogs.
We had a fun show in Rutland - well attended with a warm audience.
We then traveled to Avon MA, for a Habitat for Humanity benefit. Avon Baptist church does a lot of community outreach, with an active youth group.
We once again had a fabulous show at the Conneticut Audubon society in Glastonbury, CT.
The Audubon Society is beyond beautiful houses where Glastonbury stretches into farmland and forest.
A mural of wildlife decorates the wall behind the stage. The sound man said that theyhad just
had a show with Dave Van Ronk, who was a well known during the 60's in New York's Greenwich Village.
We flew out to the Northwest for a tour. Meredith booked us in some fun venues. We arrived at the SeaTac airport
on Thursday March 21, 2002, and our college friend Pam picked us up.
Pam takes us to her home in Green Lake, a beautiful area of Seattle near University of Washington. Green Lake is a
manmade pond with a tree lined path around it. We ran there nearly every day of our trip.
Pam is always a fabulous host to us when we visit the Northwest. Her roomate had hand sewn a hat for a friend's new baby.
I loved the hat and took a photo of it.
Friday we had a live radio interview with John Sincock at KBCS radio. He has been a volunteer folk radio host for nearly 14 years -
and he is very supportive of young artists. He also announced a local event "Alpacapaloosa" featuring Alpaca Llamas.
After the show we headed out to our first show on Whidbey Island. We picked Pam up and drove up Rt 5 to Mukilteo. Meredith
said it sounded like a neat place, but its more of a launching point for the ferry to Whidbey Island. Cars line the
main road and wait for the ferry. We pulled away from the shore and caught a glimpse of a light house (pictured below)
The ride across the water was about 45 minutes. We got off on the island and drove up
along green countryside. we came to Coupeville, a small town with a tourist area by the water, and the high school and
farmland on the land side. The people of Whidbey Island
are proud of their home, and their community. Verne, the concert organizer is a "retired" school teacher, who now
sings in a Sea Shanty group, runs the concert series, and is part of a group of citizens who go around
and clean the beaches of the Island, and also give school programs about the environment. (Thats a busy retirement!)
(I later heard Verne on NPR, on the show "Rewind" telling a story about his years in the Army. There was an "etra" tank on the base
they were at in france, and worried that they couldnt account for this extra, he and his company buried the whole 1 ton tank!)
We played in the high school autorium to a large crowd. The crowd was entusiastic, singing along to
songs. When I mentioned that we had a new album in the works, but we'd have to come back later since it wasn't done yet, and
someone in the crowd yelled "please come back soon".
During the break so many people bought CDs we worried that we didn't bring enough for the trip.
Everyone was so friendly, and so proud of their Whidey Island home.
We stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast near the shore. The owners made a delicious "stuffed friench toast" for breakfast.
Then we spoke with the other guests in the B&B and the owners. They owners talked about how you have to be careful
when buying land on Whidbey Island because some plots do not have water rights. Apparently there are many people holding
plots of land, unable to build or sell until someone else sells them water rights. We walked around the shore, looking at the stores and admiring the view.
We drive up to the northern point of the island, passing through the developed part near the Navy base. Islanders have a "love/hate" relationship with the
base, which offers jobs but also brings development. This island has other problems as well:
the state of Washington has no income taxes, so the whole state is in fiscal crisis, but it is a lovely place.
At the northernmost point of the island is "Deception Pass," named because early settlers thought the
island was a peninsula until they came upon the pass (we thought it should be called "relevation pass" instead.)
Blue water churned far below the bridge.
On our way back to Seattle, we drove thorugh the Skagit valley, a place where tulips would soon bloom.
The wide, flat, green valley is lined by tall mountains, which inch closer to the road as you drive west. Small logging towns
replace the farms, and we came upon a town called "Concrete" where a large concrete factory by the road.
then the mountains inch closer to the road, and you drive through forest. We sawe several bald eagles- closer than I have ever seen them before.
I was amazed, but our guide, Pam mentioned that they are quite common around here (we saw trees with 3 or 4 eagles on our way
back from Vancouver in 2001).
We played a show at the Grateful Deli sponsored by the Seattle Folklore Society. The volunteers transform the deli into a venue for Saturday performances.
We played here a few Septembers ago. The barista Wes remembered us - he said that we had inspired him to release an
album of songs he had written about the Northwest, and he gave us a copy.
On Sunday March 24 we took a fifteen minute ferry to Vachon Island to play at a coffee shop there.
The local movie house was hosting an "Oscar's night" where people could come in gowns and watch the Oscars on the big screen.
We had a good crowd for our afternoon show,
and afterward we took a tour of the island. Though it is close to Seattle, Vachon is still fairly rural and green.
That evening we went to a cool restaurant back on the mainland. The brick walled restaurant/deli had
large wooden tables and chairs and beautiful textiles dividing the space into smaller areas. We caught up with Pam and some other friends
and saw a bit of an improv performance by a local improv group called "Jet City".
We had a day off, then traveled to Bellingham WA for an opne mic feature on Wednesday March 27. Bellingham is a city on the shore
with more of a small town feel than Seattle. We had coffee at a cool little shop, then dinner in a bookstore cafe, where the
soup was served in a bowl on a wooden bread board with bread sliced on the board. We enjoyed the meal as the sky darkened into evening.
The open mic at Wild Buffalo had some fine performers. We were the only women playing that night, and people enjoyed our set.
Some folks from a local vocal group, Equinox, came to the show, as well as some other folks we had met on earlier trips
We drove back to Seattle in dark rain.
Thursday we traveled to Portland OR for a show. We stayed with a friend from college. He and his wife own a house in a nice neighborhood
and have a baby son. We met up with Anne Weiss, a performer based in Portland. She lives in a cute house with a garden
and a roomate. Anne was planning a trip back East, and we gave her som tips on venues, and played some music together. Again
we talked about how it is tough to make a good living in music, but it sure is fun. The show at the Mt Tabor Pub
did not go as well as we had hoped. Attendance was somewhat small, but Dave Carter, of Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer came to the
show. We had recorded one of Dave's songs on our latest album, and we really like Dave and Tracy's music. Dave said he
had some songs for two female voices that he wanted to show us, and we decided to try to meet the next morning.
Friday morning we could not reach Dave, but figured he was busy and we'd catch up later. Anne and her roomate took us to one
of the tallest waterfalls in Oregon, which happens to be conveniently located next to the highway. Annes' roomate, a native Portlander,
told us about how he had watched Mt Hood erupt a few years back - am amazing story. The sun blazed down on us as we
hiked up the path near the falls. We enjoyed the walking and learning about the local geography.
Our last show of the tour was in Olympia WA. We drove up along Rt 5 admiring the views of the mountains. We played at the
Traditions Cafe (www.traditionsfairtrade.com), store of things from around the world, bought and sold on a "fair trade" policy, which
means that the artisans are paid a fair wage for their work. I walked aroudn this store for a long time and we ended up buying a few
items to take home...We shared the show with a local duo, and the crowd was large and appreciative - a nice way to end the trip.
We bought some gifts for Pam, and cleaned out her car in thanks for letting us borrow it, then Sunday we flew back East.
We traveled along Rt 80 to Pittsburgh Pa for a few shows. We played at the "Sci-tech" festival at the Carnegie Science center.
Meredith is very interested in science education, and has done reserach on how to better teach science at her day job.
We performed our program "Soundscience" about how sound is made and how instruments work. then we walked around the science
center, and outside to where bright kites flew in the wind.
Pittsburgh has undergone some changes since we were there. They tore down Three Rivers Stadium - a televised event - and
now have a seperate baseball and football stadium. There are developments along the river where run down tenements used to crumble.
That evening we played at the Quiet Storm, a coffee shop/venue run by an Ithaca expatriate. There were dinosaurs hanging from the
ceiling, and the tile floor had every possible color in it. Carlos Pena, a talented guitarist, played a pick up session with
some other musicians to start the night, then we played before two other acts. We also caught up with
some friends, one of whom had been sick and looked much better.
Sunday we drove to Philadelphia and played at the Folk Factory in a beautiful chapel. Voices of a Different Dream shared the show.
They are three poets who speak and sing their vivid poetry. We drove home late Sunday night.
I worked on the album on Monday April 15 and Tuesday April 16. We were concerned about the schedule, since
we wanted to have the album out by summer, and you need at least a month to finalize everything, so I took
a few days off work to remix and remaster the album. No matter how much you plan, the project
always seems to come down to the wire.
We played in Piedmont hall on Somers CT on a warm April night. We had a very nice turnout,
and Peter Fernandez a Boston bass player and pianist back us up. I had a sore throat,
but was able to sing.
Saturday we played in beautiful Chelmsford near Lowell. The church sat next to a beautiful cemetary, with
colonial homes all around. Again, the weather was warm, and the sky weighed with deep blue gray clouds on one side and sunshine on the other.
We played in Belmont at the 2nd Friday Coffeehouse.
This Coffehouse is in a Unitarian Church
(as many are) and the proceeds go to a different charity. This shows proceeds went to
a local group which helps grieving children. The performance takes place in a theater in the church.
There are quilts along the walls, which the performers sign once they have performed there.
Saturday we opened for the Kennedys at the Mozaic Room Coffeehouse in Avon MA. They are talented performers and very kind people.
We look up to them for their talent, kindness and their persistance in the tough world of the music business.
Sunday we played in Chepatchet RI at the Meeting House, after brunch with our Mom and Grandparents.
It was a warm and wet day, again a great day for an afternoon performance (as we did last time we played at this church).
Last time we played at the church, they had begun doing renovations. This time, the renovations were done and the church had a new white
coast of paint and new red carpet. We drove home under the gray raining skies.
This part of RI is somewhat rural, with winding roads and old churches and town centers.
Lancaster MA celebrated is 150th anniversary with hot air balloon rides, and an outdoor
festival. May 18th it had snowed an inch in these small northern MA towns, but the 19th was sunny and beautiful.
we shared the stage with Mustard's Retreat, a duo from Ann Arbor MI.
See our Other travels
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