Refreshing Mountain Air

Sorry for the slow update.  Mike and I are moving houses right now, so between that and work it's tough to find enough time in a location that has internet to actually get to the blog.

This past weekend we returned to Nelson to witness the mountains, reconnect with the community, and play a couple of shows.  We left Friday evening and drove to Cranbrook where we spent the night.  Early Saturday morning we hit the road again and made good time to refresh ourselves and setup for a noon performance at Cottonwood Market.  As always, we were generously tipped through money and fantastic food.  A box of unknown, high-quality groceries is actually way more exciting to peruse than a jar of cash.  Our friends Julie Kerr and Craig Korth were down at the market with their daughters, and since Craig was going to be playing with us that evening anyway he ran home for a dobro and a banjo and joined us on stage for a number of songs.  Man, that guy can play.  Julie also took a number of excellent photos, some of which will be posted on our photos page shortly.

When we stopped in to worship at Oso Negro coffee shop I was struck by the number of smiles and the openness of interaction that I had forgotten existed in Nelson.  What really got me was that not a single person in that whole place was on their cell phone.  If it were Calgary at least half the cafe would have been texting or talking, seeming generally distracted.  In Nelson people are just so much more present in the moment.

We loaded in at The Royal well before our scheduled sound check time because we knew how complicated things would be between our massive stage setup and our recording configuration.  Craig, Tyler, and Avery all arrived, and the seven of us (including Brittany) sound checked with Wagon Wheel. Even the sound check was fun.  It was the first time we'd ever played with Avery, the first time with Tyler in eleven months, and, well, Craig Korth was still Craig Korth.  After slogging through the hours of sound check details that followed we treated all our companions to dinner, I went for a drink with Tyler, we loosened up in preparation for performance, and I discovered I'd lost an envelope full of band cash.  My stress level skyrocketed.  I tried my best to retrace my steps but I'd been so busy with sound details that I really had no idea where I might have put it.  A dozen people hadn't seen it, so I just trusted to fate and tried to put it from my mind.  Somehow that worked.

The first set went well (despite a way-too-fast rendition of our brand new song).  We brought Craig Korth up again to kick off the second set with a cover of Paul Simon's "Graceland".  From that point on he never left the stage.  Even though he was only prepared for four tunes he figured everything else out on the fly (I'm pretty sure the recording will include me shouting out chord changes to him in the background).  It was really neat to hear how the texture of the songs changed with banjo added in.  I never though I would hear rolling finger picking over top of Tyler's "Human Being".  It was sweet.  We finished our Nelson shabang with group jamouts on "Wagon Wheel" and "Cortez the Killer". 

When I was packing up all of the recording gear someone walked over to me and handed me the missing envelope.  Thank god.

The next day we drove back to Calgary.  If we'd forgotten why we left that beautiful mountain town, the nine hour drive quickly reminded us. 

We're now back in Calgary focusing on moving house, rehearsing new material and preparing video footage from the past weekend.  Keep your eye out for new live audio and/or video recordings.  From what we've seen so far it looks really good.

Special thanks to Peter Schramm for his video help, Jen for her excellent work on sound, and Brendan for housing us, feeding us and then tucking us in with blankets when we fell asleep on his sofas.  And to Craig for being amazing and positive as always.

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