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Book Reports

Jun 28

Greetings From The West Coast

Wow....We have driven over 7200 miles since leaving home back in April for MERLEFEST!!! What a great trip.....I last left you in Cleveland, I think. We had a great show in Cobden IL, South of St. Louis, before heading West to Kansas City. Another fun gig at Mass. St Music in Lawrence and off we went to Oklahoma City!

The Blue Door, in OK City has been snazzed up and it was great to meet my pals, Jennifer and Preston (my film maker)there. We had great Thai food as usual down the street from the show. Greg was all excited about the structural and aesthetic repairs and alterations of his world famous 'night club' and a large time was had by all.

We headed out of town the next morning, right before OK City had heavy rains and flash floods! Amazing luck as usual, we heard it on the news as we streaked across the Texas panhandle and into New Mexico.

We made our regular stop in Tucumcari, NM, for dinner at the Pow Wow Motel Lounge, where they serve the best home made chilli relleno in the country! I always get a few extra dinners to pop in the fridge for the trip! Hard to find good ones...

We made it to Santa Fe, NM and camped out for a week. All the buildings in the area have been built in the Adobe style and it is really charming and so cool that it is so different from anywhere else. Shopping malls, Restaurants and even Starbucks all blend into the mountains. We never had seen such a beautiful natural looking city.

The elevation was about 6 or 7 thousand feet and it took a few days to adjust to that. We drank lots of water and took it easy. Had to keep my guitars moist with some do-dad that planet waves makes which uses distilled water, but the action got real low on my 1930 SS Stewart as the top flattened out from the dryness. That old guitar was dry before we got to the desert !

We had a great show at Mike's Musical Exchange. I was telling the audience about my old Stewart guitar, how I had a photo of Jack Foy, The Hill-Billy Boy playing the same guitar on the radio and that The Microphone had KFK? on it and a fellow in the audience said Jack Foy was his friends Grandpa! and that he played on the radio in Albuquerque back in the 1930's! I will be in touch with him....and I look forward to learning more about Jack Foy The Hill-Billy Boy....

As we cruised towards Flagstaff, we could see smoke billowing from the mountains. It was a huge fire and some people were being evacuated from their homes! We camped out on the West side of the city. The next morning, another fire had started West of town, but it wasn't close enough to cause any worry.

I had a guitar workshop scheduled for later in the day at a home on the East side, so I made a call and we moved the workshop to my campground! That was pretty cool. One 'picker' drove up from Tucson for the workshop!

This is the season for forest fires, and as we worked on lessons, we could see and hear the planes and helicopters involved in the fire fighting. Quite a unique workshop, indeed. My Brother-In-Law Ed, recently retired from the forest service in Arizona was called back to coordinate the camp for all involved in the goings on.

My concert at The Wine Loft, in town was great! We had friends and relatives in the audience and a big time was had by all. Flagstaff is a very cool city, beautiful mountains and forests but a little smokey this time of year!

Next stop was Las Vegas...Where we got to visit with our Pal Tex Whitson who has been in my corner, advising and helping bump my career along for years. One night we all visited Fur Peace Rancher, Pat Nole, his wife Rio and Son Zeb for a pickin' session which was really fun. Pat has been building Weisenbaum style guitars that are amazing!

After a few days in Vegas, we continued West. A tour highlight was our night at Mc Cabes in Sata Monica. LA's oldest and best venue for "the music" since the 60's. I first played there in 1980, opening for my pal, Dave Van Ronk. We had a great crowd, a great soundman and a fantastic show. I told the packed house that I didn't want the night to end....

The Fret Shop in Covina was celebrating their 40th anniversary and our workshop and concert there was another highlight for sure. It is so cool to know that these venues will always be great, with old friends and fans always excited to know that I'm coming to town! I am such a lucky man!

Before we left Southern California, we stopped off at Bill Slayback's recording studio. Tex Whitson set up the session as he wanted a good recording of POKER PLAYIN' PAPA. We have been fine tuning this song with plans to do somthing with the Texas Hold'm Poker Craze that is sweeping the world. Fingers crossed....A rough version I sang on XM radio has been getting play on Frontier Airlines Vegas flights.

Bill Slayback used to pitch for the Detroit Tigers. He has been involved in the music business for sometime and had a minor hit with a song about Hank Aaron catching Babe Ruth's home run record a while back. He is a very cool guy and we had a blast in the studio and a good time swapping stories. And we got a real good recording too!!

So my friends, that catches us up for now. Nancy and I are now headed North and enjoying the cool weather. Actually it has been perfect weahter ever since we left Las Vegas! No complaints from the road. Untill next time....

Bye For Now

The Book & Mrs. Book too