If only Chevy Chase was part of it, oh well. Foghorn just wrapped up our last tour of the year, a little shot through the Midwest from St. Louis to Minneapolis. It was a fine time, and thanks to all our fans throughout the area that came out to see us play and support live music! It’s hard to believe, but Foghorn won’t reconvene for a tour until February. We’ll be headed for the Northeast at that time, through New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont, so keep an eye out for us there! It seems like a long time from now, but it will be a real pleasure to settle in to some good home living! There’s no place like it. We have sure been on the road non-stop this year, and are all looking forward to some much needed rest & relaxation. We’ll be hot and ready to ride when February rolls around!
Our Midwest tour started in St Louis, where we played the KDHX Stage, a beautiful venue inside the radio station. The crowd was lively, and it was a great kickoff to the tour. We taught workshops the next day at the St. Louis Folk School. We played a private wedding in St. Louis Halloween evening, some guests were in costume! We headed north to Chicago to play a matinee concert at the City Winery, and played a square dance in Evanston the next evening, just north of Chicago. The dance was held at a Legion Hall, and the floor was full of dancers. It is always rejuvenating to play a dance. Our music is dance music after all, and it feels good at some level to play the music as it was intended every so often.
We headed up to Cedar Rapids Iowa and played at the Legion Arts Hall, a historic building built in 1891. It started out as a Czech Presbyterian Community Center, and now it is a center for the arts. In the mean time, it had a few lives, and survived the great flood of 2008, and as a result was fully restored into the beautiful place it is today.
Then we commenced the coffee roastery portion of our tour! We drank some awful good coffee… starting in Depere, WI, near Green Bay, at the Luna Cafe, a small and cozy little room where they close up after coffee shop hours, and clear out all the tables and invite people back for the evening show. The owner of Luna Cafe also brought us to perform the next morning at the school where his son attends. The kids loved the music, dancing up a storm in front of the stage. We carried on to Milwaukee after the school show, and performed that night at the Anodyne Cafe, another roastery that aside from making great coffee, also serves up some great wood fired pizza up the road at their second location. Milwaukee brought out a heck of a crowd that night, and the audience showed the love, which made the performance part extra fun. We got to see some old pals that night too. We stayed along the lake in a nice little hotel, and somehow it sorta felt like being in the countryside, right there in the middle of the city. Mark of the Luna Cafe, and Matt of Anodyne Coffee are both wonderful hosts, and took great care of us.
Leo and Leona’s. You almost know what it is like just by the name. At the intersection of two county highways in rural central Wisconsin is Leo and Leona’s, an old-school bar and dance hall. It’s in the Driftless area where high rolling farmlands mingle with deep forested hollers. Walking into Leo & Leona’s, it is easy to feel right at home. There is a sweet jukebox in the corner, and plenty of wonderfully tawdry wall hangings from when Leo and Leona owned the bar. Now it is owned by three brothers, who seem to have kept it beautifully much the way it was. Signs hang on the wall written by Leo and Leona that say things like, “Closed today. Just plain pooped.” or “closed today, come ‘round to the backyard.” Foghorn ate dinner at their first Friday fish fry as a band that night. And our old pals, Tim Foss, and Josh Rabie joined us for the show, both with an opening set, and as guests during our set.
Minneapolis brought a close to the tour. We played a sold-out show at the Turf Club with the Cactus Blossoms and Jack Klatt, followed by a fine time afterwards as we all packed onto a tiny stage in the basement bar for the after party, and took turns singing country songs. If the bar hadn’t had to close up, I’m sure we’d have been there ’til the wee hours! To finish off the tour we played a concert Sunday afternoon at St. James Lutheran Church in Burnsville, just south of the city. Sammy’s family joined us on stage with his brother Eric playing banjo, dad Mark doubling Caleb on mandolin, and sister in law, Teresa clogging to the music. It was a family affair, and Sammy’s mother and aunt baked a whole lot of amazingly tasty cookies for the intermission. I probably ate a few too many, but really couldn’t help myself. It was nice to end the tour with family in Sammy’s homeland. It is fun to see him go down memory lane a little more each time we are there. We all had early morning flights the next morning to go our separate ways. The fall weather all through this tour was truly amazing, warm and sunny with fall colors really showing!
Coming up, Foghorn will divide and conquer: Sammy and Nadine will be doing a Home Routes tour as a duo. Home Routes offers circuits of house concerts in different regions of Canada, and this one will be a 10-day run through Alberta. Then they will return to Whitehorse, Yukon and enjoy some home time in their new cabin, and will be teaching some workshops there.
Caleb and Reeb set off with the Caleb Klauder Band for a 10-day tour starting in DC, and going through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, bringing some dancehall country music around to the people there. They will also be playing a few shows around the region as a duo back in Oregon just prior to Christmas, as well as playing a New Year’s Eve show at the Spare Room with Caleb Klauder Band. And they will perform again as a duo at the Portland Old Time Gathering in January.
Prior to our recent Midwest tour we had some great times touring with our pals, Joel Savoy and Jesse Lege in mid-October. We did a five day run with them through DC at the Hill Center, a house concert in Baltimore, MD, then Shepherdstown, WV at the beautiful Opera House, and ended with Home Craft Days in Big Stone Gap,VA, and Pennington Gap, VA. We always have a great time collaborating with Jesse and Joel, and it is exciting to see what music comes out of us when we band together. Most nights we did an old time set with Foghorn, and a cajun set with Cajun Country Revival, which combined Jesse and Joel with Sammy and Nadine or all of us. Home Craft Days was the culmination of the tour. It is a festival that has a great lineup of local old time music, as well as many local artisans showing and selling their wares, everything from broom-making to basket weaving. It was so refreshing to be, not an anomaly musically, but to be part of a live active community of traditional musicians. I could have sat there all day and watched the whole lineup. There was also quite a crowd of flat footers waiting in the wings and flooding the dance floor whenever a dance tune was played. It was fun to see the dancing as a regular part of life for young and old alike.
After the CCR tour, Sammy and Nadine drove back to Louisiana with Jesse and Joel to spend the week visiting there, and teaching harmony singing at Black Pot Camp. Caleb and Reeb went to Elkins, WV to teach mandolin and guitar at Augusta Old Time Week. Caleb also hosted his second annual Great Big Fais Do Do back in Portland at the legendary Spare Room Lounge in early October, a three day festival dedicated to country and cajun music and dance. And the Caleb Klauder band did a tour from AMA in Nashville to Chicago. So, you can see, we’ve all been keeping very busy! We hope you are too, but not too busy! And that you enjoy your holidays more than ever! May the holidays be restful and cozy, and with lots of good eatin’!
We are so grateful for the many amazing places we get to travel to, and wonderful people we meet all along the way. Thanks to everyone who supports our livelihoods as musicians, and supports live music in general! We love what we do, and want to keep doing it!
It has been awhile since the last recap of our Foghorn travels. The summer was a busy one, and one tour bled into the next. In the whirlwind of travel, gigs, seeing old friends, making new ones, and being in a new place, state, sometimes country, every day, the quiet time for reflecting seems nonexistent. Sometimes it is enough in the day simply to try and get enough good sleep, try to move the body a little after sitting long hours in the van, eat something reasonably healthy, and be present and energetic for the evening’s performance! I’m lucky to perform with three folks that manage to do this night after night. So, forgive me if this post is outdated, but I hope you might yet enjoy a few stories from our travels…
We had a remarkable summer! Caleb and I had a special opportunity to perform on A Prairie Home Companion with Caleb’s Country Band in Seattle in June, and got to hang with Garrison and all the gang. What a thrill! The two of us also had an inspiring week teaching at Voiceworks in Port Townsend, WA. Meanwhile, Sammy and Nadine had a great tour with Jesse Lege and Joel Savoy from Central California up the West Coast to Portland, OR.
Foghorn met up for a tour in Europe in July. We started in Denmark at the Roskilde Festival. We lodged nearby with some old pals in Christiania in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen, near Christiania
This festival is enormous with 100,000 attendees, and many stages all spread across a beautiful festival ground that still manages to feel sort of chummy. The staff at the festival treated us very well, despite the fact that they must host hundreds of bands over the week long fest. We felt a little bit like rockstars when, after a morning of wondering who on earth was going to come see our noon set on the opening day of the festival, we stepped out on stage to a sold out audience of 1100 people standing & cheering us on. With a bit of cajoling from Caleb, the audience began chanting “BANJO! BANJO! BANJO!…! “ as Sammy reached for the banjo on one tune. They also solemnly held lighters high and swaying while Nadine and I sang a ballad. Those people were certainly among our best audiences of all time! They were so much fun to perform for.
Drinking local lambic at Gooikoorts
After Roskilde, we went south through Germany to the Netherlands and Belgium. We played at a little theater bar called Dorphuis De Werf at the edge of the countryside in Hoorn in the Netherlands. Then we continued the next day to Belgium, navigating around the Tour de France, to play at the Gooikoorts Festival. And believe me, everything they say about Belgian beer being amazing is true. This little festival, nestled in a little village amidst rolling fields, had the best setup including a 24/7outdoor bar, from friday till monday, in the middle of the festival grounds. But we hardly had to patronize it since the backstage bar was keeping our glasses full! They proudly served us many varieties of locally brewed beer, including my favorite, a sour cherry lambic. And each came in a specific glass, shaped to best experience the flavor of the beer. The audience here was wonderful, packed into the main stage tent, they made it clear they were loving our traditional American music. Sometimes I feel we are couriers of this old music, bringing it around the world to share with other places on behalf of our tradition. Of course we aren’t the only couriers, and we are lucky to have this traditional music in America. While I know there are many here who appreciate it, it is truly amazing to see how much the folks abroad love it. I guess we probably take it for granted a bit here in the States, but I wish we didn’t. Thanks to all that don’t!
We then played five dates in Sweden, starting off many hours’ drive through farmlands and forests northwest of Stockholm outside the village of Törsby, at an outdoor campground
Fröknarn Fräs, Törsby Camping
restaurant on a lakeshore. This gig fell under the heading of our frequently uttered statement: “The places old time music takes ya!” The Swedes are very into camping and many people rent a campsite in one of these campgrounds for the entire summer. They build elaborate campsites that may include RVs with covered decks build around them complete with couches and TVs. It becomes a little village, a community, where kids play all summer long, and families come and go as they have leisure time. The restaurant was filled with routine patrons that weren’t necessarily there to see the Foghorn Stringband play. You might say it was the opposite of our experience at Roskilde. Instead, we were background music to people only mildly interested in our music while eating dinner. That’s fine of course, but what made the experience special was the owner of the place, Helena, and her cousin, an amazing chef, who were the ultimate hosts. They seemed to fall in love with our music, and treated us with great kindness and generosity. We played the next night in Örebro, at the East West Sushi restaurant… again, “the places old time music takes ya!” A local band opened for us, Six String Yada. They play their brand of enthusiastic old time music, and once again, we realized that wherever we go, the old time music community is also. It’s pretty cool. We drove the next day to Stockholm and played a sweet little bluegrass festival in a big forest park in the middle of the city. We had fun watching all the other bands in the lineup, and trying to stay dry as it poured rain.
Nääsville Bluegrass Festival
We headed west from there, crossing the country to play in Malmö in the garden courtyard of Kafé Agnes. And we finished up the tour at the Nääsville Bluegrass Festival in a small village called Ätran, south of Gothenburg. This was such a charming festival. It was set in a grassy forest meadow beside a beautiful lake. The Swedes were jumping off the dock for a swim, and so were we! And the lineup was awesome, and they actually played bluegrass music! Not some new age jam grass, or some other boring pop music that happened to have bluegrass instrumentation. We were greeted by the fabulously mustached father of the festival coordinator, who didn’t speak much english but asked us straightaway if we’d like some whiskey. He was dressed in full country western attire, and upon our acceptance of his hospitality, took us to the trunk of his car where he had a mini bar set up with several types of bourbon. In broken english, he told us some amazing stories of meeting all the old country stars. He had a goal to get all his LPs autographed, and would apparently go to great lengths to do so. In one instance, he arrived early to a venue where Johnny Cash was to play that evening. He snuck in through one of the backdoors, and hid in a cupboard all afternoon until the evening, and while getting out of the cupboard, was soon caught by a security guard, and escorted toward the door. But Johnny saw them, and called to guard to let him go, and when they began talking, Mr. Cash not only signed his record, but also allowed him to stay for the concert, and wine and dine backstage!
We all parted ways after Nääsville. Sammy and Nadine spent some time in the Yukon, and joined Joel Savoy and Cedric Watson in August for a tour of Alaska, including Salmonfest. Meanwhile, Caleb and I performed as a duo in Twain, CA, and performed with the Caleb Klauder Band at the Stevenson Bluegrass Festival in WA, a couple of weddings, and taught and performed at the Northern Lights Bluegrass Festival in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Foghorn reconvened again in September in Boston to commence a tour from there to Michigan. We had a great reception at Club Passim. We then drove up to Brunswick, Maine to perform at the Thomas Point Bluegrass Festival. That was a lot of fun, and we got to see some of our heroes, Del McCoury Band, and Hot Rize. We stayed with some friends who kindly hosted us at their summer cottage way down at the tip of one of those gorgeous peninsulas on the coast. We played a couple nice shows in NY, one at the Rosendale Cafe, and one at the Nelson Odeon in Cazenovia, NY, a sweet little grange hall gone theater owned and curated by a couple that lives next door. Next stop was Ontario, and we got to be with Nadine’s aunt on her birthday. We performed an outdoor concert on her lavender farm, and celebrated that night with a feast. Toronto was a good time the next night, and we played a show with our friends the Pigeon Hawk Stringband at the Tranzac Club. We played a couple shows in Michigan, one at the legendary Elderly Instruments, (drool) and one at the Livery in Benton Harbor on the lake. Then we wound up the tour at the Wheatland Festival near Remus, MI, a big festival with all genres of music. It was a fun scene for sure and we got to hang with some more of our heroes, Marc and Ann Savoy, from Eunice, LA, and Cathy Jordan and Dervish, from County Sligo in Ireland.
our pal, the charming, the famous, Cathy Jordan
Perhaps the most memorable moments of the festival, besides fishing and swimming in the pond at our hosts’ home nearby, were experiencing the late night Cajun dances, which we were proud to play with the Savoy Family Band. Instead of partner dancing and moving around the dance floor in a circle, as you would see at a typical Cajun dance, the “dancers” were, yes moving around in a circle around the dance floor, though not in two-step or waltz form. Many were costumed, in various states of drunkeness, and most all were having a great time circling the room in a slow moving parade, a stew of humanity that rates among the highest of my people watching experiences. There were many jaw-dropping moments of laughter as folks passed by the stage, putting on their best solo moves for our (the band’s) entertainment. There were so many people, and that dance hall was so full of characters, that concentric circles of onlookers spread outside into the dark night.
After Wheatland, Nadine and Sammy headed back to the Yukon. Caleb and I drove from there to Nashville the next day to start a 10-day tour with the Caleb Klauder Band, starting with the Americana Music Festival in Nashville. We all got a little time off after that, and Caleb hosted the 2nd annual Great Big Fais Do Do at the Spare Room Lounge in Portland, a celebration of honky-tonk, country and cajun dance music.
It was a summer full of beautiful experiences, thanks to all that were part of making it this way.
We’re heading to the Midwest! Starting in St. Louis at The Stage @ KDHX and workshops organized by the Folk School! Then up to Chicago at the City Winery for a matinee show, then a fun Square Dance in Evanston. We’ll then head to Cedar Rapids to play the CSPS Hall then 3 dates in Wisconsin, Luna Cafe in De Pere, Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. in Milwaukee and Leo and Leona’s in Bangor. We’ll finish the tour in Minnesota with a double bill at the Turf Club with The Cactus Blossoms and a afternoon concert at St. James Lutheran Church in Burnsville. It’s going to be a great tour and we hope you can join and tell your friends and family about it!
We are so excited to announce our upcoming tour in DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia with Cajun Country Revival from October 13-17!
Spanning generations from across the nation the Cajun Country Revival is a veritable supergroup of American roots musicians. Comprised of Cajun musicians Jesse Lége and Joel Savoy and Portland Oregon’s Foghorn Stringband, this group presents a music that seems to embody all of the things that make life wonderful and together they’ve delighted audiences around the world celebrating rather than “performing” the music that brought them together: Cajun music and early Country music. Son of Cajun music royalty Marc and Ann and the founder of the Louisiana-based label Valcour Records, Joel Savoy is a GRAMMY winner for his production work with The Band Courtbouillon and a nine-time GRAMMY nominee, as well as a two-time winner of the Cajun French Music Association’s Fiddler of the Year Award. Having grown up literally at the feet of the Cajun great he represents his culture with an authority that few people his age can and his playing leaves no doubt that Cajun music is still very much alive. He has worked and played with the best of the best in south Louisiana as well as folks like John Fogerty, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Earle, and T-Bone Burnett. Sharing the stage with Joel for the last 15 years is the legendary Cajun powerhouse, Jesse Lége. Growing up in a rural pre-electricity home in Gueydan, LA, Jesse spoke Cajun French and learned music from relatives, neighbors, and the family’s much-loved battery-powered radio. Today he is one of the most admired Cajun accordionists and vocalists in the world, known especially for his high, clear, “crying” vocals. Jesse has been playing traditional Cajun music and singing Cajun French songs for over 35 years performing with a variety of well-known musicians in various Louisiana and southeast Texas dancehalls. He is a winner of numerous CFMA awards: Traditional Band of the Year, Accordion Player of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Band of the Year, and Song of the Year. In 1998 he was inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame. Completing the revival is Portland Oregon’s Foghorn Stringband, made up of Caleb Klauder (WA) and Stephen “Sammy” Lind (MN) and Reeb Willms (WA) and Nadine Landry (Québec). Credited for igniting the Old Time Renaissance in Northwest, the Foghorn Stringband continues to stand out as the shining gold standard for American Stringband music. With their 8th album, Devil in the Seat in hand, thousands of shows and over a decade of touring under their belts, it’s no surprise that this band, as proclaimed by Stuart Mason, The Fiddle Freak, “has blossomed into a full-blown force of nature that threatens world domination.” Through all of this, they’ve never let the music grow cold; instead Foghorn has been steadily proving that American Roots music is a never-ending well of inspiration.
After a tour in the northeastern US in the late winter that was like a homecoming, we had a predictably remarkable time at the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau, AK in April. Those Alaskans are a rough and ready bunch, always ready to have a good time! Their hospitality is on par with Louisiana and Ireland, what I like to call The Triangle of Awesome Good Times. Caleb and Reeb flew from there to Big Sur to teach for a few days at a camp on a family homestead overlooking the Pacific. And Sammy and Nadine made their way back to the Yukon. We all enjoyed a break from the road the last part of April before meeting up again in Dublin, Ireland to play at Whelan’s. What followed was a monumental nearly 2 weeks traveling about the wilds of Ireland. The Irish were quite simply, heroic in their reception of us, hosting, and keeping us up to all hours, feeding us, wooing us with their mellifluous speak, and taking the piss, keeping it real at all times. We passed through Dungarvin, (incidentally, the swinging capitol of Europe, though no one made any passes at any of us) and played a show at The Local, a beautiful sparkling pub owned by Donnchadh Gough, famed bodhrán, player. Though Donnchadh was persuasive in trying to get us to stick around that night, that slave driver and Fiddle Fair mastermind, Declan McCarthy had urged us to carry on to Baltimore in West Cork, the very southwest of Ireland, so we could wake up there the next day and play the morning kids show for the schools. Baltimore Fiddle Fair has been going for 23 years, and is one of my favorite festivals of all time. It is still fairly small, therefore intimate, and the music is exceptional, mostly traditional, and the setting is a small fishing village on the sea, an outdoor marquis for the main stage, and a couple of smaller stages in an old church, and one in the Glebe Gardens, not to mention numerous sessions in pubs about town. Southwest Cork is a winsome part of Ireland with its garden-like landscape, stunning views, and cheerful people…. or wait,… am I talking about all of Ireland? Well, yes, but Cork is special. We were kept up all night every night at the Fiddle Fair, pints of Guinness flowing ’til all hours, and king birds calling at dawn when we finally made it to our beds smiling, and filled with the music and good times.
We were knackered and a bit heartbroken when we left. Between the hospitable McCarthy clan and us, there seemed to be a mutual uncertainty as to whether we should stay and have more fun, or leave and preserve our collective health! We drove the winding roads of Kerry up to Dingle to play not one, but two shows at Siopa Ceoil, and later at John Benny’s Pub, where friends were waiting to cheer us on and revive our spirits! We traveled through Galway, Mayo, and Sligo, getting a chance to play some great shows, see some old friends, and visit with some heroes. (yes, John Carty and Cathy Jordan, you are!) Our last night before hopping the pond to get over to Scotland, was spent in a beautiful barn in Cookstown with our dearests, Sharon and Arnie at the Red Room. They host house shows, and we packed as many as we could in the barn that night for a fun show.
The week that followed took us through Scotland and England. We played Glasgow, Edinburgh, stayed with friends south of Edinburgh, and got to hike around on the wild moors. In England, we played in Liverpool, (they must be related to the Alaskans! They bring it!) in and around London, and down in the garden of England, Tonbridge Wells. We made new friends, and played some new venues, most notably the Cajun Barn down in Kent, and Kings Place in London.
We learned some new colloquialisms from the English, and intend to clean up our old ones… for example, a gentleman leaned toward us requesting that we hand him his waterproof trousers from beneath a nearby chair. Oh, you mean those rain pants? We forgot our swimming costumes, thinking the UK to be too cold for a swim. And we learned that a onesie is not a small baby’s outfit, but a full head to toe fuzzy one-piece for an adult! Imagine an adult-sized skull and cross banjos onesie! And lastly, one morning while out for a jog, Caleb came upon an older gentleman on his way to church on a forest trail. When the gentleman became aware of Caleb, and moved over for him to pass, he exclaimed: “Oh my, I hope I wasn’t impeding you on the pathway!” All told, I think we Americans could stand to broaden our use of the English language! There are so many lovely adjectives and verbs that we could be exercising! Somehow, while “awesome” certainly gets the point across, “utterly delightful” really sends it home!
While it can be very disheartening to return home after making so many memories, we learned that the best way to do this, is to return via Boston, and enjoy the utter delight of the music-loving Boston crowd. And it doesn’t hurt any to be near the Irish hospitality at The Burren with Tommy McCarthy! We’ll come back soon Boston! Thanks for welcoming us home!
Our year so far has been great! We tour the Pacific Northwest in January and February and just came back from an amazing two weeks in the Northeast! We gorged ourselves on Maine lobster, enjoyed a maple creemee in Vermont, visited friends we made during the Christmas Celtic Sojourn back in December, drove on beautiful rural roads in upstate New York, jammed with a slew of great musicians, managed to get good sleep and nice morning walks and played concerts or dances every night for 15 nights and truly had a blast!
We also managed to squeeze in the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau! The original line up of Foghorn played there for the first time in 2003, and has tried to come back as often as possible! This was the first time this current line up performed at it and it was amazing! Three nights in bars playing for four hours to a packed dance floor is quite the experience!
In just a few weeks we’ll be heading to Ireland, Scotland and England for three week tour! We are so excited to be performing in that part of the world! Here are our tour dates!
Our new CD is here and we are so happy to share it with you! We are on tour in the Pacific Northwest until February 15th then we’ll have a Northeast Tour starting on March 20th!
The CD is available on CDbaby as digital download and physical copy!
Devil in the Seat was recorded from December 1st to 5th 2014 on the beautiful island of Kauai by Will Lydgate from Steelgrass Studio at a remote location. The recording took place in a small studio surrounded by coconut trees, ocean view, great friends, amazing food and was partially fueled by a few margaritas! Here are some photos:
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Very Happy New Year from Foghorn Stringband!
Foghorn is traveling home from Boston where we’ve been for the last two weeks performing on WGBH’s Christmas Celtic Sojourn. WGBH is the pubic radio station in Boston, and Brian O’Donovan hosts a syndicated show called Celtic Sojourn. Each year he curates a live musical performance at the Cutler Majestic Theater in downtown Boston. Being inside that theater is what I imagine it would be like inside a Fabergé egg. The rounded ceiling stretches high above with gilded carvings and a pattern of gold and pink and blue. There are three tiered balconies, and at the top you are right over the stage which requires it to be breathtakingly steep. Lovely little Stadtler & Waldorf style balconies nestle up near the stage on the side walls. Quite a place. We got to collaborate with some old friends, the legendary Irish fiddler Kevin Burke, and our pal Johnny Connelly who plays accordion, as well as new friends, the Irish band, Solas, a beautiful singing duo from County Kerry, Lumiere, and a cast of amazing dancers and horn players. It was really fun to step outside of what we normally do and mix things up a bit, not to mention, spending time with the Irish is always good craic. And we met a whole new audience who might not have found our music otherwise.
Now I must go back in time and attempt to fill you in on what has happened since summer… the time flies! Firstly, Foghorn did a tour in Scandinavia back in August. We started out the tour in a small village in southern Denmark, where we played a big festival called Tønder. We had many performances there, some of which were as Foghorn Stringband, and some of which were as a cajun band collaboration with Jesse Lege, Joel Savoy, and Dirk Powell. There were many big stages on the festival ground, but our favorite stages were inside these large beautiful German-made circular Spiegeltents. Once inside, one would be surrounded in a warm dim light, walls of wood panelling, hardwood floors, beautiful stained glass windows and mirrors everywhere, colorful fabric stretched above, and cozy booths with wooden benches following the circumference of the tent. We were so well cared for at this festival, and each night the backstage became an all night session/party with musicians from all over the world. Being at Tønder Festival allowed us to put together a short tour while in the area, so we flew from there to Sweden and played shows in Gothenburg, and outside of Karlstadt. At this point our train tour began, and I must say, what a luxury to travel by train. We could walk around on the train and watch the scenery go by. We even played tunes in the dining car one night. Made us wish there was a way to do that here in the States. I have to mention we were accompanied on the tour by our friend Declan McCarthy who curates the Fiddle Fair in Baltimore, Ireland. It was great to get to spend some time with him. We took a train to Oslo, Norway where we performed and taught a workshop at the local music conservatory. The students were very adept and picked up the tunes quickly. From there we headed north to play in Steinkjer and Levanger, and while we only made it less than halfway up Norway, it took 8 hours by train and going through the mountains, it felt wild and remote in some ways.
The train followed a river, so big, wild, beautiful and blue and clear… it reminded me maybe of what the Columbia River must have looked like before the dams. We’d gone from the lowlands on the sea, (Oslo is on a fjord), up into the highlands where all the trees are small, and the meadows are full of alpine plants. The landscape was dotted with wooden houses painted red with white trim. Red is a traditional color in Scandinavia, because it is inexpensively homemade from linseed oil, rye flour, and the leftovers of copper ore. As we got farther up the river, it got smaller and smaller, and the swimming holes were to die for. The only drawback of the train is we couldn’t stop and jump in the water! Big clear deep pools amid granite slabs between sets of rapids. Made me start to think I could do just fine eating bread and butter and pickled fish for breakfast, and jumping in that river every day. Our shows up north were great, and we shared a bill with Germund Larsen Trio, who play traditionally rooted original fiddle pieces, accompanied by bass and organ or piano. We stayed with a lovely young dairy farmer named Ingrid who was so kind to host us for the two days we were there. Her farm was up on a big slope above a distant fjord. We rode the rails back to Oslo where we flew home to the States, reconvening a couple weeks later for a tour from St Louis, MO to Raleigh, NC in late September/early October.
The Caleb Klauder Country Band had just showcased at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville. And Sammy and Nadine had been on tour with Jesse Lege and Joel Savoy as part of the Central Time Tour, a collaboration of several bands including Pokey Lafarge. We met up in St. Louis and toured Kentucky, Virginia, and South Carolina on the way to the International Bluegrass Music Association conference in Raleigh. Our booking agents Martha Stracener-Danzic and Rob Miller and the rest of the crew at Quicksilver Productions put on a heck of a party there. The Quicksilver suite hosted some awesome showcases, and was hopping with activity all week long. Thanks to the whole crew for making it so much fun and working hard for us! It was great to hang out with our fellow bands, and friends in the music community. We ended our tour in the Blue Ridge mountains in lovely Boone, NC where we taught a workshop and did a performance at the Jones House. We were hosted in some beautiful cabins up along the Wautaga River near Valle Cruces at the Mast Farm. The leaves were turning and the crisp autumn frosty mornings had arrived.
November was a time for other projects, the Caleb Klauder Country Band did some touring up and down the west coast, as well as out East from Nashville, TN to Asheville, NC, and Sammy and Nadine were in the Yukon. We met up the day after Thanksgiving in Kauai, HI where we set upon the task of recording a new album. Very exciting considering the last recording was made three years ago! We had been coaxed by a friend to come record at his place in Kauai,… not a hard sell. We brought in an engineer and set up a studio. It turned out to be a great environment for recording, and in no small way due to our hosts care of us. Between delicious meals, epic rounds of midnight croquet, “go blue guy!”, little trips to the beach for a swim, and drinking a fair bit of beer, we recorded 34 tracks! It was the best time, and the relaxing environs made it productive and focused. Besides, it wasn’t hard to get used to eating avocados, oranges, star fruits, and fresh coconut water from the trees outside. It was more than a little hard to leave that tropical island paradise and head into the winter of Boston. Now we’re beset with the most difficult task of culling through the 34 tracks and choosing what will go on the album!
You can look for our new recording around about February when we’ll be doing an album release tour in the Northwest. We’ll be at the Anchorage Folk Festival at the end of January. Then we’ll tour from Vancouver Island to Boise and back to Olympia for the Oly Old Time Festival. In late March and early April we’ll be up East touring around New England, so look for us there! Then in May we head off to Ireland, Scotland and England for a month. The year to come is shaping up! Happy holidays to you all!